Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Force Field

Copyright 2011 by Stefan Bolz

I have been thinking about my resistance to writing lately. I felt that there is this barrier that comes up whenever I want to write or do things creatively. It wasn't there all the time but it is there more than not. Actually, it is more like I have to sneak in the writing between the pretty solid wall of almost constant resistance. I decided to talk to Julie about it. When I sat down with her and started to describe it I realized that the resistance felt like a force field around me. I could almost stretch out my hands and touch it, like compressed air or a magnetic field of sorts. It surrounded me and seemed to come out of the top of my head. From above it was pink colored. I could see through it to the outside but it was like looking through a darkened window.

When Julie asked me what the purpose of the force field was my first thought was to protect myself from influences from the outside. Like a defensive wall I built around myself to protect my personal space from intrusion. I thought about this a bit further but felt that even though it made sense, that wasn't the whole truth. There was more to it. I didn't really need that much personal space to write. A laptop and headphones provided plenty of that usually. And I could make time for it if I really wanted to, as well.

Then a strange thought occurred to me. What if the force field wasn't there to protect me from the outside. What if it was there to protect the outside from me? As I let the thought stand there for a while, Julie asked me to maybe follow it and see if it leads me to something in my past, an image, a feeling or something similar. I then saw a room high up in the tower of a medieval castle. There were large paintings on the walls of the round room. I was an older man with a white, gruff beard and a long robe of sorts, standing in front of a large canvas on an easel. I think I painted landscapes. There were several servants. I must have been very powerful or influential and very rich. I did not care at all about the servants. I did not treat them with respect but was certain they were all literally there to serve me and that I didn't need to concern myself with their well being at all. The servants were very loyal. They loved me and served me selflessly. I never said a kind word to them, nor gave them praise. In fact, I was rude at best and cruel at worst. And still, they served me.

It became clear to me that at some point I must have decided never to do that again, never again to abuse my creative abilities in that way. I think how I thought I could best keep my abilities and therefore the misuse of it at bay was to never let this creative side of me flow unencumbered into the world. My sense of shame for what I did previously gave way to this 'solution' of never even getting close to my creative potential. I thought that by keeping myself in check I would protect the outside world from the misuse of my power and from my potential selfishness. I associated creativity with selfishness and cruelty towards others.

Obviously that 'solution' wasn't a solution at all. It was a bad patch of band aid over an oozing wound. Neither myself nor anyone else benefited from this. Ken Wapnick, the director of the Foundation For A Course in Miracles, spoke about something similar in one of the CD sets on A Course In Miracles and called it a 'maladaptive solution to a non existent problem'. In this sense we punish ourselves in order to pay God back for what we 'did'. We diminish our abilities in order to never abuse them again.

Back in the tower room, I got the sense that I wanted to tell the servants that I was sorry for what I did, for how I behaved towards them. When I told them I somehow knew that they did not feel how I thought they would feel. They didn't feel mistreated. They loved me. I felt touched by their sentiment and their silently assuring me that I didn't have to go through all this trouble and that I was forgiven.

I thought the session was over when suddenly an image came up that was connected to a session I had a couple of years back. It was the vision of me cowering under a table and eating whatever crumbs fell down from the people that sat at the table (See 'No More Crumbs' in the blog). In this previous image I, for some reason, couldn't face the people at the table and take my rightful place amongst them but was content with the crumbs that were dropped. Suddenly something clicked and I connected the two visions. I realized to my astonishment that the people that sat at the table a few years back were the servants and I was so ashamed over what I 'did' that I couldn't face them and sit with them at the table but rather stayed under it shamefully.

When I let that image rise up within me again, I saw myself under the table unable to get up. Then a hand reached down and I reluctantly took it. I was in the tower room. The table was round and about 20 people sat at it. I recognized each and everyone of them as the previous servants. They talked quietly amongst themselves and I got the sense that they had known each other for a very long time. In fact their connection went past time and space and into something very ancient. They didn't really pay attention to me. I wasn't a stranger that just joined their group. I was one of them and they treated me as if I had always been with them in their circle. Tremendous comfort enveloped me at that moment. I was finally home after seemingly eons of searching and hiding in fear and shame.

One more thing occurred: As I looked around the room I noticed the paintings on the walls. I realized that what looked like paintings weren't paintings at all. They were windows showing the magnificent landscape outside the tower: Rolling hills and forests on one side and the ocean and rising sun on the other. It seemed like an optical illusion for I was not sure if they were just windows of the landscape that looked like paintings or if they were paintings that depicted the landscape in such realist fashion, I couldn't tell the difference.

I am thankful for everyone sitting here with me, thankful that they held a chair for me - a chair that nobody else could fill. We each have one and it stays empty until we get up from the floor and join the banquet that is set in time but clothed in timelessness. The chair is our inheritance. It has been there since time was and will be there until time disappears again and we are all back in our home that we have never left and which has never left us.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

"Make This Year Different..."

A few thoughts on Christmas and 'A Course In Miracles.'

Most of the sections on Christmas in A Course In Miracles were actually dictated to Helen by Jesus around Christmas time. In Chapter 15, for example, there are two, "The Time of Rebirth" and "Christmas as the End of Sacrifice". At the end of the latter, there is a line that seems especially fitting for the new year: "Make this year different by making it all the same." This is basically a plea from Jesus to us to try, as best as we can, to make everything the same, meaning, not to make distinctions between the parts of the sonhip. As the lesson of forgiveness is in every situation, in every encounter and in every circumstance, so is the opportunity to make everything in our lives infused with the same purpose: To learn to look at our egos without judgment and to let go of the seeming differences between ourselves and others. If we start, slowly but surely, to 'make it about them' rather than about us, making it about the people in our lives and not so much about our own imagined needs, we learn that our interests of escaping our ego thought system of separation, sin, guilt, and fear are shared by everyone and everything. Ultimately, the acceptance of Jesus' love for us is something that we all need, despite our resistance against it and despite our ego telling us that there are people out there that do not deserve this love, as if they were not part of the sonship but somehow outside. We are reminded that each time we cast someone out, we are casting ourselves out and shut the door to our own peace and the experience of love we so long for. "Make this year different by making it all the same" becomes the mantra reminding us of our purpose of looking with Jesus at all the differences we see in each other and smiling at them, knowing that they have absolutely no reality whatsoever. As it states in the introduction:

"Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God."

Friday, September 23, 2011

I pray but to myself

For You would never leave me comfortless
For You but give it all to all
But I cannot accept Your gentle touch

My fear of You forbids me to accept
Your everlasting love
My belief in my own littleness
dictates the little that I will receive

I pray but to myself
For You give everything and always
There are no limits to Your love except my own

I pray but to myself
For You would not want me to suffer pain
Or loss of any kind

And so I pray to what I made of you, an image that I hold
To substitute Your magnitude for things that last
Only an instant and that leave
Me with less than nothing to behold

 All this I pray to while Your love 
Surrounds me in an everlasting light
so vast and unimaginable 
I can only shut the door to You 
And ask for scraps when what You offer to me
Is Yourself
Your glorious Self, Your peace and stillness deep
Your comfort and Your everlasting arms

And so I pray until one day 
I realize that I have everything I want
And ever wanted 
And then prayer can become
What it has always been, a song

Of love between
Creation and Creator
Lover and Beloved
You and me

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Destiny (part two)

Your destiny is laid before your feet
Clear as a summer's path through golden fields
Clear as a shining star in cloudless night
And clearer still

Like the path of the sun from dusk till dawn
Like the tides in the ocean, like the moon
And its reflection in the stillness of a lake
And clearer still

You are but what you want to find when searching high and low
From East to West from deepest sea to highest peak
From smallest into smaller still
With no place else to go

You search in vain, yet feverishly you look for what you lost
You look for what you can not find
But what you want the most

For you but search for searches sake
In order not to find and even as you look for things
Outside your holy mind
You do not see that everything you looked for all your life
Is here, right there in front of you to end your endless strive

You will but weep when finally your eyes set on your self
And find in utter loveliness the love you but withheld
From you and only you for all of it is laid
In front of you to carry you beyond the world you made

Fear not that loneliness awaits you at your place of rest
For everyone you ever met has saved your kindnesses 
And laid them at your feet as gifts

When you arrive at what you are
Your journey will be gone
The journey ends where it began
And all that's left is everything
You thought you lost but won.

