This exquisite flower of life blooms
from the same source into which it rots
and returns, a mothering soil that unfailingly
will receive her own, the polished-off petals
and leaves of itself, all fallen into itself,
not comprehending any beginning,
middle, or end of itself.
The temple of mindless presence
where this ritual of dreamy blooming
and wilting is performed cannot be attended to
by thought, memory, feeling, or imagination.
Such kindling of the mind is just fuel
for the fire that the heart patiently tends
at an inner altar, submitted at last
for the sake of all burning beings.
We claim that we want Truth,
but then mightily resist enduring
the burning away of all that is not Truth.
Everything I’ve told myself
was spoken by a liar –
what’s fit to burn
when the breath goes out
has yearned for just this fire.
The greater the resistance,
the hotter that flame will burn.
I feed this relentless fire to discover
just how much of what I imagined
was myself, ever truly was.
These ashes speak for themselves.
What more is there to burn?
I look into my own mind.
Wherever attention rests,
I simply experience that, and notice
how all of it turns to ash, in the same way
no thought or feeling really lasts.
Resting deeply in whatever remains,
the desperate drive to know, to gain control,
mercifully crumbles and evaporates
when the fire at last has its way.
The fragrant ash from this immolation ceremony
permeates the welcoming earth, nourishing
seedlings with no roots in the known.
As I surrender into this, the life
I can no more resist, both hope and fear
wash clear and yield, and from that fertile
bed of ash an unknown flower blossoms into light.