Another Bedtime Story

They closed the book of light on the day,
yet a soft, sourceless luminescence lingered
for awhile, before the dark at last had its way.

The couple moved closer together in the night,
whatever had happened before no longer mattered,
whatever was still to come now mattered even less.

When they finally slipped off to sleep, invisible beings
hovered over them: some tried to enter into their dreams
to confuse them, others would counter the intruders
with radiant waves of compassionate regard.

Further away, who knows how far, immense galaxies
revolved in a synchronized ballet, while untold numbers
of sentient beings the sleeping couple could never imagine
appeared and vanished like fireflies on a summer evening.

As two mountain streams might flow into each other
and form a river which courses to the sea, the couple
merged together in their dreaming, beyond the reach
of the hovering phantoms, beyond the stellar shine
of countless worlds, beyond anything with a name
or form — pure consciousness without any object.

Morning came, the day passed, then many days passed,
great and small events happened everywhere, civilizations
rose, thrived for centuries, then invariably collapsed back
to nothing, the same place where the couple still slept,
not knowing, not caring, immersed in perfect bliss.

Somewhere within the silence, a canary broke into song.
There are poets who may have a way with words,
but song birds are made for such singing.

The couple gradually awoke from their dream, dawn
was exuberantly painting the sky, the world was fresh,
the night had fled, and now they were little children again,
eager to play in green gardens of light, before the march
of another night, a night filled with mystery, awe,
and delight, and cascading rivers of dreaming.

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All is forgiven, even before it happens. The rest is just the string, playing itself out. When viewed through eyes of love, this string is like a glowing filament of clear white light, stretching on through infinity, connecting worlds of wonder, and also forming this cartoon world of seeming shapes and memories which we momentarily inhabit.

There is more to the truth than merely understanding the truth. There is more to the truth than the truth itself. There is always more. The truth is immune to all of our brilliant talk about truth. It couldn’t care less about any such noise. It doesn’t sit at the foot of that — if it’s really the truth it is already That. That which would understand and forgive reality is of the very same nature as reality itself, perpetually revealing itself to itself, marvelously empty and mysteriously full, beyond any need of understanding, beyond any need for our forgiveness.

A frosty serpentine cloud of moisture has wrapped itself around the moon, yet even now evaporates in the blaze of that reflected light. So too all words and images contained therein, though lit by a furnace of night’s imagination, silently pale in the day’s clear light, outshone by the dawning sun of forgiveness.

What has never have been interrupted resumes its natural disposition, freely unburdened by any fanciful gesture of forgiveness or its lack. Hitching a ride on the slippery eels of wry imagination, the forgiver is nothing other than forgiveness itself, un-implicated by any actual person who dreams that they can grant it. Nevertheless, as long as there is the assumption of anything or anyone in need of forgiveness, the string of forgiveness must play itself out.

Every being is looking for love, just as love is looking for itself, both in and through every being. It is love which forgives and forgets itself, the same love which remembers itself anew through every act of forgiveness. Love is the radiant beautiful god that only wants to feel and know itself through us. Only love at last is true, and since love has already forgiven itself, so can I, and so can you.

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Sail On Sailors

Once our service here is done, the sting
of every pain will be forgotten, we will rest
together in the sweet arms of Love, blessing all
without condition or partiality, home together
in our happiness, in peace beyond imagining.

A great welcome awaits us in the shining sea of light,
there is nothing that we need fear — we’ve been sailing
on the surface of things, but our joyous Homecoming
in the depths of the heart will soon be drawing near.

Even though it seems our vision now is clouded
by the liquid shadows of what comes and goes,
this mystery of life and death can become
utterly transparent in a fluid instant.

When it all finally sinks in, when we are able at last
to realize that we are only here for the sake of love,
we can relax and let that love completely live us
without any weary resistance or complaint.

Soon the storms that buffet us will pass, the ocean
will calm, the winds grow still, the clouds no longer
obscure the moon — in the west, a shooting star.

