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Mysticism

Mercy

By | Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Contemporary Issues, Mysticism, Natural World, Nature, Nonviolence, Poetry, Spirituality | No Comments

A poem inspired by Mystical Hope*

We are card-carrying members
Of the Body of Creation,
No opting out,
No other place to go.
Born into participation
Others dying for us
Transformed for us
Following the pattern
Of death and resurrection
Into life, nothing lost.
Just taking time.

We are being carried
Whether we know it or not
Whether we like it or not,
By a great Love,
From which there is no falling out.
We can only be fools, until
The day Wisdom takes hold of us,
and our eyes are opened.
That day will come

When all is stripped away,
And the “gold kernel” rests
At the wellspring of hope where
the soul meets its ground.
And we who are carried,
Will carry others

Until all is said and done–fulfilled,
And the embracing Love, which has
Always been there, its only desire
Union, smiles from within us
On everything.

*Cynthia Bourgeault, Mystical Hope (New York, Chicago: A Cowley Publications Book, 2001)
** “Gold Kernel” See Mystical Hope, p. 70-71)

The Prayer of Making Bread

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In a moment I will make the bread.
The practice: to be wholly present
To the work–
To touch the flour
Not thinking of tomorrow.
To measure the yeast
Free from worry, guilt, and yearning,
Envying not other’s joy,
While thinking not enough for me.
To pour the water
And suffer in my body
Mother earth’s tears of mourning,
Bear such suffering should it come.
To add the salt
As sweat of presence to
Each moment’s holding
Of solidarity, and not to flee.
To make of the kneading
A weaving of wholeness
From all the parts.
And to it all
remember gratitude.
In this moment of breadmaking,
Can I partake in the joy of
Being here in simple kitchen
And nowhere else wishing to be?
Can I share in your
sweet sorrow bourn
in my own life, holding us all together.
Can I breathe in
while breathing in,
Make bread
while making bread?

Walking

By | Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Contemporary Issues, Mysticism, Natural World, Nature, Poetry, Spirituality, Uncategorized | One Comment

I am a pilgrim
Walking by the light of the moon
In and out of shadows
Having to peer into the darkness,
To see at all.

Beckoned, I am
Urged to keep on the journey
To Press on
Knowing only dimly
And not to depend on better words.

My beating heart is a lantern,
Sure and faithful hope,
Nothing more.
Therein is the union
which claims me
An infinite horizon
Of dawning light
A smile of sunrise and cool morning

Even as it illuminates
Another day of shouting and swords
Which thrive in the afternoon glare
The heat of certitude
The holding of ground
The standing there,
The giving up of walking,
The desiring only to sleep
in the night.

The Gaze

By | Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Contemporary Issues, Mysticism, Natural World, Nature, Poetry, Spirituality | One Comment

“You come here not to gaze at God, but to let God gaze at you”

You are always being gazed at.
Not watched,
Just smiled upon.
It’s what every heart needs.

Even the mountains gaze on you
as you pass.
This whole beautiful earth is
your mother holding you, so present,
Gazing on you.

No, you are not the center of the universe,
But the ages and their stars
Brought you forth
and still wink at you. And the sun
Shines on you just the same.

If you are failing, perhaps
You don’t know how to see
How you are truly seen.
Worthiness is all so freely given.
Don’t let it be the gift that sits on the shelf
Waiting to be opened, while
Nothing springs to mind
to be grateful for.

If you are starving in the midst of
all this simple plenty,
Remember how you are
Being gazed upon
With so much love.

The Wisdom Way of Knowing

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“Teach me, teach me,” the young one cried.
“I want to know all about God.”

“Young one,” the wise one said,
“If it suits you, find your way
to the classroom door.
Learn a trade. Search for a job that has meaning.
Earn some money, buy a house.
Choose a mate, Raise a family.
Cherish your children.

As for knowing God,
For now,
Find the mirror wherein
you see the Face gazing on you with love.
Look into it every morning.
As you work, remember the Face.
As you love, become the Face to the one you love.
To everyone you meet, be that mirror in which
Others looking see themselves as good.

It is right and just for you now
to live in your mind,
To gain mastery, to feel pride
in accomplishment.

There will, I assure you, come a time
when after all you have ever done
is to sit around a campfire,
and you believe that you know
all there is to know about fire,
Your restless mind will fail you and
Your heart will begin to burn.

Until that time,
Let the Face in the mirror be your rock.
Have faith in its truth.

A Clear and Constant Mirror: a Meditation

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The face in the mirror can be for us a “constituting center.”
The face in the mirror gazes out at us: gives us to ourselves; gives us our identity
as beloved sons and daughters.
The face we see in the mirror is not our own face, and yet it becomes our own face.
As we are given to ourselves, our face becomes comely.
The face in the mirror is an active face: forgiving, refraining from judgment.
By smiling on us, the mirror conveys our goodness to ourselves.
In having an accepting countenance, it conveys acceptance.
In its gaze of love, we know we are loved.

We all need such a mirror. We all need to be given ourselves in the gaze of another.
Once the “constituting center” is true, it points us to the answers to life’s deepest questions.

  • Who am I? Whose am I?
  • What is the meaning of my life, any life?
  • A constituting center opens up to us the purpose of existence.

All that is charitable, joyful, peaceful patient, kind, good, gracious, outgoing, inclusive, nonviolent, long-suffering begins and ends with this constituting center.

A true mirror dispels illusions: without such a mirror we search everywhere for an identity. We seek our identity in power, possessions, and prestige.

