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...

Every Shaped Thing

by Ivan M. Granger


every shaped thing

Your altar
cannot seat
the thousand thousand

Holding them,
what do you have?

Each gilded god

"I am
by the sun.

I can only

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

/ Image by maxpower /

View All Poems by Ivan M. Granger

it has been quite a while since I featured one of my own poems. This morning I heard this one running through my thoughts...

I wrote this poem when I lived on Maui years ago. I had just finished a meditation and stepped outside to gaze at the forest of eucalyptus trees. Slowly looking around, I saw how everything is reaching, turning, pointing heavenward. The material world, when objectified can become a confusing tangle of solidity, separation, and objects of desire, but in that moment, with my mind at rest and my eyes clear, the world danced before me, filled with a golden light. And I saw that while the world hides the Eternal, at the same time it ardently reveals it.

In that pure moment it was clear to me that everything is giddy with its own inner light. Consciously or unconsciously, everything is always orienting itself toward the light from which it draws its own life. All of creation -- every person, every thing, even every idea, "every shaped thing" -- is just a reflection of the divine radiance present everywhere.

That beauty, that luminosity is both the snare and the key for us as souls active within the material world.

Whenever we desire a thing... or person or experience, we artificially deify it. The desire and mental fixation becomes a form of worship. We may tell ourselves, "I want this, I want that," but what we unknowingly crave is not the thing itself, it is that spark of the Eternal glimpsed within it. The desired object becomes a "gilded god" -- false in the sense that it is not truly the wholeness we seek; but also, like an "idol" or icon, when approached sincerely and openly, it embodies something essential for us: it points to the Divine which it reflects.

The frustrating truth is that no individual can ever gather enough objects of desire to satisfy desire. Every time we acquire that desired object or experience -- a new job, a new lover, money, an ice cream sundae -- there is a fleeting sense of satisfaction... and then it is gone. Within minutes we are once again feeling desire and looking for the next object to hang that desire on. We're looking for the next thing that sparkles. But it is not the object we actually seek, it is that shine. And that shine is the spark of the Divine.

When we learn to see in gold the glimmer of the sun, then we see that everything shines -- everything! -- ourselves included. It is not possessing that object or experience that we desire, it is that we ache to recognize and participate in that glow. And everything glows. Recognizing this is when the heart is truly satisfied and comes to rest.

Share Your Thoughts on today's poem or my commentary...
(Or visit the poem's blog page to click the FB 'Like' button.)

/ Photo by Lora Huber /

Donations to the Poetry Chaikhana

Thank you so much to everyone who has donated to the Poetry Chaikhana this past week:

- Stephanie P. (NZ), Joyce S. (OR), Bob C. (ID), Cynthia H. (MD), Carol B. (MI)

It is because of such a supportive community like you that the Poetry Chaikhana is able to do what it does (and what I do).

And a big note of gratitude to everyone who makes a regular donation through the mail or through PayPal -- I always remember and appreciate your contributions to the Poetry Chaikhana.

A few reasons to consider making a donation of your own...

  • It's autumn and the changing of the seasons -- a good time to pause and honor the things that bring a spark of inspiration into your life.
  • You don't have to donate a lot to help out. The large donations are great, but it is the small donations that keep the Poetry Chaikhana moving forward each month.
  • The Poetry Chaikhana is offered free of charge -- but it is not free of cost. Your support makes the Poetry Chaikhana possible.
  • An expanding online library with more than 300 sacred poets and 2,000 poems. Timelines, traditions, poetic themes. Ivan's musings and comments...
  • The poem email sets a nice tone for the day.
Poetry Chaikhana