Friday, March 24, 2017

Biblical

As history and revelation,
the bible’s stories have long ago fallen away;
we now know that
almost nothing that happens in it
actually happened,
and that its miracles, large and small,
are of the same kind and credibility
as all the other miracles that crowd superstition.

Only a handful of fundamentalists,
in America sometimes more like an armful,
and at times like a roomful,
read it literally.

We read and dissect the books and verses of the Bible
because they tell beautiful stories,
stirring and shapely.
We read the good book because it is a good book.

We explore the stories because they are transfixing stories,
dense and compelling.

The beauty of the Song of Songs,
or the nobility of the account of creation in Genesis,
or the poetic hum of the Psalms
are beautiful as poetic myths alone can be.

The Bible contains good tales
and great poetry,
and we need not worry about their sources.

We read them as we read all good fiction,
for their perplexities as much as for their obvious points.

Reading the Bible requires intellectual detachment,
with a sense that that the miracles imagined
do not diminish what they tell us about imagination,
or about mankind.
We read the holy book
in order to learn why we need none.

Many moral ideas
 of inclusion, tolerance, pluralism, and the equality of man, 
and the emancipation of women
 depend on the diminishment and destruction 
of the traditional idea of an authoritarian God
depicted in the Bible.
The Bible
is inspired as are many great works of Art,
but what makes the Bible holy
or sinful
is what we do or don’t do with it.



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Death

The great secret of death,
and perhaps its deepest connection with me,
is that in taking from me a life I have loved,
death does not wound me,
 but lifts me
toward a more perfect understanding of life
and of myself.

I am not saying that I can love death,
but rather that I should love life so generously,
without picking and choosing,
so that I automatically include it in my life,
in my love.

This is what actually happens with love,
which cannot be stopped or constricted.
It is only when I exclude love in my life,
that death becomes more and more foreign to me
and, ultimately, an enemy.

It is conceivable
that death is infinitely closer to me
than life itself.

Death is not the opposite of life,
simply the opposite of birth,
both a normal part of life.

As long as I stand in opposition to Death 
I disfigure it. 

 Death is a friend, 
a close friend, 
perhaps the only friend who can never be misled 
by my ploys and vacillations,
 not in the sentimental, romantic sense 
of distrusting or renouncing life. 

Death is a friend 
precisely because it brings me into absolute and passionate presence 
with all that is here, 
that is natural, 
that is love.

Life always says Yes and No simultaneously. 
Death  stands before eternity and says only
 Yes.





Monday, March 20, 2017

Bible Stories

Why did it take
one, two, three or more generations
to write down all the things
Jesus said and did?

Kind of strange
given all that Jesus was said
to have done.

Why did Paul,
who’s letters preceded the gospels,
not even mention,
virgin birth,
miracles,
and bodily resurrection?

Two of the four evangelists
had the third evangelist’s writings in hand
as the wrote,
hence similar testimonies.

But John, the last,
about 100 years after Jesus,
made up a load of stuff on his own,
seeing Jesus as the way, truth, and life,
the light of the world
and the bread of life.

Parts of John’s Gospel
were not even written by John,
new bits added up to 300 years later,
including the bit about casting the first stone.

If someone wrote today
about how things actually happened
during the French Revolution,
who said and did what,
how many of the world’s historians
would simply nod and agree?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Unlearn to Learn

In writing my poetry,
I discovered that I had to unlearn
what I learned
in order to begin to know myself,
my True Self.

I learned that
for my poetry to be good,
it must cause my readers
to experience something deep
and unexpected.

And so,
I invite others
to pick their way through the comprehension
of my poetry
resulting in a burst of recognition
and delight.

Finding a bit more
of  True Self,
may thus help others
on the same Quest.




Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Attention

The thinking mind 
is a useful and powerful tool, 
but it is also very limiting 
when it takes over my life completely, 
when I don't realize 
that it is only a small aspect of the consciousness 
that I am. 

Wisdom is not a product of thought. 

The deep knowing that is wisdom 
arises through the simple act 
of my giving someone or something 
my full attention. 

Attention is primordial intelligence, 
consciousness itself. 
It dissolves the barriers created by conceptual thought,
 and with this comes my recognition 
that nothing exists in and by itself. 

It joins the perceiver and the perceived 
in a unifying field of awareness. 

Attention is the healer of separation.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Joy

Great masses of church goers these days 
live out their lives in a dull and loveless stupor. 

Sensitive persons find the unquestioning manner of religious existence 
oppressive and painful, 
and withdraw from institutional religion.

 I believe what we lack is joy,
the ardor that a heightened awareness imparts to life, 
the conception of life as a happy thing, 
as a festival,
not a religious preparation for
some reward in the after-life.

But the high value put upon religious compliance
 as the most important objective of living, 
is unquestionably a most dangerous enemy
 of joy.



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Aging


As a youth
I just didn’t know enough about myself,
the world,
and the relation of the two.

What I knew
came from my ego,
a notorious liar.

Coming to terms with the soul-truth of who I am,
my complex and often confusing mix of darkness and light
required my ego to shrivel up.

And nothing shrivels a person better than age;
that’s what all those wrinkles are about.

Whatever truthfulness I’ve achieved
came not from a spiritual practice,
but from having my ego so broken down
and composted by life
 that eventually I had to yield and say,
OK, I get it,
I’m way less than perfect.

