Flowing With The Way of Things (2012)
What we have here
(this whole beautiful mess
of a situation)
is just what it is.
about how perfect
or how awful it is,
can compete with the
flat fact of its arrival
each time we look again.
This is just the way of things:
These big and small moments
that come to us
as we awaken each morning
lurch out of bed
to whatever is next.
The way things are
slides by our window
on our daily commute,
showing up in all those
petty or significant activities
our lives consist of.
the way of things,
we receive all
that we are given.
We allow life to
be what it is.
Thus we are moved along
un-resistant, without protest,
like the water of a stream
moved by gravity
towards the sea.
Our lives come to us
as we flow along.
Our opportunities like rapids.
Our disappointments like eddies.
The work we have come for,
flows as a strong, clear
and ever-present current
in the midst of everything.
Do not be afraid.
We are held, carried
by a force
mind cannot encompass.
All we can do is fall in with the
flow of what is,
willingly or not,
and find our way
within the twists and turns
to our own un-imagined
A New Earth
Stand up, wake up!
New possibilities have arrived
For these lives we had thought were our own.
The possible human stands free now
Of its past constraints:
The cage it grew up in, that served it well,
Trembling now with wonder at what is visible.
Old habits of mind fall away like old skin
No longer needed, no longer helpful
Outgrown and abandoned.
A different world, a new earth
Comes into view, fresh and alive
By a change of perception,
A new way of seeing.
We are joined together now
In a new maturity
A new awareness of how it is,
Of how we are carried on a new wind,
And a new response stirs.
Below the bustle
of our coming and going,
the rich topsoil that feeds us,
lies a heart of rock.
Hot and fluid
at its core
the bedrock firms under us
with the seeming constancy
of granite, appearing
here and there
in soaring cliffs, in open rock,
cut by stream beds
or simply lying, like a floor
at the bottom of a hole
we labor to dig.
Deep rock supports all our land-forms,
underlying them with a slow-moving
on which life
can rise and fall.
The rock appears to us
in the high places of the mountains,
but it also holds the oceans
as if in the cup of a huge ancient hand,
with a steadiness that allows
the pull of the moon
to move the tides, to and fro.
This ancient rock
spanning millions of years
spanning galaxies also
lives a broader life-span
within which our human lives,
are a flicker in a broad expanse,
within which stars are born and burn out,
planets cool, life arises and passes,
in the same way
that morning passes here,
The bedrock lets me know my place
in the larger scheme of things.
My human life is a flash
in a broad interplay of life and time,
insignificant when seen separately
yet held now inseparably
within the greater life
animating the whole.
The bedrock speaks
in a language without words
that feels familiar,
that beckons, no, welcomes me
back to the sanity
of something quieter and more steady
that I had nearly forgotten.
It is an open invitation
to relax into an expanded perspective
that includes me in something grand,
beyond the breadth of galaxies.
Something vibrantly alive, and close,
Something right here,
in the center of this human life.
Spring Opening (5/9/2010)
The month of May
From bud to blossom.
Each bud stands
Complete, still and perfect
Being a bud.
Yet there is movement too.
Imperceptibly the bud
Rests in the change,
The movement of opening.
Still and at peace,
Being the epitome
Of life as it is
Simply as a bud.
Yet also it is
Pure motion personified
As slowly it opens
Into a full-flowered
Version of itself.
In the forest,
We find fiddleheads,
Perfect just as they are
At each moment
Of their unfurling.
Yet they slowly unroll,
Becoming the ferns
They somehow already are
In a vision far beyond
The thought of it.
Even the scent
The virtual world
To the real life
And motion meet,
And life comes
To its flowering
In us and around us.
© 2010 Alice Gardner
Sunlight touching treetops,
Morning rises after night
With a constancy and grace.
While politics swirl
Conflicts rage, economies teeter
Morning dawns over all
Without apology or praise
But with simple welcoming
Of all that is lit
By its presence.
What kind of love
Embraces this wild world
With such a welcome?
