when God comes in your house

Nothing’s left but what is looking,
yet everything you see is you.

Image source - http://favim.com/image/4582/

 

The Invitation

When God comes in your house
it is only by your invitation,
but even your invitation is God’s,
for she has always been
landlady and tenant,
windows and walls,
the fire in your hearth
and the cold wind blowing at your door.

At first, her visits seem so welcome.
She brings tea and cookies and loves you
so sweetly inside your own heart.
You keep inviting her back
by your prayers and meditations,
imagining you’ve found the one you always wanted
who will hold you on her endless lap
and take away your pain forever.

But pretty soon, she starts arriving
unexpectedly, at odd hours of the day and night,
and every time she comes,
she takes something away–
a pretty picture here, a bookcase there,
maybe even some trash
you are happy to be rid of
in your basement.

But at some point, it occurs to you
she intends to move in completely.
And now the mind starts backing up:
“Perhaps you could come back another day,
after I’ve worked on my house,
after I’ve bought nicer furniture,
after I’ve finished my fight with evil,
after I’ve planted a peace garden.”

But you must know
that if you invite God in,
sooner or later she will set up house,
and when she does, beware;
for she tosses out every single thing
she does not need, which,
in the case of the personality,
is every single thing you thought you were.

Every thought and cherished belief
she just throws out on the garbage heap;
and that might be fine if she replaced them,
but she never replaces those sacred thoughts;
she utterly destroys them. She strips the coverings
off the walls, and peels the paper from the window glass,
opens the door to invite in the wind,
and every creature you wanted kept out.

Sometimes she cleans your house gently,
dismantling it room by room.
But often, she just comes in with a torch,
and you feel in your gut the fire burn
in the center of your separate comfort,
and you watch the contents of your house
melt and turn to ash,
and the roof blow off.

And just when you think
there is nothing more that she could take,
she opens the ground beneath
the barely intact shell of your house,
and all the levels of your being
fall into the space that has no name;
and you are left alone in all the world,
without a map, without a path, without a point of view.

And you know you are creator of your dreams,
your dreams of mountains and rivers,
calm seas and storm clouds,
crashes of lightning and spacecraft,
beautiful babies asleep at the breast,
joyful dancing and puppies at play,
Spring’s new blossoms,
and the threat of Winter’s war.

And at this point,
what you are inside your house
is simply What is looking out.
Nothing’s left but what is looking,
yet everything you see is you.
Now your life turns inside out.
Your body is the world of being
looking out of Just What Is.

And strange as it seems
to the mind of your memory,
you enjoy each dance of yourself,
even the pains you hoped to be rid of,
you experience fully without regret.
For everywhere your eye may look,
all it sees is infinite love
displaying itself in creation.

And just to be completely honest,
there are times you might be tempted
to rebuild your house of concepts,
for the mind just loves to think;
but the fire of Truth resides within you,
where it always lived before you knew,
and it keeps revealing moment to moment
what is false and what is true.

So what can be said about what happens
when God takes over her house?
She laughs and simply sips her tea,
washes her dishes and sleeps when it’s time,
then goes to find another house
where there has been an invitation,
an invitation to come in
from the deep, deep love of Herself.

© Dorothy Hunt, Only This!


Dorothy Hunt is the founder of the San Francisco Center for Meditation and Psychotherapy, and serves as Spiritual Director and President of Moon Mountain Sangha, Inc., a California non-profit religious corporation. Dorothy currently offers meditation and satsang gatherings, weekend intensives and retreats, and also sees individuals for both psychotherapy and dokusan (private meetings with a spiritual teacher.) Her teaching is centered in the San Francisco Bay Area, but is offered elsewhere by invitation.
WEBSITE


one day you finally knew

When tempted to deviate from one’s own authenticity, to parrot the songs of other souls – however exalted, to stay over-long attempting to fix heal or recover that which no longer serves the fledgling understanding of inter being, to succumb (yet again) to the programmed imperative to “be good”, it’s helpful to revisit Mary Oliver’s poem The Journey. Let it reorient the inner compass to heart-point central, where the myth of separation finds no foothold. Let it whisper a reminder that we have a unique voice – however timid and hidden away it may be – and that allowing it to sing out will not only save our own life, but also the life of the world. For truly, there is no separation. Let us do this for each other. Please.

