You Are Not the Enemy, A Little Memoir, by Joseph Anthony

You Are Not the Enemy

A Little Memoir


Joseph Anthony


In the path
I was initiated in 25 years ago you were considered the enemy.  You and everyone else I loved or who loved
me.  You were part of the reason I was
stuck in this wheel of creation, and the more intertwined our connections, the
closer our relationships, the more destructive you were to my spiritual walk.  This world was an evil place.  This body just a bag carrying a soul.  Everything and everyone was a piece of Kal’s
(their word for devil) handiwork meant to keep me trapped in this world of
endless suffering and rebirth.

When I first
began studying this path I was 15.  Back
then it made perfect sense.  The world
was a horrible place.  I had already lived
through abuse.  I felt no love for
anyone. Everything only and always and everywhere ended up in misery and death,
so why not take active steps to get out of here?  I applied for early initiation and was
refused with a personal letter from the guru. 
“You are too young, but take heart, the Lord never forsakes his sheep.”  Disappointed as I was, I had hope that when I
turned 21 (the appointed time one could be initiated) I would be accepted into
the fold.

My hopes proved
true as I mentioned above.  I drove to a
YMCA in Chicago where one of the Master’s North American representatives was to
appear, and I learned the secret form of meditation.  I learned the secret mantra and the secret
meditation position.  I also learned
meditation was a rehearsal for death.  “Die
daily,” they said, “so when you really do die, it will be just like removing a
jacket and putting on another.”  Every time
I sat in meditation, I was readying myself to die.  In fact, not only was I like a spiritual
end-of-the-world-prepper, every time I settled into meditation, I was hoping
the chord to this earthly body would be severed as I repeated the holy
words.  I literally hoped I would die.  My meditation was a sanctioned form of suicide.

I did this
for years.  For years I consciously
decided I could not get close to people. 
The closer I got the worse our karmic entanglements, the more lifetimes
I would have to suffer.  So I stayed
distant.  I fulfilled my worldly
obligations with as much grace as I could muster.  That’s what you were: you were a karmic
obligation of which I should remain as unattached to as possible.  You were my duty.  And if I became too involved with you and our
relationship began to interfere with my meditation, the Master would take you
away.  I was assured one satsang that
Master would “destroy my life to get me to meditate.”

That’s the
way it was.  And yet somewhere inside I
rebelled against their beliefs.  I loved
the Master with a deep and unexplainable sense of devotion, but their system of
beliefs began to make less and less sense to me, and I strayed farther and
farther away from them.

So here I am
today—kirtan leader, EFT practitioner, writer, teacher.  I have many wonderful connections with many
wonderful people all over the world, including you.  I love my family and friends.  I love my body and I love this life.  And yet when the darkness comes—the depression
and the doubts creep in about my dreams, I feel a sickening pull to pick up
those old books from that old religion and lose myself in them.  I find the mantra swimming around in my head
and on my lips.  “They were right,” I
sigh, and prepare to meditate.  There is
a perverse comfort there, like an old, worn out drug that I know will still
work if I just tried it one last time. 

Then I
remember you.  I remember the songs that
flow through me.  I remember the joy I
receive from singing, writing, teaching, helping others, and damned if I don’t
sell my soul again.  I jump freely into
the web and with wild abandon allow myself to get all tangled up in you, in the
beauty, in the hope, in the desire to sing for millions.

Over the
years I have needed therapy to get the hooks of that old path out of my system,
and I see today, that it hasn’t fully been removed.  Its oppressive weight has been lifted, as
evidenced by how I live my life, but inside, it lurks in the shadows, as the
grief and torment from the childhood abuse does, like a hungry animal.   

sometimes chuckle when they hear I do all this music, EFT, self-helpy,
inspirational stuff to keep myself going, to help myself heal.  But that’s the truth.  My depression and psycho-emotional DNA are
steeped in darkness and a gnawing compulsion to be alone.  Yet I have found ways that I love to keep
myself going that also inspire, entertain, and uplift others.  As I heal, you heal.  As you heal, I heal.  It is not so much a web as a tapestry woven
with golden threads, a song knitted together with notes of silver harmony, a
vast network of hands all joined to help carry the other.

So here I
am, fresh off a bout of the flu and a bout of the darkness.  And I will not, no matter how strong the doubts
or how great the pain, stop singing. 


