my tuppence-worth

One of my father’s nick-names for me was ‘Tuppence.’  Perhaps it was because I was always eager to offer my “tuppence-worth” (i.e., the state-of-the-world according to my all-knowing self), and irritatingly persistent with my questions – “But why?” “Who says so?”  When he was really mad at me he’d say, “For two pence I’d give you the hiding of your life!”  I was always relieved no one came along with those pennies.

I never out-grew the tendency towards contrariness and insatiable curiosity.  From here I regard them as having been essential companions – both tools and fuel – on the rather erratic life path that unfolded for the ‘Tuppence’ character.

The days when I held court in my pram are ancient history, but the questions that matter for me remain fresh and alive.  My responses to them are an ever-morphing ontology.  Here’s the current version – a crone’s tuppence-worth.


Tuppence (Miriam Louisa)

Tuppence in her pram: Well then. What’s this all about?


What does the “God” word mean for you?

The Unknowable

dressed up and dancing as the knowable.

Is Consciousness all there is?

I don’t know.

I can only say it’s all I ever experience.

But what knows the contents of Consciousness?

You’ll never find it.

(You’ll never escape it either.)

What is “enlightenment”?

An idea those who believe they are not already fully alight

like to entertain.

“Already fully alight” – how can one know that?

It can’t be known.

It’s quietly evident when all hunger for knowing drops away.

Can there be a partial or ‘damaging’ awakening?

Presence is already perfectly and completely just so.

But ideas about it can be experienced as wrong/bad/incomplete.

The sages say the observer is the observed. How is that so?

I’ve spent a lifetime on this koan…

I only ever experience all-inclusive observing.

Is there an Almighty God?

Too constricted and limited a notion, I’d say.

How about an Unlimited and Almighty Godding?

Is it true there’s “only One”?

From the perspective of Presence,

One is one too many.

Is there a purpose to life?

I ask Life. It grins:

Get onstage – it’s The Full Monty and you’re the star!

What is death?

That’s easy because I’ve been across and had a look.

It’s a little side-step, from one theatre into another.

Is it true that thoughts create reality?

Reality transcends thinking entirely.

However, thoughts and beliefs determine the quality of experience.

Is life a dream?


We’d know if we could find a dreamer.

What is surrender?

Abdication. Effortless, voluntary relinquishment

of the ME-project.

Is the world an illusion?

If it is

you’re the magician.

What’s the difference between illusion and delusion?

Illusion is the mirage in the desert;

delusion is believing it’s real.

Is there anything sacred?

Nothing knowable

could ever be sacred.

Is it true that “I am That?”


You are the glorious “am”.

Are there any true concepts?

I don’t know


Is there any valid aspiration / intention?



What is freedom?

Being 100% present as the capacity for passionate engagement with life

and not minding what happens.

What brings your greatest fulfilment?

Nothing ever brings fulfilment.

It’s one’s natural state when there’s no need of fulfilment.

And your deepest peace?


(no contest)

Do you have any plans?

The GPS is set to nth – now! this! here!

Presence is driving.

What is Grace?

The Beloved

sneaking up for a kiss.

What are you?

I am whatever Presence wants to be

in response to whatever It meets.


[The words Awareness, Presence, the Unknowable, Reality, Grace, the Beloved, all point to the same ‘thing’. Except it’s not a thing. If anything (ha!) it’s an event-ing.
I like the Godding word; I might patent that one!]

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


– inescapably so –





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

mooning melts the night


Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) - Wind Blown Grass Across the Moon



a moment arrives

without a need of the past

the full moon rises



a thought bubbles up

a preference is posited

the moon doesn’t mind



the bubble bursts, pop!

awareness has no center

mooning melts the night


Image: Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando), Wind Blown Grass Across the Moon
Woodblock print
Collection, Brooklyn Museum, New York

letter to a reformed seeker

Echoes from Emptiness - Cartoon by Michael Leunig


Dear (newly wide-awake) reformed seeker –

If you haven’t yet been called delusional, flakey, misguided, weird, out-of-touch, in denial, crazy, mistaken, blasphemous, arrogant, heretical, evil, a nutter…

If you haven’t been judged, shunned, ostracised, scorned, ignored, rejected, excluded, gossiped about, sent to Coventry…

No worries – there’s still plenty of time.

Seven billion stories (and counting) are poised to project their characters onto the empty pregnant space that you know yourself to be.

Hang in there – if you can find a ‘there’ anywhere. (Chuckles)

When the barbs come thick and fast you’ll be astonished to find that they fly right through your shimmering spaciousness. It’s quite a trip actually!



Cartoon by Michael Leunig

without ever arriving, it’s always here


Echoes from Emptiness: emptiness loves emptying


emptiness loves emptying
that’s it’s nature
its forms are endless; beyond mind’s conjecture

you can’t arrive
at an apperception of its infinite beingness
by any practice or prayer

it is too ever-present
too intimate
without ever arriving, it’s always here



noname’s lament


a Very Dear someone-I-know
likes to be called ‘I Am’
he says it’s the most powerful name
one can adopt
(the masters told him so)


I tease him and tell him to call me
‘I’m Not’


he’s unamused; he’s very earnest about
his spiritual status and frequently
sends me to Coventry
for my irreverence


I’m probably over-pedantic
(blame it on my story as an ex-educator)
but from the moment it was seen
what ‘I’ is – when IT was fully unclothed
and revealed as naked Presence –
the ‘Am’ has been superfluous
so has the ‘Am Not”, strangely enough,
but kid sisters l-o-v-e to goad)


isn’t the “I am” statement the ultimate oxymoron?
it’s both incongruous and self-contradictory…


the only verb-form ‘I’ can logically take is an IS
for there’s nothing about ‘I’
that could be called personal,
given its inextricability from whatever ‘it’
knows or does


and yet, our entire manner of speaking insists
that we stand as separate objects
when irreducible BE-ing is all that


yes, it’s grammatically incorrect
(teacher winces, adjusts glasses)
but it’s unarguably accurate
in terms of one’s experience


my much-missed bro
when can I come home
and play with you again?


from where I’m looking


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.

Everything, everything
exists as ubiquitous Presence
presenting Itself to Itself.

Just so.