enjoying the unformed realm

this poetry is an elusive trickster
when i want it to be there
it disappears

it does not respond
to command

but instead
seems to live it’s own life
freely unconcerned
with what i want

any sign of wanting
on my part
and it’s off
hiding in the ether
enjoying the unformed realm

so what can i do?
i have no plan
not building a career
or a platform
not trying to be anything
or get anywhere

no

i simply have to allow the waves
to rise and fall
guided as they are
by some unseen hand
some mysterious intelligence

the same intelligence that runs the whole show.

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The Depth of Love

(I wrote this in 2002 at the very beginning of my relationship with my wife Amoda Maa. It was, and always has been, the most extraordinary relationship of my life. Meeting her turned me into a poet, brought poetry out of me. I wish I could share with you the utter transcendent brilliance of it. But this poem gives a flavor of it.)

There is no way to explain what happens
When two people dive into the ocean
They leave the world behind
And swim down and down and down further still
Searching for the pearl.
No-one knows what they see, what they do.
They come up for air and can be seen
But soon they are off again
Into the blue beyond
Become fish in the Beloved`s ocean
Circling one another, nibbling each other,
Beautiful and glowing and content,
No longer concerned with
What the world does or says or thinks.

The Illusion of Opposites – A Story

As it arrived at the gathering
Death appeared to mock Life, taunting it
With an arrogance, a leering smile and a brash dismissal,

Shrouded in black, faceless and anonymous.
“We are locked in eternal embrace,” grinned death,
“And I always win. I take them all, I take everything eventually.”
“Ah,’ said Life, Sweet Death, always thinking in opposites.”
“What is it you win, exactly?”

You do not understand, obsessed as you are by transitions and crossings. You see a part of the picture and think it is the whole picture. I see the whole picture and embrace everything inside it. The coming and going, the movement towards and the movement away, the struggle and the ease, the peaceful acceptance and the angry struggle, and the longing for immortality. Nothing is separate from the whole. There is only one thing, sweet death, and you, and I , and everything that ever has been and ever will be, is it. You may imagine me as your enemy, but I love your delusion as a mother loves her unruly baby.”

They left the gathering together.

man’s folly

surely there is only one profound insanity of man
his folly of follies…

blessed as he is with the miracle of life
and shrouded by eternity itself
he appeared as if by magic, summoned by some unseen host
his life a fleeting moment, a flash of an eye,
and destined to return to the void from which he arrived
his life an inescapable journey from void to void
yet his existence an exquisite diamond in a dark mine
as if a star itself in the night sky

surely this would be enough for a joyous celebration!

but no…his folly is thus

upon arrival, he develops amnesia
and simply forgets his eternal home
a veil is drawn upon his eyes
and he is bedeviled
tormented by his own mind
he sees an enemy through his eyes
and he hears whispers in the night
he seeks power and plenty
and imagines he is immortal
he is like a madman
lost in his insanity
deranged and deluded

i too was blind
and then, through a grace that was bestowed upon me,
i began to remember
at first it was just a glimpse
but now an abiding state
a remembrance of where i came from
and where i return to
and the miracle that is happening
every moment of every day
even in the darkest moments

there are times when i think
this must be some kind of game
of forgetting and remembering
and the very meaning of this life is
wrapped around these two poles

to awaken from the dream
is the only true purpose

between a rock and a soft place

in my most silent moments
of quiet reflection
i see a life passing in a flash
always just out of reach

some dreams lie shattered
on the floor
and others hang emblazoned
upon the wall
the majesty of brokenness fixes everything

and now it all melts into the same ocean

somewhere between
resignation and acceptance
is where i live
i don’t struggle to swim
no longer concerned with being anything
or anyone
no illusion of anything but this
tender bitter sweet
existence
unfathomable and fleeting

the union we seek is always here
the love we yearn for never left us
we never left the garden
it was just a thought
a momentary lapse of gratitude

only love is real.

Persistent and Convincing Show

You catch a glimpse
Of something different
In the midst of the regularity
It strikes you
And leaves an impression
It’s as if, for at least a moment,
The world you see, hear and feel,
Has vanished
You may call it love
Or truth
A vision or
A momentary flash of illumination
But there it is, shockingly real
Suddenly
You see the whole world
With different eyes
New eyes
Fresh eyes
Awake eyes

And then it’s gone
And you return
To this persistent and convincing show

Was it real?
Or just a dream?

