Are They Still There?

Today, there is no volcano in my view.
No people.
No path.
No city.
No hum.

Today it’s just the fog
holding and dissolving billions of worlds.
They have become more clear and solid.
They exist within me, and without.

The word showing an external reality is no longer dead.
It’s the gate keeper who is dead.

Who, then, punishes the archangels?
Or do they exist inside me in caravans?
Do they exist in my grandmother’s room,
collecting dust and gathering consciousness of little children?
Does the manticore fly?
Does the unicorn travel on solar paths?

Is the man in the cross still there,
looking at me with those eyes,
asking me if I know that I am there
nailed to the same cross,
to this creation of my mind,
unable to move and going everywhere at once?

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Unbending Intent for these Teachings

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I’d Gone to Another Place Again

I was very young. I must have been about seven years of age or five. I can’t remember right now. I had gone to the zoo with some aunts and cousins. After the zoo, we were going to the bus—this was in El Salvador. I was following my sister and cousin. Both were six years older than me. They were walking in front of me. I noticed they had begun to walk in a different way, to swing their hips more. I thought they were doing that because boys like it. I thought it was part of the human game. See, I didn’t realize then that I kept looking at the adults as someone would look at animals in the zoo: “These are their mating habits. These are the things they do when they lie. These are the things they do when they want to be liked.” Then, the girls turned a corner, and I followed them. On the sidewalk, there were two tables used by street vendors to offer such goodies as sweet breads and drinks. They were still setting up. My sister and cousin walked between the two tables, and I followed. I pulled myself up with my hands on the tables, and I swung myself playfully, and I came down. And when I came down, the people were not there. The street seemed the same, but no one was at the tables, and there was no food on them. All was quiet. There was an absence of smell, and everything had a buzz to it. And I turned around. There were very few people, and I ran to the corner to catch up with my cousins and aunt, but they were not there. There were some very old cars, not the type I used to see. And then I returned to the tables and I tried to do the same thing again; and, no, I was stuck there.

Something in me thought, I’m lost. I’ve gone to another place again. I looked at the street, and it went on and on for a while, and I said to myself, this is the way back home; if I walk down this path, I will get home, if don’t deviate from it.

I started walking on that strange street. Then, I saw a police officer; and when you are in those spaces in that world, uniformed personnel give you directions. He was standing in the middle of the street, but it didn’t seem odd. “Excuse me. I’m lost,” I told him.

He said, “You are not lost; if you were lost, you would be panicking and crying.”

“Well, I’m lost because I don’t know how to get back home.”

“Where is home?” he asked.

I said, “I live with the humans in Colonia Zacamil.”

So he smiled and said, “Come with me.” He took me to a bus; the door of the bus was opened. This bus was like in England, on the wrong side of the street, but I still entered through the right side from the street. He said to the driver, “This boy needs to get back home to the humans. Can you tell him when he’s there?”

He said, “Sure.” He didn’t ask where. He just drove. The scenery began to change. Slowly there was more dirt, sun, and more noise. The smells came back.

He asked, “You know how to get home from here?,” stoping the bus in front of the bus stop down the path to my house.

I said, “Yes, I do,” and I did. That was the first time I got lost, and then I started to get lost very often. I shifted the assemblage point by mistake at first.

When I got home, I told my mom what happened, and then I hid when my aunt showed up. My aunt was pale. She was worried. She reported we were all together, we were crossing the street, and then everyone crossed the street and I was not on the other side. She looked everywhere and couldn’t find me. Eventually she went home and told my mom. As she was telling my mom and my mom was calmly telling her, “Well, I don’t know, but you’re going to have to go back and find him,” and my aunt realized by my mother’s calm and dismissive demeanor that I was actually there and not lost, I sprung from behind the couch and pounced at her happily, hearing the bells of her happy laugh and cuddled in the warmth of her embrace under the all touching love of my mother’s smile.

The World Was Born When You Were Born

When you were born, the Tonal was there only as potential. It was surrounding you, nurturing you. You knew the Tonal only as an all-encompassing feeling. You did not distinguish between one feature of it and another. You did not say, “This is my mother, and this is a crib.” It was all the same. It was feeding you; it was carrying you into sleep, protecting your form. That’s all you knew.

As time went by, your assemblage point was fixed, and the world became what it is now, and you were able to name and distinguish things. So you looked at your mother and said, “Mama,” and you looked at your father and said, “Not the mama.” And you looked at your toys and said, “Mine.” And then you looked at your neighbor’s toys and said, “Mine.” And then someone beat you up—usually your neighbor’s kid when you took his toys—and you learned to share, out of the goodness of your heart.

