When life seems difficult for me – when it seems like very hard work to make a day ‘successful’ – I hope I can remember that life is always a facilitator, never a slave-driver. Every moment of every day stands ready to make things easy for me. My loyal lungs, smoothly rising and falling over and over again, make it possible for fresh life to come to me, and the faithful blood in my veins and arteries smooths the way for success throughout the day. Each and every thought opens the door to a possible whole new view of life, and every feeling oils, in various and mystifying ways, the everlasting wheels of wisdom. The music of the hours of any day can clear the way for quiet understanding and appreciation. Even sitting in a straight-backed chair in silence can assist me in seeing more clearly the miracles made all around me all day long. Seemingly hard work can disappear into smoothness and success when I allow life itself to easily facilitate everything and make moment-by-moment peace possible.
AS EASY AS THAT
(writing near the Mystic River)
Two cars came by,
then a leaf left a tree,
then a pencil started
to move across paper.
It's as easy as that.
Did the sun strain
to rise this morning?
Do stars shine
because they work hard?
This old river rolls along.
It's as easy as that.
Below, some scenes from our early morning walk on Napatree Beach (RI) yesterday …
On these hot summer days, it would be good to occasionally step inside a soft, refreshing cascade of water . . . and fortunately, something like this is always happening. Right now, as I sit in the early morning at my computer, an easygoing waterfall of fresh thoughts is flowing through me, just as it will be five minutes from now, and all day tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. Also, a peaceful stream of blood is rolling through me, as always, and showers of new feelings are spilling over, and quiet currents of breath are tenderly entering my lungs. This life I am part of is an unruffled outpouring of good gifts, though I am often unaware of this ever-present cascade. Will today be different? Will I purposely stay still and feel the streams of life carefully cooling and washing me?
THAT WHICH FLOWS AND FLOWS
He loves his coffee and his wine,
but truly revels in the drinks
that have no end. In several winks
the wine is gone, but the divine
rewards within a cup of Love
can never end. A glass of Trust
holds deep and endless harmony,
and Kindness, like the sky above,
cannot be kept within a cup
and keeps on spilling over while
he drinks and drinks. A smile
fills his face when he takes up
a mug of Gentleness, for he knows
there's always more and more
to have. He loves to freely pour
a cup of that which flows and flows.
Below, some scenes from our beach-walk this morning, with Delycia leading the way …
The word ‘acquiescence’ often carries a negative connotation – a sense that a person is reluctantly giving in – but it’s interesting that the word derives from the Latin word for ‘quiet’, which offers a fresh perspective on it. When I acquiesce to whatever’s happening in my life, perhaps I’ve simply decided to settle into a quiet posture of acceptance. Perhaps it implies embracing even the worst situations with calmness and respectfulness, and then studying them and trying to learn from them. Rather than necessarily suggesting a submissive attitude, acquiescence may actually stem from understanding that saying yes to the universe’s plans for me can prepare the way for a wider kind of wisdom. I may not always love what’s happening in my life, but bowing to it can bring the inner quietness and light that learning something new often produces. I might even drop the ‘a’ in the word. Perhaps I want to keep the quiescent kind of life I seem to have fallen into, a life marked, not by the sluggishness that sometimes shows up in retirement, but by a powerful kind of peacefulness, which often can come from just accepting what’s happening. I guess I’ve slowly learned to extend a welcome to problems instead of opposing them, partly because acceptance is simply more restful than resistance, but also because working with a problem instead of against it seems to make my old life, in little and large ways, more triumphant day by day. Back in my youthful 50’s, I was often stressed and frenzied from fighting with problems, but now, in my fairly hassle-free 80’s, I’m putting out a quiet hand of welcome to trouble, just to see what possibilities it might present.
Going along, you can get to a place
where peace can prepare feasts for
finding you rest in every moment,
making your life like a lighthearted
and holy and endless event.
A silent signal is sent out each moment,
to choose to let go
and to give.
‘Waiting’ is a wonderful word. It implies so many things. If we are waiting for something, then we are expecting it to happen, to come to us. We don’t have to do anything ourselves; we just have to ease up and wait, because we know it will come. If we are waiting, then, in a sense, we are relaxing, because we are totally confident that what we are waiting for will arrive. Waiting does not imply worrying and fearing. Rather, it implies being patient, because we know that what we wait for is definitely coming. Today I want to wait patiently for the power of the infinite universe to exert itself and to control my life. Of course, I don’t really have to wait for that, because it’s already happening at every moment today. What I have to do is resist the temptation to start doing things to bring happiness into my life. The happiness is already in my life, because I am an inseparable part of the peacefulness of this vast and marvelous universe. What I have to do is simply realize that, and wait to see this peacefulness effortlessly disclose itself each and every moment.
WAITING ON THE PHONE
She enjoys waiting
on the phone
for a human being’s voice,
because for her,
nothing is better
She loves waiting
for her breath
to bring a rise to her lungs
and then a comfortable fall,
and she feels fortunate
to wait faithfully for thoughts
to flow into and through
and then out of her,
like an always helpful river.
She waits for wonder
to arrive for her,
as it always does,
and she delights
in waiting for fear
to shrivel up
and float away,
waving and smiling
like a friend.
