The Descent

So, there it is. A total wipe out.

For now, let’s stop battling and shoring up strategies. Instead of floundering around for certainties, for pockets of hope, let’s accept the invitation into something else. That is, a profound stripping away. The world that was, that we knew, that perhaps we loved, is fast being mutilated. Right now I’m not sure the United States of America will survive. I am not sure the United Kingdom will survive. Neither am I sure Europe or South Africa will survive. Certainly Iraq, Syria, and many other places have not survived. Actually, I’m not sure anything will survive in this age of climate mass extinction and nuclear codes in the … well, you know… the full catastrophe of the small handed one.

So, as we enter into solstice week, the encroaching night at the heart of seasonal shifts, let’s not run from defeat, but welcome its bitter medicine. Let’s taste helplessness, futility, exhaustion, confusion, upset, devastation, pain, abandonment, and the fear of not knowing if we will survive. This, friends, is what many others have felt before, (Chile’s stolen C.I.A election). This, is what many are experiencing in far, far more deadly ways right now (Aleppo.) And this, is what some have gone through with horrific pain and at high speed, (Oakland housing crisis & Ghost Ship fire)

Yes, we can draw together and warm ourselves in like-minded company, but not to exclude the encroaching night, instead to encourage our entry into its deeper teaching. Like therapy, usually we have to feel our deepest wound, the pain of it, before we can begin to circle back into health.

The pain we feel is the removal or our illusory comfort zone where we thought everything was sort of OK. But as everything is not OK, we need the curtains pulled back. Behold, the psychopathic, heartless gaze of the deadly machinery of predator oligarchic colonial capitalism. Behold its decaying, soulless, craven, narcissistic, violent, and ugly face. It’s sheer lack of beauty, grace, sanctity, poetry, love, and wise counsel. This machinery is set to destroy everything for profit and power. Before we can take it on anew, we have to fully get the depth of its utter moral and spiritual bankruptcy. It’s total lack of humanity. We have to FEEL, not just intellectualize. This is so we can really get those already sacrificed to its relentless agenda.

So, we have a new curriculum. One that many marginalized, oppressed, and vilified people have already been schooled in. One that the Indigenous Peoples of Standing Rock know well, which is why so many were pulled to go there, like moths to a glowing light. We needed their courage, their guidance, their deep understanding of sacred resistance for these times.

We will also need everything learnt from our spiritual practice. Ajahn Chah said that practice is preparation for when real challenge arises. That preparation is over. Now is show time. We may not be in perfect shape, we certainly won’t be in perfect shape, but if we undergo the stripping down of this solstice devastation, if we can hold to each breath in order to track this unlit pathway; we will be taken into the sanctuary of our unshakeable, indivisible, brilliantly sane, undying, and loving heart. And it is this true heart that will save us. With this heart, tuned to the deeper intelligence of the Dharma, the spirit, we will be ready for whatever is ahead. Together, we will get through this.

 The Ending of Hope

 Crushing abrupt
tectonic shifting
washing away bridges
into chaotic descent.
Ice melt, ocean rise, land erodes,
and certainty makes no sense.

Blind election vortex
schemes twisted thoughts
conspire and distract
within intensifying solar fire.

Yet, between
this thought
and the next,
in that unguarded pause,
hope waits its constant song
where angels soothe
and breathe their shining
along uncertain pathways.

Their voices lilt high
over fields of desolation.
For all times, they say,
we are the holders of your dream.
The whispering seed planted,
the remainder of your journey
through the bleakest watch of night.

So, invoke angels appearing
within this shattering world,
dragging the light
into shadow kings
that march fear along
highways of predator folly
and perpetual toxic news.

But, when even hope vanishes,
and what can’t be won
disturbs our waking nights.
Then, in that ripe hour,
distant bells will summon
our hallowed dissension.
As jaws soften and hands open,
prayer turns to a new dimension.

The movement beyond city voices.
A gentle wind that blows so quiet.
A silent singing from this turning earth.
A calm knowing of life’s worth.

The dream of this fevered longing
will wake us up cold.
There is a knowing within each breath
that keeps this holy world gathered
within spheres of our communion

Here we always are,
moving in the ancient stillness
with fluid steps tracking
our one recurring song.
It echoes across the halls of destruction and creation,
this timeless breath with you, my love.
It’s a long, cold, lonely night.

