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crooked line

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I’m venturing into an intimate relationship: first with caution, then courage, I’m opening my/self to being loved –allowing body-heart-mind (shin in Japanese*) to be touched: withholding nothing. Immersed in bliss, I’m tasting absolute presence, without a single thought of past or future, fully immersed in sensory and spiritual mindfulness. Not even during week-long retreats with their long hours of meditating, chanting, and working, have I experienced such intense alertness. Only chaplaincy work — sitting at hospice patients’ bedside, attending to the emotional needs of their loved-ones and coworker — has given me a similar taste. 

The Danish philosopher Søren Kirkegaard says that while life must be lived forward, it can only be understood backwards. Looking back on my last ten years shows a direct line, even if at the time it’s been obscured by upheaval and disarray: → Zen training → three years of self-imposed celibacy → tumultuous affaire d’amour → first taste of spiritual sexuality → extended grief → gradual recovery and healing → end-of-life and spiritual care work → more celibacy → now this → beyond that: not-knowing.

True, I may appear
unkempt like a rotten tree,
jetsam or flotsam,
but on the right occasion
this old heart can still blossom.

By the monk Kengei (ca. 875).

*my given name is Daishin, boundless heart; source: Hamill, S. & Seaton, J.P. (2007). The poetry of Zen. Boston: Shambhala, p. 100. image:


6 responses »

  1. i think deep within us all is the capacity to let our heart blossom; sometimes we just need to find the right key to open it; seems you have, peter…how wonderful for you.

  2. Since you seem to be drawn to Rilke, Peter, may I offer these thoughts from him:

    Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always.
    Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other.
    Love is like the measles. The older you get it, the worse the attack.
    Rainer Maria Rilke

    And this from Goethe:
    If God had wanted me otherwise, He would have created me otherwise.
    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    And lastly, from the Wilde man:
    To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.

    Wishing you Joy …

  3. I love your new blog’s name!
    Very powerful post…

  4. mmmm….

    such a difference

  5. ah Peter… it seems to me all lines are crooked leading us back from where we came… may your blossom fully bloom.


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