“THE GREATEST OF ALL THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF 20TH-CENTURY SCIENCE has been the discovery of human ignorance.” Lewis Thomas, Lives of a Cell. “OUR IGNORANCE, OF COURSE, HAS ALWAYS BEEN WITH US, AND ALWAYS WILL BE. What is new is our awareness of it, our awakening to its fathomless dimensions, and it is this, more than anything else, that marks the coming of age of our species.” Timothy Ferris, Coming of Age in the Milky Way.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Utter Reliance on the Utterly Reliable

What alternative do any of us have but to utterly rely upon The Luminous? 

All is Given: we depend on Grace. 

Who we really are is bright and complete, quite beyond the numberless causes and effects of the ever-fluxing body-mind-world. As for the latter, on and on it goes and where it stops nobody knows. What we can clearly observe is that whatever appears is self-releasing: it cannot last. Every chord resolves into the next instant of music. C'est la vie. Live with confidence in the natural, automatic release of each moment of appearance.

Today I'm in physical pain, because despite attending 3 or 4 yoga classes a week, I threw out my back yesterday while playing with my dog. This morning, I'm popping muscle relaxants. Tomorrow? For all I know, I might become humus in the soil tomorrow, like my three beloved dogs buried in my backyard. It's not my call. I depend on Grace. In certain illumined moments my dependence on Grace becomes such self-release that I experience only boundless joy. But I must put up with all the bound moments in between, as cheerfully as I can.

AWAKENING IS A PROCESS. It's as if we are riding aboard a train; we may as well set down our luggage on the way. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

“Spirit versus Flesh” Is an Ancient Falsehood

The imagined dichotomy between Spirit and flesh (or emptiness and form) is radically false. No such split has occurred or will occur. Existence is never dual.

  • Fundamentally, there is no dilemma. No split, no gap, no division. The war between Spirit and flesh must be utterly abandoned.

  • One need not choose between Spirit or flesh; indeed, no such alternative is possible! Spirit is Reality, and flesh (or all form) is the function of Reality. The first cannot be attained; the latter cannot be avoided or rejected.

  • Try and try and try to rise above the body and all forms and functions. All such striving shall be only dilemma, and in vain.

  • Ascetic strivers who seek to escape upwards out of the body (into the subtle realms above) seek to achieve the impossible. No matter how abstracted one becomes, one is still compelled to breathe, drink, eat, urinate and defecate, to sleep and dream.

  • The body and its changes (and all phenomena and all changes) can never be escaped.

  • Understand: There is no escape. Now cease altogether your struggles to escape!

Vajrayogini sure doesn't look Jewish!

Kundalini and Kundalini Shakti are Sanskrit terms for the primordial life-force or universal energy as it functions in the human body-mind. The closest Western term would be Holy Spirit. The arousal and release of this latent power in the course of meditation or devotional prayer, etc., is what Western mystics call “spiritual baptism.” 

This spontaneously occurred in my case in 1993 when I was 41. For the next eight months the Kundalini took me on a tour of the subtler dimensions of the whole  body-mind. Entirely unbidden (and for the first time in my  22-year meditation practice), I began having visions. 

An oft-recurring vision was of the hexangular “Star of David” of Judaism, which is also a common symbol in Hindu and Buddhist Tantra. For example, the above yantra (sacred diagram) represents the Tantric Goddess, Vajrayogini.  

In my lucid visions, the upward- and downward-pointing interpenetrating triangles, formed of brilliant light, stood in space before my inner eye, with my seated form (in lotus-posture) fitting inside the mandala star. I understood bodily that this archetype expresses the harmonized fullness of the ascending and descending currents of the life-force (kundalini shakti).

Oh, and here is Vajrayogini herself in all her allegorical, metaphorical splendor:

It Takes One to Know One!

I campaign to keep the word GROK alive into the next generation and beyond. This "Martian" word (invented by the SF writer, Robert Heinlein) shares its meaning with the Sanskrit word jnana and the Greek gnosis. It is an utterly comprehensive meaning, which the philosopher Franklin Merrill-Wolff calls “Knowledge through Identity.” In other words, knowing directly—knowing by BEING—rather than merely “knowing about.” 

