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Celebrations of Being

By Matthew Blevins


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Copyright 2004 Matthew Blevins

I have seen the immense light around you. I have thought about it every day since I was born. What does the light whisper? What does it mean?

Throughout a lifetime, we rarely have occasion to present our "real" selves. Rarer still, are opportunities to display the private, reserved, complex, and sufficient inner-self. In this collection, I present the real man. I give you the wandering unripe boy, the rough manly prime, and the reflective later years. Through my book I hope to give you, the reader, an opportunity to meet me, walk with me, and in the end, celebrate life with me. I write always in joyous celebration of those things beautiful, amazing, claimed, and unclaimed. To this celebration, I invite all people, beginning with you.
In a lifetime we each make a path, a long road stretching from a beginning to an end. On this journey we stand beneath burning red sunrises, seek higher truths, kiss our loves, and step into the awaiting earth. Along this road are the beautiful souls, the grand sojourners that walk beside us. I have walked my road. I have walked it beside you. I have witnessed the immense glory and have fallen in love with it.
Now, learn what it was to be Matthew Blevins. Know, as you read, that I wrote as much for you as for myself. Know that I exist somewhere forever, celebrating.

December, 2001



Book I
Earth Down



Grand thinkers, I give you a new redemptive theory of everything.

I have loved you from the very beginning
I cried when you were born; indescribably happy
I sat with you when your body died, holding your head gently
Now…let us talk of everything in between.

Love is the greatest attribute of the soul. To love unconditionally and understand the suffering of the world; to fight hatred with love – these actions are divine. Drop your possessions, burn your house, give your jewels to the state. Gather up love, plucking it like vibrant flowers speckling the lush hillside of the earth. Give those away too. You will perish, yet your bouquets will bloom forever.

Savor tomorrow. Know yesterday and today occur only to justify and beautify your next awakening. Your slumbering head was meant for dreaming, do not despair. Your safe passage is assured. A champion walks beside you, sword drawn, ready. Kiss the fragile leaves and know the Cycle flows ever onward. You shall return. You are more beautiful than you can ever know. Get up. Take to the streets of the world with a new gorgeous message of love.

The day I died I brushed my hand across the cosmos. Am I still a boy in the park beneath the Milky Way, or am I nothing now? Lower my coffin into the stars and throw eternities upon its silence. I command the face of the corpse to remember there is still laughter everywhere, and I exhume all the love which is buried alive (there is too much buried, reader.) What is love but death’s coffin? Where does death hide in the morning when the constellations fade? And I know my poems are larger and better than I. For they love easily, like an apostle working miracles for free, and I fear the hands laid upon my blind eyes. I do not disbelieve, but I have beautiful doubts. I know the road is long and there are many travelers upon it. There is so much to see and people to become (always more selves to drink.) There are no continents, only paths; no lifetimes, only journeys. Only outstretched fingers of God on her wedding day. You know I express myself better with howls of glee around the campfire than with a pen and paper. I explain to the sick what it means to be endless and surrounded by nothing. I give encouragement to those who have yet to fall in love – I gently remind them nothing is loveless forever. And the highest spire in heaven becomes a stepping stone to the universe that is Me.
I am certain love and hope cannot be slain (what is a lifetime but love and hope in perfect repose already?) Gather me up, friend. I am plentiful and easily gotten. I will not hide from you or greet you as a stranger. Take me to your bed and be still a while next to me. I will awaken. Even now my silence has beautiful stories to tell. Sing to me as if the hymnal has already been opened and the trumpet blown. I am the eldest of the old, yet today your bed is my cradle. Bring in the doctor and the priest, if you must. Let them announce my illness terminal. (I know nothing can be terminal – life cannot be denied for long.) In the deepness of me rages an undefeatable thing. In the wideness of me soars an uncatchable thing. My soul is like a shaft of light traveling between stars. But I know it is also a broken leaf fallen to the earth collecting rain.
Send home the curious; the blood-letters can do no more! My terminus is not a changing of sheets, a wet cheek, a reading around an open grave. (Reader – I once made love to Brenna and hiked the Appalachian Trail in the springtime.) So stare at the starlight and drink from the leaf. Fear not the wildness I have become or the distance I have left between us. You have only to hope and love and I will awaken.

I effuse myself to you and invite you to sing with me a new chorus of life. Long have I been a ripple spreading forth on the perfect headwaters of eternity. Long have I awaited this existence and desired the beautiful people it would produce.
I am nothing if you do not make me so
For love has no power but to give meaning to its believers
Long have I gathered worlds in my arms and knew no loneliness. Long have I experimented with the remarkable properties of a thing called Life. Long have smiling children come to me with simple questions I cannot begin to answer. Long have I been heartened by the fate of this universe and the universes yet to be conceived. Long have lilies grown where I once died. (But what grows where I once lived?) Long will the sages contemplate what I have written. Long have I lived deeply and immensely and spread my identity with a continental kiss. Long have I dreamt of your coming, reader. I cannot begin to explain my excitement right now. I grow happier by the passing moment. My happiness is daring and audacious.
And this book is my stone tablet for the eons to debate.
And this book is my poem that springs forth from a new passion forever.
I haul man up from the brink of nothingness and whisper something beautiful to him – and he does the same for me. In this love, I know I have discovered a mystery forgotten, a power underestimated. But my song is not that of privilege or influence. It is that of the grass bent beneath the breeze. It is the song of sojourners redeemed by taking the lonelier way. The song of lovers who cannot turn their gaze from the others eyes. The song of the cycle of life and the cycles that comprise its countless eternities. The song of ages upon ages that come to conclusion in you, reader.