What love is this, that
Darkness and strife
When the world
Refuses to conform
To our demands for
And then wraps us
In such wonder
Fear, war, starvation,
And so much else
Are included in the
Grace of morning light
On a darkened world.
In the light’s first
Touch of a leaf
There is something that
Embraces all of what we are
And includes us
In the full circle
Of life as it is.
We see that we are
The heart of each morning
Offers with outstretched hands,
An expansion, a release
Out off our self-made prisons
Into a world ruled by a love
That excludes nothing,
A love we can trust,
A love at peace
With all things.
Even this, and this, and
Hurricane Season, Sept 2008
By what hand
Are these winds stirred
Around their still center?
What force could give
Such power as this
To crush the structures
Of our lives?
These winds move
Against our human ideas
Of progress and security
As impertinent desires
Our wish to have peace
On our own terms.
Have we been dreaming
Of a world peace
That doesn’t include storms?
Can we step outside of
Our ideas about the peace we want
Enough to notice the peace
That already rests in the center
Of this wild world?
A peace that rests gently
While the storm winds
May strip our lives bare,
Leave us homeless, and
Disengaged from our settled lifestyles.
A peace right in the center of
Our questionable survival
In any other moment than this.
This stillness in the center
Emerges with the violent winds.
The two exist as one,
Two sides of a coin, inseparable.
Can we accept this invitation
To welcome a peace that includes
What we have labeled as trouble
And strife, and been frightened by?
Can a wild wind
Flattening our landscape
Externally or internally
Be a part of something
Beyond our comprehension
And perfect, just as it is?
We don’t know.
But we notice
In hurricane season,
The power of resting openly
With such unanswerable questions.
And we notice,
(Even while the winds of change
Are blowing violently)
What doesn’t spin—
The peace beyond understanding
In the internal
Eye of the hurricane.
ambivalent to living or dying
the way opens naturally, flows forward.
This moment carries through all the changes.
unmoving, like us.
Choices happen and disappear.
Full becomes empty
while empty becomes full,
and we are satisfied
finding them as the same.
Meeting all things today,
with their other sides intact
In the full emptiness,
all things have this balance:
light in dark, and dark in light
joy in sorrow, sorrow in joy.
Today it all comes together
how the world
all keeps happening
without my meaning-making
Just as it is,
already finished, always in motion.
Do some kinds of shellfish
live past the outgrowing of their shells?
Is there the possibility for them,
Of easing out slowly
from the constraining tightness?
Such a beautiful shell
spiral bound, glistening with stars.
Is there a shellfish
that releases it's hold
and slides free
into the weightless wonder
of the moving tides,
Homeless in the immensity?
To feel this easing in the human experience.
The unhooking from the moorings
The smooth glide out into the total vulnerability
with the willingness to be another's dinner
no more protection is needed
There is nothing to do
But find the current
The Wedding Feast
When minds rule us
They see a world
Filled with intractable problems
Straining to survive, doubtful to survive
The onslaught of human life.
But Love would rule the world
And then all of what is seen
ALL of This
Becomes Love's invitation to our hearts.
Love invites us to a wedding feast
In every battleground, in every sickness, in every famine
We are being beckoned to embrace
Swirling images of death and destruction.
Becoming our completion
As they are embraced in the Heart
Of the world
We are both the birthing and the dying at once.
This is a stage, fashioned to discomfort us
To awaken our hearts
Into letting Love take us.
The richness of what we Are
As we include the world
Is only the beginning of what Love would show us.
We have just gained entrance to the wedding feast
And find with surprise
That we ourselves are the Bride.
A Meeting in the Dark 10/13/05
Some dark/light wild goddess
Is throbbing here
Seeking entry into the world
New to me
But seemingly ancient beyond anything
She raises her ugly beautiful and fearsome visage
And moves to devour
All that would limit or contain Her.
Against her ravenous rampage
All that remains is a yawning chasm
Dark, wet, fertile, somehow creative
Somehow radiantly beautiful
Bringing a new sense of what it is to be creative
That applies to every movement, every word.
That is life itself moving from the deeps.
She is Here.
And she requires EVERYTHING!
