An excerpt from Moonlight Leaning Against an Old Rail Fence: Approaching the Dharma as Poetry


Not the Next Moment

Not the next moment, but this,

will break over you like

a waterfall, will carry you into the ecstasy

of what you already are and thought

you were only getting ready

to become, if one day you were good enough.

You wanted to go deeper. But God

has already gone deeper

by becoming you.





Commentary: Not the Next Moment


This poem was written for a participant during one of our Intensive retreats here in Maine. After several days of relaxed and surrendered awareness, and open-eyed, open-hearted communication, the membrane of the mind stretched thin, even as all the “stuff” of our life keeps rising up and slowly dissipating: we are in a very ripe moment of availability for a delicious accident. The mind may have a righteous plan for becoming worthy of realization, while still wanting to hold the last threads of its constructs together. But it slips and falls into something more beautiful.


The final distance that we have imagined and maintained – emotionally, cognitively, and perceptually – between our image of ourselves and our simple actual reality is suddenly unsupportable. God rushes in as whom we’ve always been. Buddha nature or Christ nature or tree/waterfall nature is simply expressed as us. This is our natural inheritance. It invites us to become not as beautiful as we will be, but as beautiful as we are.


Dogen zenji said that if we can rest in surrendered awareness on the self, we will naturally see through the self altogether. Then all things speak to us as the true body of our infinite being. Even now the mind may read this description and think, “I want that someday.” But it is not the next moment, but this, that is breaking over you with the truth of who you already are. And you who are reading this are not the exception.