Across the dusky sky of mind
all my birds of thought are leaving,
yet somehow now I can’t stop smiling –
this late at night, one bird keeps singing.
That bird is You, the One Who dreams
this whole thing up – this sky, these birds,
this endlessly enchanting bird song
on the cusp of quiescent extinction.
Yes, it must be You, since You’re the One
Who lives us! When our head bows down
to touch the ground, you are that ground,
the head, and the bowing.
When the light across the sky is changing,
it is only You that changes. You’re never the same
shine of light, even though You never change,
but only become more and more You.
In a display of humor beyond compare,
You are the One Who gave us this mind –
what a grand comedian!
Even though it has no endurance, we employ it
to imagine some personal continuity. Even though
it had no beginning, we want it to never end.
Even though it cannot be grasped, we are always
trying to get hold of it. Even though it cannot be
tamed, we are always trying to control it.
Even though it is immovable, it seems to wander
all over the place. Even though it can’t be found,
it leaves its trace in every face. Here, there, everywhere –
what could be more obvious!
A big waste of time would be trying to make
some religion out of it. When it appears in saints,
it does not become holy. When it appears in demons,
it does not become evil.
It is the same in both heaven and hell,
in right thoughts and wrong, in temples as well as
in saloons, in nirvana as well as samsara, in mosquitoes
as well as Buddhas, in the ardent lover and vicious hater,
in the barking dog and the opera diva, in the peaceful pilgrim
and violent warrior, in cacophonies of words and deepest silence.
But let’s not bother with any of that,
right now I just want to talk about You!
Your Mercy is never in question, except for those
still confused by any preference. Your Silence is enough,
though if anyone feels the sudden urge to scream, it’s safe
to say: You’re the screamer, the screaming, the scream!
Before a single thought arises, You are present
and unaccounted for. Before the beginningless beginning,
You are the foundation and function of pure consciousness –
inconceivable — but we still like to make up names for You,
like Source, Supreme Self, or Dharmakaya.
You are the projector, and You that screen on which
all is projected, so we may as well cook some spirit popcorn,
sit back, and enjoy Your eternal show, since You are
also the mind’s supreme projection!
When You meditate upon Yourself, everything becomes
open and perfectly transparent — a welcome breeze
on a lazy summer afternoon, or fresh-fallen snow
where dogs and children romp about, imitating You.
Either way, You cast no vote – You’re busy
with Your Mysterious Way, and that’s the gist
of this poem, this play. You are the featured film
of the day, and the characters, props, and ingenious plot
are nothing but Your utterly engaging display!
You are the lover we leave to be with the lover
You are. You are the Great Soul our souls are
entwined within – You Yourself are the twining.
Those who imagine they are working on themselves
are like children blowing bubbles that pop in the air.
When the work is over You don’t rest. You Are Rest.
You are what works, even when it seems to not.
Undeterred by the exquisite calamity currently appearing
in the universal funhouse mirror, You flip the switch
and nothing happens. In Reality, nothing happens!
To actually be able to appreciate that
is Your generous Gift.
You alone are the Giver, the Giving,
the Gifted, and the Gift!
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
The evidence that anything other than You
might even exist becomes more difficult to fall for
the longer one contemplates You — the Light
behind the mind that grants all these astonishing birds
the miraculous power of flight.
Body/Mind/Soul/Light – that’s all Your Idea,
Your dreamy dream, as are all the brilliant birds,
beings, and blessings You’ve dreamed up to populate
Your perfect Sky of Mind, Your Mind of Love.
I fly to You through the Sky of Mind, though it is really
only You, being Yourself, and flying without moving!
When the mind flies into the heart, everyone lands back
on the original tree where they began, though no one
has really ever gone anywhere.
You whirl in place and Nothing happens:
no creation, nor destruction, no departure or arrival,
nothing to anticipate, so nothing to regret.
The pure confusion this creates is the perfect play
of Your mysterious compassion. One might call it
“The Wound of Love”.
You opened Your hand and I flew out. I fly
through the sky with Your wound in my heart,
trailing a ribbon of tears and laughter.
You’re the open wound in every heart –
and You, it’s perfect mending.