Strange Things Happen in the Land of Nothing

Out of nothing came a tree.

Not so age’d nor so young.

But with goodly branches spreading

In the center there, I sat.

On a nest of mystery spun.

Heart afraid of where it’s heading

Out of nothing came a sound.

Not a word nor melody.

Still. I hear it clearly singing

In a harmony I sit.

Out of nothing has it come.

From the nothing something ringing

Out of nothing came a stone

In my lap was white and round

That, my hand, is gently turning

Into nothing, will I go.

From the branches, stone and sound.

See, the nothing tree is burning

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Human Nature

All of humanity’s advancements toward peace and prosperity have been technological. We have made no progress with our basic nature. We still exhibit the same destructive qualities as did our most ancient ancestors. This is because our problem of behavior arises from our innermost core, what many call the “soul”. There is a broken part of it that keeps us from being the kind of people we really want to be. There is a sickness in the soul of humanity. Fixing what’s broken and healing what’s sick can be compared to heart or brain surgery. It’s not something you can do on yourself. Broken souls cannot fix broken souls. Our hope lies in someone outside of the human race, someone who is not broken and has the required knowledge and expertise to fix and heal us. Our hope is God, the great soul who has given us being. He is the eternally wise and unbroken one. The Bible tells the story of God’s interactions with human kind which culminate with the life of Jesus. There is good news. God has come to fix and heal us. Like brain or heart surgery, the process is mind boggling complex but the result for those who have trusted the great physician is remarkably real and truly miraculous. The message in Jesus is this: all people are children of God and God is our true father. We are not alone. We can believe this in the presence of fear or confusion and in the face of our greatest temptations to evil. The belief in our true father actually changes our nature. Being with our father settles and heals our soul and we find the heart to love others as we love ourselves. This is the advancement in human nature we’ve been hoping and striving for through the ages.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Let me be your teacher and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. My instruction is not difficult and it will lighten your load.” (Jesus, book of Matthew, chapter 11, verse 28)

Vanity of Moments

Vanity of Moments

Art is most vain. Especially if you sell it or buy it. I mean, you can never really have it. You can rent it for a while. Then pass it on or rent it to others. What is really being savored in an excellent photo or painting? A moment. A preserved moment. As if there weren’t endless superb moments missed while trying in vane to preserve that one. Ha! Art is selling water by the river. Still, it is valuable if it helps some blind soul to finally see the river, eh?

Hmm. Then art is a moment. Who says I can’t make a moment or rent one I like from an artist. The artist picks and preserves moments for me to enjoy. He elongates them, makes their delicious flavor last. Maybe whole lifetimes or even ages. As long as I know that each moment has intrinsic value and each moment passes into a misty past, I’m ok. Only when I fight you for the moment I’ve fallen for do they become devils, and I possessed.

Want

There is something out there to satisfy your thirst for insanity.

It will flow and you will be aghast.

Your thirst taps it

Sap from an old, old tree

So distill it with your parents’ love

Distill it until it is sweet

And the bitterness subsides

And you can settle in

To the life you always wanted

.

Glass Bird

Sunlight doesn’t shine

Bird’s beaks never speak

My skin can’t feel and

Sugar isn’t sweet.

It’s not hot or cold

Steak ain’t meat

Skies are never grey and

Night is just a shade of day.

Don’t need your money

Don’t need your ham

Don’t need your lovin’

Don’t need a hand

Don’t need your glory,

It’ll cost me all

Don’t need your sorry

Don’t need your basketball

Glass bird standing on a man made stone

Doesn’t think at all and she’s not alone

Dogs do not bark and graves hold no bones

Truth isn’t real when you’re on your own.

Why you lookin’ at me that way

As if you don’t know the time of day

You think it’s raining but you don’t know

Why you sayin’ my name so slow?

I’m not a glass bird on a man made stone

That doesn’t think at all and I’m not alone

I just heard a dog bark and I saw some bones

Jump up out of the the grave and run on home.

Why don’t you jump up out of your grave

and run on home?

Sunlight doesn’t shine

Bird’s beaks never speak

My skin can’t feel and

Sugar isn’t sweet.

It’s not hot or cold

Steak ain’t meat

Skies are never grey and

Night is just a shade of day.

I Am an Angel

I am an Angel
I am a dog wide eyed
panting at the window
I am an Angel cast down
I am a bird with a seed in my beak
pecking at the rough bark
I am an Angel with only 2 eyes now
I am a fish in search of water
all shoulders moving fins through the shallows
I am an Angel with un-grown wings
I am a pig shivering flies from my bristly back
I am the sky and all those who fly in it
I am the earth and when I shake
I am the magma moving
pushing up
I am the sea and when I swim
Whole continents are washed away.

I am an Angel and cannot help but be

The Terror of Truth

Underneath all of the business of practical living and all the distractions, are you as terrified of reality as I am?

Picture


I first saw this painting, “Study after Valaquez’s portrait of Pope Innocent X” by Francis Bacon, in an art history class back in 1977. The professor told us that it represented Bacon’s belief about the terror inside all of us. The disturbing image became an indelible symbol for me of my own ultimate fear. Through the years this eternal, unsettling premonition of terror and oblivion that began with night terrors as a child and continued in my acid trips in the early 70s, has surfaced time and again in my conscious, waking thoughts without the former catalysts. I was always afraid that would happen, that the veneer of my temporal, material activity, my normal life, would wear thin and the fearful, raw reality of existence from my unconscious background become permanently exposed with all its terror. I now understand the painting vividly. I have come to realize that my childhood terrors, my elucidating drug trips and their foreboding prophesy are very real and portend a most unimaginably horrific final end. But I couldn’t always admit this. That it was true, was way too traumatic to believe, that is, until it broke through into my conscious reality in a permanent way.

It was 1992. One of my former art students and I were traveling to Bowling Green State University to visit another former student enrolled there. Somewhere along the route it happened. In an instant, the veneer dissolved and existential reality and accompanying despair was exposed. While I managed to keep my outward appearance normal, my mind was enveloped in terror. We had our visit during which I tried to share what was happening to me but the experience was and is still far beyond human words to describe. Returning home I got my friends to pray for me, a lot. I was able to resume what looked like a normal life and my art teaching position but my inner life was in constant terror. I felt completely beyond the reach of anyone, even God, knowing that my final end would be complete catatonic paranoid abandonment. But that would not be my end.

I remember clearly the beginning of my deliverance. On a walk a short distance from my house, the Holy Spirit rose up in me with fiery indignation. In my mind I turned and confronted the terrifying and fearful reality. I “looked” it fully in its face and began aggressively speaking in tongues with a very considerable sense of power. For the first time in about a year, peace returned and relief flooded my spiritually drained soul.

From that time on I have had peace concerning the existential fear. Yes, existing is scary. I think our worst fear is being alone with no companion and no guide to show us how to do this thing we call “being”. There is nothing more frightening than thinking you will have to exist forever on your own. Well, I have come to know that the God of all “being” has created conditions to alleviate this fear and has provided us with a meaningful and joyful existence. Through what I have experienced, I know that God is absolutely above all and God is more than enough to address our fear and meet our needs.

You?

Do you believe in yourself?

Can you see yourself?

How about your thoughts?

Can you see them?

Who are they coming from?

You?

Who are you?

Are you something?

Who says you are?

You?

Do your thoughts tell you you are you?

Are you a person?

What is a person?

Something that thinks and knows,

Thinks thoughts no one can see and knows knowledge no one perceives?

Are you more than a puff of smoke?

Are your thoughts more than shadows that disappear at dusk?