Everything that a mystic-activist needs to know is summarized in this quotation from Simone Weil: "We were created by Love, for Love, to become Love." Deep mystical awareness is rooted in these words from the heart of Weil: penned not in an exercise of spiritual vanity -- a "Hallmark" saying for the ages: but from the fire of awakening: we are sacred beyond our wildest human imaginations! And our one responsibility is to give life -- through our lives of mystic passion -- to these words in our lives: not in theory or theology, but in prayer and action...
Paralleling these words from Weil, is the ancient mystic realization that the Sole Reality is the Holy One, the "One Love Consciousness"... and that the "All" of existence is as a "Mirror" of the Only One... The essential reality of the Universe is the Love Breath of the One breathed continuously through the Breath of Compassion... The mystic, by invoking the remembrance of this Divine Breath, and breathing the peace of that Breath, "incarnates" the Creative Energy that is everywhere latent, as if veiled, by the physical manifestation of matter... The mystic then becomes a bridge of Divine Transmission: a living reminder that there is a Way... a Tao... and a Feminine Unfolding of all the creative potential of Being...
Breathing deep, but calmly, like a mystic-magician seeking the alchemical blend of the mundane into the purest gold, stir these two core awakenings in the cauldron of your sacred heart... let them mingle, particle to particle, as lovers face to face... and slowly... slowly they will build to the Climax of Unity: "we" are One! The Climax of Unity will catapult the mystic into a radical re-ordering of every relationship and community: since we are One in our Identification with Love, we realize that we can "possess" nothing, for everything as a manifestation of the One Love Consciousness, "belongs" to That One: and we creatively participate in our "poverty" by becoming instruments of Compassion and Mercy: in Beauty we Share all Wealth equally: because we are infinitely worth the Very Best: no longer is there debate about the "droppings" on the floor: social institutions are radically re-structured to create room for All at the One Table of Life. Every social institution now has only one purpose: the full development of every person and her / his liberation in Love and Justice: the one remaining competition is "how to love more than Love Itself": the former human dramas of greed, violence, oppression, exploitation, injustice, inequality, and every form of marginalization are both forgiven and forgotten in the collective choice to consciously evolve... Continuing to breathe deeply, but calmly, the new mystic-activist awakens into an "everyday life" re-organized into the means of a direct experience of the Compassion and Mercy of the One through the daily practice of "mirroring" compassion and justice for all...
The "spirituality of justice for all" should be a tie that binds every mystic-activist with every person of good-will who desires the best for everyone. The divisive rancor of contemporary politics only serves as a veil behind which the "manipulators of the masses" hide and do their machinations. We are better than their media would have us believe! We are, each and all, worthy of a seat at the table of decisive power: no more floor-feeding for us! We are better than the labels that we are fed -- right and left have no meaning if contrived by Power! The Dominator Paradigm cultivates every fear into hate: fear is the very opposite of Love, so why wouldn't they want us afraid of someone or something? Every expression of hate is a direct manifestation of the dominator model of relationship and social organization: the repulsive vinegar of hate needs the gentle fermentation of the mystic-activist: as Yeshua turned water into wine, the modern mystic-activist, through a radical purity of heart, can turn hatred into the Sweet Wine of the New Solidarity Paradigm. Remember! Remember: "We have been created by Love, for Love, to become Love." This is the Way. This is our Destiny. And this is the rEvolution: Join!
You Ask Me
(..."And the fire and the rose are one." -- T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets)
You ask me
how many am I?
You give me no time
to think, before
you say that you are
only one... but why
should I aspire
to be reduced as you
I wonder? You say,
I am like the many leaves
rustling in the branches
of the forest trees, when
a single petal of a rose
is enough... Enough,
I wonder again? You say,
when the mind comes to rest
in the quiet of the heart, that
is enough... You say,
the string of the guitar
quivers before it is strummed...
the flute anticipates the lips
and breath of one
who will make it sing...
and the rose blooms
for the single eye that will
to its glory and splendor...
You say, everything
in the Universe waits
for the end of separation
and the return to knowing
only one... You say,
it is time for me to learn
how to finally disappear
into the emptiness of prayer...
and to return
when I have nothing left to say...
Still, I said nothing
as I stood and walked away:
but with a heart now on fire
to kneel before a rose...