Your destiny is laid before your feet
And even that is not the truth
The path through golden fields
The shining star in cloudless night
Is all but part of you.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Destiny (part one)

Copyright 2011 by Stefan Bolz

You journey not in outer realms but only deep within
Your destiny can not be found in dust or cloud or wind
You cannot find it in this world whatever you may do
You only find it in yourself
Your destiny is you.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Threshold

Copyright 2011 by Stefan Bolz

This poem came about while thinking about an experience I had during a play I was in. I had been nervous before the show and just sat there trying to calm my mind a bit. For a moment I saw myself standing on stage in front of the audience, looking at them. My nervousness, my fear of judgment from them towards me based on my performance was for a moment exchanged by a deep experience of love that flowed freely between us. It was as if the veil of fear was lifted for an instant and the true emotion - love - was allowed to flow freely. At that moment, there was no fear of judgment, no nervousness, no dread to go out on stage. All there was - ALL there was -  was an intense feeling of love that was flowing between me and the audience. Everyone was very dear to me and I knew that I was dear to them. There was just no question about that. It was a given, like the sun rising in the morning and setting at night. It was the only reality there was between us. And like an underground river that nobody on the surface notices, the love flowed, not only unnoticed but also undisturbed by what was going on above it. I felt at that moment that love was the only true emotion that existed between us and that everything else was made up by me for one reason only - to not experience it. After a minute or so, I went back to my old and well known feeling of nervousness, a bit lessened perhaps but still present. The memory of the experience lingered a while longer before it disappeared leaving but the slightest trace behind.

*     *     *

Behind appearances
Beyond the sights you see
On the far side of the veil of fear
Far past the reaches of the world
And yet more near than breathe itself

There lies your brother's love waiting at the threshold to your Self
To give you comfort and the memory of love so deep
Your worldly feelings of it are no more
Then the tiniest sun beam is to the sun
A drop of water compared to the ocean.

Just past all grievances, all hatred and all fear,
Past conflict and each others guilt you hold so dear
You will find everything you want and everything the world
Has promised you since time began but hurled
Far far away from you beyond your hopeless grasp
Just one step past all this it waits in patience for your choice at last

And then in golden silence arising in your mind
The memory of home
Your love, your light, your life
The drop returns into the oceans womb
The sunbeam finally remembers that it is the sun

And with your fingers outstretched and your heart
Finally open, seeing what you are
The lover returns to the beloved
The endless circle ends where it began
And we say 'Amen'
And we say 'Amen'

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Stillness

Copyright 2011 by Stefan Bolz

Let this world be still
Let its sounds and sights move far into the distance
Of your mind. Let no thoughts of past or present
Or of things to come linger one moment longer
Leave them all behind

The world you will now see is unlike anything you dreamed of,
Anything you hoped for or anything you've lost all hope
Of ever finding once again

It is not ruled by day and night
By time and tide, by chance or destiny
Neither war nor peril can enter through its gates
The futile search, the journey into darkened tombs
The memory of damaged hearts and loss of innocence
Is gone and will return no more into your sight

The gate into the other world is sealed
Against all false ideas you still hold within your heart
And it is there until you finally remember
Until you come, in tears perhaps
Until at last you throw away your shield
And free of it you enter
Until your worn and bleeding feet will find their destined path
Through your own labyrinth and to a place
Where you and I will never be apart

And as you look at it, this world will pass, will gently slide
Into the nothingness from which it came
The other world will dawn wtihin your mind
Far beyond even the moon and stars and all you hoped to find
And what your eyes behold will bare no trace of this one
Other than the loving thoughts you left behind

These will remain and will assure
A swift transition into a world
That you have loved so long before
Before the journey into darkness had begun

And it is here where you will rest in peace
And it is here where you will know that it is done
And it is here the journey ends
In the place where you remember
That you and I are one.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It Happens Suddenly...

copyright 2010 by Stefan Bolz

A shift. A stepping out. A sudden letting go
Or more a coming back, returning, going home
For just one instant
And an instant further
It is gone

Like fire flies in summer's night
Forgotten, quickly set aside and lost
But still this instant is enough to show
That I am so much more than what I thought

A breath of freedom's air so long forgotten
Yet suddenly remembered.
For but an instant I escape this world, this mind,
This body and surrender

Into a single note within love's symphony that fell
On defened ears for all too long; into my Self
My Truth, my Love, my Life, my Happiness, and my Creator's Song;
Into the home I dreamt I left, from which I thought I was away
For far too long

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ancient Drums

copyright 2010 by Stefan Bolz

I have had a slight ringing in my left ear for a while. Also a sense that my ear was somehow clogged up at times. I went to a doctor who looked into it and didn't see an infection or anything atypical. I spoke to my friend Elke about it who is a hypno-therapist and spiritual counselor. We agreed to do a phone session to see if we could find out a little more about it. Elke's main work is with the unconscious mind and how it speaks to us through symbols, images, etc.

We first did a simple meditation with the goal for me to calm down and go inward. She then asked me where in my body, other than in the ear itself, I felt the 'ear problem'. I felt that it was located somewhere in my stomach. I saw it as a round cylindrical hole in my stomach area. From it a red light pulsated in a slow rhythm, not unlike a deep drum. Similar to the sound of a sonar but much lower, deeper and - for lack of a better word - older. "Ancient" was another word that came to mind. The pulsating light created waves that went through my body. The waves were neither uncomfortable nor painful.

When I described this to Elke she asked me to try to see this image outside of myself and no longer inside of me. First, I saw a holographic image of my body standing about 3 feet in front of me.  I saw the round hole and pulsating red light. I didn't want to move the image further away from me and wasn't sure why until I suddenly realized that I was afraid I would lose this deep, ancient, rhythmic drumming sound. As I thought about why I was afraid to lose it, the hologram changed and laid down flat in front of me. One pulsating light became two, then three, four, ten, until a row of lights extended from me all the way to the horizon and into infinity. "Like a homing beacon", I thought.

Elke asked me how it felt and I answered that it felt very reassuring, like an ancient beam of a light house showing the path for sailors lost in the fog. There was no question in my mind that this was the path that would lead me home. I had a sense of 'ancientness' when I looked at the path and listened to the drum. As if this path had been there even before time was. The low drum penetrated to the very depth of my soul, as it seemed. The next question was if the image wanted to tell me something. After a while I heard just two words: "Follow me". I felt a deep sense of being loved - with the love emanating from the beacon towards me. When Elke asked me what the beam needed from me, I answered that the only thing it needed from me was to listen to it. It was clear to me that it didn't really need it for itself but for my sake.

I realized that even though my feet were on the path, there was a traffic sign pole I held on to with one hand. I didn't really move. There is a difference between seeing a path in front of oneself and taking the step and  actually walking it. Elke asked me to let it go and when I did it felt as if I was gently pulled by an invisible string, almost as if walking on a horizontal escalator, like the ones in airports. It was completely effortless to follow the drums and lights. I thought for a moment that in the beginning of ones spiritual journey, we are most likely motivated by pain, pushed by our pain to go on a different path, to change our thinking, our values, etc. Pain pushes us to escape from it, to find a better way. During the journey, our motivation slowly changes. At a certain point on the path we are no longer being pushed by our pain but rather we are being pulled by love, our destination.

That thought brought me to another: As love is the goal of the journey, then the path to love must be connected, joined with it. Through the path, the beacon, I was connected to my destination at all times during the journey. A quote from A Course in Miracles comes to mind while I write this: "Our Love awaits us as we go to Him, and walks beside us, showing us the way. He fails in nothing. He the end we seek, and He the means by which we come to Him." [W-L.302]

[Elke's email address is creativemindhypnosis@yahoo.com. She works in Florida around the Del Ray Beach area]

Monday, September 20, 2010

Geraldine DeLaCroix

(The beginnings of a short story, copyright 2010 by Stefan Bolz)

My name is Geraldine DeLaCroix. French Royalty as the world sees it. A prisoner of my own ancestry as I do. There are times when the court, the royal court, appears to be enough. When life seems to overflow with gatherings and balls and senseless musings. With people, rich and richer, powerful and even more powerful. But when all have left, when I wander these endless halls in solitude, when all that is left is the sense that nothing ever really happens despite everyones desparate conviction to the contrary, in these times I imagine this house to be a nunnery and I am in the service of the Lord our God. In these times the silence and emptiness of the long hallways fills my heart with joy for He fills my being completely. There is no space for idle thoughts and petty imaginings. The fulness of His heart is what I hear, His gentle touch upon my shoulder and His kind words whisper in every step I take on the stone floor. In these moments I walk on hallowed ground. In these moments I am so filled with His love that there are no more words, no more earthly memories and nothing I could ever imagine different from this all encompassing experience.

