MAGNITUDE

­­WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Tuesday, June 28, 2022 

         This morning, I am hoping I will be able to recognize and appreciate the magnitude of the coming day – of each moment of the coming day. There will be immensity in everything that happens today. Even every breath I take will have greatness within it, and all the flashes of sunlight in the forest as we’re bike-riding on the rail trail will be brilliant beyond belief. There will be a marvelous radiance inside every thought, and all the feelings that flow through me will have a hugeness that I hope I can be aware of. Every turn of my head and all the ways papers and books and notes sit on my desk will be of serious significance. The soft, sheer curtains that hang beside our windows will have a special kind of importance, and my hand will occasionally rest on the top of my desk with dignity and prominence. Like all days, this will be a day of grand magnitude. Historic events will occur –  someone in New Zealand suddenly understanding something, a small child in Tennessee taking its first steps, my hands and fingers coming together in friendship. How lucky I will be to be present at so many momentous proceedings on such a prominent and illustrious day!    

Below, a quiet scene at the start of our 22-mile bike ride this morning with two friends on the Kingston (RI) rail trail …

LAW

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Monday, June 27, 2022

         I have always tried to be a law-abiding citizen, but, in this very instructive eighty-first year of my life, I’m finally realizing that, in one sense, I have no choice in the matter. There is one law that I must obey – the most important law of all, the only eternal and shatterproof law. This is the law that says the present moment must be obeyed, because it is the only moment that exists, is without boundaries, and has all the power in the universe. In moments of clear thinking (which, I’m afraid, are still fairly rare for me), I realize that this law is indeed unbreakable. Each day, each moment, I actually have no choice but to obey this law – and why should I ever resist obeying it? This law surrounds me with comfort and fearlessness, reminding me that all is always well inside its reassuring certainty. It says that whatever is happening, be it scary or soothing, can be successfully dealt with because it is happening within the limitless present moment, where I also am ‘happening’, and therefore the situation and I can smoothly work together to unfold the wisdom it is bringing. As has always been the case in the history of human civilization, frightening events and situations – for nations and families and individuals – are occurring across the globe these days, and the only way to weather these storms is to meet them in the boundless present and roll with them through the troubles and toward wisdom and healing. It’s an unbreakable law: every present moment is large enough to contain both distress and restoration, both sorrow and understanding. I just need to recognize and appreciate this unassailable principle of reality.   

Below are some of Delycia’s beautiful early summer flowers …

and here are two healthy breakfasts ready on the patio table this morning …

PANORAMA and LUCK

­­WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Sunday, June 26, 2022 

PANORAMA

One dictionary defines ‘panorama’ as an unbroken view of the whole region surrounding an observer, and my daily wish is to constantly enjoy a wonderful panorama of life. I am so often lost in the stagnant cave of my own thoughts, seeing only the mist and fogginess of fears and self-centeredness, and what I need is to get up to the high mountains of awareness and see the scenic view it affords. When seen from the peaks of true wakefulness, life is boundless and breathtaking, far too multifaceted and mysterious to be captured by my little and helpless ego-mind. Each moment and every moment, I can be witness to a view of life – the true ­view – that is picturesque and limitless and simply astounding, if I step up to the high peaks of awareness. They’re right here, right now, always – these beautiful bird’s eye views of reality. All I have to do is stop, stay still, and look – and be astonished. 

LUCK

 Sometimes my good luck seems unbelievable. I’m neither wealthy nor well-known nor uncommonly gifted, but good fortune seems to follow me everywhere. I often, for instance, can’t believe the simple fact that I’m alive on an astonishing planet in an implausibly beautiful universe – that somehow this person called “Ham’ has been given hundreds of millions of minutes of this thing called life. The whole mystery of my life seems totally improbable, as if a magician somewhere in the everlasting cosmos made some swirls with her wand and, presto, here’s Hamilton Salsich. And my incredible good fortune continues to follow me in a round-the-clock way – my heart somehow holding its rhythm 100,000 times each day, my blood reliably rolling through my body hour after hour, my lungs lifting and falling in a steadfast way. All this, to me, seems so far-fetched – so deserving of awe – that it almost requires a down-on-my-knees, lost-for-words reverence. 

