Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Changing the name from the White House to the Red House: All in Favor…?

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

You know I’m serious about that idea when I consciously choose to use the American spelling of favor. It’s favour in Canada.

Anyway, here it is, Ladies and Gentlemen:

PROPOSITION RED:

Being so far in debt (very Red)—some 11 trillion paper dollars—and now offering legislated socialism (very Red) for the desperate yet rich (via the tax-payer), we propose (me and the friends in my head) that the White House be forced to change its name to the Red House.

The proposed idea will be enacted and held until the following five demands are fulfilled:

1) Some sort of economic plan that involves intelligence on behalf of citizens, the environment and reality is put forward.

2) Until the noose (sometimes self-imposed) is removed from the tax-payers’ neck (Red with Fury and Strangulation).

3) Ideas of monetary reform and the absurdity of the never-ending printing of paper money becomes part of everyday consciousness.

4) Informative and honest information outside the usual box is offered as something that is always done—even in a small booklet. A little red book, maybe.

5) Christopher Hitchens gives up scotch. Okay, okay, Christopher Hitchens considers giving up scotch.

Anything.

Anything!

All in favour say “Red!”

Also, I like this comment from William Greider:

Formal economists will scoff, but poets often see realities the bean counters fail to recognize.

I think that’s a great idea. Imagine a poet, say Leonard Cohen—okay, he’s Canadian. But imagine if a poet had to come up with the plan.

BANK ON THIS

With handouts from lap-dog Ben Bernanke*
All the bankers keep living swanky
Citizens petition and start a mailout
An ad campaign to stop the bailout
The people cry: “Stop this deformation!
We demand monetary reformation!”
What that means I’ve not a clue
But something tells me that it’s true
Instead of the lying Fed or Obama
Why not a poet or the Dalai Lama?
In trying to fix the lies and strife
Instead of ‘Growth’ choose ‘Quality of Life!’
‘Cause what they’re selling is pure bunk
And without a change our credit’s sunk
And I know this poem is pure crap
But dammit, friends, we need a better map!
To try and figure where we’re goin’
Maybe we should call Leonard Cohen
He knows at least as much as Ben
Plus with a decent grasp of zen
He couldn’t possibly make things worse
Plus he’d do it all in verse
And if the answer he doesn’t know it?
He’ll recommend a smarter poet
Or Jeffrey Armstrong, that mystic bard
He’ll scribe those liars long and hard
Their addiction to growth and fossil fuels
In debt to economic schools
Sisters, brothers, we must think wider
As such, I’m down with William Greider
When a trillion dollars has no meaning
It’s from these liars we all need weaning
And doing so, perhaps we’ll see
A deeper truth to set us free

THE END (of something)

*Ben Bernanke is the unelected Chairman of the Federal Reserve, replacing the unelected Alan Greenspan. After decades of knowing everything, Greenspan summed up the collapse: “We’re not smart enough as people. We just cannot see events that far in advance.”

Heck, my dad knew it was coming, with the banks, fractional reserve banking, the printing of unbacked money and inconceivable debt etc etc.

Keep dreaming. As Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” I guess that depends on what is imagined. Because somebody is imagining right now that this bailout, proposed by the people who caused the problem, might actually help.

That is actually the definition of insane.

Oh, speaking of William Greider, for those who want to be active, in conversation with Bill Moyers, he mentions a little protest on April 11th. I’m not sure what they stand for exactly, but they think not much of the current parties.

And only a moron wouldn’t agree with that, at least in part, the Messiah-ship endowed upon Barak Obama notwithstanding.

Lots of love to you,

Pete

EVER-BLESSED IN INDIA: No slumdogs, no millionaires, just countless beautiful people

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

I just posted a little video for a song called Wide Open—a video filmed on the Gulf Islands off the coast of Vancouver.

This video, for a song called Ever-blessed, is from footage I took while in South India in December of ’08 into January ’09. India is so much more than slumdogs and millionaires, my god. Not a good person was to be found in that Academy-Award winning film, save the resilient heroes. In my experience in India, we only found good, interesting, beautiful, colourful, hospitable, devoted, generous people—everywhere.

I don’t mean the opposite sort of people don’t exist there—of course they do—but you get my point.

We almost only found people who, regardless of their religion, got along—indeed, took pride in getting along. That is the deeper essence of Hinduism—that we are eternal, and where we have to be, and individual souls (atmas) on a journey. Therefore do not proselytize unless asked.

We met beautiful, emotional, resilient people who stand everyday in the wild, paradoxical madness and beauty of a timeless country, and live with great dignity against sometimes serious odds.

In Alleppey (in Kerala), for example, the rice farmers are right up against rising backwaters on the edge of the man-made banks—probably worsened by global warming. Their livelihood is threatened after thousands of years of cultivation. In many places mere inches of safety keep their houses from being washed away. Yet they carry on with unstoppable belief.

People—sisters and brothers, all atmas—were so open to my beloved and me. So much beauty: the people, the temperature, the urgency to support oneself, the resilience against the modern world and history, the colour, the pure veg food, the endless conversation with the divine (subtle, pleading, devotional, silent), the traditional music, sitars or flutes against a tabla back-drop. Transportive.

