By Jeff Foster

Who has been wearing these shoes?
Who has been treading this path?

Who eats this breakfast?
Speaks these words? Breathes?
Moves as I do?

Who has known both the mountains of bliss
and the valleys of disillusionment?
Who has journeyed into the abyss
and come out unbroken on the other side?
Who has suffered both the joy of pain
and the pains of ecstasy?
Who has never abandoned me,
throughout nirvana, samsara
and those unspeakable realms of light?

Who has taken the hand of the child,
the unloved one, the frightened one,
the dying one?
Who is both the lover and the beloved
and the imaginary gulf between them?
Who has cradled the entire universe
in its arms?

Who is closer than the most intimate sensation?
Who asks these questions
that cannot ever be answered,
yet delights in asking them anyway?
Whose music is it that I hear
from dawn until dusk?

Is it You who wears these shoes?
Is it You who breathes these dying breaths?
Is it You I return to?
Is it You I never left?

Once, in pursuit of You, I ran from You.
I ran from these shoes and from the surfaces of things.
I ran from all that I judged as mere “appearance”.
I ran from the simple wonder of waking up in the morning to a fresh new day, not knowing what was to come.

But now, I run no more.
I can no longer seek, or escape, what I already am.
I have been gutted, turned inside out,
replaced with gratitude.

And left not knowing
why I ever doubted this miracle
in the first place.


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