NOT ALONE BY A LONG SHOT

When the name Jnana was bestowed on me back in 1972, it was soon expanded to Jnana-Devanandashram – or Jnana-Dev, in a diminutive.

Apart from recognizing my unique character and giving it focus, the name also linked me to a major saint and at least one mythical spirit in India’s past.

Prominent among them was Jnanadev, born in 1275 and described – I love this – as a mystic poet and slave of love. His Jnaneshwari is considered the second most-important commentary on the Bhagavad Gita. Alas, he died at age 21.

Now I see there’s another of our own time who’s a musician who performs with Tibetan monks.

That’s before we get to Facebook, with its host of entries, or the Jnana Yoga displays. As for Jnana alone in a Google search? There are millions, thanks to those software engineers from India.

Still, let me guess, I’m the only one you know. Am I wrong?

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CURTAINS

to embrace something with the wisdom of the final round people crowding the boulevard in Baltimore to watch Robert Kennedy’s funeral train pass overhead in that portrait of seven famed figures Annie, turned to stone under a blue-jay feather how that small town in snow looks more like Pennsylvania or Midwest than New England Blake, […]

AS A CONFESSION OF THEFT

All along, I’ve felt a ping of guilt when taking time to write poetry or fiction. As if I’ve been stealing from others, even when I was living alone. Rubato, in Italian, means theft, although in music it’s applied as a way of making a phrase more flexible and ultimately sensual. And here it enters, as a dimension of my life journey.

What, then, is honest and what comes across as fake in a deep desire for love and affirmation?

I’ll let these poems sing and shout and lament on their own. I’ve somehow survived their transitions.

~*~

For these poems and more, visit Thistle/Flinch editions.

NOTING A GLINT OR TWO

These field notes from religious aspiration and practice spring from a muse of fire. As much as Dr. Bronner’s bottle-label diatribes arose from a splash of water, at least when we read them, usually while showering or bathing.

A brief flash. Something that sparkles or shimmers. A half-seen motion, perhaps recollected later. Illumination. A beacon. A guide. A break in the night. Sometimes, this is something even the blind perceive. A word of truth. Prophecy or healing. A vision of eternal mysteries. A star or hint of coming dawn. And then, as James Nayler instructed: “And as thou followest the light out of the world, thou wilt come to see the seed, which to the world’s wisdom and glory is crucified” (Journal, 349). Everything is transformed and made new. Mind the Light.

 

~*~

DEVOLUTION AND RESURRECTION

Tat Ekam
that one thing

prakriti, pra = before
or kriti, creation
a sutra is only a note / a stitch / a knot

Wading into holy waters

to sink or be overwhelmed
decades later,

thunder
within
silence

returning to art
“keeps my feet on the ground”
carving wood and marble, “It’s so smooth”

these steps leading down to the water
in the sense water
is always below you
unless, that is, you’re in
up to your neck, as it were
some calm other than drowning

“We’re descended from lower-level gods
who mated with apes.”

Now outraged at other deities

next, we’ll encounter human brains
in tigers prowling along the street
all thanks to science.

Mine owners will be confined to the lands they’ve debauched / despoiled.
The Hidden Way –
Sometimes it’s Tao
Sometimes, passion
Sometimes, only a sunset
Or fog lifting

The saved love letters
become curled, black crumbling leaves
falling from the fire.

to UNBURDEN
AND MAKE NEW

first, burn all of the out-dated financial records,
then all of the old passionate drivel

that is, to MAKE FEW

as the Hidden Way
Is the route that opened
Through Glint’s own sea of reeds

Parting, at the base of mountains
she’s come through

a prayer of the earth, actually, of Seed
clearing, recentering

LIFT JESUS HIGHER

painted at the top
of a barn roof

Poem copyright 2017 by Jnana Hodson
For more, click here.

Poetry
Poetry

MUTED WITNESS

best known for our anti-war witness we could do much more individually and together to summon others to transcendental worship *   *   * if we hesitate to strip naked or don sackcloth to march brazenly into parking lots and through malls or the courthouse or legislature to proclaim Truth to those who reach for a […]

UNCOVERING THE PLACE OF STRUGGLE

In his Pendle Hill pamphlet last year, Marking the Quaker Path: Seven Key Words Plus One, Robert Griswold opens with the term “condition,” which initially seems familiar enough. Quakers often remark to a comment, “This speaks to my condition,” or even “the Friend speaks my mind,” conveying a sense of unity and affirmation.

Griswold, though, gives the concept a darker twist, noting that a meaningful spiritual journey requires seeing ourselves in our places of failure and weakness rather than a state of “being in charge,” as we so often do. Think of Anne Lamott’s “three essential prayers” — Help, Thanks, and Wow — and admit a long personal list invoking the first.

I would extend that awareness of condition not just to ourselves individually but to our families and circles of faith and then the wider society. I’d say there’s great need everywhere.

This, then, leads to the subsequent steps where we turn to the Holy One and our kindred spirits for direction and growth.

Curiously, condition is not a word I find used widely in either Scripture or early Quaker literature – not directly, that is – but it does fit the situation of many people as they set out in faith as recorded in both.

Could it be that in many of our religious circles, we’ve been running away from this very difficult but essential challenge? We go to worship looking for rest and renewal, not more turmoil and suffering.

O, Lord, give us strength!

~*~

More of my own reflections on alternative Christianity are found at Religion Turned Upside Down.