Lessons in Gospel

I saw the documentary about Mavis Staples last night, Sunday night of the Thanksgiving weekend. You can’t help but be struck by her joyful energy. How amazing she is, finding her calling so early in life. How amazing to have been born into a family who nurtured her gift. How amazing to have been part of a moment in history when her words were used to inspire a movement, to help change society. How amazing to walk through the world in love with it. How amazing the power of music to unify.

There was a line in the movie that I was very moved by. Her father, Pops Staples, says: read more

What Lies Below: America and The Great Dissolvent

When I sit in meditation, I fall into a stillness that is a wide, expanded, infinite space. My awareness falls down, underneath the the rushing tumult of the mind and its thoughts. As I fall, I look back and see the underside of these thoughts, a rushing current on the surface of what I call Myself. When I detach from the thoughts, when I just observe them but don’t react, I fall beneath them, where it’s quiet.

Further I drop, and now the body feels porous. My breath moves beyond the edges of my skin and any pain or sensation detaches from my identity, and I just observe. I fall beneath sensation. Now I am in stillness, and I just receive. I just observe. I see how emotions rise and fall. Hatred, anger, shame, fear. I see them tense the body, I see them sicken and churn, tighten and wrack and ache, and then they pass through. When they leave, I am again left with peace. read more

Election Eve

They band around me,
First birthday cake,
First daughter,
First grandchild,
First niece.
Matching stripes,
pastel and white,
faces bright with occasion
as children we are.
Aunts and uncles
ringed by biology,
resemblance caught
in a snapshot of smiles.

I blow the flame,
set clock hands spinning,
scatter the circle off
silver and light.
Divorce, children,
jobs, Christmas,
houses, illness,
heartbreak, secrets,
silent fears in the dream of night.

What we don’t know
is only natural.
We grow and grow away.
Our lives unlearn,
separate, silence, seclude,
drift over time,
disorient, land.
We drop on opposite sides,
flagging balloons of red and blue.
Is it my duty to fight? read more

Of Math and Machines

Today I will write of the ridiculous ideas that I secretly don’t think ridiculous. Ideas about which I am laughably inarticulate, but for which I feel compelled to flail about to find words. Next week, I promise, back to meditations on music.

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How about if I lose my ego entirely. Fall into the true self, the infinite consciousness that animates this Clementine, that which watches. How about if every time someone hurts me, I feel a wide expansive love. If there is no ego, then what is there to harm? What is there to risk when there is no fear or shame? read more