Your spirit has awakened. Let nothing but sunshine pour in on you, bathing you in everlasting warmth. Toss your tired form into the diamond skies. Do not be afraid; you can fly. The water reflects the whiteness of the morning clouds. Cry. Can you imagine anything more beautiful or inspiring? How exciting to set to the task of life. The adventure awaits. You, the hero, taking arms against immeasurable odds. Can you see the long roads of gold, winding into the distance? Never return. Fall in love and be gone. Kiss the virgin earth that lies stretched out before you, watching you with expectant, curious eyes. Pound your breast and scream into the night. You will never again live life as well or as deeply as you are now.

Let this be your maxim:
Search for the truth
Strive for perfection
Surround yourself with beauty

Lend a helping hand to someone in need, inspire a dream, and give hope. Reach down and lift with humility. If you cannot conceive, adopt. If you cannot have certainty, have faith. If you cannot relive, remember. Offer yourself up as a living sacrifice to everything you loved when you were a child. Stay fascinated at fireworks, thunderstorms, and bugs. Live your life as an experiment, living it so dearly. Laugh. Make love.

You cannot remain, any more so than the river can refuse to run or the wind refuse to sing. You are in perpetual flux. The human body you hold is but a handful of sand cast into the breeze. The soul ebbs and flows like a shore-line, churning passionately from distant events. The world distorts, nature aligns. But this is natural and good. Nothing will ever befall you that you cannot understand. Nothing occurs that is not a law of nature.

What is man but an effigy of the earth risen and pronounced blessed? What is redemption but a sweet tonic offered to quench his thirst for completeness? I think every lifetime is a totem representing some beautiful new belief. I think every dazzled young dreamer is a shaman throwing bones to interpret the gestures on God’s blushing face. But what is carved into the heart of the dreamless? What fate awaits the lesser part of a man divided against his ether-self? Life is a sleeping dream and a wakening dream that cannot be ended by our hands. Can an idol be crafted to venerate the living more than the dead? Can a mountain be built to raise man into the awakening sphere of his mind?

Together we lay. Our bodies’ warm, soft, surrounded by deep pillows. I kiss you tenderly and whisper my favorite secret to you. My lips rest on your lithe neck. Your body falls, passionate and trembling, into my embrace. How many years have I loved you? I boldly admit it has been not years, but lifetimes; not the life of men, but of worlds.

You doubt my intentions and believe I must be something separate and apart from you. I swear we are part and parcel of the other. Where do you end, and I begin? We are grapes born of the same vine, tied to the same Earth, stretching toward the same heaven. Now, let us loose our suspicions and dissolve our differences. There is no time for them. That I loved a million times before will never brook my desire to court and seduce you.

Be at once a poem and an epitaph. Is not a poem the final powerful blow dealt to death by the living? Is not a single beautiful thought the internment of all the graveyards of the universe? But I tell you also that death is a deepening poem unto itself that cannot be fully written by the living. And death remains a thing I know is lovelier than we think. Perhaps life and death are lovers whose kisses are newborn babes and voices are soft funeral hymns. I also know that life and death are pleasant words poets use when they cannot help but shout hope from high peaks and low valleys. Why should I die for a different reason than I lived? Am I more complete in the end than in the beginning? Reader – what fanfare around my deathbed could begin to outshine one moment of my manhood spent in love with you!
I say you should not fear the gentle sleepfulness of death and the dreams that may come after. The distance spanning life and death is small when seen from a far away vantage. So the sun witnesses no pain and the galaxies are haunted not by an ending. Death! I cast you away; but you are not a net thrown over life! I realize no strong bond can bind the immense hands of the living. And death casts me away and laments why I have returned to taunt and defy it. But I am not here to enslave what cannot be mastered or write poems that cannot be read. Life is a miracle worked by death in its will to preserver. Death is a dove sent to deliver life into new hands forever. Yesterday I dug my own grave deep and sat upon its lip celebrating. It is a great mistake to think dirt can hold me; for long ago I gave my soul to the children playing down the street. Know that in another place, in another time, a women will bear me up - like fields of lilies opening their flowers anew forever. Know that my body may die, but I do not go down with it. As my eyes burn out the better part of me takes flight over ranges of forever and plays in vast fields of heaven’s stars. Know that I search beautiful places always and wait patiently for my moment of return.

Ask yourself this simple question – "What am I."
You are a poet, saint, philosopher and redeemer. Summon up the vast powers at your disposal. Ignite the molten fires at the core of the world; they have waited lifetimes for your return. You are man in his most uncommon hour. There are many enemies to face; thank goodness you are here. The time is now. Be courageous and bold; it is expected. Be strong, humble, loving, kind, wise, just, and selfless. Become a being more divine. Yes, I have witnessed you bathed in the brilliant light. I believe in you. Now, gird up your loins and go.

Are you an atheist? Hmm…I was too before I met you. There is more God in you than you can know. Give me your hand, I will show you the drifting boundaries of forever, where all things someday go. I will take you to the battlefield wracked with moans; to shadowy places where despair melts slowly. But I will also take you to places where laughter is a sound gathering like a thunder, where life brims in mighty fountains I cannot begin to describe. Look through and beyond them. More beauty is hidden than is visible to your mortal eyes. God is in the details.

Be a beacon in the darkness. Be a faithful flame in the mist, guiding wavering frightened souls through the perilous way. Know this, adventurer - all life is fleeting and you will not pass this way again.

You are nearly gone. The cancer has found and consumed you. Your voice is drifting far away now. Why do you laugh when I say that life is not a fire quenchable by its own hand? Sit beside me; place your head in my lap. I will gently remind you of the best times. Tell me about the first moment you met me – about our first kiss. Yes…it was your gorgeous brown eyes that drove me mad.