_________________

Below, scenes from our walk this morning on the Beebe Pond trail …

and our friendship poem for today …

SACRED, part 2

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

            The dictionary defines ‘sacred’ as something ‘regarded with great respect and reverence by a particular religion, group, or individual’, and, since I am an individual who regards with great respect and reverence the present moment, then I could say that the present moment is sacred to me. For me, here and now is holy and hallowed. Never mind churches and cathedrals. All I need to help me feel truly religious is to be totally present in the inviolable, invulnerable Here and Now. Right now, as I’m typing these words on my computer, is a sanctified moment, full of the endless and always brand-new wonders of life. It’s as if a halo surrounds the keyboard, and my fingers, and my house, and the misty rain and soft songs of birds outside. There’s glory in this moment, right now, and in every moment – a radiance that equals the shine of the finest cathedral. 

two happy old bikers on the Kingston rail trail

IN WORSHIP

In Worship, West Virginia, USA, 
even the smallest word -
even 'like' or 'love' - 
is spoken with special reverence. 
Citizens of this serene town
see holy mystery everywhere - 
in water flowing from faucets, 
in hands that shine after washing, 
on the shore of each arising moment. 
You'll see expressions of consecration in faces 
in the cereal section of grocery stores,
and the prayer-like look of mechanics
making their sacred cars run smoothly.
Just a little silence 
can make folks fall into prayer, 
and the sound of warm air 
flowing from a furnace 
is like sacred hymns
 in reverential Worship, West Virginia.

Secure and Prefer

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

PREFER

            I have spent a good part of my 80 years ‘preferring’ – liking one thing better than another. I prefer sunny days over cloudy, scrambled eggs over fried, summer over winter. I would much rather have a healthy-feeling head than a headache, and I definitely favor money in the bank over being broke. This is perfectly normal – and perfectly appropriate – but there’s another way to live that’s also appealing, and I’m enjoying it in these very likable elder years. It’s called ‘accepting’, or maybe ‘whatever-ing’. I’m loving, more and more, being able to say ‘whatever’ when faced with the possibility of sunshine or rain, success or failure, pain or pleasure. I guess I’m learning from trees and squirrels and chickadees as they casually accept winds and storms and sunbeams, and – no matter what – carry on their lives with liveliness. Come what may, I’m better able, now, to patiently say ‘whatever’. I think it has actually made me more capable of doing what needs to be done in dire circumstances. Instead of resisting and swearing and pouting when I don’t get ‘my way’ – when life doesn’t do what I would prefer it to do – I’m able to hold out my hands and greet the next moment and ask, “What would you prefer?” Trees bend when strong breezes blow, and I’m better, now, at bending, with an easygoing senior-citizen smile, when undesirable winds pass through my days.

SECURE

In a world that sometimes seems utterly unstable, it’s good to realize that there is, in fact, a power that is always secure and steady, always here for me to take quiet comfort in – the invincible and reliable present. It’s true. The present – right here and right now – is always with me. It’s not sometimes here, and sometimes not here. No matter what is happening, no matter how shaky and worrisome things might seem, there is a place of absolute security close at hand – as near as right here and right now. What’s wonderful to consider is that the kingdom of the present knows no boundaries. It’s a sovereignty that extends everywhere and forever. If I try to discover where the present ends, I always find only the present again and again, stretching out into boundless space. It’s spread out farther than stars and planets, and it’s also right next to me, and inside me – always a steadfast friend. In times of turmoil, all I need to do is pause and once again feel the security of being present with the present – being right here and now, completely secure in a reality that is always just itself, always boundaryless, always just what it must be, and therefore always perfect.  

Relax

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

         I need to relax more often, and it should be easy for me, because the Universe, of which I am a part,  is always relaxing. It seems clear to me now that everything around me – and inside me – is always loosening up and easing off. ‘Taking it easy’ is the way the entire Universe lives. Winds and sunrises and shadows and limbs of trees and cells in my body all stay loose – always. If something seems to go wrong, it’s merely the looseness moving in ways I’ve never seen before. The present moment, which sits at the exact center of everything, is always relaxing, precisely because it has no opponents – no enemies to cause resistance or tension. The ‘here and now’, which includes me, is its own boss, and therefore rolls and slacks off and takes its ease, with me inside it. 

         I hope I can more often enjoy the ‘chilling out’ way the Universe lives.  

Environment

WORDS LIKE LIGHT

Thursday,  January 20, 2022

            Like most people, I greatly value what is called ‘the environment’ – the hills and rivers and sky and animals and people with which I live on this earth – but I treasure even more the much vaster environment, the endless domain of spirit. The truth is that we all live in a mental territory much more than in a physical one. Our world is the world of the present moment – of spirit, the inner and limitless land of awareness. When I think about taking care of the environment, I do think about maintaining the purity of our seas and skies, but I also think, even more seriously, about preserving the purity of the central lifeforce of everything, which is, in fact, the pervasive and boundless present moment. I, and all of us and everything, actually dwell in ‘a natural world’ – the present moment – that has no boundaries, no beginnings or endings, and no imperfections. It is what it is, and this ‘is-ness’ is wider than the never-ending sky. This is the habitat that I most want to help, and I can do that best by simply always residing, with full awareness, right here and right now, because that’s where the only dependable and pure paradise is.

