Nature’s Cathedral

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Young pines

Arch their spines along the hill

Mindful

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2015

Dangerous Notions of Happiness

Cades Cove

“Please remember that your notions of  happiness may be very dangerous. The Buddha said happiness can only be possible in the here and now. So go back and examine deeply your notions and ideas of happiness. You may recognize that the conditions of happiness that are already there in your life are enough. Then happiness can be instantly yours.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh

*Photo by Nicholas Bell

Tremble

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One tremble

Of life 

Filling 

all

existence.

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2015

Looking Within

within

Heaven and hell:

Our subconscious.

Meditation opens seldom glimpsed areas of our subconscious. When that happens, extraordinary thoughts and awareness come to us with seeming spontaneity. We realize truths that were opaque to us before; we perceive events that were previously too distant. But no one ever became superhuman because of meditation. They only opened their own latent potential. Everything is locked inside of us and need only be opened That is why it is said that heaven is within us.

In the same way, the pains and the struggles of the past sometimes haunt us with astounding vehemence. Problems and conflicts are difficult to exorcise. Although we may practice spirituality and move on to new endeavors and relationships, past hurts still come back in our memories and dreams. These are not demons from another world, nor are they karmic manifestations of previous lives; they are scars in our subconscious. No matter how diligently we try to make progress, there still are pains that curse us day after day. This is why it is said that hell is within us.

We ourselves are the battleground for good and evil. There is no need to look beyond our world. Everything to be understood is within us. All that must be transcended–the pains and scars of the past–is within us. All the power of transcendence is also within us. Tap into it and you tap into the divine itself.

-Deng Ming-Dao

*artist Yogeshh Goel,

 https://www.flickr.com/photos/yogeshh_goel/

I Will Never Die

undercurrents

Do I have the courage

To allow the undercurrents

Of pain to rise in my life

There is healing and then…

Something simple like 

The sound of a piano

Breaks me wide open

A stream of pain…

Running waters

Yet these are waters 

That can gurgle

With the mirth 

Of laughter

water death

But I am haunted by fear

Fear that these waters

Will begin to rage 

Flooding my existence

That I will be surged under

To my death

pines cradle the sky

Then I look to see 

How the tips of swaying pine

Cradle the sky with love

I remember how deep their roots 

Reach into the Earth

How she holds them to her bosom

I wonder…

I wonder whether this is my pain

Or the pain of my ancestors

I can still be grounded

Even when the waters are rising

I can allow this fear

To have as much space as it needs

To breathe

naked before my own eyes

I find that I can allow the pain 

To mingle with mistakes I have made

Over the years…

I can allow the pain to flow freely

I can unlearn behaviors that bring despair

I can let the underclothes of judgement fall

Once again I am naked and vulnerable

Before my own eyes

leaflets and buds

Again I breathe

This time the running waters

Aren’t undercurrents of pain

But a cleansing rain

Cascading down upon 

The leaflets and buds of my heart

Nurturing the spring within me

That will awaken new life

Delicate and tender

I am flower fresh

jutting granite

Inwardly, jutting granite speaks

Of the solid strength

That we all bear together

In state of Oneness

Running waters grow still

As they collect in a natural basin

Of Love…

Reflecting what is true

Until the sun and moon

Sing of boundless freedoms

Ever expanding…

through the clouds

I know that I have arrived home

I have my place in the cosmos

I will never die…

I will return again and again

To kiss the earth through the clouds.

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2015

*photos (in order of appearence) by:

Adam Taylor,

https://fstoppers.com/nature/photos-adam-taylor-captures-captivating-landscapes-5925

Brooke Shaden,

http://www.flickr.com/photos/brookeshaden/4916539764/

Luke Gram,

http://man-and-camera.com

Greta Tu,

http://www.gretatu.com/about-me

Droplets from Tumblr:

http://mariplopis.tumblr.com/post/29797090845

Alan Howell,

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ashcroft8/3128393783/

Silouhette of girl on swing from Tumblr:

http://valscrapbook.tumblr.com/post/23284163399

***this poem was inspired by a dear friend on Twitter @stillnesspeakin

Looking Deeper

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“It’s better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It can’t be taken away from you not by angels or demons, heaven or hell.” 

-Buddha

A Visitor

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Kindness visited

…….in a flurry

Of brown speckled

Rose-tipped feathers

And scarlet cap

Clutching a reed

On a cold, blustery day

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2015

*photo by Phil Winter

https://www.flickr.com/photos/philwinter/8405745964/