Beyond the Stasis

comments 51
Poetry

I’d like to get better
at letting the unknown
flow through me
in ways I never could
have predicted,
so that I can experience
my own nature
in ways that might cause
our experience here
to soften into a panorama
of endless giving,
but the community college near me
doesn’t offer that course.

So I’m taking one
on the typical practices
of automotive dealers.

And sometimes when I look
across the sea, if the wind
isn’t blowing and the sky
is vacant of gathering clouds,
and the horizon is dormant and flat,
I wonder why I’m here–
why I’m so ill-equipped
to recognize the beauty
of a human being standing
on the edge of nothingness,
aching to know it better.
Later, of course, I do see it.
It happens while I’m folding laundry,
or pumping gas
and watching the well-fueled cars
go by like a zillion steel gazelles
who all got the same memo,
but by the sea, alone,
when I’m so rife with myself,
I just flounder in all that space.
The ashes and beer bottles
I find over the dune
only accentuate the point
I’m missing.

So I’m taking a course
on the basic techniques
of landscape painting.

I just have this feeling, though,
that Jesus didn’t take a class on water
before that incident with the stormy seas,
or the one at the wedding party.
He was in some kind of relationship with it.
He said, never mind about
the typical practices of water.
I need you
you water right here…
to become the color of your secrets.

Which is why I think
we’re a fire that’s smothered
by something we’re insisting upon,
and when that blanket is pulled away,
we’ll leap instinctively into flame.
And if I’m in class when that happens,
I’ll probably start crying at the beauty
of strangers buying cars–
the only cars I have to sell.

I say this, remembering how
once I was by the sea when it did hit me.
I took a deep breath
and everything inside of me
sank into the sand,
and I was like a child
pushing against his father, the sky–
wake up, wake up, Dad!
It’s today, and you said we
could get a new Match Box car!

So, I know it could happen.
One day we’ll let the silence speak freely.
One day we’ll give a nod
to what we haven’t tried
and the space around us
will awaken…
change phase…
and wash our minds clean.

51 Comments

    • Hello Rajani,

      Thank you for such a fine compliment. You have sparked a moment of gratitude that has traveled half way around the world. Poetry is amazing like that, is it not!? Congratulations on your anniversary! You have produced a year of quite potent writing and I’m equally pleased to have found my way to your own lovely verse…

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’d like to get better
    at letting the unknown
    flow through me
    in ways I never could
    have predicted,
    This is what I want to do with my painting. To let go. To set it free. It’s happened before. I just wrote your words, in quotes, with your name under them, on an index card – a note to myself. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi JoAnna,

      Creative work is the closest thing I’ve experienced to being simultaneously free, or empty, and in a place of expression. It truly does bring us into contact with the unknown within us in ways that are inspiring and revealing, and it also brings us closer to one another– a true joy. I think we share an understanding of the value of this vulnerable and vital place, and I wish you an abundance of creativity and connection in your painting!

      I think in a way we all want to do this… Deep down… Live that way…

      Blessings
      Michael

      Like

    • Thank you, Karin. I liked when that line showed up, too! It helped me to connect clearly with one of the fundamental feelings of this piece. I’m glad you enjoyed it and thank you again, as always, for your participation here.

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That vehicle passed the emissions test with flying colours Michael, many congratulations.

    Anyway, I suppose that part of the message here is with regard to the limitations of learning in matters ‘spiritual’ – how I wish there was another word for that. It seems no coincidence that throughout time and across differing cultures a repetitive theme amongst spiritual doctrines emerges, one which we could call the Via Negativa – the way of approaching understanding by means of negation, or by dismissing the false.

    Coming back to the car theme, it is as if we were reversing into our so-called ‘reality’ with the sole usage of a rear-view mirror – everything is a reflection, yet never this reality itself, and all that is reflected must be carefully negotiated. With any luck, and perhaps with the help of a couple of traffic cops called Lao Tzu, Jesus and Buddha, then in time the driver disappears.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello Hariod,

      Thank you for the thoughtful comment which contributes a great deal for me as an accompaniment to this piece. I like very much the analogy of the rear view mirror, and how we’re responding to shapes in the mirror but never the reality itself. The one thing to make it even more accurate for me would be to note that the mirror is misshapen, and so the objects we see are also distorted versions of their true reality, and that is part of the misperception we must learn to navigate.