And the trip was deeply enriched by my affection for the Vedas, and Hindu metaphysics, and so much teaching from many sources, but in particular from six or seven years of yoga philosophy classes and kirtans with Jeffrey Armstrong (Kavindra Rishi).

Jeffrey, who lectures on the subject all over the world (he’s off to Holland tomorrow), is utterly addicted to the Vedas and a remarkable, unstoppable teacher and mentor. How much fun was it bringing that knowledge into conversation, meditation, and into temples?

In India, after meeting a man named Anantu who ran an organic farm, and was reading a book called The Quantum Enigma, which is the butting up of physics against consciousness, a famous line from quantum theory came to me, and with a few changes, seemed to sum up India:

“Anyone who thinks they understand India, doesn’t understand India.”

That resonates for human nature, and the human journey, too. What a ride. And what a beautiful time we had in south India.

I’ll write more about the trip and the shots in the video later, but for now, here’s a link to the video. I hope you like it.

Lots of love to you,

Pete xoxo

SOUL SURVIVAL: Yes, a little poem on the dream of being

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

SOUL SURVIVAL

I’ve hardly seen a soul survive
To live as if fully alive
To break the walls we think we are
To go within endlessly far
To push beyond conditioned life
To stand above both joy and strife
To serve oneself by serving others
And see only sisters and brothers

SURFING THE INNERNET FOR THE RICHER WEB OF LIFE

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Watching my insatiable senses, it occurred to me that the only sustainable way to counteract the relentless compulsion to consume external things would be by increasing the awareness of and desire for internal things. What this looks like will likely depend upon one’s individual propensity, but requires at least the simple questions: What am I? Why do I do what I do? and Why was I so unaware of bad fashion sense in the 1980s?

In truth, reality paradoxically yet unequivocally tells us that reality is not what it appears to be—our mind as a conduit makes it so. Thus, our minds create the world as we see it. So, one could ask, who then sees the true substratum of this human reality, as it really is, and does the one or many who see things as they really are—whatever that is—have a phone number?

Who is the original seer? I don’t know, but I want her as a friend, boss, lover, parent, child and favourite music group.

A poem, to my beloved sisters and brothers:

I will not be afraid of pain
I will not be afraid of death
Creature comforts also bring
A stultifying hold on breath
The time is coming, time has come
And time already came
I will stand in love and gratitude
And face them all the same

Much love and remembering,

Pete xoxo

A TRUTH, A DREAM, A MYSTERY

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Well, it’s been awhile, but a few poems have been flowing out lately, so here’s one. Hope you can answer all the deepest questions, with footnotes and references. Hey, don’t forget how beautiful you are, okay?

A TRUTH, A DREAM, A MYSTERY

Life always tries to stay together
While pulling apart forever and ever
Life is also individuated
Yet all the while interrelated
Take for instance air and breath
No sky for lungs is instant death
What is this push that drives formation
While also pushing disintegration?
Why individuals at all
Inside this endless, cosmic mall?
And who’s the me who’s asking this
Observing forms and seeking bliss?
Forms who feel and long for pleasure
Avoiding pain in equal measure
Yet pleasure somehow leads to pain
And pain to pleasure and back again
Often the two we do confuse
And thus, in ignorance, abuse
Take when I write, I’m quite content
Yet soon enough my body’s bent
It hurts to stretch away the pain
By definition life’s insane
A mix of subtle and oh so dense
combined and needing maintenance
The world is entropy, surmised
For so much is so well organized
Thus seeking balance plays a role
Could that place be a taste of soul?
A still point ever still yet playing
Not attached to form’s decaying
Ah, there I go, grand speculation
To settle down form’s trepidation
at being a form while rearranging
For all these forms are always changing
And so it goes eternally
So little can these two eyes see
Yet here we are, we have arose
Why individuals? God only knows!
And through it all I feel like me
A truth, a dream, a mystery

A Vida E So Uma: MOZAMBIQUE and the SPIRIT of LIFE

Monday, October 13th, 2008

When I was in Mozambique (Kenya, Malawi and South Africa), I think two years back now, I went to this little clubhouse kind of place where kids meet to talk about topics of the day, and for community. They also gathered to become more aware of the truths and falsehoods about HIV/AIDS—whose treatment in Mozambique, despite the efforts of many great people, was minimal in terms of reaching the infected population.

For example, for a multitude of reasons—access, education, poverty, infrastructure etc—at the time only 2 or 3% of pregnant women were taking the relatively simple access drugs during delivery (let alone the rest of the time) to help prevent the spread of the virus to the newborn child. We talk about this in Hope In The Time of AIDS (actually, not in this excerpt—but a few of the tragic statistics are here).

Anyway, these wonderful kids at the clubhouse in Mozambique (Moputo) had a guitar and I borrowed it and in this hot little room just started playing.

The resulting music is on film but I don’t have the footage, unfortunately. One day. But the kids, maybe a dozen of them, just started singing along, ad lib counterpoint, and I made up a song on the spot called My First Day In Mozambique. It was rhythmic and sweet, and the experience wildly inspiring and fun. One day, when I find it, I will post it.