There is nothing to say
Or to be torn apart by her fury.
Either way, the end is the same.
This moment, each moment,
Life surrounds us in a circle of circumstances,
Scenes, colors, thoughts, textures of mind and emotion
And then, habit causes us
To imagine that we own This,
That this belongs to our own little life
Separate from everything
Actually we own nothing, quite the opposite,
All our lives together,
Belong to This.
This circle, this moment
Is all that ever has been
Or ever will be.
The stories that connect it
To ideas of a history, a past
A future, some goals, dreams
We make up.
What is Here is before the stories
Magically vibrant, radiant with life
Adyama, Primordial Mother
Awakening in today's time
We bring you forward with us.
You, who from the primordial slime upwards,
Slithered then walked
Al-ways to the best of your ability
With what you were given
To bring this Love to fruition.
Armed only with whatever was available,
Perhaps the religions of the day,
Or just an inkling, vague, like a cloud
Of something beyond form.
You lived and died, danced and grieved
Bearing and teaching children as you went
Paving the way to this day
With your heartbreak and wonder,
And most of all your Love.
Adyama, Primordial Mother,
We thank you for the enormity of your gift
That has brought us Here, to this moment.
Your children's children times a thousand
We stand Here today
Yet taking our place
On the shoulders of all the generations
Who came before
Feeling the fullness of what is now possible,
Because of this gift.
Oh, miraculous good fortune
To be born into a time
Where all the suffering and wandering
Is finding its way Home
And to find you Here also
With your ancient and familiar face.
Together we come to our completion.
None of your tears have been in vain
None of your lives wasted.
Together we are simply a long-ripening fruit
Ready, at last, to fall.
The Crystal Vase
Like life itself
The crystal vase
Has stood the years on my windowsill
It's luscious curves bending just for me
It's incomparable facets
Refracting the light beyond
Into visible colors, clear light patterns, geometric lines.
Only meaning to improve it's clarity
With soap suds and water,
It has slipped away
Refracting the glass itself
Into shards with razor-sharp edges
After the drama...
On my windowsill
Now lives an empty space
Whose light is visible without refraction.
Shaped like a vase
Through which eternity pours
Like water in a clear-running stream
Filling the room.
(A poem for waking up in the morning)
dark and light meeting
merging, to become the things
the activities of another day
while the Unspeakable One, unmoving
stands free in it all
as center and circumference together
being the undivided miracle
Two Clocks (written having arisen late at night)
between the ticking
of two clocks
as silence settles in
more full and more empty than anything.
Meanwhile, the clocks tick the measure
of two worlds
and I stand between them
caught momentarily in both.
In being me, standing silent in a house,
and in being that unfathomable nothing
from which the silent moment arose
and from which sleep now beckons.
(the Grace of ordinary things)
Waiting on the table
Ready for new use,
Empty of themselves
Gracing the all
With what we alone
Could help them become.
Giving away the heartwood
A truly great tree
three grown men
with their arms
in it's prime
after a full life
home to many,
surrounded now by saplings
to the winds,
the summer heat
Shorter now each year
Each visitation of a creature
Each bluster of a gale
Hastening by a little
The descent back to earth.
Roots slack now and lifeless
no longer probing,
but giving back instead,
to feed the creatures of the dark.
Giving it all.
Nothing is held back.
Giving away the heartwood
that made a great tree
stout and strong against all winds
lifting the earths moisture
high into the shimmering air.
Take the heartwood,
and build from it a forest
like no other
where hearts take wing
with the songbirds
and take root
in the rich earth
made richer by this descent.
Why hide anymore?
You who bless the plants with flowers
And the dry earth with rain.
You who move through all things in the wind,
And the flow of the rivers.
This is beyond conception!
My eyes have been shuttered
Against the blinding magnificence.
Nowhere can they open now
The overabundance of your Love.
Enveloped in Love
This life blurs out of focus
Against the background
Of a radiantly lit world.
Each movement exquisite
A blending of edges
A movement towards something
Even more unfathomable.
The time of hiding is over.
