Tag Archives: Jaiya John

A Prayer Poem for You




A Life Enrichment Journal

In the sky of my soul, there is a blossoming…

APRIL 12, 2020


Hope is an heirloom passed down the generations of souls in morning / mourning. A treasure shared between those on the simultaneous shores of pain and paradise. Hope whispers a secret of how living things remain alive. Hope sings. Sings in notes tuned to the range of human despair and defiance. Hope is rope you swing over the canyon chasm of fear, swinging above the murky sediment of doubt settled at the bottom of the polluted river of pessimism. When you release your tears to flow down your cheeks, those tears are hope messengers on their way to your heart. They have something fresh and fragrant to deliver.

Hope is a resurrected Light. Behold as it reanimates what has surrendered to thoughts of doom. It is that impossible breeze through the wide window that puts to sleep the candle flame, then returns to bring the burning back to life. Hope is a reunion with the surreal peace ever inside your divine nature. It brings you to that palace, opens the door, hosts your visit, serves you nourishment, grants you a soft bed and fresh sheets for supernatural rest. Hope is a home. Hope is a dawn, a dusk, a turning. Hope lives in your yearning.

Hope speaks in the dialect of Promise. The stories it tells are of legends and mystical happenings that reason says could not have happened. Hope is not reasonable. Not seasonable. Hope is an everlasting atmosphere. Hope is untamed, incorrigible, feral, and free. Hope cannot be discouraged. It is a titanic waterfall that drowns your discouragement, sweeps you to the ocean where breeds of hopeful things migrate in the deep decadence of being. Hope bleeds. Its sanguine outflow expels from you the accumulated toxins from your lifetime. Hope expunges the long record of your personal harms. Hope is not a judge or jury but a trail guide pointing you toward the place of your reckoning. Hope places your duty in your hands and sets you off to shape that clay.

Hope purifies your persona. Weaves peace through your dense jungle of worries. Hope is a medicine wheel. It offers you the four directions, four teachers, four elements, and the ancestral assignment: Care for each other no matter what. Hope is dreamcatcher. It snares your skepticism, burns it in the blinding brightness of Grace. Hope delivers to you the sacred dreams that hold your valleys of tall grass, clear water, and circles of ceremony between living things.

Hope rises. It is lighter than your lightest ideas. Just when you believe Hope has died, Hope rises again. Even in the crevasses of your pain and loneliness, Hope rises. In your private self-disgust and disbelief in this life, Hope lives there, too. Lifting as a mist, spreading its gospel until that scripture becomes the entire sky. Hope burns your sacred plants. Hope is the plant, the flame, the burning, the smoke, the fragrance, the spirit, the clearing. Hope is a cathedral, glistening through the stained glass, vibrating in the bellows, reaching for the arches, polishing the wood for prayer.

Hope is in the silence you suffer and savor. Hope laces your laughter with a friend. Hope musters your courage to touch what in this world you feel dearly needs to change. Hope scatters fertile seeds in its wind. Hope’s long fingers plant in the soil. Hope is a water feeding the sprout. Hope is the sunlight to greet what breaks through from the crust of ground. Hope is what rises and fattens and blooms into fruit. Hope is in your biting, your eating, your robust renewal.

Hope is your awakening when you pause long enough, are hit hard enough, are awed deeply enough, lose enough, are emptied enough, rendered and shuddered to the bone. Hope opens your eyes. Dilates your heart. Suffuses your breath and body with the oxygen of determination.

Hope is the gift Grace offers you today. A flower that will not wilt. All that is Love is Loving you in this present breath. All that you are feeling is medicine for our great healing. And though you may feel that your ordered life has fallen, be comforted in this ascendant Truth: Hope is a Miracle. Already risen. In you.

I send you Love. May it reach you in the Holiness of your day.

