The Tree of Life

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There is a tree that´s branches spread

so far we cannot see it.

Far beyond the scope of

your or my vision.

Through it´s veins flow

The nectars of all life,

Just as blood flows through ours.

 

Each leaf is a delicate splendor,

but only for a season

Of every shape,

each bearing the basic form of the whole,

stem, veins branching out,

as ours do.

Each leaf, individual, as if separate,

but each is also connected

and essential to the tree,

collecting the energies

of the sun and stars,

transforming them

into sustenance

for the bark, the heart

and the roots so deep below.

 

It´s blossoms of many colors

are so brilliant and lovely,

so radiant with beauty

they can cause the heart to ache.

Their aromas so exquisite and varied,

our senses swoon in wonder.

Their seed is the spawn

of all living things,

scattering on the wind

in constant re-generation,

in the past, today

and tomorrow.

 

So does each leaf,

fluttering to the ground

in the breezes of autumn,

if only for a moment,

see, at last, the whole?

Realize the source of it´s creation,

and know its´s being has mattered

since before beginning

and on the journey

round again?

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Parable of the Sage and the Thief

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There once was a sage

walking down a strange path,

in a place he had never been before.

 

With each step and beat of his heart

he could hear the music in his soul

echoed by all the life around him.

 

With each breath

he drew the beautiful landscape within

and felt it tingle in his marrow.

“A feast of love.” he thought happily.

 

This sage had suffered greatly in his past

for many transgressions against himself,

but had found forgiveness

in the true heart of his being

from the spirit of us all who dwells there.

 

And then, the spirit of his true heart spoke,

“Around the next bend,

there is a thief who waits

to rob you.”

 

“He is one who´s heart is closed.

He cannot partake of the feast you enjoy.

He is in fact, starving

and knows no love.”

 

The sage then asked his spirit,

“Shouldn´t I then turn away

or choose some different path?”

Shouldn´t I avoid the thief?”

 

“Don´t be afraid,” the spirit said,

“for you are not alone

and there is no other path

for you.”

 

“For fear will close your heart

and you will loose

what you have gained anyway.”

And so, they rounded the bend together.

 

There was the thief, waiting.

The first thing the sage noticed

was that the thief was pinched in pain

and his face was somehow familiar.

 

“How can I help you?” asked the sage.

The thief answered by pointing his gun,

“Give me all your money,

for I am hungry!”

 

“Isn´t there some other way I can help you?

I have so little.  It couldn´t make much difference.”

“It´s people like you who have ruined me

and kept from me what should be mine!

Hand it over!” the thief said.

 

So the sage emptied his pockets.

“Take it then, it´s all I have,

and may you find forgiveness

in your heart.”

 

“I have no heart,” said the theif.

“Who would forgive someone like me?

My life has been nothing but bitterness and fear,

so now, I take what I want.”

 

“Poor soul!” cried the sage.

“If only I could give you more,

some fruit that didn´t taste of bile

and would really nourish you!”

 

The thief paled and stepped back in fear,

“Keep away from me, naïve idiot!” he yelled,

“for surely you would only betray me

like all the others before!”

 

When the thief had run away,

the sage stood there in the path,

his spirit standing beside him,

a tear for the thief on his cheek.

 

They walked on, side by side

as the beauty of their surroundings

entered his heart once again.

“Perhaps he is not ready.” the spirit said.

 

Further down the path he found a bag

containing a few coins,

the very ones that had been stolen,

and all he would need for the day.

“A pity the thief couldn´t use them,”

the spirit said.

 

That night, as the sage rested,

he invoked the image of the thief in his mind.

He was still starving and full of pain and bitterness

and he cradled the thiefs head in his loving arms,

shocked to notice that the thief

was but another form of his spirit within.

 

“Can you forgive me?”

the sage asked the thief.

“Can you forgive me?”

the thief asked the sage.

– anonymous

 

“I Led Three Lives.”

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         This morning, I got up, dressed and set the kettle on the burner to make coffee.  I got a bottle of juice from the cooler and poured myself a glassful.  Then, I sat down at the table and found my cigarettes in the mess and lit one.  “Damn,” I said for the millionth time, “I really need to quit these.”

I watched the smoke curl and disappear in front of me.  “Who am I talking to,” I asked. “and why doesn´t he do something about it?”

The kettle whistled and I put down the cigarette, went over and took a cup out of the dish rack.  I looked at it.  “Damn,” I said, “I should soak these in bleach water to get rid of those coffee stains.”  I put some Nescafe in the cup and poured, enjoying the somewhat artificial coffee aroma wafting from the cup. “Why don´t I ever do anything about it?” I asked myself.  I wondered again, who I was talking to.  I took a sip and began thinking about it all.

I began compartmentalizing myself.  The me that I was talking to; the me who was talking.  And who was it that was perceiving them both?

I think, I thought, that the speaker is my inner self, my mind.  The other one is my physical self, my body.  My inner self wants my body to do something, but my body doesn´t care.  Ok. So who is the one who wants to soak coffee cups and quit smoking and who is the other? Aren´t they the same person?

I have to think that my inner self is somewhat imaginary, not being part of the physical plane.  He seem to think he´s rather important and likes to give orders.  He makes a lot of grandiose pronouncements and is very judgmental, a hopeless critic.  He thinks of my physical self as an idiotic dolt.  Incapable of doing anything without him.  Of course, this is not entirely true.  He breaths and beats his heart without thinking about it at all.

Being an inner self can be frustrating.  My physical self doesn´t always listen and he´s the one with the fingers and toes.

