1. Subordinate and Surrender
As with sunrise, the way all things waken, in sympathy, as if pressed open by unseen fingers. Light wanders through a spinning lens, causing transit, and an unearned peace. No motion to be otherwise. The sound of a newborn thrush. Then only the sound, as the day stands up with an arcade crown, untouched.
2. Relinquish Familiarity
Not merely with everything believed, said, or acted on, but with the tempting colors in front of my eyes. I thought I was involved in something grand. But as it turns out, this too is pure imagination. And the thousand god-manly photographs I’ve encircled myself with, like a superstitious housewife, just never stop laughing.
3. Practice Recognition-Relationship
Silence in any moment when this occurs, and noticing such quiet is beyond rare, but so much like the challenge of love, which, like the love we’ve been Given, must also never cease.
4. Set Him Apart
Cannot be done by religious means.
Never was done by any means.
By all means should not be on this list.
But means the earth itself has trembled, when It Happens.
5. Maintain a Right Circumstance
'a holy place for holy work'
hermitage is not a camp
to self-apply a holy stamp
or yet another island perk
The secret of the servant may be akin to the the secret of our form of meditation, in that those who approach the cushion industriously, with other motives than to merely attend, may find themselves burdened with a profitless labor. Whereas the servant, having no position, no authority, no intent, and even no determinate future, often finds herself smiling to herself, or giggling while making the only effort she truly does make, which is to try to contain the upwelling of her amusement, lest other see it, and wonder if she were ever really serving anything, or anyone, at all.
7. Relate by Means of Gifts Alone
I once found myself in a line of penitents in my Master’s own kitchen, en route with much haste to His chair. I was, not atypically, giftless, in every sense of that word, also literally. To the amazement of my friends, I redeemed this failure by plucking a deep red, blemish-less apple from my Master’s own tray of fruit, not three feet from the final open door to the living room where He sat. I polished this apple on my wrinkled shirt and entered the room proudly as though it were my own. The apple, that is. That I had the balls to look Him in the Eye and offer it may cast doubt on my grasp of this divine law, but at the very least it is to say that even an apple, prepared by others as if for God Himself, may be poisonous. By some miracle, the Lord held my eyes like a dandelion, with every tug a ‘loves me’. Nothing or everything depends upon the heart of the courier it seems, and what tidings he brings in those much calloused hands.
8. Turn, Invoke, Commune
Much more attractive than it looks on paper.
And not necessarily done in that order, or any.
Do they amount to three different things?
And who is it, in the end, who can do any of them?
If I’m asking all this, I’m probably already doomed.
Take it from a man who has given up all hope.
Whatever you do, in the mornings, don’t vow to do it.
9. Maximize Life-Time in His Sphere of Regard
A half-blind man sings to himself
in a bus with seats of molded steel,
sputtering up the jungle road.
We don’t speak, but have given way to something
in this meadow of newfound life.
Out an open window the land blurs, sharpens,
seems scrubbed in never-seen pigments.
We creak to the edge of a bluff
overlooking flat sea, then step down,
each alone, to the white iron gates,
to a hill where the Prince of Daybreak
lays buried. Quiet here
as when He lived, and as cavernous.
A man briskly fans a life-size image —
the least of His existence on this earth.
I remember a hundred times past beholding Him,
now no less that time. Overhead, the clouds
blow out geometries in the perfect pattern
of an eye, with a blue hole etched center.
It occurs this may be physically impossible.
A black-winged bat flees a mango tree.
A gull cries out as if also to be known.
The feeling is of a dying within,
like hearing the black news of betrayal.
This is why I came here —
for the doors swing open, and one by one,
we come to the chair, uplift our hands,
exalt a flower upwards, the flower
carrying all of what we are,
and when our foreheads kiss the grass
it’s not at all a lie,
nor has it ever been, pilgrim,
that we are here.