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Here’s the Thing About Fear



JAIYA JOHN BIOGRAPHY. Dr. Jaiya John was born into foster care in New Mexico, and is an internationally recognized freedom worker, author, speaker, poet, and youth mentor. Jaiya is the founder of Soul Water Rising, a global rehumanizing mission that has donated thousands of Jaiya’s books in support of social healing, and offers scholarships to displaced and vulnerable youth. Jaiya is also the founder of Freedom Project, a global initiative reviving traditional gathering and storytelling practices to fertilize social healing and liberation. He is a former professor of social psychology at Howard University, has authored numerous books, and has spoken to over a million people worldwide and audiences as large as several thousand, including national and international conferences, schools, Indigenous reservations and communities, prisons and detention centers, shelters, and colleges. Jaiya is a National Science Foundation fellow, and holds doctorate and master’s degrees in social psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a focus on intergroup relations and identity development. As an undergraduate, he attended Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and lived in Kathmandu, Nepal, where he studied Tibetan Holistic Medicine through independent research with Tibetan doctors.




One day you will express four words. And these four words will set you free. The words are: This Is My Truth. You will speak, write, sing, dance, laugh, act on, remember, celebrate, feel, dream, and live these words in endless ways.

These four words will clarify your relationships, illuminate who means what in your life. These four words will steady your soul, and introduce the false you to the true you. In the presence of the true you, the false you will grow insecure, unsure, and begin to fade away. Wounds in you will tenderize, then transform like snow in a warm sky. The healer you are will awaken and stretch its translucent muscles. This Is My Truth will be your ointment, herb, tonic, and ceremony. You will pray This Is My Truth when life’s tide roars against your cliffs and the pain of your tenderness extracts grains from your shore. This Is My Truth will fortify you in the storm. It will be your reassuring rainbow after.

Some misty mornings you will go walking into the woods seeking these four words. And you will find them growing wild in a clearing rimmed with tall, sage trees, and you will kneel in the soft moss of these four words and sun bars will bless your skin as you gently pluck petals from these four words and place them in your mouth. And the softness of their offering will soothe what trembles in you. You will learn to stay in wild meadows where these four words grow, and you will stay even as the world’s unwellness swells around you threatening to erase these four words. And you will chant these four words. And you will chant until they become your native language.

Until these four words rearrange your molecules and juice your atoms with their airy essence. One day, a mountain will rise in the ocean of your soul. And it will be these four words. And This Is My Truth will be your island, your oasis, your paradise. Your power. This Is My Truth will be your mating call. Kindred souls will flock to this song you usher, this aroma that is your atmosphere. And all the family and friends and unfamiliar souls threatened by your four words, and offended, and disappointed, and angered, and left unhinged and unmoored by the blaspheming reality of their own missing four words, all these souls will finally lie down on the soft savanna woven of your four words and they will weep a deep surrender. And their four words, already in them a seed, shall be inspired by your four words and your living of them, and their four words will stir, then sprout, and this great valley of souls will begin a legendary healing. And you will sit and rest your back against an old tree younger than the youngest sun. And you will ease into sacred conversation with all of Creation. And Creation will ask, What is your offering? And your sweetened soul will gather its eons of Love-harvest and it will answer, I shall offer this. This Is My Truth. And Creation will open and receive your offering. And your truth will open and flow profoundly into all things. And your four words will live forever in the breeze, the most subtle dance of pollen and sunlight birthing life, birthing life, birthing all this life.

Jaiya John
May 7, 2018 




Multiply the number of groups of people you hate by the number of individuals in those groups. The sum equals the number of reasons, causes, and triggers for you to experience the feeling of hatred in your heart; not only at those times of direct encounter with those persons, but also in each and every moment of your life. Every one of those moments is a fertile ground for you to think about, imagine, and contend with those persons. Your life is literally a minefield you walk, constantly stumbling over the mines of hatred you have chosen to plant. You even intentionally run to those mines and jump on them, so great is your determination to hate.

You can never escape triggering the sensation of hatred, which is not pleasurable but instead is a sour current of misery and suffering you channel through every particle, cell, vessel, and organ of who you are. You have chosen to inundate yourself with hatred, a monsoon flood of never-ending ailment, all because you have decided that you have good reason to hate this group or that group. Your true joy has become a limp, lifeless carcass, drowned in the flood of your reasons to hate.