We are mirrors to each other, for better or worse.

  • We can mirror the Ultimate constituting center. (It is given to us to be the
    gaze of Love to each other.) This is what loving parents do to
    their children; and loving spouses convey to each other, or friends. Even
    creation can mirror to us our beloved state.
  • False mirrors are everywhere. They can be deceiving. They can mirror to us a distorted image of our own humanity which, if we know no other gaze, we end up believing. Many people have only false mirrors in which to gaze. Eventually, they look into any mirror and expect to see a disapproving face, a judgmental face, a face that looks at them with disdain, that hates them. And they are filled with shame.

How sad that the true mirror has been reduced to a worthiness game.
How tragic that so often the gaze of our parents, our teachers, our classmates, our pastors, mirror only this. They too are victims. They too do not yet know who they are.
And there is the consuming gaze of a toxic god, really an idol. (Let jungle vines encircle this stone idol and topple it from its throne.)

Once we are grounded in our true identity, we have a sure rock on which to stand, a firm foundation that cannot be shaken by any of life’s storms. Without this firm foundation we can easily be pulled in many directions, and we are.

If we are to be transformed we need to find the true mirror, the persistent healing gaze, the gaze of love, a gaze that gives us back to ourselves, restores our humanity, restores our true identity. 

The gaze from the true mirror conveys to us

  • That there is nothing to earn. Our belovedness is a given.
  • That worthiness is a mantel placed on us from the very beginning, before we were conceived in our mother’s womb.
  • How we are made for love, and are loved without condition.

 

Find the true mirror and we find ourselves. It is the pearl of great price; the treasure hidden in the field. It is Holy Wisdom. Lady Sofia, Highest Consciousness, Enlightenment.

 Not to find it, is the greatest tragedy.
But even then
I believe,
the Gaze of Love, the Gaze of our Source, never ends.

Ultimately, this is where we will all find our true name. It is a clear and constant mirror that will never be broken.

Passing Moments

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Sometimes life hands us to ourselves
on a silver platter.
At those times, I am filled
with an abiding sweetness,
call it fleeting joy.

Like on those summer mornings
When the world stands in bold relief,
after the birds wake up
And the sun is rising over the mountains
Gold flecking the trees, casting long shadows.

You might see me dancing in the kitchen,
To Handel’s Harmonious Blacksmith
(Yes, it can be done), or
Crosby, Stills & Nash, Vivaldi.

It doesn’t last, but it’s nice.

Our big-little lives
are passing so swiftly
There will never be enough time
For all the infinite longings.
To complete the bucket list.

What we hold is
always a mixed bag:
Toys we cling to,
And so much still to let go of;
Hearts full of love and hate.
We know they will break.
They must break. Open. Spill.

How blessed to be alive,
To catch glimpses
of the glory here, even in the suffering.
We stand in such terrible beauty.
What else can tear us apart,
Touch our soul, bring tears to our eyes,
Give us to ourselves,
Even if for a passing moment.

************

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Chewing the Cud

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We are each in search of our true face.
We will be angry until we find it.
We need to raise a fist
Against the idols we have
Enthroned in the temple
That have no faces
And hide our face from us.

Our journey is to sell our possessions
and go in search of the real mirror,
that mirrors back to us our face,
That smiles forth from the looking glass,
And speaks our name,
Calls us “My Beloved.”

What wisdom is needed here
In this process of regurgitation,
Of chewing and tasting once again
What was so innocently swallowed
and now sits so
Heavily in the gut, this status quo
of imperial decrees
The long dark corridors of pilgrimage
we have traversed
to all the wrong shrines.

We need to no longer be silenced by labels
Or hushed into submission by judgment.
We need to be given new teeth.
To do this re-chewing,
Preparing to swallow thoughtfully,
To spit out if need be.
“No, this is not my name,
These are not true faces.”

We need to keep asking
not the temple gods,
Who have nothing of import
to impart. But the one
who holds the mirror,
This is one we seek.

***********

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Morning After

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Waking up with me
On my mind,
There is nothing to show,
Nothing earned from yesterday.
The cupboard is bare because no bread
has been accepted.
No blood having been shed,
The temple altar is clean.
A stagnant well does not flow.

Outside, the silent mountains stand rooted.
Birds sing, Life is living its own praise.
Only I seem to have forgotten, and the
Somebody that emerges is nobody of import.
From inside the meritocracy
To be a drop in the ocean is a cruel fate,
The game lost.
I am so unaware at these times
That to fall into the ocean
Is to become the ocean.

How impossible it is for a small self
To be a grain of wheat
That dies in the ground to yield a rich harvest.
If we had to do this work ourselves,
There would be no resurrection,
No bread for the world,
No hidden wholeness.

**********

Please check out my new book. Just click on the cover to order.

That One True Gaze

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We are always looking
For ourselves in each other’s eyes.
In broken mirrors,
Shards lying on the floor,
We catch glimpses.
Vulnerable, frail, so needing
The mirror to be whole, we ache
To be given to ourselves
in the gaze of another.

In our best moments we
Walk toward each other
Like strangers on tenterhooks,
Hoping to become friends.
Do you want to know who we are in those moments?
We are someone found, that still gets lost.

Life itself is always broadening,
Always unfolding, always beckoning,
Always catching glimpses
Of its own beauty in our face.
This is what we really need to know.

We keep looking for the mirror
Where we are eternally smiled upon.
Something too good to be true.
Yet it is true.
To find it is to find ourselves.

**********

Please check out my new book. Just click on the cover to order.