– – –

Still from Steven Spielberg's film: The Color Purple

 

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do –
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Mary Oliver

 


Image:  Movie still from the Steven Spielberg classic – The Color Purple


this luscious luminosity

A selection of favourite word-weavings on the theme that underpins this blog, beginning and closing with beloved Rumi.

I drank that wine of which the soul is its vessel.
Its ecstasy has stolen my intellect away.

A light came and kindled a flame
in the depth of my soul.

A light so radiant that
the sun orbits around it
like a butterfly.

– Rumi

 

Light-Moth. Source - Amrita Nadi

 

I, the light of pure Knowing, can never be seen as an object or known as a state,
and yet all objects and states shine with My light alone.

– Rupert Spira


The great, shining light of divinity is not a light you can see;
it’s a light that sees.

– Adyashanti


Life is this simple: we are living in a world that is absolutely transparent
and the divine is shining through it all the time.

This is not just a nice story or a fable,
it is true.

– Thomas Merton


Such love does
the sky now pour,
that whenever I stand in a field,

I have to wring out the light
when I get
home.

– St. Francis of Assisi


Meditation is that light in the mind which lights the way for action;
and without that light there is no love.

– J Krishnamurti


You are the light of the world.
You are the consciousness that illuminates the world.
Know yourself as that, and that’s freedom, liberation, awakening,
the end of suffering and madness.

– Eckhart Tolle


Vast is That, and self-luminous, of unthinkable form, and subtler than the atom.
It shines forth, farther than the far, and yet It is very near, for those who see,
residing in the shrine of the heart of every being.

– Mundaka Upanashad


The lamps are different, but the Light is the same.

So many garish lamps in the dying brain’s lamp-shop.
Forget about them.

– Rumi


and this Light does know all other light as its shadow


Image credit and first Rumi poem – Amrita Nadi on Facebook


hold them to your heart

Image credit: Awakening Women on Facebook

 

they will tell you
to never bow down
before anyone

they will tell you
not to give away
your “own” power

they will pour scorn
on your invocations
and your prayers

they will dismiss
your open-hearted ache
for all things wild and abused

they will laugh
at your love affair
with silence

hold them to your heart –
they know not what they do

they do not know
the open secret
too obvious for the intellect,
too close to be grasped

they do not know
the bliss of humility
that bathes the body
and silences the mind
when one has melted into All
and all flows into One

expressing as It wills
(and knowing it, or not)

– miriam louisa

 


Image credit: Awakening Women on Facebook

silence stillness simplicity serenity solitude

How wondrous that the words most intensely meaningful for me at present – in my mountain hermitage – all begin with the letter ‘s’.   Aren’t these words delicious?  Can’t you feel the way each one somehow lifts you by the heart-strings, delivering you into the mystery beyond words?

Longtime readers of this little blog will be familiar with my abiding love of retreats of any kind.  Oh, the sublime depth of noble silence, the absence of encroachment by mind-fueled noise!  In the days of Great Busyness my torpedo-like life needed the balance gifted by formal retreat.  Here on Kiels Mountain I relish each of these words and I smile, recognizing that my appetite for retreat has manifested a full-time “retreat lifestyle”.

Slow motion opens the mind.
Smooth motion opens the heart.
Slow smooth motion
turns on
the inexplicable delight.
– Paul Reps

This post is a smorgasbord of offerings from some favorite writers and sages.

.

Ura-Senke: approach to the Tea House, Kyoto, Japan

Silence and spaciousness go together.
The immensity of silence is the immensity of the mind in which a center does not exist.

– J Krishnamurti

*

Stop talking, stop thinking, and there is nothing will not understand.

