Monthly Archives: April 2003

The Parable of the Butterfly

We start so miniscule —
no more than a speck of dust,
smaller than the edge of a fingernail
hidden in the shadow of a leaf,
one nameless egg among thousands,
soft, vulnerable and almost translucent;
and as soon as we are able to move
we begin to consume, to devour the world around us,
barely sleeping, living to eat.
Not knowing the reason, but seeking to satisfy
an endless hunger.
Once we defoliate our entire world,
become fat and sleek and full
yet still longing for another meal,
one that will satisfy and not leave us wanting,
in that moment the whole world
our feet stuck fast,
and we build solid walls around,
constructed from our own bodies.
Suddenly we must become absolutely still
and wait,
isolated from the rest of life.
Only the energy within still pulses, unseen
Until we are transformed,
shaking off the wrappings of our past,
letting the energy fill our wings.
Finally we can flit through the skies,
focusing at last on the flowers,
sipping from their sweet nectar,
understanding our interdependence,
losing ourselves
in the epiphany of flight.
Oh, for such a brief span of time
we are immersed in this samadhi,
so little of our lifespan!
Then we must seek out the leaves again
and sow the next generation,
that this incarnation
will never see.
What we leave behind
is the future;
what we take with us
is the beauty of right now.
The caterpillar does not strive to become a butterfly;
it cannot do otherwise.

22 APR 2003

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Quote of the Day

Arriving in India in 1964 was like walking into a concert that had been playing for five thousand years with seven hundred million people in the band. — Bhagavan Das, It’s Here Now, Are You?

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That lingering scent on the morning breeze,
light and fragrant as it skips across the lawn,
there like a hint of soft mist in the trees;
it plays on the senses and then is gone

as each new blossom opens to the world,
its tender silken strands embrace the wind
and the spirit of Shakti is unfurled,
its sensuous perfume released again.

Now the waiting earth awakens once more
to the firm touch of the Divine Mother,
as from behind a veil of illusion
she soaks each living thing through to the core;
and there just beyond your sense of Other
unites all life in Her light’s diffusion.

20 APR 2003

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Tending a Garden

The soul is a garden that needs tending:
deadheads to be snipped away, trees to trim,
stray weeds to remove, fence that needs mending,
measuring, minding each tendril and limb.

Yet what will thrive, and what withers and dies,
regardless of hours of ministration,
catches even the masters by surprise,
in spite of their great determination

to manage and nurture and plan and plot
each sapling, each bulb, each seed, each new bloom,
watching the sky and earth with a keen eye.
For nature seeks beyond what it is taught –
it finds its own space wherever there is room.
The longing soul likewise finds truth thereby.

19 APR 2003

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Random Thoughts …

You know when I first realized I didn’t want to be a rock star (yeah, I know, all of five minutes ago, right)? The moment I realized I was not interested in entertaining anyone I didn’t personally know and like (and by entertaining personally I mean like playing the guitar for a friend’s wedding, writing silly songs for the kids, making friends laugh, etc.). As a corollary to that I realized that I’m not really all that interested in “making new friends” either, meaning more people who will show up drunk at the house at 3:00 a.m. unannounced. At some point I stopped seeking and thinking about having what I wanted. And started wanting what I have. Not becoming possessive, really, because I give a lot more away now than ever; or becoming attached to anything material, but valuing each thing as it occurs, treasuring it while it lasts, nurturing its role in my life.
I realized something, too, when I wrapped up writing all those poems by request. That is, that ultimately I wasn’t interested in writing for other people anymore. In making what I was writing worth reading (by anyone’s standards but my own). I proved a point to myself, I think, and that is that I don’t need an audience. I don’t really care if anyone is listening, or if they think what I have to say is worth listening to. I’m not trying to convert anyone, or sell encyclopedias, or whatever.

That doesn’t mean that I’m withdrawing from society, turning off the creativity, or anything like that. It doesn’t mean that if you need me, tough luck. What it means is that what I have to say is not a commodity I’m creating for the sake of having something to say, or just so an increasing number of people can find me worth reading.

You may have noticed the format change in this journal over the last week or so. I think that’s indicative of a change in the content, as well. Perhaps it’s less accessible now, less safe. On the other hand, it feels (to me) more open, spontaneous – dealing with essentials, not extras. With being and not seeming to be.

Or something like that. You’re welcome to come along for the ride. Destination: freedom, awareness, truth – but not mine; that’s for me. You’ll need to pack your own.

