Wednesday, 16 January 2019

What is life

What is life
except
a dance
to be danced without
learning the steps.

a song
to be sung without
knowing the words.

a path
to be trod without
seeing the way.

a breath
to be breathed without
knowing from whence it came.

a love
to be loved without
any expectation.

an impulse
to be followed without
claiming it as mine.

a joy
to be exalted without
any reservation.

© 13 Jan 19

Monday, 14 January 2019

Death befalls us

Witness grief
resolutely clinging
to a hopeless belief
of immortality.

Witness grief
determinedly searching in shadows
constantly missing the light.

Deathlessness
does not dwell here
among life
find it in the realms of
angels and spirits
circumnavigating this orb.

Witness grief
hopelessly claiming
‘this is mine’
unable to let go.

Deathlessness
does not dwell here
among the changing
seek it in the unchanging
the heart-beat
pulse of energy
singing through silence
sounding through visions
surrounding our everyday life
as a cloak
invisible to the naked eye
known only by the soul.

Witness the ease
with which
death befalls us
as simply as the falling
of a wave that arose
a natural conclusion.

Witness death
as the closing of a door
the turning of a key
never to be unturned.

The only way is onward.

© 13 Jan 19

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

The cold is full of clarity

Creeping into outside darkness
as if
forbidden territory.
Wondering what silent beings
silent creatures
we may disturb?
Who peers out from dense tangled branches at us?
Who dangles Puck-like from the trees
waiting to play some mischief or trick?

What silent beings
spirit guides
hover unseen watching our every move?
Whispering to our unhearing ears.

Spirits
filling the vastness between
earth and the stars
I am ready to hear you
I am willing to listen
I appeal to you for assistance
guide my footsteps.

I had not planned to venture
into the cold
but something
someone drew me.
And the cold was full of clarity
shaking out dullness
as if I have been moving
in a half-sleep for days.

I hear your call
and I answer with my body
with my presence.
© 7 Jan 19

Monday, 7 January 2019

Be a channel

Be a channel
feel the energy
flowing through

Take out the stoppers
feel the stars
coursing through you

Let in the rain and wind

Feel the energy
let it move you

Be a channel.

© 5 Jan 19

Sunday, 6 January 2019

True Home

Come!
Come with me
come home
come to your refuge
a beauty within.

Be
be quietly yourself
a joyous presence.

Rest
Rest in the true reality
full of giving
full of loving.

Come
be
at rest.

© 26 Dec 18

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Christmas Eve night

Christmas Eve night
visible stars
singing triumphantly.

A merry band of singers
jubilantly celebrating

celebrating
a seed of awakening
a baby born to lead us
to truthfulness.

Celebrating
a baby bodhisattva
a baby whose name will be
repeated
revered
for thousands of years.

A message of love and light
passed on through generations
teaching us
peacefulness and
love for all.

© 25 Dec 18

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Peace is a present moment experience

This is a lot longer than my usual post but I wrote it on a recent silent Sunday morning, and wanted to share it with you.

Peace can only be found, experienced and known in the present moment. 
Certainly not in the future, or the past. All I need is here, within me and around me.
The second Mindfulness Training tells us, 

“I already have more than enough
conditions to be happy”

yet I look around and see the world is full of suffering. 
From my own experience and practice I know the suffering I experience is self-inflicted. I was going to say much of the suffering is self-inflicted, but that implies that some of it is external, when I know suffering comes from how I choose to think about what is happening to ‘me’. In reality, nothing is happening to me. I am an empty vessel waiting to be filled and I choose what to be filled with. I can choose anger and fear, or joy and peace. I can choose doubt or I can choose happiness and contentment. My external experiences come from my internal thinking. I can choose to be overwhelmed by what I see as suffering around me, or I can choose to be peaceful, right here, right now, in the midst of chaos and uncertainty. 
I can choose. 

We tend to think everything has to be sorted before we can find peace, the suffering of the world needs to come to an end first, and then I can / we can be peaceful. Yet Thay (Thich Nhat Hanh) teaches we can find peace right in the midst of suffering. 
The greatest gift mindfulness has given me is to recognise that each moment is a choice point. Do I choose well-being or ill-being (suffering)? Do I choose to be peaceful right now, or do I cling to the notion that peace and happiness are only achievable in the future, once certain conditions are in place? As Thay says, 


we “… have a chance to become Homo conscius”*, awakened mindful beings.

 We can live as if this is true right now, rather than living as if it might be true one day, if we put in a lot of work! We can let go of the idea of doing more and cultivate a practice of being more. 
Do we believe we are enlightened right now? 
Do we believe we are peaceful right now? 
Or do we live our lives hoping that one day enlightenment, liberation and peace might be achieved if we put in enough work? 
This erroneous perception is all that gets in the way of being peaceful and free right now. 
Peace is not a ladder that we have to climb, step by step, only progressing forward once we have completed this step. Nor is it a test to be passed with boxes to be ticked. 

Peace is a present moment experience.


On a retreat recently I noticed I was leaning a lot, leaning on one arm of the chair sitting down, or leaning on one leg standing up. I realised I have a strong idea that I need something to lean on. 
I need a practice to lean on, or the wisdom of my teacher! And that idea was stopping me from being free and being peaceful right now. 
I no longer need anything to lean on; I can be my own support and my own guide. 
Reputedly, the last words of the Buddha were’ be your own light’. 
That’s what I choose, and keep on choosing in each moment. 
The moments when I forget are the moments when doubt or fear comes in. Yet if I am present I can recognise these seeds arising, say ‘hello’ to them and let them dissipate. I don’t have to believe them and I don’t have to let them guide my future actions. 

The second line of the bell gatha says, 
“may the hearers awaken from forgetfulness
and transcend all anxiety and sorrow”.
 Each time we hear a bell, it is an opportunity to be fully present, and awaken from forgetfulness. 
We who have heard the call of our teacher, and have answered that call, are beings in touch with the ultimate dimension, not overwhelmed by the historical dimension. 
Thay says, 
“walking in peace and freedom is a wonderful way to bring the ultimate dimension into the historical dimension”*.
 In the historical dimension the pairs of opposites, such as good and bad, right and wrong, rule us, yet they only exist in our perceptions. They do not exist in the ultimate dimension, or in present moment experience. In the peace of the present moment we can see the reality of the conscious world, rather than living in a dream of our own making. 
The only place to find peace is right here, in the present moment. 
Not only at this time of year, but every day and every moment, I wish you peace. 

Quotes from The Art of Living: 110

I add this poem written in 2014 as it reflects very closely what I have been exploring here.

A thousand mile journey
We have journeyed a thousand miles
to arrive at this place and
know it was always within.

We have journeyed a thousand miles
looking in the wrong direction.

Today, with no steps
we journeyed within and 
came home.

We have journeyed a thousand miles
asking the wrong questions.

We have journeyed a thousand miles
seeking the unseekable.

Today, with no steps
we journeyed within and 
found the seeker looking back at us.

We have stumbled a thousand miles
in darkness, looking for the light.

We have stumbled a thousand miles
in ignorance, trying to find a teacher.

Today, with no steps
we journeyed within and
found the teacher
found the light
resting in our own heartspace.

No more seeking.  

© 10 Nov 14