Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Cupping My Hands Like a Mountain Valley - by Hafiz

This poem by the Sufi master poet Hafiz speaks greatly as to how I view my own station in life.
Surely I am not as advanced a being as he was, but hey, I practice….
this interpretation is by Daniel Ladinsky and can be found in the book The Gift.


Like the way the valleys of the earth
Cup their hands for light and drink,

Like the way the desert opens up its sweet mouth
And laughs

When someone melts pearls in the sky
And rain, rain
Returns like a divine lover
With a hundred wonderful gifts

O, the words from the true Teacher
Bring my mind and cells
Such sacred nourishment and life.

When the moon is full
It gets gregarious and likes to chat.
I have heard it say,

"Look what can happen, dear seeker,
When you lean your graceful arms towards God
In prayer,

Look at all that amorous light you can catch
That will help the night musicians and your soul
Get loose."
I stand revolving like a great dervish
In an ecstatic submission to His will.

I have been hired to perform the final act of grace.
I am the priest in every sacred wedding tent.

Tonight, I am a sovereign planet
With a great wool skirt.
I am a divine artist
On stage before God's entire court.

With each sublime whirl and orbit
I bow to the Sun's feet.
I fill my glass for you, dear pilgrim,
Beneath the luminous leaking barrel.

I then pour all the contents of my heart
And eye's experience
Upon this banquet table.

For your body and mind are precious silk cloth
Hafiz has come to dye!

I circumambulate the Truth from the sky
Like a golden vulture.
I have forsaken all of the crippling manners
Of even the most royal birds.

I carry a lute in my talons like a mortal weapon.
Please, please enter into a holy battle with me.
For I am God's friend
Who maims with compassion!
And you are a lost dove upon His wing.

I can teach you
How to bribe the Beloved with an angelic tune

So that the divine manna of His glance
Will fall upon your palate.

Some days I know
That you are en route to your own slaughter.

Some days I know
You are being trained as an emissary
To serve His office of joy.

Dear one,
Last night, in the gallery of Reality
I saw a portrait I will never forget:

The Beloved was stirring a pot
With a spoon the size of a universe
And when He lifted it
I saw this whole world and its affairs
Were not even a floating speck of barley
Before the radiance of two diamonds
That were His brilliant cheeks!

All 
I could do when beholding that vision
Was to fall upon my knees

And cup my hands like a humble valley
Huddled between the thighs
Of this exquisite, holy mountain range

And try to build a reservoir to hold the
Beloved's
Resplendent smile
That offers myriad tickets to freedom,
That offers the splendor of hearing God sing!

I am a spinning wheel upon the infinite.
I have swallowed that axis and hub
That fathered light and truth.

Grab hold and swing from me, my dear,
Doing the impossible
With your hands and feet both clapping.

I offer a mother's comfort and knowledge
To those who are tired and weak.

And when you become strong
I will conduct like a skilled warrior-king
Your divine volcanic glands exploding like new galaxies
In all their blessed madness.

God offers love, love, love
With His own hands,
To your beautiful parched holy mouth.

Open your soul, handsome dying one.
See all gender talk as a mighty joke,
In a oneness as glorious as this!

Hafiz, go running from that gallery
Like a naked, drunk lion
Roaring with laughter that will shake
The whole earth
And every window and door throughout the sleeping
Cities,
Like a man,
Like a man who is delivering on a great steed
Fantastic news!

Tie yourself as a bell
To herds of mating camels
And spring flocks of clouds and birds.

Tie yourself to spawning stars
And to leaping whales
In a game of tag with the Moon!
Tie yourself to everything in creation
That got poured from God's magic hat.

O, tie your soul like a magnificent sweet chime
To every leaf and limb in existence,

Then begin to shout divine obscenities
So that He will surely send a tremendous storm.

Because Hafiz, because Hafiz,
O, sweet Hafiz,
You are a man with such benevolent and fantastic
Good News!

Dear wayfarer,
Now indulge me in a sober moment,
Please set down your glass.

I can help you write a letter of resignation
To all your fears and sadness.

Listen:
Let all movement and sound,
Let all movement and sound
Begin to speak the truth to your heart
And write its music upon your vision and 
Soft pink tongue.

Soak all your prejudices in oil-
I would consider it a favor.
Bring and sing to me your darkest thoughts,
For my whole body is a blazing emerald wick,
I a pure flame
Who needs and loves to burn your trash.

We should lean against each other more
In such a strange world as this
That can make you scared
And even believe in that lie called death.

We should support each other-
Give more warmth
In such a demanding world as this.

