Friday, October 31, 2014

Al-Matin: Small Steps

Pampas Grass

I planted two small clumps of grass today,
six inches high, six inches wide,
each wispy and sharp edged
with a few brown strands curling about the base,
like it wasn't eager to get out and get growing.
Sitting in the house now, 
the rain sheeting off the Bird Goddess arms
of my venerable cedar tree,
I look at the plastic picture--
twelve foot high silvery fronds waving against
a purple-blue sky.  
My grass clumps, years from now.
Real gardeners are, 
comfortably intimate
with Al-Matin,
like mothers
like bone china painters
like God.


Find the entire poetry collection This Nurturing Awe:  Poems Inspired by the 99 Beautiful Names of God at

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Al-Muhsi: The Work of the Moment

Stained Glass Window

Not the woulda, coulda, shoulda,
Not the yesterdays and tomorrows,
but rather,
the right heres and nows,
when the muted light brings out the blue
in the stained glass just so,
and the little dog raises her head,
eyes meeting yours just here,
and your thumb brushes over 
the twisted old rose of Alpaca and silk yarn
just like this--
when "just" is a full word,
perfect and complete
and deliciously enough.


Find the entire poetry collection This Nurturing Awe:  Poems Inspired by the 99 Beautiful Names of God at

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Al-Mubdi: Naming into Individuation

Perhaps you have sat in a circle
a campfire’s glow playing over
people you love, their eyes drawn
again and again,
to the light, to the ember, to the ash.
You share the same heat,
the same giggling dodge of smoke
as the wind whirls through speaking-stick pines.
But the wonder is, from each point on the gathering,
the fire is not the same.
Here, a coal has grown long and writhing like a snake,
there, a pile of ash lets go into formlessness with a sigh,
on that side, a new log hisses, and the flames
go purple and blue and almost white.
Still we call it and everyone by name,
and think we know it all the way around
in our isolation.

In truth,
on this curved world, it is the same,
each of our Names unique,
each of our experiences of God
a point on that sing-along circumference.
Now, I will speak what we know
in peripheral vision--
our collective Knowing is that much less,
in the unoccupied empty spaces on the edge
of the wash of warmth and light.
Come to the fire and be Named.
Come and be Named.
And reveal your face of God.


Find the entire poetry collection This Nurturing Awe:  Poems Inspired by the 99 Beautiful Names of God at

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Al-Basir: Refreshed Sight

If I narrow my eyes a little
how the Agate Pass echoed
trees and sky yesterday,
and in the mirroring,
hid its deeper secrets
beneath a breathless mask,
each blink I take 
can start seeing anew--
like today
how patches of rain
and little wind-stirred eddies
create an impression of patchy snowfall 
on a piece of smokey glass.
My prayer is simple:
constantly refresh my sight,
that I might be forever seeing Your face
and revel in that revealing.


Find the entire poetry collection This Nurturing Awe:  Poems Inspired by the 99 Beautiful Names of God at

Monday, October 27, 2014

Al-Muhyi: The Quickener

Have you felt your pulse leap
when a find yourself face to face
with beauty?
with the way a section of rainbow
can hover in goose-gray clouds,
flaring brilliant, just a quarter arch,
but still, with that upwards glance,
suddenly even pot-holed pavement
There was not cup of coffee at your elbow,
no rock music thumping your first chakra awake—
the noticing, the relationship between you and
light and raindrops
only reminded you
of the awareness that enlivens
the curve of the clam shell and
this curve of your smile
in the rear-view mirror.


Find the entire poetry collection This Nurturing Awe:  Poems Inspired by the 99 Beautiful Names of God at

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Gospel of Thomas Class: Poulsbo Library, Monday, October 20, 2014

Gospel of Thomas Class
Notes and Going Deeper for Monday, October 20, 2014

Finding: Logia 20-37

You can find complete commentaries for each Logia on this blogsite!

(The one-liners listed below are numbered according to the Logion to which each sentence refers.)

Last Group Meeting:
We wrestled with a couple of difficult concepts this class-time, the biggest being the idea of relative and ultimate reality, the “bifocals” Yeshua is trying to have us try on.  This view is not easily apparent, but perhaps this poem from Jan Phillips will help you out--Thanks, Doreen for sending this along! 

Jan Phillips

Like the all in the oneness
Like the branch in the vine
Like the call and the answer
Like the drink and the wine

Like the Earth and the heavens
Like the forest and the trees
Like the gate and the pathway
Like the hawk and the breeze

Like the iris and the petals
Like the jewel and the mine
Like the know and the knowing
Like the laugh and the line

Like the moonlight and the darkness
Like nowhere and near
Like the oak and the acorn
Like pain and the tear

Like the quest and the seeker
Like rain and the flower
Like the sea and the islands
Like time and the hour

Like union and yearning
Like the vision and the view
Like the waves and the water
So I am to you

So I am to you, Love, and
You are to me
We dwell in each other
Like salt and the sea...

So in a way, we are learning to get what some folks call “altitude” others might name “perspective” or “right view”.  This is when, when we so wish, we can see the manyness of all the parts of our life, as well as the singleness of the experience.  We can grasp time as here and now, but also be deeply aware of past, present and future, a flow.  Yet another way to image this is as wave and particle...sometimes we are aware first of the horse, then the rider, then the arena flashing by in light and shadow.  With just a small shift of our minds, we can see the energy, the wave-form of all those elements as one complete and moving picture.  Reality is both wave and particle for our small and delicate brains.

This section of the work also brings out another important concept, which is called “standing”.  This is a kind of shorthand for touching our inner capacity to not be directed from without, but rather, from within.  To be singular, even as we also realize we are part and parcel of the universe itself.  Standing is pointed at through the entire Gospel as the energy or state of complete sovereignty over ourselves and our actions.

Finally, Finding is not just for ourselves—finding actually knits us back into ever deeper relationship with others and our world.

Here are the one-liners I gleaned from Logia 20-37 that are all about what Yeshua means by “finding”:

To Find means...

20.  to allow ourselves to be gifted with the smallest seeds of the great Tree of Life.

21.  to be willing to see the ripening happening within ourselves that cannot be hurried or pressed into a human sense of completion.

22.  to use the gifts of attention, creativity and will with a child’s sense of belonging and place.

23.  to fully recognize our unique sovereignty and utter interdependency with all of life.

24.  to accept with full awareness that we are not called to merely worship, but rather, to Stand and shine forth who we were all created to be.

25.  to preserve and cherish the larger community that helps us discern light.

26.  to open to all of ourselves, including our shadows, so that we might be of discerning service to others.

27.  to begin to suspect the division between the sacred and the profane, between the acts and concepts of religion and the life of the spirit.

28.  to be willing to throw off our inebriation and stand up into both relative and ultimate reality.

29.  to be willing to acknowledge with each breath we do not just exist for spirit—spirit also exists for us.

30.  to be willing to claim the unifying divinity that under-girds the many and varied individuals.

31.  to truly see the divinity in all those around you, transcending your own tendency to mask and objectify them.

32.  to move beyond only observing life and into the pulsing energy of participation.

33.  to be willing to share our discoveries, helping to create the bonds of relationship.

34.  to decline being pushed or led by others or tradition into the necessary darkness of your spiritual path

35.  to be willing to be ousted from the “house” of our small egoic self so that we have room to “find” the spaciousness that is our truer Self.

36.  to turn the energy of worrying about externals into the fire of internal creativity.

37.   to be brave enough to see our spiritual teachers without bias or artifice, freely seeing them as they see us.

Transition (Logion 38):  The work of Finding ripens still more when we encounter Trouble; finding fulfills the deep mission of the spiritual guide, which is to create students who no longer need him or her as simply someone to follow, but who begin to come to their own feet and stand—but this can be deeply troubling to us.

Going Deeper:

1.      Try to create for yourself a list of bifocal ways of seeing the world as Jan Phillips did in her Alphabet Mantra poem.  Does this help you try on such a way of seeing?
2.      If you are a wildly practical person, what gifts do you think “Finding” will bring to your life?  What issues arise for you?  Remember the struggle to put on a new paradigm will be looked at carefully next time as we turn to “Trouble” on the spiritual path Yeshua has laid out for us.
3.      How do you think such a way of seeing could be taught to children?  What might be the advantage to children who can see the way Yeshua is teaching?  Disadvantages?
4.      Finding is the beginning of creating a spiritual perspective on all the facets of our life.  Do you find seeing an issue with both temporal/NOW/particle lenses and long-term/infinity/wave consciousness helps you emotionally?  Why or why not?
5.      What does the term “ego” mean to you?  What do you think it means to Yeshua, based on a careful reading of these Logia?

Next time, we turn to the section on Trouble...about what might arise as we begin to see the world in this bifocal arrangement of relative and ultimate reality, to stand and to maintain our relationships in the world.  See you next Monday at 7 PM.


Al-Ahad: Heart within Unknowable Mystery

You hold this,
closer than any breathed secret
looping the passageways of your ear;
tighter than some part of your heart,
barred and barricaded because of some past
hurt or indiscretion or fear.
You have not,
opened this door,
but sometimes, you put your hand against it
and your own name vibrates back to you,
through your palm—
it will take you centuries to feel all the vowels
and consonants there.
When all the shuddering of time ends,
the letters will fold into
a number like one
and even it will cease
and in that zero state,
secrets and doors and names
will only be a glance
that travels on


Find the entire poetry collection This Nurturing Awe:  Poems Inspired by the 99 Beautiful Names of God at

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Al-Muta’ali: Consciousness that Serves

The Sufi would call it hal,
the part of mind and heart that knows
the way tree frogs share secrets in the spring night,
falling to silence all at once,
then starting up again, as if an inner conductor
calls them into perfect pitch.
But this state can be contagious—
you know the type—
they walk by and the color washes over our
monochrome life;
they whisper and someone else shouts,
half a world away;
they touch a hand,
and a wave of people come to their feet,
This is baraka,
a two-legged blessing
that strides past any dogma and belief
and hugs and kisses you
careless of any reciprocity,
exaltation called upon
and scattered
scandalously free.


