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.  

HER PROTECTION
(a poem about Braelynn J., 52, Blessings, CT, USA)
Monday, March 7, 2022

When life crashes around her, 
Braelynn opens herself like an umbrella
and walks with poise 
through the storm. 
She carries openness like a canopy,
and could anything hurt her then? 
Thoughts throw themselves at her, 
but the umbrella of contentment 
keeps her safe and celebrating. 
She stays beneath the parasol
of the endless present, 
and peacefulness 
is presented to her as a gift, 
again and again. 

  


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 …

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

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

STABLE

         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, 
and durability, 
which enables them 
to be available for us 
for 24 hours.

And here’s our chalkboard poem for yesterday …

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Monday, October 25, 2021

KINGDOM

         When I was a boy, I loved reading comics and books about ‘kingdoms’, those far-off realms of royalty and splendor, and now, at the age of 79, I see that I have always dwelled in the most glorious kingdom of all – the infinite domain of the present moment. I truly am surrounded, at all times, by boundless solemnity – the stateliness of brand new thoughts gracefully arising before me, the magnificence of fresh sounds and sights ceremoniously appearing as if out of nowhere, the majesty of new moments suddenly presenting themselves like shining personal assistants. I’m truly living a fabled, fairy-tale life, where the magic of peace and love rules all. 

         Trouble is, I usually don’t see this kingdom of quietness and accomplishment that surrounds me. For some reason, I usually see only troubles and worries all around me. Wickedness seems to shine far brighter than wholesomeness, and fear seems far more forceful than love. 

         But I know that the kingdom of the present moment – the kingdom of kindness and care – is the true realm of the real, and sometimes I am able to enter that blessed land. Then I feel like I’m once again reading a comic book, and it’s called Real Life In The Real Present – and I settle back to enjoy the adventure.  

GLORIES

These are the glories 
of getting up early: 

candles caring for you
in the morning darkness -

your thoughts 
journeying with joy
 through the day’s possible adventures -

lights across the street 
unfastening your life -

silence sending peace 
to the hours and centuries ahead - 

cinnamon spice tea 
making life fresh 
at five-thirty a.m.  


WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

ORDER

            Today, as usual, the present moment will give the orders. All I have to do is listen carefully and follow its instructions. I won’t have to busy my little ‘self’ to figure things out and give commands and directions, because the present moment will quietly do that for me. It will tell me how to sit at my desk, how to listen to the sounds of the furnace, how to tap the computer keys accurately, how to be present in a perfect kind of way. There will be order everywhere – in the position of the small hairs on my hands, in the way my coffee waits in the cup beside me, in the way sticky notes are situated on my desk. Tidiness will show me how to to live and love this day. There will be apple-pie order from breakfast to bedtime, if I can stay observant and see it. The world actually works in orderliness and symmetry, even though it sometimes seems in disarray. I just hope I can see through the mist of my own thoughts and recognize the discipline and peacefulness of the present moment, for it’s always there.

ORDERLINESS

He marvels 
at the orderliness of things. 
These days
the birds start singing
at exactly five-seventeen,
and the newspaper man
makes his stop at the house next door 
at six-o-six.
Stranger still, his breath
enters and leaves with precision,
his quiet heart
carries on its duties
in a dependable way,
and the stars stay
where they're supposed to stay.
It's astonishing
to consider this
as he eats his perfect
piece of toast
and dawn delivers
another ideal day 
at his doorstep. 

WORDS LIKE LIGHT

Friday, October 8, 2021

CURIOSITY

            Today, I hope to be a devoted practitioner of curiosity. I want to have a spirit of inquiry all day. I want to explore each moment as though it’s a brand new, pristine territory, which it actually will be, and I want to rummage around among my thoughts and feelings to see what fresh treasures are there. Countless novelties and oddities lie ahead for me in the next 16 hours, each of which could be a conversation piece in the evening. Strangeness I’ve never seen before lies ahead, and I hope to practice inquisitiveness hour after hour. Who? what? how? and why? are questions I’ll be asking all day as I zealously watch the wonders of October 8, 2021 unfold.  

RESPONDING
(Braelynn J., 52, Blessings, CT)

Everything is always responding to her,
holding her close and caring for her,
answering the innocence in her
with the innocence of the universe.
She listens, and answers,
and then they continue to question –
breezes, sparrows, easily passing clouds, silence, herself –
the queries of a curious universe
and the responses of an inquisitive, sympathetic person.
She gives, and then they give –
attention, interest, consideration –
a sensitive person sharing with sunshine and roses
and lines of geese above,
sharing, distributing, welcoming, responding.

And here is Delycia’s son Aaron presenting her with her birthday cake (#81) yesterday. We celebrated the grand occasion in fine style!