The Way of All Flesh

There is a path that all flesh must take
We’ve always known this from the start
It’s the very awareness of this fact
That reveals the nature of our heart

For the spirit of immortality
Wrestles with the ways of form
Tempting us with corporeality
As if it were the norm

There are hearts that surrender to this way
As long as we are here
While other hearts struggle with time itself
Certain that eternity is near

The struggling heart will not surrender
It crams eternity into space
Living life with all it has
And in its wake leaves waves of grace

It knows the way that flesh must go
But it and flesh are not the same
And on that day when the two must part
It receives that which is its to gain

© Copyright 2016 Pedro S. Silva II

bruce-2The poem above was written by request for the Rev. Bruce MacKenzie Pastor Emeritus of the church I serve in Boulder, CO. “The way of all flesh” was a saying Bruce loved to say when referring to anything that is temporary in this world. At one visit I had with him before his passing he said to me,  “Soon I will be going the way of all flesh, but you and I know that is nothing to be concerned with. So no tears.” I said to him, “Well we teach that Jesus wept when Lazarus died and he was just about to resurrect him, so I cry when you leave.” He laughed at that and changed the subject.  Bruce’s body might have gone the way of all flesh. But though the outer man is beyond our seeing, the inner man remains eternally abiding.

There’s A World

infinite-crisis-worlds1
There’s a world we all are living in
But not everyone can see
A World of eternal spaciousness
Where everyone is free

Inside that world is another world
Where people choose to live a lie
“Special people”claim to know the Truth
And teach the “forgetting” we can die

Some of those people know the Truth
And twist it tight for so called gain
Telling us that we can’t get along
And that the Other causes pain

Their clarion call is “SAVE YOURSELF”
So that’s what many of us try to do
We can’t see it’s just a cattle call
And all they want to hear is “MOOOO”

They have no purpose if we’re not scared
“Can’t you see that there’s a threat?”
They know that we will sell our souls
Only as long as we’re fearing death

They tell you they’re here to protect us
That’s the job for which they’re paid
In exchange you can focus on other things
But you lose consciousness in the trade

The world of lies that we think is real
Does not objectively exist
Like a picture of a sumptuous meal
On which no one can subsist

Meanwhile in the eternal world
One is the Truth that always reigns
“divided houses” do not exist
And there is no loss or gain

No one’s seeking for the joy in life
For Joy is the Cause of Life itself
And value isn’t used as we use it here
Since everything springs from eternal wealth

There also is never a use for Welcome
Because there’s never a time that we aren’t here
We can tell ourselves that we’ve gone away
But to Truth we’ve never disappeared

Like children with their hands on eyes
Who think they’re unseen when they can’t see
Here we can choose to chain ourselves
But that doesn’t make us less than free

We’re only bound by the limits that we project
Our own judgments become our jail
But our sentence is never for our entire life
Because the Truth always prevails

The Truths Cannot Die

The next time that you kill us
Remember we never really die
Suppressing us won’t free you
Because Truth can’t sustain a lie

I know our presence scares you
We make you feel unsure
Nothing can quite prepare you
For seeing your prejudice impure

You’ve been taught we’re inconvenient
You try to hide us from your view
But locking us up doesn’t keep us out
Since you can’t get away from you

Your history of violence
Towards those who look like me
Has left so many people silent
That we barely know how to be

You say that we are valued
And yet you try to hide the Truth
But there’s no escaping what’s evident
We are the living proof

But where does this knowledge leave us
For too many it ushers shame
The one thing no one wants to feel
Because we can’t escape the pain

See that’s not what we’re seeking
What we want to share is hope
But in our face you see a mirror
And hang the image from a rope

Your guilt too, is not of value
It’s just denial in different dress
Which leads to justification
Which fosters anger and unrest

So what is the solution?
Where do we go from here?
How can we live by a better Way,
When we hold on to our fear?