Then two of the boys took the guitar (they were about 17 or 18, I think) and sang, which was also filmed. I always wanted to make a video out of it, but I haven’t had easy access to the film. But I do have a recording of it, which I will post here. It was sang with great love and passion—even though the guitar wouldn’t stay in tune! They were amazing—as humans so often are—and I don’t even know their names.

But here’s an mp3 of their beautiful song. The lead singer wrote it. One day, hopefully, there will be a video of them playing, to accompany it. The joy will be clear.

Here are the lyrics in the Portugese original:

A vida é só uma

A vida é só ma
A vida irmãos é só uma
A vida é só uma
Vamos viver a vida
Porque a vida é só uma
Quando ela escorrega não se apanha

Irmãos Moçambicanos dêem as mãos
Sejamos um por todos e todos por um
Unidos ao mundo inteiro seremos fortes
P’ra juntos combatermos o inimigo
SIDA você não tem chance
SIDA connosco não podes

Coro

Vamos viver com jeito
Nós amarmos com jeito
Porque a vida é muito bela
Porque a vida é só uma

And in English:

WE ONLY LIVE ONCE

We only live once

We only live once
Brothers, we only live once
We only live once
Let’s live our life
Because we only live once
If you miss out on life there is no second chance

Mozambican brothers, let’s hold hands
One for all, all for one
United with the world we will be strong
Together we will fight the enemy
AIDS, you have no chance
AIDS, against us you can’t win

Chorus

Let’s live with care
Let’s love with care
Because life is beautiful
Because we only live once

Lots of love to them, and you, and joy, kindness and compassion,

Pete xox

And just because I like to post it, and it reminds me of the wonder of being alive, Wide Open.

A POEM TO KEN WILBER (and Jeffrey Armstrong): The Irony Of Non-Dual Speculation

Monday, July 28th, 2008

“We are inconceivably, simultaneously one and different.”
—The great Indian sage Caitanya (and also on a pillow of mine in the front room)

This post is only for committed spiritual nerds or those who have a passion for what the Vedas call jnana (knowledge). If that’s not your bag, don’t worry about it.

If it is, I’ll begin here: It is a truism that a huge aspect of Eastern philosophy and spirituality speaks of a non-dual conclusion to the spiritual journey. In short, that ultimately all is One (or empty, according to most Buddhist paths) and there are no distinctions, no forms, and all of this before us is false (mithya), or an illusion.

This idea for me, however, never explains why this incredible, compelling, beautiful ‘illusion’ arises—or why individuality arises.

Indeed, by definition, it can’t answer this question.

Nonetheless, one theory by the brilliant and prolific philosopher Ken Wilber, if I understand what he’s saying, is that non-duality (emptiness) is the ultimate conclusion, the ultimate truth, we are ultimately God (or Big Mind), and all of this we see before us and within us arose because “God was bored.”

A few of Ken’s wonderful friends (Genpo Roshi etc) and even Hegal with a twist has said sort of the same thing.

May I first begin in humility and a profound awareness of how little I know.

Having said that, for me, the fact that anything—you, me, all of this— arose at all is already a huge crimp in the non-dual ultimate reality (as opposed to a non-dual experience, of which almost all mystic paths speak).

Anyway, this ‘God was bored” idea is so sadly lacking to me that I felt inspired to write Ken a non-dual love poem, because I’m in love with him. That’s right, Wilber-1, Wilber-2, all the way up to Wilber-whatever, like ascending turtles.

It’s true, it’s out, so there. Ken fills my Spectrum of Consciousness—which is arguably not very big. Okay, I’m being a little silly, but here it is:

POEM TO KEN WILBER

Oh you who preach there is not other
I ask you why you have a lover
When you speak of non-duality
I ask you why individuality
arose at all, and you state your case:
“God was bored” in a boring place
which maims your bored ‘non-dual’ conclusion
for non-dual boredom is pure confusion
and if God was bored and that’s your case
why on Earth do you seek that place?
If God was bored and Thou Art That
why is That where liberation’s at?
And with this paradox you face
why teach to seek this boring place?
If God left home to seek some fun
why go back to where there’s none?
For you yourself described it so
so tell us what you really know
If with words you’re only playing
then what exactly are you saying?
If ‘non-dual’ is your loyalty
why collect a royalty?
For if all distinctions are delusion
who’s the ‘you’ in this confusion?
And if they’re not, then what’s denied
is that ‘non-duality’ must be qualified
Ken Wilber, look into my eyes
Why did beauty here arise?
What fear is it, what sad confusion
leads us to this bored conclusion?
For if one is God and two is bored
‘tis more than non-dual can afford
What I see here is contradiction
not spiritual but predilection
Perhaps my own, but who can say?
For we all live in a distinctive way
And I wonder if, like all of us
people caused you such painful stuff
Let you down, like Adi Da
to which we now go la-dee-da
Yet deep inside we’re mad at matter
in subtle ways mad-as-a-hatter
Mad in fact because personhood
was a bully in the neighbourhood
So never a Person now can we see
greater than the folks we be
So instead of surrender to something greater
we make ourselves the Grand Creator
As a spark, perhaps, we’re identical
but God knows I’m not God-in-Full
to say I’m God, unqualified
just medicates the pain I hide
Disassociation need not happen
To be blind upon the path we’re mappin’
Are we truly God, as you tell us
or could it be we’re all just jealous?
Even while lost in samadhi
To say we’re God is insanity
Look, either way, this much is true
God and boredom are clearly two
And it’s not even remotely wise
as an answer to why we did arise
Yes, non-duality may exist
but purely as a Brahman twist
an aspect of the total This
a taste amongst the feast of bliss
And let me say it all the same
I’m so grateful for your massive brain
but for all the teachings that you master
“God was bored” is pure disaster