Do you grok what I'm saying?

How to Avoid Drowsiness While Meditating

I fairly commonly get asked about the problem of getting very sleepy while meditating. 

Here are some fixes to try:

1) Always meditate with your eyes open (in a relaxed position, slightly downcast, maintaining a soft focus on an area of the floor a few feet in front of you). This is the traditional meditation technique used in Zen. 

2) If you start feeling groggy, open your eyes wide and make the "Lion pose" shown below. Literally roar two or three times. Read more about it here

2) Silently count your breaths, at least at the beginning of each meditation session (until you become practiced at meditating without falling asleep). Silently note "One" on the in-breath; "Two" on the out-breath. Over and over and over...

3) Meditate at the point of the day when you feel most awake. For some, this is early morning; for others, noon; for night-owls, midnight might be the most awake period.

4) Don't meditate more than 10 minutes at a time in the beginning. Try this twice a day. Gradually increase to 20 minutes, twice a day. No need to go beyond 20 minutes per session, unless it really just "feels" right (but even so, don't meditate more than an hour per session X 2).

5) I suppose I'll mention the obvious: Be sure to get enough sleep at night! 

6) If none of the above work, try walking meditation. (Actually, try walking meditation in any case; it's quite enjoyable.)

Remember that meditation is not a panacea! The chief benefit of meditation is that it allows consciousness to dis-identify with sensations, feelings, and thoughts. All these continue to arise, of course, but one becomes aware of the fact that they do not bind (they come up, they flux for a bit, and they vanish). In other words, meditation is the practice of non-reaction: remaining open like the sky while phenomena come and go, come and go. If you'll kindly agree with yourself not to fight (or chase) all the stuff that endlessly comes and goes while meditating, you will find that eventually the mind slooooows down and becomes more and more subtle, until you are able to enjoy gaps of silence and stillness in which nothing at all arises. Then you recognize that you are a vast clarity, an immaculate luminous space, a pure (object-less) Capacity. Or, as they say in Zen, "You are the Host; everything takes place in your own house."

Be Whole,


Only Awareness Avails

Q: Do you remember the comment that Eckhart Tolle made to himself that triggered his awakening? "I can no longer live with myself", or words to that effect. Well I haven't hit bottom, but sometimes I feel as if I'm descending (in the past I've had a few mini awakenings, or "peak experiences"; but they were short lived, & recently I feel that I'm regressing, e.g . too much anger, irritability, judgement withdrawal, etc. Like Eckhart, I don't like living myself. I’m not suicidal—but I don't want to add any more negative karma.

A: You might want to reexamine that passage from Eckhart's book. When he said, "I can no longer live with myself," what triggered his awakening was the sudden, powerful insight into the false duality and absurdity of that very thought! (WHO could no longer tolerate WHOM?) He instantly saw that he was one and whole and NOT two incompatible "selves." 

This brings to mind an exchange between Ramana Maharshi and a visitor:
Visitor: "How do I rise from my lower self and attain to my higher self?"
Ramana: "How many selves are there? Is not the Self only One?"

And it reminds me of another line, by Rumi: "Suffering is its own cure."

Make peace with samsara.[1] Make friends with all your parts. In this life, only awareness avails. War doesn't work. Combating any aspect of the body-mind (getting angry about your anger; feeling irritable about your irritability, judging yourself for being judgmental, etc.) is not helpful. Trying to get free is entrapping. 

Live with confidence in natural, spontaneous liberation. Simply allow experience (the body-mind) to be just as it is in the moment. Surrender and relax into the body-mind as it is presently appearing. Do not generate stress through opposition to experience, or the body-mind, or ego. Let the body-mind flow on as it will.

