Friday, July 31, 2009


The Hound of Heaven
Francis Thompson (1859-1907)

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat--and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet--
"All things betray thee, who betrayest Me."

Though the language seems distancing and perhaps a little daunting, the spirit behind the beginning stanza of this Francis Thompson poem ignites something within me that defies the intellect and stirs my very Soul. As much as I have longed to Know and re-unite within my Source, I recognize as well a place that has often fled It even as It experientially moved toward me in merger. It is so very difficult at the level of the felt-sense to know if it is me seeking Source, or if it is Source seeking Its Self as me. In my passionate longing for the One, I run towards the stirring within my heart center. It beckons, it beseeches, it stirs, and it calls me: ceaselessly and endlessly. I stretch toward this calling with every ounce and fiber of my being. As I begin to feel the mystical merging I have so longed to experience, something within me shutters, bolts, contracts, and runs. With an intensity equal to that of the internal stretching forward, the fearful self is “fleeing down the days and down the nights, down the labyrinthine ways of my own divided mind.”
I compassion the self that so wants to live within the felt-sense of my Source, but has also been theologically programmed to fear the very Life that is living me. I feel the painfulness within my heart, the home-sickness, the sacred longing. I acknowledge the teachings, so well intended, that speak of chosen people who are tortured and annihilated century after century. I look upon the endless symbols of a cross upon which a sacred Soul was killed to appease the Only Source of Love. I shutter at the images of the people surrendered into peace, who wage holy wars to maintain their stance. And this all festers within the unconscious of the same me who longs to give way into this One, this One unrecognizable in the tradition of my birth. And so I flee.
“All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.” My running, my fleeing is at the very core of personal betrayal. I cannot literally betray my Source. Yet I can and do betray my own commitment to the embodying of that Source. Even as I move through and past images of an ungodly G-awed, the experience of merging becomes so very intense, so richly intimate, so deeply felt. I have known pray little of that level, that depth of Love, here in this human dilemma. It is at once blissening and frightening. I have known love as loss here in this incarnation. It is through this fear of loss that I have looked upon love. This fear of loss has blinded me to Loves True radiance. I pray to see anew. As I begin to truly see, I realize that I am being seen as well. It is sometimes simply too much. I feel my body respond in ways my religion would flatly and rapidly condemn. I feel the breath of the One filling me, compelling me, caressing me. I fear I will feel too much. That I will be lost in the ecstasy of this Love. And so I flee. I latch onto the nearest thought, the most convenient concept. Anything to distance the intensity of the tryst. In betraying my Lover, I am betraying my love. I am running from the truest part of me. I am denying the very experience that I have come here to have. I am fleeing the hound of heaven, which is my very Soul.
I choose to flee no longer. I choose to allow my fearful self to be caught. I choose to move more deeply into the intimate embrace of my Soulful Self, and to embody fully the merging into One. I will no longer betray my Lovers affections. I will stay, and I will feel all the subtle intimacies of Its tender embrace. With no thought or concept to interrupt this Union, the running becomes the relaxing into the frequency of Love Its Self. “Yes my Love. It is I. I am here. I am Love. I am Source. I am You.”


Friday, July 10, 2009


The scarcely perceptible ringing of the bell echoed both with possibility and probable disappointment. Grandma was no easy touch. What kind of a hoax would send the ice cream truck clanging so soon after dinner? The slightly watery jello couldn’t be considered in the same category with a dessert as scrumptious as Mr. Frosty. Excitement and anticipation won out over fear as my brother and I raced in doors to ask, as sweetly as possible, for the monumental sum of .25 each. To our complete wonderment, Grandma reached into her change jar, and handed my more responsible older brother the change we needed to obtain our frozen treats. Glory be! Our little legs raced as quickly as we could, afraid that we would arrive at the curb too late to flag down the truck. My brother, at the mature age of seven, ordered for us both. I can still feel the glee of watching the frozen concoction swirl into the awaiting wafer cone. The filling was completed by a masterful twisting of the wrist, resulting in a curly-cue at the very tip: that was my favorite part of the whole confection! My brother carefully handed his little brother the first of the cones, and I devoured the beloved curly-cue before my brother was even handed his. Oh, the simple pleasure of an ice cream cone on a steamy summer evening. Life was oh so good.
My brother suggested eating our treats in the backyard of my Grandmas place. With a mouthful of glee, I grunted my assent.

And then it happened. Not four slurps into a Mr. Frosty from heaven, I stubbed my toe and proceeded to throw the entire contents of the cone into the soil of a nearby flower bed. I stood, wide eyed with disbelief, staring at first the empty wafer cone in my hand, and then at my brother whose eyes were nearly as big as mine. In the heat of this steamy evening, the ice cream began puddling on contact. I almost immediately became aware of the now distant bell of the departing truck. All hope of devouring the rare treat was melting faster than the dwindling heap of vanilla that was rapidly becoming mud.

