presence is just the whispering
of some subtle quality
exploring what it might be
to be otherwise than just
those who say they have awakened
seem at peace, but somehow disengaged.
smart people all, have they merely learned
to fool their selves?
where skin touches sand
sand becomes an extension of body
as body melts into the earth.
where skin touches air
the same temperature it is
the boundary between them dissolves —
the breath of body
is the earth
what i want is always changing
and never real.
what i want, and want not to want
is impossible, perfect, effortless.
it is the stuff of stories.
when the stories wear thin
the want subsides,
leaving an empty space,
inviting another want to arise,
another impossible story.
why do we want to read
about made-up heroes and heartbreak?
life is unreal enough.
so i write my own stories,
of beauty and pleasure and endless joy
and lose myself in them instead.
needs, wants, pleasures
not so different really.
in the midst of feeling great pleasure —
beauty, discovery, passion, calm —
don’t we want it to go on forever?
don’t we already want a next time,
a next, addictive step?
our true being, what we are
are tendrils of Presence.
our selves are merely actors
play pieces in involuntary motion
believing them selves real, separate,
in control of things.
life, time, matter:
all just perturbations of Presence.
when our selves think they’ve found the grand theory,
the origin, the start, the edge, the god particle,
all they’ve discovered is
one more layer of turtles.
this simple act of seeing
what we are, behind our selves
infinite, eternal, unfathomable,
cannot be done by our selves.
it is an astonishing feat,
an opening, surrender, leap
into the unknown.
it is self-defying, super-human, god-like,
a vanishing act.
in gentle moments, walking in lamplight,
sitting on the deck in candlelight
or on the ocean shore by the light of the moon,
i am more at peace,
more open to the possibility of Presence.
i am more aware of sense-perceptions
when they are not shouting:
soft lights, wind through trees, birdsong,
caresses, the taste of raspberries, the scent of lilacs.
only then does the noise in my head relent,
the machine sounds rumble to a halt
and for a moment i can nearly see.
image: by monica and michael sweet, hawai’ian sea turtles, from a print in my own collection