At this point, it would be grossly remiss and non-dual of me to not say that much of the argument and learning in this poem has been inspired through the teachings of a remarkable Vedic scholar and practitioner, Jeffrey Armstrong—who also has one helluva massive brain.

I can only say, Ken, if I was you, I would avoid this fella in one-on-one conversation, unless embrace and transcend is what you truly want.

For a terrific and inspired article and explanation of the differences between the ideas of the Vedic non-dualist path (led by Shankaracharya) and the distinctivist teaching of the woefully (in the West) ignored Madhvacharya, I really encourage you wonderful seekers out there to read Jeffrey’s article in Hinduism Today, entitled: “Difference is Real: The Life and Teachings of Sri Madhva, One of India’s greatest Spiritual Masters”.

The lower half of the article is Jeffrey discussing Madhva’s philosophy, the upper half Madhva’s biography. You have to sign into the magazine (which is free) to read the current issue.

Of course, if you are God, no doubt you’ve already read it. Hell, you wrote it.

If not, an excerpt from Jeffrey’s article:

“While Madhva’s Dvaita philosophy has been construed as dualism, it, in fact, articulates a view of multiple realities that all have particular natures and are all real.

Madhva’s view is not dualistic, because he did not limit existence to two realities, pitted against one another, but rather described how the various categories of reality are eternally real.

To him, the differences between things are not mere illusions to be denied outright, but rather are a gradient of different types of existence amongst which the eternal souls, who are distinctive individuals, are allowed to choose…

The point of dispute is not whether the material world is a desirable place of residence for the soul, as Madhva and Shankara agree that liberating the soul from matter is the goal of Vedanta.

Where they diverge sharply is on the nature of the soul.

To Shankara, there is actually only one atma, or soul, in the whole of existence, and that great soul is called Brahman.

Due to inexpicable ignorance [hence, my poem], that one soul imagines itself (and thus appears) to be many.

To Madhva, souls are multiple and eternally individual, real and distinct from Brahman, and at the same time one with it in essence…

And here, from the article, are a few great questions that you might want to pose to your spiritual teacher.

In assailing Shankara’s position, Madhva queries: If Brahman is the Supreme, how could there be a greater power that could put it under illusion?

If Brahman has no parts, how can there be a Brahman that is both liberated and not liberated?

If there is no liberated Brahman, how could liberation be possible?

If the world is merely a dream, since many dreams are seen in the world, whose dream is it?

How could someone teach of the non-distinctive Brahman if he did not recognize the need to teach it, which is in itself a distinction?”

These questions remain woefully unanswered, to my little mind. Give me another fifty lifetimes of meditation and nutritional supplements, and I might have some realized knowledge.

Interestingly and ironically, the second to last point of Madhva—”If the world is merely a dream, since many dreams are seen in the world, whose dream is it?”—is echoed by Ken Wilber here:

QUESTION: What do you think of the New Age writers who see a link between mysticism and the weirdness of quantum physics?…They point out that reality at the quantum level is inherently probabilistic. And they say that the act of observing a quantum phenomenon plays a critical role in actually creating that phenomenon. The lesson they draw is that consciousness itself can shape physical reality.

KEN WILBER: They are confused. Even people like Deepak Chopra say this. These are good people; I know them. But when they say consciousness can act to create matter, whose consciousness? Yours or mine? They never get to that. It’s a very narcissistic view.

Indeed. How about ‘I am God’ for narcissism? or “God was bored”?

A variation of Ken’s “God was bored” theme is Ken’s (and friend’s): “It’s no fun having dinner alone” idea. The (perhaps) unintentional massacre of non-duality is hopelessly exposed—thank god, because I love love, I love loving, I love eating with friends and, like I said, I’m in love with Ken Wilber.

Love takes two at the very least. Even if he never calls back, I can long like a gopi—and dammit, I will.

Further, even if Ken is being tongue-in-cheek, which on one level he clearly is, the question still seems to me to be grossly unanswered, with non-duality as the final conclusion hoisted precariously upon this hopeless answer.

We have all heard about the Emperor who wears no clothes. Here, the non-dual ultimate conclusion is dressed to the nines, and claims to be naked.

An excerpt:

Pathways [magazine]: Why does Spirit bother to manifest at all, especially when that manifestation is necessarily painful and requires that It become amnesiac to Its true identity? Why does God incarnate?

Ken Wilber:

I have actually asked this same question of several spiritual teachers, and one of them gave a quick, classic answer:”It’s no fun having dinner alone.”