I imagine the first prayer starting at 3:45 AM. The deep sound of the bell from the main tower crawls into my subconscious, awakens me hours before dawn. I lie on my back with my eyes open for a few minutes, trying to penetrate the darkness. My thoughts find Him before my hands find the candle and the matches next to it. There has never been a time when I woke after sun rise or in the light. Not since I can remember anyway. Another day in the service of my Lord. My name is Geraldine DeLaCroix. I am a nun. And this is my life.



What Is Your Name?

copyright 2010 by Stefan Bolz

My name:
A symbol of a symbol
A definition of myself
A fence around something utterly unimaginable
A barrier of protection against an enemy unknown
A very short version of a life's story which in itself is nothing but
A short version of yet another shield against the truth

My name:
Can what you think you know about me be the truth?
I am happy, sad, nervous, kind, a liar, a saint, a lover, a friend.
Is that the truth about me?
Or are all those atributes, the good and the bad, mere parts of yet another part
Carved out of an illusion of myself?
Or is what defines me further, ever further from my truth?
Can a name allow me to experience love?
Or does it hinder its accceptance?

My name:
What you associate with me is not the truth.
It seems to be and everyone agrees to live an image of herself
A picture and a word, a certain meaning just to say 'I am'.
I am not who I think I am.
For I have no name.

Except the one changeless
Written amongst the stars.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Remember

copyright 2010 by Stefan Bolz
I am waiting for all of us to remember who we truly are and then to remember each other. But it seems as if we have to remember each other in order to remember who we truly are. They are the same. Who we truly are is each other.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Earthbound Thought


















Copyright 2010 by Stefan Bolz

Rain kisses the sunrise on the horizon
Awake, awake, be free at last, my love

No boundaries are set upon you
No will is fixed against your own
Nor will there ever be a time
Where love is absent
From your holy mind
And so you find
Your way back home

Despair was your companion
For all too long.
Yet is there still another path and one
That takes you gently, quietly, and strong
Upon your chosen road beyond
The sun and stars and earthbound thought.

Friday, December 11, 2009

In Between

copyright 2009 by Stefan Bolz

It is in the silence between the notes where music happens
It is in the quiet between the words where we truly talk to each other
It is in those small moments of stillness where life actually occurs.

.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Stream Of Stars


Copyright 2009 by Stefan Bolz

A stream of stars forever calls us home
To where we will return
To where we still belong

Our hands reach to the heavens
Our footsteps light the world
Our holy voices join together
No longer left unheard

As every voice awakens
And every dreamer stirs
A song arises thousand fold
Across the universe

It heralds in a time
Close to eternity
Where everyone remembers
Our ancient memory

The doors have long since opened
Unlocked the gates of time
The path to truth is open
The stars are now aligned

To start an ancient journey
To where we've always been
To follow our own yearning
To gather our own kin

Our fate is sealed
Our destiny is written in the sky
Our home at last revealed
We will not pass it by

Our radiance will light our path
And strengthen our step
To leave behind all loneliness
All frailty and all lack

And then one day the sands of time
Will vanish from our hearts
And leave no trace of them behind
Except a stream of stars.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Golden Hall

Copyright 2009 by Stefan Bolz

I see a great golden hall perched high on top of a hill with white marble walls and golden pillars in front. There is an engravement above the large wooden entrance door. It says: The Call For Love. Inside the great hall, mounted to one of the walls, is a large, thick plate of gold. Thereon is written:

The call for love is made and answered for all by all.
The names are legion. But behind each one is the same
fervent call for God. The call takes many shapes, appears
in many religions, colors, cultures, languages, and countries.
You can find it everywhere. In every pain and fear, in every hurt
and hurting, in every friend and foe, in everything that lives
and everything that seems to have no life at all. It is in you
as well as it is in me. It is in your father, in your mother, in your
sister, and your brother, in your son and in your daughter; in
your policeman, your major, your car mechanic, your carpenter
and your president; It is in prisoners and guards, in soldiers, in
husbands and wives, in doctors and lawyers, in rich men and poor.
It is in everything because it is in you. The shape does not matter.
It may conceal the call but onlyif you wish it so. The call is there,
present always, waiting to be answered so that peace can come to
every heart, so that love can make a home throughout the world
at last. The call for love is made and answered for all by all, from
you to everyone and from everyone to you.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Where will you lead me?

Copyright 2009 by Stefan Bolz

I'm lying on Julie's (my therapist's) table in her practice in Accord, NY and think about her question: "Where in your body do you feel the fear?" "I can feel pressure in my upper lungs just below my colar bones," I answer. At this moment an image comes to me that seems too violent and too painful to even mention to her. But with Julie, I decided a long time ago not to edit what comes up and to just tell her. Whatever it is, it is in very good hands with her. "I hang from two butcher hooks that are driven through my body just below the colar bones," I tell her. She asks me to, if possible, stay with the image, as painful as it might be, to see where it leads me. "Maybe you can find out why you hang there and what and who brought you there."

I was at my writing group earlier that morning with my friend Jenny. I had been working on a synopsis for a script I had written some five years back that almost got optioned but never sold. It recently came back into my awareness and I thought I'd give it another shot. After I read the synopsis to Jenny she asked me when I would start writing the script. I told her that it had been finished years ago. "I will call my very good friend in the city (NYC) right now. She is a talent agent and she'll read it if I ask her to." That was all it took for me to experience my spine being dipped into ice water and hot coals at the same time. I started to feel anxious almost immediately and got up to walk around her store: "Can you wait till I'm gone and call her afterwards?" I ask her. "You are nervous! Why are you nervous? You are making ME nervous," she replied. For years I thought of ways to get my script in front of the right people but never really went all out with it. I never asked Jenny and she of course never told me about her friend of 20 years who is a major agent.

Jenny - God bless her - called anyway while I was there and talked to her friend and I sent the script to her that same day. My next stop of the day was Julie. After I told her of two other instances when one of my scripts was almost optioned and I somehow couldn't take it, we agreed to do some table work. So, here I am, in my mind hanging from two butcher hooks somewhere in a medieval castle. After Julie's question how I got there in the first place I suddenly see a large dining hall filled with people. They are mostly peasants and farmers. Very poor people. I am handing out some sort of flyers and then get up on a table to tell them that they have to fight for their rights and that they should not take it anymore and that they should stand up for themselves. "I think I am not one of them," I tell Julie. I realize that I am about 18 years old and probably either the King's son or the Duke's son. I am also fully aware that the guards will come in in a minute or so and even though I am very fearful, I keep doing what I'm doing, talking to the people and trying to get them to stand up and fight for themselves.

Next thing I see is guards rushing into the room and taking me. I am being pulled through a long hallway while a couple of the guards beat me. Then I am thrown into a large room and onto the hard stone floor.

In the next scene I hang from the butcher hooks from the ceiling. Then someone comes into the room. Must be the Duke or the King and probably my father. He looks at me in disgust, spits at me, turns and leaves without a word.

Next thing I know is I lie on the stone floor of some sort of a prison cell. The holes where the butcher hooks penetrated my body are healed and overgrown with deformed flesh. From where I lie, I can see the outline of the cell. There is an indentation in the dirt floor around the perimeter of the cell as if I - or somebody - had walked there for a long time and the path was actually lower than the rest of the cell floor. I look down on myself. I am very thin, naked and very old with a long beard and thin legs and arms. I have been in here for 60 years minimum. For some strange reason I am at peace with the situation. I don't feel any fear or hatred or anger at all. Just very peaceful.

