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#2259 - Tuesday, September 13, 2005 - Editor: Jerry Katz    

This issue features a few poems from TOO INTIMATE FOR WORDS, by John Astin. His website is  

The book may be ordered at If you like the poems, you'll like the book.   --Jerry    



It takes courage
to leave behind
all the stories,
all the ideologies,
all the theories,
and moral edicts,
to have no place to stand,
no position to defend,
or truth to argue about,
to trust this quiet integrity
burning in an emptiness
the mind can never touch.


~ ~ ~


No Escape

There is no escaping now,
no leaving this moment
for some other.
We are hopelessly trapped
in this maze,
caught in the truth
that there is
no dry land here -
everything is wet
in this Ocean...
What grace to know this,
to revel in the ecstasy
of this sweet bondage
that is our liberation.


~ ~ ~


The Sense of Separation

"Rise above the separate self." "Transcend the ego." When we listen to such statements, what usually happens is that we enter into a kind of subtle (or not so subtle) struggle with this sense of separation. We resist the "I," wish it wasn't there, try to make it go away. But any attempt to make the separate self-sense disappear, simply reinforces the very thing we're trying to free ourselves from. It's analogous to meditation where our efforts to try and quiet the thinking process merely serve to create more waves. The thought, "There shouldn't be thought," is simply more thinking. Thought fighting thought. The result? More waves.

So it is with our relationship to the self, this sense of there being a personal "I." Our resistance to it simply reinforces the illusion that there is actually something there (a self) to be gotten rid of. Struggling with the sense of "I" only creates more separation, more division.

The paradox is that only through our absolute acceptance of the separate self-sense will we wake up from the dream of separation.


~ ~ ~


 Just This

What if this was it? What if it could never get any better than this moment, just as it is? Is that a depressing thought? I guess it could be. But just let yourself consider it deeply for a moment. Who knows, you might just fall in love with your life.


~ ~ ~



How does it feel
to be out of a job?
Nothing you can do
to improve upon this moment,
or quiet what is already silent.
Nothing you can do
to bring yourself
closer to what
you already are.
Nothing you can do
to keep the waves of life
from dancing and changing.
Nothing you can do
to open what has never been closed.
Nothing you can do
to brighten this awareness,
already ablaze with the light
of a million suns.
Nothing you can do.
Nothing you can do...


~ ~ ~


What Will It Take?

Do we really need more proof?
Another taste of joy,
Another glimpse of Truth,
Another experience of this, that
Or the other thing?
What will it take,
Before we finally stop and accept
That it is over, that this empty cup
Has always been full?
How many more experiences
Before we realize
That we could never have more
Of what we already are?

In a flash of insight
I wake to this knowing
To This that knows…
“It is so obvious. Nothing is needed
Because there is only
This that I am, the
Substance of all things.
Like a wave it crashes over me,
This simple knowing that
I could never really add anything
To that which is already Everything…

But then, like a punch drunk boxer
I drag myself up and
Set out again on my search
Determined to find some more proof.
“More evidence,” I cry.
That is what I need,”
Never quite believing
It could be so simple…
And then, another wave comes
And I am slammed to the ground again,
Waking once more from this dream
To find I was never asleep
Laughing at this folly
Of trying to find the very One
Who has been looking all along…

2004 John Astin

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