A poem from a few years back …

Power

WORDS LIKE LIGHT

Tuesday,  January 18, 2022

            How amazing are the powers of this universe, and none of them belong to or are controlled by me! The abilities I see in winds and sunrises and always-swirling feelings and thoughts are not my abilities, but belong simply to a reality that’s vaster than the farthest skies and stars. Somehow, forcefulness is flowing endlessly through all of life, and somehow I am able to feel it powering its way through me, but I have no authority over it. It is not mine to make or guide. This ever-present and mysterious influence – this power that gives mastery to sunshine and darkness and sorrow and words and winter storms – has no boundaries, no beginnings or endings. It’s here and everywhere, now and forever, and what is called ‘I’ and ‘me’ is simply an essential and inseparable motion within its never-ending flow. While I’m sitting at my desk this morning, typing out these words, the limitless capacities of the universe are displaying themselves in my elderly but reliably nimble fingers, in my spanking new thoughts, in the rising and falling of my still-lively lungs, and in our old furnace steadily sending warm air up from the basement. There’s power in these early morning moments, and the power will move through all the moments to come in this influential, irresistible day – and old, happy Hamilton will move right along with it. 

… a poem about a make-believe guy…
our chalkboard poem for today

Plow

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Friday,  January 7, 2022

         This morning, as we were waiting for our snow-plow guy to come and clear the streets so we could go out for our usual Friday cafe breakfast, I started thinking about some other kinds of plowing. There’s the plowing, for instance, that I often find myself doing as I try to push my way through a day’s apparent problems. It’s all about ‘me’ then – me the brave tough-guy who thinks he can bulldoze his way through barriers with sheer resolve and self-discipline, the macho muscleman whose ego-centered actions usually lead to more frustrations and fears. But – there’s another kind of plowing, the kind the boundless present moment is constantly doing. Each present moment, today and every day, softly pushes its way through oldness, and – presto! – the streets of life are instantly clear and free to travel. It’s like each moment of life is a freshly-fashioned snow-covered landscape with pristinely cleared roads and trails ready for free and easy travel. What’s wonderful is that I don’t need to call the present moment to come and plow us out, since it is always right here, right now, doing its smooth and thorough and magnificent work. 

         This morning we were waiting to go out for our special cafe breakfast, but we were already ‘out’ in the wide-open and wondrous world of the present moment, thanks to its eternal power that never stops plowing and clearing the way. 

The view from our bedroom window this morning

RICH

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Friday, December 17, 2021

            I’m not always aware of it, but I am rich – very rich, exceedingly rich, totally rolling in wealth. My fortune is not made of material goods, luckily for me, because they can crash and vanish as easily as raindrops. No, my wealth consists of boundless, indestructible treasures like love and patience and gentleness and acceptance and kindness. Today, I should walk like a prosperous gentleman, because that’s what I am – an 80-year-old guy who will receive – and can give – gifts of attentiveness and endurance and innovation all day long. If I can stay awake and aware of it, today, as on all days, I will live on easy street, spending limitless kindness and camaraderie wherever I am – walking on a sunrise road with my wife, washing plates and cups in the sink, shopping for my special apples and pretzels at McQuades. At every single moment today, I will be well-off beyond belief, flush with the shine of powers like love and goodness and brand-newness. Who knows? I might sometimes break into dancing as I spend my endless assets!

IN WEALTH

In Wealth, WA, USA,
there's prosperity in every moment, 
even in sorrow, 
which makes mounds of wisdom 
for those who wait for it. 
Even confusion has riches to bestow
when clarity comes back, 
and hard work always shows 
where treasures lie. 
In Wealth, the true valuables 
are kindness and caring,
of which there are mountains 
in this little town's treasury, 
and patience always produces resources
 folks had never noticed before. 
This town has cash hidden 
in breezes and sunshine and shadows, 
there are stacks of securities 
called 'benevolence'
in every resident's portfolio,
and every street is called 'Easy'.

If you visit well-off Wealth, 
you're in for a surprise, 
for you'll discover how filthy-rich 
you, too, have always been!