Journal VIII

Gary Snyder:
READING BASHÔ ON THE PLANE

Between lectures,
This little seat by the window
My hermitage.

BOOK POWER
by Gwendolyn Brooks

BOOKS FEED AND CURE AND
CHORTLE AND COLLIDE

In all this willful world
of thud and thump and thunder
man’s relevance to books
continues to declare.

Books are meat and medicine
and flame and flight and flower,
steel, stitch, and cloud and clout,
and drumbeats in the air.

Just looking at them
I grow greedy, as if they were
freshly baked loaves
waiting on their shelves
to be broken open – that one
and that – and I make my choice
in a mood of exalted luck,
browsing among them
like a cow in sweetest pasture.

For life is continuous
as long as they wait
to be read – these inked paths
opening into the future, page
after page, every book
its own receding horizon.
And I hold them, one in each hand,
a curious ballast weighting me
here to the earth.
– Linda Pastan

He who wakes us always wounds us.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

‘The best thing for being sad,’ replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, ‘is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.’
– T. H. White

One of my reasons for hope, is this intellect of ours. And science is beginning to come up with innovative ways that we can live in greater harmony with the planet.
– Dr. Jane Goodall

The Blessed Uncertain
In the time of the blessed uncertain,
we become the community
we needed to be all along.
Entwined in solitude,
we widen the space of compassion
to heal dis-ease with ease
and quench our thirst
at the well of grieving.
Tears are never false.
Trust in your tears.
Yet apart, share one breath.
Stranger, I breathe you,
dwelling in your body
as you dwell in mine.
Distance has been swallowed up
in Being.
You grow tired on your journey?
Rest here.
Your home is too far?
Stay with me.
You feel something break
inside you?
Pass it through
the flame in my heart
until it is whole again.
You yearn Self time,
the way an animal knows
it must curl to the circle
of its own fur,
rain-drenched under the fern?
Finally, we all discover
that Self-healing need.
I will not come too near.
From the majesty of my aloneness,
I bow to your aloneness.
Namaste!
– Alfred K. LaMotte

As for this reclusiveness – I think of it as profoundly helpful to my work. Darkness, silence and solitude, by throwing their heavy cloaks over my shoulders, have forced me to recreate all the light, all the music and the joys of nature and society in myself. My spiritual being no longer comes up against the barriers of the visible world and nothing hampers its freedom.

When by chance a thin ray of sunlight manages to slip in here, my whole being, like the ancient statue of Memnon, that gave out harmonious sounds when the rays of the rising sun struck it, bursts with joy, and I feel myself transported into realms of radiant light.

I have tried to follow life itself, in which unsuspected aspects of a person suddenly reveal themselves to our eyes. We live alongside people, thinking we know them. All that’s missing is the incident that will make them suddenly appear other than we knew them to be.

Throughout our lives we have alongside us like a fellow prisoner shackled by the same chain, a man who is different from our physical self. You see, when you think of yourself, you create a certain idea of yourself. And when one looks in a glass, the mirror reflects our real image. The other was a stranger. It was the spiritual self. Well, it is this one alone that matters to me.

I only consider my objective self (take this word in the sense meant by philosophers) as an experimental instrument which has no inherent interest but that links me to my spiritual side so that I can penetrate certain realities and especially the shadowy areas of consciousness on which I try to throw light.
– Marcel Proust

Advice and counsel abounds.

“Don’t be afraid; feel your fear.”

“Time to come out; time to be still.”

“It’s your moment to lead; learn to truly follow.”

“Please be careful; take more risks.”

And then there are those who remind, “It’s BOTH AND.”

You get the picture.

Me, I take to Rumi’s poetic urging:

“There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”

Or Yusuf Islam Cat Stevens’ musical call:

“There are a million ways to be, you know that there are.”

Singing and poeting – feels good to me.

