Hydroglyphics: Reflections on the Sacred

Is all water sacred?
To me this feels powerful and true–water is sacred.
Water is life.
“La vida es sagrada,” Hispanos also say.
Life is sacred.

Phaedra Greenwood in Hydroglyphics

My latest book is a deep-reaching collaboration between the entrancing photography of Phaedra Greenwood and the inspired poetry that her profound images of the Rio Hondo’s waters pulled from me.

I’ve experienced the power of both the living word and image to communicate truths that are beyond the ability of the logical mind to articulate. My sincere hope is that this work has that power, too.

Get a full-color, signed copy from me for just $17.95 including shipping within the U.S., or pick it up on Amazon.

Below are a couple of images and poems from the book.

Between apogee and perigee,
Between the reach and the pull
Water swirls in all directions.
Right now, I can be…
Walking a fine line of wetness
Between the poles of coming and going
I open in all directions.

spiritual poetry

Dancing Ship
A photon’s long journey from the sun
is equal parts effort and grace,
which is not that hard to imagine,
for a creature both here and not here,
particle and wave.

I imagine the meeting of these qualities
like the scalloped turns
of pure reflection in this photo,
and like the curve of meaning
as these words form in your mind.

I imagine the bond of effort and grace,
being-ness and non-being-ness,
looks and sounds like this holy moment,
creeping up the back of your spine,
unrolling before your vision,
inhabiting the intersection of turn within turn.

When we cross paths like this,
on our long journey from the Sun,
there’s no more imagining.

This is such fine work. The images are stunning. The play of light and water, waves of words open worlds simply sublime!

Sean Murphy, Zen teacher and author of One Bird, One Stone: 108 Contemporary Zen Stories

Subtraction: The Simple Math of Enlightenment

What is Spiritual Awakening?

I hope that is the question you’re asking. I hope you feel a hunger, a yearning for an answer to a question you carry in the depths of your heart; that you stumbled upon this site looking for that answer – looking for spiritual awakening.  Rumi said:

All day I think about it, then at night I say it.
Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?
I have no idea.
My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that,
and I intend to end up there.

That’s the yearning for spiritual awakening that I’m talking about.

No one can give enlightenment to you. The answer is a revelation – unveiled inside you. Revealed through the process best called a spiritual path.

There is work to be done. Subtraction: The Simple Math of Enlightenment describes that work through sharing a story peculiar to me: of gurus both truth and false, of love, of loss, of determination and seeming failure. A portrait of a spiritual path both personal and common to all in that I found working principles, meta-practices, that you can apply to your path. I offer this book as a light and inspiration – that there is an answer that will settle your longing, and that someone as full of self-doubt and indecision as me could find it.

Praise for the Book:

  • It was the first book I’ve read on spirituality & seeking that I would call a page-turner.
  • Provides invaluable insights into the spiritual path, and I found them more understandable and practicable because they were presented by example rather than abstractly.
  • A book that makes grace seem possible.
  • Inspiring, challenging, and wonderfully told story of spiritual awakening.

Your life is the spiritual path, what you do (action) is what you become,  what you become (as opposed to think) is the answer you seek, and the answer is spiritual awakening.  How? I recommend a subtractive path.  What’s that?  Keep reading.

From the Foreword by Bob Cergol:

A subtractive, deconstructive process is the surest way to spiritual awakeningsuccessful conclusion of a spiritual path. It was the main piece of the shortcut that Richard Rose said existed. But just what in the world does subtraction on a spiritual path really mean? How could it translate into a viable spiritual practice? How does one follow a subtractive path?

That is precisely what this book is about, what it so eloquently reveals, and what it so satisfyingly illustrates, all in a way that frequently reminded me throughout my reading of it, that the author of these pages is also a talented and inspiring poet.

Subtraction means backing away from untruth in all aspects of your life and thought.  I had no idea what that meant when I first heard it, but you begin by developing self-honesty in ordinary life.  It sounds simple, but we are masters of self-deception, especially when our self-image is assailed through fear, embarrassment, guilt, and shame.  The book will save you time and give you ideas for applying this method, and several others, to your search for spiritual awakening.

From fasting to falling in love, teaching kids to 30-day solitary retreats, a Zen master in West Virginia to an Indian guru in Germany, and a dozen other adventures and misadventures, Subtraction presents a wholehearted search for God, the real self, our true nature, spiritual awakening, or whatever you want to call that splinter in your mind which won’t let you rest until you find the answer.

As a reward for your diligent reading of this post, I’ll send you a signed copy of my book for only $13.95.  This special price is only available for orders shipped within the United States. Or pick it up on Amazon wherever you happen to be in the world.

The Answer to How is Yes

The Answer To How Is Yes: Acting on what matters by Peter Block: I can’t keep this book out of my mind. While half of it is devoted to organizational change, the first half of the book is a call to ask the profound questions of life and allow those questions to guide our actions. This is not a guide to the spiritual search, but is filled with clues about how we limit our potential. One of the chief ways is to focus on “how” questions whenever we begin to consider change. How do you do it? How much does it cost? How long will it take? Considered too early, those questions derail our initiative and are symptomatic of fear.

“What is the question that, if you had the answer, would set you free?” is what Block calls the mother of all questions. I think that spiritual seekers often fail to keep that question in front of their mind. The question will differ from person to person and change over time, but its remembrance has the power to keep us from waivering even in the darkest night of the soul.

Lest I create the wrong impression, Peter Block doesn’t talk about the spiritual search in The Answer To How Is Yes, but those are the sort of realizations his book inspires. It’s a book about human nature, how we thwart ourselves, and organizational nature, our wrong assumptions about the source of power and freedom in our workplace lives. As a lover of the spiritual fully engaged in the world of work, I recommend it on both counts.