Find the entire poetry collection This Nurturing Awe:  Poems Inspired by the 99 Beautiful Names of God at

Friday, October 24, 2014

Al-Rahman Endless Love

If you could peel back
all the names of God,
get past the definitions
even slip by the ink and sound,
until a great silence fills you,
where time stops
where measurements become meaningless,
and then,
squeeze yourself past the idea of silence,
the idea you are still listening,
you might begin to feel into
a warm raying out,
an endless bubble,
a stream, rushing around your own skin,
from some ever-indescribable and infinite source--
the solar womb,
the first and always compassionate Amen.


Find the entire poetry collection This Nurturing Awe:  Poems Inspired by the 99 Beautiful Names of God at

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Al-Barr: Purification of the Heart Mirror

Do you know yourself?
Have you lifted the couch cushions,
crawled under the bed,
scraped past all the chemical cleaners
in the bathroom to find
the little mouse nest
a riot of colors from all the loose threads
in your inner closet?
We are an infinity of dark corners
and dusty spaces beneath bookshelves,
and when you begin to breathe all that,
after the sneezing and those little red allergy pills,
just keep seeing,
just keep rubbing and cleaning and reaching—
the job is not so much done as
reach swipe with a gnosis cloth
burnishing and releasing and refining
with each movement.


Find the entire poetry collection This Nurturing Awe:  Poems Inspired by the 99 Beautiful Names of God at

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Al-Malikal-Mulk: Holding All Things

Are you one of those shy ones,
the ones living in skin so thin, so fine,
that a mere glance can make you swallow hard,
the way someone moves past you on the sidewalk
make you shiver?
Do you search each face in oblique, though,
hoping for that glimmer of recognition?
Do you keep the blatting news off,
prefer the softly scented pages of an old book
to the coffee-house click and chatter?
Then this name is for you to murmur
on your lonely walk,
said in time with your breath.
For here is the realization that
everything is upheld in God,
like sand, the impermanent sifts through,
until we are all cupped, the center of us
the soul,
glowing in vast palms
and there, I promise you,
you will never be alone.


Find the entire poetry collection This Nurturing Awe:  Poems Inspired by the 99 Beautiful Names of God at

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Al-Malik: The Kingdom Within

Break a stone,
chop apart the wood,
dip your bare hand into the cold lake,
slice the onion,
capture snowflakes on your woolen glove
and breathe across them until
they puff like pastry
and soak, liquid, into fiber.
Stare down the long throat of your dog
as she yawns, lips peeled back from white teeth.
Stare into your lover’s eyes as if you have never seen them—
and probably you haven’t, not this way,
for we are held in our interiors
cupped by God’s hands,
no less than galaxies and angels and all the dark between.
Peel back any exterior
you will find you are


Find the entire poetry collection This Nurturing Awe:  Poems Inspired by the 99 Beautiful Names of God at

Monday, October 20, 2014

Al-Muhaimin: Divine Protection


The bird springs away,
but was it feathers that protected her?
Something more than hollow bones lifted her.
The wolf pauses, hunkers for a moment,
but what blends it so perfectly
with grass and shadow?
Something more than color I think.
In hide-and-seek,
what thrilled through your childhood veins
as you ran,
as you dug into the closet or
dove under the bed?
Maybe you can feel it now,
that half-smile curving,
those fingers dancing to the music,
almost unconsciously.
Our bodies course with life,
the vibration of continuance, of permanence
that calls the seasons ‘round again,
and paints rainbows in the sky. 
The Real can never be injured,
the Truth holds all paradoxes,
and that which we feel we must protect,
is only expressing a wave, passing through.
Once you have sensed this,
you’ll have to silently catch my eye
to speak of it at all.


Find the entire poetry collection This Nurturing Awe:  Poems Inspired by the 99 Beautiful Names of God at

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Al-Mu’min: Embodied Amen

This is the time of ameyn’s,
the morning fog spiraling off
the Agate Pass waters,
lifting, curtain like,
so the light can get on with the play.
In the dawn, a yellow leaf here and there
foot themselves shining
like old gas lamps along the stage,
rising as the first sailboat chugs by,
its motor harsh,
its sails bound tight in the stillness.
I raise my eyes to the hint of mountains,
known more by expectation than actual presence,
taking my first embodied bow of the day
before my own life must open its arms
and sing out Ameyn, Amin, Amen.


Find the entire poetry collection This Nurturing Awe:  Poems Inspired by the 99 Beautiful Names of God at