First, surrender all stressful intentions to control, manipulate, change, escape, diminish, maintain, expand, or otherwise confront the experiential states of the body-mind. Let physical states come and stay or go; let mental states come and stay or go; let emotional states come and stay or go. Just be aware of whatever is arising. Thus surrender, not by an effort to relax, but by allowing experience to be whatever it isSurrender by being surrender—spacious and non-reactive like the sky. Then, via this equanimity, feel into Whole Life and be transformed from the heart by that Feeling-Remembrance.

It is harmful, not helpful, to punish yourself. Don’t un-love yourself with anger and disdain, and don’t depress yourself by clinging to “wrongdoings” (“rubbing your nose in it”). Allow the Radiant Life Power, rather than self-possessed effort and self-war, to be the Way whereby the body-mind is spontaneously changed.

Consider this: You already depend utterly on what is more vast than what you call "I". We may as well use religious terms here: You depend entirely upon Grace. Okay, then let Grace have its way with you! Abandon the struggle. Let the same power that grows your cells and beats your heart be itself in you, and through you, and as you. (As Krishna instructed Arjuna: "Abandon all dharmas and resort alone to Me.")

Oh, and by the way: It took me 22 years of active seeking/struggling to finally abandon my own self-effort and self-wrestling. So, it's not easy to be easy!  

[1] Sanskrit: Sam ("complete, total, perfect") Sara ("flux, change, flow").

Monday, August 10, 2015


On my way to the gym I stop at a red light on Main and Centerville, and I hear loud moans. A man’s lying on his side under the entrance to Wells Fargo, and he’s moaning in pain. I’m thinking: Homeless man who fell down drunk?

I weave through two lanes of traffic and pull into the parking lot, and I see that the guy is Hispanic—big dude, dressed in T-shirt, jeans and work boots—and he’s moaning in agony.

He’s having a heart attack? So I’m trying to remember CPR—oh hell, Step One, Step Two—how’s that’s go? I jump out of my car and then I see the hole in the ceiling of the entranceway. This poor guy has plummeted about 20 feet onto concrete. I start to dial 911 when his coworker shows up and tells me an ambulance is already on the way. He says something to the groaning man in Spanish and then he just disappears. So I’m left alone with the injured guy and my taxi-cab-level Spanish.

I kneel beside him and put my hand on his back. “Lo siento mucho, mi amigo,” I say. “I’m so sorry, my friend.” He clutches my knee, and it makes me feel humble to realize how much my touch really matters. So I take his hand that’s gripping my knee and I hold it. And he squeezes it. “Tranquillo,” I say, “no motes”—which is supposed to mean, “Easy, don’t move,” but I’m wondering if it means, “Easy, you’re not a motor,” so I quit saying that. (I just Googled it, and it means, “Be calm, no nicknames.”)

So I’m holding hands with this big guy—he’s built like a heavyweight wrestler—and I’m feeling grateful that I’m able to lend him some comfort, although he’s still moaning. I want to tell him, “The ambulance is on the way.” But I can’t conjugate the future tense, and if I tell him the ambulance was on its way, it might give him a heart attack for real. So I just keep saying, “La ambulancia, mi amigo” in the most soothing tone I can manage—as if it’s a mantra: La ambulancia, la ambulancia, shanti, shanti, shanti. And I figure he’s Catholic, so I throw in, “Dios está contigo”—“God is with you”—because I care more about comforting him than insisting that I’m an atheist.

So I’m slowly caressing his back, and talking broken Spanish like a horse whisperer, when a white-haired lady appears. “I’ve got a clean towel in my car he can use as a pillow,” I tell her, and without another word, she takes my place, rubbing his back while I go grab a bath towel and roll it up and place it under his head. He’s still groaning in agony and then we all hear the sweet sound of the siren.

An EMT hops out and asks the man to wiggle his toes, and he does, which makes me realize the big dude understands English. The white-haired lady and I wait there till the ambulance goes. Before we get into our cars, she smiles kindly and says, “Thank you.”

So I missed yoga class, but I actually was able to help that man. O, the power of human touch! I want to go around today rubbing everybody’s back and telling them, “Please be calm. No nicknames.”