You who bless the plants with flowers,
Bloom now in humans
We open to you in readiness
After our long journey.
He Loves Me
Heard in childhood
Told that Jesus loved me
And was never understood.
The radiance of
His early blooming
As an example
Of the flowering
Of us all.
He loves me.
Take away the pronouns
And there it is:
Of what is Here.
Where it is honored.
I turn on my light
In the night
And grope for words
Instead of sleeping.
I set a place at my table
For the One
What the words fit around.
Oh patient muse!
All this life
Has been a preparation
For the use you make
Of this hollow reed.
Can Life speak
This exact note
Only here, only now
Fullness soaring as words
A thousand ways incompletely
That which cannot be spoken.
The "I" who hoped
When it heard about enlightenment
Had no idea.
Wanting to hold the ocean
In a cup
It thought it would possess This
As a personal asset
Earned through right thinking.
Instead it is blissfully unemployed
Tongue tied and inconsequential
In a world it never dreamed of.
What is Here wants expressing
And cannot be expressed.
So one writes,
At 3 AM
Amongst the radiance of simple things
And the incredible full/empty grandeur
Of being Here
In This, as This.
The Un-thought Possibility 11/11/03
You are the Dream
That allows no drowsiness
That drives out all illusion
In forgotten handwriting
So beyond the mind's grasp,
Which even the breadth of the night sky
Is not enough to contain
For which the particles spin in our atoms
Holding in orbit against all odds
So that this person
Can eventually stretch
Towards the un-thought possibility
Of who it is Really
Who has come all this way
To be Here.
pulsing with the Fullness
of the Nameless One
embracing us in form
as an ecstatic dance of joy
in the heart of things.
only to see and to know Itself
The joy of this moment
bursts open this heart
and looking around,
finding that which burst
is everwhere intact.
October 14th, First day of Rest.
From this day, from this night forward
All I will ever tend is this moment!
I couldn't tend it if I kept the rest.
I would be far too busy.
So gone is every possible pleasure in the future.
No success, no favorite foods, no love, no sex, none of it.
My God, I don't have to plan any more!!
Each moment takes care of itself.
One will know what to do.
If I have to listen to the nonsense or trash of the small mind for another
100,000 years, fine.
If I don't have any firiends. If everybody hates me.
If I die of starvation or cold, fine.
If everyone thinks I'm crazy, fine.
If I have to live in the city, fine, in a shack, fine, in a cardboard
If I speak to no-one and am invisible, fine.
If I should speak to people and become famous, fine.
If I make a fool of myself, fine.
If I get fat or sick, fine.
I'm off the hook on worrying about tomorrow and planning how best to handle
My God, it's a rest!
Just being there as the present moment flows seamlessly along
With everything changing all the time.
Home from Lake George 9/26/03
Note on this piece of writing: It is an
illustration not only of the ecstatic state,
but also of the mind's attempt to contain and fossilize that, and in doing
that,it will, of course halt any deepening that would otherwise have occurred.
The way forward is one of letting go of such knowledge, and proceeding
in utter unknowing.
Back with the familiarity of my history,
And another incredible feeling of "oh my God, I get it,
And how was it that I didn't see this before?
Quick, capture it in thought!
Quick capture it so it can be taught,
Quick capture it in sixteen ways,
So that in reading the words
Truth will shine through.
And never hide again.
Oh my God,
We/This/Life is One amazing Being
Which differentiated into many bodies
And humans developed these incredible minds
But when developing those minds,
The mind, thinking itself (reasonably) to be separate
Thinks it knows what it is.
But it's not that.
It's not that at all!!
Who I thought I was
Was of course hopelessly deficient,
Because it was only ever a thought.
And the world of thought has no substantiality at all.
Without this inherent substantiality,
How could we ever feel secure?
How could we ever rest in peace
except for moments here and there?
Only by stepping outside of the world of thought
Can what is Real be seen.
What is real, what is outside thought, is substantial beyond belief.
It is stable, it is the ever-present awareness that can, yes can,
Observe thought coming and going, heating and cooling, striving and resting.