      In thinking on this, I would agree there is a profound emphasis on what you’ve described as the Via Negativa in both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love also. In A Course of Love, this is described as unlearning. We are called to release our ideas of what is so, as well as the boundaries and functions of that which we call a ‘self’. Perhaps the one point of departure, if it is indeed one, between the Course of Love and what you’ve written here, is that the false self dissolves, but an extension of wholeness into the particular remains. This holy extension– or taking up residence in the life in which we find ourselves– unifies the separation between the objects in the mirror and the reality they reflect. It is as if the reality that was reflected has leapt into the mirror, and transformed it forever, by making it one with itself.

      As I said, this may or may not be a point of differentiation in our view of things, but perhaps is one to set aside for future explorations… 🙂 I do so love that Lao Tzu, Buddha, Jesus and a cast of others can all provide the vehicle we need to merge the worlds into One…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says

    I find that when I read your poems, Michael, that they first enter into my being on an ethereal level, just beyond my understanding. Then the next time, light bulbs go off. Then the next time I am left with, “oh wow…yes.” Yes, I must see if my community college teaches that class. Yes, Jesus was in relationship with the water! Yes, that blanket needs to be pulled away. Yes, we will let the silence speak freely. We will all sink into the sand like children, the space around us will awaken, change phase and all our minds will be washed clean. Then the poem is in my whole being, and sets up camp in my heart. Thank you, Michael for another masterpiece. That “landscape painting class” is a good one.
    Peace,
    Mary

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Mary. So third time’s the charm then! Ha! I’m grateful for your sharing this because sometimes I wonder about whether the poems are too direct on the one hand, or too hard-to-reach on the other. I didn’t read much poetry until I started working on writing some, and I’ve found that when I read some poets the words are so rich I just drown in them, but I don’t take anything away. I can’t find my way out. And other times if there isn’t that minimum bit of poetic metaphor or symbol, it can seem so flat. I guess it is really just a matter of opinion and resonance, and there are all sorts of writers and readers meant for one another. We all truly reside along a spectrum. I’m just glad to have found a niche of such wonderful beings… That’s what I’m trying to say… 🙂

      Peace to you also–
      Michael

      Like

  4. I am with Karin on this one and also with Jesus in relationship with all that appears separate. This is why I am exploring my dreams again. Dreams for me unlock some of the mystery of me and the obstacles of me returning to love….

    Another gem Michael

    peace, Linda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, Linda. I think dream exploration is creative and empowering work. I hope the process does indeed unlock more of the wonders inside of your being. Dreaming to me feels like contacting that deeper realm of creative feeling, or “becoming” that is at work within us… It is a good feeling to connect with that place in ourselves through dreaming, and be in relationship with it, as you say… Relationship, relationship, relationship… 🙂

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Michael, lately I have been thinking about the word meaningful, what makes something meaningful – I mean truly so. The moment you speak of, when you were by the sea – the feelings you described sound to me like something meaningful. I think all the prep courses we need to take and the skills- building exercises we take are all the fluffy part that allow meaningful to be felt, because it is always there. Then of course, this moment, as I connect to you, is also meaningful, so thank you for this and thank you for that. Peace and love, Harlon

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Harlon,

      Your comment is itself meaningful to me…

      I had two moments by the sea in this piece I realized– one that was to a certain extent meaningless, and one that was very much meaning full as you say. The meaningful side of the coin comes from exactly what you describe, when after the classes and the lectures and the books, we simply give ourselves permission to freely be who we are. That is such a richly meaningful act… And as you said, we find it was always there. We’ve just gotten rid of the interference by letting it stand on its own…

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  6. footloosedon says

    As usual, you magical mystic, you have somehow put the ineffable into images that sing to my soul. I particularly resonated to the lines

    ‘We’re a fire that’s smothered
    by something we’re insisting upon,
    and when that blanket is pulled away,
    we’ll leap instinctively into flame.’

    Knowing that all I have to do is to let go of wanting things to be different from how they are. Easy . . . not.

    Thank you

    Don

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Don,

      It is easy, or we wouldn’t be able to do it ten thousand times a day… 🙂 We’re just a little bit like yo-yo’s, not sure which side of the fence is greener… But those moments when the blanket is lifted, and the oxygen rushes in, and the coals flare to life deep within… they are so wondrous… Thanks for the kind words and what a joy it is to share these magical mystical compilations with you, Don!

