Dear Yosemite

I left behind a little bit
of me with you

When my sight took a flight
from the crown of your peaks
When the time stood still
on misty meadows tranquil

I left behind a little bit
of me with you

When the many sunsets
sparkled across the valley
When the wild wind whirled
with it, every waterfall swirled

I left behind a little bit
of me with you

When I sat down beside
the river in awe of a dome
When the trail I embraced
refused to return home

And so when you I adore,
like the growing morning dew
I leave behind a little bit more
of me with you.

Voyage

Sometimes I feel I must be
An alien in my own body

Why else then I not
Listen to its pounding heart
Pleading for me to calm
The rage I fail to guard
Until its fist I hurt hard

Why else then I not
Rest the weary brain
From endless tiring thoughts
Of “What Ifs” from the past
And wishes yet to be cast

Sometimes I feel I must be
An alien in my own body

The Present

Standing amongst the
snow-clad mountains
soaking in waters of
the holiest rivers
bowing down in the
tallest of the temples
singing  hymns in the
most silent shrines

None of this alone
nor any deed
no single thought
neither any trick
can bring peace
to the mind that
rues the past
revels the future

But the one who
surrenders to what is
the present moment
in all its glory
can find inner peace
to forge actions
to change the self
and with it the world

An Unbound Happiness

To the hands that planted
To the eyes that nourished
To the muscles that carried
To the strength that grounded
To the mind that imagined
To the effort that gathered
To the diligence that cooked
To the attention that served
And to the infinite energies
Of Earth, air, water, and light
That preserved and flourished
Many a generation of greens
From whom the seeds were born
Thus this meal was formed
To all of them I sound
Stream of happiness unbound.

The Sanskrit phrase अन्नदाता सुखी भव (Anna data sukhi bhava) literally translates to “Those who are providing me with this food, let them be happy.”

Neti Neti

I am not my body
that I cling to
but instead
let me dissolve
like the air that
in any shape can grew.

I am not my feelings
worn out by weight
but instead
let me float
like a feather
free from any freight

I am not my perceptions
coloring my judgement
but instead
let me disappear
like the glass that shares
all light without abatement

I am not my intentions
Nor the dreams they hound
but instead
let me be content
like the still water
steady in the sound

I am not my consciousness
molding a mirage wholesome
but instead
let me expand
like the rain drop that falls
to one with the ocean become.

Like we disregard the sensations within a dream as unreal, the sages of Upanishads discarded everything that was in a constant process of change as unreal. Their principle was neti, neti atma: “this is not the self, that is not the self”. When you dig into your own personality deeper, you find layers of perceptions, thoughts, emotions, drives, and memories. The sages found that none of this is permanent. In their search for a constant, they defined what was left – the intense awareness – as the atman, the Self.

Desire

When after worthless wars
And losses unknown
We draw imaginary lines
To mark our own

When after earning the alms
And growing it many fold
Still sleepless we count
Our neighbor’s gold

When in need to be faultless
Photoshop and filters we use
Our very own reality
Is what we abuse

When yet again we choose
To sever from a mate
Slicing the once beloved
With words of hate

Then a desire is met with
and a wish appears to be granted
Only to spawn another longing
For a thing we never wanted.

The Sanksrit word samskara literally means “that which is intensely done”. Samskaras are thought, speech, or behavior motivated by desire to get some experience for oneself. It is one of the five ingredients Buddha uses to describe personality. The others are rupa (form), vedana (sensation or feeling), samjna (perception), and vijnana (consciousness).

What You Seek Is Seeking You

Much like the wind
that powers the sails
for the soul lost at sea
seeking a refuge
until the shores
yet to be discovered
are no longer in wait,
the desires deep down,
known and unknown,
seek a destiny
in an entangled world
of cause and effects
until a sigh rests
in the arms that await.

Text from Brihadaranyaka Upanishad IV.4.5

अथो खल्वाहुः काममय एवायं पुरुष इति स यथाकामो भवति तत्क्रतुर्भवति यत्क्रतुर्भवति तत्कर्म कुरुते यत्कर्म कुरुते तदभिसम्पद्यते

And here they say that a person consists of desires. And as is his desire, so is his will; and as is his will, so is his deed; and whatever deed he does, that he will reap.

Gratitude

The flame is born to shine,
But can only shape to a rhyme,
When a breeze chooses to chime.

The earth is bound to hold,
But whether that is grain or gold,
Plots the potter when it is mold.

The flying fragrance of the flower,
Follows the hand that plucks forever,
Destined to where it’s smell shall shower.

So, to those who rid you of platitude,
For your fame, fortune, and fortitude,
For them, spare a thought of gratitude.

Gratitude is called kataññutā in Pali. The word consists of two parts: kata, which means that which has been done, especially to oneself; and annuta means knowing or recognizing. So katannuta means knowing and recognizing what has been done to one for one’s benefit.

You and Me

You and me
We fight so hard
Every word
Like a flying shard

You and me
And days of yonder
How far we’ve come
Do you remember?

You and me
Why do the eyes weep?
In our arms
When we now seep

You and me
In a gaze deep
The hugs last long
We fail to sleep

You and me
A future we wrote
But somewhere along
We forgot to dote

You and me
What rocked our boat?
Love slowly sinks
Hope falters to float

The Green Light on the Dock

I wonder from where
Could I gather such fare
To take me from this rock
Over the bay to that dock
Where shines that light
Bright green all night.

“Shall I embrace the waves?”
My yearning heart craves
Or a breeze shall I become
To fly to the only one
Where shines that light
Bright green all night.

Memories have not faded
A little, in years jaded
But for courage I strive
A little, for me to arrive
Where shines that light
Bright green all night.

I throw the alms I own
And the fame I have sown
For a sight with your eyes
So I can cease my sighs
Where shines that light
Bright green all night.

This poem is inspired by the character of Gatsby from the 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald titled “The Great Gatsby”. The green light is an electric lamp at the end of Daisy and Tom Buchanan’s boat dock.  Because the Buchanans’ mansion is direct across the bay from Gatsby’s mansion, Gatsby can always see the green light. In the first part of the novel, the green light represents a symbol of hope for Gatsby. He stares at it obsessively while dreaming to recover the lost love of Daisy.