The word ‘implicit’ derives from the Latin word meaning ‘entwined’, and, as I look outside at 6:09 on this spring morning, I know marvelous miracles are secretly entwined in everything. The trees are not speaking directly, of course, but implicit in their silence and dignity is a message of consummate peace. Unstated in the cloud-filled sky is the graceful wisdom of nature, and every leaf on the rhododendron bush sends a beautiful underlying message. Indeed, inherent in everything I experience today will be subtle and far-spreading truths, if I can just take the time to carefully look and see. Even in seemingly silent moments, a joyous serenity will be implicit – unstated, but steady and endless.
This morning I’m thinking of the wise men of the Christmas story, who saw a special star in the sky and decided to study it and follow its movements, which led to an astonishing discovery for them in a barn in the small town of Bethlehem. In a sense, I see stars every day, all day long. These stars are the thoughts that endlessly rise and shine inside me, and then set and disappear. I’m like a traveler in a vast universe of thoughts that shimmer marvelously as they come and go in the boundless sky of life. What’s truly astounding is that I don’t have to do any ‘work’ in order to enjoy these star-like thoughts. All I have to do is carefully observe the thought-filled sky inside me, and choose and follow the brightest and the best thoughts, and let the others – the less reliable ones springing from fears and worries and self-centeredness – slip away into the darkness. Like the wise men of the Christmas story, I must trust, each moment, something besides my own small and separate mind. I must get the wider, higher view, see the limitless vastness of existence itself , and then simply follow, each moment, the brightest star, the thought that shines with the most inspiring brilliance. There’s always a lit-up barn in Bethlehem waiting for me, if I just yield to the light and follow.
(about Philip M., 89, Blessings, CT, USA)
Philip seeks harmony
by setting his sight on starry thoughts
and then studying and following them,
and sometimes he finds himself
standing in places of powerful light,
and just looking and listening in wonder,
and he always names the places 'Wonderful'
and rejoices with exceeding joy,
and sets gifts down in these special places,
and worships them,
and knows they are everywhere.
Here’s a sunrise scene on the Mystic River during our morning walk today …
… and here’s my best-of-all friends reading the essays of the classic American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson …
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Sunday, September 5, 2021
Today, I hope to live as if life is unfolding for me as I stand on the summit of a vast mountain – which, in a very real sense, I am. The simple and wonderful truth is that there are absolutely no limits in life – no starts and finishes, no here and there, no past and present, no theirs and mine. All is present, right here and now – and right here and now goes on forever, and belongs to everyone and everything, and can never be damaged or destroyed. It’s so easy for me to fall into the opposite view – the near-sighted view of things that sees life as limited rather than limitless, as insecure rather than unassailable, as unreliable rather than everlastingly trustworthy. Today I hope I can hold in view the vastness and soundness of life. In the midst of fears, I hope I can see the shoreless ocean of calmness, and when anxiety surrounds me, I hope I can sense, all around and inside me, the security of limitless peace. I confess that, for most of my life, I have been small-minded and short-sighted, seeing life as frail and confined, but now, nearly 80, I am finally opening my inner eyes. I now see the wonderful fact that I am always – always – on a mountaintop with astonishing views, and in these elder years of mine, I’m finally enjoying the views.
IF WE LOOK CAREFULLY
If we look carefully,
we'll see there's a fresh path
to travel each day,
and something that amazes us
wherever we are,
and time enough to feel
the flow of life.
There are always inner mountains
with surprising views,
and brand new,
to widen the roads
we have to travel.
We'll notice improvements
in the universe --
a bird's wings that seem startling,
water that works smoothly with our hands
to wash them,
clouds that sway as they drift
on their untroubled trips --
if we look carefully.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
August 17, 2021
I’m sure we all sometimes wonder: where does it all begin? Where is the origin of this experience called ‘life’? Right now, I’m sitting at my desk at 4:43 a.m. on Wednesday, August 18, 2021, and where did this situation begin? Where did these typed words on the computer screen begin? Where did the rising and falling of my lungs just now originally begin? What’s so amazing to me is that I realize, more and more clearly, that finding the origin – the precise starting place – of anything is like trying to find the starting place of a circle. It simply doesn’t exist. A circle does not begin – or end – and neither does anything else. All of us – all people, things, and situations – are beginningless and endless, as infinite as a flawless circle. We like to pretend that everything has a beginning and an end, but that’s as silly as saying a circle starts right here and ends right there. Me sitting at my desk right now, at 4:54 a.m. on Wednesday, August 18, 2021, didn’t begin anywhere, just like a circle doesn’t begin anywhere. Situations don’t start or end; they just flow, like any circle wonderfully flows.