All that we have anciently called “God” and presumed to know as “Divine” invariably falls within human experience of things and energies, physical and subtle, that appear and disappear. Therefore, what we have since prehistory been labeling “God” is not absolutely different or distinct from the whole dimension of “being human.”

What “God” is cannot ever be known. Yet the Bright Mystery is freedom and freedom can be lived now. In other words, what is God can only be realized—or understood, presumed and lived.

We must take responsibility for our “God” ideas and for everything that we have traditionally projected outside ourselves. We must apprehend and acknowledge the fullness of the human being, in order to be fully human, which is unfathomable and divine.

Realization of Real God necessarily involves the sacrifice of all experiences and things and ideas we identify as “God.” Therefore, our true spiritual responsibility is to be reconciled with essential Wonder, and so stand already liberated (not displaced by mere concepts from whatever is God or Reality). Such heartfelt and whole-bodily Wonder is the simple and profound and eternally reliable link with actual God. It is to simply be God (Real Life) through perfect alliance and non-recoil from Infinity. It is to rest in the Unavoidable. It is to flow with the inevitable changes of birth and death, without fear and without any ultimate knowing.

To live this happiness is the holy message, the essence of spiritual instruction. Such joy, fully lived—now and now and now—is the truest prayer and the primary means to serve all beings. 

Before the Big Bang was...

Just as the eyes cannot see themselves except by reflection, Consciousness (Original Mind) cannot be aware of itself, except through the reflection of manifestation. All worlds and beings display Original Mind, like a constellation of dewdrops reflecting the bright moon. But only a fool mistakes the dewdrops for the moon itself!
Original Mind is not an object (not even a Supreme Object) and can never be located (unlike a thing, such as a hidden diamond, which can be sought until found). Hear this! Abandon seeking after Reality (as it were a thing, within or without) once and for all!

Instead, drop the burden of self-concern and self-centered strategies. Come to heart-rest in the still depth of perfect wonder (naked of all knowing), and Original Mind stands out, clear and bright and timeless. 
This primary, clear bliss is what Zen calls “your face before your parents were born.” Or, as Jesus said,

"Before Abraham was, I am."

Radiant Secret

A great and wonderful truth shines at the heart of every living being. It has been called by many names: Original Mind, Naked Mind, Unborn Mind, Buddha-Nature and the Open Secret. Indeed, many more names refer to it, and yet this radiant secret is beyond all labels and conventional knowledge.

Conventional knowing (i.e., information and symbol processing, storage and retrieval) is a critical life function that serves the body-mind in everyday affairs. However, conventional knowledge (verbal, mathematical, visual, and all forms of conceptual, discursive, denotative knowing) does not penetrate to, or pertain at absolute depth, at origin, at infinity.

Conventional knowledge accumulates over time, like adding books to bookshelves or storing data in memory files. But teraflops upon teraflops of information can never add up to the Open Secret, which is no summation at all, but is the OriginalCompleteness—the Prior and Only One—from whom every moment and everything emerges as spontaneous flow.

The body-mind and world arise together in seamless wholeness. All experience (the continuum of space-time-energy-matter) is the spontaneous interplay (communication or conversation) of energy/information among the diverse parts of totality.

Totality (Cosmos) is a self-organizing system. In other words Cosmos, like the human body, is an organism. And, as with the human body, all parts (all appearances) within Cosmos are mutually dependent (co-arising). This is the great paradoxical process: Absolute Singularity endlessly becoming multiple, complex, and seemingly individuated—while remaining Absolutely Singular, Unique and Only!

Yes, a great and wonderful truth shines at the heart of every living being: That great and wonderful truth is the Immutable Mystery of your very self. 

The Message

No matter who might read these words, even in the most far-flung future, the truth will remain for the reader: 

You honestly do not know.

The very existence of you and everything and everyone else that appears is, and will always remain, a perfect mystery.

You do not know what you are, bodily. (What IS the “body”?)

You do not know what you are, emotionally. (What IS a “feeling”?)

You do not know what you are, mentally. (What IS a “thought”?)

You do not know what you are, spiritually. (What IS a “soul”?)

