No Deception

June 19, 2009

Poem by Madeline Schreiber

CAUTION: This poem is not about birds and bunnies; reader discretion is advised. Also, it is not timed to any current events in Shambhala, America or anywhere. It took a long time to write and I only just finished it and gladly hit *send*.


No Deception

It begins with me, a look in the mirror
Do I know her or do I not
No I don’t, and I hope
I do not think I do
Her expression is reassuringly neutral
She’ll treat me fairly if I just don’t lie

It’s a shock to notice that I am naked
Do I look nude to everyone else
Or do I only feel this way
Nothing but crazy life a’dancin’
To beats of its own defenseless pulse

Why do we even bother to lie
Why does naked truth give us a fright
No need to fear; the truth won’t bite
Or maybe it will, but only a love bite

Shifting sands and stories of the past
Good intentions, desires and projections
Imaginary futures and hungry hopes
So painfully shy and full of fear
Making excuses about then and now
While imitating the hard earned skill
To sculpt what is in a formless realm

Rewrites of the past
Delusions of the future
No patience for the eternal now
No wonder words come out all crooked
20th century values on 21st century skids

Singing false tunes with tinny sounds
Slippery words whose meanings slide
To meet with all and any occasions
Never seeming to have lied
Always fitting yet so soon gone

Words of truth are light and sweet
Swift moving rainbows, sometimes clear
By faith we follow an empty path
Clear and empty, not heavy with lies
Where bogus voices raise no warnings
Of pot holes and boulders strewn about
Which make the empty path a common road

Casual deceivers are always around
We can sense their presence
They hold their breath, pressed flat to the walls
Wrapped in their invisibility cloaks
Half formed fragments of unhappy thoughts
Camouflaged in shadow and light
Just out of range, swift and silent
They give us all a chilly fright

But if we stay and simply breathe
We may hear meanings under the lies
And may find ways to sever the bonds that hold them
How plain we are without our lies, without the kinks and curly cues
That make us all feel that we are so special
We can’t pretend that we don’t see fools fooling fools

All our secret little tricks to help us self deceive
That when we reach the bottom line it won’t add up to zero
How much softer our little life feels, ensconced among its cushions
Stuffed with cheap deceptions that buffer our soft bottoms

How sad we feel alone in the dark
Even within our lover’s dream
When all the thoughts that we have collected
Are all just lies about ourselves


Halifax June 2009

Madeline has been a Zen student in the Rinzai tradition since 1966.  When she met formally with VCTR in 1975 and requested to be accepted as one of his students he suggested that it would be good if she stayed with her Zen practice as well as study and practice Vajrayana.  She has done this and still goes to sit Zen Sesshin whenever possible as well as ongoing practice in the mainstream of the Vidyadhara’s Kagyu Nyingma Shambhala teachings.  She has also received the Rigden Abhisheka and will attend Scorpion Seal this Summer.  She accepted the Vidyahara’s invitation to move to Nova Scotia in 1982 and now lives part time in Halifax and part time on Cape Breton Island.