At that moment, I can actually feel that the table I'm lying on in Julie's practice, is the stone floor of my cell. The strangest sensation of the two 'scenes' happening simultaneously creeps into my awareness. I can't put my finger on it but it feels as if both are happening right now. Then I see stairs, made of stone, above my head leading upward into the darkness. As I sit up from the stone floor, I can see that the stairs reach very far. "Almost to the heavens," I think to myself. At that moment a light appears all the way up at the other end of the stairs. It is soft and inviting and my first thought is that I am probably supposed to walk towards it and that this is somehow how I am going to die. But none of this happens. Instead, the light seems to move downward towards me. With the light, I see a figure coming closer. I know that this is Jesus. I have had images before where Jesus appeared in one way or another. This one must be one of the strongest ones so far. He comes down the stairs, together with the light and as it touches my head, he arrives next to me. He goes down on one knee and smiles at me while helping me up.

I feel such relief at that moment, it is indescribable. My chest seems to extend manyfold and my breathing becomes light and easy. My body seems to weigh nothing. "Come on, old friend," he says. I stand next to him as he puts his arms around me in an embrace. Tears stream down my cheeks - both in the vision and on the table. The love coming from him is overwhelming. At some point we let go and he slowly starts going up the steps. As I follow, a question comes to me: "Where will you lead me?" I ask. "To our Father's house," he answers.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Think of You

Copyright 2009 by Stefan Bolz

When I want quietness
When I long to put my heart to rest
When I'm forsaken, forlorn, and far from home
When I reach the end of the road
And the bottom of the ocean floor

I think of you

When the sun's warmth evades me
When the flowers have lost their scent
When emptiness calls me
To live in its house
To call it friend

I think of you

When my dreams fade to darkness
When I long for a distant star
In the hour before dawn
In the dark night
When love seems nothing but an ancient scar

I think of you

When I have lost myself to fading dreams
Like the melting of a snowflake in the summer sun
When I am but a stranger in my house
When after I hear love's promise
I come undone

I think of you

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Journey Into the Inner Ear

Copyright 2009 by Stefan Bolz

I look around the room. It has all kinds of equipment in it. One wall holds climbing gear like helmets with flashlights mounted on them, ropes, hooks, harnesses, back packs, etc. The other wall holds medical supplies containing all kinds of industrial size tubes of creams, potions, powders, drops and tinctures, anti inflammatory sprays, cans with soft soap foam in them, bandages, gloves, scalpels, syringes and so on. On the third wall there are ladders, brushes, power washers, large heating lamps and whole body suits.

A woman stands in front of me. She is in her sixties with short grey hair, dressed in rugged hiking outfit. She is my guide. I know this because of the yellow letters on her black baseball cap saying “GUIDE”. She hands me a large darkish green back pack. “Everything you need is in there,” she says. I guess she has done this before. “Yes I have,” she answers my thoughts. Then she hands me a pack of gum. “For your ears. We are going to go quite some ways down in the elevator. You might take one so your ears don’t pop.” I don’t want to sound silly and ask questions, especially because she looks as if everything that is happening is the most normal thing in the world. “Thank you,” I reply. “Follow me,” she says, while handing me a white hard hat with a flashlight mounted to its front. She opens a steel reinforced door that leads into a long, narrow hallway. “Put this on so you don’t hurt your head.”

For the last day or so, my ears were bothering me: a slight white-noise-sound together with pressure coming from the inside and radiating outward into the left side of my head. I can only use my phone on my right ear and can’t listen to my beloved iPod with head phones on. So I thought I would like to explore this ear thing a bit more to see what it had to show me. From my work with my therapist I have learned to explore certain aspects of my unconscious by visually journeying through the landscape of my mind.

So here I am, walking down this long narrow corridor, illuminated by overhead lights that are drilled into the bare stone ceiling every 10 feet or so. The shape reminds me of a mining tunnel. As I look down, I see that I am wearing very solid looking hiking boots; some sort of gore-tex pants and a light jacket of the same material. The back pack lies heavily on my shoulders. This actually feels more comforting than straining and while I wonder what’s in it, my guide turns left and after a short while we arrive at an old fashioned, yellow metal elevator door. The door parts and opens, giving way to the second set of doors made from welded metal bars. As we enter the cabin of the elevator the platform moves slightly downward, adjusting to our weight. The doors close and the woman pushes the only button that is there. It says “DOWN”.

As we drop, I can feel a slight pressure in my lower abdomen not dissimilar to what usually happens during the first drop in a roller coaster. Judging from that, we must be going pretty fast. There is a small Plexiglas opening in one of the cabin’s walls. Behind it and illuminated by yellow light, I clearly see the number 10. Looks like the number of an alarm clock from the seventies, the ones where the numbers are cut in half and the upper parts flip over to reveal the next number. As I stare at it, the number changes from 10 to 9. After a while it flips over again to 8, then 7, 6, 5. We must be hundreds and hundreds of feet below the surface by now, I think. 4…, 3…, 2…, “We are not only going down but you also are getting smaller. Much smaller,” my guide tells me. “We are not dropping so much in feet but in size.” “Ah,” I answer. “Sure. OF COURSE!” All this is far from making any sense to me at all. “How small… are we going to get?” I ask. The number changes from 2 to 1 and the elevator slows down. “You can’t possibly explore your inner ear without shrinking down to a reasonable size,” my guide tells me happily. BING! “We are here,” she says. The doors open.

The first thing I’m aware of is the noise level. “You might want to take these!” my guide yells at me while handing me a set of yellow plastic ear muffs, the kind of ear protection you get when working on a construction site. “I’m fine!” I yell back. “Thanks!” She shrugs and puts hers on. “Where are we?” I ask. My guide doesn’t understand a word I am saying. The noise around me – a mixture between a low but intense vibration and what it must sound like when standing next to the turbine engine of a large airplane – is absolutely deafening. She hands me the ear muffs again. I finally give in and put them on. “I can’t hear you without them and you will have trouble hearing me otherwise.” I can hear her soft voice loud and clear through what must be integrated ear phones. “Where are we?” I ask. “This is your inner ear,” she says.

I look around. We stand in what I would call an organic cave. A cave not made of stone but of some kind of organic, live, matter. From where I stand to the other side is probably a third of a football field. It is relatively dark in here. A few light beams come through what at some point must have been a large, round opening. The shape of the cave reminds me of a funnel – larger on one side and becoming smaller on the other. As my eyes slowly get used to the semi darkness I can see that all around me, covering the ground, walls and ceiling, are what looks like thin straight branches sticking out of a blackened, thick substance. The driftwood colored branches are all bent in the direction of the smaller side of the cave.

I kneel down to take a closer look at whatever it is that is sticking up so strangely. The ‘things’ are about as long as my hand and as I touch one of them I realize that it is actually a bundle, made of hundreds and hundreds of individual pieces of hair, like that on a very expensive painter’s brush or a bundle of fiber optic cable - extremely soft and very fragile. A low vibration radiates from the string of hairs. “This must be the cause for the noise,” I say to my guide as I take off the head phones. The intensity of the distorted sound hits me like a train. It screeches and rumbles deeply as if someone who has never played a cello plays it right into my ear. I put the head phones back on.

Now I can see that the hair bundles are actually much longer than I originally thought. There is about a foot of gooey, sticky stuff holding the hairs in place. “I have to get the gooey stuff off so they can move around more freely. No wonder it sounds so horrific in here. They are all out of tune. “ I had no idea how to go about it. “Let’s see what’s in your back pack,” my guide tells me. I had forgotten all about my back pack until she lifted it off my back and placed it in front of me. I opened it to find, amongst other items, a few tools like a chisel, a hammer, a crowbar, a battery powered drill, etc. “That’s pretty useless,” I say out loud. “Isn’t there anything else I can use?” I ask, looking at my guide. She just looks at me smiling as if to say: “You’ll get it. Don’t worry. I’m just here to make sure you stay on track.” I look around the cave. There is a stark contrast between the few beams of light coming through the openings and the rest of the cave. I follow one of the light beams with my eyes from its origin through the room and onto one of the sides of the cave.

Looks like there is no gooey stuff where the light hits the hairs. I walk over to the small patch and kneel down. The fragile looking hairs feel soft as they gently stroke my hands when I touch them. And something else happens. As they touch my hands, I can hear them. There is no other way to describe this. I hear them, not in the usual sense but as the tiniest most beautiful fading whispers of a melody within me. I glance back to the origin of the light – a hole in one of the cave’s walls. I get up and go over to the wall. I can see the outline of a much larger opening that is covered by a hard and deformed mass. “I need to get this off,” I think to myself. “Ah, the chisel.” It dawns on me that there was a purpose for all the tools in my back pack.