Today, I hope to keep in mind that there is no outsideanywhere. All of reality today will be on the inside, because the inside is everywhere. In a universe that truly has no boundaries, everywhere is inside, and everywhere is actually at the center of the inside. I have spent so much of my life trying to cope with what I saw as ‘outside’ situations – events and circumstances that seemed to be separate from me and sometimes threatening me – but now, at the truly awe-inspiring age of 80, I see clearly that everything is on the inside, and that the inside is a boundless and harmonious wonderland. For a large part of my life, I struggled to find peace somewhere outside of me – in people and material things and situations – but now I see there is no outside anywhere, and the inside is endless and everlastingly peaceful (even though I often don’t see the peace anywhere). Today, like all days, the kingdom of serenity is inside everything, including me – and every moment, including me, is inside this quiet kingdom.
Could be a pretty sweet day!
Below, two best friends in their 80’s enjoying a lovely walk on the beach this morning …
I often live inside a seemingly real daydream, where everything is solid and separate and easily distinguishable. In this fantasy, there’s me and the rest of the unconnected universe, all maneuvering in meticulous ways to stay safe and separate. It’s a life of separation and positioning and constant concern for my individual welfare. However, sometimes it does seem obvious to me that this notion of solidity and separation is truly just a dream, a way of looking at life that’s no more real than a fanciful fable. At those times, life presents itself as what it truly is – a nonstop dance where nothing is separate or solid, and everything is interlaced in endlessly supportive ways. The dream of solidity easily disintegrates, and reality is revealed as a totally mysterious but unified and helpful adventure. Today, I’m again setting off, with anticipation and appreciation, on another path in this wondrous, interwoven forest called life.
I am fortunate to always be able to watch and appreciate the countless workers in the carefree factory of this universe of ours. All day long, my lungs labor with ease and pleasure to bring me fresh breaths, and my eyes, like true craftsmen, constantly bring sights into my consciousness in the most creative and comfortable ways. The amazing artisan called Thinking is always hard at work, mysteriously making and sending thoughts by the thousands swinging through my mind, and each Moment, in fact, is an artistic toiler in the making of brand-new miracles.
Strangely, the seemingly separate person called ‘me’ is more of a watcher than a worker. My job is to watch and welcome and understand and love what the workers of the universe are quietly accomplishing, moment after moment. How lucky can an 80-year-old dude get?
Today, all day long, I will be soaking in the splendid peacefulness of life, even though I may be totally unaware of it. I may be faraway in my head that’s often full of worries and wonderings and what-ifs, but the boundless life that I’m part of will always be bathing me in the undisturbed endlessness of the present moment. Whether I realize it or not, I’ll be immersed in restfulness all day, because that’s where the universe always is, and I am one of its lucky partners. Hopefully, I can occasionally come out of my reveries and feel the marvelous soaking and rinsing in serenity that is always – always – happening.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Wednesday, November 10, 2021
PASSION AND COMPOSURE
I am slowly becoming more skilled at working and resting at the same time, something I often see in nature. Trees, for instance, seem to be busily working when they sway in strong winds, tossing their limbs in a spirited manner, but they also seem absolutely stress-free. Perhaps their secret is that they don’t resist, but simply settle back and let the wind do most of the work, allowing them to sway tirelessly for hours. I see a similar situation now, in these days of autumn, when leaves are offhandedly floating to the ground in effortless ways, which enables them, in just a few days, to completely cover square miles of land with their colors. This is an astonishing achievement, one that would take we humans a supreme effort, and yet the loose and untroubled leaves do it in a seemingly leisurely way. And of course there are the coming snowfalls, perhaps the most restful of nature’s activities, when whole crews of snowflakes float in perfect peacefulness across the landscape. Within a few hours, a sovereign state of snow can set itself up across a landscape, and it does it in the quietest possible way. A snowstorm has a way of combining effort and restfulness, something I greatly admire. Perhaps my goal in life should be to live like autumn leaves and snowflakes, with both passion and composure.
In Patience, South Carolina,
people show tolerance even for raving storms.
Sometimes their self-restraint
when facing problems seems similar
to trees kindly caring for high winds
by waving to them.
People in this uncomplaining town
are almost imperturbable,
particularly when trouble blows through.
Somehow, they effortlessly find a way
to welcome the trouble
as an affable consultant
able to advise on a new trail to take.
You can't believe the calmness
that almost constantly comes over
people in Patience,
as if calmness is a gift
that keeps on giving in this town,
as if serenity always streams through them
like light breezes in trees.
Doggedness doesn't come any tougher
than in Patience,
where even death is endured
with indefatigable kindness.
If you visit Patience,
perseverance and composure
will walk around town with you.
Here are some scenes from our sunrise walk this morning on Napatree Point …
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
We all search for something stable in life – a safe, solid ‘rock’ that can’t be shaken by even the worst of life’s storms – and actually, we all have one. It’s simply the ever-present, ever-sturdy present moment. Whatever happens today will happen in the now. I may think a lot about the troublesome past and the worrisome future, but all that thinking will happen in the immovable present. Try as I might, I will never be able to push the now away and replace it with the past or the future. After my strongest labor, the present moment will still be there, steadfast and serene – and smiling. All my ‘what ifs’, no matter how persistent and persuasive, will never remove, or even slightly shift, the durable and abiding present. My life – and all of life – rests on an unfaltering foundation that has no top, no bottom, no borders whatsoever – a basis bigger and broader than the endless sky – and the wonder is that it is simply the here and now, the ever-present present moment.
Today should be a day of perfect peace for me, for under me is an endless and stable basis that can never be broken – the long-lived and reliable present.
STEADY AND STABLE
All days are steady and stable.
They always dance, one way or another,
throwing themselves into life
like flowing rivers that love to drift.
There are forces in all days
that think they’re beautiful,
and they are,
so beautiful that they find
small fortunes for us in every moment.
All days bring balance with them,
which enables them
to be available for us
for 24 hours.