Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression




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Nonduality Highlights: Issue #3142, Sunday, April 20, 2008, Editor: Mark



In the Kitchen

I remember this illumination happening to me one noontime as I stood in the kitchen and watched my children eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We were having a most unremarkable time on a nondescript day, in the midst of the most quotidian of routines. I hadn't censed the table, sprinkled the place mats with holy water, or uttered a sanctifying prayer over the Wonder bread. I wasn't feeling particularly "spiritual."

But, heeding i don't know what prompting, I stopped abruptly in mid-bustle, or mid-woolgathering, and looked around me as if I were opening my eyes for the first time that day.

The entire room became luminous and so alive with movement that everything seemed suspended-yet pulsating-for an instant, like light waves. Intense joy swelled up inside me, and my immediate response was gratitude-gratitude for everything, every tiny thing in that space. The shelter of the room became a warm embrace; water flowing from the tap seemed a tremendous miracle; as my children became, for a moment, not my property or my charges or my tasks, but eternal beings of infinite singularity and complexity whom I would one day, in and age to come, apprehend in their splendid fullness.

-Holly Bridges Elliot, posted to TheNow_2




look at love
how it tangles
with the one fallen in love

look at spirit
how it fuses with earth
giving it new life
why are you so busy
with this or that or good or bad
pay attention to how things blend

why talk about all
the known and the unknown
see how the unknown merges into the known

why think seperately
of this life and the next
when one is born from the last

look at your heart and tongue
one feels but deaf and dumb
the other speaks in words and signs

look at water and fire
earth and wind
enemies and friends all at once

the wolf and the lamb
the lion and the deer
far away yet together

look at the unity of this
spring and winter
manifested in the equinox

you too must mingle my friends
since the earth and the sky
are mingled just for you and me

be like sugarcane
sweet yet silent
don't get mixed up with bitter words

my beloved grows
right out of my own heart
how much more union can there be

- Rumi, translated by Nader Khalili, from  Rumi, Fountain of Fire




Within this earthen vessel

Within this earthen vessel are bowers and groves, and within it is the Creator:
Within this vessel are the seven oceans and the unnumbered stars.
The touchstone and the jewel-appraiser are within;
And within this vessel the Eternal soundeth, and the spring wells up.
Kabir says: "Listen to me, my Friend! My beloved Lord is within."

- Kabir, from One Hundred Poems of Kabir, Translated by Rabindranath Tagore




It is time for me to go, Mother; I am going.

When in the paling darkness of the lonely dawn
you stretch your arms for your baby in the bed,
I shall say, "Baby is not there!"
- Mother, I am going.

I shall become a delicate draught of air
and caress you; and I shall be ripples
in the water when you bathe;
and kiss you and kiss you again.

In the gusty night when the rain patters on the leaves
you will hear my whisper in your bed,
and my laughter will flash with the lightning
through the open window into your room.

If you lie awake, thinking of your baby till late into the night,
I shall sing to you from the stars, "Sleep, Mother, sleep."

On the straying moonbeams I shall steal over your bed,
and lie upon your bosom while you sleep.

I shall become a dream, and through the little opening
of your eyelids I shall slip into the depths of your sleep;
and when you wake up and look round startled,
like a twinkling firefly I shall flit out into the darkness.

When, on the great festival of PUJA,
the neighbours' children come and play about the house
, I shall melt into the music of the flute
and throb in your heart all day.

Dear auntie will come with your PUJA presents and will ask,
"Where is our baby, sister?" Mother you tell her softly,
"He is in the pupils of my eyes,
he is my body and my soul."

- Rabindranath Tagore, from The Crescent Moon




Honey At The Table

It fills you with the soft

essence of vanished flowers, it becomes
a trickle sharp as a hair that you follow
from the honey pot over the table

and out the door and over the ground,
and all the while it thickens,

grows deeper and wilder, edged
with pine boughs and wet boulders,
pawprints of bobcat and bear, until

deep in the forest you
shuffle up some tree, you rip the bark,

you float into and swallow the dripping combs,
bits of the tree, crushed bees - - - a taste
composed of everything lost, in which everything lost is found.

- Mary Oliver




Poem (The spirit likes to dress up...)

The spirit
likes to dress up like this:
ten fingers,
ten toes,

shoulders, and all the rest
at night
in the black branches,
in the morning

in the blue branches
of the world.
It could float, of course,
but would rather

plumb rough matter.
Airy and shapeless thing,
it needs
the metaphor of the body,

lime and appetite,
the oceanic fluids;
it needs the body's world,
instinct

and imagination
and the dark hug of time,
sweetness
and tangibility,
to be understood,
to be more than pure light
that burns
where no one is -

so it enters us -
in the morning
shines from brute comfort
like a stitch of lightning;
and at night
lights up the deep and wondrous
drownings of the body
like a star.

- Mary Oliver

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