The End of the Story

The personal story plays itself out
Until it no longer has anything to teach you
You will know that time
Because your personal history
Will no longer have any charge in it
And any moments in present life
That would previously have triggered you
Don’t

They may still have a shadow, a fragrance
Of the past
But they don’t drag the past into the present
And dislocate you from being where you are fully

In that way you are able to meet life and it’s nuances
More openly and effectively

Still life has its ups and down,
Its challenges and concerns,
But there is no leaving reality, no absence

You attend to your story with vigilance
Clarity, inquiry, softness and stealth
Openness and understanding,
Seeing the patterns of the past
As they rise up and crash on the beach
Over and over and over
You see them and you watch them
And sometimes you even get lost in them
But slowly slowly you understand the patterns
And then you get to decide
Whether to keep on abdicating your authority to them
Or you no longer need them

That is your power, your authority, right there
We want our spiritual awakening to happen to us
But we are called to do much of the work ourselves
Consciously, resolutely, with care and compassion
But with unwavering devotion to the task

If nothing else, you become a warrior
While seeking enlightenment, don’t just wait
Attend to what you can, what you must,
This is your power, your authority
It’s not given by someone else
It’s claimed by you.

The Wisdom of Emptiness

Let’s meet when the sun goes down
And sit quietly together
Forget the world for a while
And turn our attention
To the silence we are
There is a beauty that nourishes the soul
When we sit quietly together
It’s not found in the busy world
In the cafes or the shops
It’s not found in any of our doing
It is simply this, naked and free,
No need to speak
Or share knowledge
We can let the wisdom of emptiness
Say more than all this talking

The wise one sits to one side
Silently looking at the clouds
As they flow through the empty sky
He left the market long ago.

A River Flows Through Us

There is a river of natural intelligence
Flowing through everything and everyone
Find that river and serve it
Over and over
At first it may be unfamiliar
But keep on serving it
And listening to it
It is the source of true goodness
The well spring of love

It is there, in the space between things
In the pause between breaths
And the deep silence of still mind
In the deepest acceptance of what is
It is there, whispering to you
Nudging you with it’s intuition
It’s your instinct
Your inner guidance system

When you sit in silence
On a still day
In the arms of a great tree
You will feel it
This intelligence is everywhere
Yet we override it
In favor of collective beliefs
And self centered thinking

It takes daring and humility
Softness and surrender
To court this intelligence
It will shrink from demand
And run from aggression
You can’t drag it out
Or beg or barter with it

But
You can become tender
With yourself
With your life
With everything you have previously judged
With all your righteousness
With your wounds and trauma
With the world itself
You can become so tender
That you fall into an unknown place
And you stop all this seeking and searching
Just for one moment
And in that moment of emptiness
Just listen, quietly
And out of that utter silence
You will hear it
And you will feel it
It’s there, inside everything and everyone.

The Inevitable Calls Us All

We are confronted, and invited,
By life’s momentum
To let go of everything
Eventually letting go of life itself

Everything goes the same way
Through the same door
There is an agony in this
That renders us helpless
And brings us to our knees
We want to shut down the pain
And turn back the clock

But opening to it
And knowing we are not alone
Brings a drop of sweetness
In the midst of suffering
That’s all we really have.

(For Debbie)

 

The Night Sky In My Heart

When everyone else
Is out fighting each other
And arguing about who is right
And who is wrong
Caught in an endless war
Of human against human
Elevating themselves
Or someone else
And tearing them from the pedestal

You will find me here
Sitting quietly
Strumming a guitar
Or reading the story
Of the zen farmer
Or maybe watching the stars
In the night sky
Looking out at millions,
Billions of years
Of coming and going

And when I do venture out
Amidst the squabbling and argument
I will do my very best
To take the zen farmer with me
To carry the night sky in my heart
And the stars in my eyes
I will be that old guitar
And maybe, just maybe,
I will be the music
The universe sings
And bring a peaceful song
To all the people I meet.

The End of the Story

Each of us carries a great tale
No one escapes a story
It’s part of the human experience

But some leave their story behind
And let it go
They see it as the stuff from which
Transformation happens

And some hang on to it
Unable to shake it off
Many remain defined by it their whole lives
And suffer terribly

When we see ourselves in each other
We don’t just see the divine
We also see each other’s story
Hurt, wounds and pain
We see the very human side

At some point in the great journey
You get faced with the decision
To let it all go, forgive yourself
And the whole damn thing
Or hang on to it
And stay where you are

That decision might need to be made
Over and over again
Until, with great persistence and grace
The decision itself no longer needs
To be made

When you look back on the past
And it no longer has any charge, or any heaviness
And no victim
It’s done

There is great freedom in this
Enough freedom to match
Any of this so called
Awakening

Alcatraz and San Francisco