Bonfire

Come on let’s start a fire
You say you’re my friend
So lend a helping hand
Give me some fuel so I can watch this burn
Stack it all high and watch it turn
To ash, to ash
We’ll be dancing
In the glow, the glow
I’ll be laughing
Come on let’s make some entropy
The energy is always fleeting
Waves to silence and then repeating
Each day to contend
To reach another end
To health, to health
A toast for the dying
Glitter, glitter
Oh, the gold is shining


Absolution

I am.
(Faith)
I love.
(Love)
I dream.
(Freedom)
That’s all.
*the smile is implicit*


All Nines

Everything is comin up nines;
Just isn’t any way around it.
Its deep in my mind.
Can’t dig it out with the logic spoon;
It must be something like faith.
I had better find my destination soon;
There is no time, so no time to waste.

Nine days to find you on a mountainside,
Nine ways to shine, I’ll show you mine
Since you are so kind.
Nine, nine, nine.

Everything is comin up nines;
Just isn’t any way around it.
Its deep inside my mind.
Can’t dig it out with the logic spoon;
It must be something like faith.
I am getting to my destination soon;
There is no time, so no time to waste.

When I lose it all
I know I can’t take it back.
When I leave it all
I know they won’t take me back.
It’s ok, cause I’ve got this track.
When I look inside
I just can’t let you go.
When I feel inside
I just can’t let me go.
It’s ok, cause I caught this flow.

Everything is comin up nines;
Just doesn’t seem like a way around it.
It’s always on my mind.
Can’t dig it out with the logic spoon;
It must be something like faith.
I am embracing destiny soon;
There is no time, so no time to waste.
If I could waste your time, then you could test my faith.


Purge (Three Ways)

Take this from me,
A life accumulate.
Let me leave them behind,
All of those things kept,
All of those icons
That have been my dreams.
So many stories and songs
That I can not take with me,
Weigh me down, they bury me.
In gift or fire let them fall away;
Let them fade so I can breathe.

Take this from me,
A life accumulate.
So many voices to instruct me,
They flutter and collide
These moths of violence.
A cacophony of whispers,
Their sum is screaming,
Until my voice is lost.
Light the candle, the burning wings,
And let each flame suffocate,
Extinguished one by one.
Envelop me in blessed silence,

Take this from me,
A life accumulate.
The anger corrodes;
I grasp this acid, but why would I do this?
The fear paralyzes;
The beast prowls and howls,
And I think of its teeth in my flesh.
Is standing still truly safety?
The loneliness chills;
On this island, I am, apart,
Just as you are,
But this will pass.
Then I am with you,
And there is warmth,
But this will pass.
Let there be warmth when the moment is warm;
Let there be frost when the moment is cold.
I am always connected,
And I am always alone;
Everything is living,
Just as everyone is dying.
Let me leave it all behind
To have this moment with you,
And then the moment will pass;
This too shall pass.


Three Dreams of Paradise

The stars are shining
In eternal twilight.
A ribbon of rosy fire
Separates heaven and earth.
The pristine, white tower
Penetrates all and holds it all together.
Where has the time gone?
There is no time to know its loss.
I am shaking, laughing and crying;
Everything completely floods me.
There I am
Seeing your smiling faces again,
And there is so much love.
You were never so young,
And I was never so pure.
Yet, I know this is real;
This is who I really am,
And you are here with me to witness.
Finally, the little girl,
The one with the rose under her eye,
She is so brave as she takes my hand,
And I am in awe
As we are redeemed.

The stars are shining
In eternal twilight
A ribbon of rosy fire
Separates heaven and earth.
The unbreakable spire
Runs through depths, runs through clouds.
I am smiling; I am weeping.
Your loving presences embrace me.
Then I am flying,
And there is no apex of the column.
There is a center;
I am at the center.
I see you floating in space,
In a warm place,
Your eyes so blue,
And tiny fingers grasping my own,
I am yours, and you are mine.
I can not describe the feeling
Of your beautiful, infant smile.

The stars are shining
In eternal midnight.
All is quiet at the mountain’s edge,
But you are here with me.
You wear my face,
But that face is calm
As anticipation siezes me.
I know everyone is down below,
But here it is just you and I.
My heart wants to ache
As I know the choice is made.
I look to you to view your disappointment,
But you only smile.
You speak without words,
And I know that its alright;
This is all right.
I feel the joy of being.
One day there may be harmony.
But not today.
“Follow the white rabbit, Alice.”
My heart laughs with your whispers.
I jump from the ledge.
I feel the rush as I am falling;
Falling, falling, always falling,
I always choose it, forever falling.
But, who knows how long forever lasts?
Anyway, I am smiling,
And you smile with me.


Three Loves

We are children,
So innocent in this world,
And you mean the world to me.
In this world,
Made only for we two,
I know the joy of love.
You shine like the sun,
As your lips are near mine,
I know the duality of sexuality
Without knowing anything
Of worldly concepts.
Then you are gone,
Like a brief wind.
I am so weak and powerless,
And I don’t know where to find you.

