A Technical Discussion, Cont’d

comments 43

(This post is a continuation of the previous…)

What’s a teckinal discussion, Hafiz?
the child asked.

Well! Hafiz replied,
sitting down beside
the little one,
that is a very tricky thing, you see.
That is when we try
to identify what each thing is
all by itself
with such great precision
any confusion in it
will be squeezed right out.

Sensing immediately
God was an idea
that would break apart
beneath such pressure,
the child turned its delicate attention
upon more accessible concerns.
Where does it all go, Hafiz?

The confusion?!
Into us, of course!
It has to hide somewhere
when the squeezers
come around, doesn’t it!?

Then he plunged in close
and wrapped the child
in a cloud of high-speed tickles.
The child laughed and wriggled,
then hopped to its feet
and began running in circles
around Hafiz on the top
of the rock, head back,
arms flopping mightily,
legs misfiring at all angles,
laughter spilling out in bursts
like a volcanic cleansing.

Time passed
and they sat down together again.
The child’s mind settled back upon it
like a falling feather.

Hafiz, are we
still having a
teckinal discussion?

No, my dear…
We are not…
Why do you ask?

Because I want you to tell me
about God now,
and I don’t wanna’
squeeze God flat
and make a ka-fusion.

Well I’m going to tell you a secret,
Hafiz replied, leaning in close.
If you don’t squeeze it out,
it’s everywhere, and it’s
very mysterious
Everything you see, Hafiz said,
is just a copy of something
that’s alive inside of you!

The child’s eyes lit up
at the thought of such glory.

Then Hafiz and the child
demonstrated together the art
of standing on one foot
with your other leg
cocked underneath you
like a stork, and your eyes
full of the fading sun
and your heart so full
of glories yet to be born
the silence must make room for them,
and they both had wild hair
and swooping moves that tickled the sky.

And the sea smiled.

And it was good.


  1. Love this. But all my adultness’s squelching of wonder made me even more cognizant of how far from childlikeness I not only am, but how I forget to fully embrace and tease out and allow the children in my midst to be utterly themselves and so help my self. (And them too, of course) Apparently, I have much left to learn about the differences between conviction and shame… Not that this was/is about me (sorry about that), but there’s a big ‘ol lump in my throat as the picture you’ve catalyzed is so real and longed after… So known and yet so tragically arm’s length. So thanks for the reminder. I guess I need to go talk to Him (she says with a sheepish grin…).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Amy,

      I know what you mean about sensing a gap between what you know, with innocence and wonder, and what we act out in the moments in which we find ourselves. It can be quite a strange dichotomy. Writing is in part a way for me to stay in contact with the joyful realities that we can access if we are willing. I hope you find what you long for, for it is indeed real…


      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh, I’ve found it, it’s the moment to moment remembering I have trouble with! But thankfully, since we’re all swimming around in the same soup, I have my fellow sojourners (I.e., you) to help remind me. Thanks for that.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful! Moving and funny.
    I like the idea that everything out there is just a copy from something inside of us.
    Thanks for sharing,

    Liked by 4 people

    • You zero in on the very spot I stopped for pause – I’m seeing infinite possibilities squeezed into our insides – reflecting constantly back to us from the “everything out there.” Feels like big bang potential.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Karin,

      That was one of those funny moments that just spilled out onto the paper. I liked it very much, too. I’d never quite thought of it that way, somehow. Maybe I had used the words in a similar way or something, but this was like tumblers in a lock suddenly becoming aligned…

      Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You know me, Michael, I just think the idea(s) of a God confuses the child, who then grows up into being a confused adult. That said, I have no better word for what you point to in your superb and always illuminating work. As the Irish comedian Dave Allen always used to say when signing off his TV shows – “May your God go with you”.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Thankyou Amy, and I certainly know what you mean about our kids knowing more than we ourselves do! To explain myself:

        I can accept the human concept of God only in a Spinozistic sense. He spoke of Deus sive Natura, meaning God in Nature, or God as Nature. As you probably know, much of his life was spent addressing the role of religion in governance and society, and opposing the authoritarian tendencies of the church and the church-led state. This conception of his seems to me to chime with what Michael appears to be saying here in that God is everywhere, and in you/me/everyone i.e. synonymous with Nature. I wonder, then, what the point is in abstracting all that into an externalised conception and then calling it God?