That’s sort of flip or flippant, I suppose, but the more you think about it, the more it starts to make sense. What if, just for the fun of it, we pretend—you and I—blasphemously pretend, just for a moment—that we are Spirit, that Tat Tvam Asi? Why would you, if you were God Almighty, why would you manifest a world? A world that, as you say, is necessarily one of separation and turmoil and pain? Why would you, as the One, ever give rise to the Many?

Pathways: It’s no fun having dinner alone?

Ken Wilber: Doesn’t that start to make sense?

Even if it did, so much for non-dual as the ultimate, ultimate, ultimate conclusion. One of the paths, sure. But clearly not the most fun path.

A longer bit is here:

And a song for how beautiful and mysterious we are, yes, as individuals and as a whole: Wide Open.

My apologies for where my own ignorance reigns.

Big love to Ken, Jeffrey, Madhva, Shankara, and all the rest of us in the search for who we are and who we might be,

Pete xox

Longing and Other Ongoing Emotions

Monday, July 21st, 2008

No time for essays or much else these days, between writing and editing and so on. But in the cracks of my momentum, little side-dishes arise, and I happened to write a couple of poems—and yesterday in record time, a little song came out called, I think, In My Mind.

Anyway, here are the two poems. And if the whole world could do me a favour and write to say they are doing well, or better, or just feeling good about their own beautiful, remarkable, indescribable beingness (can you fathom what a being can do?), I would exalt in that.

EVERYTHING ABOUT HER

Everything about her speaks of my impenetrable longing
I am too-not-young to be fooled by such pristine joy
And yet I am the old fool
believing this body cannot be fooled at any glance
by the beautiful scalpel of existence
fragmented diamonds upon my breath
awakening the ports of my desire
trading trinkets that only God owns
A river of life propels through my bones
where energy is a square emcee
An evolutionary picture show
raises and lowers threadbare curtains
casting shadows and dreams in major roles
according to the length of my inhale
the mind
best friend, worst enemy
There is nothing I can do
but believe in something
Someone must be served
What river will I follow?

And the other:

VOICES

My desire to please you
into joy
leads me more clearly
than the light of the morning sun
The desire of my being
towards whom I might be
calls me more loudly than anything
yet less clearly
How can I know
where the two meet
or separate?

Love and more love—and creative flow, and remembering whatever beautiful remembrance it is that you have to remember,

Pete xoxo

UNPREDICTABLE LIPS and other DESIRES

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

UNPREDICTABLE LIPS

Lay my soul bare
in a sun-bathed
wind-swept harvest of gratitude
that I may weep
from the golden river within
singing pools of devotional tears
rising tides at the taste
of
Your Kiss
limitless source of that river
winding through this moveable city
with the help of undercover angels
yes, that Same Kiss
that meanwhile
organizes
all of everything
within the helplessly
unorganized
en-tropic-al
rain
storm
of quantum mechanics
simultaneously
known as
Her
Unpredictable Lips
that when puckered
on mine
lay bare
my soul
in a sun-swept
wind-bathed
harvest of remembering
that I may run after
reflections retold
on the mirror of my mind
no more

The Extraordinary Mystery of Being: Garl darnit, that’s us!

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

Just in the middle of Muhammad Ali research and at the same time trying to grasp further the complexities of how agribusiness is controlling our food, worldwide and brutally, and wondering if Hillary Clinton is in Agribusiness’ backpocket, life tears open a contracted thought, and reminds me how serendipitous a series of events might be—or might not be.

Either way, I just got an email from my friend Marina with a note to watch a video that she found both moving and inspiring, and far above the limited-consciousness bandwidth of political lobbying.

What’s more, as I watched it—while doing situps to limber the old back and core muscles—I thought, ‘Hm, I’ve just been writing on my last three blogs about this exact subject: asking what we might be—who are we?—and the mysterious nature of being—between an expanded us and contracted us.’

Interestingly, the yogis have spoken about these wondrous themes for thousands of years—musings most scientists don’t admit have been spoken of, let alone do they agree with them.

But here’s a question: is it because of those ancient (and present) descriptions of consciousness and oneness and what we might be, already being “out there”, from yogis, that Dr Jill Bolte Taylor voices her experience of having a stroke as she did in similar terms of oneness etc., or are wereally this combined force of contracted and, ultimately, expanded individuality?

In other words, are we—as the yogis suggest—much more and expanded than we think we are?

Of course I don’t know—and this morning I’m pretty darn stiff (so I’m contracted, evidently).

But, mm-mm-mm it’s beautiful food for thought.

Here are three short clips from the last three blogs that are so related to what she’s talking about—which isn’t so surprising, because it’s what I think about a lot:

SILENCE! (6:21 am)

In silence
I learned
We have prisons
because we are imprisoned
We have propaganda
because we are hypnotized
All day we live in a movie
and later the angels come
and show us more movies
Watching my thoughts
I knew
there is freedom too
Now I must
make a fire
and start the day

The rest of the poems are here.

