Yes, there you are
these pale amber,
and snowy wings.
Trusting me to discover
your eternal beauty, now
visibly known and
seen as mystery.
Angel wings enfolded
in a pale delicate texture
of softest skin and satin.
Yes, I see you, so clearly now.
Open as you are, waiting
in expectation, in this grace
filled moment of adoration
Wondering how I
lost the memory
of your quiet
passionate touch, resting
in your subtle divine light,
resting in this
of reflection. I am
naked again, my
long sought soul.
I am immersed,
bathed in your light,
your countenance of
me to enter into
such a gentle
consciousness of spirit.
As light itself, as honey
poured out upon my
humanity, my beloved
one - eternal self,
whose light is at no time.
Here is the self who
lives forever captured in
the reminiscence of each
in heaven’s truest realm.
You have broken
me open, again and again
with the beauty of being.
By beauty itself, aching to know
intimately the touch of
hand and thought.
Casting away all grief I am
supple once more,
renewed in the promise
of your colors, your softness
and strength. Knowing you
were always there waiting
with patience for me to
rediscover this beauty
of the self, ever changing
as it is, resting softly like
the reflecting light and color
from an angel’s wings.
So, we come to know.
So, we are ever known.
So, we are born and born
again and again
through many lives
translucent holy light.
Poem and Photos
Following the Theme from When Angels Are Born
In Buddhism - Is there a soul? What is a soul? What is a mind?
As human beings we are constantly changing from one thought to another, therefore who I may think I am in any given moment is being changed and transformed from one moment to the next.
In some forms of Buddhism they express this as three minds or even as a form of stored consciousness.
The Tibetan Buddhist view defines it as: very subtle mind, which does NOT dissolve in death; subtle mind, which does dissolve in death and which refers to a "dreaming mind" or "unconscious mind"; and gross mind, which does not exist when one is sleeping.
States of Consciousness or Something More?
The gross mind is less permanent than the subtle mind, which does not exist in death. Still, the very subtle mind, does continue, there is a subtle memory at play here. One that will encounter and "catch on" to life again.
Then we begin to see a new subtle mind or entity emerge. One that will in time develop its own personality, and that entity, the soul or psyche, experiences a new life or karma in a new time or current continuum.
Sometimes we can get tripped up by our own vocabulary or lack of vocabulary. Our concept of "I" or "Me" actually changes all the time, based on our own life experiences. And other faiths may use a different description or concept of the soul, than what we are used to hearing.
We are constantly changing and growing, and out of this constant change or impermanence a new self is constantly arising in relationship with everything else around it. A new being is continuous arising from the being that was before, from your own consciousness. And there is a continuity that continues on and moves into the future, inside and outside of time.
In Jewish thought there are several different names or concepts of the soul-spirit; נפש nephesh (literally "living being"), רוח ruach (literally "wind"), נשמה neshama (literally "breath"), חיה chaya (literally "life") and יחידה yechidah (literally "singularity") are used to describe the soul or spirit.
The People of God, across all cultures and civilizations, are a diverse people. We are still one people, one race, the human race. It is important to take time to understand one another in this context. In an historic and cultural context out of which our languages, vocabulary, and faiths arise.
Life - Reality - Transformation – Resurrection – Rebirth - New Being - It Happens!
The point is, it is happening now, all the time, and it's a Mystery that we cannot always name.
I am remembering now, two of my favorite scriptures from the New Testament; ones I have always found to be full of mystery and great comfort.
New Revised Standard Version, Anglicized (NRSVA)
1 John 4:16: God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.
1 Corinthians 13
8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So, as a Buddhist-Christian or Christian-Buddhist, how am I to understand this Mystery? I'll talk about that later on, I promise.
The Over-Soul by Ralph Waldo Emerson
"That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.” - John 17:21
The concept of our Unity, of Non-Duality, can be found in all the great core religions and wisdom traditions found in human history, in myth and metaphor, in storytelling, and most especially in poetry. All sacred scripture is poetry.
Poetry, especially Spiritual Poetry, is like a software program you are using to reprogram the mind; the SPIRIT-SOUL’S operating system, the Divine Core Language of Creation (DCLC) perhaps, with many variations or versions.
Sacramental spiritual practices (praxis), like ritual, prayer, and meditation are an extension of this as well. Such practices and participation in a sacred community are helping you to grow spiritually, reprograming your mind.
The Word or Words (Logos) you are taking into your being now are what you are becoming in your future self. Except there is no time, time is an abstraction.
That future self already is, it exists now and is reaching within you to lead you forward, to discover your own fullness. The Holy Spirt dwells within you and is an intimate part of your whole being within and across creation.
It is a Mystery. You know this already, it is written, it is part of God’s core operating system. And the close connection your Spirit-Soul has already, an eternal one, to the Ultimate Divine Mystery of God, knows this at the deepest levels of the self-mind. In a subtle memory that flows and moves throughout your whole being.
In Christian theology they speak of Christ being both fully human and fully divine. Christianity has celebrated this divine aspect for over two thousand years. What has not been understood or celebrated as clearly is the human side of this equation, this dance, this Perichoresis.
Your presence on this earth, in this reality, is no accident; it is a gift. You are here to learn and in many cases to teach or help one another, to heal the world, to create heaven on earth.
Take time to develop a spiritual practice and to join a sacred community that helps you to discover where you belong, that you belong here, and that you are being called into new relationships every day of your life.
Take time to pay attention, to see how God, the Divine Ultimate Mystery is calling you into relationship with one another.
In his book, Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian, in writing about Thich Nhat Hanh’s idea of “interbeing,” Paul F. Knitter tells us that understanding God through relationships is critical and that the source and power of our relationships is driven by the presence of the "Holy Spirit.”
The importance of this concept is summarized by this: "behind and within all the different images and symbols, Christians use for God – Creator, Father (Abba), Redeemer, Word, Spirit, - the most fundamental, the deepest truth Christians can speak of God is that God is the source and power of relationships.”
Another way to view this, as Paul Knitter explained to me once in a conversation, is that in meditation Buddhism asks us “to let go of all concepts, and to let go and open ourselves radically and utterly to the present moment, and in the trust that this present moment contains all that I need.
This setting aside of words and imagery and opening oneself to what St. Paul calls God as Spirit, letting that Spirit make itself (or herself or himself) felt within us, grow within us, to lead us.”
We find this idea beautifully expressed in these two scriptures. The Gospel of John, and in the book of Romans.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” - John 14:26-27
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” - Romans 8:26-27
Ron Starbuck is an author, poet, the Publisher-CEO of Saint Julian Press, and an Episcopalian with certain Buddhist leanings who values comparative literature and literary dialogues in many forms.
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