A small desk, in a corner, on the second floor of an apartment overlooking Main Street... the rising sun shines in the window creating a fierce glare sufficient for raising the dead of "forgetfulness"... into the flow of "remembrance"...
A cadre of friends are pictured on the wall: West Coast Tribal Beauty, the Man of La Mancha, Walt Whitman, John Steinbeck, Ani Difranco, Utah Phillips, Che Guevara, Georgia O'Keefe, Robert Bly, Gary Snyder, Alice Walker, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Kennedy, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, David Ligare... books line the shelves, files are stacked, papers are piled... "Poets & Writers" sits next to the computer...
Why share this photograph and glimpse into my life? The transformation, both personal and global, that "mystic activists" are seeking is, truthfully, a very big thing: but daily life is "mundane": the search for truth and beauty -- and expressing the results of such a search through words -- is a digging into and through guts, bone, the flotsam of mind, and only occasionally on into simple consciousness where "words" primordially exist as "One Word"... and love flows endlessly... Most of our words and works obscure the truth and beauty we seek: thinking otherwise though, the poet, the writer, the artist, the musician, the potter, the photographer, the sculptor, the gardener, the farmer, and every other creator continues -- in every small corner of the world -- to seek the complete revelation she feels compelled to pursue... And so it goes with the mystic and activist as well: the mystic penetrates layers of consciousness, facing, utterly alone, the surety of complete annihilation... and the activist, in gatherings public and secret, on the streets and in the halls of government, vigorously pursues justice for all... without end... But for each, there is still the rising in the morning, the brushing of teeth, the cooking of food, the washing of dishes and housecleaning, the rambling ways of acquiring the resources to survive, and the challenges of every relationship that at any moment may enlighten or darken the little corner in which we somehow survive... the rEvolution, and great art, is the way in which we get out of bed...
The air outside is turning white.
A chill creeps about the room,
settling deep into my bones.
Rising into my doubts
light finally arrives: the books
that line the shelves
tell the stories of what it means
to live and always to die:
but still to rise.
It is perhaps in that effort alone
that we are most human... no
certainties and no anthems
to any creed written centuries ago:
but just another humble rising
to face the day and do the work
that is required.
Dorothy Day used to say that perseverance was the greatest of all virtues -- surely an essential grace for all of us "normal" folks: relationships, families, work, occasional recreation, every sort of life struggle, and on and on... everyday life is one-
hell-of-a-soup-kitchen-ride! And Dorothy was "normal": needing both her coffee and her psalms everyday -- and at times uncertain as to which was the more important! Yet, she didn't post her thought on perseverance in the New York Catholic Worker (where she lived and worked feeding the hungry for fifty years). Instead, she posted this saying from the writings of Dostoevsky: "The world will be saved by beauty."
Perseverance will keep us going -- even against our better judgment. But it is beauty that gives us the courage to risk the extraordinary, the creative, the "rEvolutionary", and the radiant. It is the embrace of a lover, and the remembrance of his touch, that can compel and sustain courageous works for justice. It is the kiss of a beloved, and the lingering scent of her skin, that can enflame a mind to engage in building a community and a world of safety and reverence for all. It is the foot upon the mountain path, the legs in the river or ocean, the hands digging into the earth, the luminous conversation amongst friends, the wafting odors of cooking foods, the surety of a welcome home, and the smile of enduring love that can liberate an individual consciousness into the solidity and solidarity of Universal Consciousness: it is beauty that will give us wings to trust that we can fly into One Love... without limits...
Beauty is the radiant, exuberant, affirmation of the Universe "I Am!" This poetic cry of the Light and Energy in-filling all of creation becomes the magical lens through which the devotee looks out upon the chaos of the world: where there is hatred and violence, beauty cries "I Am!" Where there is hardship and pain, beauty is lovingly present with her "I Am!" Where there is doubt and tears, beauty is the rock of "I Am!" Where there is loneliness and fear, beauty is the hope of "I Am!" Where there is inequality and injustice, beauty stands in the solidarity of "I Am!" Beauty is the soul of the Universe, the manifestation of our constant state of One Inter-Being: from the vast empty space of an atom, to the endless clustering of galaxies, from the first breath of a newborn child, to the last breath of another life-pilgrim: beauty is the journey of every human heart, beauty is the One Reality giving flesh and bones and consciousness to Love...
