December 30, 2004
Not because it's hard work,
but because it's beautiful and
because we love it,
and because seeing and experiencing and feeling
what it's really like to be human,
what this world and our connection to it is really like,
is a beautiful thing.
~ John Tarrant
December 28, 2004
Thomas R. Kelly
We have glimpsed the treasure house within. We have tasted this nectar, become intoxicated with the fragrance of divine love, meditative love. We have experienced firsthand the bliss of open space empty of self. We now know what real food, real sustenance looks like. We have eaten it. In other words there is awareness of enlightened energy, of energy moving in the enlightened state. This feeds us and encourages us to further opening. When we realize and share this enlightened energy, it grows in us; it manifests more and more in our world. Isn't this the fulfillment of our hearts desire? Isn't this the source of a rewarding and fulfilling life? Can you describe for me a deeper source of bliss? So however awkward it is to share, however clumsy we feel, however difficult or challenging or embarrassing it is to share, we should take the risk. Because in this sharing we are uplifted, the world is uplifted.
Post by Akilesh
December 26, 2004
Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian
December 21, 2004
the tossed waters have settled
after a night of rain.
I dip my cupped hands.
I drink a long time.
It tastes like stone, leaves, fire.
It falls cold into my body,
waking the bones.
I hear them deep inside me,
oh what is that beautiful thing
that just happened?
When we are quiet, we may notice a gentle, yet powerful consciousness in the background. This is a benign love we all possess; a love always available, if we pause, cup our hands, dip them into the cool water, deliciously take the time to drink in this presence, and let it refresh our bones. It is a beautiful thing.
December 17, 2004
You, my friend, respond like you know my thought before I express it, and understand my feelings so intuitively. We share a comfortable and unique intimacy. You reassure and encourage me, and deepen my understanding of our reality with your insights. When I am cold you have put your arm around my shoulder. When I have fallen behind you have waited, and reached out and taken my hand to help me over the rough terrain.
I love how you draw my attention to the natural beauty of the changing seasons, and the multitude of little creatures that join us along the path. Sometimes we have walked in the rain, and have become delightedly drenched. You playfully stomp water onto my legs, and we laugh together. We have walked in the fog, when we couldn’t quite see what was ahead, though this fogbank usually lifted as we strolled. We have walked at night, and watched the stars turn in the sky, and found our way by moonlight. Other times, mid-day, the sunlight beams down on us, warming and illuminating us. We have melted into the sunrises and sunsets.
Often, our pace is even; I cannot hear your footsteps apart from my own… I have the sense that we are not two. You are a Divine Friend next to me, behind me, ahead of me, within me. Not separate, not two. Your graceful presence is everywhere and everything to me; we move together, we see this blissful world with the same eyes, love with the same heart, experience this Existence as one.
December 13, 2004
December 11, 2004
Our humanity, growing all the time, does not let us rest on any change for long - there is always another one around the corner, sometimes upon us before we even know what happened. These changes affect our very core, rubbing up against old parts of ourselves like a polishing cloth reaching into the dark crevices. We wince with the discomfiture change stimulates, and the inevitable uprooting of old wounds. Without this occasional tending, debris builds up, buries and hides our wounds, and we are weighed down.
How good and wholesome it is to periodically return to these dark places, move them and look at them, handle them gently and restore their proper place in us. An honest inventory here softens us, makes us tender, and brings the luminosity and luster back to the places that have grown dim in the shadows.
December 9, 2004
The beautiful lotus grows in shallow water surrounded by mud. Here, the lotus opens each morning, and closes each evening. Exquisite in its purity, the lotus appears to float alone, however underneath the water its roots are connected to many other lotus flowers.
The lotus is a simple but potent metaphor for divine potential, deep wisdom, serenity, interconnectedness and transcendence.
December 7, 2004
What has us ripen, become radiant, and mature fully into the spiritual life? A friend told me: “We are all ripening in our own way, at our own pace. Ripening is going on all around us, naturally, ineluctably. Eventually we let go and drop -- pure, beautiful, ripe, juicy -- into open space. Existence is fully awake already, just waiting for us to drop into emptiness.”
And in this emptiness, an apparent radiance...
So much gratitude.
December 5, 2004
I don’t think about what happens in my consciousness when I am absorbed in this way. But I do know that when my ego recedes, when I’m not thinking about self, time, or facets of local awareness, there is a creative freedom and energy present. This capacity to enter realms of heightened and inspired creativity is available to me when I become quiet, immersed, and surrendered. Silent and open, creative sacred energy is present.
