May 30, 2005

Love, Truth, & Authority

Meredith: Today, I learned this: “Consecration is a dedication to divinity. It means consciously participating in love, intentionally opening ourselves to accept the divinely given gift. Obviously, it means that we must trust more in grace than in our personal capabilities. To say yes to love, we must trust enough or risk enough to be willing to enter love.”

Possibly what I have wanted most out of life is love. Oddly, though we are immersed in love, it swirls about us largely unrecognized and unclaimed. Love comes into the open as a gift. I sense this gift of love at different depths. To receive love at the deepest depth, takes a willingness to drop self-protection, to be a bit vulnerable, to move beyond social constraints and to be actively and radically open to receive this gift. Love bestowed in this way is grace, loving as God loves.

I laugh with Kabir, who laughs about fish being thirsty. We are in love, within love, as fish are in the sea and clouds are in the sky. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and perfuses us. In a very real sense, we are made of love. It is our true treasure, right here within us, waiting to be claimed.

We have claimed and consecrated love. It is beautiful, it is freeing. Love is who and what we truly are. I hope you can feel this gift living, swirling, and rising from the very depths of your being as I do.

Akilesh: We can take old, dead words -- words that have been poisoned by religion and pseudo spirituality -- and breathed new life into them, resurrect them, infuse them with their original aliveness, and re-create fresh meaning. We do this by going to the authentic wellspring of our heart and in the light of authentic presence the old word is freshly illuminated. Take the word "love" for example. Such a misused word, yet we have exploded the word from within, pulled out from it the deeply buried authenticity, the freshness and living truth of it. The word itself falls far, far short of the living experience.

So, a new word -- authority. You are your own authority. As ego fixation recedes, one realizes one’s own authority. Your heart, the totality of your being, your higher self, pure consciousness is your only authority. There is no external authority, whether for character or morality or principal or truth or God. You are your own authority. This will serve you later when times get rough, when the road gets long, and the sky grows dark. During times of extreme difficulty we are tempted to rely on others for spiritual authority. But this authority is and belongs with you. We rely on others for spiritual friendship and help, but do not go that extra step where you concede your authority (and responsibility) to another. Sometimes conditions and circumstances become extremely compelling and we run for the cover of social convention, consensus reality. We have to walk our own path, realize our own responsibility and our own authority -- and claim it. No one can give it to us. Trouble is we feel so impoverished as an ego we try to find someone or something to support, prop up, rehabilitate, enhance, empower our small self. But as ego fixation diminishes we begin to see our own responsibility in the matter, and eventually our own naked authority.

Meredith: Your dialogue on authority has been churning over and over in my thoughts. I feel a little dissonance with this word – maybe it is an adolescent rebellion to authority! It is like an old dead poisoned word. I do not feel like any kind of authority, on anything, not one single thing, however, I do recognize a deep trusting of my own heart. There is an odd conflict of ideas, to be more unknowing, and an authority at the same time. But I think I understand what you are referring to. An example is that I do walk my own path, not subscribing to any particular authority to follow exactly. I just rely on my own deep inner knowing, and have a simple, very simple context for this knowing, without a particular need of any external authority. Even when I ask you a question, your answer may either fit for me or not, as you suggested might be the case, a long time ago. I like to give your wisdom sharing some silent time and just let the particles of truth for me filter in, and allow the rest to just drift softly away – kind of like those clumps of cotton from the cottonwood trees blowing in the breezes right now. In our sharing, I have often had the experience of a truth in you sparking a truth in me. This also happens as I read other’s truths as well, and I notice a synchronous quality of certain truths coming round again and again, touching me, shaking me, waking me, breathing in me, living in me. And with your eyes you have begun to see the truth of love residing in me, recognizing that it is who I am even before I did. This truth is beauty and it is freedom. It feels simple, fresh, empowering, creative and has literally made me come alive.

