Nancy Neithercut is my newly invited guest on ‘The Dawn Within’. After many years of trying to figure out the pain of existence, Nancy has experienced a shift in her life when all sense of separation faded away and, in her own words, “the whirling center of the dream had exploded and imploded into a vast unknowable unknown.” She now writes and speaks about this ungraspable no-thing in countless poems which are direct effusions of her inner life and understanding. They have been gathered in her website, “Nancy’s posts and poems”, and in her numerous books.
I chose and gathered here a few excerpts of her poetry that came my way. My mind drifted through Nancy’s beautiful writings and picked up just what it did, sometimes arrested by the deep meaning conveyed, sometimes by a harmonious dance of words, or a striking force, or a freshness, or just a no thing elusively expressed. At the end of her last book, she wrote: “This is the end of my seventh book of songs of awakening and I have never captured even one bite of this deliciousness… Yet songs flow through me and even as these words appear my story writes itself.” We are grateful for her many attempts. I hope you enjoy reading her Songs of Awakening…
“Without a listener there is no song, and there is no singer.”
the rush of stillness
sings through it all
it cannot be trampled
it cannot be concocted
by chanting spells
or reading books
or sitting for a thousand years
you cannot wait for it
or gain it
or throw it away
is the dawn of love
I would say that the stillness that seekers long for is the end of belief in the dream. Yet this is also feared, because when the dream of this and that is seen to be made up, then it means also that they are made up! It would mean that everyone they have ever loved or known in their entire lives are also made up!
It would mean that there has never been a past and there will never be a future. A future where somehow stillness could be attained or lost.
It would mean the end of all seeking, as the seeker has disappeared. The end of all ideas of other better more or next. It’s like the Zen guy sitting there in the cartoon and one guy says to another so this is it huh? And the other guy says Yep.
For this is indeed it isn’t it?
It always is!
It is unnameable and it’s not really an it or an non it …no one can capture it or understand it as there’s no one separate to do so.
So all trying to attain stillness or something other than this seems to push it away, like trying to capture a ripple in a bowl of water.
Your hand just makes more ripples!
Yet it is a good cat and mouse game that keeps people going and keeps the seeker safe. The dream of hope and fear continues, as that is what they are
What would they be without it?
It is you who breathes silence into the forest
and starlight sparkling through the trees
the first bird has no song without you
There is no voice
Heard or unheard without yours….
Without your eyes there is no darkness
or Dawn blossoming into day
you are the magic of imaginary separation
Without which there are no separate notes
we are not speaking about improving the dream….or escaping it….. enlightenment is realizing that this is it there is no escape always just as it is
and yes we speak from the dream of separation…. that’s how we can chat like this
we are assumptions ….beliefs and preferences ….yet they can be seen as such…. illusionary building blocks of knowing….. creating imaginary separation….. imaginary characters in a passion play that writes itself….there is only the dream there is no escape but the walls can become transparent
The search was over
There is and has been utter rest since then
And a most marvelous sense of unending awe
There is no more feeling like it is my life
Or that I am a ping pong ball being pushed around by unseen forces
It is like a constant union ….
Always the first kiss ….and the last
There is only ever this as it is
The imaginary center is gone
All we can know is that there is an un-interrupted indivisible symphony of what we call perception and the simultaneous recognition of it. It is known and felt deeply. This pulsating aliveness vibrantly appearing as anything at all.
And as there are no separate things nor separate moments nor separate perceiver nor separate thing called life, you indeed are it. You are simply and most magnificently awareness aware that it is aware through this symphony of perception this streaming dream of you of me of we.
Only with this objectifying brain can there be this imaginary twoness.
I am tattooed with scars of love’s beautiful arrows
her blades ripped apart all ideas of love
shine and shadow and moonbeams
like ancient mists
burned in the penetrating brilliance of a thousand suns
the pain could not be hidden under a smile
or swept under the carpet
I wore it
until it was me
…as soon as the concept the idea of you arises, you now feel separate from what is going on and you spend the rest of your life trying to feel whole to patch what was never separate… and everything you do …all seeking searching for that missing peace… merely perpetuates the illusion of separation… tightens the noose… as belief in separation is the same as belief in personal volition…
you will not find the answer to this problem in a book… or in a poem… or meditation… or falling in love… or walking in nature… although these may seem to give you a temporary sense of relief… the permanent relief you seek will cost you everything and nothing… yet you cannot choose to pay
it is a ripping apart of everything you have held to be true about yourself and the world… including the idea of truth… and love… and purpose and meaning… it is a most perilous journey… that no one can choose… as there is no path to no where… and no one can give you nothing… and no one arrives…. you will never get this… it is truly an empty prize for no one
waiting at the edge of sky
your heart an empty glass
words sweep the vastness into mirrored wings
reflecting your hunger to fly
you have always been naked
vast as day
empty as night
falling into a feathered glance
you spy your own reflection
There is nothing out of place when it’s realized that there are no things and no outside or inside, no place or non place. There are no things, yet all things are included, as where else could they possibly be? Looking for the magic is the magic, looking for wholeness is wholeness, trying to escape the dream is the dream.
what is this longing
of what you do not know
some vague idea of peace or wholeness
what you seek is closer than your heartbeat
and that ache you are terrified to acknowledge
you feel it might break your heart if it is let loose
but it is not your heart
or your love
or your tears
there was never a line between you and you tears
it is merely these words that seem to create them
counting the tears
counting the days
counting the moments
until you will break free
but you must break into innumerable pieces
before realizing that there was never anything to break
nor anything to mend
nor anyone to be set free
Supreme spaciousness of knowing no thingness drinks me as I pour it into a paper cup and watch the swirling songs that glisten on my lips. this all pervading love that has no name nor number was always present, I just never noticed. The lines that felt like a prison have become transparent. And I the centerless jewel sparkling.
There is no one who can step outside of what’s going on to accept it or reject it as the effort to accept it or reject it is what’s going on
how strange and beautiful that a heart can break
and not need repair
I am in love with this bittersweet melancholy
that kissed me
and left her calling card
Self is the assumption of knowing.
Here there is no feeling of knowing,
it’s more like a delicious unknowing.
The knowing that there are no things to know,
and no one to know, is sublime.
this is a love that cannot be filled or emptied
it cannot be held or refused
there are no hands to hold it
no heart to treasure it
no one can truly know this
yet it seems that without it
I am not
enlightenment is an idea
Where did you get all those ideas
What would you be without them
How wondrous to know that no one is broken
That the world is not broken…
that it’s all sublimely beautiful
Text by Nancy Neithercut
Photos by Elsebet Barner
– ‘Ocean of Love’ – by Nancy Neithercut – (Independently published)
– ‘I Am A Flowing Gown Of Echoes’ – by Nancy Neithercut – (Independently published)
– ‘Liquid Eyes’ – by Nancy Neithercut – (Independently published)
– ‘there is not something inside of us which loves so deeply …it is us’ – by Nancy Neithercut – (Independently published)
– ‘This Is It, Coyote’ – by Nancy Neithercut – (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)
– ‘Your Infinite Intimate Embrace: you have never left’ – by Nancy Neithercut – (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)
– ‘To Kiss What Cannot Be Kissed…: Love songs from the canyon’ – by Nancy Neithercut – (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)
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