Lucky for me, I won’t be starting or finishing anything today. I’ll just humbly be part of the beginningless and endless flow of the infinite, beautiful circle called ‘life’.
SOME PEOPLE SITTING IN A CIRCLE
IN THE PARK ON SUNDAY MORNING
They said they were worshiping
what was –
the trees turning in the winds,
a few old flowers
working comfortably to show off,
a discarded spoon
being restful in the grass,
the thoughts that were given to them
as gifts from the silvery moments.
just adoring dear life
that was letting its light
flow over and through them
on this effortlessly
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Wednesday, August 11, 2021
Today I hope to remember, all day, that I am not in command of my life, but that a much greater and higher power is the true ruler of everything. I’m not talking here about the power traditionally called ‘God’ – a supposedly superhuman being who sits somewhere above us and runs the show, both the tragedies and the triumphs. No, the imperious power I’m speaking of is more like an infinite wind than a super-person. Throughout our limitless universe, this non-material, highly skillful ‘wind’ flows and drifts and controls all things, including the infinitesimal but indispensable ‘breeze’ called Hamilton Salsich. I often laugh to think of my endless efforts to control my life, to be the boss and master of everything, like a wisp of a breeze trying to supervise the limitless wind. I can imagine the big wind saying to the little breeze, “Hey, relax and let go. I am the captain. I can take you on wondrous adventures today. Just relax and let go and let me do the work.” I hope to do that today. A masterly force will be always at work, moving me through thoughts and feelings and events the way the boundless wind moves its countless gusts and drafts. A grand adventure awaits me today. I just have to release my hold on the reins and let the immeasurable spiritual ‘wind’ of the universe do its wondrous work.
ALL IT TAKES
He saw some branches shaking in a breeze,
and then he understood: the force that frees
the branches isn't in the branches, but in
the breeze itself. The trees receive the spin
and whirl of a wind, and it remakes
their lives. For patient branches, all it takes
is letting breezes do their swirling dance
with them, and soon the branches start to prance.
He saw, like in a dazzling light, that he
could do the same, could be a patient sea
that rolls or sleeps as wisdom blows across
it in the storms of life or in the gentle toss
of daily living. He saw that he is not the one
who does the work of life, but that the fun
of living comes from letting go and letting
endless spirit do the work. The art of getting
free involves allowing forces larger than
the universe itself to swirl and roll and fan
his life. Like branches in a breeze, he's in
the best of hands, and cannot help but win.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Monday, August 9, 2021
I hope to stay truly awake – and aware –today. I want to be totally conscious of each arising moment, the way I might be conscious of an amazing sunrise. I want to get quietly acquainted with the sights and sounds of today – the whisper of raindrops, the bubbling of water on the stove, the click of keyboard keys. Today could be a day to begin to get deeply familiar with life, like it’s a newfound, wonderful friend. I hope to be mindful of the miracle of my breathing, of the graceful flow of my feelings, of the thoughts that will softly throw themselves around in the limitless realm called my mind. I want to stay alive to the gifts I’ll be getting moment after moment today, always aware of the breathtaking life I am lucky to be living.
a man named Jimmy Jones
went to the Social Security office
and said to a person named Nancy
that he wished to change his name to
He said he finally saw,
what a large yield life had produced for him,
that quite a bountiful crop lay spread around
and inside him,
and he needed to start gathering it in.
There was goodness in great fields,
and patience was spread from east to west,
and wisdom lay out as wide
as winter and summer together -
and it was time to garner and glean.
So, Jimmy said,
don't you think my name should be
something like Jimmy Harvest?
Nancy stared at him,
and then something shined from her eyes,
and then she stared some more.
For so many years, I thought of ‘my life’ as something small and separate and fairly defenseless, just a wee speck in a senselessly swirling universe, but now, in my 79th year, I see how completely wrong I was. Now, I understand that ‘my life’ is actually not mine at all, but is simply an infinitesimal ripple in the stupendous and boundless life called the universe. And ‘infinitesimal’ is not the right word, because in a truly boundless universe, there are no boundaries at all, and so there are no boundaries to what is called ‘me’. I am truly as immeasurable as the starry sky. My thoughts come from infinity, and my feelings flow from the one limitless and universal ocean of feelings. Like the universe, I – Hamilton Salsich – am cosmic, king-sized, and colossal, and so is every person, petunia, and bumblebee. Reality itself is unbounded and unfathomable, and I am a vital part of that reality – and always will be. My material body – my brain and bones and blood – will someday disappear, but only because it will all shift and transform within the always reshaping universe. In a measureless universe, nothing – including ‘me’ – truly dies, but just swaps and switches and always stays the course on the incalculable journey called life.
