questions about angels

Painting by Autumn Skye Morrison

 

Of all the questions you might want to ask

about angels, the only one you ever hear

is how many can dance on the head of a pin.

 

No curiosity about how they pass the eternal time

besides circling the Throne chanting in Latin

or delivering a crust of bread to a hermit on earth

or guiding a boy and girl across a rickety wooden bridge.

 

Do they fly through God’s body and come out singing?

Do they swing like children from the hinges

of the spirit world saying their names backwards and forwards?

Do they sit alone in little gardens changing colors?

 

What about their sleeping habits, the fabric of their robes,

their diet of unfiltered divine light?

What goes on inside their luminous heads? Is there a wall

these tall presences can look over and see hell?

 

If an angel fell off a cloud, would he leave a hole

in a river and would the hole float along endlessly

filled with the silent letters of every angelic word?

 

If an angel delivered the mail, would he arrive

in a blinding rush of wings or would he just assume

the appearance of the regular mailman and

whistle up the driveway reading the postcards?

 

No, the medieval theologians control the court.

The only question you ever hear is about

the little dance floor on the head of a pin

where halos are meant to converge and drift invisibly.

 

It is designed to make us think in millions,

billions, to make us run out of numbers and collapse

into infinity, but perhaps the answer is simply one:

one female angel dancing alone in her stocking feet,

a small jazz combo working in the background.

 

She sways like a branch in the wind, her beautiful

eyes closed, and the tall thin bassist leans over

to glance at his watch because she has been dancing

forever, and now it is very late, even for musicians.

 

– Billy Collins,  Questions About Angels: Poems
 Copyright © 1991


Sourced from the deliciously uplifting blog of Krayna Castelblaum – gratitude!


Painting by Autumn Skye Morrison


 

renounce

4am. Suddenly wideawake. Deep winter darkness. A hushed silence broken by one word echoing through the field called body:

renounce

I sat up. Lit a candle. Renounce? How curious that this unlikely word arose in mind here, at exactly the same time in the morning (it was a Saturday, too) as when she exhaled her last.

Pedant that I am, I reached sleepily for the dictionaries. I’m aware that my native tongue often hides subtle meanings beneath its everyday usage. First I clarified the breadth of meaning; as I did so the word took on skin-prickling relevance to my life, as it plays, nowadays.

Well, I thought, this is worth a scribble.

The dictionaries elicited an unarguable take on the life of this unofficial renunciate – I’ve inserted the gist into the pasted dictionary text:

Renounce – (rɪˈnaʊns)
v.t. & i., & n.

1. Consent formally to abandon, surrender, give up, (claim, right, possession).

– abandon, surrender, give up, all claims of personal doership, all stories of trauma, blame and fault, all rights to fruits of actions (especially those applauded), all possessions that are subject to change…

2. Repudiate, refuse to recognise longer, decline association or disclaim relationship with, withdraw from, discontinue, forsake, (~ treaty, principles, person’s authority, all thought of, design, attempt, friend, friendship; ~ the world, abandon society or temporal affairs).

– repudiate, refuse to recognise longer, decline association AND disclaim relationship with all that does not enliven, beautify, arouse gentleness and kindness; any phenomena (including people) posing as the Real or the agent of the Real. (The Real has no agents. Unless you include everything.)

– withdraw from, discontinue, forsake all conditioned assertions which deny the actual intimacy and interdependence of all Life. 

3. Refuse or resign right or position esp. as heir or trustee.

– refuse to take any hierarchical, authoritative position, or allow others to sign one up. (Which is not to abdicate responsibility, but to be perfectly placed – in choiceless awareness – to act in the instant.)

4. Give up some habit, pursuit, etc, voluntarily, e.g. to renounce smoking.

– give up the habit of pretending to be an unawakened ‘me’. It’s entirely dishonest.

5. In Card Games – to failure to follow suit because one has no cards of the same suit led.

– and in the Life Game, fail to follow, always. Repeat – fail to follow. The lifemap wearing one’s name is unique – a one-off – its unfolding exquisitely designed according to Life’s unknowable agenda (and being a groupie is always a self-betrayal).

[From Old French renoncer, from Latin renuntiāre to disclaim, from re-+ nuntiāre to announce, from nuntius messenger – Collins English Dictionary and The Concise Oxford Dictionary]


Five times I say: I do, I do, I do, I do, I do.

And another twice, because I’m fond of sevens (and so was she):

I do. I do.

– miriam louisa


Painting by Sophie Ploeg


the primordial call

Gangaji speaks about the call that comes from deep within – the aching longing to know again what has been ever known, purely and absolutely, to be the truth of who one is. 2.07 minutes.
 


More videos from Gangaji


the altar of this moment

A beautiful poem for a Sunday: The Altar of this Moment by Dorothy Hunt.

 
For Simone, who was gratefulness and generosity embodied. And who left us seven days ago.

Reblogged with gratitude from the wondrous science and nonduality website


Photograph by Juliana Nan

 

Place everything you can perceive—
everything you can
see,
hear,
smell,
taste,
or touch,
upon the altar of this moment
and give thanks.

It is over so soon—
this expression,
this single moment of your precious life,
this one heart
pounding itself open
with fear or wild joy,

this one breath rising
in the cold winter air
smoothly and gently
or coughing and sputtering.

Bow, while you can, before
this one taste
of afternoon tea
warming its way to your belly,
or the fragrant orange
exploding its sweet juice
in your grateful mouth.