I envy folks who come to personal truth via spiritual discipline;
I call them contemplatives by intention.
Me, I’m a contemplative by experience (default).

Poetry has redemptive power,
or so it has for me.

Poetry has provided a life jacket
to keep me from drowning,
ballast to keep me from gaining altitude,
and maps to keep me from getting lost in the woods.

I write poetry, not because I’m a pro,
but because it’s been the best form of self-therapy I know.
Poetry over time, helped me find my way 
back into life.

More than fearing the cost of taking risks
for the things I care about,
I fear aging into irrelevance.


I’m among the fortunate ones
who has what he needs,
so I don’t need to worry about losing things
that some folks require for survival.

For me,
the notion that old age is a time to dial it down
and play it safe 
is a cop-out.

I am about raising hell
on behalf of what I care about;
freedom is just another word
for not having to count the cost.

Most older folks I know
fret about unloading stuff
they’ve collected over the years,
stuff that was once useful to them
but now prevents them from moving freely about or away from
their own homes.

There are attics and basements
where a small child could get lost for days

But the junk I really needed to jettison in my old age
was my  psychological junk,
such as long-time convictions
about what gives my life meaning
that no longer serves me well,
notably my religion.

Who will I be
when I can no longer do the grief work I love
that’s helped me hang onto a sense of self
for the past twenty-five years?

I won’t know the answer until I get there.
But on my way to that day,
I’ve found questions (not answers)
 that already give me a new sense of meaning.

I no longer ask,
What do I want to let go of, and what do I want to hang on to?
Instead I ask,
What do I want to let go of,
and to what do I want to give myself?

The desire to hang on to stuff
comes from a sense of scarcity and fear.
My desire to give myself
comes from a sense of abundance and generosity.
These are the kinds of truths
I’ve withered into.

Sooner or later,
withering into truth
will culminate in my death,
the ultimate form of withering
and perhaps the ultimate source of truth.
Who knows?

I have no idea what
if anything,
I will learn from dying.
All I know for sure is that
I have no bad memories of wherever I came from
when I arrived on this planet,
so I have no good reason to fear
where I’m going
 when I depart.

I won’t be glad to say goodbye to life, 
to challenges that helped me grow, 
to gifts freely-given, 
to everyone and everything I love. 

But I will be glad to have played a bit part
 in making new life possible for others. 

That’s a prospect 
that makes my life worth dying for.






.


Monday, March 6, 2017

I Yearn

I yearn for church
    that is not an enclosure for the virtuous, 
but more an oasis for the weary and downtrodden;
    not an experience of exclusion, discrimination, and elitism, 
but more an encounter of radical love, inclusiveness and solidarity;
    not with an attitude of we are right and they are wrong,
but more with an attitude of openness to truth 
wherever and in whomever it is to be found;
not a bastion of unchangeable doctrine and dogma,
but a source of inspiration and exploration;
not one claiming to have all the answers,
but one challenging us all to live the questions;
    not with a leadership of control and clericalism, 
but more of a humble service exemplified by Jesus;
    not using a language of condemnation, 
but more with a language of affirmation and compassion;
 not preoccupied with its own maintenance and prestige,
but more with a concern for the People of God,
all of us.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Rebel with a Cause

In every act of rebellion,
I simultaneously experience a feeling of revulsion
at the infringement of people’s rights by Church hierarchy
and a complete and spontaneous loyalty
to certain aspects of myself.

From the moment that I found my voice
I began to desire a better idea of Christian Community
than what Church Official offered.

Every act of rebellion tacitly invokes a value
no matter how confused it is,
a sudden, dazzling perception
that there is something good in me
with which I can identify,
even if only for a moment.

The affirmation implicit in every act of my rebellion
is extended to something that transcends me
insofar as it withdraws me from my solitude
and provides me with a reason to act.

An act of rebellion is not an egoistic act.
Sure, I seek respect,
but only in my efforts to seek true Christian community.

Some think my rebellion against institutional Church is negative,
but for me, it is profoundly positive
in that it has revealed values which must always be defended
against the hierarchs.

The words that reverberate for me
on this long adventure of rebellion
are not formulas for optimism,
which have no possible use in my unhappiness,
but words of courage and intelligence
which, on the shores of the eternal seas,
I hope have the qualities of virtue.

Rebellion must indefatigably confront evil,
from which it can only derive a new impetus.

True Rebellion cannot exist without love.




Those who find no rest in Church as it is
must live for those who, like themselves, cannot live freely,
in fact, for the humiliated,
those excluded and/or discriminated against,
those marginalized by church doctrine and dogma.

If ALL of us are not saved,
what good is the salvation of those inside the church?

Rebellion is the very essence of my life
and it cannot be denied without renouncing life.

Its purest outburst in me
gives birth to my existence.
It is based in love or it is nothing at all.

At the end of this tunnel of darkness
there is inevitably a light,
for which I have to fight to ensure its coming.

All of us,
among the ruins,
are preparing a renaissance beyond the limits.
But few of us know it.

In the light,
Christian Community remains a love.
My sisters  and brothers are breathing under the same sky as I;
justice is a living thing.

 Resident in me is Joy
 which helps me live and die.
With this Joy, through the long struggle,
I strive to help remake Church,
 which ultimately will exclude nothing,
no one.