I take a hammer and the chisel and start to break off pieces of the hard mass. Easier said than done though and my progress is slow at best. After a while I start sweating and the hard hat and the hearing protection head phones feel increasingly uncomfortable. At some point I take them both off. The noise level is almost unbearable. In addition to that, whenever my chisel touches the hard mass, a low vibration goes through my hand and into my body. “Hardened thoughts of anger over what I have heard.” I’m not sure where this thought came from but it makes me stop. I think about what it means. “What have I heard lately that made me angry?” I think to myself. “What made me so upset that I didn’t want to hear it anymore and created a barrier to obstruct any sound from entering?”

There has to be another way besides trying to chisel the hard mass away. I look over to my guide. She grabs something from inside the back pack. It looks like a very oversized tube of tooth paste. “See if this helps,” she says. I want to tell her that any cream or tooth paste of some sort is certainly not going to help get rid of a hard mass like I’m dealing with here. “I need a power drill!” I yell at her. “Or one of those Hammer drills construction workers use to break up pavement and concrete!” She gestures me that she hasn’t heard a word I just said and continues to hold out her hand with the tube in it.

Ok fine. I take it and look at what it says on the outside of the tube: Lookwithlove. One word. And below it, “If you have questions about this product, go to www.lookwithlove.com for further information.” I glance at my guide. She shrugs. I decide to, for now, just go with it. What else am I going to do? I’m standing inside my ear. How much more surreal can it possibly get? So I unscrew the tube, put some of the paste like substance into the palm of my hand and start applying it to the hardened mass. Almost immediately the hard material starts to soften. Whenever I put more of the cream on my hand, I have to look at the tube of course. Lookwithlove. Lookwithlove. Lookwithlove. Ok, I get it. I’m not stupid. Sometimes it takes me a while. I once heard that everything we do is symbolic. So, if I apply “Lookwithlove”, literally and symbolically, to “hardened thoughts of anger over what I have heard” then I’ll get: “Look with love on my hardened thoughts of anger over what I have heard.”

As I apply more and more of the paste onto the material, it softens and becomes transparent and jelly like. While I do this, something else happens. The deafening sound is sometimes overlaid by the soft small melody I heard before. The more of the mass breaks off, the more light streams into the cave. I look behind me to see that wherever the light hits the gooey material, it hardens, breaks apart and disappears, leaving more and more patches of the silver grey hairs. As this happens, the intense sound seems to lessen as well. There is one point where the screeching sound and the beautiful melody are equally present. In order to continue it almost seems as if I have to concentrate on the inner melody in order not to be overwhelmed by the screeching sound outside. This is much harder than the actual work of applying the paste.

Finally, I seem to get some momentum going and more and more of the hard mass turns into jelly and breaks off until there is almost nothing left. As I turn around, large areas of the gooey stuff, now illuminated by the light, become hard and start to break apart. While I watch this, a second thing happens. Whereas before I could only hear the melody inside of me, I can now hear it from the outside as well. I realize that what I hear aren’t instruments. Those are human voices coming from outside the ear. A chorus so sweet and beautiful and otherworldly, it fills my heart with utter joy. Nothing I have ever heard before in my life comes even close to this. It fills the cave and reaches deep into every corner of my soul filling it with its radiance.

After a while, my guide stretches out her hand. I give her the chisel and the hammer. She puts it into the back pack, together with the hard hat and the ear protectors. “You ready?” she asks? “Yes,” I reply. We walk to the elevator. Before we go in, I turn around. The cave is covered with a sea of millions of silver white hair moving softly in the light. The soft vibrations permeate my body. “This is better than any massage,” I think to myself. I step into the elevator and my guide presses the only button there is. This time it says, “UP”. The numbers change from 0 to 1, then 2, 3, 4, 5… I feel light. Somehow lighter than when I came down here. 6,7,8,9, 10. The elevator stops. My guide exits and we both walk through the long mining tunnel until we reach the door to the equipment room where she takes my back pack and places it on a shelf. “See you next time,” she says. We shake hands. I turn around and open the door to the outside.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Cup (Audio)

A short story about a cup and the meaning of the universe.

The Cup

“I love you so much.” The voice stands clear within my mind. It is a voice without sound, without words, and void of any imagery. And yet, its beauty overwhelms me. Tears stream down my face, let my vision blur for a moment. The cup in front of me has no particular form or shape. It’s a standard size coffee mug, blue with a tree printed on it, together with the words “Cornell Plantations”. There is nothing special about this cup. It holds no special meaning for me. Nobody special gave it to me. It just stood there on the shelf and I picked it at random to have a cup of tea.

“I love you so much.” This is an impossible exercise. For a writer not to find words to describe something is obviously the end of whatever it is he longs to write about. Ok, let me therefore make an attempt to try to describe it. There is a line in “A Course in Miracles”. It says something like this: “A cup can show you the meaning of the universe.” Having been an avid student of it for around 17 years, I have read this line more than once, of course. Obviously, the application of an idea brings with it a much deeper experience than its intellectual understanding. The outcome of this exercise, though, is a bit unexpected, to say the very least.

While I look at the cup, I am aware of several things at once. Actually, the better word for ‘things’ would be ‘layers’. I am aware of several layers of experiencing the cup within me. Each layer leads to the next and at the same time leads deeper and deeper towards the cup’s true meaning. The first layer sounds something like this: “I don’t care about this cup. It’s just a cup. What’s all the fuzz about? Just leave me alone and drink the tea. It’s a cup, for God’s sake. There’s nothing to even write about. You drink from it, you clean it, you put it back in the shelf. End of story.”

Beneath this obvious one I’m finding another layer though. Hidden initially and only recognizable after looking at and letting go (as much as possible) of the first one. I can barely hold it long enough in my mind to recognize what it is about. It is fear. I look at the cup and I am afraid of it. Ok, I probably shouldn’t read this out loud or let anyone else see this for that matter. I’m afraid of a cup. It’s not that I’m afraid it’s going to do something to me. Obviously it’s not going to suddenly lift up from the table and smash me over the head like a Japanese Kamikaze air plane. “Cup killed writer while he wrote about it.” It’s way more subtle. The fear is not of the cup, I realize. The fear is of its ultimate meaning.

While I write this, something about layers becomes clear to me. In any situation or with any object or even institutions of any kind, whenever there are several layers, each layer protects the next one which protects the next one until the core is reached, which is in turn the ultimate purpose for all the layers. If I’m cold, to protect myself I might wear long underpants which are overlaid by regular jogging pants which may be overlaid by a blanket which may be enveloped by the house I live in. The purpose is my warmth. I’m the core. Each layer protects the layer below and all layers protect the core. This applies to any defense mechanism as well. The more important the core is the more layers of defenses are implemented to protect it.

What the hell does all this have to do with the cup I’m staring at? I’m afraid of the cup. The fear is subtle but it’s there. There is a slight nod in my stomach. I want to just not look at it anymore or draw my attention back to the first layer of “it’s just a cup” but I let the fear stand, welcome it, go into it a little deeper, taste it, experience it and make it my own. And then, after a while, suddenly, from one moment to the next, the fear is gone, making way for something totally unexpected.

“I love you so much.”

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Random

Copyright 2009 by Stefan Bolz

Tears drop from the sky like rain
A silent chorus reaches the heavens
The thunderous sound of a butterfly's wings
One single voice is heard throughout eternity

The world can love you only as much as you love the world
A brother can love you only as much as you love him or her
Death is but the thought of life distorted
Love is but the thought of hate restored

I can always only find myself
For you are me - in truth and in illusion both


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

We Have Everything Else

Copyright 2009 by Stefan Bolz

I never wrote this, never brought it down on paper. It was never that clear to me. I had a vague sense of it at times. Quickly forgotten soon thereafter and then unremembered for days at a time. It stood so clear in my mind just five minutes ago and I'm afraid it is already fading fast. I know if I don't catch it now, it will disappear until next time.

There is no other goal or purpose of any relationship we have ever entered in, other then just one single thing: To tell each other, in whatever words, acts, or thoughts are available to us at that moment, that we are forgiven. That nothing you did or I did or that we both failed to do has had any effect at all. This is what we owe each other. Nothing less and nothing more. It is all we need. We have everything else. There is love and there is the call for it. Those are the two emotions of the world.

I lost it again. I remember the words but I have lost the experience. It slipped through my fingers. Actually, to be perfectly honest, I have blocked it out. I have let it go. Not sure when I'm able to take it back again but I know I'm the one doing it. When I have the experience, it is the clearest, most natural state I can imagine and I can't even fathom how it would be without it. And when I give it away, it is as if I never had it in the first place. But I know my heart isn't ready yet . Ready to take it in fully, to keep it as my natural inheritance, to make it my own. It is not yet the only experience I want. Otherwise it would have it. I would have it always.

And so I must wait, wait for myself and for when the time comes when I can no longer live without it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Two Lions

Copyright 2009 by Stefan Bolz

Wind howls eerily through the streets. The city is deserted. Wet, broken pavement below dark, abandoned windows that watch like blinded eyes. The sporadic glow of a street lamp creates shadow more than light. I run. The piercing pain in my spine and rib cage is, right now, the least of my problems. As I slip on the wet asphalt and slam into a house wall, exhausted from hours of pursuit, I see that the red glow of my spine radiates through my shirt and jacket and on to the peeling plaster of the house I’m leaning against. My spine. Not only is it glowing bright red, it is pulsating with piercing pain as if a knife is being driven through it over and over. Each movement, each step, each breath brings the pain back to life only to die again moments later.


There are two female lions, dark and grey, as if painted and thereby prepared for the hunt and the kill. Since they appeared in the city, nobody dared to leave their homes. Whoever did, perished. The path from the front door to the car is a life and death gamble, each time anyone attempts it. Many have died. And today is my turn.


For hours I evaded them, as I did in almost every dream I had since I can remember. I was always the hunted, pursued by something or someone, but in the past I always escaped. Today is different. My fear of the two great grey lions is bone chilling. I can sense their authority, their deadly purpose. No mistakes. No regrets. No conscience. Just the clean instinct to kill, to feed their young. And tonight I am their prey. Like the smallest amount of blood attracting sharks over several miles, my glowing spine, my wound, will alert their heightened senses to me; stir their steps with deadly precision in my direction. There is nowhere to go for me. No place to hide. No comfort. No release. Terror took the place of sanity a long time ago it seems. I am avoiding the inevitable. They will find me. And when they do, they will kill me. And release will come only after unbearable pain, after a long tormented battle when my mind finally releases my body just to escape the horror.


As I stumble along the house wall holding on to anything just to keep me from falling down – somewhere in a dark back alley in a city without a name – I suddenly stop. “They will hunt me forever,” I think to myself. “There will be no rest, even in death. I will always be the hunted. I will come back as prey as I have before for eons of time. There will be no end. Unless I end it.” I cannot run anymore. I am not going towards hell. I am in it. Trying to escape the inescapable is the very definition of hell. Under enormous strain I force myself to stand up. The pain in my spine has prevented me for years from standing or walking or running in an upright position. “No,” I hear myself say. “Get up. Stand up. NOW”! I look back into the alley. The lions could be anywhere. My courage sinks again and is almost replaced by the much more familiar sense of terror. Better to just give up. Let it happen. Let them have me. “NO!” I am startled by the force of my own voice. “No!” Slowly, almost against my will, against the memory of every fiber of my being, and still expecting an attack at any moment, I leave the safety and darkness of the house walls and move to the middle of the street. A single light illuminates a circle around me. “Let them come,” I think. “Let them come.”

I move out of the weak beam of light, through the darkness of the back alley and onto a larger street. Car wrecks, abandoned long ago, cover the sides of the street. They are remnants of the horror that has been my life for all too long. My instinct tells me to walk in the shadows, along the walls, stay in hiding. But I do not. The yellow line in the middle of the street is still intact, as if showing me the way. To where, I do not know. The hair in the back of my neck stands up as I round a corner and enter a large, deserted, village square. A deep breath and I start walking towards the middle of the square. Dilapidated houses surround it, bearing silent witness to what is to come. I reach the center. Without turning around I know they are behind me. For only one second I hesitate then I turn around.


Both lions stand at the edge of the square. There is no urgency for them. This is it. They know there is no place for me to go. A low growl. Not a threat. Just a reminder of who is the alpha animal, who will leave this arena alive and who will die. Simple. But not to me. Something has changed. I can feel it. I can feel it in my breath, I can feel it in my bones, I can feel it in the deepest recesses of my soul. Something shifted within me. From the ground, where my glance fled to, right after I saw the lions, I look up, search for their eyes, demand their attention. Their eyes meet mine. I hold steady. I slightly lift my chin and start to walk towards them. There is no thinking now. There is just this moment. There is no past and the future has not been written, does not yet exist anywhere in the universe of time and space.


As I walk towards them, I can feel the glowing of my spine lessening. The pain escapes my body with every step I take. I breathe deeper, quieter. Calmness settles in. The image of a still deep lake penetrates my mind as I look at the lions who are now only a short distance away. When I reach them, they sit down. Even now, their heads are higher above the ground than mine. I look up to them. There is no more fear. For a split second we are equals, part of one pack with nothing but the utmost respect for each other’s being. Then something rises from within me, unequaled in strength and beauty and sheer joy. I let it arise, let it spill out, bridge the gap between me and the two lions, let it touch them, engulf them, enter their hearts. They lie down, agreeing, welcoming me into their world as their leader, the alpha animal.


I take off my jacket and my shirt. The glowing inside my rib cage and my spine is gone. No trace is left of it. Just a vague memory too long since vanished from my mind. One last glance at the lions and I turn my back at them and slowly walk away. The lions lay there, an ancient knowledge restored to our awareness. No words have ever expressed it clearer, no story has ever told it more precise, and no man has ever felt it more comforting in his heart. We are pack.


Monday, September 28, 2009

The Sparrow and the Eagle




I had a thought this morning: What if I were to let go of all of my thoughts? What would happen? I saw myself standing inside the basket of a small hot air balloon that was tied to the ground by hundreds of strings. Each string was attached to a thought. There were thoughts of fear over money and the economy. Thoughts of aloneness and of being by myself. There were thoughts of how my past had been and how my future could be; thoughts and dreams of how much money I wanted to have, who I wanted to live with and where. There were thoughts of starting and ending previous relationships and of regret over things I did or did not do in the past. There were thoughts of accomplishments and triumphs, of failures and of feeling incomplete. There were loving and unloving thoughts towards other people and there were loving and unloving thoughts towards myself. There were thoughts of how my business should work and thoughts of how my life should work. And there were many, many more.

Each of the individual thoughts was attached to one of the strings and the strings themselves were tied to the bottom of the basket. As I looked up into the sky I thought about what would happen if I were to cut the strings. I'll probably shoot straight up into space and die from lack of oxygen or freeze to death somewhere in the outer atmosphere. Strong winds will take me and smash me against the side of a mountain where nobody could ever find me. I saw myself lying somewhere, all my limbs broken, unable to move and unable to call for help. I saw the balloon go way up only to collapse and crash to the ground moments later.

I realized that those thoughts were part of the very weight that held the balloon firmly on this earth. Ok. I might as well try it now rather than wait much longer. The sun was setting and I surely didn't want to do this during night time. So I took a pair of scissors and cut the strings - five or ten at a time, all the way around the basket. What was interesting was that when I got to the last string, the balloon still wasn't moving. As if one small thought was holding it back, keeping it anchored.

As I cut the last string, the balloon gently lifted off. I expected it to kind of shoot up very quickly. Instead, a soft breeze took it and lifted it up. I saw the world below me: The meadow from which I started, trees, some houses, part of a road. As I passed above the tree line, a magnificent vista opened up in front of me. Rolling hills as far as my eyes could see and in the distance what must have been the ocean. The air was so clear it felt like I could see for hundreds of miles in the distance. A lightness of being enveloped me. I felt more and more weightless. The sense of freedom was indescribable. A deep calm set in. This was completely unexpected. And yet, at the same time, it felt as if this was the most natural state I have ever been in.
I felt utterly at home. This was, this IS, my natural state of being. And nothing I ever thought might bring me happiness or fulfillment or escape had even the slightest resemblance with what I experienced at that moment. In fact, everything I ever thought about anything - every fantasy, every dream, every feeling  and every thought - as lofty as it had seemed at the time - has probably prevented me from having this experience.

How long I stayed in my balloon, I do not remember. Was it an eternity or a single instant? I do not know. It matters not. This instant was enough. Enough to show me, to unmistakably reveal the purpose of the journey of my life. As to my thoughts: they are back and they will stay a while, I'm sure. Of this episode, one single question remains: "When I ask again who I am, who will I ask?"

"When this Power has once been experienced, it is impossible to trust one’s own petty strength again. Who would attempt to fly with the tiny wings of a sparrow when the mighty power of an eagle has been given him?" - A Course in Miracles

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Butterflies

copyright by Stefan Bolz

I sit under a tree on top of a small hill overlooking the magnificent valley. The golden late afternoon sun illuminates the tree tops below. No sound. Just stillness. On occasion, the wind gently moves the leafs above me. I look out toward the horizon. The emotional landscape of our relationship. In the place where we met under the tree, where we wove threads of dreams and affection together, the grass still shows the outline of where you sat next to me. Inside the quiet, the vacuum of stillness, echoes of our conversations linger still.

“What are you doing here?” she asks. I did not hear her sitting down on the other side of me. The grass dents, gives in, gives way to her small body’s weight. “I’m glad you came,” I say. “Of course,” she answers, her eyes capturing mine, not letting go, holding them within hers. Until tears stream down my cheeks like tiny rivers of glass. Her presence commands them, pulls them out of hiding. “I’m here,” her eyes tell me, and I nod. “You’re here.”

“Uh, look! A butterfly. Let’s chase it!” Already standing, she runs after it, and then stops, looks back. “Come on, Steffi…". I smile. I try not to but I do. I get up. Dents in the grass. Three of them. “Let’s chase some butterflies and watch the sun go down. And in the new dawn, a new day will rise and cocoons will open and birds will start chirping and threads of dreams will be woven. And the sun will be warm and affectionate. “

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Gap

Copyright 2009 by Stefan Bolz

As long as I can remember, I longed. I longed for love. Never for fame or fortune or riches or cars or my own sailboat. No. I longed for love. It was on the flight back from a recent family visit to Germany that I found myself asking the question of how to bridge that gap inside of me between the part that always longs and the object of my longing. It seemed impossible. My first memory of longing was in first grade when I fell in love with a girl in my class who lived across the street from my parents' house. I remember we went on a school bus trip and I sat next to her the whole time dreading the moment when we would step off the bus and part ways.

That was my first memory. I longed ever since and probably longer. Longing became my second nature. I was never alone for long for longing and the fulfillment of it became who I was. A couple of months ago, in one of the sessions with Julie, my therapist, I saw the image of me standing on one side of a great canyon. On the other side, far in the distance, I knew was the love that I longed for. I have had inklings of being on the other side lately. Usually for very, very, short periods of time I experienced the freedom of not having this almost constant tugging, searching and not finding, finding and finding out that whatever I thought I found was not what I was looking for in the first place.

The gap between me and ... love... these two diametrically opposed states of beeing seemed impossible to bridge; and so was the distance between where I stood at one end of the massive canyon and love on the other side. There was no way of getting to the other side. The gap stretched out for miles. It's depth was only imaginable. The only thing that connected one side of the massive canyon to the other was a rope. It looked frail and thin and slippery. There is just no way, I thought to myself.

Next thing I knew I suddenly found myself hanging from the rope, smack in the middle of the canyon. I realized in terror that there was absolutely no chance for me to make it to the other side. Neither would I ever be able to go back to where I came from. My fear of letting go of the rope was equally overwhelming. So I just hung there. My hands cramped around the now slightly slippery rope. "What would happen if you'd let go", Julie asked. "I don't know. I'd fall", I said, my mouth filled with sawdust.

At one point I just couldn't hold on anymore and my hands opened. The split second of anticipation of my fall gave way to the strange sensation of hovering suspended in the air for a while and then slowly sinking down toward the ground. It felt as if I was carried. Carried and held at the same time. Next thing I knew I lay on the ground, very comfortably in the grass, looking up towards the sky. I saw the right side of the cliffs where I stood before and the left side where I thought I needed to get to. The rope was now not more than a thin thread floating in the air high above me. As I lay there very peacefully it came to me. It was suddenly clear as winter sky that I would never be able to bridge the gap. Ever. Not in this life time nor all the lifetimes I still had in front of me. The gap would always be there and there was just no way that I could ever bridge it. But neither did I have to. The thought came so quietly as if it had to sneak into my mind behind all the devastation and fear and an overwhelming sense of doom. It stood there undisturbed by all the raucous shrieking. It's presence was strong but gentle, quiet but loud as thunder. I don't have to bridge the gap. That was it? The statement had little meaning to me as of yet. The thought that I could not bridge the gap but did not need to bridge it either had very little impact on my conscious mind - until the moment it opened itself up like a flower in the morning sun unfolding and unveiling its full beauty and fragrance and depth to me, overwhelming me with joy and hope and a sense of deep, deep comfort.

There is a line in the movie "The Matrix" when Neo, waiting for the Oracle, watches a little boy bend a spoon with his mind. Neo asks the boy how he does it. The boy tells Neo: "Ask not how to bend the spoon. Just know that there is no spoon." While I laid on the table in Julie's practice in Accord, New York on a Friday morning around 11AM, it occurred to me that the need I had felt my whole life, this longing to be complete, was a trick. A very inventive one but still a trick, a slight of hand, a smoke screen to prevent me from accepting the one simple truth about myself that I was and am and always will be complete. That there was no gap, no search for love, no distance between me and what I had longed for all my life.

The presence of the thought in my mind radiated waves and waves into every dark corner, illuminating my being with millions of lights. Its loveliness was complete, its care and comfort simply not of this world. 'There is nothing to do," I thought to myself. No process, no journey, no overcoming, no challenge, no tests no accomplishments. Just the simple acceptance of what is already here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Temple

Copyright 2009 by Stefan Bolz

There is a Stewart's gas station in Rosendale on the corner of Route 32 and 213. I pass it almost every day on my way to work. One evening a few years back, I remember the sun was just setting, I came down Rte 32 and stopped at the traffic light right across from from the Stewart's building. Maybe it was the way the light of the evening sky illuminated it and made it appear slightly surreal but I suddenly had the very strong notion that the gas station wasn't a gas station at all. It was a temple. Not so much in the sense that people were going there to worship or pray like in a church. No. It was simply a place of holiness. I felt that the people who worked there and the people who got their gas and bought lottery tickets and their newspapers and hot dogs, each one radiated such holiness that it took my breath away. As I sat in my car, looking out the window and watching the comings and goings for a while, there was such love emanating from the building pouring outward and towards me. Everyone who went inside or came out the door was completely enveloped in this love. There was no sorrow. No frailty. No pain or grief. Only the utmost honor from everyone to everyone. As the traffic light turned green I stood there for a moment longer until somebody behind me honked their horn and I drove off. Since then, going to Stewart's to get a chocolate milk shake or a cup of coffee or a gallon of milk, has never been the same.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Eternity (Audio)

Thoughts on Eternity, Love and God.

Eternity

Copyright 2009 by Stefan Bolz

I have been thinking about eternity lately. What prompted it was the realization that all my life I had looked for love in the wrong places. Those two thoughts had, on first glance, nothing in common but in thinking about it further, I realized they are very much related. I found myself having a conversation with myself and building the argument for the very strong relationship between looking for love and eternity. At some point I decided to write it all down for clarity purposes. This is in no way meant to be complete nor its logic to be seen without flaws.

For the sake of this argument, let's accept one basic premise: eternity exists. Let's assume that there is such a thing as eternity. Eternity, by definition, would be something that lasts forever. There is, therefore, in eternity no beginning and no end. We can't really make this statement of anything in this world, correct? Nothing here lasts forever. Everything is in constant change, including ourselves, our bodies and our thoughts.

In other words, let's accept, for now, that we do not have even one eternal thought in our mind. Our thoughts come and go. They shift, move around, and change. Therefore, our concept of eternity must be based on our own very limited perception of it. In other words, what we think is eternity, is based on our own thoughts and ideas which are not eternal. And because our own thoughts and ideas are anything but eternal, we can't really grasp what eternity truly is. Right? We can just speculate. The best we can do is think of it as something that outlasts us. That's as far as we can go because we have no concept of something without beginning and without end. Even the universe, the very atoms and molecules that make matter, have a beginning and therefore an end and are therefore not eternal.

Accepting the basic premise that eternity exists and that we do not have a clue what it is, lets go one step further: Let's assume that if something is eternal, it is also changeless. It can't have grades. It can't have nuances. It can't have parts that separate and come together again at times. Eternity must also be timeless, meaning it can't have time in it because time is equal to change. Eternity can therefore only be found outside of time. It can't be found in space either. Space changes. Planets, atoms, galaxies and bodies, suns and stars, change constantly. Eternity is therefore outside of both time and space.

So far so good. Another thought that came to me in this context was the following: If there is a God and one of his attributes is that he is eternal, he must have the qualities that come with it: He must be changeless, he must be forever, and he must be outside of time and space. He, for example, can't really have the ability to judge - good or bad. He can't have the ability because, first, there is obviously no 'ability' in eternity because abilities are subject to change. And secondly, there is nothing outside of the eternal to be judged. At least not from the 'perspective' of eternity who/which can only 'see' itself. So, if God only knows himself, if he only knows eternity, all of his qualities must be eternal, must be changeless, and must therefore be outside of time and space.

The first question that comes up is: ok, if there is a God who is outside of time and space, who is changeless forever and ever and who can't even conceive of anything outside of eternity, who made time and space? One part of the answer seems very simple. Obviously it wasn't God.

The final attribute of eternity, and the one I thought of in the beginning of the argument, is, in my view, one of the most misunderstood attributes of this world. It has been distorted, changed, manipulated, and made responsible for much suffering. Its present meaning is, in my opinion, so far from its essence, it is almost unrecognizable when we encounter it in truth.

This attribute is love.

We all speak of eternal love. Most of our songs, movies, books and stories, evolve around love - lost love, changed love, abused love, not reciprocated love, misunderstood love, longed-for love.

Let's just assume we are right in one aspect with regard to love. Let's say love is, in truth, eternal. If it is eternal though, it must, by definition, have all the other attributes of eternity. If it is eternal, love must be changeless. It must be outside of time and space, meaning not in this world and it must be unable to judge. It must be forever what it is, without interruption, without change, without degrees, without special parts and without limits.

Ok, so, if the love we think we know changes from person to person, from circumstance to circumstance, from morning to night and from day to day, it cannot be true love. When I realized that I am looking for love in the wrong places, I realized that I was looking for love in the world. In time and space. I was looking for something eternal in a place of time - in a place of beginnings and endings and in a place of change.

All my life I was looking for love in relationships. I couldn't find it. I know now why. I think what dawned on my mind lately was that I wasn't looking for illusory love anymore. If I was, I would have been satisfied with 'love' in relationships. But I was looking for true love now. And I can't find it here. I have to look in the one place where it is in truth. That place is in me. I think we all have access to eternity within us. One image I have (it's not my own but I find it very helpful) is that of a straight uninterrupted line. Each of us is a fragment hanging from this interrupted line, connected by a thread. We live our lives here, outside of it in our own 'private' spot in time and space. But we are nevertheless still connected to the eternal love that is changeless within us. For there is a place within where eternity abides. And if there is eternity, there must be love. Searching for love where it is, makes much more sense than searching for it where it is not, right? Our lives as we live them are preoccupied with the search for love outside of eternity. How can we find it there? It is a futile search that is hopeless at its best and utterly devastating at its worst.

What does this mean practically? It means, I cannot find love here. I tried but failed miserably and with misery. But not finding it here doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I just have to look in a different place for it - in the right place. If I look for love with another person and in another person, I can now see that, even though love is not where I thought it was - in the other person and accessible only by my desperate attempts to somehow get it - it is still there. More so, it is always there because it is eternal and changeless forever. So, for me it is now the slow process of changing my perception and my thought process of where to find it. It is frustrating at times and very rewarding at others. It is what it is. But it feels like, if I go through with it, if I change my mind and direct it towards where love truly is, I can and will find it eventually. The outcome of the proper search is guaranteed because love is eternal.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Soundless Song

Copyright 2009 by Stefan Bolz

You can sing without singing
Write music without a sound

Your whisper is reaching the heavens
Your smile can touch hearts all around

Your silence is loud as thunder
Your stillness moves moon and the sun

You inhabit a world full of wonder
When you recognize, ‘Thy will is done’.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Ladder

Copyright 2009 by Stefan Bolz

The ladder extends below me into infinity. From where I stand, I cannot see the ground. I feel somewhat suspended while holding on to the wooden rungs. The air is cold and heavy and limned in twilight. Not only do I not see the ground because of the sheer height of my location but the ladder literally disappears into the darkness below me. This is where I came from. This is where my journey started. I have no recollection of when I took the first step up the ladder but it seems too long to remember. It might have been yesterday but I doubt it.

One rung looks like the other as I make my way up. There is no sudden change of scenery, no realization of where I am on the ladder. There is just the climb. Sometimes I think I am so close to the bottom that I could just let go and land only a couple of feet below. At other times I get the sense that were I to let go now, I would fall forever only to have to start all over.

From a distance, the ladder looks like a single thin line of thread spun between the ground and the top of a vertical cliff easily several thousand feet high. But from a distance, my thread is also not the only one. Because of the thick fog I can’t see that 4 feet away from me is another ladder and behind that yet another, the row extending in perpetuity. If I were to look at it from even higher up I would see that the cliff is not a straight vertically line from point A to point B but a massive circle, stretching out for miles, with no beginning and no end.

For years I was convinced that mine was the only ladder and I was the only one climbing. Now, especially in times when I close my eyes while climbing up I can hear voices beside me. The whispers are sometimes so quiet I can easily block them out. At other times I cannot but hear and listen to them. The fog seemed to isolate me from the other ladders for the longest time. Now it is as if the fog’s density is lessening just a tiny bit. The voices I hear sometimes are voices of agony, of pain, of hopelessness and despair. But there are others as well. Other voices. These are filled with hope and a sense of the utter beauty of the sheer size of this undertaking. There are millions of ladders each reaching into the havens, all occupied by one person, all with one single purpose – to reach the end of the ladder. To come out of the darkness and to breathe the fresh air again. To touch the green, green grass of home once again and to be free.

Sometimes I just stand at one rung for a long time, my mind in a haze, for I have lost the purpose of the climb. But then I hear a voice through the fog. Very quietly it calls to me from one of the others. “Where are you?” it whispers. And then I remember and I start climbing again. And as I climb I can feel the sense of urgency in me not to hold on to any of the rungs for too long. “Just keep climbing,” I think to myself. “Just keep climbing,” I hear a voice next to me. It occurs to me that were we to realize that we are all together, each on our own ladder but still joined in our single purpose, we would make sure nobody would stay behind. Sometimes all it takes is for the one next to you to wait a few minutes so you can catch up. We can’t pull each other up but we can wait for one another. And what function can be holier than to wait for a brother to have him next to us again and not lose sight of him in the darkness of the fog.

Here lies our destiny and our function alike. It seems to be a contradiction that waiting for one another would get us up the ladder more quickly. But such are the laws of our journey home, implemented for our protection and in place to assure our swift progress up the ladder. And one day the fog will lift and we all, each and every one of use, will take the last rung and step off the ladder and into a home that we have never left.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Eines Tages... (One Day...)


Copyright 2009 by Stefan Bolz

Der lange Winter ist fast vorueber
Harsche, kalte Nächte
Gefüllt mit eisiger Luft aus dem Norden
Werden bald nichts mehr als Erinnerungen sein
Die sanft verblassen in der aufgehenden Sonne

Die Samen wurden in fruchtbaren Boden
Vor langer, langer Zeit gelegt. Vor so langer Zeit,
Du kannst dich nicht einmal mehr daran erinnern

Und doch

Bald wirst du dich erheben. Deine atemberaubende Schönheit,
Deine Macht und deine Herrlichkeit
Dir gegeben bevor die Zeit begann
Zurückgehalten fuer Äonen 
Sie wird durch den eisbedeckten Boden brechen

Die waermenden Strahlen der Sonne begruessen
Begruessen den Wind, die Sterne der Nacht und den Regen

Und dann, eines Tages, die Blüten
So lange verschlossen, werden sich oeffnen
Und all deine Schönheit wird sich entfalten
vor deinen Augen

Und du wirst wissen.