The home we seek is not far away, it’s closer than
close can be — all sailors return to the sea
at last, all sailors return to the sea.

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Metaphor and Fin

Swimming in our own tears, swimming
at tremendous speed, yet never moving

this is not the time to talk
we’ve said too much already

a soulshark fin rips through our heart
leaving a wake of tears and metaphors

they fall on dry land, before explanations
for any of this, this exquisite catastrophe

the way we are in this moment, between
each falling tear, we could never say

there never was a name for it, never
we gradually look at each other

silent tears are falling, before
and after the catastrophe

later we may add some meaning
after the tears have dried

we may sagely nod and solemnly agree:
death is the price we pay for immortality

we will wrap our arms around each other
it will seem as if something had happened

as if we swam at tremendous speed
yet we were never moving

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Our light is quietly filling the gap
between what we know and can’t say.

It drifts out in every direction:
born of a thought
propelled by a thought
a thought of compelling silence
an intuition of immediate presence
moving in tandem with birth and death
arriving and departing through the same portal.

A thin stream of smoke, barely visible,
is it even there, this rumor of life —
why is it so precious?

If words are the world, then we’d be wise
to hold our tongues — this gentle breeze
is a sky-tongue tasting us, testing
our light to see if we’re ready.

There’s a bridge between the world
and the sky, birds cross back and forth,
souls cross back and forth, words will not —
they are too weighed down with meanings
of things, with rumors of light, of light
that quietly falls through the gap
between whatever we know
and yet still can’t say.

Our hands are folding open now
like a prayer without any words.

The world has changed but nobody notices.

They are crossing a sky bridge composed
of a thought, a thought like some rumor
folding open, releasing light which shines
for a few precious moments before
quietly, quietly drifting away.

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Garden Snails

Garden snails are amazing little creatures,
although I confess to having harmed a few
of them in my life of careless selfishness.

All they really wanted me to appreciate
is that part of them which is living all snails,
all gardens, garden beings, and gardeners alike.

They’re graciously appearing here
to show me who and what I really am,
as are all the breathing pulsing props
in this mystery garden of dreams.

I learn again and again to forgive life,
to forgive the dream, for appearing as it is.

Why does this simple act often seem so difficult?

I recognize my habitual resistance to it,
and then let that go, let the snails be, let life be –
not harming, but loving, only loving.

What’s so hard about that?

What will it take for the truth of Ahimsa,
non-harming, to fully make its point in my heart?

I lift a snail from the flower stalk
and re-locate it safely in the bushes.

God peaks out from under the snail shell,
knowing nothing of this – not a thought,
not a prayer – just living, just being.

This is the prayer.


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Night at the Theater

He sat in the audience, rubbing his eyes.
Why had he accepted that ticket,
he hated the theater.

When he looked up again, it seemed
the stage itself had moved farther away —
he could barely make out the actors.

He was shuffling uncomfortably in his seat
when, from behind, a dark shadow of a man
leaned down and whispered in his ear:

“I will spare your life if you can make it
to the end of the show without snoring.”

He knew the menace was meant for real.
Without turning around he forced himself
to concentrate, to focus as he had never done,
although the stage seemed even further away.

Now there was only a small black dot before him.
He placed all of his attention on that and entered in.

He found himself in an unfamiliar setting —
was he still in New York, or someplace else,
an exotic room where golden robe-clad monks
were chanting, the aroma of incense filled the air.

On a jewel-laden throne a commanding being reclined.
When he held his hand up at last in a gesture of silence,
the chanting ceased and then the Shining One spoke:

“Welcome, Friend — you have come a long way.
Please relax for a while, then return to the play!”

The man rubbed his eyes, but when he looked up again,
the production had ended — he was home in his bed.

He rose up and showered, then dressed for the day.
He made coffee and toast, and walked to the door.

An envelope had been slipped across the floor —
a theater ticket — he’d done this before!


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