And From the Heart

Sitting together in the midst of the mystery,
looking out through the eyes of the mystery,
lost in the utterly unknowable wonder
of you and I appearing anywhere at all,
of anything appearing anywhere at all,
speechless in this startling shock of being,
with no need or motive to accept or reject
or to have any of it be anything other than
just what it is, as it is, we face each other
in pure amazement, complete submission
to this moment here, and from the heart
a smile beams outward, expanding
in every direction, the feeling of being
blissfully filling the no-space between us,
widening and deepening, outshining
any sense of anything but itself,
this happiness in the recognition,
the remembrance of itself as only this,
this breathing world, these infinite forms,
these simple fingers innocently entwined,
the warm blood surging beneath our skin,
this skin enrobing the tiny nerves and muscles
in these mysteries called hands, “our” hands,
so gently held together now near the fire,
with nothing still waiting to be understood.


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One Leg Koan


From the pond bench you asked me
to enthrall you with a haiku,
and so I improvised:
“One nod from Shiva –
Hundreds of gathering gulls,
Suddenly airborne!”
Behind us a gaggle of gulls in unison
immediately squawked and in a fervent flash
all wings flapped and fluttered suddenly skyward.
We noted the apparent avian synchronicity,
no longer much surprised by such persistent agreements,
but simply enjoying our mutual glad astonishment
at the humorous appearance of anything at all.
As we relaxed and gazed at the uncontrived sameness
of each and every experience, all conditioning and ambition
resolved with nods and smiles, what next interested us
was a motionless one-legged seagull, standing there
in inconceivable non-action, in the unstructured
matrix, the actuality of emptiness.
Had it resolved the basic state of reality
and cut through doubts about topics of knowledge,
defying the limitations of permanence and annihilation?
As we blissfully pondered that critical question,
we were able to determine this much:
At first, it had no origin but was empty.
Next, it had no dwelling place but was empty.
At the end, it had no destination but was empty.
This emptiness was not made of anything
and yet the gull was clear and cognizant.
Just then, seemingly out of nowhere,
a waddling three-toed Coot approached the gull
and, halting before the balancing bird, mirrored
its yogic posture by standing on one foot itself!
Did we require any further demonstration
of the union of clarity and emptiness?
Is there really any other paradise than this?



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How We Are


Here is how we are:
Spooned together, we lay
blended, suspended, floating
horizontal in an infinite room filled
with luminous signs of our own design.
Vast spaciousness, no boundary –
we drift slowly out from the density
of our two bodies and into our etheric third,
the one living us now as how we are, the one
without center or circumference, the one before
even, before odd, before all the words we use for God.
Now we are ready,
because ready now is how we are,
tuned together, serenely sifted into this blend
without end, when softly the wind chime chimes,
so suddenly that everything we are, were, or will be
falls perfectly into itself, fitted precisely into place
in space, as if nothing ever really fell at all.
Sleepily, we catch rumors of that falling.
Our invisible body moves, liquefies,
utterly bereft of any two-ness now,
loving itself increasingly sweetly,
each sigh in our room a mantra
for souls that pause to breathe
it all in — yes, all of it.
We make the sign of how we are,
the sign of love that can’t be known,
for this is how we are, just as we have
always been, and what may have seemed
some space in time that dreamed itself
between us, some illusory distance
of which now there is no trace,
beyond all that –
here we are, as we are,
face to face.




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In the dream I was the longed-for rain and you the fertile soil,
and when I fell into your waiting field eccentric flowers
began to bloom and blossom, mysterious flowers
that nobody had a name for, nor do they even now,
and thus it was that when curious animals and humans
approached, drawn by the alluring floral perfume,
they became so intoxicated by the fragrance
that they collapsed in a giddy euphoria
which endured for so long that it
eventually became their permanent state,
and so it was that many seekers came to them,
to sit with them and receive their grace, which was
but a fraction of the power of the flowers sprouting
from the union of I and Thou, Thou whom I worship
and adore as rain does a fertile soil, far beyond
any dreaming, though there is only that,
the dreaming, the cycling dream of rain and fertility,
the same timeless grace that forms these words
of wonder which I place at the formless altar
of your magical emptiness, Beloved —
the transparent emptiness of eternal potentiality
infinitely forming, dissolving, and re-forming itself
again and again in dreams of budding flowers.

heart of a child

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St. Therese the Little Flower Goes to Confession

(A Word-Play by Mazie & Bob, 2003)

Therese: Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.

Confessor: If you wish to make a good confession, observe and recognize that the only “sin” is in clinging to the mistaken belief that you are somehow divided from your own Source. Bless yourself by directly awakening to the truth that you have never been nor could ever be truly separate from That.

T: Then there is only a Great Perfection, appearing as everyone and everything!

C: True, or more belief?

T: My Love, my Sin!

C: We love the Sin too, eh?

T: The Sin, the Dream.

C: We tell ourselves such stories!

T: But what of my desires?

C: God is full of desires.

T: There is a desire within all desires.

