The Shattering


A poem by Jeff Foster.

Just Like That by Shivananda

Sometimes you don’t get to be a Buddha.

Sometimes you just have to break. And feel.
You have to lose your precious ‘spiritual awakening’.
You just have to be a human being, feeling.

Sometimes old pain resurfaces. Old fear. Sorrow. Trauma.
The searing ache of the abandoned child.
The rage of a forgotten universe.

And suddenly, all of your spiritual insights crumble, all the beautiful spiritual words by the beautiful spiritual teachers, all the concepts and ideas about awakening and enlightenment, and the pure perfection of pure untainted awareness, and the selfless non-self self, and the path to glorious futures, and the wise guru, they suddenly are all meaningless, empty words, second-hand drivel, and dead to you.

What’s real, now, and alive, is the burning in the belly, the fire in the heart.
Unavoidable. Intense. So close. So present.

Sometimes you just have to feel. You have no choice.
And sense your feet on the ground.
And breathe into the discomfort.
And trust, and maybe trust that you cannot trust right now.
And take it moment by moment, by moment, by moment.

And know that nothing is working against you.

And awaken from your dream of how this moment ‘should’ be.
And throw away all your second-hand ideas about the path.

Sometimes your spirituality has to shatter,
so you can finally realise
this deeper spirituality
of feeling, presence, and feet-on-ground living,
and the sound of the birds singing in the distance,
and a total surrender to this one precious moment.

New version October 2019

Jeff Foster

Jeff Foster is an author, poet and teacher.
Illustration by Shivananda.

Credit to Nirav

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