Return to the root and you will find the Meaning.

Persue the Light, and you will lose its source.

There is no need to seek Truth: only stop having opinions.

– Seng-ts’an / Sosan

*

Silence is not acoustic.  It is a change of mind, a turning around.

– John Cage

*

Silent and serene, forgetting words
Bright clarity appears before you.

When you reflect it, you become vast.
Where you embody it, you are uplifted.

Solitary and shining, a river of stars,
Snow covered pines,
Clouds enveloping the peak.

In darkness it is most bright,
While hidden all the more manifest.

The crane dreams in the winter mist.
The autumn waters flow far in the distance.
Endless kalpas are totally empty,
All things completely the same.

When wonder exists in serenity,
all achievement is forgotten in illumination.

Only silence is the supreme speech,
Only illumination the universal response.

Responding without falling into achievement,
Speaking without involving listeners,
The ten thousand forms majestically glisten
And expound the dharma.

– Wanshi Shogaku

*

It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brothers. The more solitary I am the more affection I have for them…. Solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers for what they are, not for what they say.

– Thomas Merton

*

In my travels I spent time with a great yogi.
Once he said to me.

“Become so still you hear the blood flowing
through your veins.”

One night as I sat in quiet,
I seemed on the verge of entering a world inside so vast
I know it is the source of
all of
us.

– Mirabi

*

That’s all you have to do – just abide in that stillness.

If you know how to be with that stillness without looking for anything else then that stillness is no longer just a stillness and that stillness is the Buddha Mind, it is the luminous awareness.

In that stillness you are going to discover your true nature.

The discovery of your true nature is the true liberation, is the bodhi, is the great awakening.

– Tulku Thubten Rinpoche

*

I teach silence
in all languages
through intensive examination of:
the starry sky,
the Sinanthropus’ jaws,
a grasshopper’s hop,
an infant’s fingernails,
plankton,
a snowflake.

– Wislawa Szymborska
Classifieds

*

… full understanding can come to you only through an inexpressible mystery.

The approach to it is called the Gateway of the Stillness beyond all Activity.

If you wish to understand, know that a sudden comprehension comes when the mind has been purged of all the clutter of conceptual and discriminatory thought-activity.

Those who seek the truth by means of intellect and learning only get further and further away from it.

Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thoughts of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be on the right road to the Gate.

– Huang Po

*

In the end it’s all very simple.
Either we give ourselves to Silence or we don’t.

– Adyashanti

*

This is not magic.  It’s not mysterious.  Sit down in a chair or on your couch and don’t make a decision when to get up, and just feel.  And all of sudden it will become obvious.  Your body will start to move with the feeling and you’ll just be getting up.  Try it sometime.  It’s interesting.

Spend a day like that; just feeling, not moving until you feel.  If your mind is asking you, “is this the right feeling?” you’ll never get it.  It’s like thirst.  When you’re thirsty, you’re thirsty.  That’s knowledge, that’s direct knowing.  What would you say to somebody if they said, “how do I know when I’m thirsty?”  Well, you’ll feel the flow of it.  But if a mind was involved, the mind might even feel thirsty and the mind would go, “how do I know that that’s thirst?  How do I know?”

But on the inside, in quietness, thirst and reaching for the cup would be just one movement.  Thirst and the cup: simple.

– Adyashanti

*

The power of the Divine works in the silence.
People want lectures; I give them silence.

Words you can get anywhere.

In silence one can receive more
because all one’s activities become concentrated at one point.
There is only one real rhythm; in silence you hear it.
When you live to the rhythm of this silence, you become it…

– Mother Meera

*

Life is this simple.  We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent, and God is shining through all the time.

This is not just a fable or a nice story.  It is true.

If we abandon ourselves to God and forget ourselves, we see it sometimes, and we see it maybe frequently.

God shows Himself everywhere, in everything – in people and in things and in nature and in events.

It becomes very obvious that God is everywhere and in everything and we cannot be without Him.  It’s impossible.  The only thing is we don’t see it.

