Convert To Serenity

I lie waking, picturing my lover’s face,

the one I never understood,

the face I could only stare at

in perplexity or disbelief.

I am imagining that if I arrange to meet him today,

before going to a gathering,

after not seeing him for months now,

I’ll be a wreck,

so choosing to see him would be foolish.

I ask inside, addressing my question

to no one in particular in there:

“Can I meet him with a Buddha heart?”

“Sure,” is the immediate reply

as a vision of the stone contours of serenity

on a giant Buddha’s face

comes out like a giant star in my imagination

and hangs in over me.

I lie back smiling and relaxing.

I can hardly believe the answer –

“Sure” – and yet I do,

of course it’s true.

I have a Buddha heart.

It moved me not to go in anger

towards the man who’s been demeaning me for years.

It moved me to endure a week’s computer torture

with Apple and Microsoft more or less peaceably.

It moves me to be true to what’s good and beautiful

in my love, and keep on trying

to show this side of himself to him

so clearly that it inspires him to go with it,

and drop all that defeats it:

the chaos of confusion in operation

behind that impassive yet belligerent pout.

I see that, in my current conversion to serenity,

I am letting go of my long held

negative identification with my Mother’s

raw and roiling and flailing furies.

the state I was afraid of being thrown into

were I to see him now, being prevented from

touching him and seeing him get down to

the liquid diamond of his being.

I see now that his stone face masks

both the depth and extremity of his confusion,

the perplexity of panic I’ve been trying to break into.

Only a Buddha heart can melt that face of stone

down to the clarity of liquidity!

My duty to him, my obligation to him,

– no, to the light I’ve seen flow

so abundantly and beautifully in him –

can only be fulfilled by choosing

to be a Buddha heart entirely.

Only with cool can I help him.

“Yes,” my inner voice says, sounding gratified.

I see an old image of myself as a child of five or so

kneeling over a giant stone face of my Mother

and dusting it off gently with a fine brush

like a diligent, fond, curious archaeologist.

This fifteen or twenty year old image was forelighting

the current destination of my inner journey;

and is surfacing today to show me the part

of my nature that my inner work has finally excavated,

my Mother’s serenity, so grand it is Olmec in scale.

If I forgo my relish for her passionate fighting Irish ways,

and allow myself to realize serenity of this proportion,

there will be no villain or devil I cannot face with cool!

How off our expectations are.

I have long thought that, when I finally got through

to realizing the sides of my Mother

that I’ve long needed to inherit,

I would activate her dash and flare, her extroversion,

the flamboyant actress and global executive.

But, for now at least, the pearl of profound strength 

coming through in me is her underneath-it-all serenity.

With it I feel I can face anything, even as it’s killing me,

without fighting in ways making dying more destructive.

With Buddha-hearted dying I have a prayer of

coming out of the fight like a gleaming Brancusi bird

instead of the scattered pieces of a cock fight.

Now that I feel the strength of serenity

coursing through my entire being,

I begin to sense the surface softness

that the stony contours of serenity allow,

and see how this can dissolve the surface severity

– also my Mother’s – which gets me into trouble,

causing people to feel, mistakenly,

that I am attacking them, when I am, in fact,

cutting through the storm of confusion

and/or hostility we’re caught up in.

“Yes,” my inner voice agrees.

I feel delight spreading across my cheeks,

up my nostrils, into my eyes,

a slow dawning of delight

as my new awareness of the

strength of serenity sinks in.

I see why I chose to grace the center

of my new living room with the postcard of a portrait

of a surely smiling Renaissance matron

whose deeply pleated sleeves expose

long golden inner folds of gleaming silk.

If I can sit through a full week of computer torture

without going up in smoke,

I can surely focus an hour’s serenity on my lover’s heart

to further kindle the deep reach for light it needs to make.

Now, stone to stone, I see a way I could never see before.

I was asking myself in passing earlier this morning

what would break his evasiveness, his elusiveness,

his unwillingness to commit to the inner work

he needs to do to straighten himself out?

And wondering if seeing that he’s giving himself

the runaround that prevents him from connecting

with fulfillment of his aims would do it?

He has to begin to see that, when he stonewalls,

he traps, imprisons his good nature in panic;

and that only by letting the light in there slowly

will he begin to see the beautiful orders of unfolding light

that will unfurl from his now dark inner being.

“Yes,” my inner voice says, sounding gratified.

And I remember a little earlier picturing dark ants

knowing their way in and out of

the fragrant white petals of peony blossoms

and thinking: we are these ants,

once we know our true place in the scheme of things.

How could I give up on him,

let him “go his ways,” his own desperate ways?

I can’t, if I sense any of my focused light

dissolving his stonyness to the point that

he can feel his liquid diamond light flowing,

and guide himself and others by it.

Buddha heart.

Wanting to visualize whatever I mean by this

I see myself lying back, relaxing, smiling,

a self-delighting odalisque of serenity.

The smile of a tremendous laugh bursts across my face

as I’m thinking this is the funniest thing,

the biggest joke that’s ever happened to me,

the one with the Avis complex, the tortured try harder,

now lounging into serenity

to win my hardest battle for my heart.

“Yes,” my inner voice says with almost mute

encouraging admiration.

Rubbing open stone together with defensive stone

to spark the fire of?

Of what? Truth, honesty, integrity,

that substance in spirit which leads to, foments,

engenders, realizes healing,

bringing together, into confluence

that which has been dividing us from within,

splitting us apart from our whole picture. 

Buddha heart,

I see a face of stone,

a torso and knees of stone,

a body with the hardness of an athlete in tune,

but with arms and hands lying open so lithely

they could catch the ripple of the slightest breeze.

That’s me, babe. That’s me.

The new big Buddha hearted me

who has outgrown the shrinking violet.


                                The End

I have graduated from my frenzy.

I can hereinafter live

beyond the frenetic. 

I can now dare to see the face

of the envious man who has been bugging me,

pleading for my love.

I won’t give any to his meanness.

I feel myself growing big with Buddha heart

as if Mama Mountain is swelling up

to swallow up his vileness in her immensity.

“That’s it!” an inner voice exclaims excitedly.

End of story.

I lie back laughing aloud.

When you’re the big guy

your enemy becomes the pipsqueak.

And life moves on.

Thank you, Mama Mountain, I am thinking,

and I see her bow, tipping her peak to me.

Am I ever smiling a broad smile.

It’s over. One down. 

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