Stones and bones;
Snow and frost;
Seeds and beans and polliwogs,
Paths and twigs, assorted kisses,
We all know who Mamma misses.
The helplessness of being alive,
the dark bright pity of being human,
groping in corners and
opening your arms to light.
All of it part of navigating
They would not know
When I was gone,
Just as they could not know sometimes
How heavily I had hovered in a particular room.
I became manifest in whatever way they wanted me to.
There had been a woman haunted.
All of it, the story of my life and death,
Was hers if she chose to tell it,
Even to one person at a time.
I would like to tell you that
It is beautiful here.
That I am and you will one day be,
But this heaven is not about safety,
Just as in its graciousness, it isn’t
About gritty reality.
We have fun.
The dead truly talk to us,
That in the air between the living
Spirits bob and weave and
Laugh with us.
They are the oxygen we breathe.
So there are cakes and pillows and colors galore.
Underneath this obvious patchwork quilt
Are places like a quite room
Where you can go
and hold someone’s hand and
Not have to say anything.
Give no story
Make no claim.
Where you can live at the edge of your skin
For as long as you wish.
This wide wide heaven
Is about the soft down of new leaves,
Wild roller coaster rides and escaped marbles
That fall and then hang
Then take you somewhere you could never have imagined
In your small-heaven dreams.
-Inspired by The Lovely Bones. Author, Alice Sebold.
-Dedicated to all those innocent people who died traumatically in London yesterday and to their loved ones.
Cloths of Heaven
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
One of the core principles of Buddhism is the ‘Ten world Principle’. It outlines the continuous changes in our inner lives. It classifies the subconscious human experience of various states of being, thus graded from lowest to highest:
2.Hunger (Wanting more of love/money/approval etc)
3. Animality (Need to dominate/be dominated)
5. Humanity (Tranquility)
6. Heaven (Rapture/ Temporary happiness)
10. Buddhahood (Enlightenment/Absolute happiness)
Most of us have a fundamental tendency to occupy one or two of these worlds. Despite many self-improvement endeavors, we find it nearly impossible to change our default worlds.
For majority of the human race, the six lower worlds (1-6) apply. The problem with these states is that they do not last. They are completely reactive, at the mercy of our environment, bouncing back and forth depending on external circumstances resulting in a roller-coaster existence. True happiness cannot be rooted in this shifting quicksand.
The higher worlds (6-10) are known as the ‘four noble worlds’. Learning, realization and compassion are proactive, not reactive states. They are the basis on which a state of absolute happiness can be created.
The tenth and highest world is difficult to describe as we often don’t experience it. It is determined by the degree to which we establish a solid self, a true self that exists in harmony with the universe. For me, brief glimpses of this world are achievable through meditation. It is deeply restful.
Attaining Buddhahood is a process of discovering what currently lies dormant within our hearts, of discovering our true universal self.
‘Hell is to drift, heaven is to steer.’
– George Bernard Shaw.