November 30, 2004
My spiritual friend amusingly notices when I let my thinking cloud my clear mind. We laugh together about this. Inspired by a Buddhist quote, I have learned that my clear mind is like the morning cloudiness that lifts to reveal the beautiful blue beyond that is always there… Or the full moon in the sky. Sometimes clouds come and cover it, but the moon is always behind them. When the clouds lift the moon shines brightly. I am learning not to worry about clear mind: it is always there. When cloudy thinking comes, behind it is clear mind. When cloudy thinking goes, there is my clear mind. Thinking comes and goes, comes and goes. I am becoming less attached to the coming or the going. It happens. I’m glad to have a spiritual friend to remind me.
November 25, 2004
Today in my kitchen, this sacred presence is so very evident. It swirls in the air with delightful fragrance of traditional cooking, its warmth radiates with the sunlight through the steamy windows. But most of all, this sacredness fills my heart with an awareness of abundance to which I feel fully awake.
Dear friends and family are gathering in my small kitchen today; we will sit side by side amidst this swirling sacred energy and share this abundance. Sensing this sacred energy, and becoming fully present to it, I again feel a gratitude that springs from a deep well within me. This Thanksgiving gratitude overflows to my every day, for I witness every day to be sacred, just as this one is.
November 20, 2004
Listen, and lay your head under the tree of awe.
This is not a day for asking questions,
not a day on any calendar.
This day is conscious of itself.
This day is a lover, bread, and gentleness,
more manifest than saying can say.
November 15, 2004
Usually Eleanor just sits quietly during Quaker Meeting. Today however, she spoke. Her voice gravely, and quiet, she asked, “What is Spirit, anyway?”
As Quakers, we try to speak simply, and from experience – given that’s all we truly can know. After quiet moments of reflection, I softly offer this response to Eleanor:
"Spirit is in the birdsong, in the breeze, in the illuminated autumn leaves. Spirit is in our breath, in the beat of our heart. Spirit is in our center – that calm place of peaceful understanding. Spirit is the quiet voice we hear.Spirit is in the rain, and the reflection of the moon in the rain. Spirit is the warmth radiating from a friend’s eye. Spirit is in joy, in sorrow, in exuberance and exhaustion."
"Spirit is here with us now."
I feel Eleanor’s shoulder next to mine. I hear her sigh a Knowing sort of sigh. “Oh.... ” I look, and see the warmth in a Friend’s eye. A tender smile, a feeling of Friendship between us.
Spirit is here, now.
November 14, 2004
As separate drops we are unique personalities and expression; as merged drops we share spiritually on a deep level where we are not-two - our true nature is as one.
Spiritual Friendship is a rich blessing.
With deep gratitude to my Friend.
November 12, 2004
Another moment that just flashed before me was a memory of looking at my newborn’s face, doing that mimicking sort of dance that parents and their newborn babies do… and then looking deeper, I forgot who I was looking at and began to sense that I was looking at myself because something in my baby’s face, her eyes, seems so familiar it was as though it was me, or someone I have always known… Ephemeral, fleeting, magical moment, yet one that seems to not be of time but rather be of the ultimate dimension. These moments do not happen because of any desire, they are not born of intention. These seem to be flashes on the vertical axis; of a timeless Presence.
November 6, 2004
Walking on the empty beach, I am aware of a vastness I cannot fully comprehend. Vast sky, vast ocean, and vast grains of sand. I am small, barely significant, nothing. My heart overflows. I am so in love with this earth and sky, ocean and stars, and the astonishing Presence that permeates all. It is as if my love for these surroundings is the impulse that makes it so...makes the water so cold, makes the sky and ocean so blue, makes the breeze so fresh. Right here is the moving juncture of the historical and ultimate axis. Right here. Where ever I am. Where ever you are.
The seagulls take flight.
November 3, 2004
This is the gist of what I have to say.
From an embryo, whose nourishment comes in the blood,
move to an infant drinking milk,
to a child on solid food,
to a searcher after wisdom,
to a hunter of more invisible game.
Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo.
You might say, “The world outside is vast and intricate.
There are wheat fields and mountain passes, and orchards in bloom.
At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight
the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding.”
You ask the embryo why he, or she, stays cooped up
in the dark with eyes closed.
Listen to the answer.
There is no “other world.”
I only know what I’ve experienced.
You must be hallucinating.
October 26, 2004
Pierre Lacout, God is Silence
October 25, 2004
This knowing feels like a tremendous gift – yet we cannot keep it. We cannot hold such wealth in one pair of hands. Therefore we share it, plainly without flourish, trusting that the truth is most visible when offered simply. These gifts of God are like seeds to be planted, and love to be shared. Preserving God’s grace for oneself becomes less urgent, and defending the boundaries of your self becomes unnecessary. Actually, we are freed of the need to be a separate self at all when we find God deep within ourselves; indeed, we may now dissolve ourselves in God.
