WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

IRRESISTIBLE

            There is only one truly irresistible force in my life – the eternal present. Other powers come and go, arise and disappear, seem strong and then dwindle down, but the present is always irrepressibly steady. It’s constantly and permanently right here, right now. There’s no way for me to escape from the Present. (The uppercase ‘P’ seems appropriate.) And if it’s always here, then it’s infinite – without boundaries, limitless. There’s no place where the Present doesn’t exist and have power. The past and future may seem to have separate, persuasive existences, but the truth is that nothing exists – or has power – but the inexorable Present. No doubt it would be good for me to stop resisting this unavoidable, imperative force. It is right here, right now, in all its enchanting ways. The compelling Present is holy ground. Perhaps, like Moses (Exodus 3:5), I should take off my shoes. 

FINDING THE PRESENT 

One day, 
a man found the present. 
It had prepared itself for him 
by holding its usual lights
in its lighthearted way, 
and waving to him 
like it loved him, 
as it always has. 
He held its hand, 
and all of life
lifted up and let itself loose
inside him and out to the stars. 
He stood in silence
and a new and endless sky spread out,
and then another,
and another. 

* below, a scene from Delycia’s garden yesterday – a sparrow atop a sedum blossom, while St. Francis quietly contemplates the birdbath *

And some scenes from a lovely walk yesterday on the Beebe Pond Trail in Groton …

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Friday, September 17, 2021

FULFILL

            Each moment today, the universe will totally fulfill its duties. Sunshine will show up precisely where it should, winds will blow in all the best ways, dust will sit on my desk in satisfactory patterns, and now will always be exactly right here. Today, my heart will carry out its duties as carefully as it possibly can. Each breath – even those with gasps and shortness – will be managed with proficiency, and all my thoughts will succeed in being just what they should be.  This will be a fulfilling day, in every way. Success will be flawlessly present in every present moment. Even disappointment and sorrow, if they show up, will be as perfect as possible, and thus will lead my life in a perfect direction. It will be a day of steady accomplishment. Each moment will succeed in amazingly impeccable ways. 


ALWAYS COOKING UP GIFTS
(about Make McGuire, 79, Blessings, CT)

Make says he’s always been fascinated 
by how much is accomplished around him  
-- how water constantly adjusts itself 
to various glasses and bowls, how light 
is always arranging and rearranging itself 
among the trees in the yard. He calls 
to his wife to come and see the clouds 
assembling new displays above their house, 
and they both love the way the weather 
is constantly brewing something new 
for them. Each day is constructed perfectly, 
he says, even though he sometimes fails 
to see the perfection. It’s like the day 
is always cooking up gifts for Delycia
and him, always dreaming up some 
new surprises for them. Make says life, 
to them, is a highly skilled designer, 
always fashioning wonders as they watch.    






WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Monday, September 6, 2021

HELPFUL

         Today, I hope I can keep in mind how helpful every present moment always is. Somehow, our very considerate universe has designed reality so that each and every present moment is friendly and eager to please. Strange as it sounds, even those moments that make me afraid or forlorn are useful, though usually in veiled ways.  All I have to do is get quiet (which is not easy for me to do!) and remove the veil, and the neighborliness of even a seemingly luckless moment will be revealed, helping me to see the hidden value in such moments. Each waking moment today – each of the approximately 57,000 of them – will be a thoughtful and supportive friend, eager to help in any way. When I hear or read the word ‘God’, I think of the always beneficent present – or perhaps I should use the upper-case – Present – because, to me, the boundless, user-friendly present moment is the only truly super-power – the only God – in the universe, and it is by my side at all times! Jesus told his followers that ‘the day of salvation’ that they were waiting for was right here and now, in the thoughtful and friendly present – and today I hope to be watchful – and grateful – for its neighborly help.  


AN UNUSUAL DISPLAY
(Bill M., 87, Blessings, CT)

The night gave him a lingering hug
and then helped him see the daylight coming, 
and soon there was an unusual display 
of comfort and everlastingness,
as though it was the start of spring
in everything, as though even 
the radio beside the bed was fresh and new
and had just seen him for the first time, 
how lovely he looked beside it,
and how fortunate it felt 
to be his radio. 
The only thing he knew, though,
was the thoroughness of his life just then, 
and he wove his thoughts 
in and out of the sunlight and the sounds of birds 
and the big life he had just been given. 
It felt like freedom had no end, 
and his radio hoped he would lean in 
and touch it and turn on music
to make its soul and his be helpful
to this revolutionizing new world
whose hands brushed his and it
and was transforming everything
moment after moment after moment.

