No Death

You stood at the doorway and said:

“The only reason I can bear it is

I know there is no death.”

I looked up from my tears and saw

how radiant you looked, that perfect smile

that had given me the reason for living

when none had been there before,

just an endless parade of ghostly forms

fading in and out, a jumbled chaos of sounds

like a broadcast from an untuned radio frequency,

and then your song came wafting through,

so rich and warm, so clear and lovely,

I sat back, breathless, and it was then

I knew I could bear it, because

I knew there was no death.

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Movie Time

That peculiar state where laughter and tears seem to merge — that’s me at birth: laughter for what I have become, and tears for where I’ve landed. Perhaps your experience was different, though I rarely hear of newborns laughing. Most of us are usually stunned at what has happened, until some giant person in a white costume slaps our butt. Hey — welcome to Earth!

Ah, cry me a river, but supposedly we wanted the experience, and probably not for the first time. Some of us apparently fancy the opportunity to repeatedly show up, eat and excrete, and vote for the candidate of somebody else’s choice. What fun! Nevertheless, this is not about politics. Not that much, anyway.

Just so, back to the laughter. Upon inspection, doesn’t there seem to be an intrinsic humor weaving in and out of this whole affair, regardless of wherever and whatever we momentarily are? The fact that we are anywhere, masquerading as anybody, is actually a perfectly good cause for laughing out loud, but somehow along the way we learn to take it all in stride, buckle down with an appropriate frown, and dutifully accept our role in the technicolor movie of ME, with all of the amazing/mundane and/or sublime/ridiculous virtual adventures that comprise each life’s narrative plot.

On the other hand, given the way things seem to be, one might wonder whether self-destruction is a phase humans have to go through on the way to annihilation, or is there another collective behavioral choice which we have yet to figure out.

True, that’s no laughing matter, but perhaps a little humor might serve to help steer an alternate course, a happier one than the looming, sorry fate to which we seem so irrevocably committed, even as we scratch and bite and scream at each other through the night here on this pretty blue rock, drifting casually through the cool immensity of god almighty space.

Some claim that all of this was planned out in pre-existence, perhaps in some strategy room in the spirit world where everyone colluded in choosing various forms of disturbingly immature behavior for their earthly forms to manifest. This, they say, is to create lessons that we in turn keep forgetting. Isn’t that in itself somewhat disturbing? Well yes, but even so, we have to laugh, because the alternative is rather gloomy: taking it all seriously, that is, which only seems to make things worse.

Some of the religiously-oriented among us might ask: “What would Jesus do?” Well, from what I’m told, he cashed out at 33, but I’m already twice that age, and the only miracle I can do is to turn my Social Security check into wine at the local Bargain Outlet. Three cheers for wine (in moderation of course)! Here’s to you, Jesus – and thanks for the Church, what a barrel of laughs!

Alternately, did Buddha bust out in a fit of laughter when he woke up under that tree one morning? Well, he might have, judging by all of the smiling Buddha statues people place in their gardens. Nirvana means extinction – now there’s a happy thought! No choir of angels, no seventy-two virgins waiting to discover who the lucky fellow is that they are going to be spending eternity with, no streets paved with gold, no mansions in my father’s house – just vast emptiness with nothing holy in it. Warms the heart and brings a smile, eh!

Metaphysics aside, who doesn’t like a good movie? Regardless of age, race, gender, or nominal affiliation, we all enjoy a good show! It seems we keep coming back because we can’t get enough – comedies, tragedies, thrillers, and more – we love to be entertained, and hence the world we’ve collectively created to live and die in. It’s a laugh, it’s a scream, it’s the craziest dream, and it all seems so real we stay glued to the screen! Still feeling forlorn? Here, have some popcorn!





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El Camino Real

Slowly disintegrating, crumbling right before my eyes – a cavalcade of beliefs, assumptions, allegiances, coherent views and opinions, the body itself, the central thought that keeps the matrix pulsing: “I”. Good bye! Good bye to the mime of me and mine — you never were, none of it was, so Good bye, Good bye!

Ah, but what of the sorry state of things, the off-key songs that the candidates sing, the fate of the country, my dwindling money, the perils faced by a world in crisis, mad children who kill in the name of ISIS, the whole solar system heating up, the poisons swirling in my coffee cup, of light versus dark on a cosmic scale, the hunting of whales, of petitions to sign and the cost of good wine?

Inhale, exhale, take a step back, a big step back to where it all started — what is there for the broken-hearted? Is it just hot air? Is the great Breath of God just a sigh of hot air, spawning the great galactic dust, the stars we trust, the whirl of worlds both seen and unseen, this endless dream, the immediate scene, the beating heart of vast empty space, the place where we go and leave no trace?

When the breath goes out with a whimper or shout, and what is left is fit to burn, I will not return, nor re-appear as a meme in a post from a hungry ghost, drifting in mists at the fabled Lost Coast. I’ll be with the one whom I love the most. Yes, I’ll be with the one whom I love the most.