Dostoevsky did have a profound insight into the nature and eternal attraction of beauty... but the truth that we now need to hear, embrace, and activate is this: "Beauty has saved the world"...
"Everybody hurts sometimes...
Sometimes everything is wrong...
When you think you've had too much..."
-- R. E. M.
"Everybody hurts"... isn't that the truth?
Are you aware of anyone who hasn't been crushed, in one way or another, by any or all of the happenings of life? Oh, certainly there are some folks who are very good at masking their hearts -- even from themselves... but always, always, life has a way of grabbing us by the scruff of our necks and throttling us this way and that... Sometimes, all of those crushing defeats become our self-definition: working on the Chinatown streets of Salinas for thirty years put me right in the middle of endless suffering and pain... I could tell you stories to bleach your bones -- and while you're still wearing your flesh! I, as well, was made to feel unworthy and repulsive... and lived with it for a lifetime... So these are my credentials! Now listen...
What is our great human desire? Isn't it to be happy? And following after that happiness, to dissolve into bliss? In Chinatown, most folks sort of gave up on happiness and bliss and settled for dissolving instead... But isn't happiness exactly the thing we most want? And, of course, most of us go searching for our happiness in either / both "God" and other humans: as lovers... isn't that so? In our "list" of things that induce degrees of happiness in us are beloved children, pets, favorite foods, nature, art, beauty, music, conversation, literature, and so on... But the sages and poets will boil everything down to "love"...
So how do we go about our pursuit of love? Did you catch the word "pursuit"? It is most likely that as long as we have it in our minds to "pursue" love, we're not really likely to find it -- except by happenchance -- and then that which is "found" is oftentimes likely to become a "hunkered down agreement" to rock the boat of togetherness as little as possible: existing under the same roof, but living separate lives, except insofar as maintaining the appearance of "relationship" might be required... again, this is something that I have lived... But here's the thing: we "pursue" love as an athlete pursues a victory, or an artist a painting, or a poet a poem, or any number of things... but the one thing that actually makes true loving possible is: becoming love-able!
Examine the word (with a hyphen so it can be read in different ways): love-able means "worthy" -- but everyone by the fact of being human is worthy of love -- so it is more than that... perhaps besides worthy it could mean an active intention to give and receive love? And then taking that thought just a little bit further, we can get into a radical new self-definition of "I am a lover -- worthy, able, and willing!" Now we are getting somewhere, so let's give examples of "I am a lover -- worthy, able, and willing": this "new" I automatically thinks of his lover first: this "new" I automatically thinks of her lover as worthy of frequent dates, flowers, and conversation: this "new" I automatically asks his lover, "What are your dreams?" and wants to know if he can help make them come true: this "new" I will accept no excuses and will lead her lover on a hand-holding walk, a surprise joke-a-thon, and a wild bedroom fantasy... You see, to find our bliss, none of it is really about that lonely crowd of "me, myself, and I": bliss is all about the "other"... and the wonderful thing about bliss is this: if I make myself "love-able" and give all my love away to my lover, all of it, and infinitely more, comes circling right back to the "me" who forgot about "myself"!
So, while it is true that "everybody hurts", it is even more true that "We have been created by Love, for Love, to become Love" (Simone Weil): all that we are lacking is our need to "forget" the right things, like: "me, myself, and I". And then to "remember" those simple, daily steps outside ourselves that will free us into who we really are, into who we really want to be, and into the bliss of becoming Love, with our lover and on into holy, holy, holy: the Universe is Radiant with Beauty and Consciousness: God is Alive, Magic is Afoot!
"I lay. Forgot my being,
and on my love I leaned my face.
All ceased. I left my being,
leaving my cares to fade
among the lilies far away."
-- St. John of the Cross
Beauty feeds the soul as a mother's milk feeds the infant at her breast. The Beloved Yeshua deliciously sucked the nipples of his Mother, receiving from her the divine nourishment he needed to someday become the Poet of Beauty... but it was not simply milk that he drank: he drank the essence of the Divine Feminine: the wine of Spirit: the "Blood" of Sophia, Sacred Wisdom, Gift of the Mother...