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Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Letting Go Into the Wind: Autumn Haiku and Other Poems

Haiku and Other Poems




“What will people
think?” says the Autumn, “that’s a question I never ask.


This fear of change / can be
cured if one would but look  / into
autumn’s eyes


Autumn’s crimson gold /
rivers within you and me / and so does the spring


I take autumn’s hand / I
think we might go dancing / into the blue sky


This dance of letting go /
this parading of change / these tears will not stop


Wishing means nothing / when
autumn pulls you away / into crimson streams


Dear Autumn Crickets /
you’re breaking my fragile heart / my prayers are with you


Warm apple cider / streaming
its way within me / filling me with Fall


Autumn leaves me drunk / its
deep red and golden wine / how can I not swoon?



The autumn whispers: / release
yourself into me / and find your way home


Who can blame me now? /
autumn in her golden dress / makes me want to dance


The truth within autumn’s
beauty: We must all let go into the wind.





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Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Hunting the Divine, A Poem of Longing, by Joseph Anthony

the Divine

A Poem
of Longing




all of the ferocity of a hawk

a rabbit

I hunt
your name.

I see
myself sending feathers, fur, earth,

And bone
scattering through the grass,

I feel
myself sinking talons into your sides,

Your heart
racing, your eyes turning upwards.

I want
you mine.

I want
you devoured.

I want
you in my blood.

I hit
the ground hard,

my efforts into nothing.

gone.  Shot like a streak of silent

Into the
tall, leaning cities of the whispering grass.

I shake my head, take a moment

To preen
my wings.

I had you that time.


could taste your desire to not be captured.


the still and thrumming summer afternoon,

Your voice
breathes into the breeze, like

Blue ink
dissolving into water:

time,” you say, “Just ask.

and I shall give myself to you.  Gladly,

With all
the delicious rapture of eggs breaking

the flight of the future,

I will
simply let you swallow me whole.

I do
not come by force.

I do
not open the chambers of my heart

For nothing.

Pay me
with your manners,

Pay me
with tears of bone-crushing longing,

Pay me
your devotion to the gifts I gave.

I will
gladly step out into the open and wait, humming.

Love never responds favorably to aggression.

And I
know the meanings of the words, never and true love.

I know
original loneliness and the ache to be known.

Try to
hunt me down

And your
grasp will hold nothing but dust every single time.

Do I make
myself clear? You know I do,

is my middle name.

It is
your eyes that cloud my vision.

So let’s
try this again.

I step
from the grass and offer myself to you,

And you,
for your part,

ask me to be your bread of life,

And I
will let you break me into pieces,

And I
will let you lick your talons,

the flavor of eternity.

return, let me do the same

your incessant, self-deprecating shame,

And we
will both enjoy each other

With all
the roiling passion and abandon

Of night
dissolving into day

And day
giving way to darkness.”


Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Love’s Revelation, A New Poem by Joseph Anthony with a Painting by Joy Jo

Love’s Revelation


Joseph Anthony

So many flowers,

so many blossoms unfurling silken

So many colors—lavish and wild.  Such proof beyond measure

the Beloved’s love for us.

Of course autumn tugs at our sleeves,

admonishing us to let go, to let the
oceanic mantle of the sky

bear us to the ground where we will
simply shine again.

Of course there’s winter, when petals curl inward,

fall to the ground, dissolve into
the earth.

These journeys too are love’s revelation.

For autumn blazes, like slowly blooming fireworks

cascading over the hillside.  And winter, winter is spring’s still and
silent prelude,

where the notes gather on the
shoulders of sleeping angels.

And spring, spring broadcasts rebirth and transformation,

letting us know nothing is lost,
everything returns to us

a thousand fold in robes of dazzling
light and faces full of deep gratefulness,

spring is when angels awaken and
sing the day into flourishing.

Dear Flowers of Life, on this summer’s day after a long night

of wind and rain, share your beauty
and your fragrant jubilation,

share your visions and tears of dew,
share your voices

of silk and satin, share your songs
of sky and stars,

share your elegant openings and
slender stalks

so that the world may partake of
your ambrosial devotion

to the unveiling of the love that
dreams in the dark, 

luminous womb of creation.

Painting by Joy Jo

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog