On a Scale of One to Ten

comments 35

We’ll never know
what it’s like
to exist forever
in a condition
of perpetually transforming joy
and goose-bump inducing discovery
if we don’t consider
it a very real
and inevitable

It does sound pretty out there,
but so don’t NASCAR races
to German Shepherds.

If we don’t consider
it a very real
and inevitable
we’ll likely take something
perfect and beautiful
just as it is,
something like space exploration
or boat building
or moccasin mending
and we’ll require it to be
something it’s not
to make up for this loss.
One of these simple things
will become a complexity–
a claim,
an identity,
a salvation of some sort,
with limited terms, of course,
and endless stipulations.

we’ll never know
what it’s like
to live forever
in a condition
of perpetually transforming joy
and goose-bump inducing discovery
if we think
the body’s precise location in space and time
and confirmed participation
in “events” of significance
has all that much relevance
on what I’m talking about.

On a scale of one to ten
of what’s most important
to entering this palatial abode
with ten being like you
have to have it,
and one being like
uhmm… yeah, you need this, too,
even though it fits in the carry-on
and doesn’t make noises when you tickle it–
the body doesn’t even get a number.

Roses are beautiful,
but they are not beauty itself.
If a rose gets eaten by a decrepit old hyena
who is shockingly dehydrated
and wandering around fish-eyed
in search of a botanical aphrodisiac,
beauty itself isn’t going to feel the pinch.

Beauty isn’t going to panic.

Beauty is actually going to come
to the rescue.

So if your body were to disappear tonight
for regularly schedule maintenance
(because a hyena ate it for instance)
and never come back,
Love wouldn’t go into a panic.
And neither should you.

A tool is only any good
if you know what it’s for, anyways.
And if you knew that,
you would never lose it
to start with.

Though you might lend it out sometimes.
To whom, I don’t know.

Hafiz, perhaps.
Any number of people, actually,
can dress up just like you
without your knowing it.

Breezes living in a forest
don’t respond to roll call,
preferring to pass right through
one another instead,
back and forth and
merging and gliding
and surrounding one another
just to see what it’s like,
often losing track of who was who first,
and also,

because it drives
the census takers


  1. Like NASCAR races to a German Shepherd ❣
    I’m already with you Michael.
    And I don’t lend out this sack of skin, bones, membranes and fluids out to just anyone either. It’s my responsibility to look after it for as long as it’s current shelf life.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Val! When we communicate the invisible glories within us, the bodies become glorious at last. Sacks of skin, bones, membranes and fluids that function like window panes to the eternal light.


      Liked by 2 people

  2. You have this way,
    Cropping up like a knight to rescue the maiden from just exactly that,
    That which she can never put into exact words,
    Just that feeling she has that it’s all a mad dash to the finish line
    When the prize is to do it all over again
    And she knows that, wait, there’s so much more than just that…
    The over and over again repetiveness
    And the knight swoops in (Hafiz in costume perhaps)
    To set her back upright to gain the proper balance and say
    “Sunshine, it is truly everything and nothing”
    And she wakes to remember
    With a smile and a gracious “why thank you kind sir”
    Knowing that senior moments aren’t just for seniors
    And that the fastest leopard in her jungle
    Will kick the A** of the M&M car…if there still is one
    For it’s been so long since she bothered
    With things like restrictor thingies
    But she is happy regardless
    As she knows that as we remember,
    We all win.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, Kim, as we remember, we all win. I’m glad you enjoyed this, and I’m with you on the leopard, although they’d probably have to cut across the infield to keep that promise! Makes me think of Ricky Bobby’s driving lessons (below)!

      And yes there’s much more to it than repetition, but I know you know that. I’m glad this piece sparked a memory and hope it spreads out into everything…



  3. “And if you knew that, you would never lose it to start with.” We are always remembering and connecting back to our truth within. So much to take in here Michael. Beautiful.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you very much, Karen. I’m with you that we are always remembering and connecting to the truth within. It seems to keep unfolding in layers–one leading to the next as we deepen our relationship with all that we know. I’m glad you enjoyed this.


      Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Thank you, Ka! I did it and I wasn’t even trying! It has been hitting me of late, that peace and effortlessness are somehow deeply related, and moments like these are clues!


      Liked by 1 person

  4. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says

    Beauty to the rescue!
    “To exist forever in a condition of perpetually transforming joy and goose-bump inducing discovery.” ” a very real and inevitable possibility.”
    Here I go, just quoting you all over the place, haha,but I can’t help it . It’s just so good.
    “So if your body were to disappear tonight for regularly schedule maintenance
    (because a hyena ate it for instance) and never come back, Love wouldn’t go into a panic. And neither should you.”
    And the part about the breezes, “preferring to pass right through one another instead,
    back and forth and merging and gliding and surrounding one another just to see what it’s like,often losing track of who was who first. Fantastic.
    I love this, Michael. It’s a 10.
    Peace and Love

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Mary, and thanks for picking up on the theme! It’s a 10, a 1, a zero and an everything, this joyful madness. Our relationship to the body is an interesting and very prevalent them in both ACIM and ACOL, and I was reflecting on some of those ideas when I wrote this– but mostly reflecting on the way difficulties lately have actually put the possibility of joy in view… It’s kind of nice to just rest with that…

      Peace and Love

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Faith can be a tremendously powerful and very beautiful thing, I fully agree. I feel it’s widely at risk of being severely undermined by the ill it produces in misplacement, much of which dominates news events currently – the baby being thrown out with the bath water. How to rescue it without polarising and proselytising? Poetry is a fine place to start; yet the words seem best as questions rather than as answers, which is why I applaud and warm to your work so. Just to step in with a question of my own, then I can’t yet go so far as considering eternal joy an “inevitable possibility”, and am a little unclear as to what this may mean. Are you able to clarify this for me, dear friend?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Hariod, part of why I resort to poetry is, as you say, it provides a way to contact ideas and feelings and explore them without getting into the way we more often use language– which is as a logical construct to determine whether one or another thing is so.

      So while I shall try to answer this, indirectly perhaps, part of me doesn’t really wish to attempt an answer, as at some level I don’t have it as anything other than a feeling I would hold dear. The effort to put cards on the table tonight will only produce a few pieces of lint, a crumpled ticket to the movies, and a bit of loose change. And an idea. And yet, could it be there is really something else in our midst? Something between us that is knowable and shareable, even if it does not rattle and shake when the bluff we’ve set up against our true nature is finally called? What if it needs only be invited that we might no longer bear the burden of existing in isolation? And what if the discovery that we cannot exist in isolation reveals that instead, we exist in and through all of existence itself? Resting on that, what of us could ever end?

      There won’t be a way to prove this, but I do think the discovery is inevitable. And joyous. And one which frees the individual from the bonds of time, even if time is walked a little while yet.

      Peace and Love

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thankyou Michael, I appreciate your generous expansion here. I think it’s in my nature to avoid the “what if’s” wherever possible, whilst supporting fully the notion and efficacy of faith. This doesn’t seem to contradict the aversion to “what if’s”, when one considers that ascertaining the falsehood of isolative (self-centric) consciousness is really not so very great a task, given time, earnestness, and yes, faith that the effort may be rewarded. That was my path for around 25 years. I had faith that something would result, but I didn’t couch that ‘something’ in a panoply of “what if’s”. I knew that I didn’t know, and I didn’t.

        My question to you was concerning what lies beyond the isolation, and whether it is necessarily correct to say that it is ‘joy’ – we can agree on the eternal, or timeless bit, and presume we’d also agree on the formless, or non-spatial nature of the infinite (we must, if only to be logical). ‘Joy’ though, seems to me to be inextricably bound up with form, with beingness in form, and with sentience – even if we were to conceive of this sentience in immaterial form, such as spirit, soul, or ghostliness, or what have you.

        Is joy (many speak similarly of a transcendent ‘bliss’), then, the correct measure of non-isolative awareness, non-duality, oneness, or in your own words, knowing that “we exist in and through all of existence itself”? As you know, I use the term ‘contentedness’ in signifying, as far as I am able to, a state of being sentient in awareness whilst absenting isolative consciousness. It’s quite a neutral term, and whilst I don’t think it’s more apt than ‘joy’ for everyone – because that is indeed the sensation that’s foremost for many in any initial actualisation of what we’re talking about – then there are those, myself included, for whom it’s a bit more of a feeling-less thing. It’s not altogether feeling-less, because sentience is nothing if not feeling, but I might offer that the ‘texture’, the ‘warp and weft’ of the experience is more to do with the lucency of awareness than with bodily sensation.

