The Honesty We Crave

comments 46
Christ / Poetry

Everything you see is a trick.
And Love is the punchline.
These skins are just the charade we need,
to remember what can never grow old.
Children with eyes overflowing—
they don’t tire of hearing it
over and over and over again.
All those goo goo gah gah faces we make—
so certain of our personal contribution to their pleasure…
They’re not even listening.
It’s what’s in our eyes they crave,
that punchline peeking through our earnestness.

The world is one great eye for those
whose only desire is to peer inside it.
Every day is a slipping over the edge,
a falling into the lens,
admitting that our deepest hunger
is the need to be utterly seen.
We are the trick and the punchline, both.
We’re not being honest about our needs
if we’re not walking out into the open at dawn,
in the company of one another and the sky,
begging only to be unmasked.
Together.
All at once.
Show us who we are…
It is the only honesty that matters.
All the other forms are barbed.
Lovers are never far
from the delicious feeling
of being surrounded.
Even when they’re apart,
they don’t know how to be.
So they’re not.
The air is their conduit.
The light is their bridge.
Every face is a reminder of the other’s.
The ache of longing is a sublime trick.
And Love is the punchline.

If the world seems perfectly obvious,
that’s because you’ve forgotten
you once asked a question
for which there is no answer,
and so you made one up.
If you’re tears and your laughter
still feel like opposites,
you are confused
about the language we speak here.
Stop trying to break the code
of your own gobbledy-gook.
Realize you might have invented some rule
to keep you safe, forgetting
there is only one true form of safety: revelation.
What hurts you the most, is your hiding.

Dare to look in your own eye,
that Christ may be revealed.
Join with Hafiz at dawn,
down at the square,
to screech provocatively at the roosters
and watch them strut around the yard in response,
defiant in their chest-puffing, neck-stretching glory.
Discover in their unflinching absurdity,
the only authenticity you need.

46 Comments

    • Yes, and also, in the expression of the ineffable something that we are, Creation is furthered, and all are benefited…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  1. yes Michael, we are all screaming to be heard and seen by all others and by ourselves. We all require what we were most often not given from the humans who birthed us into existence here. They probably did not get what was needed either, and on and on and on…
    Laughter and tears are not far away from one another, but judgement about emotions or e-motions often gets in the way.

    Thanks for another lovely message dressed up in poetic splendor.

    peace, Linda

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh yes, the judging of emotions… It has stymied us all at one point or another… I have come to appreciate the sharing back and forth in this WP Land as one way of fulfilling that desire to know and be known… Thank you for your presence in this conversation…

      Blessings
      Michael

      Like

    • I’m good with it, Harlon. And grateful for the sentiment. I’m speechless, too, at all that is. Speechlessness just seems to have the effect on me, of driving me to speech… 🙂

      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  2. What is this?!? You are on FIRE! I am dancing, strutting, screeching with the morning sun, “I see you! I See you!” I do not see Michael with my Andrea eyes, instead I feel the depth of peering and piercing and the one-two-punchline knocking the wind and all the other nonsense out of me, leaving me only with my beginner’s mind, as a baby.
    I had the great pleasure of hosting a baby and her family over the weekend. Those little curious eyes, she saw right through me. And she thought I was very amusing. I am glad, with such stark honesty in that little face, that I reflected a certain humor and much giggling. Being a baby again is quite refreshing, I must admit.

    I surround you my friend, with all the beauty and truth and punchline of your own glorious writing.

    Cock a doodle doo.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Er-uh-er!-uh-errrRRRRrrrr!

      Once I shared a backyard with a rooster, called by the locals “Mr. Friendly”. He was a proud, strutting beast. We had many a delightful crowing competition. It is fascinating to me to watch the “character” of animals. I was working on a ranch one summer, and I climbed up on top of the hay pile to scare a bull that had leaned onto the electric fence and shorted it out. He was munching happily, but suddenly I was in the sky above him, wielding a pointed shovel, and howling a barrage of screeches and hoots. His eyes got big as saucers and he snorted and ran off, but then he realized all the cows in the field were staring at him… so he sauntered over to the water trough lazily, like it was the idea he’d had in mind the whole time, and quenched is beastly thirst. The cows already knew not to take me seriously, since on my first morning on the property I was tasked with getting them out of the alfalfa field on my own. Never having been in open territory with sixty or eighty head of cattle before, I discovered spontaneously that getting into a three-point stance and calling a few football plays, or shuffling awkwardly along like I had a broken leg but was going to chase them anyway, were both pretty viable herding strategies.