– Thomas Merton

*

Immobility and silence are not inactive.
The flower fills the space with perfume, the candle – with light.
They do nothing yet they change everything by their mere presence.

– Nisargadatta Maharaj

*

Above all things, love silence. Out of your silence will arise something that will draw you into deeper silence. If you practice this, inexpressible light will dawn upon you.

– St Gregory of Nyssa

*

Solitude is the furnace of transformation. Without solitude we remain victims of our society and continue to be entangled in the illusions of the false self.
– Henri J M Nouwen

*

Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

– T S Eliot

*


I watch me appear; I watch me disappear

 

I am never absent, I cannot be escaped
I watch me appear, I watch me disappear

I am unaffected, I have no preference
I watch me appear, I watch me disappear

Forget ‘Big Brother’ and CCTV:
there’s an eye there is no hiding from
and it’s known as “I” to me.

It prowls this world of dream and drama
ceaselessly scoping the cosmos and all creation:
macroscopic, microscopic and myopic too,
the outer worlds and inner…

Eyes wide open, eyes shut tight
I can never escape its unlit light.

I am unmoved, I am all movement
I watch me appear, I watch me disappear

I am never absent, I cannot be escaped
I watch me appear, I watch me disappear

– miriam louisa

I watch me appear; I watch me disappear
 

Beloved Gangaji writes:

At a certain point, a couple of years after [the disappearance of the ‘me’ as separate entity], I was aware of a sense of myself as a person starting to slowly return.  And I thought, “Oh, no, what does this mean?” because at that point I had been counseling people not to reconstruct themselves after this kind of experience.  There was a moment of wondering if this sense of myself meant I had lost anything, but by then I knew enough to check and see.  When I did, I saw clearly that the truth that needs no scaffolding was not bothered by any sense or perception of myself as being this human animal, this body-mind configuration.  Silent conscious awareness was not bothered by any disappearance of the sense of this form and not bothered by its reappearance.

The fact that the sense of me as form reappeared was actually a teaching for me because it threw me into profound inquiry.  And in that inquiry I saw that this sense of being a separate entity appears and disappears all the time, even in a day—for everyone.  It’s just that until we have an experience of it disappearing, and then discovering the true “I” to still be present, only then do we have the possibility of recognizing that the disappearance or the reappearance doesn’t really touch the unmoving truth.

It was at this point I felt myself reincarnating as an ordinary human being.  I didn’t fight the ordinariness coming back, because I was always aware that whatever came back—an emotion, a sense of me, a negative thought, etc.—it didn’t touch what had been revealed…

To this day, I can say that from that moment there has been no lack of resolution and fulfillment.  There have been negative states as well as positive.  There has been grief as well as joy.  There have been trials and there have been defeats, but nothing has dislodged the certainty that who I am includes all.

© Gangaji, 2012
[My emphasis.]
Source:  http://www.onethemagazine.com/blog/2012/10/12/answer-to-a-prayer/

Image source:  Rumi on facebook

a letter from home

[I can never leave – not for one heartbeat –
but I can write letters from home and this is one]

 

Letter to a friend

 

dear friend

are you looking for a sanctuary?
a place that’s private and quiet?
that’s rent-free, and can’t be bought or sold?

(you will never be evicted for any reason
whatsoever!)

that you don’t have to share – even with your family
or lovers – because you can’t?
that requires no maintenance?
that needs no insurance because it can’t be damaged?
that’s as large or small as you wish?
that you can take everywhere you go –
even when you have no fixed earthly abode
and you find yourself “homeless”?

that’s as solid as rock, yet lighter than a baby’s breath?
that has views onto both the temporal and the timeless?
that has a warm hearth glowing, and a welcome mat
with your name on it, at the door?

would you believe me when I say
it is wherever YOU are, no matter what your experience?

it’s wrong to say it’s close,
it isn’t even near

it’s simply right here, when thinking disappears

with warmest love

– miriam louisa

 


Image source