Be a Spirit Warrior. Practice civil disobedience whenever you can. Liberate the oppressed; those innocent souls trapped in dank pits on distant shores. But never forget there are pits in your own home too. Combat hate with love. Profess agape as you are placed on the rack and stretched. Your captors will listen. Outside your window the locust stirs and sloughs off its brittle skin. So to will goodness awaken; though its seed time be many ages of men. You worry that your love will not be remembered or returned, forgetting that someone long ago pulled you out of the primordial mud. You are living proof that all love is returned.

I dream only of origins and first principles. I think the growing soul of a child is the foundation of the cosmos and all tiny saplings are planks supporting the deck of the world. What is a unified theory of everything compared to the enlightened mind of a single person? I have been told the One Soul bleeds rivers of beings forever. But what does your small human spirit bleed into the watershed of life? I have heard you are the mythological boatman over rivers of souls winding their way back home. So perhaps your part in this beautiful romance (this legend of everything) is more important than you know. And the origin of me is everywhere and complete. And the origin of you is vast and indomitable. And what differences we have are easily forgotten when I run my fingers through your hair and rest your head on my pillow. I tell you all differences are dust and shadow. All similarities are truth and ecstasy.

Look people in the face. Be gentle with them. They may yet have something beautiful to say. Listen to their dreams and desires with an open mind. Do not be judgmental. Who are you to criticize the sky’s hue? Do not rush off or be brusque. You may be their only friend. Think about what they are saying. They want to be accepted and understood. This is the powerful truth of all humankind. Treat them as if you are standing beside them at the altar. Never assume an enemy. Be humble, they surely know more than you about many things. Compliment them. Admire them. Invite them. Be genuine.

There are many miles above your mortal head. And in your own few feet of space, there are infinities upon infinities. You are a depthless container dipped into life that pours forth life forever. And God whispers gently into the fullness of you and cries mightily into the empty spaces of your being. You are a heaven into yourself, but you are not an angel. And you are a demon into yourself, but you are not a sinner (I have never met a sinner). The soul in you is not a thing of right or wrong. It is simply that which hopes and loves forever. Reader, hope and love are also in the fullness and emptiness of you. Hope is the liquid filling up your depthless expanses and love is the light dispelling your mysteries. Let your mouth always pour forth a new undying song. Let it be taken in great rivers by the cosmic stream and dropped tenderly into the ears of simple men and women everywhere. Let your eyes be opened to the planets and stars that halo your head. Why do you walk on the ground when so much of you dances in paradise? How can you settle for today when something inside you sees always a more distant unspeakable destination?

Ask yourself if you will live forever. You know the answer. There are more undiscovered places in the universe then there will ever be days to find them, yet you sit idle in your house, ill-content at some triviality. Give up your empire of dirt; let your soul be your crown and castle. Sit in the park on Sundays. Smell your wife’s scented hair in the springtime. Explore the world. Take only what you can carry. The rest will happily be born by your mind, that faithful mighty servant. Set sail for your own exotic inner harbors. Let the crew parish in the gale – it does not matter. On the deck you will remain.

Spin me into your smooth tanned arms. Clap. I will dance with you through the morning; as long as the last person remains. I step higher in the crescendo, swinging my arms toward the sky. Laughter plunges into shadow beyond the fire light. Let’s take the beach back to our honeymoon suite. Here - hold my hand as we go.

Create in everything you do. Everything is meant to be explored and transformed. You are too. The act of creation is both necessary and divine. Can you recall your childhood sandbox? Feel the cold mud clump between your fingers. Realize you are holding the bones of recycled paupers and carpenters and kings.

Learn to discipline yourself, faithfully dedicating your mind to a task. Run, sing, write, or grow flowers. Spend an hour each day narrowing your thoughts, distilling the essence of the art, and refining your perceptions. Do not move quickly. True mastery comes from constant reflection. Remember where you began and imagine where you will someday be. Study. Do not be narrow-minded or short-sighted. As in building a house, you must assimilate many diverse things over time. Master the physical, the mental, and the emotional perspectives. Never love or despise your art. Either will destroy you in the end. Keep to the path. Persevere. When you have created something, appraise it with truthfulness and objectiveness. Most importantly, teach others what you have learned.

Many good philosophers have failed to answer the question, "What am I to do with my life?" Do not trouble yourself with it. Philosophies materialize and dissolve like the morning mists. Society and governments try to dictate how you should live, and why you should die. Always there are those who preach, desperate to change your ways. Look away. Let them babble, filling your funeral procession to the end of the earth if they must. Love is a philosophy unto itself. You hold the astrolabe and the compass; the skies have cleared. All history, foresight, and destiny are within you already. You do not need a guide through the deep waters of your own harbor. You are well armed and prepared. You are necessary and sufficient. That is enough.

You are a universe into yourself when you try to understand the interconnectedness of all things. Unity is a tree with many different leaves in many seasons. Sameness is a seed that sprouts fields of life unending. Love is not a selfish thing that one man can posses. Nothing in this world or the next can lay claim to the totality of Love. Can the ocean be divided by striking it with a hammer? Can a tree be convinced to turn its canopy against its roots? If the earth were a womb your neighbor would be your brother (what is the earth if it is not a womb?). If the universe were a soul even your enemy would be your lover. Love is not kept in your heart. You are kept in the heart of Love. Beauty is not a lesser or greater thing because another can hold it. The truth is that every being is an open outstretched hand. Imagine the strength and beauty of the hands carrying the Cosmos!

Your conscience, your guilt, your intuition; these are all instruments of the One Soul. The One is in you and in me and we cannot divide them, even at the cemetery.

A world on fire. Raging, mad, angry throngs holding the streets. Where will you be? Center yourself and remain neutral amid the smoke. Politics, nations, patriotism, duty – irrelevant to your mission. You have higher orders.

Forget everything you have read or heard – it is hearsay. Go out and do for yourself.