Let all movement
Gently yield something of God
Upon your chin and vision
And roll down onto your prayer mat
That will take root in the holy soil of your surrender.
May I hone your devotion with a kiss?

For all in existence is just spinning like this
Sweet earth
In a divine current.

Why not dance like Hafiz in the cup,
In the cup of His spoon?
I offer my clapping spirit to you,
That is in eternal movement.

Hafiz offers to bow at your feet
With hands that God has shaped and pounded.

Look into my palms, my dear,
They now contain your face and infinite existence.

All your ideas of space and time are shadows
That will run from this Sun He has made me.

I want to tie myself
As a gift around your neck.
I want to place a wonderful secret
Near your veins.

Why not use my verse as a golden camel bell
That you can turn upside down into a chalice
And fill with wine?

Hafiz,
You are a divine camel bell
That the Beloved is ringing with His own hand.

Hafiz, you were a blessed slave to Truth
That died like a cut reed and became hollow-

Turned into a divine instrument
That God now lifts to His own mouth,
Plays to summon this world to freedom.

How many men exist upon this earth
To whom I could whisper a holy secret?
Dear ones, 
"God has sown Himself onto my tongue."

Like the way
The valleys of the earth
Cup their hands for light and drink,

Like
The way
The desert opens up its sweet mouth
And laughs

When someone melts pearls in the sky

And rain, rain
Returns like a divine lover
With a thousand wonderful
Gifts.

O, the luminous words of my Beloved
Now bring my mind and soul
Such a sacred
Nourishment
And

Peace.





Sunday, December 15, 2013

You Were Brave In That Holy War - by Hafiz

You have done well
In the contest of madness.

You were brave in that holy war.

You have all the honorable wounds
Of one who has tried to find Love

Where the Beautiful Bird
Does not drink.

May I speak to you
Like we are close
And locked away together?

Once I found a stray kitten
And I used to soak my fingers
In warm milk;

It came to think I was five mothers
On one hand.

Wayfarer,
Why not rest your tired body?
Lean back and close your eyes.

Come morning
I will kneel by your side and feed you.
I will so gently
Spread open your mouth
And let you taste something of my
Sacred mind and life.

Surely
There is something wrong
With your ideas of 
God.

O, surely there is something wrong
With your ideas of
God

If you think
Our Beloved would not be so
Tender.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Hafiz

It
Is All
Just a love contest
And I never
Lose.

Now you have another good reason
To spend more time
With
Me.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Patience

So much Love
Pouring Forth
From this Heart
Yet You Mistake
Small Things
For the Whole

You've Only Barely
Touched The Surface,
My Love, My Friend.

The Door Has Been 
Swung Wide
Open.

Yet Instead of
Walking Through
You Keep Reaching In
And Pulling Out
What You Need

No Harm Done
This 
Is Not A
Business 
Contract
And My Resources
Do Not Run Dry.

Simply Know That
This Door Is Always
Open 
To 
You

And I Hope
The Day Comes
When You Find
The Courage
And 
Opportunity 
To
Enter 
My 
Home.
As You Already
Reside
In the 
Warmest Corner
Of
My Heart.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Columbus Day


I think it should be noted that Columbus was a highly civilized individual.
 Matter of fact, all of his activities are at the heart of what civilization stands for and was built upon; you know, the complete destruction of any way of life other than agricultural domination and the imposition of top down abstract heirarchies of power and all, control through money, resource monopolization, the concept of property, the obsession with static states, etc.
Death to the hunter gatherer cultures has been the main game plan of civilization from the very beginning and the survival of civilizations depend upon such subjugation, as well as the subjugation of nature.
Remember this the next time you think that to be civilized means to be peaceful, intelligent, cosmopolitan, etc.
Such a thought is the opposite of the truth.
The civilized mind is the most violent, insane mind that humans have ever developed. I would even argue that every civilized belief system, including religions, schools of psychology, etc. are nothing more than attempts to mitigate this insanity in a way that denies humanity's place within the community of life due to an unwillingness to recognize and change our violent, self-indulgent, humanist, entitlement minded way of living and how we organize our societies as complete abstractions separate from natural law.
I am not a civilian and never will be.
I am an Animist, and I am a equal member within the community of life.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

