"Saber Form" and Six other Spiritual Poems
Updated: Mar 1, 2020
I discovered the music
of Simon and Garfunkel
during a family road trip
while I was still in junior high school.
Recall some of the lyrics
from their song I am a rock:
“Hiding in my room,
safe within my womb
I touch no one
and no one touches me
I am a rock
I am an island!
And a rock feels no pain
and an island never cries.”
The majority of human cultures
laud the sociopathic tendencies
to put no stock in the validation
that comes from others.
But such fairytales of so-called strength
in abject ignorance of neuroscience.
As healthy mammals, no less primates,
evolution has selected
that our mid brain’s anterior gyrate
and mirror neurons
hard-wire us for empathy,
and cooperation, and respect.
In days of yore,
top-heavy, big-brained, hominids:
slow and weak of form
lacking prolific claw and fang
could only survive
in mutual cooperation
reinforced by empathy and respect.
are not a symptom of weakness
they are a symptom
of being a great ape.
And as such we have the perceptual acuity
to notice what we feel,
and what we emote,
and how others treat us.
And we can do all this
in harmony with each inhalation.
We can notice the pleasure, and the pain,
and the glory, and the grotesquery.
And because of the wiring of our under-brain
we have the ability to physically relax
and thus mentally let go
with every exhalation.
And because of the wiring of our mid-brain,
we can ride our IN-breath’s momentum of centeredness
and our OUT-breath’s momentum of spontaneity
and love others: effortlessly and without contrivance.
The liberation that the Buddha offers us
is NOT freedom from needing others
it is the liberation from the neurosis
that denatures love
into greed, and hate, and resentment.
I have never seen a Buddha statue
nor ice cream scoop,
nor in any way hinting
that we are to emotionally
The Buddha’s techniques
give us the freedom to feel what we feel
and think what we think
without being controlled by them.
in the absence of slavery,
is the freedom
that meditation could give us.
But only if we are taught it properly,
and we apply it consistently.
Like a youngling
practicing their lightsaber form
until it becomes
as natural as breathing.
Today’s second poem:
Behold the petty-ones-up-man’s-ship
of toxic masculinity
for patriarchy is less about the shape of one’s genitalia
and more about the orientation of one’s mind.
The drives of toxic masculinity
have their seat in our brain-stem
and, like a silly sith lord,
it concerns itself
with the pettiness of power
Whereas the impulses of healing femininity
have their seat in our mid-brain
and like Jedi master Yaddle
seek the welfare of others.
Today’s third poem
His belch entered the room
like a kind of gastronomic fanfare.
Today’s fourth poem
I was recently asked:
“Is it better to do good deeds
or think good thoughts?”
I reject the premise of the question
for we do not have to choose
between the two.
In Tibet, it is taught
that the highest form of compassion
is spontaneous and uncontrived.
Therefore if we cultivate centered spontaneity
our intentions and actions
could take care of themselves.
how do we cultivate this centered spontaneity
of which I speak?
By practicing Buddha’s contemplation,
and meditation, and compassion.
In Tibet, they are known as
view, meditation, and action.
The easiest way to practice VIEW
is to blend certain rhetorical questions
with mantra recitation.
The easiest way to practice MEDITATION
is to passively watch the play of mind
in coordination with one’s inhalation
and then to relax into the non-graspable
nature of mind
in harmony with one’s exhalation.
After having sat in meditation
the easiest way to train in ACTION
is to first briefly recall how although
the minds, communication,
bodies, and circumstances
of all beings everywhere
conventionally seem to be lucid, and resounding,
and sensual, and appearing,
ultimately they are each as non-graspable
as a vast, empty void,
like a beautiful cloudless sky
the color of Kun-tu-zang-po’s body.
Secondly one practices the love
that wishes that for all beings:
their minds would be joyful,
and their speech would be peaceful,
and their bodies would be blissful,
and their circumstances would be fortunate.
Training thusly, every morning and every evening
we could condition ourselves to love and let-go
spontaneously, and habitually, and easily, and effectively.
Today’s fifth poem:
When teachers explain
that the mind is “clear light”
what do they mean?
The mind is lucid,
the mind is aware.
It is aware of the five senses
of sensation, and flavor, and scent, and sound, and sight.
Mind is also aware of its sixth sense,
the awareness of its own
emotions, and intentions, and reasoning,
and recollection, and imagination.
So during our meditation’s IN-breath
we could spontaneously notice
any of these aspects, or functions, of mind
and during our meditation’s OUT-breath
we could physically relax
and as we do
we could mentally experience the non-graspability
of that which we notice
as well as the non-graspability of the mind itself
that perceives all the above.
Thus “clear” is a metaphor of mind's perception
and “light” is a metaphor of its non-graspability,
inferring that mind is as non-graspable as the full moon,
reflected upon the surface of a placid lake.
Today’s sixth poem
“Member of the Sith”
I once knew a petty, cruel man
who although had promised
to pay for his son’s college education
looked for a way out of his pledge.
So he added a proviso
that if his son’s grade point average
dipped below an arbitrary level
he would cease to support his son’s education
and the son would have to move out
and seek gainful employment.
To ensure his son’s failure
that father selected the classes
loading the freshman with an inappropriate number
of overly demanding classes.
When the inevitable happened
and the unsatisfactory grades were issued
the father wasted no time
in cutting his son off
and kicking him out.
As if that was not enough
he strove to convince himself and his son
that what he had done
was in his son’s best interest.
But it really was not.
Jim did not succeed in convincing his son.
And his son never got over it.
This sad tale
of cruelty, and betrayal,
and deceit, and self-righteousness
is not uncommon nor unheard of.
That father had no lightsaber
but make no mistake
he was as self-serving and cruel,
as any member of the sith.
Today’s seventh poem:
I have encountered
who insisted they were enlightened
yet could not define what that term meant
no less how the buddha used it.
Let us conclude
with a simple
call to action
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These spiritual poems are also available on
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