Looking back through my collection of poetic punctuation marks, I see they describe many very human moments of walking the path toward spiritual fulfillment. The Path has its ups, downs, and sudden turns, yet it also follows inherently orderly principles. I am mostly fascinated with what is simple, ordinary, childlike, and at the same time profound and symbolic of these compassionate universal laws. What creates a living state of awareness, a contagious mood, the timeless pause?
I'm not so motivated to write a great poem structurally, as I am in catalyzing "real moments" and turning on the heart's light switch. I'm also interested in the differences in the way men and women perceive the path to spirit. Culturally, we seem to have accepted a predominantly male priesthood's ideas of abstinence, detachment, and overcoming the sinful body and emotions with mental discipline as the only truths about how to reach heaven.
As a woman, I've always felt that the earth has great dignity, wisdom, and light and is far from being an evil force or a place of suffering. All actions—be they sane, insane, compassionate, or selfish—exist within the body of the Great Knower/Lover. To reject part of our totality is to miss the wide road to enlightenment. I believe human emotion and the capacity to feel is our saving grace; it is what differentiates us from the minerals, plants, animals—even the angelic realm—and makes humanity such an important cosmic experiment. To feel passion and know the inner fire allows us to evolve consciously and intentionally. And thus, we can drive the evolution of the physical plane and accelerate the flow of consciousness through heightened yearning. To me, this is the heart of poetry.
To accept everything about our humanness and love it with the compassion of the Great Mother is to enter into a union with Spirit that gives much greater enlightenment than can be attained by moral dictates. We must learn to trust the natural laws inherent in our cells, in the mechanism of perception itself, and fall into the formless order, as the fast-flying Arrow of Truth ironically sometimes lands in the all-enveloping, deep, dark Lake of Joy.
I started thinking about truth and joy as aspects of the same thing when I received the I Ching's hexagram 58, Tui, The Joyous Lake, as an answer to a question. The hexagram is composed of two identical trigrams—above: The Joyous, Lake, and below: The Joyous, Lake. The description says it is characterized by "the smiling lake," and "joy is indicated by the fact that there are two strong lines within, expressing themselves through the medium of gentleness." It goes on to say that, "Truth and strength must dwell in the heart, while gentleness reveals itself in social intercourse. In this way one assumes the right attitude toward God and man achieves something." The image is described: "A lake evaporates upward and thus gradually dries up; but when two lakes are joined they do not dry up so readily, for one replenishes the other. It is the same in the field of knowledge. Knowledge should be a refreshing and vitalizing force."
Truth is something that really does not have to be regulated and monitored as our left brains are wont to do; it is encoded in the inner blueprint of our etheric body, organizing us from the inside in intricate harmony. We can relax about saving ourselves; we are already saved. We can relax about drowning in the void of the quiet black Lake of Joy; a huge part of us is always "dead," existing in the ecstatic nonphysical realms where diamond light is more evident than emptiness. Writing a poem is the sacred act of merging truth and joy, language and direct feeling, earth with water with fire with air.
What characterizes our planet is its feminine, watery nature. We are creatures born of water, capable of breathing water as we gestate. We think we leave the liquid state at birth, yet we are really liquid light; our consciousness flows. Our hearts melt. Our fears evaporate. And our soul can feel parched. Our mind can freeze up without poetry and prayer and devotion and awe. In these days, we are returning to Her and the knowledge of an energetically fluid—not solid—world.
The journey into spirit, as I experience it, is not through the air, flying over the flooded rivers and streams, nor into the far reaches of outer space. It's not about collecting more information, even of the highest ilk. To evolve we must dive. First into the waters of our own emotions, and into those of humanity as a whole, then down into matter itself. We must learn to breathe matter, to condense ourselves into stone, losing our superficial sight, where eventually, if we wait attentively, a new spacious world of liquid light appears, which has been present all along. Then, enveloped in a greater freedom, we can hear the original Word, and on that spiral of sound, the Poem, wind ourselves back out to our Home place where every ephemeral dream is dissolved and the one real thing is remembered.
in the living stone
the breathing rock
news travels slow in here
no sight, no sound
the self squeezed out of me
forced surrender of will
a world of patience and waiting
of sensing with the bones
knowing is sure
the stone is the last step
DIPPING TOWARD SEARCHLIGHT, NEVADA
long long view down Rt. 95 line drive
through lake bottom haze
creosote bush olive green forever
datura somehow rooted in the shoulders
and flowering big white bells
signs declare state boundaries
owners’ imprints shift
but a second until the land,
the land takes authority again
dissolving all definition into
its deep familiarity with itself—
so deep it doesn’t know I’m here
driving so fast and straight
in this old slow dream
Copyright by Penney Peirce 2011