It is shocking that the earth’s soul has chosen my fleeting voice to carry its love poem aloft. Today I am the living wind that bears high the seed and the song. Tomorrow I am the smooth gravestone surface good for contemplation. Grow, men and women - I beg you. Grow strong vines from the hardest ground if you must. Now your water can be drawn from a purer fount and your earth can be opened with the plough of a bold new philosophy.

Look how much further the horizon extends when your pockets are light. Our souls are meant to roam and play. If you must be rich, do not forget those dreams you had when you were poor. They will remind you of who you really are, even in the parlor room. You have gone mad trying to buy this and that. Why? You can never buy what you really need. If given the choice, would you trade your gilded house for a clean conscience? You are so eager sell the fresh air for a full stomach that you never notice you are starving in far worse ways.

Whitman’s answer:
The grass on graves are orphaned children of the Central Mind. The plush cover of our wedding night. The outstretched fingers of beautiful brides. The braided hair of the girl I…. The smooth green hips of Father Nature. The luscious thrust tongues of Messiah.

You have learned nothing worthwhile that you did not teach yourself. You are the product of schools and books, and this is good; but you must know more. In your daily life you are comfortably unaware of the magnificent fires that burn around you. You are the spectacular interaction of energy, light, and motion; yet you know nothing of physics. You drink water, but you cannot fathom how it springs from the faucet. Similarly, you are ignorant of your own mind, forgetting it faithfully pours forth even more invigorating stuff.

There are many roads yet untaken, many places of unspeakable beauty that you have yet to reach. Take the longest way home. Explore the rugged rutted trials of your own mind. Do not be so eager to see your doorstep; you know what lies beyond it. You were meant for the highest ground, but you will not find it in the neighborhood. Wind and wander in your life, your love, and in your quest for understanding. Know that not everyone who wanders is lost; I am proof of that. Through Zaire, Calcutta, Cuba, and Corregidor; walk until you understand the way of the road, until your soul walks the road forever, though your body remain warm beside the oven.

I dream an immense dream of creation
of all beauty ever produced, ever lost.
Look! Penumbra of a thousand curious souls, approaching;
sweet valved orators, returning, reclaiming the pulpit
preaching the story of the coming and the going,
of the maggots on the abattoir floor,
of the white fluffed dandelions atop all graves,
of the widowed mother wrapped carefully about her babe.
Yes; there were others under the jagged liquid starlight
half light drawn thin from white vitreous embers
conjuring astral shades, reckoning eternity, revealing;
they had come to witness the conclusory remarks
of this ruddy, earthy terminus; this denouement that is I;
A heavy, long, conversation of eyes;
I stand unafraid
knowing each of their names,
knowing that I had been loved, and had loved in return,
knowing I was rough, unshorn, exquisite, plenary,
knowing the kiss given me in my manly prime
is given delicately elsewhere,
knowing the Day of Judgment is merely ornamental
that I had been adjudged beautiful before the womb,
knowing the bedighted skies wash over me
that the deluge will continue when I am gone,
knowing that bustling within me is more than blood and basal stuff
it is all romantic stares, all careful trysts, all never-forgotten goodbyes,
it is all merry friends gathering up kindling for the bonfires,
all pious stacked forms lining the token churches,
all brittle’d white bones in dark spaces, still arranged pleasantly,
all excellent scholars who debate well the selfish biographies,
all handsome men who fish ruggedly the mighty streams,
all fresh-pressed dancing girls who brandish, and torment, and tame.
All awaiting my passing, awaiting far greater my
return; robust, wild, freshly emerged
from molten furnaced forges before Eden,
from all distant systems, known and unknown
birthed beyond the beyonds, and further yet
expunged, naked, squirming, from tight passages
recast assuredly in affirmation of the cycle
the cycle runs, the cycle flows, I swear.
Brocade of darkness, heavy hands sculpting me freshly;
mortal ripeness achieved, beginning the metamorphosis.

Nature is the mother of the soul but it knows not the pleasure of its conception nor the pain of its birth. Through nature we find ourselves awakening to footfalls of an ancient solitary friend. What is man but a portrait painted across the fields and mountains of eternity? Nature and mind are not one, but they indivisible. Your dreams are a love song sung to nature in its beauty, but your desires are a warcry sounded by your selfish human heart. What is nature but a watchful father who gives us only what we need, and what is time but an instrument of that greater man, used to measure revolutions of the Cycle. The grass is an emerald trove that makes us all wealthy. And the morning light is a stroke of paint dabbed by the artisan of creation. And every mountain-top is a quite chapel of a God that knows us and calls us by name.

Practice indiscriminate giving. What do you own that would not be better served in another’s hands? Why do you insist on carrying so much and for so long? There is a child in your town that has no food or clothes – remember that. Give your money away as easily as you gained it. If you cannot, you have already perished. Know that you have lost nothing, even as you hand over your house keys. In fact, you cannot begin to comprehend how much you gained. Volunteer. Stand up. Collect your money and belongings and go to the shelter. The memory of offering your favorite possession to one penniless child will carry you through many dark nights. Does your messiah dine in a throne room? No. Nor does mine.

Let your voice boom above the rooftops of the world, stirring the masses to action. Your opinion is a flaming sword in angelic hands. Who can defy it? The strength of the crowd is its ability to judge and disrespect. But truth can never be judged – it is both universal and infallible. Speak out from the highest pulpit. Preach what is unpopular. Preach what is not easily accepted.

Open your eyes, traveler. Look! Why do you sleep as the rhododendron blossom?

I have missed you from the moment you left. I plant a thousand silent kisses on your portrait, but still I sleep alone. My body aches for your embrace. Where are you? Come kiss me, drink from my eyes, and remind me of a dauntless thing called Love.

