The Crazy Thing

My friends and I, we’re dreamers.

We value ideals more than dollars,

sunsets more than gold.

We stay up late around the fire,

talking about aliens,

talking about God,

talking about revolution.

~

Talking isn’t the point, of course.

It’s just how we tune in.

When the moment is ripe,

when the moon is full and bright,

and the embers are glowing just so,

we melt.

We disappear.

We become the wind and starlight.

~

People say we’re crazy.

“It’s impossible!” they say.

“Naive! Irresponsible!”

But the crazy thing is,

that people don’t do this all the time.

The crazy thing is,

that anyone would ever waste a night like this

in front of the TV.

tv zombie

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Smoke That Thunders

victoria falls

It’s the first day of March here in Kansas City,

and there’s a few inches of snow on the ground.

The temperature is around 30 degrees,

the sky is cloudy and overcast.

Rays of light from the nearest star

are illuminating half of my Mother’s face,

tearing the gray mist of the air to shreds,

touching each fleeting and perfect crystal

of frozen H2O

with all the tenderness and passion of Krishna,

breathing life into the earth,

dancing with the pine trees like so many virgin maids,

their ballroom gowns translucent white and swirling;

playing and leaping

and pouring like Mosi-oa-Tunya

into my astonished eyes.

Eavesdropping

listen

I’ve heard the stream

and the old stones whispering

beneath the cedars.

I swear the hills are breathing.

Listen…

On a still winter night,

the darkness is filled

with a quiet, electric hum…

the language of the stars.

Who can transcribe this conversation

between the earth and sky?

Who can say what wordless exchange

takes place among the trees?

Who can understand what passes silently

from the wild, beating heart of the world,

into my pensive soul?

 

© 2015 Ben Neal

Tending the Fire

tending the heart fire

I keep forgetting to do

The little things each day,

to show my wife and son I love them,

to dance and sing and play.

I keep forgetting to take the time

to seek the silence,

still the mind.

I keep forgetting who lives inside

of every creature, plant and stone.

I keep forgetting who I am

and who I’m with,

even when I’m alone.

I keep forgetting my life comes down

to just this moment, here and now,

and how I choose to spend it.

Remembering is a sacred fire

and I keep forgetting

to tend it.

 

Around the Fire

around the fire

There’s somethin’ bout a fire

And gathering round it

With a sky full of stars up above,

With the smoke

and the dark,

and the drums and the earth –

a feeling of family

and tribal love.

There’s somethin’ bout a fire

and a circle of friends,

sharing their stories and songs,

takin’ turns choppin’ wood,

cookin’ meat on sticks,

father’s teachin’ their sons how to fish.

This is how we used to live,

every goddamn day,

until television.

There’s something we’ve lost

along the way –

something sacred and essential.

And more than anything

we all desperately need to get back

around the fire.

Another Day

IBR-1113189

It’s just another day,

and nothing much is happening…

A hummingbird flits among the morning glories,

as the grass grows swiftly, silently;

the clouds are soaring gracefully overhead.

Somewhere lovers, lost in bliss,

are professing their undying devotion;

the faithful are praying and the earnest are working,

and the righteous are risking life and livelihood

in the fight for liberty and justice.

Brilliant minds are writing code

and dreaming up inventions

that will make the impossible commonplace,

and poets and artists are distilling their passion and pain

into the exquisite nectar of Beauty

that somehow makes the whole human struggle worthwhile.

The tall grain is dancing in the field,

the fruit is ripening on the vine

and the sun is freely pouring out its bounty,

Nourishing, sustaining all…

Other than that, not much is happening.

It’s just another day.

Which is reason to be grateful.

Look No Further

you are home

After a thousand lifetimes

spent searching for God,

There a comes a day when the soul finally collapses,

weary and exhausted,

into the arms of grace.

“There, there,” says a soft voice

from somewhere back behind your eyes.

“Be still now. You can rest.

Look no further than this ragged breath,

this beating heart,

this aching back,

these tired bones.

Look no further than this quiet street,

these quaint little temples,

these tufts of grass and trees and weeds.

Look no further than the earth and sky,

this moment suspended here between.

Look no further, pilgrim.

You are home.”

Abide in the Question

question

Schrodinger, Kierkegaard, Gandhi, Tagore; Jesus and Buddha, Whitman and Rumi; philosophers, poets and prophets through the ages… what are they driving at?

What is the common theme, the unifying Truth espoused by the greatest minds of every time culture, embraced by an ever-increasing number of people today, in an unprecedented techno-spiritual Renaissance?

Wait a second—don’t offer up some quick and easy answer. Sit with the question. Take it in.

It’s tempting to respond with “We are one,” or “God is Love,” or some other catchy little gem of wisdom. But I’m not fishing for words or slogans. I want to go deeper.

What weaves us together?

I don’t care whether you call it God or Buddha nature. Call it Spirit; call it Consciousness or Love, or ‘the quantum source field’ or whatever. It doesn’t matter. Don’t be content with a label.

Forget the names—what are they pointing at?

Whatever it is, we’re immersed in it. Touch it, taste it, breathe it in.

Don’t refer back to the books you’ve read, or what some wise man may have told you. Forget what Patanjali said, and Oprah and Chopra too. Don’t let anyone tell you what is real. See for yourself.

Who are you? What is “I” made of? Where does thought come from? Is there anything you can really know for sure?

The questions are a doorway into the mystery—dive in.

Feel after God.

Seek out the elusive edge between “self” and “other.” Is it really there?

Seek out the essence, the core of your being, the source of your awareness and your will to choose. No more second-hand descriptions—experience it directly. Or does it experience you?

Abide in the question, not knowing… Go deeper.

No more words.

~ Ben

A Child’s Laughter

laughing girl

The scriptures are a priceless gift,

But sometimes we need a break from our studies.

 

Discipline, fasting and meditation

Can take you very far indeed,

But life isn’t all about solemn routine.

 

God isn’t confined to dusty tomes

And silent temples…

 

Free and formless like the wind;

Wild as a dancing flame;

Like buds in Springtime bursting

Here and there and everywhere;

With spontaneous joy and magic

Spirit blossoms!

Like a child’s laughter.

~ Ben

Back to Basics

stillbluewater

Empty your boat, bhikku!

Forget your history,

Forget all you’ve learned and studied –

Do you think you can reach the mountaintop

With that library strapped to your back?

There is nothing that you need to carry –

You are being carried.

You can never grasp the Dharma

With all your reason and cleverness.

The cosmic laws are written

So that a child could understand.

Quit trying so hard.

Go back to basics.

Be simple. Be silent.

Be empty.

Embrace each moment from your inner stillness.

Lay down your plans and expectations

And remove the mind from the equation.

Feel these currents of energy

Shifting and surging;

Just flow with it.

Dance with Tao.

Ride the razor’s edge of Now 

You are already home.

~ Ben