        So here’s the thing: awareness, by its nature, exhibits those qualities we’re agreed upon, of timelessness and formlessness. More than this, then in considering awareness as the illuminative aspect of consciousness, then it subsists independently of isolative consciousness, and beyond even the possibility of separation or fragmentation. I’m rather doing this to death because I’ve long had a bit of an issue about this ‘bliss’ business, believing it to be something of a red herring, something of a carrot to the seeker’s donkey. I’ll be frank, I don’t believe we need to experience bliss at all in order to realise our goal. We may experience it, and initially it may even be likely that we’ll experience it, but I don’t believe it’s essential or intrinsic to actualised non-duality (call it what we will).

        Apologies for being far from formless and timeless in my near infinitely long-winded response!

        Much love,

        Hariod. (or ‘Hairdo’ as I was recently called).

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hello Hariod,

          Thank you for your thoughtful reply and long-winded responses are, in fact, always appreciated here! Ha!

          I would simply say we have different conceptions of “the goal” and what it means to experience the movement of life in the absence of the fear and separation that attend the isolative consciousness. In a way this speaks to one of the origins of this piece, which is that we find what we seek, essentially.

          I think that joy is quite simply part of the fundamental experience of unity. Having said that, it may be possible for me to make a subtle distinction between an inactive or dormant condition of wholeness– just the awareness of being and no more– and to call this neutral. And to suggest that joy arises from the sharing– the giving and receiving– of all that exists in wholeness. This sharing is the whole of creation, incorporating embodied life fully within its scope. So I don’t know if joy is absent from such a neutral state, but allowing that it may be, then I think certainly joy arises in the creative movement of this awareness into creative forms of communication– which we may call embodiment. Joy, in other words, is the result of what is, being and sharing with what is.

          I wonder if your difficulty with the idea of joy being associated with actualized non-duality is the notion that it sort of feeds those who seek happiness but want it so dearly they may accept a myopic form of happiness– then settle for the taking of shortcuts and the substitution of a misplaced and transient happiness for the real thing. Of course this is what all of us and every seeker does, until they don’t. For until the experience of unity has fully been accepted, we are always measuring against some false, conceptual yardstick. But in the meanwhile it can create at times a disingenuous luster about things– a false or trumped up happiness. This of course is not what I see as living at the root of our being at all.

          Your aversion to the terminology of A Course in Miracles notwithstanding, this quote perhaps conveys a little of what I was trying to say above about the fundamental nature of sharing:

          “God, Who encompasses all being, created beings who have everything individually, but who want to share it to increase their joy. Nothing real can be increased except by sharing. That is why God created you. Divine Abstraction takes joy in sharing. That is what creation means. ‘How,’ ‘what’ and ‘to whom’ are irrelevant, because real creation gives everything, since it can create only like itself. Remember that in the Kingdom [unity] there is no difference between having and being, as there is in [isolative/separate] existence. In the state of being the mind gives everything always. [added for clarification]”

          Much Love


          • I agree with you here Michael, in that we do “find what we seek”, and that can be a most deeply gratifying thing, of course it can. Perhaps that’s why when I said above: “I had faith that something would result, but I didn’t couch that ‘something’ in a panoply of “what if’s”. I knew that I didn’t know, and I didn’t.”, then bliss didn’t (and doesn’t) figure that greatly for me? I was told early on that whatever conception I (or anyone) had of Nibbana (Buddhist word), it was wrong. It would appear that’s validated, not least of all as there’s no common agreement on what it (or God) is, other than agreeing on what it is not – apophatic religion/philosophy/phenomenology/ontology.

            Reading between the lines, then I wonder if the apparent difference between our viewpoints is in you describing and alluding to what you term “the fundamental experience, and that state prior to taking it in as an ‘experience’ (my position). Experience, I would say, is always a mind-construct; it’s not a quality of awareness itself, but is illuminated by it. It’s not separate from awareness, obviously enough, but experience is personal. Maybe I’m getting bogged down in semantics?

            Just to reiterate and clear up a misunderstanding, I wasn’t saying that “joy being associated with actualized non-duality” was in any way erroneous. On the contrary, I said it was commonly associated: “[Joy/bliss] is indeed the sensation that’s foremost for many in any initial actualisation of what we’re talking about.” I think the reason for that could well be the one you gave, which is that we “find what we seek”, and if we hear that the goal is blissfulness, then at some point we may well experience it – stress on ‘experience’ it. I know people who conceive of god as light, and so it is that they experience light (blinding brightness) in the mind during their transcendent moments. I think that’s a mind creation, though. [Actually, it’s a known phenomenon of a one-pointed state of concentration.]