I have known you for a lifetime,
But now I meet you for the first time.
Yours is the song of freedom;
Yours are the restless feet
That lust to wander.
A life fulfilled,
You love me for who I am,
As I live every moment for solicitors.
Under the stars,
You pour your freedom on me,
And I feel the desire that burns within.
Then your strength falters,
Time claims another victim,
And I am so weak and powerless,
As you pass like a melody
That can not be sustained.

Skulking in the shadows,
You hide with me.
We can talk without showing our faces
Huddled around the burning embers
Of the light we seek to extinguish.
We can share this warmth
While the cold rages in our hearts.
But, I feel a spark,
And I don’t want to lose it.
We can still be free.
If we would just choose it.
I can still love,
If you could only feel it.
Then you are gone,
As I have always known it.
Come loss and fear, and be friendly.
Come love and freedom, and be known.
I am not so weak and powerless,
And my soul loves you.
There is a place I must go…


Of Temples and Buses: Finding the Face of God

As the bus traveled from the Sikh temple onward to our next destination, the people aboard began to unpack their lunches and join in an unspoken yet unanimous communion of midday feasting. In spite of strong encouragement from the instructors to bring such food, I had not brought anything but water for myself. I had thought that a day of fasting would put me in an appropriate state of mind and body considering the religious nature of our field trip. I had forgone the snacks and water graciously offered at both the Buddhist and Sikh temples that we had already visited. I had thought that these things could be of better use to someone who truly needed them. However, I had eaten the small communal offering made at the Sikh temple, and this portion of food had stirred the hunger I had ignored successfully up to that time. I took care not to stare at those eating around me on the bus; it was my choice to bring no food, and I did not want my beggar’s eyes to influence another person into pitying me for my mistake. Yet, a couple sitting across from me noticed that I was not eating. They freely offered me a sandwich and fruit. At first, I hesitated to accept, but their generosity and my own undeniable hunger coaxed me to receive their gift. As if inspired by what had transpired, I was suddenly the object of many offers of food from other kind people. I politely refused as I had more than enough, but this growing spirit of generosity inspired me.

Perhaps the inspiration had its roots in the experience at the Sikh temple. It had seemed particularly charming and effective to me when the Sikhs offered their simple treat to our group. A few common ingredients had been mixed into a mass within one bowl, and from this one bowl the contents weredistributed and shared among a great many people. Just as we had shared in sampling Sikh ceremonies, we now had an occassion to share in eating the same substance from the same bowl. I can only believe that this was the intended experience that the Sikhs had crafted; a common sharing of the spiritual experience, a common nourishing of our physical bodies. In that what makes us human, we could share experience that reminded us all of where the lines of individuality begin to blur into indiscrimination.

Respect must be the product of such shared experience, and I saw that respect reflected in the Sikhs’ treatment of their Guru Granth. I had learned in class that the Adi Granth had become the final guru, a book that was meant to last though the living teachers might perish. I did not realize how anthropomorphized the book was until visiting the temple. It was kept in a humble, yet elegant wooden structure – a dome supported by four pillars, adorned with floral garland. It was treated with utmost respect as if it was a revered teacher, yet every bit a member of the the community surrounding it.

I had also felt this sense of community while visiting the Buddhist temple which preceded our time with the Sikhs. I most clearly remember gaily colorful receptacles in that temple which contained offerings given by the larger Buddhist community. In keeping with their belief in non-attachment, worldly goods were given by those that had means to give to those that had no such possessions. This gives an opportunity for those that give to be enriched by generosity and to let go of accumulated wealth. Both giver and receiver play their equally important roles in this practice of shared purpose.

In reading our textbook, I was left with an impression of Buddhism which seemed like practical nihilism: In truth nothing exists, and the ultimate goal is to return to nothing; however, we experience this world, so we must conduct ourselves in accordance with that experience along the “Middle Path” until we are able to be extinguished. Surprisingly, I found the atmosphere within the temple to be anything but nihilistic. All was colorfully decorated – in particular, the large Buddha statue and its accompanying smaller statues to each side were joyfully ornamented. This spoke to me more as a celebration of life than a faith preoccupied with nullifying it.

After our lunch, we visited a mosque within a Turkish cultural center. In my studies, much had been made of the historical schism between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims born of their differing views on legitimate succession of the prophet Muhammad. The Turkish mosque is identified as a Sunni mosque. The walls are adorned with tiles that bear calligraphy of sayings by Muhammad as well as the names of the caliphs. However, the names of Muhammad’s grandsons, Hasan and Husayn are also among the names of honor. This appears to be an act of respect that invites inclusion of Shi’a as well as Sunni. There appeared to me to be an effort toward reconciliation that recognized both Sunni and Shi’a as believers within a common community of Islam. I found this respect and focus on common bonds within that mosque to be inpirational in its invitation to all Muslims to join in worship.

