Stream of Consciousness

Coming up blank, nothing here, finished Hillbilly Elegy, decent book, important message, but I find myself more drawn to the lyrical, the spiritual, the poetical, the not so logical words that dart around the page like a mouse in 3am’s bread drawer, that is me though, evader of the legal profession, where my sister and dad took constitutional refuge between the lines on the field, far from where I sit up in stars looking down on fireflies blinking in the long grass, with toads jumping into the pool when my grandma and grandpa are away-summer nights daydreaming about this, rearranging truth into fragments, run-ons like some kind of Kerouac adventure, Ginsberg howling out, making sense of the nonsensical, half-truths are what we grasp at, the beyond where life exists or we imagine it so.

Epiphany

when words appear and appear
idea takes form without
prodding, one letter after the next
pelting drops of rain
unabated it continues this
storm, lightning flashes
perfect cliché, but like a sneeze
it happens, a small clearing
breathing in new oxygen
effortless arrival, like it
was there all along

Scheduling Spiritual Growth

People schedule SoulCycle, mani-pedis, evening cocktail encounters with friends. I schedule spiritual growth. Very American of me, I know, but I live in a world of kid carpools, grocery shopping, laundry, and taking the dog out to poop. My daily calendar is always filled to the brim with bills that need to be paid and emails that must be returned. If I don’t make time to listen to myself, everything else takes over.

For years I knew there was a spirit in me, a writer in me, a poet in me, never fully free, always bound by external obligations. I have figured out a formula for expressing my inner being. I begin each morning reading a spiritual text that helps guide me on my journey. I meditate at least 45 minutes a day, scheduled breathing, in, out, trying to be as present as possible. Most Wednesday nights I meditate for an hour with a small group of friends, we then read and discuss the writings of Thich Nhat Hahn for another hour. I spend daily minutes (often hours) writing, reflecting on who I am with words, my words, on a page or computer screen. Every two months I plan intensive meditation weekends (Friday-Sunday) where I meditate multiple hours a day either at home or away. Each day I also do some form of yoga.

What exactly is spiritual growth? For me spiritual growth invites my internal quiet to speak loudly with truth. When I grow spiritually I learn things like love is everywhere, more is learned by listening than talking, there is good in everyone, anger is always reactive. Wisdom I’ve heard before, known before, but I need reminding, over and over again. Am I sitting enlightened under the bodhi tree? No, but I’m keeping a channel open, my spirit touching a timeless stream.

Nick Flynn

Writing words made (makes) him whole. Cleared out the zombies with meditation, confronting the addiction (addictions) again and again. On a boat bobbing with empty gangster dreams, streams of thought, thinking about tortured bodies, here and there. Homeless writer has a home in pages, roaming with parents now dead, alive in photographs, in words, in questions posed unanswerable. The bullshit, the ticking, the suicide, the fire. Somewhere over the rainbow, his rainbow, bright colors out of darkness.

Evening Prayer

I don’t pray every night, but I probably should. After baths, books, conversation with wife, I usually drift into writing, creating, rearranging words on a screen. Mind a whir, could journey depths until dawn, but the clock of calculation, of sanity, of sacred sleep, tells me to stop. I go into my daughter’s room, turn down her light, I love you, I say to her curled up slumber. I meditate in my son’s room, the sound of his breathing, my pew, my stained glass, my sanctuary. Seated, darkness, air in, carbon dioxide out, first minutes filled with brain bouncing from thought to thought, the earlier, the tomorrow, the could happen. Then sometimes the indescribable now, when I’m nowhere, everywhere, witness to all time, and no time at all. Emerge a short life span later, pray for my colleague, that her malignant tumor retreats, allows life, hers to continue. It feels like I could stay forever, talking to God, to no one, to everyone.