Amnesia

L1006220 copy

Where do we come from? How did we get here? It is as if we boarded a train somewhere in the distant past, not knowing where, and not quite knowing where it was headed. In the process, we stopped asking ourselves why, and just went along for the ride, distracted by the panorama and the dynamics of the other passengers on board, who also stopped asking why; instead they focused on their security, and claiming the most comfortable seats; except that most people would not be allowed to travel “First Class” which opened the door for competition and rivalry.

Soon, most of us would abandon the question of where we came from almost entirely. The question of where we boarded the train would fade into a distant and indiscernible past. The question of where this train was going would also be forgotten; survival and getting one of those “First Class” seats was all that mattered, despite the fact that this train only had one “First Class” car. The other ninety-nine were second and third class, and crowded with passengers.

I’m baffled by how easy it is for passengers on the “train of life” to stop asking where they boarded, or how they even ended up on this train to begin with? I’m baffled by how easy it is to become distracted to the point where the question of how it all began, doesn’t even enter the thought process. I’m baffled by how competiveness sets in, and we become blinded to the deeper questions. It seems that our uniqueness as a species, with the capacity to ask, gets lost, all because we are blinded by the “First Class” seats, and compete with the others to get there, not realizing that it’s all been rigged, and competition is the very barrier that keeps us out. Those who made it to “First Class” also seem to disengage, only thinking of how to keep the others out, no longer realizing that this is still a moving train with a destination even they ignore.

So, what keeps us from asking the deeper questions of where we come from? What keeps us struggling for a cunning, and useless seat in the “First Class” section of a train, headed for a nameless destination? Do we follow the crowd, or begin to ponder and search for the answers?

I for one will keep asking the deeper questions, I will not desist. There is an illusive Presence out there somewhere (and everywhere) that beckons me to question. I sense it wants me to keep asking, and to keep searching for an answer. This illusive Presence has put me on a quest – that much I know. How far I get in the end doesn’t really matter, the important thing is not to lose sight that I am on a journey, a mysterious journey, that has a purpose yet to be discovered, but already some things begin to come into focus. For one thing, the answer is not competition with others for “First Class,” if anything, taking the last seat on this train will move me closer to knowing where it is headed, and how it came to be that I boarded this train in the first place.

©Wilfredo Benitez
1/20/15

The Door

1800295_1578651989031555_4451898753392151862_n

There is a door in your heart
Inviting you to enter.
Behind it lays the mystery of all mysteries.

An adventure of LOVE awaits,
As you enter the silent darkness,
And the soothing emptiness envelops you.

It is said by the ancients,
That it is the doorway to God, Allah,
The great I AM.

Lost in timelessness.
It is the gateway to the stars and the Moon,
a never ending universe of whirling LOVE unimagined.

Open the door,
do not be afraid,
enter the Heart,
and leave the world of illusion behind.

© Wilfredo Benitez 12/3/14

Hiding Beyond the Horizon

Cliff of Mohr Resize Wizard-1 copy

The clouds rest firmly in its Light,
The water below surrenders,
And the Road ahead is clear.

A moment of clarity emerges,
Our fate is sealed.
We belong to a Power much higher than ourselves,
Just hiding beyond the horizon.

As we journey forward
Thrusting one foot ahead of the other
Our hearts beat stronger…
There is something there,
We are drawn to it,
The path is aglow with its soft brilliant Light.

A fire is ignited within.
Onward we move,
Ever knowing “IT” will remain,
Just beyond the horizon,
Just beyond our knowing.

It calls to us,
We see its glow
But it remains elusive.

How long? We ask in melancholic desperation.
How long must we wait?

And from the placid breeze,
Dancing angels invisible in the Light
Whisper into our ears:
“As long as it takes
to walk the face of the earth!”

© September 10, 2014

Theatre of Death: The Roman Coliseum

My latest photography book. Experience the shadowy gloom of the Roman Coliseum through the lens of my camera. In this collection of photographs, I combine visual imagery with my own poetic narrative. Some have said that the result is a compelling collection of Black and White photos accompanied by words that penetrate the heart. http://www.blurb.com/b/5460559-theatre-of-death
Coliseo 4 copy
The extended poem contained in this book follows:

Enter the gallows of death
Whereupon human depravity will delight in your demise.

What were your thoughts, oh wretched one
as you approached the arena
to the sound of thunderous roar
not of beasts
but of ravenous hominids starved for blood?

Where was their humanity hiding?

The theatre of death
is now a carcass

It was never alive
Blocks of stone were carved
and laid on a foundation of human misery,
serving human degeneracy
Its very foundation was death!

A darkness looms over the place where sightseers come.
Was this the glory or decadence of Rome?
Can they hear the echoes of desperate screams
transcending the barriers of time
still resonating and bouncing off the pillars of stone?
Are they any different today from the spectators of the past?
Would they pay to see the horrors relived?

Unsettled clouds loom overhead,
Clouds frozen in time
drenched in sorrow over those who cheered,
and those who died…

Somewhere behind the clouds
The Sun is hiding
the air is damp and bleak
with intermittent hammering rain
wishing to baptize this monument of death.

Will history ever teach us?

The arrogance of mighty empires
leads to self destruction
and yet they come,
they see,
they carry-on unscathed,
tiny specks of humanity
deaf to the echoes and horrors of the past.

I pause for a moment with my Beloved
I ask her not to smile for this one,
as I point the Leica towards her face
“this is not a place for smiles” – I tell her,
as she gazes into the lens,
Her eyes conveying a forsaken desolation.

Freedom.
As they peered beyond the walls
Did they ever dream of liberation?

I mourn for the fate of those whose lives were taken here,
some taken in the arena
some taken by the relentless labor of slavery.

And what about those who professed a Christian or Jewish faith,
Did they meet their deaths with courage?
Was the love of the great IAM burning in their hearts?
Was the price to pay too high?

In the midst of the arena,
did the moment of peace and surrender come to them?
Could they see their freedom beyond the walls?
Could they sense their freedom in the sky above?

These are the corridors of death,
the cells where beasts and prisoners were kept,
except for the ghosts of the past,
they are empty now.

Who dares to walk this place by night?
The Flavian Amphitheatre,
an engineering marvel,
a dark stain on the history of the ancient world.

When will we learn to say no to evil?
When will humanity step out of the arena of death and destruction?

In the midst of the gloom
Light begins to penetrate this theatre of death,
it cannot be contained!

There is a God in Heaven and Earth,
the Lord of Life who wants to dance in our hearts,
dance in the hearts of all those willing to let go of their Ego’s,
willing to be free of their fears,
willing to see the spark of Divine Love,
in all of God’s creation.

We are all on the journey of life.
We need not be consumed
by the evil in the world,
We need not enter the gallows of death.

May they rest in peace,
those wretched souls,
victims of Emperors gone mad
slaves to power and evil.
May they rest in peace…

Downward Gaze of the Buddha

Walking Buddha Lien Hoa copy

The sweet downward gaze
of the Walking Buddha…

Movement in stillness
and stillness in movement,
undisturbed by the illusion of time.

Chaos abounds.
Even in the temple
the faithful move about frantically
asking favors of the One
whose gaze has turned inward.

Incense sticks burn
And the Buddha remains unscathed.

Standing by the statue
I feel the power of the inward gaze
stirring my own soul,
and I am enveloped by a sensation of yearning.

A moment of truth overwhelms me
and I know in my heart
all treasures lie within!

Wilfredo Benitez
2/26/14