THINK

WORDS LIKE LIGHT

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

         As my 80 years have passed, I have slowly realized, happily, that thinking is at the very heart of life, of reality, of the universe itself. Truly, I cannot get away from the process of thinking. Every single moment is actually a thought – a brand new opening and movement of consciousness, of awareness. Everything that happens, happens in consciousness. True, there do seem to be many ‘things’ outside of me, but it’s clear to me now that they actually exist within consciousness, or awareness – and not ‘my’ awareness, but the boundless awareness of life itself, of the ceaseless and mysterious universe itself. It’s fun for me now to picture the universe itself pondering and deliberating, and me as part of that thoughtful, ongoing process, participating in a vast and beautiful and endless mental exercise called ‘life’. Life, I see now, when I’m not lost in daydreams, is an adventure in thinking. New thoughts are constantly arising and sailing along in their wondrous freshness, and when I’m carefully watching, I see that I am always sailing with them. Each moment is never ‘things’, but always thoughts, and my job – lucky for me – is to stay still and observe with appreciation this astounding mental spectacle. 


WHAT HE WAS THINKING

Tonight 
these trees
may shelter some lost birds.
Their leaves may allow life 
to be a gift again to those birds, 
a treasure
they could take home to their nest.
Tonight, 
he was thinking,
the timeless stars 
might display their light 
in flashes of splendor,
so that sorrowing children
might stare up and soothe themselves
with the reassurance
that life, like a soft broom,
will sweep the sorrow away.
Tonight 
there is simplicity
in the way my window closed
when I pushed it down,
just as there is simplicity
in the way the moon 
swings out from the trees 
to give its signal 
that worries should now
be set on the surface of rivers
and allowed to sink, 
for night and its holiness has come. 
Tonight,
he was thinking, 
some immense happiness
might be hurrying toward me
through the darkness, 
even as I sit here
in this small room
on this 
small, 
stunning 
planet.

OPENING UP HEAVEN

WORDS LIKE LIGHT

Monday, August 15, 2022

       “See if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams.”  – God speaking, in Malachi 3:10 (from The Message, Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of the Bible)

       I don’t usually stand and stare during the day, giving appreciative thanks, but perhaps I should every so often. After all, ‘heaven’, which, to me, is just the infinitely supportive and benevolent universe, is constantly bringing me inexpressible blessings second by second. It’s as if I’m living beneath some cosmic airship full of gifts for me, gifts that are given with lavishness as I carry on my daily duties and adventures. I get the gifts of good thoughts, innovative feelings, surprising wonderings and musings, the greatest of reveries and notions and bright shining beliefs, even stray, skittish thoughts that skip through my mind and are quickly away again. My days may sometimes seem like silent ships on a sea of dullness, but there are blessings always born anew in the midst of them. Even the changing sky, and birds bringing their sparkle to the feeder, and the seed sometimes falling to the grass – even these are presents for me from every present moment. Plus, I always have sunlight of some sort smiling in its bright or gray way, giving me again a reminder that I’m living a life of the most implausible splendor and fullness, with heaven forever opening up in praise and impressiveness all around me. 

OUR FRONT YARD POEM FOR TODAY

Below, grandson Louie busking at the Mystic Art Festival yesterday …

… a photo in the local newspaper yesterday

… and scenes from an outdoor lunch in our backyard last week …

RUNNING HOME

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Sunday, August 14, 2022

     It’s always a thrill to see your team’s runners running home in a baseball game, and yet it sometimes occurs to me that something just as thrilling happens to me many times each day. I guess you could say I ‘score’ every second of every day, simply because I’m alive in this uplifting world. With every surprising breath, I score another run, and all of my thoughts somehow make it all the way home. Just seeing daylight once more this morning means I’ll again be racing around the bases all day, giving waves to the world as it watches and cheers. It’s a sport of constant though sometimes concealed triumphs, this beguiling game of life. Sometimes we score without even knowing it. Breathing in, we bang a triple. Breathing out, we break a record. 

THE BEST NEWS

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Friday, August 12, 2022

         This morning and all through the day, I will be receiving the best possible news – that this universe is not at all what I thought it was, not a material place filled with zillions of competing material entities, but rather a single, friendly, infinite force of which I am an essential part. This magnificent news announces that I am set free instantly and forever. Strange as it seems, it is true that I constantly jail myself behind bars which I make with my own thoughts. Because I usually picture myself as a material object surrounded by other material – and threatening – objects, I am convinced, usually, that I am literally in a prison from morning to night, but now, this morning, the news comes that all of this is simply an illusion, a nightmare from which I can easily awaken. This good news literally gives back sight to the blind, for I am now able to see the astonishingly beautiful reality that I am actually part of. It’s as if I’ve been wearing a blindfold through most of my life, but didn’t realize it, and so I thought I was seeing accurately. This wondrous news of the boundless nature of reality suddenly takes off my blindfold, and I am astonished to see a whole new world in front of me. It’s amazing to realize that I, personally, have received this best of all news on this very morning of August 12, 2022, and that I will continue to receive it all day long, and throughout every day to come in the future. I have always loved getting good news, and today’s news is not just good, but the very best news of all. It tells me that I am always and forever safe and secure in a universe where each moment is made of infinite mystery and measureless poise. How did an 80-year-old boy get so lucky!

TO LOVE AND BE LIGHT 
(about Bill M., 87, Blessings, CT, USA)

One day, 
a lamp on a desk
did what he wanted to do - 
turn on and shine - 
and it showed him 
how easy it is to do,
so he went outside 
in the deep darkness of life 
and simply let go
of all the controls,
and suddenly there was light 
all around him,
and he was the light 
and trees were the light 
and even simple grass 
was the light,
all because a lamp 
let him know the good news
of how easy it is 
to love and be light.  
  