Some pursue this vision
For the rest of their lives
And some turn their backs and return to the ordinary world
And stay there forever
If you pursue it long enough
Eventually the old world vanishes
And becomes the dream it really is.

The Little Man

Oh Life!
As each day passes
I slip into ever more love
Of all things,
Beyond what I choose or don’t choose.
I see the whole show
The entire embrace
And the majesty
Of the tapestry you weave

Each day I say less and less
And each day this weary heart
Fractures and opens
A little more
And the ocean of eternal Love
Pours in
And drowns the little man
Clinging hopelessly to his raft

I cannot truly speak it as it is
And some days 
I long to lie down
In your pastures and go to sleep
Peacefully
As the sun kisses my face with it’s beautiful warmth

 

love and death – the beauty and the agony

we are drawn to love 
like moths to the flame
and that flame is death 
we are designed to carry love into death
and invited to retract from neither
to be willingly broken, to love anyway
knowing that one day
it will all shatter into a thousand pieces
and transform into love’s absence
or move into the heart for permanent residency
this is the heroic goal of each human

the agony of love, the beauty of love
both are inevitable.

Just found out a fellow musician and husband of spiritual teacher Unmani has died suddenly in Goa. Robert was/is a great musician and just released his first album about two days ago. And then he left, leaving Unmani and a very young son.
My heart goes out to Unmani and his family.

Amoda and I talk about this often and live with the potential reality, particularly as I have been ill before and even now have potential heart and liver issues that have been flagged up as problems further down the line.
So often the men go early.

But what to do?

We are drawn to love, human beings are drawn to love like moths to the flame. And that flame is death.
We are designed to carry love into death, and to retract from neither.
To be willingly broken, to love anyway, knowing that one day it will shatter into a thousand pieces and transform into love’s absence, or move into the heart for permanent residency, this is the heroic goal of the human.

The agony of love, the beauty of love.

Here is his album, it sounds wonderful. So sad..

https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/roberthanuman

earthquake poetry

last night as i travelled to some distant dimension
bodiless and free of all measurable constraints
i was yanked violently back to this dense place
by some almighty shudder and groan

‘WAKE UP!’ it demanded

and thus i awoke
confused and alarmed
mind scrabbling to comprehend
anxious for my beloved
fearful for my precious life

the dog next door howled and barked
at this unknown mystery
that visits when it wants
without any introduction

and then it fell silent
as if nothing had happened

nature returns effortlessly to calmness
not so the anxious mind
terrified of death and pain and loss

but slowly slowly mind calmed
heart slowed
and i returned to that other place
bodiless and free of all measurable constraints

in the morning it all seemed like a dream.

SAN FRANCISCO — A magnitude 4.4 earthquake centered on the Hayward faultnear the UC-Berkeley campus jolted the Bay Area awake early Thursday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. CBS San Francisco reports the quake struck at 2:39 a.m. and was felt throughout the East Bay, North Bay and San Francisco. While many were jolted out of their beds, there was no preliminary reports of damage.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/earthquake-rocks-san-francisco-bay-area/

The Time World

We are bound by invisible chains
We call them seconds, minutes, hours, days and years
We arrived here from a timeless dimension
Innocent and naive
And destined for departure from the time world
Our pristine brilliance
Of no body, no self, no thing
Became corrupted
By our senses
And the veil came down upon us
All we know is time
It has us completely enslaved
Our very thinking is based on it
Everything and everyone is trapped
Like prisoners in time itself
With death the only escape
And each of us meets time
At the end he shakes our hand, kisses our cheek
And ushers us away

Only the master, the awakened one
The wise sage
Can see the illusion
And yet we live in the days
When many are beginning to see the light
All our eyes are opening
To something new and unseen
For many the illusion is too great
And the attachment too strong
They clutch and grab for power
Desparate to cling hold of that
Which is crumbling to dust
Before their very eyes

Don’t be fooled by time my brother and sister
Don’t be conned by your own perception
There is something vast everywhere
Inside and outside
It is here now, in this micro moment
At the edge of your senses
Through the door of the unknown

To be in this world
But not of it
To know it as a dream
But to live it fully anyway
To cherish each fleeting moment
But to stand outside time
This is wisdom
And unconditional love

Time is real…..but not that real.