We were young and they told us lies.
We believed them because they too believed.
At least it seemed to us that they really believed,
though if they didn’t, they told the lies anyway,
because they felt that they must say something,
they had to explain, and they didn’t know
what else to say but the lies they themselves
had been told when they were also young
and ready to believe almost anything.
In any case they had something, they told themselves.
The alternative was not an option — without a belief
where would one be, who would they be?
Indeed, if enough people believe, it must be true,
or true enough to get by, and we all wanted that —
to get by, to persist, even though we were not sure
what it meant, or where our beliefs would lead us.
It was inevitable that we’d fall back on borrowed beliefs,
the convenient lies that pass for how and why and who,
and even at this time we still keep falling, believing
we are standing all the while on solid ground.
Regardless of anything else we claim to be,
we are all unique versions of our own religion.
Everyone is practicing the yoga of themselves,
despite nominal affiliation with any institution.
We worship at the altar of our magical thoughts,
and then project whole biblical stories based on
a fictional character we imagine ourselves to be.
We need to believe in our solid and independent existence
because otherwise, we fear we might fall into the void.
Likewise, those who once believed the earth was flat
feared sailing out to the horizon and falling into space.
When consciousness assumed these poignant forms,
it sailed out to sea and sank into the deep unknown.
We call it “life” and enjoy making up imaginative tales
to confirm that we are something, rather than nothing.
Something and nothing are two featured stories in which
we invest our beliefs, even though both are fantasies.
Beyond our personal daydreams there is no other religion,
but maybe that is too much to bear, maybe we aren’t ready.
We wave our flags, salute our dreams, and pledge allegiance
to the party, country, or god of choice, but set that aside,
relax, and sit very still — feel the body breathing.
When we pause to contemplate our own tenuous appearance,
isn’t it as if we are reflecting on a vague and restless dream?
For all of our efforts to acquire what we imagine we want,
should we somehow chance to encounter that world beyond
our fantasies of belief and fabrication, we invariably retreat
to the conditional safety and comfort of the bland familiar,
which for every dreamer is after all the dream in which
they so haplessly drift, absorbed in the scenes of time.
However, if we are able to persist in our focus of attention
to the timeless substratum upon which all of the manifest
and even the invisible realms depend for their existence,
we may discover that only the fluid poetry of mad savants
who have renounced belief, position, or any landing place
will serve to hint at the exquisite and ineffable light
which is awakened in those lovers who submit themselves
to the limitless infinite — our own true face and nature.
That luminosity is none other than the mystery which lives us
now and always, whether with our knowledge and consent
or not, it matters little — it is not a belief, it is what is,
there is only that, and thanks and praise be to it!
(Picture by Don Farrell)