I was supposed to be teaching at a program at Lehigh, starting tomorrow. When I agreed to take the job, I knew I was going to be utterly exhausted from teaching at the Rosemont Retreat, and that another two week marathon might wreck me, but I desperately needed the money, so I said yes.
But fate mixed things up for me. Precious friends who are family to me had a huge emergency and needed me to watch their rather glorious house and even more glorious dogs for a few weeks. I agreed to quit the job to help them because I love them, and they are so, so good to me. I wanted to do it for free, but because they are angels, they insisted on paying me. I didn’t tell them how much I was going to get paid at Lehigh. They are giving me exactly the amount I was going to receive.
I felt horrible for bailing on a work commitment and helped the program find a great replacement for me, someone I think will do an amazing job and will love the work. And now, I’m spending two weeks alone with two of the best dogs ever born, writing, languishing in a glorious garden watching sunsets, generally being amazed. Last night, I went out to swallow the sunset, and these flowers called to me. I went to them and held them in my hand and looked at them for hours, as the sun fell, reminding me of the rainbowed tunnel of light the dead are said to see, and then, the fireflies danced, turning the whole world to heaven.
I wrote this as I sat there with those flowers. I don’t even know if it’s any good, but my heart burned with love and light as I wrote it. I hope some flicker of that translated to the page.
WHAT THE FLOWERS TOLD ME
If you want to know truth, you must dispense with human speech. You have to learn the language of the flowers.
This is what the sages mean when they say, “Life is sacred.”
You must understand that every minute of every day, you are living your destiny.
Heaven lives inside of you, and if you don’t enter it now, while alive, you never will.
Dead is too late to enter heaven. Dead is try-earth-again time. Earth is purgatory.
Life is a timed test with one question: let us know if you’re ready to be alive this time around.
Hell lives in the mundane story you tell yourself about who you are and why you are here.
Non-miracles don’t exist.
The chains holding you in hell are self-forged. Their links are made of fear.
The door to heaven hides at the yellow core in the starry face of every flower you see.
It shimmies between molecules in the here and now.
Constellations you can touch shimmer in noonday sun pretending to be beebalm.
You don’t need a rocket for a lunar landing.
The moon is the orange you ate for lunch and didn’t bother to taste.
The sweet citrusy by and by never existed.
There is only this.
There is only today.
Somewhere out there is right here.
Find the door to heaven three inches in front of your face. Walk through it.
Let wonder, as invisible and powerful as windy storms that give birth to thunder, carry your feet.
Let your mind wing you away from your imagined misery because it can if you let it.
The real story doesn’t live in the narrative, the plotline, the tale of joy or woe.
The real story is smaller than that.
It lives in the images, the snapshots,
the squirrel knees
the way angels whisper through leaves of forever-tall trees, begging you to notice.
The real story has no words, but everything has meaning.
There is only one story.
The story is always eventually named “Love.”
The secret lies in the logic beneath the logic.
Reality doesn’t live in objects.
It lives in the energy underneath, dancing like Van Gogh’s stars.
Humanity is a human construction. The smelly, sacred animals we are hide just beneath the skin.
The answer to the big question is, “Everything.”
Love is the key that unlocks the pearly gates, and the pearls are made of snowflakes.
The wisest sage I ever knew once told me: “Don’t worry,
if you go to hell, you’ll get out someday. Forever is a long time.”
He was right. I went to hell, and I got out someday
by tunneling through the center of three star-shaped flowers
who named themselves Ganesh.
“We are trinity,” they said. “Father, mother, and child,” and I believed them.
Spoiler alert: You were always going to make it heaven.
Walk through your fear of lovelessness.
Love waits just on the other side.
I am learning that the truth the dead know is always being shouted
from the eves of every rooftop in Taipei,
the entrance to every anthill in Pittsburg.
Maybe even the ghosts are angels. Maybe the spirits jump out of closets
to shock us into letting go of what we think we know.
Krishna’s secret is this: he could spend forever pondering
the mystery of red roses on white brick walls. He knows that rocks are god.
I asked the master to take me to the fairy world
He said, “You’re already in it.”
Vagrants are holy men. They have finally gone un-blind.
They have finally learned what matters.
A thousand counterfeits, and only one real love, but it is everywhere.
A precise equation, cosmic math:
The difference between heaven and hell =
the difference between love and lovelessness.
Fireflies dance in time to heaven’s drum.
Oh, come angel band, come and around me land.
Make a lantern of the grassy night.
To enter god, you must realize your oneness with divinity.
To experience your true existence at the heart of God,
you must understand the unity that you already have.
I asked the master what my real name was.
He said: You are the dandelion seed that rode your wishes
to the kingdom that has already come.