        I think it inarguable that many children are terribly and perniciously confused by religious indoctrination, and also that they then grow into confused adults as a result. The evidence is to be found in almost every region of the world, though thankfully not so much here in England these days. That said, I certainly would never wish to get into any tedious and pointless debate about Atheism vs. Creationism, as I stand on neither side of that particularly futile argument. Michael writes about God and Jesus a lot here, and we are good friends, so he accepts my contrarianism with good grace, and know that my own spiritual learning came from non-theistic traditions – i.e. Advaita Vedanta, Theravada Buddhism, Zen, Husserlian Phenomenology.

        By the way, Amy, I notice that you referred to your God as ‘Him’. I think if I had one it might be ‘Her’, or better still, use a gender ambiguous pronoun. Patriarchy has had its day for Millennia. 😉

        Liked by 2 people

        • I guess I knew when I responded to your comment that it was my own strain of contrarianism and that I was risking something in doing so!

          Hopefully, and maybe you’ll be happy to learn that when I refer to “Him,” I am not perpetuating a marginalized-women idea (being a woman and not to mention the mother of 4 daughters and all. At least I’m not perpetuating it in myself: how others stay stuck and in the limits of language is their business), but because it takes less time than referring to Him with all HIs other qualities/applicable pronouns. It’s a comfortable designation for me, not just because I believe we’re on intimate terms, but also because there’s lots of evidence that Jesus was a man, therefore the pronoun fits. (I also believe that Jesus was fully God and fully man so the two are interchangeable in my mind as well.) I capitalize it because I believe that He deserves this tiny show of reverence from me. In other words, it’s the least I can do. Scripture references Him with lots of feminine qualities, I realize, and I call Him lots of other things and recognize those other qualities to be intact. This response notwithstanding, “He” saves time, but I am very clear on His other many aspects.

          In terms of teaching my children (you’ll notice I use a different word than “indoctrination”) I certainly hope that teaching them about miracles, healing, love, sacrifice, hope, acceptance, inclusiveness, lack of judgment, etc., is not now considered indoctrination. I was at my most confused when I refused to accept the possibility of a person embodying all the good things I hoped as a child were possible. I teach them about Jesus because I can’t imagine anyone getting it right more than He did. Just like I teach them about other great people through the ages who have accomplished great things, I don’t consider versing them in the semantics found in Holy Scripture surrounding Jesus’ life to be an error towards “confusing” them, but rather as giving them the best and most complete picture of His life’s story than any other source.

          Jesus saved my life, I don’t mind telling you… And I don’t mind telling them either. We talk about everything under the sun, wrestle with all things spiritual, physical, religious, and otherwise, and I do hope we do that thoughtfully.

          I’m sorry that I can’t spend more time “cleaning this up”/editing for understanding and responding more to your response, but speaking of teaching, (maybe a little ironically) it’s time to go teach my kiddos history…

          Thanks for taking time to respond to my comment. I hope you can come to accept more human concepts of God than the one you mentioned. As a great big God, yours seems a teeny bit lonely and limited… And I don’t mean that in a smart or sarcastic way. I mean it only in the way that I once believed that way too, and it left me woefully “hanging.” In seeing the supernatural/natural reconciliation of God in nature in the person of Jesus, we instead remove the abstraction that you spoke of and make it possible – make Him/Her possible – in each of our little lives. To me, this is the culmination of wonder and hope and possibility and the light/nirvana/enlightenment (insert your religious term favorite) I hope I’m ushering my children (and the world too!) towards.

          Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Hariod. I do know and respect your position on these words. And thank you for your compliments on this piece, which I appreciate very much. I think we are very close on the matters that are most important, and you said it best in your note below when you said you stand on neither side of the argument about atheism and creationism. I feel the very same. For me, God has evolved in my experience as I have evolved, and so I’ve no doubt that what I call God is simply the mysterious webbing that bonds all phenomena into a singularity, and which each of us have access to in the silent reservoirs of our own being.

      I like best a great many descriptions of “God”, but in particular the way some Native Americans have described this predicament: as a Great Mystery. I can’t accept a life that is without acknowledgment of the mystery and the goodness that is behind and within and through all that arises. I cannot accept a life that is contingent upon physics and chemistry alone. But nor can I accept the God of whom I was once taught, who was judgmental, territorial, unaccepting, and unintelligent. God for me is a way of loving so profound I can only just barely handle a drop of it at one time… something beyond my conception, but as close as my own being.

      I sometimes write about this, indirectly, because I secretly hope more can understand that neither side of the divide (atheism in the most extreme forms, e.g. in particular reductionist materialism, or theism in the most extreme forms, e.g. fundamentalist and book-based, an exterior or external God instead of an experience that can only be known within oneself) is a very fruitful place to occupy.