      Thank you for seeing me my friend, from the depth of our beginner’s mind. Being a baby is incredibly refreshing, I agree. My few moments of mutually agreeable connection with such little ones have all been game changers… for me, anyways… 🙂

      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks Michael, a lot of this is really meaningful. There’s the neighbour’s child here in the house who visits me sometimes. I tell her how pretty her dress is and her hair is nice and finally look into her eyes and she laughs – even though she doesn’t understand a single word of my language. “All those goo goo gah gah faces… they’re not even listening. It’s what’s in our eyes they crave, that punchline peeking through our earnestness.” It’s the honesty they crave.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you, Tiramit. I love your story– speaking to this one, who is listening, but can’t understand your words, yet understands what is most essential… So much communication is like this, similar to the discussion we just had on your own site. A pure, unfettered glimpse of what is being given… It’s that honesty, raw and unadulterated…

      Michael

      Like

  4. Beautiful. The more authentic we can become the more life seems to give it back, all of it, all the love all the grace all the joy. Oh the years spent pretending! Still, I thought I needed it at the time. Who’s to question what the journey looks like. Enlightenment doesn’t care how you get there.
    With love
    Alison

    Liked by 5 people

    • You’re right, everything we give is what we receive. I’m a slow learner myself, but it feels quite good to take a breath of fresh air deep into the heart, swirl it around, and then paint the sky with your truest feelings…

      And enlightenment… I’m coming around to Hariod’s definition. It’s the experience of realizing there’s no such thing… not like we imagined it, anyway… The beauty of what is, is that there’s so many routes to get there… and it’s even better than we thought… 🙂

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

      • I too am a slow learner, but authenticity, at the deepest levels I can access, is the the great perpetual shining beacon of my path. What’s true here, and here, and here? What’s the truth? is all I want to know. I used to want simple happiness, but it doesn’t hold a candle to knowing the truth. I agree with Hariod – I have no idea what enlightenment is and would never claim to have ‘it’, but I’m pretty good at some catchy lines about it 🙂
        A.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Alison,

          I hear you about authenticity. However we can access it– whether it’s writing, or in line at the drug store, or taking photo’s, or in a barber’s shop in India– it remains ever ready to invite us into the next room. Knowing the truth is a beautiful slope, because it’s an unshakable presence, but it seems we can always dive deeper into it. It emerges within us not as static fact, but as a living offering. You do indeed have some catchy lines… Ha! I love it. All of us standing in a pool of bliss, dipping a finger into it to have a taste… Trying to place the flavor. We’re in a blindfolded taste test, convinced there’s more than one answer! What is that flavor exactly…? Is that Worcestershire sauce? Sorrow? Tenderness? Chicken…? 🙂

          Love,
          Michael

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I was channelling you for a bit this morning as I drove Chloe to her Stats class and wondered who was looking through the eyes of the driver with the contacts switched from left to right in my sleepy haze. I drove carefully, and the alteration of my vision got me thinking to myself that it is only the babies who really see and don’t ask, “what is the meaning of all of this?”, they just see – life and shadow and eyes true peering at them. I return home, switch my lenses back to the correct eyes and find your post. As A notes, it feels like you are on fire to me, too, and I sizzle in that flame we share within.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh, I’m cracking up over this one. Exaggerating undoubtedly, but picturing the mother– half blind– driving the car to ensure a safe trip for the daughter, who is gently offering encouragement along with some insightful commentary on the meaning of the various blobs of color appearing out front. This is what mothers do, no? My mother was once driving me to soccer practice, and in a temporary state of disorientation, leaned over and asked me where we were going… Despite all this, the child never wonders once if the parent will make it home or not. Of course they will…!