Then this short blog here, about the relationship between an expansive Redwood and a tear drop of devotion, called Three Hundred and Fifty Feet High:

THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FEET HIGH

It is only our linear thinking
held firm by the Scientific Method
that prevents us
from believing
in the very reasonable assumption
that the Supreme Intelligence
can easily fit
a Giant Redwood
thirteen feet wide
and three hundred and fifty feet high
inside a seed
the size
of one
tear drop
of gratitude

And then an excerpt from this essay called Me And God Down By The Schoolyard:

The miraculous marriage of individuality and oneness is the ongoing tension that is life—the unstoppable force arising from the scientific predictability of entropy and the utter mystery of the organization that led to us. Organization makes no sense whatsoever in an expanding universe, or in my upstairs office. Yet here we are.

The fact is we are individual beings—inconceivably being—mysteriously piercing the material world with a series of unanswerable questions and disconcerting twitches.

Temporary? Yes, we appear to be—but who knows? And who knows for how long? And who knows why?

We may even be fragments of some utterly transcendent divine being who possesses an intelligence even slightly greater than Richard Dawkins’. That would be terrific, because I really enjoy being, and given my druthers, I’d rather it continued, minus the entropy and taxes.

Deluded? Perhaps. An illusion? Sure I’ve got some sleight-of-hand tricks up my sleeve, but who doesn’t?

But am I God? Well, not as far as I know. Then again, as any nondualist worth her illusory self will tell you:

“He who knows, knows nothing; and he who knows nothing, is unemployed.”

Full essay here.

Oh, and now here’s the 18 minute talk from Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain scientist who had a stroke, and lived to explain what she experienced. Take what you need, and exhale the rest into to that great mystery in the sky, and in your heart…

You are getting sleepy, very sleepy…

With great expansive gobs (gobs in the sweet sense) of gratitude, and a means of getting through the contracted troubles (and joys) of the day—love more!

Pete xoxox

Oh, and these musings are why I wrote Wide Open.

SACRED FIRE, HOLY SMOKE—One Morning On Keats

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

SACRED FIRE, HOLY SMOKE
One morning on Keats

March 15, 2008

I woke up early and slightly uneasy, as life would have it. It was a compressed night on a compressed island surrounded by salty water and probably the occasional 24-foot Basking shark minding its own beeswax. All of this took place within earshot of bright lights and sad stories.

For those keeping track at home, Keats Island is west of Bowen Island and Calgary and countless other cities including Istanbul, Syracuse and several more who asked not to be identified.

Friends were sleeping in the loft above and so on, so they say, so I made a fire and meditated in darkness, just above my legs. From there came a moment of watching my own thoughts being transmitted from somewhere I couldn’t find.

Then afterwards a poem was scribbled…

To see them, and the rest of the introduction—all very short—press here.

Love ya,

Pete

THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FEET HIGH

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FEET HIGH

It is only our linear thinking
held firm by the Scientific Method
that prevents us
from believing
in the very reasonable assumption
that the Supreme Intelligence
can easily fit
a Giant Redwood
thirteen feet wide
and three hundred and fifty feet high
inside a seed
the size
of one
tear drop
of gratitude

LOOKING AT CLOUDS WHILE WALKING GENTLY ON A BEING’S BACK

Monday, February 25th, 2008

Again, I’ve been so busy with research and planning and so on for the Ali project, that I haven’t had time for writing. But I did play a little concert on Friday night, and read a poem before singing. I read the poem because of what happened that Friday, early afternoon.

I was on a panel as a writer/blogger, and afterwards—on a stunningly beautiful Vancouver day—I was suddenly overwhelmed by a cloud. Don’t ask me to explain too much. I’ve never been mesmerised by a cloud before, nor do I do hallucinogenics. But this thick white billowing beauty with the sun glistening off it, and the occasional sun-drenched sea gull zooming by, yelled out to me, and I felt quite filled with emotion.

A few thoughts followed? Why a cloud? Why me? How are we related? Why such a great life? Why such a difficult world? Why so much beauty? Where exactly is the bus terminal? and so on.

Anyway, I found the bus terminal, and I sat down—grinning evidently, because it was pointed out to me by a fella in the seat in front of me, and I was asked why. Never too uncomfortable, I said, “Well, this might sound strange, but I was overwhelmed by a cloud.”

Get this. It turns out the guy was was a professor of meteorology at UBC. What are the odds? 2-1? And who totally understands. he says, “Yeah, well, we’re from the same energy system.”

Not only that, he works in the area that actually asks if the earth is a living organism—and of course it is! So we talked about the wonder of organization in an entropic system, increasing photosyntheis as the Spring approaches, James Lovelock (whom he knows) and the Gaia hypothesis, and the similarities between a cloud and a human, energetically speaking.

