Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Zero Circle

Zero Circle

Be helpless, dumbfounded,
Unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace to gather us up.

We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty.
If we say we can, we’re lying.
If we say No, we don’t see it,
That No will behead us
And shut tight our window onto spirit.

So let us rather not be sure of anything,
Beside ourselves, and only that, so
Miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,
We shall be saying finally,
With tremendous eloquence, Lead us.
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
We shall be a mighty kindness.

~ Rumi ~

So, today I decided I simply must return to this blog and try again to write consistently. I'd like to have this be effortless, to flow with ease each morning. Not happening ~ oh, well.

Here's a Rumi poem I first heard on retreat several years ago. In an instant I knew this would be a favorite. With such grace and ease it reminds me that surrender is not only necessary, but essential to holding open the window to spirit. 

For years I would avoid feeling helpless. I believed I should know what to do in every moment. That's a lot of pressure on someone who already thinks she needs to be correct, in control, and well, just perfect. But actually, it is so much more important to let go, to not be sure of anything so that grace can find us and lift us up to where we belong.

I've been listening to Pema Chodron speaking about choosing a fresh approach and what really struck me was this idea that living in uncertainty offers fertile soil in which to grow spiritually. It means it's ok to not know know what to do. Better than ok, it's the way to go.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Three years ago today, my mother passed away quietly after her breakfast at the skilled nursing facility. She had only been there a week and was recovering from what we suspected was a small stroke.

When someone as close as a mother dies, the experience is so alive with sensations and emotions and babbling in your mind. Everything is somehow larger than life. Charged with such intense emotion, details of the moment are vivid and crystal clear. As time passes, the intensity softens a bit, but always when the memory arises, that clarity and pure awareness remains.

The photo is of a Rose-of-Sharon given to me by several friends at the time of mom's death. They told me it was chosen because it blooms in mid-July and they wanted something that would remind me of her each year at this time. It is a fitting tribute to her. It started as a small bush and struggled to survive for two years. The landscape designers wanted to replace it, but I said "No."

This year it is in full bloom, even with the hot, dry summer we are having!. As I tend the garden throughout the year, I am reminded of her. It sways in the winds and endures the rain, cold and snow. Yet it continues to grow and blossom and become rooted in the Illinois soil.

There is a poem from John O'Donohue that speaks to what I feel this morning. Here is just a portion of it...

On the Death of the Beloved

Though we cannot see you with outward eyes,
We know our soul's gaze is upon your face,
Smiling back at us from within everything
To which we bring our best refinement.

Let us not look for you only in memory,
Where we would grow lonely without you.
You would want us to find you in presence,
Beside us when beauty brightens,
When kindness glows
And music echoes eternal tones...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Forgive the Dream

All your images of winter
I see against your sky.

I understand the wounds
That have not healed in you.

They exist
Because God and Love
Have yet to become real enough

To allow you to forgive
The dream.

You still listen to an old alley song
That brings your body pain;

Now chain your ears
To His pacing drum and flute.

Fix your eyes upon
The magnificent arch of His brow

That supports
And allows this universe to expand.

Your hands, feet, and heart are wise
And want to know the warmth
Of a Perfect One's circle.

A true saint
Is an earth in eternal spring.

Inside the veins of a petal
On a blooming redbud tree

Are hidden worlds
Where Hafiz sometimes

I will spread
A Persian carpet there
Woven with light.

We can drink wine
From a gourd I hollowed
And dried on the roof of my house.

I will bring bread I have kneaded
That contains my own
Divine genes

And cheese from a calf I raised.

My love for your Master is such
You can just lean back
And I will feed you
This truth:

Your wounds of love can only heal
When you can forgive
This dream.


My sister mentioned hearing someone talk about forgiveness. He said we have to forgive in order to find our place in the universe, to find inner peace, to be whole. Forgiveness is one of those words that is so emotionally charged it can be difficult to really see into the heart of it.

For me the important thing has been to forgive myself. Once that is accomplished, letting go of long-held grievances against others is easier somehow. I wonder how many of us hold something against ourselves. Something so deep inside we may have forgotten.