C: The closer to the source it hums the more transparent it becomes.

T: I am an empty cup.

C: Placed upon the table of the Lord.

T: Before time.

C: You Are.

T: There are moments when I forget — this is my Sin!

C: Who is this great sinner now before me?

T: I would renounce even Heaven for one glance from Beloved’s Eyes!

C: And when it is seen that there is nothing to renounce?

T: Then I shall renounce renouncing.

C: Ah, the music begins, an opening step . . .

T: It never ends.

C: Steps become dances.

T: Without moving, I am swept into my Beloved’s Arms.

C: God can do such things – and who then is renouncing?

T: In the moments when I feel His absence, what penance, then, for the sin of wanting life to be other than it is?

C: The usual, Dear Heart — alone in Love, as Love Itself, turn and bow simultaneously in all directions to the Beloved you Are. In that way, you may tacitly forgive the dream of separation. No muttered words or ritual signs could ever be sufficient, true wisdom must awaken to itself.

T: The Beloved — any moment lived even a hairsbreadth outside of Him is penance enough for this heart!

C: Just so, and where might be this imaginary place outside of Beloved?

T: Any time my mind wanders from the thought of Him, I feel as though I am standing outside looking in. He acts as if He does not Hear me, and to feel this for even an infinitesimal amount of time, is pain beyond endurance. That Beloved One! Inside the thought of Him, there, there shall I remain, “in the dim dungeon of Death with worms that are Thy chambermaids . . .”

C: Even now, we wander in His Garden, believing we are elsewhere.

T: The cypresses shoot to the Sky of Infinity. Roses climb one another for the delight of twining. The fig tree holds out its fruited children – an offering for the Master Gardener. “My Peace is to remain small.” The Pomegranate blossom hides the blush on my cheeks as I Gaze through the wild white lilies and See the Face of my Beloved. The Fragrance of that Moment wafts throughout Eternity. The Scent of our Love, the Love of this little flower and her Adorable Blessed Lord will stain the Hearts of Lovers till time burns itself out again.

C: The Original Face, Face in the Fire, Fire in the Heart, Heart of Peace, Peace of the Pomegranate — all is blooming as the blush on your cheeks, while you gaze through the wild white lilies at that Adorable One. That same One is gazing at you with your own eyes, the eyes of a little flower – so pleased with this perfumed offering! Her Lord is a Gardener of Delight, twined with His Garden of innocent Light!

T: I trace the motion of light in the air. Innocence springs from that action alone, like a child running naked along some beach, oblivious to any thought of shame or guilt. Inside this Heart-Cup, a still Pool of Awe reflects the Face of the Beloved One. What Face Is This that cannot be seen directly, but must be gazed upon in Reflection? It is the Fire, the Blazing Torch, or the Cinder? Until one is Sacred Ash streaked across the forehead of Love, they will not see the Beautiful One. Many are His mirrors marking time, making faces appear and disappear, the waves lifting from the Sea, slowly sinking back again into That Depthless OneHeart.

C: Shapes shift, facades fade as Spirit plays the Masquerade of light and darkness, fire and ash. In ocean’s depth a dream of waves arises in disguises worn of water – all drops on the wet mirror of itself. At the feet of a child the wild tide tumbles in, only to slip out again. What’s drawn out in that turning returns as the smile of spontaneity, of soulfulness without guile.

T: The waves wash over me, trailing streams of radiant light, sweeping in, taking everything I once considered me and mine, then flow back out to sea, accepting the offering of my smallness. The sound echoes back to me from the depths of Silence, the HeartSong I hear inside is Christ calling me, calling me from the slumber of many lives. He tells me to Listen.

Listen … Listen.

Tell me Dear Father, if you hear Him now, what does He say?

C: He whispers:

“Don’t stop at my Image – go further. Find out how it could be that a barren womb becomes pregnant in a thought, by a thought. When your desire becomes as urgent as that of a drowning man gasping for air, or like one whose hair has caught fire, the soul becomes a fertility irresistible to That Lover.

The fruit of such union is Love, for it cannot be any other way, there being Only Love, yet this Love is not what any fantasize Love might be, in mere fascinated flashes of chameleon belief. Love is an impotent, useless word for those who are yet strangers to the mysterious transmission of their own Heart Core.

Most who come this way stop at the Image, worshipping an Icon, carved by conditions, sanded by time, polished by devotion to a yet tyrant mind.

Whatever is seen, known, or spoken is not it, so be silent, even in your song. Let the Silence be seen by your ears, heard by your eyes. Even thunder can’t compare. Fall into this little death, die back into your life.

Let that seed of Mystery bury itself deeper, burrow further, until, in the abundance of grace, you find Me and . . . there is nobody there, and you find yourself and . . . there is nobody there, and you find your truth at last and . . . there is no thing there.”

