“By ceasing to question the sun, I have become light” — Dharma talk, chanting, & dharanas from 10.22.12

Becoming Light

I’m titling this post with a quote from the Thomas Merton poem I read at class on 10.22. “By ceasing to question the sun, I have become light…”  For me, this line offers the essence of the path of heart. The mystery, the teaching, the practice. The poem itself is like a mantra. Radiant with shakti. Read it over ten thousand times. It will shape your inner being in its bliss…

O Sweet Irrational Worship
-Thomas Merton

Wind and a bobwhite
And the afternoon sun.

By ceasing to question the sun
I have become light,

Bird and wind.

My leaves sing.

I am earth, earth

All these lighted things
Grow from my heart.

A tall, spare pine
Stands like the initial of my first
Name when I had one.

When I had a spirit,
When I was on fire
When this valley was
Made out of fresh air
You spoke my name
In naming Your silence:
O sweet, irrational worship!

I am earth, earth

My heart’s love
Bursts with hay and flowers.
I am a lake of blue air
In which my own appointed place
Field and valley
Stand reflected.

I am earth, earth

Out of my grass heart
Rises the bobwhite.

Out of my nameless weeds
His foolish worship.

Here’s a clip of my 10.22 dharma talk. It runs around twenty minutes, riffs on poetry from Denise Levertov and Dorothy Waters, and ends with Merton.


This audio clip of class chanting Om Namah Shivaya runs around 13 minutes and ends with a 2-minute dharana on the Merton poem.

Here are the Levertov and Waters poems:

The Secret
-Denise Levertov

Two girls discover

the secret of life
in a sudden line of

I who don’t know the
secret wrote
the line. They
told me

(through a third person)
they had found it
but not what it was
not even

what line it was. No doubt
by now, more than a week
later, they have forgotten
the secret,

the line, the name of
the poem. I love them
for finding what
I can’t find,

and for loving me
for the line I wrote,
and for forgetting it
so that

a thousand times, till death
finds them, they may
discover it again, in other

in other
happenings. And for
wanting to know it,

assuming there is
such a secret, yes,
for that
most of all.



-Dorothy Walters

First, you must let your heart
be broken open
in a way you have never
felt before,
cannot imagine.

You will
not know if what you are
is anguish or joy,
something predestined
or merely old wounds
flowing once more,
reminders of all that is
unfinished in your life.

Something will flood into
your chest
like air sweetened by
desert honeysuckle,
love that is too

You will stand there,
very still,
not seeing what this is.
Later, you will not remember
any of this
until the next time
when you will say,
yes, yes, I have known this before,
it has come again,
just as your eyes fold under
once more.


I sit at my computer assembling the elements of this post and there is so much I want to say to you. My heart overflows with the longing. But listening to the talk, re-living the poems, anything more seems redundant. So I will leave off here, bidding you adieu until we meet again, from my heart to yours…

3 thoughts on ““By ceasing to question the sun, I have become light” — Dharma talk, chanting, & dharanas from 10.22.12

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