— Thanissara, Dec 19th, ‘16

The Wounded Angel  by Hugo Simberg, Finland.


27 thoughts on “The Descent”

  1. Thank you Thanissara – you express, very clearly, what something inside me has been groping towards these past few weeks. In many ways I feel as if I am having a crash course in what it is to be human and how to be human. The extent of my blindness is stunning – veils are being stripped away. Veils that many on this planet (as you point out) are losing or lost a long time ago. Only when catastrophe starts rolling in my direction have I begun to wake up. And somewhere in the shock and horror is something trustworthy – something re-aligning.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanissara,

    Your words!

    And true

    Thank you

    In your expression of despair, of outrage, you open the way to our deepest source of strength and resilience. You open the way to the heart.

    With such gratitude,



  3. Your courage and wisdom inspire me, thank you so much! Please keep writing Thanissara! because as I write to you now with tears streaming down my face, I realize the way forward is not to keep up this busy frenetic pace of organizing, and building coalitions for the resistance, and fighting every day on so many fronts. Your post has invited me instead to STOP, to rest, and to feel the searing pain of this grief and fear. And to feel also the love, from which the depth of my pain has sprung. Your words are like the flower peeping up through the concrete in these dark, cold times. We are all so fortunate that, with this gift of painful suffering, right along with it comes with your honesty, vision, wisdom, vulnerability, compassion, and courage. It’s so nourishing, needed, and healing in this cold season. We will emerge wiser, stronger, and more loving because of it.


  4. Thank you, Thanissara for everything. Sending Metta and gratitude.

    From deep Cascade snows, tree-lined stream, many quiet birds at the feeders, deer and falcon in the open fields.

    Winter mandalas created for the dharma altar of our Being’s longing for Us.

    I, we, you, in alignment with what IS. Your poem/image attuning, resonating kriyas through everything. Connection.

    Offered deeply; the tragedy named with clarity, held in the power of Love’s Compassionate Aiming Awareness.

    Trusting discernment’s cup-full, fear emptying. Constancy toward equanimity.

    With the whole catastrophe, held in the arms of Grace.

    Quietly, kindly, gratefully, I send you and Kittisaro loving-kindness in response.

    Your dharma friend,



    1. Thank you so much Valeta, and for your beautiful words of affirmation for our shared journey.. Wishing you much peace and well being in the year ahead.


  5. Thank you for saying the things I and most of us trying to grasp on to something that would save our predisposed understanding losing our selves to our disbelief and reckoning the truth of our mortality I was cascading into oblivion but was fighting windmills and then retracted into a science of awakening to inevitability just prior to your post and then after apologizing to my savior and friend the Christ within that did the very thing that comes to us all in time to feel united with the humanity that is crucified each day what you holds true to one that has died to self in disbelief that death would call and there was no hope yet I cried out to God for help and in my dieing was saved with angles all around my friends numbered ten and one was my best friend to live with a broken heart gave me strength to live twelve years by the tenth of January this New Year it was Slide that took my friends but because I asked I’m here today I no remorse and sadness well but care to embrace the angles in stead of Hell In Love we soar and can do quite well but as we life our trust we fail then when we see that this is but a journey I become an Eagle and fly with the Angles to a place beyond and sing my heart it’s eternal song greater things are in store just let go of what is no more thank you for being here and letting me shed my last tear I take a breath of new life and fly away from death and strife to find my love and new Life ♥️


  6. We have been wounded but not vanquished. To our hearts wisdom we shall abide. To live for today with clear vision on the sky. Even with the approaching storm, keeping truth of connection with each other and the cosmos.

    Thank you for your wonderful insights



    1. Thanks Kelly – It’s lovely to hear from you. What challenging times indeed. Let’s keep the heart strong. Sending much love. & Please do share on.


  7. Thanissara, I am a new subscriber to your blog. I have a Centering Prayer group that is really suffering right now. I have sent this to several of the members. (Not all are far enough along in their practice to deal with these truths right now.I hope to help them get there. ) Thank you for holding up ugly truths for us to see and then helping us to find comfort in our own hearts and with each other.


    1. Thank you Rebecca. It’s wonderful to hear of your Centering Prayer group. I believe prayer is so important right now, that is prayer that listens deeply into the heart.. which is how I understand Centering Prayer, so we can hear the quiet voice of truth.
      May all of your group be well, and have much strength for the times ahead.


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