It was in divine remembrance of this transmission that the man Yeshua climbed the Hill of Ecstasy to unleash the Poem of his Heart upon a world grown somber under the clenched fist of domination... Listen, as the poor heard him, so many centuries ago: "Beautiful are you who have embraced the poverty of your hearts... you are, even now, Welcomed Home! Beautiful are you who cry for the suffering of others... you will know the bliss of an always Opened Door! Beautiful are you who practice everyday kindness... you will yet create Paradise upon this Earth! Beautiful are you who awaken every morning with a passion for justice... you will be like the first who discovered Fire! Beautiful are you who become a living mercy for everyone you meet... you will receive more than you ever give! Beautiful are you who remember there is Only One Love... you will Kiss face to face! Beautiful are you who build peace with your lives... you will be known as the Lovers of Love! Beautiful are you who hurt for the cause of the Good, the Kind, and the Beautiful... you will know the Bliss of Endless Possibilities!"
The subtle art of nursing from the Divine Breast is the work of contemplative prayer: for that prayer, silence and knees are essential... and yet that prayer must also be taken into the street... for that prayer, adoration as the breath of the heart is also essential... and yet that adoration must also include the entire Universe... for that prayer, the interior liberation of the Divine Feminine is most important: the transformation awaiting the Earth will be a complete "rEvolution" into the Beauty that the Mother initiated with Yeshua and the long line of Poets who followed him like Rumi, Francis, Hafiz, Hildegard, Theresa, Juan de la Cruz, Kabir, and Mirabai...
The subtle art of nursing from the Divine Breast is the work of contemplative action: for that action, sisters and brothers are essential... and the formation of communities of both passion and play... for that action, an awakening into the benevolence of the Universe is essential... and the translation of that benevolence into practices and policies of mercy, kindness, equality, reverence for the Earth, and justice for all... and for that action, an awakening into the Divine Mystery of the Mother... and the liberation of every woman into safety, opportunity, equality, and wisdom leadership, both political and religious: the transformation awaiting humanity will be a complete "rEvolution" into the Beauty that the Mother initiated with her eternal "Why not?" in the joyous act of creation and evolution into the fullness of the Christ Consciousness in-filling all being and matter... Now join your name to the burgeoning list of mystic-activists: Yeshua, Mary Magdalene, Ibn 'Arabi, Aurobindo, Mother Jones, Gandhi, Dorothy Day, Martin and Coretta Scott King, Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela, Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez, Vandana Shiva... and, of course, YOU!
"Learn how to see.
Realize that everything connects to everything else." -- Leonardo Da Vinci
"Suppose it never, ever comes true, and there is no paradise... well, I'll still go on preaching. And yet how simple a matter it is: in one day, in one hour it could all be brought about at once! The chief thing is to love others as oneself, that's the main thing, and that's it -- absolutely nothing more is necessary: you would immediately discover how to bring it about." -- Fyodor Dostoevsky
Well, there you have it in a nutshell: how to solve every political, economic, cultural, and spiritual problem! Everything, absolutely everything boils down to the reverence we hold for every "other": every relationship is sacred! At the core of our being -- and the core of reality -- everything is in the primal condition of "Unity", of "Communion", of "Inter-Being"... Before every effort to "individualize" or "compartmentalize", there is Only One... Each and every one of our personal and social "problems" is rooted in the fact of our "forgetfulness": the vast "culture field" into which we have been born insists that we must forget our Unity, believing that the "play of life" wouldn't be any fun if we all lived in "remembrance" and loved one another! All the many ways of "separation" have become our religion, economics, and politics (the Eve and Adam myth, original sin, "saved" versus "unsaved", damnation and domination, exploitation, oppression, racism, greed, injustice, power, and all the justifications for violence)...
Yet, steadily rising in the very midst of this "culture field of separation", are the "sunflowers of remembrance and transformation": more and more people are awakening into "seeing" our Unity: awakening into a living, sustainable, relationship with this precious blue Planet -- which is destined for paradise, not for the flames of destruction... awakening into reverence for those who have been sorely oppressed for centuries: women, children, and the poor -- realizing that our deepest, truest, identity is as lovers, as sisters and brothers, equal before the Holy One Love from whom we have all come: "We have been created by Love, for Love, to become Love" (Simone Weil)... awakening into adoration of the One Love manifested in the little "I" of "myself", but of primary importance, manifesting in my "sacred self": every "other"... and awakening into the deep understanding of connection: if "We" are all connected then our every relationship is a means to Holy Communion: justice, equality, kindness, mercy, compassion, harmlessness, gentleness, and the practice of beauty are then known to be the every-day tools of transformation: everything that we buy or sell, everything that we create, everything that we are and do must be and be done under the umbrella of this Holy Communion! Nothing is held back, and no one is either left behind or considered unworthy!