Akilesh: You recognize how words have acquired a dead meaning, and how we are able to bring them alive, bring aliveness to them, resurrect them so that they are again fresh, authentic. Authority is a tremendously loaded word, freighted with all kinds of negative meaning. But you got the point. The truth and beauty of the love residing in you naturally leads to an internal feeling of certainty that is self existing. It requires no external confirmation and thus it stands on its own authority. You know? It is so real, so clearly present within the heart that it doesn't need any propping up by external authority, i.e. society, religion, science, culture, etc. It cannot be proved in a rational manner. Nonetheless it is real, it exists. Standing on nothing, you stand on your own authority, you declare your love, the existence of this love you have found residing within you -- not as a feeling, because feelings come and go, but as an existential and experiential fact. It is paradoxical, like being without reference point and asserting, "I am my own authority." Like if someone said, "On what authority do you assert such a truth, the truth of love residing within you?" Well, you have no scientific proof or socio-religious consensus. You simply stand on your own authority, on what you have undeniably discovered.

May 27, 2005

Blossoming of Understanding

"The emergence and blossoming of understanding has nothing to do with any tradition, no matter how ancient or impressive - it has nothing to do with time. It happens completely on its own when a human being questions, wonders, listens, and looks without getting stuck in fear, pleasure, and pain. When self-concern is quiet, in abeyance, heaven and earth are open. The mystery, the essence of all life, is not separate from the silent openness of simple listening."

Toni Packer, quoted in The Shambhala Sun, July 2005
Post by Akilesh

May 25, 2005

In Silence

Be still.
Listen to the stones of the wall.
Be silent, they try
to speak your

to the living walls.

Who are you?
are you? Whose
silence are you?

Who (be quiet)
are you (as these stones
are quiet). Do not
think of what you are
still less of
what you may one day be.

be what you are (but who?)
be the unthinkable one
you do not know.

O be still, while
you are still alive,
and all things live around you

speaking (I do not hear)
to your own being,
speaking by the unknown
that is in you and in themselves.

“I will try, like them
to be my own silence:
and this is difficult. The whole
world is secretly on fire. The stones
burn, even the stones they burn me.
How can a man be still or
listen to all things burning?
How can he dare to sit with them
when all their silence is on fire?”

Thomas Merton


This poem, including the silent spaces
between the words, changed my life.

I feel tremendous gratitude to Thomas Merton.

May 23, 2005

Keep Turning the Wheel is in the continued practice of uniting with
your work that you turn the wheel of the Dharma
for yourself, for the Sangha, for the world.

Robert Aitken.


A friend of mine was telling me a sweet story about
a dream she had. She dreamt of her favorite teacher,
whom she no longer has contact with. In her dream,
she saw his face, illuminated by the sun, looking toward
her, smiling. He was diligently turning an old wheel
through the garden. That is all, just turning the wheel.

And then she knew: he is well, all is well.

May 21, 2005

The Temple Bell

The temple bell stops
but the sound keeps coming
out of the flowers.


May 16, 2005


Sitting in solitude on my porch this morning, I watched as a crow flew silently past, a graceful dark splendor soaring amidst the forested green backdrop. Dark splendor.

I have this little game I play when I observe a soaring bird. A bird in flight has become a cue to me to recognize the presence of spirit, of the Absolute soaring within and throughout my life. The ephemeral presence of the soaring bird is graceful, silent, seemingly motionlessness yet moving great distances. Even when this presence is as dark as the crow, midnight black like a hole in space, this darkness appears as splendor, shiny, curiously reflecting light. I have come to believe that this is also true of our darkest night, our sorrows, our most difficult pains. There is some ‘terrible beauty’ within the dark, even if it is just the feel of our own spaciousness. I think this is what Rilke was referring to in his poem, Silent Friend.

This poem and the image of the soaring bird stirred tender memories of sorrow, of soaring gulls, and of flashing waters. Rising up through these images is the memory of my dad’s recent passing, and in particular, the of scattering his ashes into the Columbia River from the pilot boat he worked on for many years. I recall it was a very rainy, blustery day, early February of this year. When we arrived at the mouth of the river, near the sand bar, we scattered my dad’s ashes and tossed two flower wreaths onto the river. The flowers only lasted a very short time before being absorbed into the choppy, ‘flashing’ waters. I remember thinking the image conflicting, such as: Flowers in the river? Fancy florist bouquets out on this rough current? The place and images of my father’s life work, of the river, buoys, and ships, of ladders, ropes and anchors marked by roses?

Yes, that place and time was marked by roses. Now I realize that it doesn’t matter that they, in their delicate charm, were a contrast, or that they lasted only a few minutes, for the image of their graceful beauty floating there on the choppy water amidst the ashes is still with us all. As time passes, the images of the flowers remains, enlarges, becomes symbolic, even as we remember that they filled to overflowing and quickly became submerged.