            Anyway, my friend, I hope it’s okay to to-and-fro with such ideas. You can always delete these comments if you feel they veer away from the matter at hand, though I appreciate the exchanges greatly, and nonetheless.

            In learning, and respect, as always,


            Liked by 1 person

        • Hello Hariod,

          I recognize of course that sources dear to me certainly do not bear the same weight with your own view of things, but I found this quote also, from A Course of Love, also related to what I sought to describe above.

          “The universe exists in reciprocal relationship or holy relationship, rather than special relationship. This is the nature of existence, as unity is the nature of existence and cannot be changed and has not changed, although you believe it not. It is a joyful relationship, as the nature of relationship is joy. Once you have given up your belief in separation this will be known to you.”

          Having offered them to convey a bit of what is rattling around inside of me, please understand the quotes I’ve offered themselves are not offered as proof, as it is not my intent to suggest any set of words are better or more right than another. As I said at the outset, I am a little reluctant to turn such discussions into a search for what is in an intellectual form, so will simply stop here and suggest that it is our own experience which provides the check on the validity of what is in our own heart. As you have wisely said before, “May your god go with you.” And it is fair I think to rest on what is known to and revealed to each in the wellspring of their awareness. An ultimate intellectual understanding of this will not help us or the world one bit, I don’t think, but what we offer in the fullness of who we are, in unity and relationship, does.


          Liked by 2 people

          • Sure thing, and I appreciate already all that you say just above. Just one closing thought, one which comes from my own past and numerous misguided years:

            When I began meditating, and for a few years thereafter, I had the idea that in my seeking, then at some point I may perceive this thing I’d read about, and which went by the name of ‘Nibbana’ in Buddhist terminology. I can now hardly believe my naivety in thinking that, but it suddenly dawned on me one day that if I were to perceive it, then all it would be, is a percept.

            H ❤

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Beauty is actually going to come
    to the rescue.

    i think about the work of Roger Scruton…his work from why beauty matters…”Beauty matters. It is not just a subjective thing but a universal need of human beings. If we ignore this need we find ourselves in a spiritual desert.”…your words are beautiful Michael…and i can re-read your beauty…thank you for your writing…smiles hedy

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Hedy. I was not familiar with Roger Scruton before this note, but agree very much with the sentiment. A Walter Russell group I attended once had a theme along these lines– that by endeavoring to create beautiful works one is assisting in healing the world. I think it is a lovely thought, and am happy you find this little electronic domain to be a contributor. As yours is as well!


      Liked by 1 person

      • I like blog posts as I can revisit easily…sometimes images and words come back to me along the way and I can find them easier than on other social media platforms…thank you for sharing your works Michael ☺️

        Liked by 1 person

  7. On a scale of zero to infinity, this poem blew me away, off the scale, past those breezes among the trees. I love your ecstatic poems, Michael, and loved that image of the breezes. It felt so very familiar in some ways, in a way we watched ocean breezes here on a pine covered beaches, where the wind is as powerful as Love, so powerful that all trees grow at a 60 degree angle. It felt so familiar in a way I watched today how joy comes to children, as a one-year old was plopping on a mattress belly down and two older ones following her and all giggling, and getting up, and doing it again, falling and giggling, forgetting who did what first and who is who. Your imagery just felt very familiar and I am grateful for these beautiful reminders.
    Much Happiness to you,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, Kristina. The images you responded with are really beautiful. I particularly like the one of the children losing themselves in the game of being together so playfully. I could just imagine it– for we all have experiences such as these alive within us– and it made my heart sing! It is truly as simple as that, when the obstacles to staying connected to this joy are set aside.

      Wishing you much happiness as well!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Perfect, David! Vroom, vroom!

      It is the relationship of stillness to motion that reveals so much…



  8. “A tool is only any good
    if you know what it’s for, anyways.
    And if you knew that,
    you would never lose it
    to start with”

    Excellent Michael.. Yes… A pity many never use the tools they were born with Michael and..
    Wishing you an enlightened day my friend.. Not that you are not already Illuminated haha..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Thank you, JoAnna. I’m glad you enjoyed it and found it comforting in its own quirky way. It’s good when we stretch one another’s comfort zones a bit!



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