The whole purpose of our lives is this remembrance and then the practice and the teaching: we are to live, everyday, by Love: perhaps we need a crash course in this new politics and religion by a network of mystic-activists: "Lovertarians" -- For the People, For the Earth! Consult the sages of the past, or the rising sunflowers, for they all know that neither Power nor Greed, regardless of how they are disguised, will ever make for happy people or peace on earth... It really is time to awaken, gather, and practice! It is time to learn how to see!
"Reality is for people who lack imagination!"
Imagination is a soft glowing fire burning in the hearth... imagination is the softly pillowed sofa, circle rug, throw pillows, and cuddling blankets... imagination is the wine and conversation... imagination is a kiss, an embrace, and hands pulling into the slow dance of love... imagination is the welcoming knock at the door and the invasion of beloved friends... imagination is the play of children and the lazy dogs before the fire... imagination is the suggestion of a new project of community service... imagination is someone pulling a book of Rumi from the shelf and reading a poem or two... imagination is the free-flow of feelings, ideas, and dreams... imagination is the deep sharing of heart, of struggle, of dreams, and of every aspect of life... imagination is someone taking from their pocket a poem written during the day... imagination is the gathering song... imagination is falling asleep with lovers and friends, living deep in the very core of life, living fully engaged with passion and bliss...
Imagination is the pathway of the Sacred: it is the ballpark and playing field of the Divine. Sacred Imagination is the mystical embrace of the Holy One as "Beloved Friend", as "Beautiful One", and as "My Love"... Sacred Imagination is the breathing of every breath as one of surrender and adoration... Sacred Imagination is the Holy Bridge uniting a particular "unit" of human consciousness with the One "Source" Consciousness: the One Love Consciousness imagined "What if?" and answered Her First Thought with the Second, "Why not?" This very same "Why not?" is the Divine Shakti, the Sophia-Wisdom, the Mystic Tao: the Blessed Mother of Creation: Endlessly...
Listen, somewhere within the wild, untamed, spaces of your heart to these words from the mystic, Mechthild of Magdeburg: "And the Holy One said to the soul: I desired you before the world began. I desire you now as you desire me. And where the desires of two come together, there love is perfected... It is my nature that makes me love you often, for I am love itself. It is my longing that makes me love you intensely, for I yearn to be loved from the heart. It is my eternity that makes me love you long, for I have no end." Between "What if?" and "Why not?" is the endless flow of Sacred Imagination...
How does the modern seeker enter into this Mystery and truly Activate her share in Imagination? Life is normally a condition of "forgetfulness": we learn to identify as separate selves. We learn to function as individualized beings. Very often as highly individualized beings, we pursue our pleasure and power with little regard for others -- except insofar as they serve our ends: exploitation, oppression, greed, prejudice, and power are oftentimes institutionalized in both secular and religious domains. "Remembrance" is the mystic path of awakening into our true condition as intimate with the Divine: meditation and contemplative prayer open vast interior pathways, steadily clearing our mental fields; activating compassion through works of mercy and justice "caress" our hearts into becoming vehicles of endless expansion; gathering with other seekers into "sacred circles" for exploration into mutual-aid and community service, rooted in mindfulness, meditation, play, and adoration...
The path of remembrance is the gift of Sacred Imagination: to awaken from the deep slumber of idolizing our separate selves, gives incredible delight to the Divine: the Divine Mother has one hunger: Us! awakened into our divine possibilities as Lovers-without limits! The Divine Play of creation is meant to be a partnership of "beloveds", constructing the solidarity paradigm of One Love: a communion of mutual aid and liberation, where justice, equality, harmony, kindness, and compassion are the evident practices and intentional goals of both persons and policies... The "reality" that power and greed are selling to humanity is unworthy of our divinely human dignity: it is only for those afraid of Imagination: we are living in a Universe without limits, why then do we submit to the boundaries of very little men manipulating markets and hiding behind their veils of power? We are Infinite in Love: it is time to be discovered in our freedom and our bliss! Indeed! Reality is for those who embrace their Imagination!
