a duet of paradox and praise

Two heart-healing poems from Chuck Surface.

I found these on the poetry blog – being silently drawn – one of my favourite online oases for mind medicine. Thank you Tina Koskelo.

First, the paradox of our wideawakeness: How can it be that we are not this or that but thisthat? How can it be that we are simultaneously wave and particle? How can we reconcile apparent dualism with the unsplitable reality of our experience? As it turns out, this endeavour on the part of the insatiable thinker is less paradoxical than it would have us believe.

Like, can there be more than one meaning to ONE?

And then, a little hymn to the Beloved.


Richard Diebenkorn - Coffee, 1959


cream, two sugars, please


Within… Fullness, Completion, and Bliss,

Without… She prefers milk chocolate to dark.


Within… nothing can be added, nothing taken away,

Without… everything comes to Her, and goes.


Within… Unmoving, Ineffable Sublimity,

Without… She experiences ever changing manifestation.


Within… joy and sorrow have never been,

Without… She Shines, even in the midst of tears.


Within… time and space have never existed,

Without… She is born, grows old, and dies.


Within… within and without never were,

Without… within and without ever are.


Within… no preferences, propensities, proclivities,

Without… cream, two sugars, please.


Within… The Sun Shines,

Without… All is Illumined.





There’s no intimacy in talking “about” The Beloved,

Moving away from Her into words and concepts,

As if She is not Present.


How rude.


She exists in the Quiet Stillness of our Heart,

When Attention returns from outward wandering,

And falls into Her awaiting arms.


How Inexpressibly Beautiful.


Some have turned Her into a science,

And argue Her existence, lawyerly.

They know nothing of Her.


Arid minds.


She cannot be “proven” through argument,

Or anyone “convinced” of Her reality,

Short of direct Experience.


Direct… Experience.


Only Longing entices the Beloved,

From Her Secret Garden…

In the Cave of your Heart.


How Ineffably… Sublime.


Chuck’s poetry website is In the Garden of the Beloved – a place to rest, and be both soothed and intoxicated.

Richard Diebenkorn, Coffee, 1959; oil on canvas, 57 1/2 in. x 52 1/4 in.
[Did you notice the bindi?]

Collection: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

the primary fact

Sometimes a stunning image calls for an equally knock-out quote. I’m moved to post this one from Nisargadatta, because there’s so much misunderstanding around the ‘primary fact’. It shows up as stories that equate Reality with divine or sublime objects, or posit that it’s an experience one should strive to attain (via a smorgasbord of profit-earning materials and activities). It’s touted to ‘bring’ peace, happiness, awakening, enlightenment, and of course the obliteration of all our messy emotions as well as the problems we have with ‘others’.

Bring? The primary fact is that these supposed attributes are immanent in every case.

The primary fact is not metaphorical, mythical, magical or mystical. It’s not able to be experienced yet all experiences depend upon it for their existence. It is prior to anything conceivable and depends upon nothing for its absolute and ever-available presence.

And yet: It can only be apperceived as its display. How sweet is that?


Tree of Life: photograph by Kenneth Mucke


Beyond the mind there is no such thing as experience.

Experience is a dual state.

You cannot talk of reality as an experience. Once this is understood, you will no longer look for being and becoming as separate and opposite. In reality they are one and inseparable like roots and branches of the same tree.

Both can exist only in the light of consciousness, which again, arises in the wake of the sense ‘I am’.

This is the primary fact.

If you miss it, you miss all.

– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That


What are the implications of this view?

There is only The Dance. Today you are as twinkle-toed as a prima ballerina. Yesterday you dragged those feet as though they were cast in lead. Tomorrow? Who knows what will arise and choreograph your steps with exquisite fidelity to your patterned preferences and aversions?

It’s all the same, beloveds: Reality r-e-a-l-s on regardless; it only has one pair of shoes.


the great perfection

Photograph: Tree of Life, copyright Kenneth Mucke: more information here.

you are the light of the world

You are the Light of the World


There is only one thing that stands in the way of our radiant true nature of innate unconditional happiness and peace and living light. It is our negative, self-defeating, insecure thoughts and beliefs, and the actions and behaviors that flow from such thoughts and beliefs.

We can habitually become so absorbed into such thoughts that they begin to take us over and define us and project them selves out into the world around us, as “us”. But we do not have to believe these thoughts. They do not really define who we are. They define who we have THOUGHT we are.

In reality, we are undefinable. We are a radiant light that spontaneously shines through us in a somewhat different way in each moment. How can THAT really be defined? 

But we can begin to question all these thoughts that block the light. Questioning them is itself, a powerful spiritual practice. This questioning will weaken these thoughts and beliefs and will eventually, dislodge them.

And when they begin to dislodge themselves and fall away, our true, radiant, peaceful and unconditionally happy nature can shine forth into a world that so desperately needs it! The source of this light is the same light in all of us. It is the same source in you and in me. But it shines through you and through me in an absolutely unique and wonderful way that can never be reproduced again.

If we don’t let this light loose in our world, it will be a great loss for the world and for us. We are here to shine, to radiate this light out into our world in our own unique way, so that those living around us can enjoy it and dance with it. And we are also here to simply enjoy the shining of that light ourselves! We too can dance with the light!

– Francis Bennett

Sourced from Francis Bennett’s Facebook Page; used with permission.

Francis Bennett was a Roman Catholic, Trappist monk for a number of years.

In 2010, while in the middle of a Church Service in his monastery in Montreal, Francis suddenly experienced what he has come to call, “a radical perceptual shift in consciousness”, in which he discovered the ever present presence of spacious, pure awareness. He came to see that this awareness is actually the unchanging essence of who he really is and always has been; the Supreme Self, talked about by many sages and saints from many spiritual traditions down through the ages. He also came to see simultaneously, that this vast, infinite sense of presence at the center of his being (and at the center of the being of everyone else on the planet) is actually not at all separate from the presence of God, which he had been looking for during his many years as a monk and spiritual seeker.

Francis is now living a “new incarnation” as a spiritual teacher in the contemporary, Non-Dual spiritual Tradition. Francis offers a blend of the Buddhist Traditions he deeply studied, the contemplative Christian mystical tradition which he lived during his many years in monastic life, as well as the Hindu Advaita-Vedanta teaching of Sri Ramana Maharshi, who has been a very profound influence on Francis for about the last 12 years or so.

Sourced from Francis’s website: finding grace at the center

Image source

my brilliant image

light will someday split you open

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



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


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
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