      I think to know our “God” we must apply some of the practices the scientists employ. When an experiment fails they don’t say science is a sham. They don’t say we are fools to believe there is an order to the planetary movements. They say the movements are based on different principles than we first thought. They say there is something we don’t understand, and we must revise our thinking (beliefs). I think a healthy relationship to God, or Love, or spirit, or emptiness, or mystery, requires the same willingness to discern, to revise, to stand corrected, and also to open up with loving compassion. Otherwise, what is the point?


      Liked by 3 people

      • This is all lovely, Michael, and as ever, I appreciate your clarifying words greatly. It seems clear that we stand on the same ground in most central respects, which I think we both have sensed for some time, and following our many detailed exchanges over the past two years. That said, I remain still a little puzzled as to why you often will make reference to God and Jesus, when your clear understanding stands independently as it is – the only apparent answer being that couching things theistically sits well culturally in America, and within your milieu.

        It seems to me, dear friend, that if one knows (what you call) God – to the extent that the human can – then one doesn’t need to lean in communication on what necessarily can only ever be understood as a vague concept of God. In using (orally, or in writing) the ‘God’ word-concept, then again necessarily, one lays oneself open to many differing cultural interpretations, and even differing belief persuasions within a single culture. For example, you appear to be rejecting the notion of a divine creator being, and yet that is precisely what most Christian religionists take to be their God. You are writing about a God which they do not apprehend and in your use of that word-concept they would have explicitly to reject it. This is why I said above that I am a little puzzled as to your insistence on referencing any ‘God’. You also have explained that when you reference your ‘Jesus’, you are not within yourself referencing the historical figure, so the same applies there too, surely?

        All this said, then it is a fact that spiritual (for want of a better term) terminology is always misunderstood in some degree. When I write about Nondualism or the non-locality of objectless awareness, or the transcendence of the subject/object dichotomy, or what I simply call ‘contentedness’, then for the very great part, no one knows what on earth I actually am referencing; so who am I to question your or Amy’s ‘God’? That is why I rather like that phrase ‘may your God go with you’, as it simultaneously acknowledges the other’s natural right or capacity to carry such ideas/knowledge/beliefs, along with inferring that the same does not remain within oneself as the other departs. It feels like a good way of signing off when one does indeed stand on neither side of the Atheist/Creationist divide, as we both do.

        Peace to you too my dear friend.


        Liked by 2 people

        • Dear Hariod,

          You’ll never read this, but I’ll offer it just in case. My sincere apologies. I offer this as much for other readers who may be curious about my response to your questions as to yourself, because in a sense this is ground we have walked together before. Very enjoyably might I add. 🙂

          I would agree with you that any spiritual language necessarily involves a type of misunderstanding. What can I say? Ha! Except that I am comfortable with the term God, have no negative feelings about it, and know what it means to me. I also think it would be unfair to a great many people to suggest my view of God is unique, or inherently confusing to those who use the same vocabulary. When I have a conversation with those who assert they believe in God, I know what they mean and can converse with them, and when I have a conversation with those who feel there is no God, I am equally comfortable and delight in the communion.

          So while I am not creationist in the sense that I do not believe the universe was constructed in an earthly time line of 7 days by an external God with a white beard who wanted to watch ants scurry around and dutifully worship Him, I am creationist in the sense that I believe the universe is inherently creative, and that the source of this creativity is not to be found in physical matter, excepting the fact that physical matter is perhaps the very movement and activity of this creative source. I stand in the middle in the sense that I think matter and spirit, time and eternity, are so deeply interwoven it really doesn’t make sense to try and treat them wholly in isolation from one another. But at the same time, nor do I find any validity in discounting one or the other. So God is very real to me, and not as a dispersed layer of dust or energy distributed throughout the physical realms, the sum total of which we could call God, but as the vibrant and invisible force of life present throughout. As the bridging aspect of life itself let us say, which is not to be found in dust, and which is in perpetual communion with life everywhere, in all its forms.

          As to Jesus, I don’t recall exactly what I said, but the situation is perhaps similarly hopeless. You know the teachings that have been most immediate to my getting on the raft, going out to sea, only to return to shore, are those contained within A Course in Miracles, A Course of Love and other related works. Jesus is the voice of these courses, and that voice is a friend and brother to me. Jesus has a quality within the space of my heart that is unique, just as every person with whom we are in relationship has a unique quality of expression. But I’m not on solid ground to say this quality of my heart is separate from me either. Nor would I try to assert such. I would not say that it exists truly independently, and I would not argue with the interpretation that what I sense are perhaps and merely the once dormant knowings of my own heart. And if this presence does not exist independently, than to what extent does it exist at all, right?