The radical insight of our "divine humanity" must be understood as the very foundation of mystical "gnosis". The seed is meant for transformation into flowers anew: and endless numbers of new plants... The baby is meant to grow into adulthood and be filled with the wisdom of the Holy and endless bliss... The condition of "beatitude" is the "knowing by unknowing" the One Reality of Divine Love: "Let us make the human according to our image and likeness" (Genesis 1: 26). Within this Unity is every human: within this Unity is all of creation...
For the mystic, Sacred Imagination is the "bridge" linking the first Divine "What if?" with the entire manifested creation. The Original "What if?" responded to Her own question by birthing an endless "Why not?" As "mirrors", every person reflects back to the Holy One Her own image: looking at each one of us, Divine Love sees only Herself: this seeing is not a negation of our humanity, rather it is the full realization of who we are! We were created so that Divine Love could love-in-action: there is a compelling need always in love to see, to touch, to know, to adore, to surrender, to kiss, to embrace, and to, in every way, experience essential Oneness... "We were created by Love, for Love, to become Love" (Simone Weil).
It is precisely here and now that this root mystic awakening merges with the deep activist flow of human history: "The primary aspiration of all history is a genuine community of human beings" (Martin Buber). We are called to translate our Unity with the Divine into a daily, practical, Unity with all of our sisters and brothers -- and the Divine Garden of Planet Earth. This Unity is a "communion of love" which shows itself in acts and policies of mercy, justice, kindness, equality, compassion, and harmlessness. Everything that truly negates our human divinity, like exploitation, greed, injustice, racism, discrimination, oppression, and violence must be both resisted and transformed. It is only by our mystical awakening, and then the activation of our possibilities, that we will find our bliss... and change the world...
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded...
Into the crowned knot of fire...
And the fire and the rose are one.
-- T. S. Eliot, Little Gidding, Four Quartets
There are essentials for the "life-pack" of the modern mystic / activist: if one legitimately anticipates awakening "into the crowned knot of fire..." One must begin with an active sense and vision of "Unity", or Oneness: perceptions and opinions must each and all be "massaged" with the truth of Oneness: differences must yield to this higher wisdom: illusions of separation must likewise surrender to this essential mystery and truth. Observer and observed are One: perceiver and perception alike are under the "umbrella" of One: the patterned waves are all existing within an invisible wholeness that is neither / and both "here and there"... Collaboration is the synergy of Communion... on every level, the mystic / activist is called to live within this synergy...
The "I" who is reading this, is called to the disappearance of "self" in the discovery of the "other": this is essential practice! "Self" must "vanish" in Love for the "other": our previous learned boundaries of relationship must be increasingly experienced through the new lens of "CSC" -- collaboration is the synergy of communion: one touches, not a boundary, but a Person and the Divine... The politics of division, the economics of exploitation, and the religions of domination all await the transformative power of Oneness as experienced by the mystic / activist. It is this collaboration in the synergy of communion that is the One Reality: cause and effect are not independent of the whole. All that we call "natural", is a symbiotic network of matter, minds, bodies, and consciousness: with the core question being, "How do I lessen the pain in the world?"
This core question, "How do I lessen the pain in my world?", is a daily practice: and the sure step "Into the crowned knot of fire"... which is the vocation of the mystic / activist. Oneness is a modern expression of the ancient Tao. The Way of Lao Tzu is an excellent guide into the mystery of the One Reality: there is an ethic and an aesthetic which grants access to the collaboration in the synergy of communion... The "natural" human is "crafty" in the face of an ever-advancing technocracy: like lovers and poets who can embrace the daily moments of life with radiance: like workers of the soil who live gracefully in the flow of the seasons... Looking around with even a smidgen of honesty, the modern mystic / activist recognizes this truth: very few people live in obvious bliss: looking around with even a smidgen of integrity, the modern mystic / activist makes this simple decision: there simply has to be a better way... I am going to find it... And the fire and the rose will be one...
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.