It is what everything rests on, rises from and falls back into
It is what is here before birth and after death
It is that which is Real, that which we really all Are.
There is still the eons old pull to identify with what is being thought.
The pull of habit, the power of history,
Of repetition of how the mind is used;
Related from instead of to.
This pull into a process of identifying with thought however,
Can be seen as such, from the ever-present awareness
Which never moves.
Awareness of thought rising and falling
Awareness of particular thoughts,
like the old "me" story of limitation and lack
Or the selfish concerns for the separate person I thought I was,
The habitual effort to enhance that supposed self somehow,
Or resist somehow being diminished
The Buddhists call it well; desire and aversion,
Old habits appearing in a field of awareness,
Visible and absurd, no longer making sense in the old way.
It was always hopeless before
But now it is a joyous game to play if it serves delight in life,
And serves somehow, the emergence of the Real into a world
So full of strife and struggle
So hoping for this Peace called the Peace "that passeth understanding",
Because it cannot be understood/contained by the mind.
I am awash in what seems most like mother's milk
Although I can't actually mentally remember mother's milk
Something in me remembers this
This is what I've always wanted
From everything I've ever done.
It was for this that I tamed fire, and made tools,
Built skyscrapers, dammed rivers, waged wars,
Climbed Mt Everest and walked on the moon.
This, only this, hidden Here, in the heart of it all.
This is being Home indeed.
Who is enlightened?
Am I enlightened?
The question is odd
Who is asking it?
If the one who is asking
Is the separate person,
The isolated entity.
A subject surrounded by objects
This one is not enlightened.
And has no hope for becoming so
If the one who is asking
Is the one who can't quite
Be put into words,
The one who is aware
Of the rising and the falling of thought
And never moved by it.
That one is enlightened,
Always has been, and always will be
No matter what mental barriers are ever put up
To hide it's eternal presence.
This One has no need to ask.
This One does not measure and compare.
It is only the mind that needs to know.
So in answering the questioner,
It always must be no.
While outside the question
Reality sings yes
In the heart of All.
Touching True Ocean
amplifying it's roar;
it's gargantuan effort to preserve
or better yet, enhance somehow
the caricature of Self.
Comprised of layers and layers
of stories, coverings, costumes, pretendings;
Masks of ideas
spread over the surface
of the deepest ocean
making it appear shallow
with paintings of fish and seaweed
scattered appropriately to mimic
what "should" be here.
sometimes completely obscured from view
A glint of vivid blue-green.
An upsurge of joy and aliveness, as
A flick of Fin Glistens;
disappearing into the deepest mystery
of what lies beyond and behind the surface.
Calling us to other-worldly color.
Bright with the vibrancy
Of what is truly Here.
Woman of the Dawn
Awake at daybreak
One foot in the dark world
Of uncouscious deadening patterns
Of need and striving for what is not here.
As if for a cure, a completion,
That never comes.
Always remaining out of reach,
In a future that never arrives.
If I lean, out of balance, towards this,
I live in constant danger of falling
Even into death as the unfullfillment of all hopes and dreams.
Yet as I stand upright in this
Seeing the tendency to lean and not leaning.
Standing upright, holding the tendency to lean
Together with the tendency to love without bounds
Like a balancing scale
One in each hand outstretched
And place my feet on the firm ground of this moment
And this moment, and this one also...
Then the light of the world dawns
Through and within the darkness.
I stand as woman of the dawn.
The sun in one hand, shadow in the other.
Through me the world awakens again
In the exquisite celebration of color and birdsong.
Another day begins.
Poem from Omega: 5/10/03
touches the unfurling leaves
with tender encouragement.
Fullness drawing forth
ever increasing expression of itself
My own leafness
drawn outward now...
farther outwards always...
meeting the Sun
in the subtle radiant greens
of a spring morning.
Poem to Spring Love
Buds breaking, in motion
Towards the lushness of summer leaves
Through the quick celebration of flowering,
Life paints itself
With a delicate paintbrush
On the hills
In a thousand shades of green,
As I drive between them
In awe and gratitude.