Some of us are passionate explorers of that barren terrain yielding reasons to hate. We expunge all awareness and memories of any possible goodness in a people, any hint or potential of worth or value, just so we can hunt freely for hate-reasons. We want the open-season without catch or kill limits. Whenever we come upon a flare-up of humanness, dimension, or texture in our idea of a people, fear and discomfort strike us as though we have encountered the beginnings of a forest fire. In the flush of this unsettling contradiction to what we seek-hatred-worthy characteristics in others-we reach for our water pail of mental erasing and douse the flame. We are here in this land, this place of strategic reasoning, to discover artifacts qualified for hating. We are not here to see beauty or worth. And so we kill with volatility whatever gets in the way of our expedition.

In the end, when you have multiplied the reasons for your hatred by the population size of your hated groups, you have unwittingly painted yourself into a corner in which you cannot step, look, reach, breathe, think, or even feel without stumbling over a self-chosen reason for hatred. You have harvested hatred and because your mind is magnificent in its power, you have accumulated a vast and burdensome harvest.

Now imagine a different harvest. Summon the Love you have for someone you hold dear. Experience that feeling of warmth and bliss cascade through your being. You have now blessed and baptized yourself in the endless reservoir of Love that you have in you, all because you have decided you have good reason to Love this particular person. Now you are drowning in Love, your joy a vibrant light illuminating this flood.

Ask yourself: Which feels better to my heart and soul? To hate or to Love? If Love is your answer, you are fortunate, for you have the means to fill your life and vessel with that which feels good to your heart, mind, and soul. All you have to do now is make another decision: Choose to expand your Love. That which you feel for that special person, people, or group, simply break down your stingy walls of exclusion and extend your Love! By nature, Love will flow anywhere you allow it. Like water, it will fill, soak into, and become the essence of all that you let it touch. It is the Bright Monsoon. All you need do is choose to Love.

Decide you have good reason to Love that group, and that group, and that one. Go crazy admitting more and more groups into your house of Love, regardless of their imperfections or the way they discomfort or challenge you. Become a stubborn Lover even in the face of those who scorn you. Become a seer of your Love’s roots in others. Become a graffiti artist with Love as your paint. Spray it over even the most desolate human souls. Beautify and resurrect them. Bring them to life. Your life of Love.

Eventually you will be able to calculate an incredible mathematics. You will be able to multiply the number of groups you have chose to Love by the number of individuals in those groups. If you decide to decimate all your walls and come up with reasons to let the whole world in, you will have blessed and baptized your entire life and every moment of your life. You will have blessed yourself with causes, reasons, and triggers for your heart, mind, and soul to be flooded with and experience the blissful sensation of Love. Not because the world came begging for your charity, its carts loaded with reasons for your Love, but because you chose to come up with your own reasons. Because you wanted to have endless triggers for your stream of moments in which you could not help but constantly, in your movement, thoughts, and imagination run into human reasons to let loose your Love. Make this choice and you will have solved the greatest calculus of them all. 

A Soul Water Rising Publication
Essay Copyright © 2010 by Jaiya John
January 2010 Draft


This essay is part of the Soul Water Rising essay series. All essays in this series are archived and available at jaiyajohn.com. New essays are announced through our journal, Soul Blossom. Dissemination and reposting for educational and inspirational use only is encouraged.






Each Morning You Awake…

Each morning you wake and begin your inner story about the day ahead.  Much of this story is a repetition of the thousands of stories you have spu in your life. What if you could birth a new story, completely untouched by your old stories?  Would it take you somewhere you have not been before?  The beautiful thing about you is that you are a storyteller.  The challenging part is that we are not immune to our old stories or those others tell.

