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Universal Body Of Tao

If we can relax our existing body-images, we become like a painter with a blank canvas, or a filmmaker -- able creatively to project/paint images of any sort that we’d like. If our intention is to re-member our body as the Body of Tao, it’s useful to project images evocative of the infinite spaciousness and infinite creativity of the Tao ...

Re-membering Our True Proportions
Taoism Spotlight10

Deep Sleep's Quiet Love-Song

Wednesday April 23, 2014

Water Table

It is on dry sunny days like this one that I find myself
thinking about the enormous body of water
that lies under this house,
cool, unseen reservoir,
silent except for the sounds of dripping
and the incalculable shifting
of all the heavy darkness that it holds.

This is the water that our well was dug to sip
and lift to where we live,
water drawn up and falling on our bare shoulders,
water filling the inlets of our mouths,
water in a pot on the stove.

The house is nothing now but a blueprint of pipes,
a network of faucets, nozzles, and spigots,
and even outdoors where light pierces the air
and clouds fly over the canopies of trees,
my thoughts flow underground
trying to imagine the cavernous scene.

Surely it is no pool with a colored ball
floating on the blue surface.
No grotto where a king would have
his guests rowed around in swan-shaped boats.
Between the dark lakes where the dark rivers flow
there is no ferry waiting on the shore of rock
and no man holding a long oar,
ready to take your last coin.
This is the real earth and the real water it contains.

But some nights, I must tell you,
I go down there after everyone has fallen asleep.
I swim back and forth in the echoing blackness.
I sing a love song as well as I can,
lost for a while in the home of the rain.

~ Billy Collins


For more on "the enormous body of water / that lies under this house" -- here's Kalu Rinpoche answering a question about bardos: those mysterious junctures between the disappearance of one "thing" and the arising of the next. Whether this "thing" happens to be a human life, or the daytime waking-state, or our night-dreams, or a single thought, the cyclic "process" is more-or-less the same: there is a period during which the "thing" is appearing -- and then a gap, into which the "thing" seems to disappear -- and then the arising, out of the gap, of another "thing." Notice, in particular, Rinpoche suggesting a resemblance between the so-called "bardo of Nature in itself" (i.e. the experience of the Nature of Mind or Pure Awareness) and deep-sleep.

An instruction common to a number of nondual spiritual traditions -- a helpful hint offered in the manner of a finger pointing to the moon -- is to become quite curious, in a relaxed and open way, about these gaps .....


Afternoon Snack

Tuesday April 22, 2014

I'm continuing to savor Original Perfection -- the English translation of five early Dzogchen texts, which I wrote about earlier in the month. I tend to devour very quickly books with which I resonate -- spending every available moment with them: late into the night, early in the morning, etc. -- often finishing extremely long texts within a matter of days.  So I've been surprised to find myself taking this one very slowly: reading just a page or two, and then putting it down; re-reading sections; and toggling leisurely between the main text and the footnotes and glossary.

Partly this is because the pithy instructions are quite dense, oftentimes requiring slow reading to allow them fully to penetrate. Partly it's because the verses point so clearly to such deep and expansive "places" -- that I find myself drawn into non-conceptual realms which are quite pleasant to just hang out it in.  But mostly it's because the book is only one hundred pages or so long -- and I love it so much that I don't ever want it to end .... and so am going as slowly as possible, to prolong the pleasure of it.



Sunday April 20, 2014

Yesterday, as I was walking along the edge of the little marsh-pond, just beyond the swatch of woods, in the late afternoon, suddenly there was a rather dramatic splashing-sound. Immediately I turned my head, to see what it might be. As my eyes scanned the surface of the pond, in the general direction from which the sound seemed to come, what I saw first were the first couple of smoothly-expanding circles, rippling out from where the creature (whatever it was) must have entered the water.

Just a fraction of a second later, there was another suction-splash up onto the surface, ten feet or so from the first one -- and then a third, another ten-to-fifteen feet away from the second. And then: silence .... Read More...

For A Friend

Friday April 18, 2014


The top
grain on the peak
weighs next
to nothing and,
by a mountain,
has no burden,
but nearly
ready to float,
to summit wind,
it endures
the rigors of having
no further
figure to complete
and a
blank sky
to guide its dreaming

~ A.R. Ammons


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