Hafiz, as always, has uncovered an enduring truth: when you forgive the "dream" whatever that may be, your wounds heal and you merge with divine love.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Angels Inside Us

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.  ~ Michelangelo

In Yoga, I often remind students part of what they are doing in their practice is letting go of everything that is not who they are. Just as a sculptor removes the unnecessary bits of the stone in order to reveal his creation, the poses, the breathing, the deep awareness of each moment gently unveils our true nature. Several of my teachers have used this analogy and I think it makes sense.

Instead of trying to change who we are, we are simply uncovering our true nature. From this perspective, there is no effort or striving, simply unfolding. Each of us is an angel waiting to be set free. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Last Night As I Was Sleeping

Last Night

Last night as I was sleeping I dreamt a marvelous illusion
that there was a spring breaking out in my heart.
I said, "Along what secret aqueduct are you coming to me
Oh water, water of a new life that I have never drunk."

Last night as I was sleeping I dreamt a marvelous illusion
that there was a beehive here in my heart.
And the golden bees were making white combs
and sweet honey from my old failures.

Last night as I was sleeping I dreamt a marvelous illusion
that there was a fiery sun here in my heart.
It was fiery because it gave warmth as if from a hearth
And it was sun because it gave light and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night as I was sleeping I dreamt a marvelous illusion
that there was God here in my heart.

Is My Soul Asleep?

God, is my soul asleep?
Have those beehives who labor by night stopped, and
the water wheel of thought, is it dry?
The cup's empty, wheeling out carrying only shadows?
No!  My soul is not asleep!  My soul is not asleep!
It neither sleeps nor dreams, but watches, its clear eyes open,
far off things, and listens, and listens
at the shores of the great silence.
It listens at the shores of the great silence.

~ Antonio Machado

These two poems are favorites of mine. Last night I had a lovely dream ~ so very real that maybe it was...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Time Enough

The butterfly counts not months
but moments,
and has time enough.

~ Rabindranath Tagore

We truly live in timelessness, one moment at a time. It is an experience I am delving deeply into as I slowly recover from surgery. It is enough ~ each moment. Opening to each moment with an awe and wonder. Noticing the thoughts and emotions, often not fun, but simply what is. The beauty of the butterfly, the goldfinch, the black-eyed susan and day lilies remind me ~ it is enough, each moment is enough...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Just Look and Remember...

There are no conditions to fulfill.

There is nothing to be done, nothing to be given up.

Just look and remember, whatever you perceive is not you, nor yours.

It is there in the field of consciousness, but you are not the field and its contents, nor even the knower of the field.

It is your idea that you have to do things that entangles you in the results of your efforts - the motive, the desire, the failure to achieve, the sense of frustration - all this holds you back.

Simply look at whatever happens and know that you are beyond it.

~ Nisargadatta Maharaj ~

Sometimes this is so easy to remember and life just happens. But often all of those conditions, efforts, desires, and frustrations seem to attach themselves and make it so difficult to know that we are indeed beyond it all.

Nisargadetta gently brings us back again and again to this idea, beyond ideas. In the still point between breaths we can find it. In meditation, if we let go of preconceived notions and techniques, we can be there. Once we find it, we will always be able to return, like following the spokes of a wheel to reach the center.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


The timeless non-state cannot be achieved because 
the mind cannot evolve towards it. 

The mind can only bring you to the threshold. 
Awakening comes unexpectedly when you do not wait for it, 
when you live in not-knowing. 

Only then are you available.
~ Jean Klein ~

Jean Klein was a wise, awakened being who never ceased reminding us to live in "not-knowing." This is the place that is ripe and juicy, ready without waiting to open to all that is. Our minds want something certain, stable and secure, but this is not the way of the universe. It is not the path we have chosen. 

But we do, indeed, choose each step of the way to either hold on or let go.

Monday, July 2, 2012

It is the Emptiness...

We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.
               ~Tao Te Ching, 11

Ok, I get it. The center hole makes the wagon move and a clay pot holds whatever we want. Of course, the inner space is what makes the house a home. So, why is it so difficult for the mind to equate this being~non-being that is who we are?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Light is Light

Always to seek for wider, deeper, transcendental experiences is a form of escape from the actual reality of 'what is,' which is ourselves, our own conditioned mind. A mind that is awake, intelligent, free, why should it need, why should it have, any experience at all? Light is light; it does not ask for more light.


My mind is always seeking that experience Krishnamurti says we don't need. There are glimspes as I sink into "what is" and it is like a big sigh, bringing with it light. Just light and nothing more...