Skyline, Spring - 2008

By Diane Pendola

Return to Earth

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Fire breathes in the hearth
of the heart.
Inhale, flame rises.
Exhale, heat spreads
to the four directions,
Earth to air
Air to light
Light to heat
Heat to the ten thousand things.

As for water:
distill it from your flesh
and quench the thirst
of all who ask.

Return to earth.

What is the hearth of the heart if not the good earth: the soil, the life-blood of rivers, the throbbing life-force in the intimate depths of every green thing, every flowering form, every singing, winging bird? And what is the heart if not this resonance, this inner knowing through which we love and, in turn, know anew and love again? We breathe in and we inhale the exhalation of forests, plankton, desert sage and the fragrance of spreading spring violets. We breathe out and the trees inhale us, take us into themselves in this grand conspiracy of life, this godly inspiration, this earthly distillation, this human intersection of all that is.

Let all go
The techniques
The rituals
The incense and candles
The chant
The Om and the Alleluia.
Let all go
Down the stream of consciousness
Every thought released
Like a leaf on the current
And let that go, too
The image
And the impulse.
It will come back
Gathering in a new configuration
In the quiet pool,
The deep sea.
Let all go now
The desire
And the seed of desire
And the desirer.

The bird sounds.
The wind blows.
The water flows.
I am there.
I am that.
And that in me
Is all there is

As Thomas Aquinas has said, and Buddha and Lao Tsu before him, everything is only because of everything else. Earth to air/Air to light/Light to heat/Heat to the ten thousand things. The Truth is simple but cannot be said. I’m certain that many known and unknown mystics, sages, saints and regular folks have said that. It seems more and more of my saying is an unsaying of the untruth. Yet still I speak. How can I speak that which speaks me? How can I know that which knows me? Am I also a creator of that which creates me? Perhaps. For what is a creator without its creation? And what does creation speak, even know within its rocks, rivers, bones, soul? The relation is radical. The Buddhists call it Pratitysamutpada: the radical co-arising of all that is. Raimon Panikkar calls it Cosmotheandric, another way of naming the Trinity which is not exclusively Christian. The creator is only through creation. The creative energy, spark, mystery reveals itself, expresses itself, shows itself as mountain, sea, bird, bear and reflects on itself through human consciousness.

My life speaks
which speaks me
And even
in my fleeing
seeks me
In my faltering
Rights me
In my falsity
Roots me
In Truth.

Of my I
Shed every lie
Me innocent
And true
To be undone
By death
Made new
When I and you
In silence
Neither one
nor two.

Some Christians wait for Jesus to return to earth with the hope and expectation that they will be taken away from this earth in a Rapture that breaks all ties with this intricate web of earthly beauty and terror. But perhaps Christ, who Christians call Jesus, never left earth. Perhaps Christ is the breath in the fire, distilling the water of life from the earthly being of our own incarnate lives. Has the fire gone out of our hearts? Is the hearth cold and littered with ash? Have we abandoned earth? We can return again, releasing the waters that well up to eternal life… which is here, which is now, which is you, neither one nor two.

©Diane Pendola, Spring 2008. You are welcome to print or make a copy in electronic form for personal use or sharing with interested persons as long as the copyright notice is not removed or altered. Please do not print it in any other publication, or sell it, by itself or as part of another work, without express written permission of the author.

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