Perhaps you may assert that everything is a form of energy. 

But then you must answer, what IS “energy”?  

Or you may declare that everything is simply God. 

Then, what IS “God”?

Although you might describe energy as light, radiance, force, intensity, “the ability to perform work,” and so forth, you do not (and cannot) know what energy is, in itself.  And although you might conceptualize God in myriad ways, you are not presently knowing (and you are not about to grasp) what God is.

In all honesty, in the bareness of our human condition, we simply do not know.

Have you ever heard and considered this immutable fact or truth?

We are not knowers

Our essential situation is irreducible mystery.

The mystery is never dimmed or lessened by all the knowledge in the all the worlds.

All of our knowing (information processing and storage) could be labeled “conventional knowledge” or “knowing about.” We are able to know and to talk about things: to name and define and describe countless forms and functions and beings, to observe their interactions and learn how to make use of them. Such conventional knowing is natural and indispensable.

We have reproduced the terrible power of stars and peeked at the intricate jewelry of our genes. We have manufactured artificial hearts and someday we will manufacture artificial minds. Yet never are we able to find out or to bring to a close the naked mystery of ourselves—or any form or function or being.

Considered more fully, it is not simply the mystery of being human that awes us; it is the total mystery of beingWhere is a placeWhen is a timeWhat is awareness? The irreducible mystery of existence (or consciousness) itself is the fundamental Fact or Truth that confounds the mind and astounds the heart.

What is a hummingbird?

What is a blue whale? 

Truthfully, no one knows—including the hummingbird and the blue whale!

There is no such one as a knower. Ultimate (Absolute) knowing is not a possible condition within reality.

Science is the human system of observing, naming, defining and describing forms and functions and beings, and working with this information (and the technologies it leads to) in countless ways.

Religion is the human response to eternal mystery.

The Mystery of being human is the beginning, middle and end of all sciences. If we call the Mystery “Nature” or “Life” or “the Universe,” we must confess that the subject is too vast for any possible accumulation of scientific knowledge. Nevertheless, the scientific method is an extremely helpful and practical human endeavor within our adventure in and of Perfect Mystery.

The Mystery of being human is the beginning, middle and end of all religions. If we call the Mystery, “God,” we must honestly confess: God is too vast for any possible religion. Nevertheless, inspired religion, like fine art, may beautifully express (while never capturing) the Mystery. Whether native religions of rivers and mountains; theistic religions of goddesses and gods (or of One True God); or formless religions of emptiness, light, space, freedom and peace---all these forms (or formlessness), functions and deities (or The Deity), are preceded, understood, embraced and surpassed by the apprehension of mere and absolute mystery.

Deeply and consistently abiding in our essential unknowing opens awareness in spontaneous surrender, and grants ever-greater intuitions of vast reality. It is a process of undermining every false (limited) identity, until the inherently free being dawns, luminous and clear. At last, one’s own self is realized as not truly “other” than the totality of living systems that arise within perfect mystery.

You cannot, at last, find yourself apart from the essential mystery. What you encounter in your search, more and more profoundly, is only the same magnificence, awesome wonder and freedom from where you began.

You cannot know yourself or own yourself or even “become” yourself. You can only be yourself—always, already abiding in mystery.

The traditional metaphor of a “journey” to self-realization does not imply that one’s identity ever becomes “known” in the way that sense data and abstract information is registered and stored. Our real identity can never become an externalized object of knowledge, in the sense that we might perceive a red cranberry on a mound of fresh white snow. Our real identity can never become an internalized object of knowledge, in the sense that we might conceive a prancing black unicorn in a pasture of silver grass. Such external and internal objects of perception and conception are always limited forms; but our real identity is never circumscribed.

Chinese Emperor to Bodhidharma: Who are you?
Bodhidharma: I do not know. 

Our identity IS the mystery. The mystery IS who (or what) we are. It is we, ourselves, who are eternally unknowable. We can never be located as separate “things” (objects) within the wonder and naked brightness of the mystery.

