Thursday, May 27, 2010

Heart as Wide as the World

Tomorrow I head off for a weekend retreat devoted to Kirtan, or devotional chant, with Krishna Das. Here is a sample of what awaits us...

I can't listen to the line "All I want is to sing to you" without crying, so I'm taking lots of tissue.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Meditation on Psalm 46

Be Still*

Be Still
And know that I am here

Pay Attention
And know that I see you
As surely as you see Me

Be Still
See my Eyes light up the Sky
Feel my Breath in the Breeze on your face
Hear my Voice in the Thunder
Touch my Hand in the Painted Clouds
Streaked with gold, rose, azure
Smell my Memory of you in Fields of Lavender
And Hedges of Lilac

Use all your senses
And know that I am using all of Mine

Pay Attention
For Attention is the First Requirement

Your inattenion will destroy the Sacred Day
It will slip away
Unseen, Unheard, Unfelt
The Sun will set never having known
Being Known
And that will be the end of Time

Be Still
And know that I Am

And then you will know
That you Are

*I wrote this poem about five years ago, and recently unearthed it from a pile of old photos. It seemed appropriate for this Day of Pentecost...enjoy.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Fractal Fern

A friend is reading the rough draft of my book and when she got to the part about fractals and read my explanation of this basic geometry of nature, she said, "I need to see a picture!" And, then, there I was, walking through the woods and I saw this: a perfect fractal fern.

Notice how the shape of the entire fern leaf is repeated in each leaflet along its spine.
Then notice how along each of those leaflets, many small copies of this same shape are lined up along the leaflet's spine.
The self-similarity of this particular specimen is striking, down to the way the tip of the fern is still curled up a little, evoking its recent days as what's known as a fiddlehead (which, I hear, taste very good when fried in butter...but, then, most things do.)

I also like this photo because it expresses what I am feeling after a week of devotional chanting. It is very hard to put this feeling in words, but it is sort of like this: an uncurling within me, a new life that is uncoiling and extending into a larger form, one more spiritually evolved and fully developed than who I thought I was.
And, yet, still the same somehow.

That's about all I can say in words for now. Maybe more will come later, but for now I wanted to share with you this picture of the universe. Because, you see, what I found somewhere during one of those chants, is that we are all, all of us, deep down, essentially the same as the Whole of which we are a tiny part. We are one of those little leaflets on the great magnificent fern which is, in turn, slowly unfurling around us.