Tag Archives: enlightenment

Becoming A

Have you ever seen
someone become, in this life,
a bodhisattva –

I mean, who wasn’t one yet
when they started on their way?

If you can become
a thing you’re not already,
how is that trick done?

Not through potential or work –
that gets you Somewhere.

When your salt doll self
measures the ocean’s suchness,
the shore melts away.

What could be left to become
when you’re only here?

28 JUN 2024

The Whole Everything

There is no plan of study,
no readiness assessment,
no work at tilling fertile soil
in preparation for it;
enlightenment just happens,
like a sudden strike of lightning.
There’s no way to see it coming,
nor a warning bell that sounds.

There is no path toward it,
no life of worthy action,
no certain way of being
more conducive to its coming;
enlightenment is sudden,
almost random, never plotted.
There’s no one way or another
that it finds you in the end.

It’s not warm and fuzzy lighting,
nor in any way a comfort.
No one’s happy struck by lightning,
all at once, you’re caught on fire.
When enlightenment arrives,
your life is totally disrupted;
once it happens (for an instant)
your whole everything is changed.

22 AUG 2017

Richie Havens

I always felt he sang with such authority,
as if his way was how the song should be,
and let the writer of it know, in no uncertain terms,
that they could use it too, once in a while.

Like John the Baptist, unlike Isaac’s Moses,
I always heard him from the wilderness,
imagining he dined on honeyed locusts
and came in from the desert with his song.

He could employ a rumble or a whisper,
cacaphony or simple silent prayer
in service to a song’s deep, inner meaning;
he sang no song that did not have it there.

At Woodstock, he seemed like a great prophet;
I wonder, just how many lives were changed.
He taught that music could indeed work wonders,
and heal wounds better than it could destroy.

23 APR 2013

for Richard Pierce “Richie” Havens (1941-2013)

The Loudest Sound

The loudest sound does not echo the longest;
the brightest star seems quite dull from afar.
No one can judge true beauty from a distance,
nor hear a nuance from a mile or two.

The greatest deeds are not always the grandest;
the most humble of thanks are never heard.
No one can see much more than they are able,
nor comprehend what lies beyond their reach.

The biggest fool is not the biggest loser;
the smartest mind may lack all common sense.
No one can say for sure which is the wiser,
nor say the one has what the other lacks.

The loudest sound may be a quiet whisper;
the brightest light, the flicker of a spark.
No one can know how truth will come upon us,
nor which of us will lead us from the dark.

20 APR 2013

Look Inward, Angel: common measure

“As any fool could plainly see,
and you can see it plainly,”
were words my father spoke to me
in jest, sometimes, but mainly

to illustrate a simple point:
that often, a solution
is right in front of us, and needs
from us no contribution.

Perhaps he oversimplified,
attempting to be witty;
but nonetheless, some grain of truth
can be found in this ditty.

We know the truth, what’s right and wrong;
there’s no need of a teacher.
To find the essence of this life
requires no saint or preacher.

The wise men all say look within;
and still, we focus outward.
Is it because we’re deaf, or stupid?
Maybe we’re just cowards.

02 MAY 2011

Abandon This Garbage: alcaics

Oh wisdom seeking mendicant travelers,
your baggage and burdens are troubling handicaps;
they will not help you on your journey.
Abandon this garbage by the roadside.

If you would find some unforeseen adventure,
let drop your jaded world-weary illusions;
you have no need of those old crutches.
Use your own power to find the pathway.

Look inward, pilgrim: investigate carefully
what you have right now. Nothing is infinite
that has an ending, a start or finish;
if you see its edges, it’s not the source.

No dusty volume filling up shelving space
can provide answers; nor can just believing
in teachers, prophets, soldiers or saints.
The source of energy does not costume.

It is not waiting, patiently camouflaged
while you are wasting excuses and lifetimes.
It does its business, whether you are
singing in harmony or out of tune.

11 AUG 2006

This is the oyster

This is the oyster; why seek for the pearl?
There’s no escape plan for leaving this world
in my religion: no hereafter gold,
no burning embers, no cold of Sheol.

This is the medicine; why seek a pill
to flee reality, thinking you will
by any action change the universe,
except, perhaps, to make it a bit worse
with senseless struggle against so-called fate,
hedging your bets hoping it’s not too late.

This is the path you’re on; why second guess?
No point in leaving this life in a mess,
hoping salvation will come undeserved,
praying the universe doesn’t throw curves.

There is just oyster; that one grain of sand
turned to a pearl in the palm of your hand
is just some excrement to soothe the pain
of the endless ocean. Time and again
it waits at the shoreline to carry us out,
waits while we ponder, apostize and doubt.

This is the world that is; why seek one more?
Who knows what waits beyond the tide’s great roar?
This is your heaven, or this is your hell.
It too will pass away, after a spell.

24 APR 2006