As you wander the road, go out of your way to meet strangers. For if you fear your neighbor, a part of you becomes a stranger within yourself. Eat with them in their homes. Sit with them beside the fireplace, laugh with them, and explain what it is like where you come from. Let them know that love is an incense you would bring them forever if they were not already a candle and a fragrance unto themselves. If you see an act of kindness, strengthen it with your own hand. If you see evil, strike at it like an avenging angel. If you see sickness, sacrifice yourself to ensure life is not a lengthening shadow thrown by death. If you should perish in your quest, do not despair, there are processions of others following your footsteps.

When you love, love deeply, but do not lust. Let your passions be brief and well-placed. To the wise nothing is sadder than displaying the wrong emotion at the right time. Live life up to your nose, and if you sink into its churning waters, be confident you need only to put a foot down. Celebrate when the time is right. There is nothing wrong with holding a bottle of wine in each hand if you have just killed the despot. You will certainly slay many of them before you set yourself free.

Love is the merging of materiel and spiritual, bearing final witness to the carcass lying amid the flowers. Love translates and explains the deepening meaning of this world, turning its folds out to glimmer in the noon-day sun. It exchanges beauty for certainty, law for nature, and method for truth. Reaching deep into the minds of men, it is the ambassador of unknown magnificent places, heralding the approach of something we cannot comprehend. Love is the worship of God’s subtle imposition into the soul. It is the handmaiden of creation, sacrifice, and respect. It holds you to your celestial roots, reminding you that everywhere about you are apocryphal notions of the sublime. It is the shadow of unexplored planes, each throwing a brilliant facet toward the Central Fire. It is the unending easel of the Creator Mind, offering token glimpses of the passage. Love is the redistribution of God, and the only form of recollection by which you explain things that you have never lived.

Will you do it in your next life? If given a thousand millennia, would you set aside the time? No. What is not begun today will never be accomplished

Let your worries dissolve like night held before the rising sun. From worry, nothing can be gained; except discontent. Enter the eye of the storm with the peace of a Man before his cross. Nothing can assail you that is worth a single wrinkle in your brow. Your Herculean sweat will not rebuild Babylon, any more than your fear will make you a philosopher. What is to be will come to pass, regardless of your best objections. But this is good. Time was meant to pass, recording the creative meanderings of the river of life. You are the culmination of all events in history, and your existence stands unopposed at its brink. Believe in yourself.

Somewhere in the highlands a man collects firewood. His beingness is inseparably bound to yours. He is your soulmate, lover, and friend. He completes you like a the gulf stream completes the beach, misses you like the dry earth misses the dew, longs for you like a prisoner longs for freedom. He will never disappoint you, and in his arms the kisses never cease. Together, you were meant to dance and laugh forever, though around you friends pass away, mountains crumple, and the planets dissolve into dust.

There is only one perfect person in the world for you. You may never meet him or her, though you spend a thousand sleepless nights in search. Does this disappoint you? Reflect on it. At this moment, there is an amazing soul walking somewhere outside your door. Perhaps my wife speaks Hindi and washes her clothes in a river ten thousand miles away. I will not cry. Some souls were never meant to be discovered. They are more beautiful because they exist but cannot be touched. The power of any ideal is the power of hope, and it is a precious fount.

Go search. Never give up.

Somewhere in the distance a shot is fired and a war begins. Your blood is spilt for the institution, for the master’s glory and fame. But you neither have nor need any master. A government of mere men cannot rule the mind of a single Man. Congress would have you burn yourself to dust before the precious flag is singed. So Man is immolated by the fires of progress, and his ashes are sown over his son’s crops. Who fires the rifle in your hands, you or your President? Under orders to take another’s life, the best men drop their gear and return to the woods.

Have faith in the power of your mind - to be sure, it has great faith in you. Nothing has effect unless you make it so. Thought is born to drive action. On the strong shoulders of your mind, knowledge evolves, empires rise, and the collective fate of humanity strides toward its polestar. Let your mind swell and break the levy, let it wash clean the high peaks of your own existence, and deposit your soul atop its fertile delta. Mind is the perfect apparatus of dreaming, faithfully endeavoring to make every man into something worthwhile, no matter the cost. At its finest, it is both irresistible force and immovable object. It was cast forth at the birth of the age and set into motion, animating your frame for the briefest moment before plummeting onward toward the Fountainhead.

My heart shudders and blows in the gale. The thought of love gained and lost becomes drums in the night. I have taken poison and set out for the hillside to die. That two souls should wander the earth alone is tragic; there are so many festivals yet to enjoy. Where has your wonderful voice gone, and why can I still hear it in the distance? Why? Why? My precious girl from the gulf beach, wrapping me in heaven’s embrace. Keep searching for me through the wilderness of starry nights. I lie awake somewhere, waiting for you.

All silently passing away. All drinking and cheering as they run from the frothing bulls. All secretly plotting the demise of the other. Holding a string in the wind, your soul soaring like a kite. Paving roads for the machine of the universe. Carrying rocks that were once the Acropolis, certain of their ancient piety. Talking to her as the night becomes morning, smelling her perfume. Watching the horizon for the first sight of land. Remembering the day you walked back into town, the journey complete. All the handsome men who die face down in the mud. All the gorgeous girls jumping horses in the springtime show. To sweat days and dream light-years, even as you carry the casket.

Know that somewhere a girl is being kissed for the first time. That in a hospital room a young man is watching the sunrise through the window; that he knows it means something more. That the skeletons atop Mt. Everest still clutch their wedding rings. That a house is being built in the ghetto. That somewhere a wife has just been given the news. That all that ever was is no more; that the seconds pass ceaselessly. That right now someone much like yourself feels the same way. That there are never endings, only beginnings. That a million dead people would give anything for what you have right now. That I am watching your every action with limitless expectation and excitement. That your life is a powerful epic and a beautiful poem; that you are its fabled author.