Today, I serendipitously found this poem by Rilke. With great intuition, his poem thoughtfully weaves together many threads of this memory for me:

The Rose’s Innerness

Where is to this innerness
an outwardness? Upon what ache
do you lay its soothing petals?
What heavens find their reflections
in the secluded sea
of these wide open roses,
these carefree floating blossoms, see:
how loosely they lie in their looseness,
as if a trembling hand
could never spill and so disperse them.
They barely manage to stay afloat;
many of them let themselves
be filled to overflowing
and now flow over with inner space
into the days that ever more fully encircle them,
until the whole of summer
is contained in one room,
a room envisioned in a dream.

Ranier Maria Rilke


Today, many birds soar
through the overcast sky.
Blithe spirits, silent in their flight,
opening out the inner spaces of memory,
of rose petals on the water,
of longing, of sorrow, of wisdom,
turning outwardness to inwardness
whispering to existence, to flashing waters,
to all who fill to overflowing, “I am.”

May 14, 2005

Silent Friend

Silent friend of many distances, feel
how your breath enlarges all of space.
Let your presence ring out like a bell
into the night. What feeds upon your face

grows mighty from the nourishment thus offered.
Move through transformation, out and in.
What is the deepest loss that you have suffered?
If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine.

In this immeasurable darkness, be the power
that rounds your senses in their magic ring,
the sense of their mysterious encounter.

And if the earthly no longer knows your name,
whisper to the silent earth: I’m flowing.
To the flashing water say: I am.

Rainer Maria Rilke

May 13, 2005


"I laugh when I hear that the fish in the
water is thirsty.
I laugh when I hear that men go on
pilgrimage to find God."


May 11, 2005

The Heart

It is so amazing what the heart is able to do. Growing up, we think we know about heart because we know the feeling of longing, of loving, and of heart-breaking. But beyond that, what do we know of the heart?

Now, I know this...

The heart's capability knows no boundaries. It can be soft, and tender, wide and full. It opens unexplainably when you allow it to, and perhaps, with full maturity, never needs to close again. The heart exudes an energy that can be felt across the miles even when not seen. “The mind creates an abyss, and the heart crosses it.” (Sri Nisargadatta) Indeed, we are not limited by our hearts – only our minds, and our culture, religion, and our own self imposed rigidity.

Opening wide to others entails trusting our heart. With this trusting, we feel a softening, a deep tenderness that we didn’t know we were capable of. The openness of the heart raises us up; it brings us up the tonal scale, to the most ‘sacred octave of our being.’ (Aida) Here, undeniably, we hear a song. Wait – is it the skylark?

Resting here, lingering here in love, we begin to develop a rich experience of this relating. Our wisdom in the domain of the heart deepens. In this depth there is a merging, not one heart feeling another, no. Perhaps in the beginning we think it is just one heart, opening, growing, expanding, pulsing, beating, feeling, longing, loving, aching, or grieving. The fully open heart feels all of this. What was once a fine filter becomes a wide filter, and then, eventually, there is a dissolving of the mesh all together, hearts, no longer separate, beating as one.

There are infinite expressions of love. The consciousness with which we traverse our landscapes will reveal the many manifestations of this simple, pure quality that we radiate when we engage our hearts.

My spiritual friend has helped me to engage and fully open my heart. He has done it delicately, with illumination and tenderness. He has brought my heart to the heart of God, my hand in his hand. At times there is a pristine quality to this capacity to open my heart – like newly fallen snow or a smooth glassy lake; my open heart is calm, tranquil, and free. At other times, there is energy from my heart that is palpable, a vibratory celebration within my heart.

Today, my heart is both calm, and celebrating. It is a lovely combination. I am filled with gratitude.

Blessings flow.

May 9, 2005

Trust in Simplicity

"I have to let go of the need to know so much. What we can know is so small - the holiness around is so large. Now I trust in simplicity, simplicity and love."

Hindu Sage

May 5, 2005

Gift of Stillness

"To meet everything and everyone through stillness instead of mental noise is the greatest gift you can offer to the universe. I call it stillness, but it is a jewel with many facets: that stillness is also joy, and it is love." Eckhart Tolle

Post by Akilesh