This theme of inclusion culminated in our final stop at the Baha’i temple. I was immediately struck by the grand edifice. It certainly evoked a sense of unity with its many symmetrical entrances leading into one vast domed chamber. Certainly that structure symbolizes the Baha’i belief in one shared religion in which all faiths are equally welcome to come together and share in a common belief in one God. Within there were sayings transcribed within alcoves which all pointed toward a common theme: Out of one, many, and out of many, one – all are welcome as, indeed, all are part of one essential family that does not discriminate or exclude. There is within such a building an inescapable sense of the Baha’i ideal model for the world.

As interesting and potentially uplifting the experiences of these institutions may have been, I must confess, however, that my most profound experience of that day took place within the confines of our bus. I received the generosity of two people, born not of my own solicitation but of their own kindness and perception of my need despite my attempts to hide it. I also see my own role in the formation of that experience. By choosing to go without food, I inadvertantly provided those individuals with the oppotunity to give where hunger truly existed. This was not a planned, manufactured occurence but a spontaneous event that held the truth of both essential sides of our communion – the need which could truly be enriched by generosity and the generosity which could truly be enriched by need. Furthermore, the expanded community was inspired to make attempts at joining within that dynamic. A spirit of generosity and shared humanity was sparked to flame within the hearts of many. My learned tendency was to seek repayment for such a blessing, but in that moment I understood that the holy experience was achieved – no reciprocity was necessary to accomplish it, and perhaps such a response could only cheapen such a blessing.

In addition, no institution was necessary to bring that moment about. As lofty as the goals of building a religion or an edifice to religion may be, the actual essence of community was achieved on a humble bus, somewhere between here and there. The Buddhist donations, spurred by non-attachment, the Sikh rituals of respect and communal nourishment, the Muslim effort toward reconciliation, the Baha’i striving toward a global brotherhood of religion and man – all of these grand ideals were accomplished without a temple, without a book, and without a priest. It was in such a moment that the importance and significance of shared humanity was felt, and it required no institution to precipitate its genesis. I spent a day in holy places, listening to holy men, and, yet, it was on a humble bus that I experienced something sacred with my brothers and sisters. Perhaps it is in such modest surroundings that meaning is most readily accessible. Perhaps it is in such places that one can find the face of God.


Sin

Forgive me, darling, for I have sinned.
I told you to be strong
When I could have shown you strength;
Instead I could only be weak.
In my pain, I treated you as my tormentor
When I knew that I was the one
Tearing at my flesh.
I experienced beauty,
But I chose to suffer.
I knew you were fragile,
But I placed all of my weight upon you.
In your splendor I saw you,
But acted as if you were vile.
You shared all of the truth
That I would ever need to know,
Yet I was always ravenous for more.
For every moment that you showed me need
I felt only for myself.
Dishonesty,
Avarice,
Wrath,
And, above all:
I wasted the time I had,
The time with you;
I chose to waste the most beautiful experience.
Forgive me, Darling, for I have sinned.


Dao Perspective: Dao De Jing – Chapter 21

“Those of magnificent character (de)
Are committed to way-making (dao) alone.
As for the process of way-making,
It is ever so indefinite and vague.
Though vague and indefinite,
There are images within it.
Though indefinite and vague,
There are events within it.
Though nebulous and dark,
There are seminal concentrations of qi within it.
These concentrations of qi are authentic,
And have within them true credibility.

From the present moment back into antiquity,
Praise for way-making has never ceased,
And it is through way-making that we can act in accordance with the sire of the many.
How do I know that the sire of the many is so?
By this.”
Dao De Jing (from Dao De Jing: “Making This Life Significant” A Philosophical Translation by Roger T. Ames and David L. Hall, 2003)

Physics and psychology:

All that is, is concentrated energy.
This energy is real.
Energy gives rise to phenomena.
Phenomena are experienced through perceptions.
Because the energy is authentic and, therefore, credible, perceptions and phenomena have, at least, an aspect of authenticity and credibility at their root.
However, one must remember that the process of experience is transitional; it is “indefinite and vague” – as each perception may be taken to be authentic, it must also be considered within the context in which the perceived phenomena occurs to comprehend the processual change inherent in both phenomena and context.
With all of these matters considered, it seems that in observing the behavior of energy one is observing the behavior of dao.
Is this not the very essence of efficacy in way-making when a passage nurtures both religion and science while reducing conflict between them?
Then again, all of this commentary may be corruption, a possibility that is quite humorous, quite human indeed.


Jnana

I am not good; I am not evil.
I am neither teacher nor student.
There is no suffering; Life is not suffering.
I am not a son.
I am not a lover; I am not a hater.
I am neither male nor female.
There is no peace; Life is not peace.
I am not a citizen.
I am not assertive; I am not receptive.
I am neither genuine nor deceptive.
I am not passive; I am not aggressive.
I am neither erudite nor yokel.
I am neither child nor adult.
I am no one of these things;
I am all of these things.
As currents mingling, merging, and diverging,
So they are happening, receding, surging.
Among these streams, I am happening,
Just as I am the plane on which they flow.
As I am but a drop in an ocean,
I am an ocean through which all currents flow.


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