The answer is we cannot
We have to let love win
Or die in the darkness that we choose
And then do it all again

Everything and Then Some

When someone asks you to prove your love,

You better prepare to die

Anything less is just holding back

In this beholder’s eye

Though they do not think they’re worthy

They want you to make them feel they are

But no matter how much you offer them

They won’t believe it without your scars

They want to see you bleed

They want you to give it all away

How much your heart has love for them

Is the last thing they demand you say

Your last words should be a testament

To how much they mean to you

But they’ll find a reason to doubt it

No matter what you do

On them the sun should rise

On them the sun should set

Give yourself to anything else

And their whole world will be upset

Even if it’s your own children

Or your faith in your religion

Any focus that is not on them

In their minds will cause division

They will say it’s because they love you

But this can’t be further from the truth

Because if there’s one thing that I’ve learned from love

Is that it never asks for proof

It gives with no thought of getting

It’s sole hope is that we receive

And even after we’ve denied it thrice

We find Love is the One who grieves

Abandoned and abused

Love still keeps us in its prayers

Compelling us to fulfillment

While we are focused on other cares

Love is so relentless

That it will even refuse to die

Coming back to bless its murderers

Despite this fact we still deny

Love forgives us before we seek it

Keeps its promises while we’re debating

And when we arrive in the hells that we create

We find Love is right there waiting

 

© Copyright 2015 Pedro S. Silva II

On Being a Moneymaker

All these years I’ve been living life

Like money isn’t real

Never making decisions based on it

But focusing more on how I feel

 

I’ve walked away from high paying gigs

To work in shipping and receiving

Just because I wanted to

No thought of what I was achieving

 

I’ve disappointed around the world

For not fulfilling my potential

All the while feeling quite at peace

With an air that’s presidential

 

I felt just like a rich man

Doing what I wanted to do

Never thinking that my bank account

Meant my riches were not true

 

I saw life as an adventure

A journey to be savored

All I needed was provided for

As if I lived a life of favor

 

Then someone brought to my attention

That I was not living life to plan

I should be a millionaire by now

Getting everything I can

 

But instead I’m still just bopping along

Doing what I do

Believing that everything is working out

In accordance with heaven’s view

 

But lately I’ve been wondering

What if I’ve been wrong

What if seeking Truth is a task for fools

And life was about Benjamins all along

 

Then that puts me way behind

I may never win the race

All my friends are miles ahead

While I was running in One Place

 

What if love of money isn’t evil

But love of God is the distraction?

What if I’ve been “bait and switched”

And missed my chance at satisfaction?

 

I could have been a moneymaker

The one calling all the shots

Instead of trying to know my soul

And purify my thoughts

 

I could have been stacking paper

Collecting fees and cashing checks

Instead of studying root causes

So that I can undo their ill effects

 

When I was busy seeking the Kingdom

Stuff was added to another

It might turn out I’m the prodigal

Being shamed by the other brother

 

What if YOLO* was the real deal

While I was thinking I’d live forever?

Which had me living fancy free

When I should have been under pressure?

 

When I was considering the lilies

And the birds of the air

I should have considered my 401k

Instead of casting all my cares

 

Well at least that’s what I’ve been wondering

For at least the past few years

When people were looking down on me

For not passing up my peers

 

They tell me that with a mind like mine

They would’ve managed so much more

But I said if their mind was just like mine

They wouldn’t be keeping score

 

The fact is that while I’m wondering

If my choices were mistakes

I do so from Eternity

Which is beyond both time and space

 

I can always be a moneymaker

In fact I’ve been one at other times

That’s why I know the value it really has

Comes not from what it buys

 

Money is a form of expression

For what you hold most dear

So what we have or do not have

Can’t make our riches clear

 

So the best measure of my worth

Is the measure of my love

And how much I can give of it

Is all I should be thinking of.

 

© Copyright 2015 Pedro S. Silva II

 

*You Only Live Once

 

 

Am I In Love?

Is this truly my reality
Or the most illusive of dreams?
Because I am living in my fantasy
Well, at least that is how it seems

The death of my emotions,
Has seen resurrection in your eyes.
Is this what I came here for?
Is this the reason for all my lives?

All the mistakes I thought I was making,
All the things I’ve put “Me” through.
It was worth my time in the darkness,
To see the light that resides in you.

This place in which I find “Myself” is uncharted in my universe
A place I’ve only heard of.
I wonder what I should call this place.
Have I found “Myself” in “Love”?

Ah relationships.  Can I say enough about them? It’s what humans were designed for.  It’s how we all got here and probably what takes us out. Well I am joking a little on that last statement.  But as anyone who has ever been in love in the romantic sense can tell you, nothing can make you love life or hate life like romantic relationships. Take it from a guy who had been married three times by age thirty-five. More on that later. What I want to focus on first is what I am going to call “Big Love/Big Relationship”.  This is the Love of all loves and the Relationship which makes all other relating possible.  In the language I use it would be called the Love and Relationship of God with all of life. In Paul’s letter to the Romans he described this love as a bond to God that nothing can separate us from.  The words he chose were:

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38)

Elsewhere in Ephesians 3, Paul go so far as to say that if we had the strength to receive this love that Christ knew so well we could be filled with all the fullness of God.  Can you imagine that–to be filled with all of the fullness of God? Is it even possible? What does that even mean?  Apparently Paul had some idea of what it meant and he prayed that those who heard his words would come to know what it meant as well.

