on turning seventy three

 

alone in my hut

[no one here to invent me]

eyeballing emptiness

 

Rainbow Lorikeet hovering by Trevor Andersen

 

Seventy three missions

around the sun and not

one thing of worldly value

to show for it.

 

No savvy safety-nets:

investment portfolios, insurance policies,

plans A, B and C.  I walk the way

of not-knowing and wonderment.

 

Lofty notions of enlightenment, bliss,

exalted understanding have no buyer here;

I’ll take this uninvited, serene,

free and priceless fulfilment.

 

See, today I heard the air sing

as it danced through the rainbow wings

of a Lorikeet suspended

in space.

 

Today I watched cumulonimbus

massing in the west, those

sculpted edges alive with flaming gold

as the sun went down.

 

Tonight, as dusk fell

bringing cool relief to the sweating forest

I giddily inhaled a draught

laden with night-scented Jessamine.

 

And it is enough. Whatever may lie ahead

for this beloved bag of bones

the simple sensuous joy of being Presence

 

is enough.

 


Rainbow Lorikeet hovering. Photograph by Trevor Andersen.


wholly whole and holy

ma deva padma - existence

 

So.  Here we are.  Sitting upon our lotus-leaf

pondering the paradox

that there is no inner and outer to this experience

of exist-ing.

Not only is the fabric of our being

felted from the Primordial Awareness we can’t

escape,

but every appearance we consider

‘other’

is similarly ex-pressed from that source.

And if there’s no inside/outside,

no this/that

no me/other

it means this:

there’s nowhere to hide

 

We love to think that our quiet denial

of the pain too unspeakable to countenance,

is safely hidden from view.

 

Or, and this is more common,

we are no longer aware of it

as it vibrates below the limn

of our consciousness.

 

Perhaps we stitch together satisfying stories about

our awakened understanding.

(Or the absence thereof.)

Yet in moments of self-honesty we can see:

our scars go before us

laying out the trajectory of our lives.

 

Every stitch in the tapestry

of our magnificent ‘me’

is displayed across the cosmos.

 

All is known.

Because there’s nowhere for anything

to hide.

 

This is exquisite.

It’s a realisation that throws open the possibility

that the wound we have spent a lifetime

avoiding, can become the catalyst

for an unimaginable new View.

 

How come?

 

No inside/outside, remember?

No separation, remember?

Only One immeasurable inconceivable Whole is happening.

It’s like an eyeless eye.

 

It

knows Itself

intimately, lovingly

in all the discarded, denied details

of our every wound,

every misdeed and regret,

every choked-back emotion,

every failure to love…

 

and still It loves us

nourishes

holds

and

lives us

 

so

 

how could we not be safe?

we can come out

we can stand up

we can own up

we can shine

 

wholly whole and holy

 


 

Sorry to shout.   But this matters.  Evidence of unintegrated primal pain is displayed for all to see across our world at this time.  Imagine what the scene would be like if emotionally mature grown-ups were carrying the best interests of humanity forward, rather than beings frozen at the age of three?  This is probably as close as I will ever come to making a political statement.

 


Image copyright Ma Deva Padma, Existence, from the Osho Zen Tarot


breathing with the lake

Here I am.
Sitting in Paradise
breathing.
Breathing the tide of clarity – in it comes
crystal-clear, out it goes,
often muddied by mind –
and I smile as this lifestream flows on
saturating each sensation, yet
paying no heed;
never cocking an eyebrow or casting a vote,
only ever reminding me:
Here I am
I-without-name-or-boundary
here and now
as This, and This and This.


The current version of Paradise finds me staying in a place of great beauty, beside a large lake. This entire year has unfolded as a series of deep retreats. It is a time for, and of, integration. Health issues are being lovingly tended and their emotional causality explored. It’s both harrowing and heart-swelling: Grace delivers whatever is needed, reminding me I signed up for the Full Monty.

Apropos of nothing (I never go fishing) these three small poems landed in my net:


Miriam Louisa Simons, Lake Macquarie, dawn

 

breathing with the lake

I am

Monet-mind beside the Seine

 

 

black swans glide by, curious:

pounding the lakeside path

a rainbow!

 

 

fog hiding the lake

one solitary oarsman

rows through melting space

 


Photograph taken from my zafu.


pop goes the poseur

Three mid-winter haiku.

 

Rengetsu - Uji River Teapot Scroll ca1840

 

xxxv

winter in my hut

drafts shivering the rainbows

I sit with my tea

 

xxxvi

thoughts and thinker? wrong

thoughts-thinker-thinking: all one!

pop goes the poseur

 

xxxvii

zafu guru says

two thoughts cannot co-exist

I dive in the gap

 


Painting by RengetsuUji River Teapot Scroll

Source – The Rengetsu Circle


this wild and precious life

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

– Mary Oliver

 

Kano Motonobu - Zen Patriarch Xiangyen Zhixian Sweeping with a Broom

 

after decades of wondering what I’d be
when I grew up,
what I’d do when I found my ‘real’ work,
what I’d contribute to life that might be of worth,
I tossed the questions to the stars
and gave up

is this typical I wonder?
a symptom of seniorhood?
or does it eventually occur to everyone
that while life is unbearably precious
and untameably wild
it isn’t yours or mine nor ever was

so with hair gone silver and eyes a-twinkle,
I whisper to the beloved poet:
this wild and precious life was never mine to map;
it always had its own agenda, dancing itself
across infinite webs of thought and feeling,
back to its own vibrant womb

and the role it gave itself as miriam
was that of sweeper of the space,
one who clears the mind-droppings, ensuring
no concealment of that fierce Grace
shining, shining through the world’s sorrow and joy
(and the sweeper’s too)

 

And what will Life do I wonder, with its one wild and precious You?

 


Image: Kano Motonobu –  Zen Patriarch Xiangyen Zhixian Sweeping with a Broom (detail)
Muromachi period 1336-1868.  Ink and color on paper.


 

early this morning

 

Miriam Louisa Simons - Stained Glass Morning, Missa Gaia Series

 

p e a c e

palpable as the presence of a Presence

yet utterly ineffable

a benediction without diction

beyond the grope of thought

a blessedness without symbol

not experienced as other but

immanent

– inescapably so –

oh!

 

silence

 

immaculate all-adoring silence

 


Image: Miriam Louisa Simons – detail, Stained Glass Morning
Missa Gaia Series,
1987-88. Painting on silk, stitching.
Private Collection, Auckland New Zealand

wonderingmind studio


a bet against nothing

 

Karen Divine - iPhone photography

 

The suitors came a-courting –
some to convert; others
to conquer.

They built their bowers
and cast their glittering nets
but

it was a bet against nothing
and nothing always
won.

 

See, I was taken at birth by
a groom I could never meet;
wed for life to Its presence

(inescapably cradled,
unconditionally
loved)

our consummation flowering
in my disappearance –
afresh in every instant.

 

My groom is the keeper of nothingness:
the nothing that can’t be named
or owned, yet

overflowingly fulfills.
It is my constant consort.
And so, tonight

I drink my wine and dance
alone.
How could I be happier?

 


Image:  iPhone photography by Karen Divine

Karen’s work is featured at my website the awakened eye