Bless you for being a storyteller.  May your heart’s desires write the fresh new script for your mind to direct and your behaviour to act out.  May the performance be so moving that you decide to write a new play each morning.  The seats are sure to be filled with patrons like Healing, Wonder, Discovery, and Renewal.  The sellout streak will never end.  And friends will wonder how they can get a phenomenal life like yours.


From Fresh Peace:  Daily Blossoming of the Soul by Jaiya John


 A story of overcoming fear in your workplace, and in your heart. Excerpted from Jaiya John’s new book of healing, Your Caring Heart: Renewal for Helping Professionals and Systems. Online where books are sold.

Harriet Tubman was a baaad woman. She didn’t play. One story I appreciate telling about her (creatively adapted, of course) is a story of leadership. So, the story goes that Harriet and her people had been discussing for some time the idea of breaking away from their plantation and finding freedom. Now, freedom can be a very frightening idea to a slave. Sure enough, as the designated night approached in which the group would escape the plantation, the people began to voice their concerns. Their fears.

Many of these people were menfolk, and Harriet being a woman, was used to the challenges of being a female leader. Folks started in with fear talk: “Now, Harriet, this freedom thing of yours sounds great in theory, but I don’t know if it is realistic. Look at our life. We have so much to deal with. So many bad things could go wrong. I don’t know if we have time for this freedom thing. I need to get back to my work or Massa gon’ whup me good. I can’t afford to lose my job. How much work is this freedom thing going to require?”

Does this litany of fear talk sound familiar to you? If so, it is because, bless us all, the slave is alive and well in our society and work. It is a spirit of self-oppression that burrows deep into people and groups, rendering their idea of reality as one of impending doom.

 Harriet listened respectfully to her people. But Harriet knew fear. It was in the nature of being a slave. In fact, her people harvested fear more than they harvested cotton or other crops. It was fear that they brought home to their slave quarters. Fear that they ate together for dinner. Beds of fear that they slept on. Dreams of fear in the night. Fear was their sunrise, their clothing, their daily industry. So, Harriet, she knew fear. And she would not let it get in the way of freedom. On a night absent of moonlight, Harriet gathered her people down by the riverbank. The murmuring water would be their chaplain for this freedom service. The people were now terrified. They risked death, dismemberment, whippings, dogs tearing at their flesh. They risked disappointing their overseers and their masters. They risked losing their precious jobs as house slaves, for few wanted the backbreaking life of a field slave. They risked being sold. This entire river of fears was now pushing up their throats, coming out as angry resistance to freedom.

 Harriet wasn’t sweet. She was fire. A woman, slave, nurse, social worker, leader, healer in those times had to be fire. She used hers. Lifting her sawed-off shotgun, she pointed it directly at the men challenging her leadership. Harriet said these words: “I understand, my people, the ferocity of your fears. But we have been slaves far too long. We have lost the taste for freedom. But here, under cover of this black night, I’m fixin’ to make an executive decision. Those who choose to stay in this life of suffering may do so. Otherwise, whoever wants to have freedom sing in their bones and dreams tonight, follow me. Tonight, my people, we fixin’ to be free.”

 In every group of human beings who care deeply to do this healing work, in the right way and spirit, there must be those, of any title, willing to walk the group through their long night of fear into the astounding daybreak of freedom. There is no other way than directly through our fear. We should do this now, good souls, before we further lose the taste of freedom.



“But what is self Love?” she asked.

And Love answered:

“When your sacredness becomes your deepest song.”

Dr. Jaiya John has served organizations, agencies, schools, and initiatives globally for many years. He is an internationally recognized speaker, trainer, consultant, book author, poet, spoken word artist, and youth mentor. Jaiya is the founder of Soul Water Rising, a global human mission that has donated thousands of Jaiya’s books in support of social healing, and offers scholarships to displaced and vulnerable youth. He is a former professor of social psychology at Howard University, has authored numerous books, and has addressed over half a million professionals, parents, and youth worldwide. Jaiya is a National Science Foundation fellow, and holds a doctorate degree in social psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. As an undergraduate, he attended Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and studied Tibetan Holistic Medicine through independent research with Tibetan doctors in Nepal.