      Thank you as always for sizzling in these flames we carry inside, and pass back and forth in the night…

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  6. “What hurts you the most, is your hiding” – I think that is a marvellously deep line Michael, pointing as it does to our insatiable desire for security and certainty, to remain hidden from all that we imagine may harm our own imaginary self-conception. The hiding can be a feeling that pokes through the veneer of consciousness, and yet we remain uncertain as to what the alternative is. We don’t quite know how to “screech provocatively at the roosters”, if indeed that be an answer, and so fall back on our own obscuration, and once again the feeling of inauthenticity that attends with it.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hariod, you are most astute as always. I could probably have just written that one line… (And the part about the roosters.) You’ve described the sensation with accuracy and subtlety here, in a way that resonates with my felt experience of it. The hiding originates ostensibly as a retreat to safety, but this very act only reinforces the gnawing uncertainty. And there is a certain inauthenticity to this hiding. It is an act of isolation, of withdrawal. We become the wrong sort of hollow… I’m always inspired by the presence of people willing to simply rest on the sanctity of who they are… not as independent islands… but as interwoven candor…

      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  7. The eyes don’t lie. The heart can tell. Just came from a week’s retreat with Mooji and that is one thing he gives all– love of the Self in each and everyone one. We try to our faults or hide them from ourselves. Good to take a long hard look and see what we can see. Not fun but can keep us a bit more humble. Just a bit more humble. Too easy to make judgments of others and all too often what we don’t like in them is in us in spades.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Ellen! I was thinking of you this week and your retreat. It seems from a few comments I’ve read of yours that it was a good week. I hope you have experienced some moments of peace and renewal in answer to your dedication. You’re right– what we see in others is what we project upon them, and what we project are the ideas we retain of ourselves… Best to look in our own eyes, with a healthy dose of compassion for what we find…

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

      • Yes, compassion for the self– so hard and foreign but opens up the heart to compassion for others. Thank you for thinking of me. I hope to write a post about the retreat but right now my creativity is low. I am still adjusting medication and may have found the trick. Love you, Ellen

        Liked by 3 people

        • Ellen, I look forward to the post about the retreat, but mean that in the most patient way… Hope the adjustments click into place, and you are enjoying some post-retreat “stewing in the juices…” Love you, too– Michael

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I think many of us are hiding right now Michael, for we do not want to see or hear the truth!… Well at least many don’t seem to want to acquaint themselves with it.. Love is the Punchline Michael, yet again so many of us forget to love ourselves… When we look within our own windows at our own tears and learn to have compassion and reach out with ‘Light’ across the bridges we have built.. I hope when we look honestly within our own hearts and answer our own unanswered questions, we then can “Discover in their unflinching absurdity, the only authenticity you need”… is to be honest with ourselves.. And when we start to live from our hearts we then help heal ourselves and the world at large..

    Wonderful thought provoking post my friend.. Blessings Sue

    Liked by 3 people

    • Agreed, Sue. At the inner threshold where we meet ourselves, is where the compassion is perhaps most urgently needed. After a day of getting wound up in one harangue or another out there, Love peeks out from beyond that inner threshold, taps us on the shoulder… Psst! Over here!

      Honesty with ourselves is powerful indeed, but do you not find it challenging at times– in the sense that we have to almost be guided through it? For instance, when we feel despair or uncertain, or down on our luck, what passes as honesty can become a reinforcing of a feeling whose roots are not quite “true” of who we are. Like, the “honesty” of accepting we are not worthy or complete when all the evidence seems to be suggesting this… I bring this up because I think there is such wisdom in what Jesus calls “willingness” in A Course in Miracles and in A Course of Love. It’s kind of the ultimate honesty: the honesty of admitting we just don’t know on our own…

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have the Book A Course in Miracles… and have yet to read ALL of it.. but I have dipped in and out of it Michael.. And I agree we ‘just do not know’ for certain anything.. Yet inside we kind of ‘Know’ if we allow that ‘Willingness’ to trust and go within the flow of inner BEing..

        Many thanks Michael, I enjoy our exchanges 🙂
        Sue

        Like

        • Me too, Sue!