When you wake up, think of everything you have. When you go to bed, think of everything you have. You are richest man in the town if you count the last five seconds. Think about these things and put them in the proper place: health, age, money, family, lovers, friends, two feet, freedom, education, work, belonging, reason.

Long ago I raised anchor and set sail for the distant isles. Have you heard the stories of my voyage? Have you thought long about the greater meaning of my disappearance? What is a man’s voyage but a salute cast blindly into the face of a storm? What is a lifetime but a flute harmony played to tame that tempest inside God’s soul? The stories of my death and awakening are true. There are many deaths and awakenings along any untrod path, along any dangerous way. Fear not my death. Fear only that death is not the beginning of my greater voyage.

There is much beauty to see if you are prepared to open your eyes. Begin by changing your world-view. The sun cannot blind you if you understand its position along the time-line of eternity and its purpose in the ritual of renewal. Your life is a season in the flourishing; are you content to waste it while the weeds overtake the blossoms? Sadness and despondence are not for you. The fireworks have begun. The drinks are being poured. The night is never dark for long. Go out and tell seven billion people that you love them with blood-shot eyes.

Cultivate a deep respect for Love as an ideal. Forget you were wronged, disliked, or sinned against. Live out your life like an artist before the easel; grasping forgiveness from the earth’s outstretched hand. Witness beauty - paint truth.

Your kiss is like morning dew - wet and soft upon my lips. Let me dance behind you and press your hips gently against mine. I do not know from where this Love has been gathered. Perhaps all love is a note I sent to myself a thousand years ago to someday open. How many love letters then have I sent toward today? How many beautiful men and women read my signature now with bated breath? I know our lifetimes must be long midnights spent clasped in each others bosom. I hear the musicians play and wonder if God courted the earth in such a way. Yes. I think that God has authored many letters of her own.

There was always the sound of the earth awakening, even before you could hear it. Before you, there were men who loved, worked, and died. Before them were the souls of warriors, and saints, and farmers. Back until the beginning there were great men and women, picking up and commencing in the face of seasons unknown. The memory of what was will become the outline of what will be. History is the template. Everything that ever existed will return again in embarrassing ways. You have never lived a moment that has not already been enjoyed by some trumpeter, merchant or harlot. Ahead of you are a thousand ready men, each willing to take up where you have left off.

Have you estimated the age of the earth? Or calculated the miles from yourself to the farthest satellite? How long did it take to judge the value of a sparrow? Of a crippled child? Of eternity? Did you reckon the distance from your eye to your soul as easily as your hand to your stomach? Have you forgotten the sound of the growing leaf? Question how the finite becomes the infinite. Search for how you too can take the path. It is said that the song of the universe’s birth may be heard everywhere. Listen for it.

When you are angry think of all the better ways you could be using your time. When you are tired consider how lucky you are to be able to work hard (there are many who do not have the strength to walk). When you are jealous think of what we take with us to the cemetery. When you are happy think of me. When you are in love think of what that is and how it came to be. You will find that love is the final human victory. When you are ready to give up think of what was accomplished by those who did not give up (the earth has not given up on you). When you are scared look in the mirror (there is something powerful there). When you are alone know that there is no such thing as loneliness. You have never been alone. A powerful vanguard surrounds you always, its warriors extending to the farthest horizon.

Cut the ropes, break the bonds, and escape unhindered into the light. Nothing can stop you but the fear you make for yourself. There has never been a crowd that can subdue you or a barrier strong enough to keep you at bay. You are high water rushing over the dam. You cannot be contained or measured by this world or the next. Forget everything except this – you are. Why fear? The sun rises and sets, the lovers die, the ruins of mankind fade into antiquity – you will remain.

Children in the back yard. Mothers and fathers clapping proudly, expressing with smiles the depth of their mysterious union. Summer light pouring over the dogwood, its flowers ablaze in the afternoon breeze. It was there I felt the hand on my shoulder. Holding me like a rescued friend, asking my name. And the seasons pass and the children grow-up. Their beautiful parents fall asleep, never to return. The dogwood blooms for the last time, its tired branches in exquisite denouement. The hand slip from my shoulder - our work complete. I too pass on.

Why are you always masquerading, and so poorly? Do the people who love you know who you really are? If you do nothing else, plumb the depths of the souls that surround you. Treat them as the nobility they are and accept them as unique extensions of the One Soul. Keep their hopes and dreams as close, or closer, than your own - it will help you explore even farther down your own road. In the other room is the future of the race. Think what a few compliments could do for the teenager in the next room. You are so certain that all the kind words were meant for you. Go quickly! – Every soul is on stage today reading its lines. Listen. What is being admitted is cavalier and extraordinary.

Lift with your mind. Wonder with your heart. Dream with your feet.

The job remains incomplete. There is more to be done. Yes; the grass is cut, the papers are filed, and the house is arranged. But you are still in disarray, as you have always been. Throw down your hammer and crawl back into the womb. This time, direct your efforts to more meaningful things. You are not beyond help yet. There is nothing more important a man can do than gather up his own pieces. Like an engineer building a bridge. Two footings – one in this world, one in the next. A mighty span to withstand wind, rain, and time. An angle of gentle repose, arching toward its centerpoint. So a man assembles himself with his own labor. No coin is paid, and no crowd comes to admire. But the masterpiece at last is completed, and the continents are united forever.

The day I died I dreamed I lay
restless beside you, choking up
deep amorous love through cloudy breathes
gasping, drying my eyes with your scented hair.
I dreamed you pressed your firm,
excruciatingly real, body atop mine
disturbingly slowly…oh God….
hiding selfishly
the sound of your pony-tail
cascading into pieces.
The day I died, I overheard
a girl with long hair
had given a fine eulogy somewhere,
thinking it untrue, I sat beside
the creek, waiting for you.