WITHOUT ME

(an audio version)

WORDS LIKE LIGHT

Wednesday, August 11, 2022

How silly it would be if I decided I had to help my heart beat in a proper way, or organize my lungs so they’ll take in air more efficiently, or assist in the wind as it blows across my town. It would be ridiculous, because, of course, hearts and lungs and winds don’t need any help from me. They are perfectly capable of doing whatever they do completely on their own. Reliably, and completely without my assistance, my heart pumps, my lungs expand, and the wind blows. For people (like me) who have always believed they personally have to control the important things in their lives, this realization is a jolt. There’s nothing more important to me than the beating of my heart, and yet it happens without my control or aid of any kind. Even when I am utterly oblivious, as when I’m asleep, my loyal heart continues doing its essential tasks. I guess I have to ask myself: what other important tasks are taken care of without my assistance? Could it be that most – even all – of the essential activities in life happen on their own, and rather routinely? Dawn comes after darkness, summer follows spring, planet earth spins peacefully along through space, thoughts come to me dependably, one after the other – all without my consent or assistance. Perhaps I should relax more often, take a breath, and just sit back and watch. After all, the really critical activities seem to be happening quite well – and quite beautifully – without me.

SOME ADVICE

ADVICE TO MY CHILDREN 
AND GRANDCHILDREN

Notice the way stars seem to rustle 
when you see them from a field. 
Find the place where sunsets disappear,
and visit it when you're sad. 
Listen to the breezes 
when they organize themselves and sing together. 
And keep your eyes 
on other faces. 
Notice the kindness 
that often blossoms  
in these faces 
like crowds of flowers.
Be like water, 
just waiting and watching and choosing patience 
over chancy things like tenaciousness, 
and work with thoroughness and silkiness 
like water does,
doing the singing and dancing of the universe
with serenity and acquiescence. 
See mist as something special, 
and downpours too,
and suffering also, 
because it causes understanding
and flows beside us 
forever and ever.



UNDERSTAND

WORDS LIKE LIGHT

Friday, August 5, 2022

I have spent a significant part of my life trying to understand things, and I’ve usually thought of it as hard work, but as the years have passed, it has slowly come to me that ‘understanding’ might be as simple and easy as ‘standing under’ something. Instead of always struggling to analyze life’s endless puzzles, perhaps I need to practice just being silent and present with the puzzles, standing under them and letting their solutions slowly unfold for me. I don’t mean that understanding doesn’t often require work, but maybe the work can be of the peaceful and silent kind. In trying to understand life’s perplexities, perhaps I should see each of them as a sky at dawn, and just silently stand under them to gradually see the sunrise of their meanings. This would not be easy, since it would require some serious patience and persistence, but it would not be a frantic kind of work. There would be a lot of stillness and waiting in the work, but slowly I might see the answers smoothly spreading out above me.

FIX

WORDS LIKE LIGHT

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Even though I usually don’t realize it, every moment of every day is busy’ fixing’ things for me. I – along with the entire universe – am thoroughly reconditioned each moment, renovated inside and out and made fresh for new escapades in the adventure called life. Even while I’m writing these words, winds are overhauling forests, and my body’s cells are efficiently reconstructing themselves – full refreshening happening with every word that’s written. This doesn’t mean, however, that life is ever damaged and in need of repair. No, the endless refurbishing happens simply because that’s what life loves best – to always make all things new. Yes, these simple, commonplace words have been used countless times before, but never in precisely this way. They sit on my computer screen with trailblazing smiles, because, like everything from mountains to stars to thoughts to words like friends on screens – they are endlessly getting fixed and refreshed and immaculately enhanced, like unsullied newborns – always .

PLAY

WORDS LIKE LIGHT

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

I have always heard it said that life should be taken seriously, but perhaps it would now be better for me to take it playfully. Maybe I should think of life as a hobby that I can enjoy coming back to each morning, just a pleasant pastime that could bring me sometimes smiles and sometimes mystifying but sweet confusion. Maybe I could find more sportiveness in life than drudgery, more lightheartedness than hard labor. It all depends on how I see life – as a battle to be fought, or as a dance to be danced. Now that I am a ripening 80-years-old, perhaps I can have more friskiness in my life, more of the easy horse-play I seem to see among dragonflies and breezes and mischief-making squirrels. I see so much solemnity in human life, so many people with frowns like they’ve fallen into far-down wells, so many instances where seriousness has far surpassed playfulness. Yes, there is work to be done in our lives, tasks that we must undertake each day, but surely these can be undertaken with a feeling of sprightliness and even rascality, rather than boredom and dispiriting duty. Life, maybe, should be a joy rather than a job. At 80, it’s time for me to take some hops and skips and see where they lead.

PLAY

FAN

WORDS LIKE LIGHT

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Fortunately, there’s always a fan blowing in my life, cooling and calming things down. Trouble is, I only rarely turn toward it and feel its refreshing liveliness. It’s a fan of boundless size and spirit, and its spirit never lessens, never lets up in its desire to show me the easy and wise roads to take on the journey called life. There’s something in every moment that sways and swings and offers to calm and settle me, if only I turn toward it and take in its refreshments. It’s always there, this silent, hushing spirit, as soft and beneficial as serene summer winds. I’m sure there are many names for this reviving, ever-present fan, but I just know it as the always new present moment – which is always a restorative and stimulating ‘present’.🎁