hummingbird

I was talking with a friend of mine on her back porch the other day about the push/pull dynamic that lives inside of me in terms of the 'human' earthly life and spiritual life and work; how i try to balance them, how I've found that Sufism works best in terms of traditions in this regard since it does not demand an ascetic approach but instead supports integration into community and family.
I'd just shared with her my previous post (Prayer for those seeking to be healers) and how another friend of mine, upon reading it, had asked me if I want to be a monk and seemed a bit astonished at how 'religious' the tone of my poem/prayer was.
As I described my feelings in terms of it, questioning my path and asking if I should be, a hummingbird flew up to my back at the precise moment i asked "should I?"
Spiritual work, finding meaning, tantric philosophy, animism, transmutation,whatever you want to call it...always finds a way of being the core of my activity which all things are guided by. it is simply my way at this point in life. doing things for worldly reasons, beyond sustaining my own body and helping others along the path, is simply not a priority for me. I still think pragmatically about how the material world works and what is needed in order for myself and others to learn, grow and interact, but civilized activity has become, for the most part, an aberration in my life. it is a mere shell which is an outward form holding within it deeper work. this creates a tension which is difficult to describe, mainly due to the fact that American society and the modern mindset does not easily recognize such work nor understand it. I have found this to be especially true with those who are steeped in new age philosophies which put oneself first.

maybe the hummingbird is calling me to more lightness of being as i tend towards a sort of martyrdom.
whatever it may be, i need to spend some time in contemplation about it.

I give it no intrinsic meaning, but certainly find it interesting.
it should be noted though, that over the last few years, bird 'magic' and signs have dominated my life.
there was the red tail hawk on my porch, the peregrine falcon which flew into my home, the discovery of an unfortunately killed blue heron (by power lines) yards from my home, and many other bird 'signs'
I found this bit about hummingbirds as a spirit animal:

The hummingbird spirit animal symbolizes the enjoyment of life and lightness of being. Those who have the hummingbird as a totem are invited to enjoy the sweetness of life, lift up negativity wherever it creeps in and express love more fully in their daily endeavors. This fascinating bird is capable of the most amazing feats despite its small size, such as traveling great distances or being able to fly backwards. By affinity with the hummingbird, those who have this bird as totem may be encouraged to develop their adaptability and resiliency while keeping a playful and optimistic outlook.

here is a link to the spirit animal page

Monday, July 15, 2013

Shawq & Awe

A Battle Brews
With my 
Commanding Self
How do I tame 
This Beast?

Insecurities,
Faith Challenged
An expansive Limbo
Surrounding me.

Signs abound
Of 
Wonderous Things.
How do I restore
A feeling
Of
Ishq?

The Shawq
I feel
Tearing a hole
In my Heart
Opening me up
To such Great Love

Though I must summon
Such great Patience
In order to allow
It to 
Fruit.


She's nabbed my 
Sweet attention
Making me
Reconsider
The importance and
Meaning
Of All Things.

In this
I find myself
In Turmoil
Which end is up?
Which Me is Me?

It is an important
Lesson
And
She
Is an
Intense 
Teacher.

Dear Beloved,
Grant me the strength
To see Through 
Illusion
And recognize
That which is Real
And
Cast away
That which is
Illusion.
So that this Heart
May once again
Know peace
And Trust.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Sweet Relief

The Sun's gift
Of life
Tempered by 
Passing clouds
The sweet relief
Of the first
Teasing hints
Of monsoons
The tears of God
Replenishing
The lifeblood
Of this desert 
Highland.
Aquarius snatching
Dew from the
Dark aquatic sky
While the sun blasts the sandstone
Bones of the earth below.
Rivers, creeks of
Clear blood
Flow through thin veins
Of green
We run to replenished 
Tinajas and pools
To refresh ourselves
In this sweltering
Desert sun.

The cool waters
Tingling our
Goosebumped flesh
As joyful laughter
Echoes through
The canyons
Joining and
Dancing in the wind
With the birdsongs.

These are the moments
We live for.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Prayer for those seeking to be healers


The taste of a thousand traumas
None my own
Linger like a bittersweet film
On my tongue
Coating my mouth
With the flavor of empathy.

Why, oh why
Must such suffering exist?
We know it hones us like a fine knife
But at what cost?

Stories reach my ears,
My heart,
As if coming from some strange
Yet familiar
Foreign land.
A place which i have found
Myself at the edge of
So many times
If only to cast my line 
In order to retrieve those lost
In that darkness.

I call upon the strength of you
Dear Friend.
Guide me as your servant
As a healer doing your work
Bringing such beings 
Back to your Bosom
Of Love.

Guide my every word
My actions
My inactions
And work through me
Pouring forth your wine
Into every cup placed before me.
None of this work is mine.
It is Yours and Yours alone.

I only wish to be
A humble vessel
Yours to use
To give birth to so much
Ecstatic Love.

My life in this flesh is forfeit.
A meaningless contrivance. 
I no longer have use
For worldly things
As anything other than 
Divine temporary tools
Existing only to spread 
Whatever gift of healing
Which you allow to flow
From my Heart.