This led me to pulling out a poen that I’d recently written—I seldom read poems to women on buses, let alone men. I only read half of it, actually, but this is it now, in its entirety (and I read it at the gig):

Sing your song with all your breath
For all of this from birth to death
Is held in flow by pure vibration
A subtle taste of liberation
An all-pervasive cosmic song
Invisible beings sing along
Then hum the song to you and me
A divine fragmented melody
An endless kiss, an invitation
Veiled by body’s limitation
But when in bursts we hear that song
We see the soul in everyone
At least a flash if not the whole
For pure vibration is the soul
So if you find your song’s off course
Listen closely for the Source
And if you still can’t find the key
Sing for all divinity
Enter into pure vibration
Divinely blessed imagination
Your beingness is not delusion
That’s another soul’s confusion
And even if they don’t agree
They never give up trying to be
An individual, with a theory
That alone should make you leary
But let’s get back to pure vibration
Forgetting is my limitation!
And know that every song you sing
Is from the Source of everything
Not nothingness but ecstasy
Not void but wild divinity
Not “you” as “we” are understood
But pure vibration personhood
A thought barely conceivable
A dream and yet retrievable
Hid behind shadows and light
A pure vibrational delight
A concert with a trillion acts
Why else scientific facts?
Why else love songs and atheists?
Why else this life with all its twists?
I do not mean to cause offence
But we’re kept alive by intelligence
We’re not just matter rubbed together
A result of dirt and stormy weather
We are here by pure vibration
As Einstein saw in contemplation
Held in tune by a soul much greater
To who we all sing now or later
An ode to vast intelligence
A soul like us in every sense
Save magnitude and lack of doubt
So smile within and sing without
Let pure vibration be your song
To the One who’s sung you all along

I mentioned the conversation at the gig, too. The crowd seemed quite amused (plus, due to
entropy, I probably embellished).

Then I sang a few songs. It was sort of a sexy night, discussing the 64 arts of the Kama Sutra, so here’s the set list:

Learning How God Loves
Naked Love
Wide Open
Be Brave Tonight
Ever Blessed

And a request for Wise Old lady of Love.

It’s a fantastic crowd—the only one in the world that knows the words to my songs. I love singing those songs, live, and thinking we are an organism living on an organism, and so on, and so on, and so on until you feel endless gratitiude for the fact that you have your own place.

As for our own little universe, I have heard that of all the cells withing us and around us (stomach bacteria etc), only 5 to 10 percent of these cells are actually us. The others are hosting on me, like us to the earth.

Love to you,

Pete

GRATITUDE and THOUGHT FOR FOOD

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

I just wanted to thank people who comment on the blog. I get really great feedback, insight, theory, and, well, love and kindness, actually, which is a wonderful thing.

Again, with projects, I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to write lately—and when I had a chance last night, for example, I spent it answering comments on the Marc Emery blog post.

TSUNANIMOUSLY YOURS

Ah, yes, if you experience information overload, spinning knowledge, repetitive thoughts, anxiety or depression with the world as you think it, and so on, what I am about to offer may not help at all. Nonetheless, I wrote a little poem (yes, I can’t help it) the other day that offers an idea, an image, a process, that hopefully makes those wild thoughts a little more digestable—or, for that matter, this run-on sentence a little more digestable.

THOUGHT FOR FOOD

If you find your mind is wild
A billion thoughts unreconciled
Into your belly, drop your doubt
Fill your tummy and push it out

Strange, I know, this gut suggestion
But that’s where thoughts will find digestion
For those with crazy thoughts in flight
Tend to hold their tummy tight

Which keeps one’s thoughts up in the head
Drop them to your gut instead
We’ve all heard of “food for thought”
But “thought for food” we’re never taught

So if you find your mind is wild
A billion thoughts unreconciled
Into belly fire, drop your doubt
Love your tummy and let it out*

*This is to be done consciously, and in that way, aware of one’s breathing pattern, too. This is counter to the unconscious process of the worrying that makes one’s stomach, as they say, “sick with worry.” This Thought For Food is a digestion/letting go/offering process, that sends the thoughts into the sacrificial belly fire, to be burnt away. Or, if you’re particular skilled, to be reheated into Venus Fertility Goddesses who understand the Tao of nature (which is different than the Dow Jones).

This process can also be used to warm your feet and provide reading light. I made that up. Money back guarantee, batteries not included.

Lots of love to you,

Pete

WRITING TO REMEMBER: Poetry as the World Carries On

Friday, January 25th, 2008

I was just thinking today—as most days—about how, when I’m writing intensely about the material world (in this case the legendary Muhammad Ali and those who did battle with him, and what it all meant), it’s so important for me to keep a spiritual/expansive/relaxed yet discerning outlook on everything that’s going on within and around me. Smile, in other words, right now.

Why? Because the mind (manas) is so addicted to the world, and the world is so addicting, so compelling, so consuming. And the less I pull back and go inwards, the more I spin wildly with my addiction—to knowledge, to information, to typing frantically like a squirrel on amphetamines (running across a keyboard).

What exactly we are I can not say with any so-called realized knowledge. Still, the emotion that arises from wondering, exploring, or associating with myself, my breathing, and with those great teachers and thinkers who have a wide, even beyond-worldcentric view of existence, remains for me a massive pleasure and gift.

If you know what I mean, you’ll know what I mean (if you know what I mean). If you don’t, there are a whole bunch of earlier blogs that could be more up your alley.

Either way, last night, after days of intense writing and research, and trying to find a beautiful, expansive way of approaching this new work, I went to my favourite philosophy of yoga (and Vedanta) class and, while listening, spontaneously scribbled down a few verses about this temporary, mysterious journey we call existence.