          That big blue book is definitely a corker. For some it’s appropriate. For others, a similar content comes in other forms. It matters not what we prefer it to look like…

          Michael

          Like

  9. just found your blog through Lorrie’s and I am glad I did, you craft your words beautifully and it is filled with feelings that touch the heart 🙂 Looking forward to reading more!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Neha,

      I’m glad you have as well, and thank you for the compliment. I likewise look forward to reading/hearing more of your own distinct voice

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Dear Michael ….you always make me wish more lovely things , dreams , realities , days , years ….like your ” children with eyes overflowing ” … The line ” the ( lovers) light is their bridge ” struck my heart with the 8 count bell chime ! I wish to join with you and Hafiz in ” neck-stretching glory ” …I love this poem and am going to try and recite it for memory …thank you so very much , dear friend for your creativity , so wondrous and for me , so spiritual ….love , megxxx

    Liked by 3 people

    • The 8 count bell chime! So beautiful… I’m humbled by your feeling to keep these words alive in your memory… Your heart is a miracle… And yes, absolutely, join us for some good hearty chicken yoga… I love bantering with roosters because they’re so easy to engage in conversation. They’ll crow back all day for as long as you want to keep up your end of the deal… It’s hilarious in its purity…

      Love to you, too–
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Yes, Michael, one more thing: You’re authenticity adds to my authenticity. Thank you, again, for this poem; and for speaking from the place of you. Also, the Radiohead song, as on my “journey” blog post, I used to relate more with my sadness. The song “Lucky” is still feeling sad about the world, as you can see in the video. However, I believed that my luck would change; and I guess I want to keep believing that I deserve to be happy; their’s sincerity in that. I want to see everyone make that choice in a way that is compassionate to themselves and to others. The Bodhisattva’s path, is stay, to continue, and to assist. It’s not about strutting… but strutting can happen, so what, who cares…

    As for this writing: Shine on my brother…. ! TO ME, these words SHINE! & that… is inspiring.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Ka,

      That song is one of my favorites, but I’d never seen the video. So, I think I related to the notion of luck changing a little more abstractly, and it always had this bittersweet feeling. Like it touched me where I was, and also suggested the promise of something more… This is in essence what the miracle is: the gift of sight to see what cannot be seen from one’s original perceptual vantage point…

      Thank you very much for your words here. You do deserve to be happy, and will be. Your words here have sparked an appreciation I don’t have the words to fully express– the awareness that our moments of authenticity are in fact great gifts to one another. What is a blessing if not a moment of authenticity?

      As to the strutting… that’s more of a playful acting out when it comes up in my mind. A light-filled physical comedy. Sometimes unexpectedly at the office I’ll through a handful of papers into the air at the seemingly smallest of inconveniences… Make a snow globe out of parchment. It helps me see how all my perceived slights are overblown, and it shatters the hold of the moment… And it’s unexpected… And we laugh… It’s been too long since I’ve done this in fact… Been a very serious year at times… Writing has become my paper-throwing I think…

      You shine on also, sister.
      Yes, we are all of us, on this plane, lovers… all of us holy…
      Much Love-
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Michael,
        Yes, the video was new to me, too. Some of these older songs bring up memories, and I could relate to your words of bittersweet. How uncanny is that? I guess we might be used to that by now. Re: a break from seriousness: Today I needed to “have more cowbell.” So I watched the SNL skit. A delight. I’m not linking it because I don’t want to take up too much space here. Every day is usually in the thick of it; then, I remember all the times in the offices…I’ve worked, and I know why I am doing what I am doing: just not sure if I’ll make it, ever, but I keep going. Any way, I am traveling again soon and will be away for business-healing. No doubt there will be shifts there (and they have already begun). I have extra to catch up on for my courses, as I will be engaged in my other work. Life is full. Yes. It’s delicious and sometimes too much, but it’s still my lucky life. That’s how I feel, very, very fortunate. 🙂 Wishing you some more paper-throwing happiness. I am grateful for meeting your Mooji retreat-going friend, who I have chosen to follow now, too. Aloha. Ka

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Ka,

          Yes, I’m growing accustomed to the uncanny… 🙂

          I can definitely relate to phases of “too much, but lucky to have it…” I hope your next push is not too much of a good thing at once, and that you enjoy the courses and the work alike. After several months of feeling overwhelmed at work, things have turned the corner somewhat. I’ve realized that too long away from work brings its own challenges, and that work provides a forum for expressing different aspects of myself that other areas of my life do not necessarily provide. I’m thankful to have this realization… Increasingly, it all kind of blurs together…

          Blessings
          Michael

          Liked by 1 person

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