From my upcoming book: The Teachings of a Toltec Survivor

Lucía Through the Shell

When I was in the fifth grade, I had a good friend named Lucía. I called her that because she was born when I was shinning a light behind her shell. It looked like the glow of life came from her as she was stirring alive and broke through this side of life.

My abuelita gave her to me to raise. I carried her warm fuzzy frailty in my hands for the 100 kilometers trip back to the city. She took residence in the small cement square we called a patio, where the water basin was.

I came to visit and speak with her every day after school. She didn’t like to play, but she enjoyed listening. She liked it when I’d tell the cats not to approach, and when I trained the dog to see her as my friend. I failed to train my aunt, who served Lucía to me one afternoon. My older brother laughed at the surprise on my face when I came to the patio after lunch and didn’t find my friend. “You just ate her!,” he mocked.

I covered the real feeling pulsating above my belly, under my heart. I didn’t want him to see. I masked my inner reality with rage, as if the mockery was the only thing I minded. The real feeling, I carried with me safely through life, holding its fuzzy fragility in a tiny square of my solar plexus where a glow of light forever listens and waits.

Of personal destinies

Our destiny is often not what our egos and personalities have come to want. The words of others telling us what to become are often false guides. Only the nature of your true self provides the reason for your incarnation and the direction of your spirit. The key is to simply find yourself, and connect to that silent center as you live your life. The thinking mind doesn’t really need to be the one aware of our destiny, because there’s an invisible hand drawing our story. That hand is the truth of yourself, your essence. Trust in it. Listen in silence, and your destiny will be the most sure and immovable part of your experience in this life.

El dulce flotar de Consuelo

Recuerdo el día cuando mi abuelita Consuelo se desmayó y la sostuve en mis brazos.

Me preguntó al despertar si acaso la muerte sería como ese dulce flotar hacia el vacío que acababa de experimentar.

“Porque si así es,” me dijo con su inteligente y alegre sonrisa, “ya no le tengo miedo a la muerte.”

A ese dulce vacío voló hace un año mi abuelita.

Ahí estaremos un día, como siempre lo estamos…

Como está la casa de tejas y rayos de sol con humo de leña.

Como está su cuarto con risas de niños y paredes de santos.

Ahí, en ese vacío detrás de las memorias

donde se resuelven vivencias

donde la historia se vuelve viento

donde lo antiguo reverdece entre pájaro y grillo…

Ahí nos espera el consuelo eterno de su vela perpetua.

La quiero por siempre, Abuelita.

The loud roaring silence

As a child, sitting at the beach of El Espino in El Salvador, I would look ahead of me and I would see a horizon where the blue water kissed the blue sky. And I would wonder about that line that divided the heaven and the ocean. It was thin—maybe not really there.

It was there just so I could see it and imagine a separation between the two. And as I tried to penetrate that almost visible barrier, I would notice that the periphery of my eyes would widen, almost as wide as the ocean. And I sat there with my small eyes, with my small mind, in this small world, almost able to hold the immensity of the ocean.

It was vast. Huge. I could not hold it in my thoughts. Any thought I begun to have about it would be washed away with that roar, with that sound, deafening all over—a busy silence. Before every thought formulated in my mind: silence. After every thought: silence. And all around the thought, that loud roaring silence of the ocean.

Today

Today there is no volcano in my view.

No people. No path. No city. No humming.

Today, it’s just the fog that dissolves millions of worlds as it becomes more clear and solid, existing within me and without me.

The word that tells me that there is an external reality is no longer dead. The gate keeper is dead.

Who, then, punishes the archangels? Or do they exist inside me, in caravans?

Do they exist in a room, collecting dust and gathering the consciousness of little children?

Does the manticore fly? Does the unicorn travel on solar currents?

Is the man in the cross still there looking at me with those eyes, asking me if I know that I am there nailed to the same cross, to the same creation, unable to move and therefore only able to upscale or downscale?

Trimming myself into the world

From the point of view of neurology, as soon as the baby begins to acquire motor skills and focus their eyes, their brain begins to trim. There are neural connections that cut themselves off. In that cutting off, we begin to bring our attention into this world; to be able to perceive things as separate and distinguish shapes, heights, duration, space, color. Without that trimming, everything that the organism can perceive would be perceived and nothing will be distinguished. So, there is a trimming that happens there, and part of that trimming of our neural system is what culture does with language.

Then, over that language, many things are programmed: llike belief systems, like agreements of what is good and what is bad, what is acceptable and what is not. And then over that series of values we build identities: democrat, republican, Argentinian, Mexican. From those we define our personal identity: “This is me,” “That’s not my family,” “I am not like that,” “I am like this.” But we don’t realize the layers of soil that we use to build that sense of self.