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Did you notice that in Paul’s prayer that he used the term family to unite heaven and earth through God? The whole family of God includes the residents of both heaven and earth.  God is related to us all and we are all related to each other in God.  This is very important to keep in mind when Paul indicates the goal of his prayer which is that we come to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge–a love that can embrace the whole family of God.  For it is the one whose heart is strengthened to know this love that can be filled with the fullness of God. So what does this have to do with being “in love”?  Well, what it brings up for me is the idea that this feeling of love that we expect from our family and that we often demand from our romantic relationships has its source in this love that Paul is talking about. Think about it.  Why do we get disappointed in almost every single one of our relational bonds?  Well from my point of view, we experience these disappointments because we are comparing all of our relationships to a love that we somehow know is possible even if it is beyond the realm of our experience.  It is a love that passes knowledge.

As children, we enter this world with a sense of wonder and awe.  There is no such thing as ordinary or common.  All things are new. We see everyone and everything as a part of Us–an inextricable whole that is Life and Love itself. This last for a year or two–perhaps longer if our needs continue to be met as we have then.  But as soon as there comes the perceptible space between our need and the fulfillment of that need we begin to experience ourselves as distinctly other–as something different and apart from everyone and everything else. And this is the beginning of common and ordinary experiences.  Wonder begins to recede. It is no longer seen in everything, but only in what we have never seen before.  All things are not new.  Only new things are.  And so we tire of what was and what is and we begin to long for something more.  All this time, this more we are looking for is so close that we can’t see it.  Our parents who were once seen as our heroes, become less exciting and rather than see them as a part of who we are, many of us begin to experience them as the very embodiment of restriction.  Emptiness takes place of fullness and we begin our search for a replacement for a love lost.

For a time we will fill this emptiness with sense gratifications of every kind.  But it will all get old.  Toys we once “loved” and could go nowhere without will find a new home in a box or an attic and only be looked at when in the process of getting rid of things.  Friends with whom we were once joined at the hip will find different interests.  Success in sports or academics or any other venture will cease to challenge us.  And at the end of some day, we will find ourselves wishing we were children again.  We will look back and scarcely remember that newness of life.  But somehow we know it is there.  Our desire for it is proof of its existence.  But the question remains, “how do we get back to it?” And the only answer is relationship.  We need a relationship that fulfills us–that makes everything else in life worth it.  We need new eyes through which to see ourselves and the world.  It is through those new eyes that we will be resurrected.  We will be made new.  And so we look for those eyes that will love us like we need to be loved and will see us as we desire to be seen.  Someone who anticipates our needs and loves us with a love that surpasses knowledge–just like we always felt our parents should have.  And plus we get to have sex with them and accumulate stuff.  What can be better?  When this happens, we will know that we are in love.

That is what this poem is about.  It is about that moment when we realize the we feel ourselves restored through the love of another–that feeling that somehow the love of another redeems all that we have lost through other relationships that somehow failed us.  It is an intense feeling that some people get addicted to.  Like drugs, alcohol, sex, and overworking this “feeling” produces a euphoria that takes us beyond ourselves and yet includes ourselves. In some way through this encounter we may temporarily feel like we even gained more of ourselves.  In their book, Getting the Love You WantHarville Hendrix and Helen Lakelly Hunt, note that many of the people they work with in healing romantic relationships, express how at the initial stage of relationship they experience themselves as having more energy and a healthier outlook on life.  Some say they felt wittier, more playful, and more optimistic. They even saw themselves as better looking when looking in the mirror.  On top of that, these relationships even empowered some people to give up other substitutes for gratification such as sweets, drugs, alcohol, or recreational sex.  There was even a decrease in overworking oneself or living simply for accumulating money.  At the height of this relationship, some people even radiated that good feeling out into the world and some even experienced greater spiritual awareness.  Sounds awesome huh?