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

  7. There’s a rollin-and-a-tumblin predictably unpredictable thing about this and suddenly we’re in an empty landscape with bits of wreckage of something that happened earlier…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, sometimes we’re navigating the debris of the day’s previous efforts. I think those are the scenes from which holiness emerges– when we see how broken some of those conceptual dead ends really were… And despite being surrounded by the remains of some previous failure, all we can see is the present wonder…

      Thanks for responding, Tiramit!
      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautifully expressed Michael! I suppose we need moments of being ‘smothered’ so that we ache for and reach for something more which then makes that blanket fly off the fire. We need to experience the blanket off and the blanket on to know there is more…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Teresa,

      Sometimes it definitely feels that way to me also. Lately I’ve been enamored with the idea that there’s an acceptance of who we are– and the way we are loved and held, and the way we are forever joined with all that is– that ends this cycle back and forth from knowing to not knowing. The challenge is that I don’t think it’s an end of any sort– not a plateau or a place where change ceases– but a place from which our pathways of expression continue to deepen and expand without the need to forget who we are in the middle. It’s a beautiful question I think: what lies beyond the need to leave and to return?

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

    • My pleasure, Harlon. You’re right about that old adage. It takes more than one of us to experience the wonder of relationship… 🙂

      Keep on keepin’ on, man!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh Michael, you always go right to the core. In tears again, for your beautiful string of words of truth, and for the day I stop insisting on whatever it is that’s preventing me from bursting into some soft eternal flame of being everything and knowing nothing
    Much love
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Alison,

      Is there a difference between the flames and the tears? Thank you for joining me in the holy pivot point between worlds, where the soft eternal flames of our existence come into plain sight, and the view of the false slides from view…

      Love to you also,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh, this is so lovely! It had me smiling at the community college not offering the course (why not I say!) then had me sinking into the sand, being nothing but present, seeing all the beauty around me, and back to a smile about the match box car.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Kellie. I’m glad you enjoyed this and it brought a few of those moments when the heart peeks out through the world at large and smiles. That’s how I envision your smile with the match box car… 🙂

      How is the novel going? You probably don’t have time to answer that!? Ha! Just treat that as a statement of encouragement…

      Blessings
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

        • One day at a time… I found in my one plunge to date into longer format writing that sometimes I had to put it down for a day or two in order to get an insight into where it was taking me next… I don’t know if you experience that or not. Seems like that could be tricky to do while writing on such a trajectory! Hope it flows well…

          Michael

          Liked by 1 person

    • You said it, Julie. For me the moments of illumination and the moments of seeing the “reality of suffering” both seem to come at the oddest moments. They sneak up on us when we’re least expecting it. The latter are the moments when I’m wrapped up in something, and suddenly I zoom out, and realize the strangeness of the experience in which I was just moments ago so deeply immersed– how deeply I bought into a certain need or desire…

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

    • A gritty sweetness. The joy of finding sand in the trunk of the car, in the oven, in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator, in those shoes you haven’t worn for twenty years… because everything is being washed clean… 🙂

      So good to see you again, M!

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Isn’t that a wonderful feeling.. when everything sinks within the sand of time.. 🙂 no longer here, no longer there, but within all of it..

    Exceptional thoughts Michael.. I have enjoyed my visit today my friend.. Enjoy an illuminating week
    Sue

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sue,

      Thank you very much. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed your visit and found a few words to savor. I like your description of going non-local… It is indeed a wonderful feeling. To step into a merging with the entirety of things, but still be holding the stub of your entrance ticket in your hand…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh Michael … beautiful words from your loving soul ” wash clean ” my troubled mind when I listen to your poetry always with a deep breath ( it’s become so natural to breath into your poetry ) … And I love how you call the sky , ” father ” …and being here amidst all your thoughtful and intriguing friends is a silent honor running thru my heart like one of those gazelles you often write of … Thank you for your illumination upon my path once again Michael ….love , megxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Meg! You bring a warmth and an open-heartedness here for which I am grateful and that I am completely certain many others here savor as well. Always a joy– and an honor on my end– to hear from you and to receive your kind and loving words, Meg.

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  13. How wonderful your poetry is… I receive the flow of endless nothingness… Yet it contains everything that connects with my inner flame of divine being… Thankyou Michael for sharing such beautiful insights into our ordinary-extraordinary life… Love barbara X

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, Barbara.

      I love your description of the flowing, endless nothingness that is so vast and pure, and yet connects intimately with the flame that lives within each of us. I am looking forward to downloading your book later this year, when things slow down a bit, to read more of that flame’s brilliant unfolding…

      Blessings
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

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