October 19, 2004
October 17, 2004
We are all struggling; none of us has gone far.
Let your arrogance go, and look around inside
the blue sky opens out farther and farther,
the daily sense of failure goes away,
the damage I have done to myself fades,
a million suns come forward with light,
when I sit firmly in this world.
I hear bells ringing that no one has shaken
inside “love” there is more joy
than we know of, rain pours down although
the sky is clear of clouds,
there are whole rivers of light.
The universe is shot through in all its parts
by a single sort of love.
How hard it is to feel that joyin all our bodies!
Those who hope to be reasonable about it fail.
The arrogance of reason has separated us from that love.
With the word “reason” you already feel miles away.
How lucky we are that surrounded
by all this joy we sing inside our own little boat.
These poems amount to Being meeting itself.
These songs are about forgetting, dying, and loss.
They rise above both coming in and going out.
October 16, 2004
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves. Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people will not feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.
Inaugural Speech, 1994
October 13, 2004
October 7, 2004
almond self-enclosed and growing sweet –
all the universe, to the furthest stars
and beyond them, is your flesh, your fruit.
Now you feel how nothing clings to you;
your vast shell reaches into endless space,
and there the rich, thick fluids rise and flow.
Illuminated in your infinite peace,
a billion stars go spinning through the night,
blazing high above your head.
But in you is the presence that
will be, when all the stars are dead.
Rainer Maria Rilke
October 6, 2004
I have a spiritual friend, Akilesh. Akilesh's voice often goes with me, urging me to open my heart and drop that which blocks my light. Akilesh encourages me to risk more, to share the graceful presence within me without restraint. Following this guidance leads me to a wonderful feeling of a divine connection.
Today, with my friend's words in my heart, I felt very calm, and centered. My interactions seem to bloom from a spiritual center today – full of warm and radiant light. I opened my heart with each person I came into contact with. I listened more intently, and spoke openly with less restraint. When I am able to listen and speak from this space, there is a mystical quality in the interaction. Today, I risked more, opening my heart more intentionally, and noticed subtle rewarding differences. The energy with others was gentler today. Eyes sparkled. Faces relaxed. Conversations became more real, honest, and hopeful.
There is such a graceful presence when souls are open and conscious. I am full of gratitude.
October 4, 2004
I come alone seeking you.
The sound of chopping wood echoes
between the silent peaks.
The streams are still icy.
There is snow on the trail.
At sunset I reach your grove
in the stony mountain pass.
You want nothing, although at night
you can see the aura of gold
and silver ore all around you.
You have learned to be gentle
as the mountain deer you have tamed.
The way back forgotten, hidden
away, I become like you,
an empty boat, floating, adrift.
Tu Fu, c 712-770
September 30, 2004
Graceful Presence is that of God within us, that sweet experience of our soul and our spirit commingling. Do you recognize this quality of uncontained, calm, clear energy, bliss and warmth? When you experience it, you will have the feeling of rejoicing, of celebration, of happiness for who you are. This quality will take you beyond your fear. Graceful Presence is not about who your ego is – but who you are beneath ego, beneath your culture, your religion, or even your name. It is your truest nature, who you are unconditionally. When you recognize this, you are living the path of Awakening. You are an expression of waking up energy, and you feel it, and experience the Source within in an undeniable way. Graceful Presence. Let us nurture this wondrous energy in ourselves and the awakening potential of others. It is the richest blessing…
September 29, 2004
Tzu-Ssu (483-402 B.C.E.)
September 28, 2004
September 27, 2004
was said to me here in my chest.
What was told the Cypress that made it strong
and straight, what was
whispered the jasmine so it is what it is, whatever made
sugarcane sweet, whatever
was said to the inhabitants of the town of Chigil in
Turkestan that makes them
so handsome, whatever lets the pomegranate flower blush
like a human face, that is
being said to me now. I blush. Whatever put eloquence in
language, that's happening here.
The great warehouse doors open; I fill with gratitude,
chewing a piece of sugarcane,
in love with the one to whom every that belongs!
September 26, 2004
September 25, 2004
September 24, 2004
Hazrat Inayat Khan
September 23, 2004
September 22, 2004
September 21, 2004
What we mean by "love" is its sound coming in.
When love hits the farthest edge of excess, it reaches wisdom.
And the fragrance of the knowledge!
It penetrates our thick bodies,
it goes through walls.
Its network of notes has a structure as if a million suns were arranged inside.
The tune has truth in it.
Where else have you heard a sound like this?