Yesterday my wonder was full and complete
In Love with the world;
Today is new again; remade through your touch.
There is the ecstatic arch of my spine
Alive in the bedrock
Deep under the swell of the hills
Rising and falling, riding the greater breath.
Your touch is in the penetration of air into unfurling leaf.
Your eyes awaken remembered green
Touching the hills with springtime.
Your voice celebrates in birdsong,
The joy of being alive.
Thus do you enrich the ground of this day.
I split like a seed.
The roots stretch into the mysterious dark for nourishment,
Feeding the unfurling bud
In it's journey toward the sun.
Be as melting snow
Under a February sun.
Letting go the crystaline rigidity
Of what has been.
To flow, to trickle, to rush,
To be on the move
As a testament only to life in motion
Towards no destination except
Something beyond and unknowable.
Some would call this a troubled time.
As if it might be better
To remain as we are.
To know a secure future,
To be comfortable as a solid.
To stand firm against the relentless sun;
In the heat of a world on fire
With war and hatred
To refuse to melt with the spring.
The all in all,
Moving into my lungs,
All thoughts, all feelings, all circumstances, all sensations,
Making the chest rise, the belly expand
Coming into Me, becoming my Life,
Becoming the "I am" in me.
Molecules crossing both ways, energies blending.
Some things enter pleasant and blissful
Even too blissful to stand easily.
Some things enter dark and dangerous
Destructive and frightening to the historical self.
Filling me from the greater world;
Made up of ideas about self,
friends, family, colleagues, circumstances.
An unstoppable river of air carrying all this into my core.
Pouring into me the sum of all sensation, all agony, all bliss.
Merging in the core of what I am with the formless One.
That alchemist, that super-housekeeper,
Envelops all of it with room to spare, with endless capacity,
And breathes it out as formless Being.
This is the one act that is left to perform.
All the rest has fallen away as vanity
And the pursuit of arrogance or it's opposite.
Only this remains.
This knows what needs to be done outwardly.
With how left open to joyous expressiveness..
Limitless possibilities rise and fall in awareness as the chest rises
Joy in movement born out of total freedom
Sings a new song to the world.
Meeting a Friend
Making enemies, we wage war,
Even on ourselves.
Improving ourselves, we become better,
Trying to be on the right side,
We birth what we don't want.
Stretching towards what is not,
With the arrogance of knowing
What should have been,
Or should be tomorrow,
To bring us happiness and Peace.
The pain of life not cooperating with our agenda,
Seeps like a plume through the ground of our being.
We see the killing, the carnage, the battlefield,
Every day that we dare look.
We are torn with the bodies of the victims.
Poisoned with anger and fear.
Yet this is the way it has always been.
Accentuated by the drama of death in war,
Always life has refused to cooperate with our own little agendas.
And kept asking us to open to something that lies beyond them.
Tripping us up,
Is revealed now as an act of Love,
Moving us little by little,
Towards Love's own agenda in the world.
Who knows the terrorist in the heart of all?
The aggressive patriot, or the heartless tyrant?
Who can take that fanaticism,
And turn it towards Love in one's own heart?
Releasing it's fear and hatred
In utter surrender.
We have been given this world,
This wild action-filled moment,
This is not, after all,
A problem to be solved!
It is a perfect gift of Love.
Moon in winter
Winter in the northlands
Survival is threatened by the cold.
Who are we, who want to stay warm
And survive until springtime?
If I rest who I am in only the pleasant;
Identify with being good and worthy (accomplishing much)
Measuring with outer things,
Objects in space, time and mind,
Then I open myself to their opposites also
For all that lives in the world of pairs making wholes.
Where one half of something is never enough
But must be completed with it's opposite.
If who I am is beyond that
Resting beyond any concept or idea
The mind can frame about who I might be
Then there is no opposite to suddenly appear
No other at all.
And yet all is here
With a rush of inbreath filling me.
Then there is only the moon in the sky
In the cold night.
Sparkling diamonds on the snow.
Sunlight reflected twice.
An unfathomable mystery
Speaking to me of myself.
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