October 28, 2005

Blurring Separation

There is a moment in time, barely noticeable, a moment so subtle, so soft, when the edges between two things become blurred. An example might be touching an ice cube with your hand, and trying to notice that moment the ice becomes water… warmth from your finger and the frozen state of the water are changed. In this moment, each feels the other’s presence within itself, and each becomes altered, though the exact moment of the change is vague.

There is a moment I notice when a merging relaxation between myself and another occurs … a moment, barely discernable, when our edges blur, when I am changed by another’s presence. The other’s expression changes with a look of recognition, and feelings, though unspoken, are shared. The borders between us are so soft, fragile and delicate – permeable, really. In this moment there is that unmistakable feeling of non-separation.

We are affected by others; our attitudes and feelings are absorbed in them, as theirs are in us. The other is no longer the other. We are one organism, one Graceful Being. The moment of the blur is the reminder.

Perhaps our touch can be the warmth that melts the ice. Perhaps our penetrating love will opens hearts.

October 22, 2005


“We all move on the fringes of eternity and are sometimes granted vistas through the fabric of illusion.” Ansel Adams

“The veil that renders life opaque is infinitesimally thin and can be removed with the mere breath of imagination.” Thomas Moore


Last night I looked down, and there at my feet lay another colorful veil. This veil was made of fine material, soft, dense, richly hued, with intricate and compelling design.

I realized that I have had that veil for as long as I can remember. Memory of its origin has surely faded. Was it crafted during my childhood? Or was it my mother’s? My grandmother’s? Grandmother’s mother’s mother? Did it come all the way from the old country? Or did my father bring it from his travels? I don’t even know.

Alone in the dark of the evening I stood at my window gazing at the waning moon. Standing in this silvery illumination, feeling insignificant in the grand scheme of the cosmos, something special happened within me. It was as though through the Light love entered my room, and entered me. I felt different: empty, and spacious, warm and inviting. A subtle merging…And then, effortlessly, and gently, the old veil began to slip from my shoulders. I just let it go.

It dropped so slowly, inching down my body. I could feel its soft texture, dropping, dropping, fluttering down over my curves. In slow motion, it gathered at my feet, and I had a sensuous exhilarating feeling, standing there, naked and exposed.

Seeing the veil lying there at my feet, and feeling the warmth of love seep into me, I realize what this old veil has been shielding me from – from reality, from the truth, from light that is oh so bright. The veil constricts love to be received and offered. This veil has obscured my truer self with coarse energies of thinking, of desire, of shame, of cultural expectation. This veil has provided a resting place for me – a place where I slept rather than where I enjoyed true wakefulness.


The thinnest of veils cover our non-dimensional, essential self, and thus keeps true light and love partially hidden from us. We are blind to it, as an ancient master said, because of the sheer vapor of a “cloud of unknowing.” Preoccupation with the ‘real world’ continues an illusion that that the veil is necessary, that staying asleep is comfortable, that being separate from divinity is natural. The veil I have always worn blinded me, shielded me, preoccupied me, and distorted my truer nature. A way to wake up to spiritual aliveness is first to find holes in the illusory literalism of every day life. Just as Ansel Adams used a camera to see through the film that covers over the world’s lively personality, we, too, can pierce this illusion.

We can imagine slipping off our veils ... actually letting them go we expose ourselves to love, and allow love to seep in. Open and allowing, we can generously pour love out.

October 14, 2005

The Maple's Murmuring

Joanna Macy, in her memoir, Widening Circles, writes of a favorite maple tree on her grandfather’s farm where she found solace during an uneasy childhood. This maple tree stood alone, and was tall and graceful. Joanna writes that from age 9 to 17, she climbed that tree, and when she entered the lowest, waist-thick branch and slowly pulled herself upright, she "entered a solitude that was more than my own. It was a protected solitude, like the woods near the north pasture, but different because here one single, living being was holding me. My hands still remember the feel of her; the texture of the gray bark, the way it rippled in folds near the joints, its dusting of powder. As I climbed up into her murmuring canopy, my heart quickened - from fear of falling, and from awe. Caution felt like reverence."

"The maple tree did not invite pretending games. I only went there alone. It was a place to be quiet, a place to disappear into a kind of shared presence: the being that was tree and me, with the light coming through. The light is what I remember most of all; high and wide around me, it shaped a luminous, breathing bowl. It danced through the leaves, glowing them green and gold. It stroked the limbs with flickering shadows. When I sat very quiet, the play to light seemed to go right through my body, and my own breath was part of the maple’s murmuring."

Joanna’s beautiful recollection led me to reflect on spaces and moments for finding solace, and how it is that one is able to turn to find this ease and sense of awe. Surely this is available to each of us at any moment, as close as the tree trunk and the branches that hold us. Within our own field, opening up right inside of our being, an amazing energy is available to hold us, to breathe with us, and to gently shelter us. It is as available to the nine-year-old as it is to the ninety-year-old. This shared presence is the being that is you, with light coming through. Just as Joanna did, in a moment of sitting quietly in gratitude and simply turning into this ease, your voice and the maple’s murmuring become one.

October 5, 2005

Open Doors

Autumn is surely here – beautiful turning leaves and pumpkins at the farmer’s market tell me it’s true. This week the weather has grown colder, especially at night. We have begun to light the woodstove in the evenings, and sit silently in front of it, mesmerized by the glowing flames. The orange and golden flicker, the warmth of the fire, and the gentle sound of the air swooshing around within the stove make me feel so relaxed. As I quiet myself, and peer into the flames, I become rather lost to time and circumstance. The flames become a doorway to me, as if to another dimension. What is through and beyond this door? What energy moves within the flames? What causes them to dance so beautifully?

In a moment when I am lost to distraction, when I am relaxed and open, I feel the presence of this graceful and silent energy moving through random doorways within my sphere. This presence gently holds me, comfortably cradling me with such tenderness. Like the flames this energy also lovingly carries me, beyond time and space, beyond person, place, or thing. For a moment, there is no separation between me and the flame – I am warm, glowing, dancing with gentle swooshing breezes.

There are so many open doorways such as this – where I am able to peer deeply through and extend myself beyond visual boundaries. I move through a doorway looking into the river at sunrise, through again when I peer into a child’s eyes. Looking up to a mass of red and golden leaves on the sugar maple waving gently in the wind transports me through the door. Watching the raindrops make circles in the birdbath or feeling the hand of my beloved move into mine can do the same. My kitten’s purring always lets the sounds of the universe through a door, the night sky door opens me to endless galaxies. Foggy mornings with pungent mossy woodland fragrances pull me through again and again. On high mountain trails I can see through and beyond the door into forever. Through open doors I am the sunrise, the child, the leaves, raindrops, the beloved, and the kitten’s purr. I am the night sky, and foggy morning, and the forever.

What are your open doors?