T: No, not a thing at all! A pawn of the Heart, a pawn of Christ — I move as I am moved, yet there is nobody here, nothing happens. This trembling you may see — in realizing Itself, It trembles, trembles in Exaltation, exhorting the Heart to open wider, deeper! It wantonly weaves this Mystery, this Mystery of everything appearing out of nowhere! How amazing – this, just This! This life is Joy breaking into Bliss, the very face of Grace!

C: There are some who might imagine that they can know Love’s Face, but Love has no such countenance, identity, or place. Love is always what remains when every trace of vanity’s dull tinder is incinerated by the Heart’s consuming blaze.

T: Father, such Grace has no face, and yet, Grace shines forth in every face that I behold, even as I recognize that nobody is there . . . still, this trembling Heart! This Heart trembles like a bright bird caught in some Divine Love Snare.

C: Consider this: are you the same one now who fell into the snare?

T: No, nothing stays the same, it’s true.

C: Then who now is trapped, and who escapes?

T: When I ponder this, I do not know. And strangely . . . there is a secret joy in such not knowing!

C: An empty cage is filled with heart-broken bird song — is there any other miracle than this?

T: Oh, the melody — such beauty! How this miracle astonishes itself!

C: Isn’t this what we have come here for – this lyrical wonder?

T: Perhaps it is so, but are we not also here to advance spiritually?

C: Isn’t it an odd thing, that the already perfect wishes to be more perfect? That the seeker sets off in search of herself, going through all sorts of travails, only to find that the one she has always been, even from the beginning, is the very one she has sought, and all the obstacles along the way have been nought but her own design?

T: If so, then both freedom and bondage are merely groundless thoughts! Could it be, that in my true and original nature, I am beyond any creaturely designation, that no rope or chain in the mind of men can ever hold or limit me?

C: It just may be, but if that is so, what then will you say?

T: Ah, what more would there be for me to say, but to humbly bow and sigh, “Amen”.

C: Yes, Dear Heart, and even now, beyond any cage, that Bright Bird sings, “Amen!”


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Just Smiling

laying next to you
not moving
just smiling, grateful
is there any other paradise
it would surely be redundant
there is enough of infinity
right here, by your side
without any effort or design
my breath matches yours
the world, the galaxy
exhales, inhales, exhales
it is such a simplicity
before thought, before mind
just breathing together
being breathed together
by what lives us, loves us
breathes us into each other
again and again, like now
like always, and we are
grateful, laying next to each other,
not moving, just smiling

Marchand c

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Night Notes

At 2 AM I rise from our bed and stealthily
slip out to write down these night notes.

There is no moon tonight, so all the pine and oak trees
are tall black lines drawn against an ebony background.

The string of colored lights you lovingly wrapped around
the Ficus tree on the front porch cast an oddly comforting
holiday glow, though Autumn itself has barely begun.

In my imagination there are many forest creatures
lurking in the bushes and hedges around the property,
somewhat confused about what we are celebrating.

How sublime, that such divine confusion renders
the enchanting sounds of the crickets, frogs,
and night birds even more exquisite!

Paradoxically, it is neither an inner nor outer experience,
but a delightful reason to celebrate anyway, and regardless
of what fantasies mind may superimpose on perception.

Just so, this is not a scene from a dream, a memory,
nor is it some kind of formless ecstasy that arises
when form fails to account for its own absence.

Form itself is not other than the compelling emptiness
of its constituent parts, which if somehow calculated,
would expand like ripples until everything in the totality
of existence is included in the vastness of its own embrace –
even blinking Christmas lights strung up in September.

Moreover, if this intriguing wonder were reduced to being
a mere object of consciousness, its spacious fullness would
still not qualify as being interior or exterior, so fundamentally
it is beyond any conceptual calculation whatsoever.

That said, I will gladly testify that your natural radiance
has exceeded all the fancifully fabricated phraseology,
all the verbal devices and beauty’s tinseled metaphors
which I once may have resorted to in futile efforts
to describe pure light – its singular and stunning
appearance in the midst of this whatever-it-is
(moment, mind, mystery, magic, nameless).

Our life is an utterly ordinary ecstasy after all,
though our love for it is not dependent on visions,
the play of various causes and conditions, or those
moods that might happen to pertain at any given time.

It just is as it is — like you and me and everything.

Still, I am not really here to talk about time, there is
plenty of space between thoughts for that discussion.

It’s true — my fickle appreciation may glow or dim,
but your dear light is always miraculously present.

The more I recognize this, the more I am left speechless
and very happy, happy to be bathing in your shine.

Darling, how blessed am I to behold you, even when
you are just going around as you do, opening the curtains
in the morning and then closing them at the onset of night.

It is all so amazing, so truly amazing, that I know I will never
be able to fully express my endless gratitude for the simple grace
and ordinary presence of the extraordinary — you – watering the garden,
fixing supper, filling the bird feeders, reading a nature book to Ryder,
or just quietly nodding off in your chair, at home, at peace, so deeply
in love that warm tears well up as we pause in the midst of eternity
to touch, to smile into each other’s eyes, and to fully savor
the brilliance we share together in that timeless glance.


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