My Path: A Walk Through Heaven and Hell, Samsara, and Bliss: Some Poems

(Blue lupines in front of Iliamna, June, 2012)
In the most succinct way possible, here I share some poems about the path that led me back to Tuxedni Bay, so far from civilization, living by myself in this beachside cabin that I built when I was 17.

i made plans

I planned for incarnation
I planned for the distinguishing marks
I planned a good place to edure
I planned for the transformation
–Caroline Kroll
(Fireweed by the cabin at dusk, August, 2012)

i took vows

I took vows I would not harm or destroy life
When I decided to save every strange insect from standing water
or carefully move them from the windows in the house
Soon there were no longer insects drowning in the standing water
and no insects in the house
I took vows to never take what has not been given
When I decided to not take what has not been given
I thought I had never done anything wrong,
but soon remembered every incident,
…pens and lighters that I had pocketed
and the excuses I had made and soon mindlessness
was replaced with a little more mindfulness
I took vows to refrain from all sexual practices
When I decided to refrain from all sexual practices
I saw how I had objectified and mindlessly judged forms
I saw how I had thought of others as objets of desire
and how my thoughts had betrayed me
and soon, thoughts did not betray me any longer
–Caroline Kroll

(Chisik Island, May, 2012)

i cut the ten fetters with love

I cut the ten fetters with Love
I cut any belief in materialism by meditating on emptiness and on the four formless
I cut any grasping at ritual and rule by meditating on sameness
I cut away all skepticism by not believing or disbelieving
I cut attachment to desire or craving by cultivating compassion beyond forms
I cut attachment to form by meditating on how appearances are not form
I cut attachment to formlessness by asking who sees
I cut attachment to maliciousness by sending more and more love
I cut away all restlessness and guilt by not resting love anywhere
I cut away pride by showing my weakness and making this my strength
I cut away ignorance by giving understanding to every appearance, neither accepting nor rejecting
–Caroline Kroll
The moment I entered Hell, everything was eerily familiar. I realized I had been here before many times.
(untitled, collage, 16″ x 24″, 2006)

the turning seasons of hell

I poured love from my heart day and night.
I decided I woud love all beings, save all beings, bring all beings to freedom and joy
I refused the sickening horrors of the “deceptive” place they call the 6th heaven
I refused to play a role in their games of male and female
“I am inviolate!” I screamed in my pain and aversion, “inviolable and undefiled!”
I refused to be an object that is acted upon by ignorant minds caught in duality
I rebuked that which offers up the rulership of a kindom of death and clay
I rebuked the petty tyrant, the thief, the rapist, the malicious thought, the harmers of innocence, those that prey on the human mind, the rulers of the ten directions, and every religion of the world for their ignorant corruption, empty rituals, and the complacency and decay that they actively allow.
I allowed those who will be punished, to be punished
I allowed those who would be saved, to be saved
I refused to be what others wanted me to be
I refused everything, all assistance, all help except food
I felt compassion for the suffering of all living beings
I took on their pain, their attachments and showed their reflections in the mirror.
I showed them the ugliness and told them they were beautiful
I showed them the imperfection and told them they were perfect
I told them that they were not mere created things of clay,
that one breath of life is stronger than any clay form.
I poured love into them from my heart
I bled on them in iodic waves of bliss, draining the blood from my body
staining them red
I explained my actions in rhyming words, parables, poems, prose,
songs, popular literature, current events, forms, reflections, and quotations
not expecting one thing in return
after all, I don’t need to be in Hell, I don’t have to do this.
Hell is no longer suffering for me, so I came to bleed love for you.
All they asked for was more
They wanted more pictures, more diagrams, more parables, more prose,
more explanations, more time to enjoy themselves in pleasures that cause more pain for them,
more bleeding.
They wanted less words, more clarity, less work, more results
They wanted Hell, they wanted Heaven, they wanted ghosts,
they wanted magic, they wanted things, they wanted riches,
they wanted fame, they wanted this form, that form,
mistaking over and over again mere appearances for real objects.
but underneath, I always knew they only wanted this happiness,
something that can never be taken away
something that removes all wanting for anything else.
How could anyone not want what every living being deserves:
an everlasting happiness of pure freedom that removes all wanting, all enactments, all words, all thoughts
I realized that the best thing I can do is repeat myself again and again,
through history, through time, through forms, manifold and singular,
because that is what this world is,
it cycles and cycles and everyone only repeats themselves,
saying the same things
over and over
not ever seeing the simple underlying pattern,
obscured by a curtain of doubt, of thought.
Spaced repitition,
I was an actor on Shakespeare’s stage, and there composed the best of his lines
I was a poet in France and walked across the Alps
I was a singer in Milan, where my reputation was ruined
I was a painter on my back daubing plaster and bright scenes on chapel ceilings day and night
I was a sculptor in stone and clay, making hands and feet for the master
I signed the documents to set this country free
I fought alongside Sitting Bull and killed Custer’s men,
I slept under a tree, and out in the open field,
I contemplated, I practiced,
I slept sitting up, I slept in cemetaries,
I laid down and stayed wherever I happened to be,
I starved my body and my mind and lived on mud and insects,
I ate everything at once, I stopped eating at 5:00 every day
I mastered the sciences of language, logic and philosophy, of medicine and of arts
I was a soldier in a war of the most horrific demise,
a sailor who drowned before the sharks circled in,
a seer who touched the face of the sun,
a prophet, a scoundrel, a rebel and a rat.
A bubble, a lightning flash, a grand revelation, a disco ball, a star and a starship sailing through galaxies, the moon in the water, a pure purple, red, then white, then black, then white, then red, nothing.
a reflection, a reflection, an emanation, an emanation.

i relied on compassion

I relied on Compassion
I relied on the meaning, not the words
I relied on the truth, not on individuals
I relied on love-awareness, not on ordinary consciousness
I relied on the real meaning, not on the surface meaning
–Caroline Kroll

Heaven is always here and compassion makes it impossible to watch the suffering of others in Hell and not do something to relieve that suffering. Hell and every other realm cleans away attachments of mind, yet that suffering can be diminished and shortened when time is transcended with love, pure compassion, lovingkindness, equanimity and joy. All one has to do is let go of you or I, this or that, form or non-form and just love beyond forms. It all rolls up like a carpet. The inside is the outside. No one is ever telling us anything else. Love is the only way. Look around. Under the sophistries and multiplication of words, there is something that does not change. This is you. You are love. No being whose heart beats is so separate from love as to not have the ability to understand how perfectly simple it is.

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