In the end, it is for you alone to understand your place in the Cycle - to wonder why the apple tree buds - why you yourself are a bud. To know the shimmering fragrant leaves as people, and lovers, and planets. Then the rumors of the system are true. Its colossal hand holds the galaxy like a pebble in a stream. And every Man is a tributary to the ever-flowing stream; his cool waters pour into the ocean of life; his essence becomes a drop on some distant shore.

I have more faith, you more religion. Pit your own divinity against the church’s cornerstone; struggle with clenched teeth to break it free, collapsing the entire idea. There is no wiser holy book than the one recently discovered inside your head. Truth has many conceptions and presentations in the world of man. Measure its rough pitted edges with the patience of a Lama, endeavoring to get the whole of it, regardless of the season. A Man knows that many beaten paths stretch to the horizon; that all the dogma in Rome cannot pave one step of his own journey. Go to the cities and hills preaching the New Word – that love is unconditional, universal, and free; that to love completely is to become divine. Convert the masses, even as they shut the furnace door. Churches and religions will crumble under the weight of ages, but truth is born with every dawn.

I sometimes dream of a new house; one where the cool breeze rushes in through cracks in the walls, where starlight falls across the dirt floor, painting it with ancient truer colors. A spacious house that gives shelter without having to shut the door or sweep out the rafters. Where tales of adventure spark like cedar in the fireplace, and the sweet spices of a thousand distant ports mingle with the familiar scent of pipe weed. Where men and women gather to rest and converse, travelers from every corner, stepping in from the gathering storm. I welcome them, take their staves, and bring them soup from the kettle.

Why are you are so willing to do as you are told? You remain undecided until you are powerless to do what is right; becoming a mere puppet of the state. The legislature passes a law and your legs dance, the university teaches and your arms extend, the newspaper gossips and your jaws gape. No unjust institution can be allowed to stand. If a single righteous Man is sent to the mines, we are all enslaved. Let the revolt begin. Pull down the temples and halls, stone by stone if you must. Return their despotic foundations to grass, making the air fresh once again. Cut the strings that animate your neighbors, they can remain citizens of a lie no longer. Embrace truth, though it be hidden immediately; for even as we speak, the deadwood is consumed by its flame.

Be gentle with the hearts of others. Think about what you are about to do or say. It may be that the stranger next to you is faced with many great obstacles. A friend and confidant has entrusted you with invaluable things. Your mother and father see a spark in you. I see a many sparks in you.

I hug you tightly, pulling your body into the air, spinning you under the sycamore. I am so glad you have returned. Let me see your pictures…Wait! I forgot to tell you how perfect you are. To be without you, without your reassuring laugh, is for a week to seem like eternity. Come inside, you must be tired; I have your favorite dinner set out for you.

To be a child…
To be assimilated into the One Mind; to bejewel its crown with vitality. To drown all great tragedies in the deep waters of total acceptance; assured by its aura of peace. Measuring your age by the height of the seedling, believing it will grow forever. Trusting the questions more than the answers; knowing that the answers are really unimportant. Holding the dead mouse softly between tiny fingers, stroking it with uncertain expectation. Giving hugs and kisses with wild abandon, offering them purely and without regret. Opening eyes for the first time; having no preconceptions of what lies ahead or behind; seeing no reflections or shadows; never squinting in the light. Never doubting what nature has organized; being newly aware that our lives are very small in the Cycle. Capturing butterflies and setting them free; knowing that each of us has been held and set free. Knowing nothing worthwhile can be kept forever; that to cherish and let go is beautiful and just.

Why does the creek change its course, the fountain bubble, or the leaves die? Begin by thinking with your soul. Condition it to see the fabric of the metaphysical; witnessing that time, space, and matter are but three shafts of light in a multiverse of stars. In your search for truth, press undeterred toward its fount.

Three ways to look at life: As a prison sentence. As a long toil broken briefly by pleasure or pain. As a never-ending celebration of merging and oneness.

And the darkening form of the sun sank
And the purple shroud fell and deepened there
As if the dream world came and went, the new lovers appeared
And romped and frolicked at the trunk of the tree of stars
As so produced were we, precious stones of a
New rift in the seam of things
Vast, undaunted, beautiful like children in the riffles
The cloth cut, the dream taken and kept

Marvel at rejuvenation everywhere. Rains washing away the dirt of the day. Revolutions washing away governments; giving the power once again to the people. Organs flushing waste from the body. Supernovas, crushed under their own weight, casting off their excess. Snakes shedding fragile skin. Man shedding his old, uneducated ways. Trees shaking off their summer leaves. Ancient empires now hidden in ivy. A newborn baby, wrapped in her mother’s arms. A fallen warrior; his brave heart returning only to dust. (He too is wrapped in someone’s arms). Waterfall to stream, stream to river, river to ocean, ocean to sky, and over and over again forever.

You sit once again at the dinner table, hoping to be fed. The fish is cooked and the bread is broken; the meal has been blessed. But nothing natural can sustain you. When you pack your bags, provision them with sweeter, lighter manna. Eat from the festival board of the world. Spread your cover over the continents, picnicking grandly amidst the heavens. Forage fruit from every forest and field; tasting the nectars from Maine to Mozambique. There is a richer, more fulfilling food that man has yet to eat. It cannot be hunted atop the Pyrenees or gathered at the waterfall’s base. It flourishes all around us, its vines, like an umbilical cord, nourishing us with the sweeter ether of life.