Beloved,
Walk by my side.
Guide me.
Heal me
So that in turn
I can heal.
Temper my delusions
Help me overcome my Nafs
So that I, like so many
Who have walked this earth 
Before me
Can come closer to you
Not for my own gain
But so that i can share
The Beauty of Your Love
With every soul I meet.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The great work continues.

Love's  luscious dangerous lips
Brushing against mine
Tentatively teasing 
Calling me to patience
To understanding
To the selfless glory of
The Holy

Passion wells forth
The Fountain uncorked
Gushing everywhere
Out of control.

When i become this being 
I overwhelm and am overwhelmed.
Control such a difficult task
As I feel the Love of the Friend
Flow through me
Seeking every sweet target
Every aching soul on earth
Yearning to fill them with light.
Yet i have no right
No power 
To determine who accepts.

The sweetest pain accompanies
Such Love.
How can i make you see?
There are those of us
Who walk this earth
Lost in our obscenely
Overzealous need
To show you the Divine
And how your pain
Is brought forth
From passing things.
While we ourselves do our best
To deal with having to live
Embedded in a culture that does not
Have the eyes to recognize  
That we even exist
Or
Misinterpret our intent.

Let this aching realization
Split me open like
The ripest melon
Birthing me even further
Into the Divine Love
Of The Friend.

Let it reinforce my dedication
To the One
And always remind me
That my life is forfeit,
Nothing but a passing 
Vehicle made of earth
Which allows me to share
What i can while i am here.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

spring

it's feeling as if it is going to be a fruitful year of transition.
over the winter off season, i managed to pull in a decent amount of money through jewelry and art sales and am looking forward to it continuing even more throughout the tourist season.

I've got the garden prepped for planting and getting everything in gear slowly but surely.

I'll be posting pictures soon, and maybe one day I will get back into the groove of keeping up with posting more often on this blog.

It's great to once again see all of my friends who have been gone for the winter as they return and things liven up.
Spring rains are coming over the next few days and I am ready to see the life spring forth.

Also, today is the 11th anniversary of my younger brother Daniel's death.
I don't think of death often, and even when i do, i feel passive about it.
it is not that I do not face it, but that at this point in life with the experiences I have had and the stories I have heard from others about their lives, I feel that I have come to an understanding and peace with it as a natural part of living.
I don't mourn, i don't wish for things that could have been.
I find myself instead being in a place of peace and acceptance with reality.
I have faith, not in deity, but in the entirety of existence and how it manages itself.
one can call that God if they want, but I prefer it remain nameless and undefined.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Looking back at 2012

It was an interesting year. I found myself being a bit of a recluse, avoiding many social engagements.
It was a period of internal dialogue, working through philosophies and questions.

Artistically, it wasn't necessarily a productive year in terms of creating new pieces, but it was productive in terms of getting self promotion in motion and I managed to be able to hang a show at the Boulder Community Center which has received amazing feedback from many people in the community. I have to say that it has made me question the purpose of my own creations, though.

One of the main concerns I have is in terms of my sand/earth art. While it is well received, I feel that the general public tends to have a different relationship to it than I do (maybe this is to be expected).
For me, it is about relationship and process. It is about finding the earth elements that I grind, being in dialogue with them, feeling their place both temporally and geologically and existentially feeling the process of grinding and breaking them down - being intimate with them in terms of their composition, hardness, texture, colors, etc. The end product is secondary. They are artifacts of process.

One of the things that this has awoken me ever more to is the obsession with artifacts that this culture holds - the obsession with objects and action rather than a focus on relationship.
Truthfully, it makes me feel a bit alien within my own culture and I feel that the actual meaning of the pieces are all too easily lost on many.
One of the things that reveals this to me is when i am asked or it is suggested that I might be interested in applying my technique to art events and workshops. While I understand the desire for others to have me do this, to share the art form with others in the community in order to help them create crafts, i feel that it reveals the exact issue which I am dealing with. In a sense, it profanes my work by focusing on the artifact rather than the process. What do I mean by this?
If a person were to have these earth elements handed to them without their need for the search, for the relationship, for the personal experience of being intimate with the materials, it would render the art form meaningless and only provide a very superficial experience.
To me, it is akin to believing that one can know love by watching others in love rather than being in love oneself. My process involves a highly personal relationship with the land. To remove the very heart of the process is to render it meaningless and trite.
I understand and appreciate that observers focus on the aesthetics of the artifacts produced, but that is not my actual goal. It is a side product of the relationship. It is secondary.
I am still attempting to figure out exactly how to deal with this issue internally.

