a friend who knew me as a child
tells me I was – in spite of a tendency for promiscuity
and contrariness – always a closet mystic
he’s wrong, you know
I’ve never shared the mystic’s striving for union
with the One
I simply wanted to know whether the notion of One
was true, and if so, to prove it to myself
for myself by myself
I walked the neti-neti highway from horizon to horizon
until I fell off the edge of the world
and into the heart of here, where
‘I’ was the only eye and ear and all the senses shouted:
t h u s!
there’s no mystic here striving for union
with the One
this is what’s here, my old friend:
an unknowable, yet inescapable
cosmic narcissist, naked and guileless
playing with itself
– its One and only self –
in every conceivable form and fashion
(did I mention a tendency
The sky is powder blue and cloudless.
Like a cartoon cut-out
defiant against the celestial foreverness
stands a tall straight palm,
its huge bracts lavishly festooned with nectar berries –
breakfast au plein air for birds, beetles, insects.
High above the bracts,
the palm fronds erupt into a wild dance
celebrating – as though their lives depended on it.
Behind the palm and the security fence
the surface of the swimming pool is tickled
by the quirky breeze. It trembles.
Nodding demurely by its edge
clusters of coral bougainvillea
saturate the eye with impossible tropical color.
This is ‘n’ – the thusness of now-this-here
in which quivers of yearning
and shudders of aversion
find no place.
exists as ubiquitous Presence
presenting Itself to Itself.
this thrumming hum –
is it the surf’s roar
or my body’s ceaseless
In all these decades of stalking
the sages’ “who am I?”
I’ve only learned what I’m not.
I thought I was this body,
these thoughts and feelings
and the timeline on which
they inscribe their stories.
But how can I be anything perceived
or felt or conceived?
Or remembered or imagined?
I’d have to split myself in two:
one bit of me to be the viewer
and one to be the view.
If I can’t split myself in two
(have you tried it?)
well, um m m m m
how can I claim that I’m even one?
Indivisible T H U S N E S S is present;
yet to claim that it is ‘one’
turns out to be
a thought too far.
a raucous rooster calls up the light –
first, softest indigo melts the blackness
into an orb of welcoming then
the morning star rises
it climbs eagerly,
sometimes obscured by indistinct forms
silent shadowy cut-outs set
against the backdrop blanket of dawning
as it pulls free of the forest canopy
and sails into vastness overhead
the trees trace out their silent shapes
against the lightening horizon
kookaburra cackles in approval,
but it will be a while yet before
the rest of the beaky choir peek out
from cozy wing-tuck to welcome the new day
I’m at point zero on the zafu
eyes and ears on full alert,
senses unfurled, unfolded
the unknowable knowingness
of Life’s ceaseless
that over two thousand years ago
a man called Gautama
saw this star rising
in exactly the same