Soul Water Rising  |  jaiya@soulwater.org  |  soulwater.org

A Heartwarming Holiday



Holy is the breath of each sacred day, rising through the mist of Creation into the bright plains of sunlight, coursing through human bones and being, consecrated in circle of family, friendship, community; penetrating soul in baptismal rivers of faith; ships of endurance, fleets of fortitude, sails unfurled in gracious carriage winds, moving on seas of kinship and courage; generations told in story, ancestors recalled by the fire, lanterns of Love glowing against towering night; landscape of children in flowering of joy and laughter; women by the water, blessing and being blessed; men under aged oaks, recalling, recanting, rejoicing in language of bravado; elders gazing their kin through windows of tears, tears or gratitude, thankfulness, wonder and awe; awesome cleavage of time through dreaming and vision; drum journeys opening new paths in sky; many drums speaking one tongue of soul desire; particles of fire, flame dancing, burning of gloom and regret into hope’s house illuminated; tribal reunion sentried over by eagles drafting; kin dancing, raising dust of ceremony, raising a people’s One spirit, ressurecting relationship: those bindings of life’s sacred web, strands of earth and water, fire and sky, woman and man, child and grand, now and then, here and soon; monsoon of how we Love, soaking singularity in ocean of spirituality; breaking bread over the long table, pouring healing juice, making truce, strong hearts surrendering to Greatness, tears in the water, Holy in the house, bowing to this Vast provision of life and living, this Constant Giving; seeing the Truth that sets us free: Thanks is giving. Thanks IS Giving. Feast table is full and flowing. Harvest is here, as always… ripe, roasted, baked, browned, blessed. Thanks is served. Eat plenty. Eat plenty.

Warm Wishes,

Soul Water Rising

She Wanted Peace…



She wanted Peace.  So she played beautiful music, painted beautiful expressions.  It was not enough.  She went on long walks.  Gave away possessions.  Smiled more.  Stopped multitasking.  Not enough.  She bought more reverent clothing.  Read spiritual books.  Spoke spiritual words.  Not enough.  She changed her relationships.  Attended classes.  Cut her hair.  Improved her diet.  Attended worship.  Found a new job.  Travelled.  Came back.  All of it, not enough.

Then, one day, she looked inside herself, the place she had run from all her life.  She found two Truths: the concentrated ego of suffering and fear, and the simmering ember of Peace.  Realizing that Peace was a seed already inside her, she decided to try something new.  She decided to Love more.  Herself.  Others.  All things.  In every moment.  She opened.  The ocean inside came out.  The ocean outside came in.  She dissolved in two oceans.  Became immeasurable Lightness.  She found Peace.

Love is the sunlight that awakens the seed of Peace.