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Talking Loud and Saying Nothing

Sink your teeth into a worn-out concept,
like it was an old piece of shoe leather;
worry it constantly, ’til its precepts
are soaked with saliva and turned to rubber

in the clamped vise of your tenacious jaws!
Suck the marrow from each worthwhile notion
seeking only for pleasure, without pause,
as substance flies apart in the motion

of your rabid fight to subdue victims,
to intimidate into silence all
who would question your fierce, deep loyalty.

But your true enemy is not living.
It is a useless collection of trash
that distracts you from the chain at your neck.

14 APR 2003

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What is a Leader of the Free World?

Watching the joyous celebrations by the people of Iraq, and the continuing news broadcasts hinting that demonstrators on both sides of the war and anti-war campaign might now be more or less inclined to comment, I began thinking about something.
It is obvious to me that the people of Iraq are happy to be free of Saddam Hussein. I think there is little doubt that his regime was not a pleasant one in which to live. This leads me to believe that at this precise instant, at this limited window of opportunity, the armed forces of the United States have done a good thing.

But that does not mean we did it for the right reasons. The right reason would have been for no reason at all. Except that it needed to be done. No suggestions of post-war rebuilding, no potential enhancement of the pro-Israel element in the region, no possibility that the oil-rich elements in the United States were interested in Iraqi oil. If the REAL reason is the Iraqi people, then the operation was for the right reason.

And it seems obvious that the leader of the free world would have done what we have done so far for that reason alone. Not because Saddam Hussein’s activities supported destructive actions against the US. Not because Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological threats and might use them against us, or provide them to others who might use them against us. Not because our national security demanded that American lives must be protected. The leader of the free world would have done it because Iraqi lives needed to be protected. That those weapons were used against ANYONE would be a good enough reason.

Now, obviously there are a lot of places in the world where those who have money are considered to be more important than the poor. Where those who do not practice the “official” religion of a place are prosecuted, persecuted. Where power-brokering behind closed doors determines the course of politics. Where special interests exist. Where any interest is considered more special than others. Where elections are NOT open, fair and non-disputed. Where representatives do not represent all their constituents, but only a select few who can do them favors. Where a political campaign is ABOUT character, rather than CONDUCTED with character. Where bribes are taken. Where there is an old-boy network, a glass ceiling, a double standard, a hidden agenda.

Where the nation’s industry building weapons of mass destruction, armaments, and military strength has a bigger budget than the nation’s education system. Where friends get preferential treatment. Where national boundaries define us and them. Where race, religion, class, creed, sex, orientation, or any difference is seen as an obstacle, an aberration, an abomination. Where freedom of speech does not really mean freedom of speech. Where the accused ARE assumed guilty until proven innocent …

But the leader of the free world is NOT one of those places.

Because the leader of the free world is leading. Teaching compassion, understanding, kindness. Breaking down barriers instead of erecting them. Doing the ethical thing – which is “Thou Before I”. And helping, by whatever means necessary, to promulgate the belief that EVERY person is a human being, an equal, worthy, respectable, interesting, confusing, beautiful, struggling, learning, growing, adapting and EVOLVING being. Because if you teach that, there isn’t any dictatorship that can stand. There is no despot that can wreak havoc upon an unsuspecting populace. There are none with secret grudges that must find their expression only in violence because no one deems them worthy of communication or is willing to accept whatever truth is in their argument.
At some point, if the human race is to survive (at a minimum) or to evolve, all its members must contribute to, and benefit from, that egalitarian ideal. But evolution is not a sudden step. It is not a regime change. It is a slow, painstaking, and ultimately painful process, that must be encouraged because it is the ONLY thing to do, not because it might appear to be the “right” thing to do from within our currently non-fully-evolved frame of reference. At that point, in a completely egalitarian society, individuals will lead when their expertise is required, and follow when it is necessary to defer to the expertise of others. When people recognize their interdependence and honor and value the fact that truth is a pathless land – a land that we each inhabit, each of us standing with a useful pair of feet on a unique, individual piece of truth – but only a piece. Until that occurs, there must be a leader, a master, a guru, so to speak. A leader that does not point the way, but IS the way.

And that leader’s only responsibility is to lead by example. If their example is not good enough, they are not the leader – no matter how much they would like others to think so. The leader of the free world MUST practice what it preaches, or it has no business preaching. And it certainly has NO right to say that its interests are the best interests. But then again, a true leader would never say that to begin with.

So who is the leader of the free world?

Who qualifies on these terms?

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