Unfortunately like with any drug or addictive substance, there is the inevitable crash as most of us know all to well.  Some of us more than others.  Speaking for myself, I can say that I absolutely loved my prior wives.  I still do in fact.  I though it was awesome when we were experience each other like we were high. And the fact is we were high.  That’s what falling in romantic love is.  It is getting high off of someone else’s affection.  I know that doesn’t sound very romantic, but if you compare it to any other activity that we participate in to feel better, very few people can refute this.  And that is where I differ from a lot of people on this subject of being in love.  Growing up in a household of divorce, I realized that I had a choice between experiencing our family situation as it was and accepting that it was the best condition for me as a spiritual being evolving into higher consciousness or I could continue to compare it to what I thought it could be or was “supposed to have been” and suffer needlessly.  I chose to accept the variety of family situations in the world as just another part of the diversity of the mysterious Creation rather than assume an entitlement to domestic homogeneity likened to the Huxtables.  Therefore when the high wore off in my relationships, I did not feel the sense of urgency that my partners felt.  I was grateful for how long it lasted and excepted as a gift from God.

What I imagined, was that the initial feeling was a preview of what was possible if we each sought to understand the belief that such a feeling would  last.  If we could follow that feeling to its source, then perhaps we could access it more often.  In other words, that initial euphoria was just a foretaste.  We’d have to work for it if we wanted it more often.  This sounds familiar to people who have ever been introduced to anything new–like drugs.  The first taste is free.  After that it is going to cost you.  I know this might not be an easy pill to swallow, but unless you’ve experienced otherwise, I am sticking to what I know, have witnessed, and have experienced.  But like I said, this isn’t the most romantic point of view and it was one my partners could not buy.  They wanted to get back to a feeling that would never return–like we all do when we look back on our younger days.

Had I understood what they were looking for then, perhaps I would have done a better job of expressing my love for them.  I failed there.  As there partner and friend I could have done more to sympathize with their sense of loss of the dream that I would somehow make up for all of their other losses.  Instead I said something to the effect of, “What?  You thought this was going to last?  Heck no.  The beginning of a relationship is like being on vacation.  Everything else is like working so you can go on vacation again.  What made you think I was going to make up for your relationship with your parents and exes?  I’m not God. I can’t fulfill you. How about I go to God and you go to God and then we can meet up somewhere as two fulfilled beings instead of trying to get the impossible from each other?”  See.  Not very romantic. In those first two relationships I tried to talk them out of feeling that “feeling” because I didn’t want to be a drug.  But what I realized over time was that we could have worked with that desire together.

As I matured through my failures in interpersonal relationships, I realized what I mentioned above–that desire for this fulfilling love comes from a place in us that already knows what Paul was talking about in his prayer.  We in fact were created by and through that Love.  Without getting too religious for some of you, I think John said it best when he wrote that God is love and that one day we would see that we are like God.  In other words, the love that we compare all of our relationships to is the Love that we are.  We know that we can receive this Love first and foremost because we know that we are capable of giving that Love.  Perhaps that is why Jesus taught that it is more blessed to give than receive.  Because we are in Love when we give love.  With that being said, know that I Love You and that this chapter is my contribution to you knowing yourself as Love.

Soul Wide Open

I was saying grace over my egg, cheese, and bacon breakfast sandwich one  morning reading a book called Realizations by my friend Bill Guillory and I had some realizations of my own.  As I sat on the park bench eating the sandwich in this little country town I thought about how mysterious it was that I found myself there in the first place.  For a moment I glimpsed my entire life and then it hit me that I have been so many places in my life, met so many people, and loved so much.  And yet there is so much room for more.  Realizing this I committed myself to living with my soul wide open no matter what.  That is where the poem below came from.

Soul Wide Open
From this day I’m gonna live with my soul wide open.
No matter how many times my heart has to get broken
No matter how many times I have to die and come back
Living less than who I am is like a train that’s off track

We’ve been taught to live lies, close eyes, be blind
Afraid to look within because we done lost our minds
But I just found mine, gon’ clean it off spit shine
From an eternal space now I choose to bend and break time

Forget about the past
Who can prove it anyway
Keep my focus on what lasts
And live to see the final day

Not the one that’s about judgment
But the one that reveals the Real
Where all souls open up
And we live the love we feel

This poem is for every friend who feels like they have to hold themselves back or are held back by chains to the past or fear of the future that make us feel undeserving of the love that is our birthright. Maybe you never received it from the people you assigned as the ones to validate or approve of you, but love is in no short supply. It is everywhere, because you are love. If you doubt it, I dare you to go to a mirror right now and say, “You are beautiful, I love you, and I am glad you are here.” If it is hard to say ask yourself why. If it is easy to say, you’re in a good place. If we don’t love ourselves how can we expect it from others?

You can learn more on the above statements by checking out the post Coming Out of the Dark.