nepal woman

Bhaktapur. Kathmandu. Lamjung. Shermatang. Lean closer. Can you hear the soul of Nepal? It whispers. Cries. Prays: Our heart lies buried in the rubble, in stones turned to sand. Oh, humanity, come to our time of fire! Lift every stone. Lay your hands upon our valley. Dig with us. Dig as we retrieve our country. Our dal bhat of memories that have always filled our bellies and strengthened our resolve. Dig, as we retrieve our families. Our stories now loose in the Himalayan wind. When the ground shook, it took. Our breath. Our floor. Our ceiling. Now the sky is everywhere it is not supposed to be. Where have our rooftops gone? Even mighty Everest has sloughed its skin. In the dust, we search for kin. For friend. For then. The way it was. Now, our mothers cry sacred lakes of tears. Fathers wield their hurt in spears that have no landing place. What is this blistering of our souls? In the holiness of our bones we ask, who will rebuild our temples? Our shrines? Our holy places? The gardens where we gathered?  Now we hear our valley whisper through the dust: Grace will bring up what has been laid low. Sure as the silence of the leopard stalking in snow. But we are frightened. Where is Shanti, our willow of Peace? What will become of our Samjhana, our tribal memory? The world is upside down. Reality unzipped itself, surrendered its tectonic shelf. Our dud chia has soured, become butter tea. Strange fruit hangs from the banyan tree. Gather. That’s what we must do. What we must be. Gather in tea houses. In streets and fields. On glacier tongues and river sheets. Earth has opened, pouring us into each other. Now we are, in this seasoning of our grief, a great ladle of Tibetan stew. We Namasté on the same ground that swallowed us. We bow down to what has fallen down. Look up at what will make us rise again. We are splinters dreaming of being a tree. A valley whistling bansuri flute song, harvesting wind. Wind Horse bucks and snorts and grazes, near. We smell its musk, and fathom: We again shall drink from the brook of Peace. We perform sky burial ten thousand times. Sky buries us in Mercy, fills with great flocks of prayer flags, migrating to our truest temples and shrines: the one beating of our Nepali heart. We will need time to sleep. We need pani, pure water, in this time of the great earth monsoon. Oh, Holiness, break through the rock and pull us into light! Sing us songs of safety. Cradle us through the night. Someone wake the pahelo sun, our children need their hope. Put the world back together. We want to walk on solid ground. Our valleys run with sorrow, and yet our children… our children expect to eat and drink and bathe and breathe tomorrow. They are the vines to which we must hold. Their gossamer eyes tell the sacredness of Hope. Of grace on the bellies of prayer wheels. Of grace on the lips of singing bowls. Ek. Dui. Tien. We begin our count from scratch again. Pokhara. Banepa. Gorkha. Lalitpur. Helambu. We breathe with you.



April 28, 2015

Jaiya John






by Jaiya John 


THERE IS A CHALICE from which all souls may freely drink. It is called Joy. It is filled with Love and Compassion, yes, and also with those subtler tonics of Laughter, Humor, Levity. It brims with Hope and Faith, Truth and Honesty, Nakedness and Humility. It is rich with Honor and Grace, Kindness and Tenderness, Gentleness and Caring. Joy listens compassionately, without judgment. Joy speaks Lovingly, with a tongue of blessing. Joy is sweeter than sugar, truer than ideas, fortified with the passionate spark of life.


Joy is so much more than happiness. To be joyful is to be most fully, absolutely alive. Be assured that Joy is the radiance of Love. Love’s very persona is Joyfulness. Joy is the residue of your daily choices to live. It is not enough to endure life. We must en-joy life. Which means, to infuse life with joyfulness. Purposefully. Intentionally. Willfully. Joy is not passive. It is active. Activate your effervescence. Ignite your embers. Tend the fire of your Joy.


As you make Love, make Love joyfully. As you sleep, sleep joyfully. Wake with joy in your eyes. Grieve openly, with Loved ones, in Joy’s comforting embrace. Joy resides inside beautiful memories even as it honors painful ones. It chooses to live in a house of Hope and Faith and Promise.


May your Cup of Joy, so overflowing and illuminated, satiate many thirsts. May it be Holy, Sacred, Divine. May you pour it out always, to all souls, and unto yourself. Joy resurrects Beauty. It breathes life into Passion’s Flower. The Light of your life wears a jewelry. That jewelry is Joy.








I find my Sacred Lake. I call my ancestral tribe of sacred servants: All you healers, mystics, medicine women and men, teachers, nurses, doctors, shamans, holy ones, warriors. All of you who pour out your blood on the fragile grass of lives, who surrender your comforts for the chance to comfort a soul in despair. Together, this healing prayer, we share:

 I care… to be human… I won’t let this mantra leave me. I won’t let this moment take me, break me. I am ember waiting to be flame, waiting to warm these shivering masses. Oh Grace, ignite me again.

My heart is so many things: a lake rippling in the breeze, panting for shore, for safety, security, mine, theirs. My heart a dream of how beautiful this world can be. My heart the suffering of vulnerable ones huddled on the Trail of Tears. My heart an open valley, the lushness growing there, families gathered, verified, dignified.

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