The inner self gets all his information through the senses.  He also has an amazing filing system called the memory.  He´s really quite intelligent and clever, but of course, there´s an awful lot of data he hasn´t collected yet, and a lot of the connections, the assumed connections he makes between pieces of data are kind of iffy.  He´s wrong a lot.

Then there´s my physical self.  He´s sort of oafish and lazy.  It takes a lot of prodding by my inner self to get him moving.  He only wants to do what he has too.  He doesn´t like making mistakes, but he´s pretty gullible. He´s aged and grown a little tired and, to tell the truth, he´s always been a little lazy.  He doesn´t have any imagination at all, he depends on DNA and the inner self to tell him what to do next.

Then there´s the third self.  This is a most mysterious self.  We don´t know much about it.  It´s hard to pin it down.  Apparently, this self is some sort of spirit and a shape shifter to boot.  In fact, it can appear as either self or other, and pops up in the most unexpected places.  The spirit self can be me or it can be you or it can be a bird, an insect or a petunia.  It can even take the form of things like gravity.  It can be a burning bush or a virgin mother appearing on hill with a bunch of roses and a self-portrait on a serape to an Indio peasant called Juan Diego to confirm her presence.  Or it can be an ordinary rock or piece of wood.  In fact, it can be anything you can imagine, a he, a she or an it.  I suppose it´s the great nothingness that surrounds every star, every planet or every molecule and atom. That which forms the shape of everything that appears to be physical.

Anyway, I´ve made up this version up for the purpose of explaining that part of myself to myself and to tell this story.

Neither my inner self or my physical self have any real power.  Only, in fact, what the spirit self allows them.  My inner self only has the power to imagine and suggest.  My physical self can only “do” what it is physically capable of doing.

There are times when my inner self becomes jealous of my spirit self and refuses to acknowledge him.  This never works out.  He likes to fool himself into believing that he knows it all.  Then he starts prodding and pushing my physical self around with bad advice.

I´ve seen him doing this while yelling things like “Get moving you stupid, lazy idiot!” and “You´ve always been such a weakling!”, kicking and lashing at him as if he was some stubborn mule.

As a judge and critic, he can really be brutal. “Get going you dumb, ugly, useless son-of-a-bitch!”  My physical self, of course, can only do what he can do.  This really frustrates my inner self because he, himself, can´t do anything unless my physical self does it.  “No wonder I´m still smoking and the cups aren´t soaked!!” he screams, “I hate you!!”

Then, sometimes my inner self talks my physical self into drinking too much beer or tequila to make himself feel less frustrated.  My physical self usually goes along with this because he´s sick and tired of being bullied and would like to have a little fun himself.

What happens after that, is my spirit self gets mad and steps in and kicks both their butts.  He usually uses some strong and unpleasant emotion like self-disgust or regret to do this, but sometimes he resorts to real physical maladies such as the hang-over. He´s big on natural law and justice.  Sometimes, this spirit speaks to us in the language of pain and suffering.

“It´s his stubbornness that caused it!” my inner self cries.

“It was his idea!” my physical self whines, “He started it! I don´t see why I should be punished!”

“You lifted the glass, didn´t you?” my spirit self says, “and your both old enough to know better!”

He can be a real bugger when he gets mad, but he offers positive solutions as well. “Love is the answer, boys, love is the answer!”

My inner self sasses back, “Isn´t that kind of narcissistic?” Always the critic, always the smart ass.

“Does your bullying ever work?” my spirit self asks.

My inner self sulks and grumbles like a sullen teen-ager.  My physical self just droops and pouts.

“Hey,” the spirit self says, “I´m not really fond of punishment, you know. I know you have to be wrong to be right, but what does it take?  “LOVE IS THE ANSWER!!!”

And so we go down the highway, my inner and physical selves banished to opposite ends of the back seat, still silently blaming one another as my spirit self drives on.

Well, there are obviously people who have better behaved inner and physical selves than mine.  People who actually quit smoking and soak their coffee cups to get rid of the stains.

And so, my struggle continues.

I wish you luck with yours.

 

Disclaimer

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Disclaimer

We want to “make sense”,

to understand,

to know.

We approve of orderliness,

logic, reason,

“intelligence”.

We like our universe explicable.

This is our safety,

our comfort;

each thing in it´s place

and no room for doubt.

We build edifices to our knowledge,

we revere it, worship it,

protect it, secret it, collect it.

We bury ourselves in it.

We build walls around it,

for the barbaric hordes

of naught, chaos and randomness

assail us.

 

But walls close in.

The air becomes musty and brackish.

The trappings of knowledge

cannot sustain us for long.

We require our food to be fresh.

Our skin is full of holes.

We need to breathe

in and out.

 

And so we go outside

without a jacket;

into the madness

of sunlight, wind and rain;

birds chirping

and flowers bursting

with unfathomable beauty;

into the moment;

leaving the trappings, the burdens

of our security and knowledge behind.

 

Please disregard

all and everything

I have previously

ever said or written.

Frogs Chanting

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After the passing
of the edge of a storm
leaving it´s waters behind,
a few frog monks,
dressed in robes
in the colors of rotting leaves,
chanting.

Their multi-tonal voices
echoing into a multitude,
invoking a magical spell,
chirring, chirping,
honking, croaking,
undulating
the ancient rites
of an un-names religion
without creed, without theology
or want of belief,
joyfully proclaiming
their faith and thankfulness
in the nature of their being,
their survival.
The wordless sutras
a serenade,
a call for procreation,
sung to the sacred other,
filling the empty darkness
of the night
before the light.