Saturday, August 31, 2013

Each Place is a Bardo, A Fluid In-Between Space

My friend, Linda Hollier, responded to my poem, Morning Light, by saying it was about a bardo. Tibetan Buddhists use the term "bardo" to describe the space between death and rebirth on. They say it is a time when our consciousness is not connected to a physical body and we experiences phenomena ranging from clear, peaceful spaciousness to a wild phantasmagoria of terrifying halluci-nations. Those prepared for this stormy voyage and are conscious they are taking it have a great opportunity for liberation from suffering. Those ignorant of the bardos they pass through are tossed about by the waves in a nightmarish odyssey that drives them toward an unfortunate birth. "Bardo" can also describe times when our routine lives are interrupted, such as during an illness or a meditation retreat. 

Considering this, I realized that each place we experience in life is a bardo—an experience of the space between the formations of consciousness that came before it and those that follow. Viewing my experience through the frame of the bardo loosens my attachment to the mistaken perception that present circumstances are fixed and solid. Instead, I remember that each place and time is merely another episode in the ongoing journey from one bardo through another. My attachment loosens. I breathe more easily. The forms I inhabit become a fluid interplay of colors, textures and sounds. The people I encounter appear to be richly developed characters parading through an unending story. I am both playing one of the roles in this story and am witnessing the story unfold. Looking back in time, the plot line of the bardos spilling one through the other seems wisely orchestrated. Attempting to see forward, I peer into a cloud of unknowing.

Dwelling within the fluid land of the bardos, I have less fear of taking creative leaps. It all becomes like drawing on water. Forms appear and disappear. The beauty and honesty of the gesture is more important than the passing marks they make. Since my persona is a temporary character in a watery play, the flow of love and appreciation becomes more important than worrying about gaining approval for my self-image.

Certainly, I prefer some bardos over others. There are icky bardos, as my friend Tricia calls them. There are confusing, terrifying, heartbreaking and obstacle-filled bardos that can show up between harmonious, inspiring and wisdom-filled bardos. Life relentlessly carries me from one bardo through the next, not letting me cling to or push away any of them for long. Seeing them as bardos, I remember that all of them are temporary and passing through the open sky of the consciousness I am. When I remember this, each place is more like living poetry and for a time I'm liberated. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Power of Patterns

Here's a video on a talk I gave on the power of patterns describing the material in my book 24 Patterns of Wisdom. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Creative Process

Again, dawn breathes.
Again, the river of creative energy longs to flow.
Again, hesitation.
Again, cracking the ice of fear reveals the waters of the soul
and the currents singing.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Morning Light

Stillness infused with shadowed radiance
hovers between being and becoming.
From this, the day will pour forth.
Now, before all that
night’s shadows breathe the glow
beyond the horizon,
drawing in what can be sensed
before it is seen.

The dreams that tumbled through the night
pour into this pause,

this in-between.
The noisy, brilliant day is coming,
to relentlessly roll out its dramas.
this blessed still-space
enfolds all beings.
This blessed opening,
after regrets,
before promises,
is a peace 

fingers can touch
ears can hear
eyes can see
my soul can be.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Birthday Thoughts Here and Now

Today, I'm loving how we all share a similar life journey, all trying to make sense of it and none of us really understanding it. Along the way, there is so much beauty and wonder to inspire us, so much confusion and struggle to challenge and strengthen us. Each year I know less and feel the energy of aliveness more. Each day, objects and accumulations seem less important while love and compassion gain more significance. Moment by moment, my time in this world lessens while the sense of timelessness increases.

Today, this is what is important to me:
- Amidst the horrors and tragedies in the world, I open to the wonder of life.
- Through fears and doubts, I share the creative vision that is calling to be expressed through me.
-Within an aging body, I feel the vast strength of spirit animating my life.
-Despite reasons to the contrary, I live the unreasonable mystery I am.
-Clouded by the illusion of being a separate self, I embrace my interdependence with the rest of creation.
-Despite the grasping and aversion of my mind, I am grateful for the blessings in my life, not as trophies to be enshrined, but as currents in the ongoing stream of living.

Thank you all for sharing this crazy, wondrous journey.