Welcome, traveler! Enter and take your rest...

A chaikhana is a teahouse along the legendary Silk Road pilgrimage and trading route linking China to the Middle East and Europe. It is a place of rest along the journey, a place to shake off the dust of the road, to sip tea, and to gather together to sing songs of the Divine...

Holy Ground

by Ivan M. Granger


Let the vision
of the vastness
you are
leave you
in glorious

Pilgrims will come
to imagine
the grand temple
that once stood,
not realizing

          the wreck
          made this empty plain
          holy ground.

-- from Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey, by Ivan M. Granger

/ Image by Stuzal /

View All Poems by Ivan M. Granger

I thought I'd share one of my own poems with you today...

So often we imagine our spiritual journey to be one of construction. We want to build a great shining monument within ourselves. It comes as a terrible shock how much the real spiritual work is actually about tearing down our structures.

Watch a wild field at dawn. Sit among the uneven grasses and opening wildflowers. Look at that empty space all around you. It is empty, yes, empty of our own constructions. But it is filled with life. It is an inherently holy space.

The same is true of the quiet depths in the heart. No perfect construction of spirituality is needed. We need to reveal the holy life that is already the foundation of our being. With courage and supreme balance, stand back and do nothing. Staying poised, just look. Notice all those fine structures we've erected over a lifetime, proclaiming, "Here I am!" Look closely, look long enough, and we start to see fine cracks appear. When we don't actively shore them up, the cracks quickly expand. And then, all of a sudden -- RUMBLE -- the whole facade collapses.

THAT is the moment we're waiting for! That is when we discover the empty plain beneath our feet. And we are a part of that living space.

The saints and sages of the past, the great artists and visionaries too -- we imagine the grandeur of spirit they attained. But the truth is that their greatness was attained in their own collapse, amidst the ruins... and the giddy open spaces they then discovered.


New Anthology Almost Ready

I know, I haven't sent a poem out for the last couple of weeks. The reason is that I have been deep into the final edits on the printed proof of the new Poetry Chaikhana anthology.

The new book will be called This Dance of Bliss: Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World. Here's an advanced glimpse at the cover:

I'm so pleased with how it is coming together. I hope you will be too. Like my first anthology The Longing in Between, This Dance of Bliss will feature historical sacred poets along with a few contemporary voices. Rumi, St. John of the Cross, Lalla, Goethe, Hildegard von Bingen, Dogen, Khayyam, and many other favorites. Each poem is accompanied by the short meditations, musings, and commentaries that have filled these emails for quite a while. I will share more of a sampling from the book soon.

Several of you have already asked about pre-ordering copies of the book and, yes, I will be making this new anthology available for pre-orders very soon. Pre-ordered copies will come with a discount and a few other extras. Stay tuned!

As I bring this new anthology to publication, I may not be able maintain my normal weekly pattern with these poem emails. I am also trying to keep my work hours up at my day job, which is not always an easy balance, so sometimes these poem emails have had to wait. But the new book is very nearly ready -- and then we call all join in on this dance of bliss!

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/ Photo by SaxX69 /

Donations to the Poetry Chaikhana

New donations in the past couple of weeks:

- Joann N. (MN), Bill K. (WA), Susan W. (CA), Harvey G. (UK)

Thank you, everyone, for your support!

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