But Hey Ho – now we’re back on the road today, El Camino Real, the royal path forward to the place we began, where we can start over, all over again, where nobody needs to pay to play, where the deer and the antelope have their say, where never is heard a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day, Yay — and the skies are not cloudy all day!



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The word “solitude” implies being alone, but although we can perhaps imagine being in a reclusive physical environment where no other people are present, we are still appearing in the midst of consciousness, extending everywhere and including everything as consciousness, eternally alone with itself, before and after any big bang, slight whimper, delighted giggle, or poignant sigh.

Imagine being aware of everything that has ever happened, and everyone who has ever existed, down to the most miniscule and intimate detail. No secrets, nothing to hide, nothing to exclude. The whole parade of time itself is happening in a single cognizant moment, a moment in which everyone is aware of everything, with no gaps, no interruptions, just one sweet moment stretching in all directions simultaneously, like a vast ocean without any shore . . .

just one impossible moment with no beginning nor end, a nowhere space in which nothing rises up to separate itself, and yet brightly pulsates with numberless unique gleams of light, shimmering like diamond facets, collectively representing the flashing thought forms of every linked mind manifesting instantaneously — one mind with no solidity, just pin points in a web of light, a swarm of fire flies dancing madly in the air on a warm summer night . . .

and perhaps a soft hum, barely audible, so delicious and entrancing, floating by now on a velvety breeze as we recline luxuriously on a petal, a leaf . . . and it is nothing really — a passing daydream, a life, an inhalation, exhalation.

We are curious. From the womb of our solitude we follow that breeze, that seductive music, and in so doing we tumble through countless experiences, countless lives of joy and terror and pleasure and pain, so many adventures we could never explain, until at last we find ourselves here, here where we have always been . . .

Yes, it was a dream, a dream all along, and so we dance, madly like fire flies, and this is all before and after any big bang, slight whimper, delighted giggle, or poignant sigh . . .



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Ambient Reverie

I am traveling by foot through thick mountain mists. I must keep my eyes on the ground to avoid missteps. Occasionally a shadow of a tall evergreen will loom out of the fog as if to snatch me in its branching arms and pull me close, close enough so that I can feel its life force flowing through its roots and up along its trunk. It slowly ascends in a winding spiral that lifts me out of my thoughts and fills my skull with some luminous nectar.

When I let myself be drawn into its mystic embrace I am sifted like smoke, wafting into another dimension of feeling — not anything with a name, but sensuous and rich, like the music of some exotic ambient composition compelling attention towards an ever-receding horizon, a horizon engulfed by billows and layers of multicolored mists.

There is a fog horn in the distance echoing in a repetitive droning harmony that mesmerizes, captivates . . . Long ago, yes, I remember long ago it reverberated softly through my dreams, and I did not recognize it then for what it was, the sound of my own life synchronizing with time and all of its hypnotic charms.

In this way, I became aware of myself as a being, a matrix of perception emerging from a fog, born from a misty womb without a name, except that it was white, radiant, and though leaving its warm comfort behind seemed risky, there really was no choice. The choice had already been made by the being I was before I became the being I am, the one now carefully making its way through these mists, drifting along this mountain trail that seems to never end.

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The Campground

In the beginning the universe was like a lovely campground in the forest. A sparkling river ran alongside it, a trout stream stocked with leaping fish full of joy and silent song. A beautiful light filtered through the tall trees of the camp site, and multicolored dust motes danced in the beams of stars that bathed the forest.

There were many individual camp spots, with hewn logs and picnic tables and barbecue grills where families gathered and told stories about the days to come. The family of man came, and the Joads, and my family, before I was born. How happy they were, for no particular reason, except to have somehow acquired a good camp ground in the midst of the vastness.

One thing I learned which I will tell you now, whether you think it might be so or not: the humans are made of frogs, assembled together to give the appearance of an actual human person, but when we die, the frogs go off hopping in different directions. What is left? That is the important thing. You have to discover this, it is crucial. You will notice that there was never a real human person. Nevertheless, there is certainly something, rather than a mere nothing.

Just so, I came to fish along the river banks, but when I waded into the stream I encountered a trout who transformed into a tall woman. I sang to her and then we sang together. It was so natural, so lovely. It was not like at night, when the frogs are all singing. That is beautiful in a different way. This was our spontaneous song, unique in its own way, totally improvised from the confluence of innocent water and light. Pure radiance!

Every sound is its own song, and we can hear all the songs because we are the source of their music, yes, all of it starts with us, but where do we start? At the campground in the forest, where the river runs laughing and splashing so happy and free? I don’t know this. Nobody knows, and so we all sing, sing, sing! And there is more, so much more!


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Note on the Mirror

1. The world as you perceive it is not real

2. You are not who you imagine yourself to be

3. You are not going to figure it out

4. Trying to hold on to things is futile

5. Whatever is will cease to be

6. Thoughts are not your friends

7. Spirituality is an obstruction

8. Sacred texts are distractions

9. There is no special attainment to pursue

10. There is nobody in control

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