          There is a phrase used in A Course of Love to describe the relationship between God and Jesus, and between all things and God, which is that we are “one in being, different in relationship.” As one in being, speaking of God, Jesus, you and I as existing inherently apart from one another is meaningless. In that sense, none of us exist outright. But that which is one in being differentiates through relationship, and in the process of differentiation qualities and characteristics of our unity emerge and express. I believe this happens timelessly, and so I don’t find it confusing to suggest that Jesus and I are one in being, yet also in relationship with one another. I don’t find it contradictory to suggest there are infinite expressions of life to which we might connect and have relationship with, or to agree that none of them have separate, eternal and unchanging “souls”.

          Here is a quote I love from A Course of Love on this specifically, “I ask you not to give up your relationship with me as the man Jesus, but to accept that the man Jesus was simply a representation, in form, of Christ-consciousness. I do, however, ask you to give up your identification of the voice of this dialogue as that belonging to the man Jesus who lived two thousand years ago. To continue to identify this voice with that man is to be unable to recognize this voice as the voice of your own true consciousness—the voice of Christ-consciousness. Yet to realize that this is the same voice that animated the man Jesus two thousand years ago will aide you in realizing that this is the voice that will now animate [] you.”

          I do hope I’m not seeming too obtuse Hariod, and in the end I agree your expression is beautiful. For truly our God goes with us, as our God is whatever arises within us as the inner and quite personal experience of relationship with the mystery of existence. Truly, no two of these relationships are identical, despite their oneness of being.


          Liked by 2 people

          • Of course I read it, and most splendid it is indeed, Michael. I understand perfectly well everything you say, and perfectly well the lovely quote from ACOL.

            A question: If you were to write out your most detailed explanation of what your God is to you, yet were to do so without ever using the word ‘God’ or ‘spirit’, would a devout atheist believe you were a theist?

            Liked by 1 person

            • Hello Hariod,

              Delayed reaction here… I wanted to come back to this question, though, because I think it is a good one. I don’t really know the answer to your question but I am going to think perhaps about trying what you suggest. The atheists that I’ve read have been so materialist at heart, my sense is that they would simply dismiss me as the same ole’ crazy with a new paint job. And there are many theists who I know would perhaps go cross-eyed. So it is an interesting question!


              Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Michael, this posting put a new perspective on things for me – as I try to get it all together so I am doing it right, your posting sent me on a nice little moment of exploration. I’ve been struggling with this getting it right thing….thanks for the gentle reminder, rather than my right and wrong, I can find peace in the act of being balanced. Asking, but not having to always know. It’s a nice fine line – thank you for your artistry in creating it. Peace, Harlon

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hello Harlon!

      What a gift you are, my friend! It is interesting what happens when we try to walk a tightrope together– it gets pretty wobbly! I think that is kind of like the world where we’re all trying to be right instead of being authentically ourselves. Then at least if we get dizzy or something we are already resting on solid ground. Thank you for the appreciation of the artistry, and for the sharing of your most creative and artful self.


      Liked by 1 person

  5. Awesomeness abound, wow, I would kill for a day to sit beside Hafiz and have any kind of discussion as He always brings in me the light happy smile just because this life is so very grand and no squeezing of anything out except awesome thoughts and joy and giggles and perhaps even some pancakes….because pancakes are fun….mischief and fun abounds….I think I may go poolside shortly and try that stork thingy movement and I know in doing so, I will laugh and it will be good. Peace, love and pancakes….just because.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I know what you mean, Kim. That was the first poem of that book you have… that one act of violence we all must commit… Ha! Hafiz is a lovely muse, to be sure. A great gift to and of our shared heart. And the pancakes sound very good, by the way. I love a breakfast with french toast or pancakes… Hope you enjoy the pool and the wanton reenactment of goodness that is life itself. I know you will laugh, because you always do, and it is good…

      Peace and love

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, Karen! I apologize for the delay in getting back to you. It has been an eventful week and I have been trying to finish some other projects… But your note here is greatly appreciated my friend!

      Peace to you,

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes!!! Soooo good! 😉 Ah! Michael…I saw this one as clear as if watching it up on the big screen. I’ve missed you…your words…your beautiful sounds! Thank you ♡♡

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Absolutely delightful! I could see it, too. I could even feel myself running around in glorious free flowing God all over the place. Mysterious can be so much fun!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, JoAnna. I loved this response and the feelings you expressed. Yes, mysterious can be a good way to spend a few minutes! Ha!



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