Under the Moon

The sky is the ultimate Zen Garden

new moon

Casey Kochmer 2007

A path of clouds lead to a new moon and beyond.

Cycles …
New to Full Moon
Young to Old

All seemingly defined
in time.

Into your palm
If I were to place a seed
of a new moon…
Could you dare
throw it to the hungry sky
to sprout?

Poems of the Moon

moon riseLong long ago:
Moon and Earth were one
Until shattering of celestial hammering
Left two dancing where once was one.
Setting a tempo for life to come.
But that was long long ago

Long Ago:
She wined with sages of old
leaving them drunk upon her light.
Men wanting to have more,
yet treasuring
only the emptiness of her embrace.
But that was long ago.

It’s a busy life.
Rockets to build.
Humanity busily pounding outwards while…
Societies ebb with human tides.
No time for poetry
as life becomes tied, to fulfilling orders.
But that was this morning,
already lost in the afternoon press.

I will dance with her
Knowing we will be eclipsed
Our motions moving us on
to get lost in earthly shadows,
leaving me to walk alone: yet fulfilled.
But tomorrow will be nothing,
for those chained to consuming the earth now.

Casey Kochmer Feb 2008


The Water Lily blooms
Under the Moon
No words are ever said
The two converse lightly.
In open face greeting
The moon coming down to the lily.

I simply watch
Moved and then leaving
Two lovers alone

Casey Hilo 10/23/2009

More About the Moon

The moon is very important in the history of Taoism as a teacher. In dancing with Luna a person can discover how to fulfill the nature of emptiness.

Many sages and poets have danced with la lune. The tempo of her tides drives life on Earth.

Additional Lunar Poems

Barn’s burnt down
I can see the moon.

Masahide (1657-1732)


Mild and moist
were the months of spring;
Cool and clear
is the white season of autumn.
Now the dew congeals,
no longer drifting mists.
The sky is high,
the landscape sharp and clear.
Soaring peaks rise
from yonder mountain range
Seen from here,
their lofty beauty is unsurpassed.
Fragrant chrysanthemums
deck the woods with splendor;
The green pines
stand in rows above the cliff.
I admire their beauteous grandeur,
Elegant and lofty under the frost.
Holding my wine cup,
I toast to the mystics
Who once roamed along the pines.
Searching for the essence
I have not yet acquired,
I await the rising moon.

T’ao Yuan-ming (365-427 CE)


Having gazed at the moon
I depart from this life
with a blessing

Chiyo-ni’s poem at death in 1795

This way and that way
I tried to keep the pail of water together,
Hoping the weak bamboo would never break.
Suddenly the bottom fell out.
No more water
No more moon in the water
emptiness in my hand.

Chiyono (Upon Discovering enlightening with the moon)

How can we not dance with her?

Jet engines
                                    A steel grey night
        An illuminated moon
        Biting the clouds
        The colors do the speaking
        Fading sun pushing pink to space
        Ice white moon
                  Darkening blue -sea blue- sky 
        Riding over
        Tearing apart the peace of blue
        -- Soon to descend --
        But for this moment alone
        It's the moon's light
        That keeps me high above the sky

Casey Kochmer Nov 2005

10,000 feet over some corn fields, I spent some time dancing with Luna.

To explore space, is to dance upon the clouds of our dreams.

To be ourselves is to go beyond merely dancing upon the ground.

Dare to embrace the wind.
Meet with Luna
Be lifted to go beyond her.


Sitting Alone

Sitting alone in peace before these cliffs
the full moon is heaven’s beacon
the ten thousand things are all reflections
the moon originally has no light
wide open the spirit of itself is pure
hold fast to the void realize its subtle mystery
look at the moon like this
this moon that is the heart’s pivot

Hansan 9th Century

Clouds appear
bringing to men a chance to rest
from looking at the moon.


Casey 2008


At times it’s best
to lose focus on the destination
to be here and now…

Clarity is important
but it doesn’t change the distance you walk
if upon an endless spiraling path.

We can always rest
to our own heart.

A Clear Starting Point

Spiritual Seekers often get lost in definitions. Trying to nail down something which often seemingly is undefinable. So how do I resolve this? I provide a simple starting definition.

Spirit represents the movement of life.

That simple statement all of a sudden serves as a starting point anyone can use to make a spiritual path accessible. You start moving.

  • For some their path will be filled with facts, figures and building upon a kaleidoscope of discoveries to base their life upon.
  • For others it will be a process of release, letting go of everything to embrace the entirety of the universe.
  • For others still, it will be a back and forth process.

Yet for all: movement of their life, of how to embrace the search to be whole. This is actually a spiritual journey. To open up such a path, it can be as simple as accepting

The movement of your life

Now from here, you can build upon that in any fashion you find best. A Taoist follows their smile as a guide, leads with the heart, frames interaction with kindness

People are often afraid to become spiritual, to explore the spiritual aspects of their life. However, in reality, it’s as simple as moving in your life. Any motion.

Depths of Spirit

A spiritual path is limitless. This is why it’s important to learn how to rest in your heart (so you don’t exhaust yourself by always running). To not over-focus on anyone destination that has gotten your focus in any given moment.

For the most part people “tread water” when dabbling spiritually, to live at the surface of their practice.

It’s interesting since from one perspective all the various spiritual practices achieve the same goal, appearing to be the same. From another perspective, they split life apart as a prism/kaleidoscope to lead to discoveries of truth; letting a person relax into a simplified and clearer state of mind.

So ask yourself first: What is a spiritual path?

A month ago I talked about the poetry of release that a spiritual path represents. But often, spiritual journeys require the process of release to create room for motion in life.

To dive deeply into spirit is to release more deeply.

This can lead to a mistake: seekers can dive too deeply too fast, releasing more than they bargained for in the process. This also can cause panicked actions when one feels the “bottom” fall out as one release. But don’t let this warning scare you since, in truth, our core nature is always complete.

The point of all of this chat is as follows:

At midlife transformation, you find several common threads. The most common one is that many people discover spirituality. It makes sense since in midlife transformation people release much of their old selves. This process of releasing old viewpoints & lifestyles typically kick-starts a spiritual search for people in midlife transformation as spiritual paths are also all about release.

So what do you discover when undergoing such a journey?

You release into yourself. To find yourself.

The question then is how deep will you go to discover yourself.

(No right answer exists for this.)

This journey goes beyond words, leaving behind the poetry of life itself.

Tao - Yin Yang of Life

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