I stand at the edge of the universe. I witness its cold void expanding into the dark, its arms outstretched to unknown places. Needing to see more, I travel inward. The solar system spreads out before me. Nine planets and a star in fragile friendship and symmetry. Closer in, the earth appears green, and blue, and bustling; continents and seas, raging storms and dim city lights - the Pangaea of man. Curious, I descend to its warm surface – atop a green hill in a park overlooking a lake surrounded by people. Smiling, I wonder if they know who I am. I fall into the springtime grass; threading myself through tender, moist sheaves, sitting on soft petals; my head amongst the clover. Now a new forest, no less grand than the one above, shades my face. Unconvinced, I journey deeper still, intent to drink at the truth from its source. Resting, I crouch beneath a grain of sand; day-old grasses rise like towers in the sky and a ray of sunlight becomes the vast firmament. Further and further I travel - the world about me always large, complex, and unimpressable by my alien feet. I watch atoms twist and morph, their forms altering to the melody of some unheard cord. I become a visitor to dimensions and spaces anciently founded; mother to the laws of nature, and in turn, the universe herself. But still my journey continues - until at last, the small and the large, the near and the far, the end and the beginning are seen for what they really are – one.

Life cannot break you. It is powerless to affect you, even in the least way. Become so humble, loving, and courageous that it can only observe your actions in silent admiration.

Man Thinking is man in his highest state; the greatest approximation of man to the Central Mind.

I lay your body softly in the grave, remembering everything you said about life. There are no good words for what has happened here. I smooth the cool dirt over your body. It tumbles easily over your lips; your arms, crossed pleasantly, disappear. And here you will remain, until, in a thousand millennia, the grasses will part, the earth will be washed away, and the sunlight will once again dance across your face. This is why I have set you here on the hill, in the sun, where the lilacs and persimmon trees grow. Here you may bless the earth, and it may serenade you forever. Because I am certain that what is hidden from sight is not dead; just as deep inside the ancient poplar tree are stored up a thousand years of heartwood. Nothing has been lost, nothing gained by today’s display. Do you remember the day we were married? Do you remember what I promised you at the altar? But God is a better companion for your new journey, as he has always been, though we often forget. I will make your bed and water the plants; don’t worry about the children. I love you so very much…and…before I go…take this note….
"Today, I promise, I will stand …. forever by your side.
I promise I will love you, cherish and confide
all the hopes and thoughts and fleeting cares
that in our lives we dream or dare.
Today, I promise, in your eyes will shine
my moonlit memories of the sweetest times
the endless days I’d dream awake
that all the moments of my life you’d take.
To grant me your peace, and free my soul
to raise divine, and love bestow.
Atop the highest mountain peaks
where summer sunshine and August meet
to forests green in far off places, and a thousand oceans warm embraces.
I’ll go to tell the world my story, that in my life my only glory
is you my friend my single joy, my hope to come, my way to find
my life to live in happiness, the only one that I have missed.
I love you more each day you see, so listen closely and believe
and walk my way if you will be the only one to carry me, and hold me close
and marry me…..and we’ll never be apart again."

Now is the time to see people in fresh, bold ways. Be a person of great class who sees no class. Hold yourself to a higher standard than you require of others.

Every man is a rock beneath some loftier structure; his own lifetime written as a preface to the Tome of Great Souls. A newer, better, and more noble breed of men will one day come. Courtiers of the earth, truth-seekers, walkers of long roads, sent to fulfill the ancient prophecies; demanding the return of lost loves, an opening of graves, an accounting of journeys taken and untaken. From unsuspected garrisons they muster – the penniless boy, the elated bride, the resigned widow. More begotten of the One Mind than of man, come to liberate and equate; positing their colossal souls against the unopposed order. Warriors of a celestial army, holding the streets of a new enlightened state; surrounded by its cheering populace. Against every injustice a champion will rise; shield poised, sword ready. And the battle will rage across the nations, until the king’s privileges are repaid, the palace finery is torn down, and the riches of the earth are returned to its people.

Now is the time for the old laws to be rewritten, the innocent set free, and society’s favored conceptions forgotten.

No one ever died of overexposure to roses.

Let no one tell you you are not smart, or pretty, or strong. You do not need to be. It is enough that you are who you are.

Sacrifice yourself for a cause. It is necessary that the cause is greater than yourself; do not forget that. What better place for your soul than on the highest cloud, legs trembling, earth far beneath you. If you fall, do not worry. The great hand of fate has been cradling you from the beginning. It will pluck you up and place you back on your feet. So, you see, you cannot parish, even in the greatest tragedy. I know these things because someone long ago caught me.

Be careful with your dreams and the places you take them. Imagine yourself as the apostle of the possible, the warrior of self-actualization. Not despair – determination. Not sorrow – strength. No one has ever been more capable than you are now. What is not done by you will be lost to the ages, a sad artifact of what might have been. Would you rather your descendants uncover your amazing accomplishments or your pitied bones? You are the greatest in a long vanguard of men. There is much to accomplish beneath these distant stars and city lights. Begin by making your way to the deepest core of the most unimagined places within yourself. Throw yourself in. You are the raw materials of a future greatness you cannot comprehend.

The first chapter is now complete, reader, and in it I have told you much about yourself. Now let me tell you more about me, more about the places I have searched in my ever deepening desire to know you. I give you my story in the first-person, as all great stories must be. It is the story of an unbound mind that lives by a higher authority. It is the saga of a life lived and loved to its supreme conclusion. You will see that I celebrate at all graduations and funerals. And I sob at all weddings and christenings. And I cast my self happily into the darkest waters and hope I will bring good luck to fisherman. I think my existence is only kindling for the campfires that will one day awaken the love of the world. My smile and easy acceptance of strangers is a wonderful excuse to set a table for all friends everywhere. And I say to you today – I have wandered all white seashores laced with lovers and secretly wished I were warm inside your arms. I have purchased Love’s gold until I was destitute but could think of no better way to buy my freedom. Their can be no providence except what the human heart creates. There is no right or wrong but what the strong will of Love enjoys.

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