The Mind That Never Was

Ah, this is the mind that never was.
It never was, because, because . . .

No one could ever find such a one, but
all the same, we loved the way it created
our world, filling it with things, people,
and places — the wondrous ingredients
of every life, all unique but interconnected.

We loved how it could make everything and
anything appear out of nothing, the very same
state in which we now exist, but without ever
having any real existence itself, like magic!

If that seemed strange, we didn’t care —
we loved this mind as if it was our one and
only best friend, a friend who would be loyal
to the end, even when all else disappeared,
this no-thing remained to keep us entertained.

Some said it was a window, others a mirror,
reflecting a universe of infinite possibilities.

Some danced before their mirror of mind,
entranced by their own reflection, granting
themselves the power to expand out into
the furthest reaches of their own being, as if
they were no mere nothingness, but a miracle
too marvelous for names or words to describe.

They wandered there, as if in a hall of mirrors,
forever enamored of their own creation, and thus
it was that time was born, to measure the distance
between one mirror and the next, one life and
the next, just so that everything did not happen
all at once, at least in the mind that never was.

This mind was change, it fed on change, it relied
on change, its delight was change, its very
continuity depended on the law of change, and so
when it encountered that which doesn’t change,
it suddenly ceased moving and fell silent.

Within that silence a nowhere space appeared
in which this mind itself is spawned and dies.

We loved that space, that spaceless place, where
nothing rises up to be stroked or poked, praised
or blamed, gathered or loosed, freed or bound —

we turned around, and there it was, the one and
only perfect ground from which all minds appear
like trees, we love their leaves, we truly do,
and when the autumn wind blows through,
we’re carried off on a wanton breeze,
adrift in a mind that never was,
silently, silently floating.

falling leaf

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Hiding out in a cave is easy,
once you get the hang of it.

Chopping wood, fetching water –
really, how difficult is that today?

It’s only when you come back down
to the red dust town that you’ll recall
why you chose to climb those hills,
leave all behind, and rush to get away.

High up on the mountain, obscured
by clouds and mists, you may at times
feel loneliness or vexing reservations, but
it seems that’s part of the price you’ll pay
to avoid the messiness of life’s relations.

You may tell yourself that you’re in the cave
to attain a special state of spiritual grace,
but unless you confront your conditioned
preferences face to face, there will be no
authentic liberation, but only another weary
round of that ancient game of karma creation.

While you lounge about in pseudo-bliss,
swooning in those meditative sessions,
all that you’ve actually managed to do
is postpone this realm’s intended lessons.

“Mind like vast space, radiant transparency” –
how profound it all can sound, and yet
if you happen to meet another who questions
your contentment, you may discover just how
swiftly that your self-imputed loftiness
can descend into resentment!

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No Mystery

I’ve heard it said
that our ultimate desire
is to be free of desire itself.

That may be so, yet here
in this moment, heart to heart,
who’ll deny that all we really want
is just to love and be loved as we are?

This yearning for deep intimacy
seems true of all sentient beings, all
feel the ache of love, hear the call of love.

Everything is only love
seeking for itself, and finding
itself in everything, everywhere.

Nothing at last is immune to love.

Even the burden of our intolerance
is but Love’s teasing play with itself
for the joy of intolerance dissolving in love.

Mystery begets love as love
begets Mystery – all for the sake
of its own pure enjoyment, reflected as
the infinite forms of you and I and everything.

It is the simple innocent truth of our being,
prior to any adventure of knowledge or experience.

The illusion of separation is just that.

We are each expressions of love,
and we are here – not really knowing how
for now, but to love, that doesn’t matter.

Not knowing is not a cause for fear.

Love will always exceed any fear,
any conceptual knowledge, though some
might imagine otherwise, as a way to test love.

What remains when imagination
is itself outshone by love,
but love?

Unless permeated by a love
without exception or condition, even
the most profound wisdom is impotent.

All that we truly have is what’s here, now —
this is everything, this is all the worlds, appearing
and vanishing simultaneously with us in love.

When we are humbled enough to relinquish
our resistance to what is, what is
reveals itself as love.

The awesome mechanics of the universe
forming itself into the expression of us
is beyond comprehension, yet
at the heart, love is
no mystery.


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Driftwood Music

Water running over stones
makes a subtle kind of music
as it wears the hardness down.