You have to love
the antics of your mind,
imagining life should only be sweet.
The bitter makes the sweet; and life is both.
It is whole, like you,
before you think yourself to pieces.

Place this moment’s pain and confusion on the altar, too,
and give special thanks for such grace
that wakes you up from sleeping through your life.
Pain is greatly under-rated as a pointer to Unknowing,
yet greatly over-rated when taken as identity.

In this one moment,
your eyes meet mine and there is
a single looking.
What is peering from behind our masks?
Can it touch itself across the room?

Place your palms together;
touch your holy skin.
In another moment it will shed itself.
What will you be then?
What were you before you had two hands?
What are you now?

You cannot capture That
and place It on the altar of this moment.
It is the altar,
and this moment’s infinite expressions,
and the Seeing,
and its own devotion to itself.

You are That.

Dorothy Hunt

 


Image credit – Juliana Nan


Also by Dorothy Hunt:
when God comes in your house


you are the sun in drag

It’s April Fools’ Day – a good day to awaken from a huge hoax. Hafiz spells it out.

The Great Sun, by William Blake

– – –

You are the sun in drag.

You are God hiding from yourself.

 

Remove all the “mine”— that is the veil.

 

Why ever worry about

anything?

 

Listen to what your friend Hafiz

knows for certain:

the appearance of this world

is a Magi’s brilliant trick, though its affairs are

nothing into nothing.

 

You are a divine elephant with amnesia

trying to live in an ant

hole.

 

Sweetheart, O sweetheart

you are God in

drag!

 


The Sun in Drag, by Hafiz, from The Gift: Poems of Hafiz, the Great Sufi Master
Purported to be translated from the original Persian (Farsi) by Daniel Ladinsky.


Image: The Great Sun, by William Blake


 

when you know yourself

Rajasthan, India, Tantric Painting

 

when you know yourself

you know that there is nothing that is not God

you know that the face of God
is the Face of faces
you know It as both He and She
and neither: nada
you know It as the Beloved
whose embrace you can’t escape
you know Its Presence as your
absence, or rather,
your secret sensuous melting
into the ever-nowness of your aliveness

when you know yourself

you know that there is nothing
that is not this immeasurable immensity,
always hiding in plain view

you know It as the Nameless One
wearing any nametag with equal delight,
quivering like a child’s smile
simply to be noticed

Beloved
when you know yourself

you know that there is nothing that is not yourself

– miriam louisa


Image – Hindu Tantric painting, Rajasthan, India. Made using tempera, gouache, and watercolor on salvaged papers, these paintings from Rajasthan form a distinct lexicon dating back to the 17th century. They were/are used to awaken heightened states of consciousness. They are not produced for commercial purposes, but simply pinned up on the wall for use in private meditation.
In the example above, the lingam and the yoni have swapped their traditional colour depictions; the intense black of the lingam has become pink and the pink of the yoni is now black. (Lest we forget that the Dance of Consciousness is infinitely mutable, utterly defying all labels.)
The lingam represents Shiva, the transcendental source of all that exists; the yoni is the creative power of nature and represents the goddess Shakti.  The lingam united with the yoni represents the nonduality of immanent reality and transcendental potentiality.

Tantra Song: Tantric Painting from Rajasthan


 

please take these offerings

They often sneak up on me at this time of the year – a gaggle of words-wanting-shared. Yes, it’s birthday time – not a blog birthday, but another tick in the annual count for she-who-scribbles while her spacecraft steers itself around the sun…

Birthdays are a good time to reflect on one’s blessings, and to offer gratitude to our friends for their kindness and thoughtfulness. I always begin my birthday with a gesture of thanks to my mother, who not only gave me the miraculous opportunity for life, but also fostered, nourished and inspired the flourishing of that life in every way possible.

Now in my eighth decade, and delighting in a life of sweetness and contentment, I feel to share some of the observations that have delivered me to this joy. It’s the best I can offer; may your hands and heart be able to receive.
 

Image source - https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/BoneStructure/

 

Life hurts.
But what you are never feels pain.

Everything changes.
But what you are remains unchanged, eternally.

You’re flat and exhausted and depressed.
But what you are is forever poised as equanimity.

You’re broke, stressed, squeezed dry, homeless and hungry.
But what you are is unaffected and impartial.

You’re smashed by disappointment, betrayal, abandonment.
But what you are is ever calm, accepting and unbroken.

You’re afflicted by physical and mental aberrations, abnormalities, imbalances.
But what you are never suffers for one second.

 

So what you are is clearly something with which you need to become very familiar. And it’s e-a-s-y to do so. You don’t need a formal introduction. You don’t need a manual or a map or a guide book. You don’t need to change your religion or your beliefs (although changes may well occur as a result). You don’t need a 12-step plan or a meditation practice.

What you are is more obvious and closer than the tip of your nose. It’s the one experience you can never escape, 24/7.

What would you call that? Your aliveness? Your awareness? Your presence? All these words come close, but none are ultimately true or exact. Why?

Because they aren’t yours. Or mine. Or anyone’s. Drop the personal pronoun, and there you are – radiant all-knowing alive presence. The Light of Knowingness, self-luminous, always-on, never-needing fuel or flint…

And that is what you are – free, fulfilled and flourishing as all you conceive, perceive and experience. All of it.

How wondrous that this is possible – that this primordial awareness is huge enough to hold the entirety of creation, excluding nothing – yet be unaffected and unmoved by any expression of its handmaiden, consciousness.

It is truly The Beloved, the Godhead of the saints and sages and poets.

And it is what you are.

 


Image source