My movement further away from social norms, cultural values, and the need to participate in ways of relating which I do not feel at home with continues to strengthen. I can have a tendency to be rather obsessed with such things and my mind is constantly digesting such issues.

The marketplace turns me off while at the same time I understand that in order to 'earn one's way' within this overwhelming culture, one must make certain compromises.
One of the compromises I have made is to start designing jewelry. Even within this, I find myself drawn towards finding pendants and beads which express my relationship with my surroundings and with the land.

Add to all of this the dichotomy of my love of electronic music and my desire to compose poly-rhythmically beat driven tunes which really do not have a home whatsoever within the local culture, which is dominated by more traditional musical forms. I can't shake my love of more urban music, nor do I want to.
My interest in Design Science and such also feeds this somewhat schizophrenic being that I have become. Maybe the only saving grace is that I feel a sort of detachment from it in the sense that if a time comes that it must be dropped, I am fine with it. Matter of fact, that is how I find myself increasingly feeling about most of technological society. I love making good use of modern devices such as the computer, my sampler, etc. At the same time, I find myself increasingly detached from my phone and the current sociological trend of instant accessibility. Living in a place that is so incredibly remote leads me ever further into a mindset that sees easily accessible long distance travel and communication as an abnormal oddity, not something that is inherently natural.
I think this befuddles my family, all but one of which are over on the east side of the Rockies.
Traveling thousands of miles for a short visit seems absurd. The cost to the natural world is just so incredibly high.
This is one of the examples of how differently I am finding my mind working as I move further way from humanism and into animism. I no longer see the world as a playground for humans.
I know longer believe that our abstract cultural and sociological concepts should be born on the backs of the non-human world without a dialogue which acknowledges true cost.
I don't want to say that I feel guilt, but in a sense I do. I understand the true cost of things better than ever before (yet I know that I have even more to learn).
I choose to think about the background of objects and actions and not remain blissfully ignorant of where they come from.
I'd written a previous post years ago about this, how learning how to 'say grace' in a meaningful way can be an immensely valuable tool in regards to our relationships to production, objects and effects.
(view the post here). I am going to be writing a more refined piece on this exercise soon.

I find myself seeking ever more sacred and meaningful relationships with the entirety of existence.
This process leaves me very frustrated with those who dismiss it. I think one of the most important elements of this way of being, at least for me, is humility. My spiritual and philosophical choices have become increasingly pragmatic the older I get. What do I mean by this?
Well, for me, being an animist has the pragmatic effect of creating a situation and internal system in which I increasingly view everything in terms of 'its' own right to exist free of human definition.
By believing that anything and everything has spirit and or soul, I then tend to treat it in a much more thoughtful manner. It tends to disallow profane relationships with anything, whether animate or inanimate.
One of the side effects of this is that a very wide variety of other points of view start to look absolutely ridiculous. One starts to realize just how intrenched the abstract cultural hierarchies which humans impose on the world actually are. Remember, these are abstract concepts. I don't care if it is Veganism, Vegetarianism, Permaculture, Humanism, Civilized Religion, Reason, Science, or any other human created belief system or way of viewing and interacting with the world. They all are incredibly skilled at making up beliefs and codifying them in a way which primarily serves the needs of the anxieties of the believers or practitioners.
If we get down to the nitty gritty and start to look at the psychological foundations of such things, most of these systems fall apart or at least reveal the great amount of faith which they all require in order to exist and flourish. It is very rare that one will witness a practitioner of an 'ism' actually weigh the pragmatic application of said 'ism' in terms of how it affects the world and the way in which we relate to it.
And that right there is my bread & butter, it is what I am most interested in: how beliefs and social constructs directly influence our pragmatic and existential interactions and relationships with other humans and the non-human world.
One of the things I have noticed as I've moved further into this inquiry is that the majority of civilized humans have a tendency to draw abstract lines delineating where they want to stop themselves in regards to these thoughts. Most are humanists these days and are primarily interested in the prosperity of humans and tend to disregard or belittle the needs and natural ways of the non-human.
I find that I believe that this is the primary problem with modern civilization - the worshipping of the self and our species.
It is not a surprise. Matter of fact, it may be something intrinsic to the healing process for those who have not grown up in touch with and directly interacting with 'nature'.
I look around and I see a large number of people attempting to heal themselves and feel empowered.
I can understand this. The problem I find myself having with it is that many of them become so focused on self that they may actually be short-circuitig their own healing by believing that they can find that healing in abstract human designed and implemented belief systems that deny natural law and tend to pretend that the entire universe was created solely for the purpose of fulfilling personal desires.
This then gets into issues of awareness, empathy, service, community, narcissism, etc.

I'll begin to explore that a bit more in my next post.