This exquisite flower of life blooms
from the same source into which it rots
and returns, a mothering soil that unfailingly
will receive her own, the polished-off petals
and leaves of itself, all fallen into itself,
not comprehending any beginning,
middle, or end of itself.
The temple of mindless presence
where this ritual of dreamy blooming
and wilting is performed cannot be reached
by any thought, belief, idealism, or ambition.
Such kindling of the mind is just fuel
for the fire that the heart patiently tends
at an inner altar, submitted to the pyre
for the sake of all burning beings.
This realm is a great inferno,
a wild perpetual conflagration
where we are all burnt offerings,
smoke sacrifices to a flaming deity
who inhales us like fragrant incense,
an exotic mixture refined in the furnace
of endless transformation, ecstatic surrender.
We may claim that we want Truth,
yet resist enduring the burning away
of all that we cling to which is not Truth.
Everything I’ve told myself
was spoken by a liar –
what’s fit to burn
when the breath goes out
has yearned for just this fire.
The greater the resistance,
the hotter that flame will burn.
I feed this relentless fire to discover
just how much of what I imagined
was myself, never truly was.
These ashes speak for themselves.
What more is there to burn?
I look into my own mind.
Wherever attention rests, I recognize
how all of it turns to ash, in the same way
no thought or feeling, desire or fear, really lasts.
Resting deeply in whatever may remain,
the desperate drive to know, to gain control,
is mercifully incinerated as the fire has its way.
The aromatic ash from this immolation ceremony
permeates the welcoming earth, nourishing
seedlings with no roots in the known.
From that fertile bed of ash, a nameless flower
mysteriously sprouts, blossoming into light.