Or as Leibniz put it:

Why is there something instead of nothing?

And why personhood? Why individual beings? Why relationship?

REMEMBERING POETRY

Anyway, seeing as I’ve been unable to blog for awhile, due to time constraints (and I’m such a wordy fella), I thought I’d share them with you.

Ali, ever more Sufi-centric, it seems, as his years go on, might be pleased. May they give you pause to breathe deeply, and remember the inconceivable miracle of existence (you, in other words).

If not, may you just think, “What a deluded freak, ha ha ha. PS Get a job.”

More importantly, may you write a few dreams yourself, whenever you feel it.

* * *

THE WORLD CARRIES ON

The world carries on
Whether I panic
Whether I breathe
or whether I’m manic

Knowing this
calms my nerves
That life is bound
by twists and curves

Knowing no deal
Will e’er delay
The fact that Pete
Will fade away

So how to learn
to Self maintain
While here
So others can, the same?

For all the riches
we collect
at death’s arrival
can’t protect

Or for that matter
when fate does switch
Thrown from palace
to the ditch

The world cares not
what is earned or stolen
She scrapes you clean
and keeps on rollin’

And what remains
when all is taken?
The dress of flesh
from body shaken?

Leaves rich with nothing
Same for poor
Is anything left
to live some more?

Is there some tally
of right and wrong
Or where we’re going
when we’re gone?

What can I say
What do I know?
I know not yet
The second show

And if I have
been here forever
I live its past
but don’t remember

Where goes this life?
I cannot say
But it never ends
At end of day

Given that
I wonder, true
If when end comes
I live on, too

Not the body
Ol’ befuddler
The endless dream
of something subtler

The eye inside
this wondrous being
Seeking love
in all we’re seeing

Behind the rock
the sky, the strife
Is there a being
breathing life?

I do not know
Yet still I ask
Believing that’s
the human task

For when this world
is all in tatters
Relationship
is all that matters

With friend and lover
and mother Earth
Without it
there can be no birth

So what is Earth
and what is mine?
Is there a me
that’s more Divine

Not more Divine
as bad or good
But a Source of all
this personhood

Outside these thoughts
Inside this breath
Between us all
Beyond this death?

I taste You when
I cannot hide
From beauty’s grasp
A slave inside

Oh sacred flame
stay lit in me
And light the dream
of mystery

Lots of love to you,

Pete

The Declaration Of Interdependence

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Needless to say I am one of the fakes, and this is my story
—Leonard Cohen

I was at an inspiring yoga philosophy class the other night (as always), given by Jeffrey Armstrong, and he said, paraphrasing, humans need to go beyond the Declaration of Independence to a Declaration of Interdependence.

I thought that was a lovely play on words, and a poem came into my head about not The Cycle of Dependence, but The Cycle of Interdependence—alternatively titled The Singer Sings Her Song:

Before the song
was the beat
Before the beat
was the breath
Before the breath
was no death
Before no death
was the song

If I could only hear the words! I wrote another little riddle, too—more of a Leonard Cohen then a Zen Koan, but then again more of an ice cream cone than a Leonard Cohen:

We are born unhappy that we can’t choose
Then we learn that we can choose
Then we try to learn how to choose
Then we learn that what we choose will rule our life
Then we learn that there is no cure to be found in what we choose
Then we learn to observe the chooser—which is a choice
Then we stop choosing and just watch the chooser (which is also sort of a choice, but anyway)
And then we stop coming back
because there’s nothing left to choose

In the hopefull not-too-meantime, as the world does what it has to do, I’ll try to remember, and in remembering, choose more love. So lots of love to you and yours,

Pete

THE POTENTIAL

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

I was at a wonderful and deeply informative philosophy of yoga class tonight, with Jeffrey Armstrong, on the subject of finding useful physical and mental asanas (positions) and thoughts to inspire and deepen one’s meditative practice.

A just-before-meditaing yoga saying was mentioned—and I think it’s worth mentioning here, for its beauty, even if one doesn’t meditate.

The truth is, we all meditate on something. The yogis say: “Humans become like that upon which we meditate (or associate).”

This other phrase, spoken out loud—try it, it might freak you out—simply reinforces and reminds a person of their inherent, eternal right to be here, to exist—and may that be full of dignity, love, joy and gratitude:

I am sitting in the lap of my Mother the Earth
I love her and she loves me
I am exactly where I need to be
Now I am going to meditate

And this reminded me of a poem I recently wrote, on a bus scooting along the Coquihalla Highway, just after Christmas, with the days getting lighter (if not drier):

THE POTENTIAL

The potential to feel healed
is already you
The potential to stand
ever softer in strength
is the dance lesson
we are already enrolled in
Being born is written
in the imagination
of the universal Beingness
Growing old is on that circle
of timeless exhales

Remembering in a giggle
that we are none of these things
full-time
is our true dance

Being none of these things
at all
is our true nature dancing
I am not the sand
blown by the wind
I am the wind
who occasionally
gets sand in her eyes
Inhale!
We are home!
Exhale!
We’re on our way home!

Lots of love to you, beautiful soul. Don’t forget to write your own lines,

Pete xox

Wide Open, for those longing to remember.