July 26, 2007

The Guest

Friend, hope for the guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you are alive!
Think...and think...while you are alive.

What you call 'salvation' belongs to the time before death.
If you don't break your ropes while you're alive,
do you think
ghosts will do it after?

The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
Just because the body is rotten -
that is all fantasy.

What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will simply end up with an apartment in the City of Death.

If you make love with the divine now, in the next life
you will have the face of satisfied desire.

So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is,
Believe in the Great Sound!

Kabir says this: When the guest is being searched for,
it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that does all the work.
Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.


(trans. Robert Bly)

July 21, 2007


"The snow in the air could have been flying seeds, the snow on the ground could have been fallen blossoms. The rounding of the image gave emptiness a radiance."

From The Afternoon of a Writer
by Peter Handke

July 19, 2007


Walk around feeling like a leaf

Know you could tumble any second

Then decide what to do with your time

- Naomi Shiab Nye

July 15, 2007

Already, Always Blessed

It is easy to listen, and it is hard.
It often crushes me with wonder.
I am helpless against this flow
of grace, of love, of a presence
miraculous, yet light as a feather,

brushing by with a faint breeze, and then,
perhaps, out of sight again. This presence
seems miraculous, but really, it is just ordinary,
blissfully ordinary.

I do not know how it is that we are gifted
with this... the presence of these gods,
why they visit, showering our ordinary lives,
filling our souls with fountains of light;

sweeping into all the corners our cottage,
here, in our home, with you,
sharing these blessings.

But still they asked for nothing.

This melts me. All the blessings
and still they asked for nothing.

This old couple were already, always blessed,
already enfolded in light. This drew the gods
to them. They were listening, noticing,
before that knock on the door.

Standing at the edge of the field
our poet was opening, listening;
ready for the god's visit, ready
to be shaken with understanding.

She asked for nothing, and the gods smiled
in just the same way her poem
- fountain of light showering -
smiles upon us.


Here is a little Mary Oliver gift:

This morning
two mockingbirds
in the green field
were spinning and tossing

the white ribbons
of their songs
into the air.
I had nothing

better to do
than listen.
I mean this

In Greece,
a long time ago,
an old couple
opened their door

to two strangers
who were,
it soon appeared,
not men at all,

but gods.
It is my favorite story--
how the old couple
had almost nothing to give

but their willingness
to be attentive--
but for this alone
the gods loved them

and blessed them--
when they rose
out of their mortal bodies,
like a million particles of water

from a fountain,
the light
swept into all the corners
of the cottage,

and the old couple,
shaken with understanding,
bowed down--
but still they asked for nothing

but the difficult life
which they had already.
And the gods smiled, as they vanished,
clapping their great wings.

Wherever it was
I was supposed to be
this morning--
whatever it was I said

I would be doing--
I was standing
at the edge of the field--
I was hurrying

through my own soul,
opening its dark doors--
I was leaning out;
I was listening.
As you are,

July 14, 2007

A Light Touch

Sometimes a photo will capture my imagination, as this one does. In this, I see hands - open, exposed, relaxed, ready, waiting, receiving. And I see the light touch of presence, wooing these open hands, so near, even alighting on and in them, stroking - as light as a feather, brushing by with a faint breeze, and then, perhaps, out of sight again. This presence seems miraculous, but really, it is just ordinary, blissfully ordinary.

Read more on the story of these hummingbirds here: http://www.abigailsings.com/hummingbirds/

July 8, 2007

The Touch of Grace

Sometimes, after dreams, I feel the emotional weight of the conditioned self, thick like a blanket of clay; I feel the texture and substance of the conditioning - guilt and shame, worthlessness, the whole lot bedded there, covered with cold heavy air. I have been told by the wise that awareness of this suffering arising is simultaneously the arising of freedom. I have been shown how all of our frailties and negative emotions are no other than this, the ungraspable this... And this seems right, these forms (thought forms, emotional forms) like all form are a manifestation of freedom, consciousness, being, the very presence itself, the flowering of purity and perfection. Through love and communion I smile now when these troubling forms arise. There is a vast consciousness that is holding them, allowing them, loving and saying "yes" to them, "Yes, you too have a place here, obviously." (The problem, the mug, being unmistakable.) With this "problem" arising we are reminded, we are given the opportunity of instantly seeing the gate, here, now. The path of release is suddenly open before us, outside of time. In a flash of insight we are presented with complete freedom, though we may not recognize it. We are given the opportunity to open our heart, unveil our fidelity to our true nature - the ungraspable this, which never leaves, never comes and goes, but abides, calm and clear.

In that line, "The problem, the mug, being unmistakable," it is all too easy to slip past the most significant word in the passage: being. It is hidden in the wide open, easily glossed over because we human beings focus almost exclusively upon our "human" and generally neglect our "being," which is the infinite and eternal in us. "Problem" and "mug" are much more accessible and familiar, like that pure word the wanderer has brought to the valley from the mountain slope; the blue and yellow gentian. "Are we here perhaps just to say: house, bridge, well, gate, jug, fruit tree, window-- at most, column, tower... but to say, understand this, to say it as the Things themselves never fervently thought to be." The wanderer does not bring the unutterable being from the mountain slope to the valley, it is already here. But he has to say it somehow, and what is there to say other than through form, through a "pure word he has learned, the blue and yellow gentian."

"The Things themselves never fervently thought to be." This is our gift, to realize and say their being, which is our being. The paradox is saying, realizing, the unutterable, that which already, always is. This is our dance, our celebration and our bliss. Even a "problem" - the mug with its white ring marring the dark table - is a "pure word" that comes to us from the mountain slope. Everywhere the white rings of our conditioned existence mar the dark table of our being. The problem, the self-identification is, for most of us, far from unmistakable. In the poem the ring is white, the table dark. Our attention is focused upon the white ring, not the dark table, our being, which receives and holds all forms, yet remains "dark" to us, hidden, unconscious. We especially focus our attention on the forms that mar, that cause suffering to self and others. In so doing we most often miss the "problem," misperceive it, again and again do we not? We are fixated on these white rings that brightly mar our existence, unable to see the root cause of this suffering; unable to see through the conditioning, to see the impermanence and limitations of the personal center, we misperceive form, we do not realize its emptiness.

Held in the light of love, and through humility, I have come to see my problems as the touch of grace, reminders of blessed emptiness, that form is no other than emptiness. With this realization a natural fidelity emerges to that which is here, now, ungraspable, unmistakable being.


This world is a
dewdrop world
and yet, and yet