Recognizing my own casual
heartlessness in the face of Love
made me suddenly stop and weep.

The sound of these tears
running freely down my cheeks
is Your music, and why death
is beautiful, and not because
it does not exist, it does —
just not as we imagine.

It is the softly piercing music
within an ancient length of driftwood
once washed up on the shore, and now
become a bone-white log that reaches up
from its bed of sand to support my weight
as I swing in the euphoric beach bliss
of this polymorphous moment.

When I finally come to rest
I press my lips to its smooth skin,
as if it were You, as if it were God,
and somehow then it kisses back,
as if to say, “I am.”


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No one knows
the reason for any of this –
why even make it a question?

Death doesn’t.

The unleashed wonder
of that moment is sufficient
to still any speculation.

This is not a metaphor –
it will be the same door opening
inward that once opened out.

I am that swinging door,
not knowing in from out,
death from life, me from you.

What is surrender?

The surrender that can be done
is not true surrender.

Who surrenders to what?
Who surrenders what?

What do I possess –
what is there to call mine –
that I can actually let go of?

Where can I find any portion of myself
that is ever divisible from itself,
except in hallucinations
of self and other?

My desire to surrender is not mine,
my hopes and dreams are not even mine,
my living, loving, dying is not mine,
nor is any surrender mine.

Being nothing myself,
I am already everything.

To whom shall I surrender?

I do not rise in the morning
by my own will, nor do I
sleep by my own power.

What appears before me
as world and other is never
at any distance from myself.

On what altar then
shall I place this pretense
of relinquishment and submission?

Even the motive to surrender
at last must be seen as arising
from a subtle sense of separation.

What has been given, what
received, other than oneself?

The one who would surrender
is the very one who keeps surrender
at arm’s distance, safely out of reach.

In the midst of the stream, I, water,
bend to cup water, then offer it
back to the river.

The river itself flows on and on,
mindless of all concepts, all
gestures of surrender.

water offering

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It Just Burns

Fire goes where there’s fuel.

We claim the truth is what we want,
but resist the burning away of the false.

We seek consolation in borrowed beliefs
and are quick to defend our own self-images,
even though none of them are actually true
but just a bundle of thoughts and moods.

Truth is never a consolation –

all that seeks to be consoled
is just more fuel for the waiting fire.

All that cries out to be soothed, relieved, redeemed,
reborn, patched, patted, or pillowed just right is
never going to be just right, is going down
despite the clown whose yearning prayer
for the flames to spare this part or that
of its smoldering hair is answered
with even more fire.

Love is a furious flame.

All positions are positions in mind,
yet love has no fixed position
to assert, deny, or defend.

It just burns.

Without being refined in the furnace of love,
truth itself becomes a mental abstraction,
so love ushers the mind into silence,
the silence of coals and ashes.

Call love a fire — whatever says so
will also be consumed by it.

The caterpillar cannot understand
the butterfly, nor kindling the flame.

There’s nothing to understand but this:
fire goes where there’s fuel.

hairfire 1

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More About That Leaf

Mountain pines draped in early morning mists
hazily shift and hover around my small campfire,
while looming phantoms of blurry curiosity haunt
the foggy hillsides — the invisible hunting vibrations
of the inconceivable — felt as the ineluctable feeling
of being itself by everything simultaneously.

Though nothing is ever as it appears,
everything steeps in blessing.

Later, fresh tree scenes stream through my vision
adrift on a honeycombed breeze, aimlessly cluttered
with loose light limbs, jewel-birds, glittering grace
hymns, struck root chords resonant with dawn,
the beauty of a single anonymous falling leaf,
and the absence of any distance between
the morning light, the breeze, and that
which it so tenderly caresses.

Can you feel yourself
lifted on that wind right now?

Who has the dynamic presence of mind
to contemplate the mutual permeation
of heaven and earth in the form
of a leaf in the breeze?

The sense of dreamy identity at the matrix
of perception floats on the breeze of thoughts
and sensations that seem to amount to a somebody,
though it’s only a smoke-like echo trailing nowhere
in particular, perhaps over a nameless mirroring pond
where, mysteriously spawned from the inexhaustible
absolute, the relative emerges and everything
splashes happily about in pure delight,
at home in the land of the free.


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