Profound consideration of the PRESENT luminous mystery awakens the heart to its transcendental condition, beyond all beliefs and images and symbols of God. Rather, having relaxed body and mind, one submits to the wholeness of simply being.  

Self-realization is, therefore, not a matter of knowledge (information) discovered or amassed, but a matter of wholly being; it is to be submitted in mystery, alive at infinity, while completely present in whatever form we appear NOW.

Notes from the Ground

Too much of Eastern mysticism seems overly eager for death, The Great Return to Original Perfection, liberation from the limits of ego and embodied experience.

Death of self… What about BIRTH? What about creativity? What about being wholly and miraculously HERE?

Some might protest that I’m only critiquing the immature phase of Eastern mysticism, and that such wisdom traditions as Zen criticize this very attitude (calling it “void sickness,” “the stink of enlightenment,” etc.). But I have usually seen this life-negative (and thus body-, sex- and female-negative) disposition exemplified by the teachers themselves, right up through the highest levels of the various schools from India and the Far East that have emigrated to the West.

When I was 18, I began my personal “Journey East,” seeking peace within several paths. In my early 40s—two ashrams and two narcissistic gurus later—I utterly abandoned the career of the chronic seeker. Now I’m 61 and I’m reporting from the GROUND. I’m not going anywhere. I’m home.

The Story of "I" (Not to Be Confused with the Story of "O")

Life unfolds within and of reality, but "self" is based on a story. That is why, prior to language acquisition at about 2 years old, the "self" has not yet formed. But by about four years old, the ego ("I", "me", "mine") has naturally and automatically been constructed through language and memory: autobiography. Ego routinely retells its story and keeps its reflected image on the surface of the pond---even though it's not too difficult to see that the story is necessarily fiction. (How "real" is memory?) In any case, the reflexive story of "self" cannot hold up at death. It can't even be maintained while feeling extremely sleepy. In dreamless sleep, emperors and beggars are momentary equals, for they have lost all subjective definition of "self".

"I" at 11 years old

In her book, "Me, Myself, and Why: Searching for the Science of Self," journalist Jean Ouellete says:

"We are the stories we tell. We all construct personal narratives, and we spend our lives working and reworking them. Our memories might not be as accurate as we think—we fabricate and embellish even when we believe ourselves to be truthful—but this so-called autobiographical self is key to how we construct a unified whole out of the many components that contribute to our sense of self. You can sequence my DNA, scan my brain, subject me to a battery of personality tests, but you won’t find my essence in any one of them alone. Stories provide that unifying interpretive layer. If you really want to know who I am, let me tell you a story."


The fundamental vision of Tantra is that the human body is the home and means and actual process of worship, rather than any religious authority figure or institution, scripture, building or holy place of pilgrimage—or any externality. The whole human being is the multidimensional vehicle and domain and function of celebrating and realizing (embodying) the divine. Enlightenment is whole-bodily awakeness in unqualified mutuality with all that appears, now-ever.

Not merely "May the Force be with you," but "The Force IS you!"

In the Tantric view, we are each a cosmic totality. Because the human body is the true realm of worship, then sex (of course!) is also divine and amazingly powerful. Yet sex is not the primary focus of the Tantric wisdom tradition, whether in its Shaivite or Buddhist or Taoist any other of its authentic incarnations. Rather than an obsession or exclusive focus on sexuality, the guiding principle and practice of Tantra is awakened awareness of and identification with energy—the indestructible and inexhaustible life-force. Not merely, “May the Force be with you,” but rather, “The Force IS you! May you realize and actualize the Deathless Energy of Life.”

The way of Tantra is to live large—to LIVE the view that you are spiritual being that incorporates and animates a wonderful physical body within the vastness of your irreducibly spiritual identity. You are truly MORE than the body and MORE than sexual. At the same time, you are not less than the body or less than sexual. Tantra fosters no negative attitudes against the body and sex as do most other religious teachings. Rather, the body (including sex and birth and all changes and death) is the very process or action of dynamic divine worship and enlightenment. Reality shines as all the worlds; it is Bright as your own life, if you will but breathe and receive, release and smile.