How did ‘I’ get so lucky to be a part of this vast adventure?
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Sunday, June 27, 2021
Each moment of each day is quite literally an adventure. The word derives from the Latin word meaning ‘arrive’, and there is no doubt that, in each and every moment, something brand new arrives – an innovative thought making an appearance, a fresh feeling presenting itself, a scene materializing that has never been seen before. My life often seems to be a tedious test, but in reality it is always, here and now, a stirring escapade, a caper among limitless mysterious miracles. Even if I don’t realize it, life continuously sends me off on a rousing romp, every single moment, part of its unceasing, adventurous quest, an expedition that I should welcome and love. I just have to open my eyes – and my heart and my arms.
MAKING ENDS MEET
(about Bernice D., 61, Blessings, CT, USA)
she doesn't have to make ends meet,
because that's what life always does.
The ends of moments meet
to form all the endless thousands of years,
and every end of sorrow
slides together with others
to make some thoughts
that shine forever.
making ends of days meet
to make miracles
of everlasting starlight,
and ends of joys
jump together in friendship
with the ends of animosity
to set loose the endless dance
of all ends and beginnings,
which is why
there's really no end
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Tuesday, June 22, 2021
In the last few years, I’ve started to understand the astonishing truth that endlessness is endless. Nothing ever ends – not ever. If something seems to end, it is simply because my mind has placed the convenient label called ‘the end’ on it. And of course, it is convenient and necessary to use that label in our daily lives. In order to organize my life, I do need to think in terms of activities starting and stopping, and events as beginning and then ending. However, what I’m seeing more clearly now, in my 79th year, is that these are simply helpful labels, and not anywhere near the truth. In reality, nothing ever starts and nothing ever ends. There is only the unceasing and boundless flow of the endless present moment. If I search for the start of the present moment, I can never find it, nor can I find where it stops. The present has always been here, and it will never end. It extends out beyond any boundaries into limitlessness. And the important things in life – all of them – are also endless. Powers like love and peace and patience know no boundaries. Because they are not made of material stuff, they have no material form that can set limits and be measured. The power of kindness cannot be stopped by some borderline, and the power of acceptance slips past all boundaries into endlessness. And my life itself is not ‘mine’, as though there are specific borders where ‘Hamilton Salsich’ begins and ends. What is called ‘me’ is simply an inseparable, everchanging ripple in the endless ocean called ‘reality’. I am an ever-shifting wave, a current that’s been flowing and wavering and varying forever. Like love and calmness, there’s no end to the life I’m lucky to belong to – and no end anywhere, of anything.
"WHERE ARE THE WORDS YOU WROTE TODAY?"
- asked by a friend
The wind carried some away.
The sunlight slipped some
into its pockets.
Flowers fastened a few
in their hearts.,
and others climbed a stairway to the sky.
Some are as silent as mountains,
some are whispering on distant trails,
and some are just crossing the street
toward your house.
Somewhere in his book in the Bible, Job says that the words of his wise friends are no more significant than “proverbs of ashes”, and it has me thinking, this morning, about the millions of words I spoke to my students, and how, years later, they are something like dust in the limitless universe of learning. I usually saw myself as a fairly sensible and shrewd instructor as I spoke to my students, but now, looking back, my words in the classroom seem like specks of small thoughts in a sky that goes on forever. The supposedly smart sentences I spoke in class and the lessons I set forth with self-assurance are now simply infinitesimal waves in the endless ocean of my students’ education. Strangely, this is not a sad thought for me, but an inspiring one, for it reminds me of the immensity and majesty of the teaching-and-learning process that I was lucky to be part of for 45 years. I was just one of the countless teachers my students had, including their families and friends and the books they read and the people they spoke to in passing and the sights they saw and all the words they listened to in their young but limitless lives. Their teachers were as numerous as the stars in the sky, and my spoken words just happened to be among them, just happened to float through their rising lives for a few months and then drift off like dust in the vast winds of learning. I feel blessed to have been even a small part of such a grand and splendid process.
+ + + + +
A DAY LIKE FRIENDSHIP
The hours passed in softened winds
somewhat the way friendship begins
with just some gentle words sent out
like signals. Fellowship will sprout
where there are breezes made of kind
and gracious thoughts, and peace of mind
arrives when friendship blows upon
two lives to make a special dawn.
+ + + + +
We took a very long walk (well, for me, at least) this morning (almost 7 miles), and while there were only slight winds most of the time, we two made a wind of our own with our brisk, well-cadenced strides. Take a look: