Death And Awakening.

Via Benjamin Riggs
on Dec 22, 2010
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The Cloud Of Unknowing.

Descending through a dark cloud,

Into a region of the mind that speaks in a strange tongue,

The five gates are over run by legions of provocative beasts.

Day in and day out,

I am cast down,

Again and again,

Into a violent world of my own design.

The shadows that populate the scene,

Both putrid and seductive in manner,

Are but bags of skin dangling from the distant past.

The tone self-conscious,

The rhythm anxious and barbaric,

Dancing with these hallucinations has become claustrophobic.

Trembling with fear,

A tearful incision is made.

Cutting through the womb of appearances

-Both the gorgeous and grotesque-

There is but one embryonic thought to be found.

Forgetting it was the answer,

This question became afraid of birth.

Incubated by self-deception,

It lost touch with the ground of being.

Like settling the surface of water with the palm of my hand,

My words scream back at me,

Reasoning sews only cloaks of sophistication,

And try as I might,

Its face cannot be seen.

Utterly defeated by this simple fear,

I surrender and cease to be.

Merging with the space between this and that,

At once the fear dissolves,

As it was but a reflection of me.

The void is filled with my original face,

In a realm beyond time and space.

Not many nor one,

It does not end as it never begun,

A perfect Truth which cannot be undone.


About Benjamin Riggs

Ben Riggs is the author of Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West. He is also the director of the Refuge Meditation Group in Shreveport, LA and a teacher at Explore Yoga. Ben writes extensively about Buddhist and Christian spirituality on Elephant Journal, and his blog. Click here to listen to the Finding God in the Body Podcast. To keep up with all of his work follow him on Facebook or Twitter.


7 Responses to “Death And Awakening.”

  1. linda says:


  2. fandango says:

    hate to be picky…but dude, it's spelled "Dalai" Lama, not "Dali." Check the bio at the end of the article, Lol.

  3. And here I thought all along it was "Dolly Lama."

    Great poem, Ben.

  4. tamingauthor says:

    Ben, another wonderful contribution to Elephant. I'm enjoying being allowed to be an observer on your spiritual journey.

  5. BenRiggs says:

    Oh brother… I appreciate that!

  6. BenRiggs says:

    Thank you… I will email you about the discussion group soon.

  7. I really like this poem, thank you. Unknowing is underrated these days. 🙂 The Cloud of Unknowing–in terms of the Middle Age Christian mystic work– was something that Father Thomas Keating talked about (the few times I saw him talk) and it always sounded really intriguing to me.