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Sunday, September 5, 2021

FAR-SIGHTED

         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
 to ascend, 
with surprising views, 
and brand new,
 out-of-the-blue friends 
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 

Saturday, August 28, 2021

ULTIMATE

            This morning, as I write this at 4:26 a.m., I am gratefully receiving, once again, the ultimate truth about life, as well as the ultimate of all gifts. 

            Filling my thoughts right now is the most basic of all truths – that the present moment is all there ever is. No matter how far or how long I look, I am never able to find any other moment than this one, right here and now. If I say, ‘Of course there’s a past and a future’, that past and future always exists only in my thoughts in this present momentright here and now. And, amazingly, if the present moment is all there ever is, then it has no boundaries, and therefore is infinite – no beginning and no ending. The most fundamental of all truths is that I live – always – in the completely boundless realm called ‘presence’. 

            And … in this vast kingdom of presence, I always receive the ultimate gift – eternal newness. Right here and now, as the curtains beside my desk swirl in an early-morning breeze, I am a totally new part of the universeand so is everything else, including this breeze that’s caressing the curtains in an utterly fresh way. Also – astonishingly – this moment, right here and now, is the best of all moments – the supreme and unsurpassed moment in the entire history of the universe. Of course, the wonderful truth is that every moment is unsurpassed – the absolute epitome of moments, the utmost, the pinnacle and peak. Every single moment. 

            I’ve used so many italics in these sentences because I’ve wanted to shout out in wonder so many times as I typed the words. Now, at the end, I’m going to stop typing and simply sit in shock and amazement, and realize, again and again, that 

I live in paradise, right here and right now!

LAUGHING AND LETTING

“Laughter may well be the ultimate act of letting go and letting be.”
-- Matthew Fox

Once 
there was a man who laughed a lot, 
which helped whole flocks of worries 
fly out of him. 
When he was seriously lecturing his students 
about some essential principle of sentence punctuation, 
laughter sometimes burst from him 
like a soft and pleasant explosion,
and all solemnity streamed out of him,
leaving a tranquil mellowness
that allowed his best teaching to begin. 
In situations when 
he was holding on to his personal safety, 
laughter sometimes suddenly shook him, 
and thoughts of personal safety 
loosened and sailed off
into something like a misty sunrise,
and he swayed with the understanding
that safety is always everywhere.  
When he thought he was absolutely right
in an argument, 
laughter often softly fluttered up from inside him 
and helped him see himself 
as simply a star in a sky 
full of sextillions of them, 
and he smiled and shook hands 
with his surprised adversary
,
because she or he was also a star.  

A BEST FRIEND

Monday, July 19, 2021

If we say a best friend is one who is always faithful, then, strange as it seems, the present moment is one of my best friends. Being always by my side – always, no matter how bad things get – the present moment is unswerving in its promise to me. In the sunshine of bliss or the darkness of sorrow, the present moment is right there with me, as new as a new day. It’s the most steadfast of friends, and, more importantly, the most perfect of friends, since it is always exactly what it has to be. Something is perfect if it is as good as it is possible for it to be, which means this present moment (and the next one, and the next) is, indeed, perfect. I can make the next moment be different, but this exact moment, right now, is superbly what it must be. What luck, to have a faithful and perfect friend with me, moment by moment! 

A LIFE

Sometimes he feels his life 
flutter like a butterfly. 
Other times, 
his life is a bush 
with so many blossoms 
he can't possibly count them. 
Sitting at home 
in the flash of afternoon sunshine, 
his life looks like something 
from a land of gold. 

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

July 9, 2021

FISHING

            In the gospel of John, after some friends of Jesus have spent an entire night fishing from one side of their boat and catching nothing,  Jesus simply tells them to throw their net on the ‘right’ side, and when they do it, they catch an overwhelming number of fish, so many that they can’t pull the net into the boat. Today, I can also make a similar easy choice. Moment after moment, I can consciously choose to cast the ‘net’ of my awareness on the ‘right’ side – the side where the inestimable, measureless gifts of the present moment are always waiting to be ‘caught’. It’s really as simple as that. I only have to turn away from the side of the boat where nothing but empty materialistic hopes and illusory fears seem to be thrashing around, and turn toward the side where the boundless power of patience and kindness and peace is always ready to be welcomed aboard. I hope to be a wise, observant fisherman today.

WORDS LIKE LIGHT

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

ENDLESSNESS

            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.