There are moments that you simply remember for your entire life. They are for most people not grand occurrences. They are simply times when something that happens seems to open something within you that will never again be closed. This was one of those moments in my life. Without a single word, my brother handed me his full ice cream cone, removing the empty one from my tiny quivering hand. I was completely shocked. The feelings I felt within my heart I feel to this day. It had so little to do with the sharing of a Mr. Frosty, and everything to do with the unassuming and splendidly generous act of one brother for another. In that moment, he became my hero of heroes. He gave to me something that no one could ever take away. He demonstrated for me, at the tender age of five, what it is like to give love with no thought of return or reward. I knew then that no matter what happened in my life, my big brother would always be right there for me. I knew that many people would come and go from my life, but that he would stay. He would truly stay.

Many things have happened to us both these many intervening years. I have figuratively dropped many ice cream cones into the dirt, and I have experienced many less than splendid acts at the hands of others. My big brother and I have led very, very different lives, and it has been many years since we have shared a geographic region. On the rare times when we are physically together, the bond of love always transcends our differences. He has remained my hero, though many might describe the surface of his life as far less than spectacular. While I have gone on to enjoy many adventures and accolades, he quietly went about his life in his simple and humble way. He has continued to give to others, even though many deemed his giving as foolish or insane. The accompanying photo to this blog was the result of the one plane trip he ever took. He came to visit his little brother, and to see the new house I had recently purchased. During that week, he even bought me an ice cream cone, which we shared as quietly as we had the one so many years before. It was perhaps more delicious than the first.

And now, something has been triggered in the brain of my hero, and he has begun to slowly fade away. Though I knew he would be the one to always stay, he has started the gradual descent from me and from this world. I miss him, even when we are together. So much is gone, and yet that fabulous big heart still remains. Though so many details are now fuzzy for him, the love in his eyes is as clear as ever. Even in the searing pain of watching him depart, he remains my hero. That one, simple act of loving generosity will be with me my entire life. The love of my brother will remain my forever embrace. One simple act. From one simple man. A stunning and stirring memory that I pray I have somehow paid forward.

Thanks, Craig, and Happy birthday, big brother.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009


A tangible sense of longing has been my almost constant companion from the earliest of ages. I have continually been disturbed by a quiet yet unmistakable voice within that has prompted me to always seek for more. Not necessarily more of something. That would be easy. Just more of an indefinable “isness” that seemed to demand that I stretch the limits of who I thought I was to accommodate its urging. So much of my life was spent in trying to escape this longing: mental identification, self-improvement, trauma-dramas, higher education, relationships, addictions, and geographics. These were the mostly unconscious ways in which I tried to escape the discomfort of not living fully into who and what I was being called to be. As each attempt at denial began to wane, there it was one again; the felt-sense longing of what I now recognize as a Soul in search of expression. I had spent so much time and energy trying to rid myself of this enemy called longing that it never occurred to me that it was coming to me as friend. As mentor. As an energetic call to home. As nothing less than Source.

Though I recognized that longing and desire have in many schools of thought become spiritually incorrect, I decided to finally befriend this constant visitor that apparently wasn’t going to go anywhere anyway. I was graced with the awareness that spiritually incorrect or not, longing is a call that is crucial to our, or at least my, awakening. While many of what we call spiritual truths are at best concepts to be thought, the longing deep within my heart was a consistent abiding sensation to be felt. It was there, active, right in the core of my physiology. It was similar to the longing I have felt for a beloved that has passed away. The thought or the mental memory of the person does nothing to assuage the desire for reunion. It is the feltness of the person that is missing. As I deepened into the longing of my Soul, I felt a kind of homesickness for a place that has no object. I had so much information about Spirit, yet I was longing for a more intimate merging. I desired the embrace of What has Sourced me, and the feel of Who I am. I discovered in a profound way that the longing of my Source WAS indeed my Source. All those years of running from it, even in the name of Truth, had kept the real experience of Belovedness from me. I couldn’t cuddle with a concept. I couldn’t be intimate with an idea. The longing led me to place within my inner realm where I could finally feel the depth and the breadth of true intimate union. Longing was calling me to my purpose: to awaken to the felt-sense experience of Source. To merge into the Higher Truth of my Self. It is within the longing that all longing is fulfilled.

I am living now in a profound appreciation for the longing I so long avoided. It truly fills me with wonder, and also humility. I marvel that within the core of our withinness we are blessed with a sensation that may be at times deadened, but never lost. We may run, yet it is ever there. It is our Self seeking our self. It is the experiential place where Source meets Soul. I was longing for what I have always been.