Enlightenment of the whole body and world (which truly are one indivisible system) rather than escape from the body and world; release from the independent, encapsulated ego into the fullness of love, rather than recoil into isolation as an interior self—such completeness and flow is the ideal of Tantra.   

The Thrill of Being-Consciousness-Bliss

My pen-name, Adyashakti, is Sanskrit for "Primordial Energy."

Readers have now purchased more than 2000 copies of Awakening to the Obvious.

The Very Short Sutra on the Meeting of Buddha and the Goddess

By Rick Fields

Thus I have made up:
Once the Buddha was walking along the
forest path in the Oak Grove at Ojai, walking without arriving anywhere 

or having any thought of arriving or not arriving

and lotuses shining with morning dew
miraculously appeared under every step
soft as silk beneath the toes of the Buddha

When suddenly, out of the turquoise sky,
dancing in front of his half-shut inward-looking eyes, shimmering like a rainbow
or a spider’s web,
transparent as the dew on a lotus flower,

–the Goddess appeared quivering like a hummingbird in the air before him

She, for she was surely a she
as the Buddha could clearly see
with his eye of discriminating awareness wisdom,

was mostly red in color
though when the light shifted
she flashed like a rainbow.

She was naked except
for the usual flower ornaments
Goddesses wear

Her long hair
was deep blue, her two eyes fathomless pits of space
and her third eye a bloodshot
ring of fire

The Buddha folded his hands together
and greeted the Goddess thus:

“O Goddess, why are you blocking my path.
Before I saw you I was happily going nowhere.
Now I’m not sure where to go.”

“You can go around me,”
said the Goddess, twirling on her heels like a bird
darting away, but just a little way away,
“or you can come after me.
This is my forest too,
you can’t pretend I’m not here.”

With that the Buddha sat
supple as a snake
solid as a rock
beneath a Bo tree
that sprang full-leaved
to shade him.

“Perhaps we should have a chat,” he said.
“After years of arduous practice
at the time of the morning star
I penetrated reality, and now…”

“Not so fast, Buddha.
am reality."

The Earth stood still,
the oceans paused,

the wind itself listened
–a thousand arhats, bodhisattvas, and dakinis
magically appeared to hear
what would happen in the conversation.

“I know I take my life in my hands.”
said the Buddha.
“But I am known as the Fearless One
– so here goes.”

And he and the Goddess
without further words
exchanged glances.

Light rays like sunbeams
shot forth
so bright that even
Sariputra, the All-Seeing One,
had to turn away.

And then they exchanged thoughts
and the illumination was as bright as a diamond candle.

And then they exchanged mind
And there was a great silence as vast as the universe
that contains everything

And then they exchanged bodies

And clothes

And the Buddha arose
as the Goddess
and the Goddess
arose as the Buddha

and so on back and forth
for a thousand hundred thousand kalpas.

If you meet the Buddha
you meet the Goddess.
If you meet the Goddess
you meet the Buddha.

Not only that. This:
The Buddha is the Goddess,
the Goddess is the Buddha.

And not only that. This:
The Buddha is emptiness
the Goddess is bliss,
the Goddess is emptiness
the Buddha is bliss.

And that is what
and what-not you are
It’s true.

So here comes the mantra of the Goddess and the Buddha, 
the unsurpassed dual-mantra. 
Just to say this mantra, just to hear this mantra once, 
just to hear one word of this mantra once 
makes everything the way it truly is: OK.

Hey, silent one, Hey, great talker
Not two/Not one
Not separate/Not apart
This is the heart
Bliss is emptiness
Emptiness is bliss
Be your breath, Ah
Smile, Hey
And relax, Ho
And remember this: You can’t miss.

(NOTE: Rick Fields started his journalism career at the Whole Earth Catalog in 1969 and was a co-founder of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review magazine. Later, he was editor of Yoga Journal and a contributing editor of New Age Journal, and finally editor-in-chief of Vajradhatu Sun magazine, which became Shambhala Sun. He died of lung cancer at 57.)