– David Bedrick

God builds his temple in the heart
on the ruins of churches and religions.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s not all in your head. It’s all in your heart. It’s all in your feet. It’s all in your hips. It’s all in your shoulders. It’s all in your breath. It’s all in your body. Anything unattended to, unresolved, unhealed, and unprocessed lives in your tissues, your cells, your musculature. It may be manifest in your stinking thinking, but it doesn’t begin there. The mind does not source itself—the body does. The trick is to not try to shift the thinking from within the mind itself. You can’t. You may be able to subdue it there, but you won’t be able to resolve it. Because the troubling thoughts are merely a symptom of the deeper issues. They are a reflection of our emotional holdings and constricted musculature. They emanate from the fleshy trauma tunnels that we dug in order to survive this world. Many of us sit in the waiting room of awakening for decades, waiting impatiently for our new birth. And it never arrives, because we are looking for it where it isn’t—within the mind, itself. Babies aren’t born that way. You have to go down into the depths of the body to bring a new birth to life. Down, down, down…. into the alchemical chambers of new thought—YOUR MAGNIFICENT BODY. This is where we are born again.
– Jeff Brown

We have ignorance of the Dark, of the Deep, of gentleness, and we make all kind of projections, and we advertise so much teaching about enlightenment, that now spirituality is imbalanced. Whenever I hear so much teaching about enlightenment, and emphasis in awakening, and all of those things, it’s missing the Wisdom, the Depth, the richness of that field, that I think it’s so important, and I think that by seeing it, I think the Feminine Principle will be merging more and more. The Female will have her right position in existence. That She is not less, she is of equal magnitude, the Universe is imbalanced without Her.

I felt such balance in me when I went to Mecca, visiting, I went to the Kaaba. The Kaaba is a cubit, a black cubit, and the name “Kaaba”, literally means “The Feminine”, the beautiful Female. That’s what it is, black with gold… And I remember…this cubit that the Muslims go to for pilgrimage, it’s built on a vortex, energy coming from the center of the Earth. And I remember going there, wanting to know, what is feel like, what is there, what is about? And I was going with the attitude of “this is religion”, and all of these things, and when I entered the mosque, and I looked at the Kaaba,the emanation that was coming from there brought me to my knees. For the first time, I felt pure emanation of the Feminine Essence. Feminine Presence: Pure. It brought me to my knees. I felt that I was incomplete until this emanation came. And it corrected the imbalance in my masculinity, I needed tat kind of mirroring in order for this one to know what is right and what is not. It was really an amazing experience.

I felt – when I realized this – the Deep and the Radiance, the combination of the two and the completion,I felt that at last the riddle of spirituality cracked up. It is a field of utmost creativity, made of electro-magnetic field, Radiance and Deep, and all creation comes from it and dissolves in it, and there are so many wisdoms and teachings in it that we don’t have. Spirituality don’t have it. it doesn’t belong to spirituality, it is beyond spirituality. Way beyond spirituality, spirituality is only one branch on the tree of that grand knowledge. So, I felt like really relieved, balanced, I don’t know that knowledge, I know a little about it, but I felt my struggle and evolution in the spiritual journey got resolved when this riddle got cracked, when the nondual became dual, it is dual, it is male and female, Yin and Yang. I felt that this is the crowning of my spiritual work. At last, I rested, something in me was not happy with enlightenment, it needed the endarkenment (warm smile), and the endarkenment corrected something. … The Deep and the Radiance are co-emergent….
– Faisal Muqaddam, Enlightenment vs. Endarkenment

Teaching, reading, and writing all have to do with searching. Each involves searching for Wholeness through dialogue and experience.
– Mark Nepo

The World Is A Beautiful Place
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
The world is a beautiful place
to be born into
if you don’t mind happiness
not always being
so very much fun
if you don’t mind a touch of hell
now and then
just when everything is fine
because even in heaven
they don’t sing
all the time

The world is a beautiful place
to be born into
if you don’t mind some people dying
all the time
or maybe only starving
some of the time
which isn’t half bad
if it isn’t you

Oh the world is a beautiful place
to be born into
if you don’t much mind
a few dead minds
in the higher places
or a bomb or two
now and then
in your upturned faces
or such other improprieties
as our Name Brand society
is prey to
with its men of distinction
and its men of extinction
and its priests
and other patrolmen

and its various segregations
and congressional investigations
and other constipations
that our fool flesh
is heir to

Yes the world is the best place of all
for a lot of such things as
making the fun scene
and making the love scene
and making the sad scene
and singing low songs and having inspirations
and walking around
looking at everything
and smelling flowers
and goosing statues
and even thinking
and kissing people and
making babies and wearing pants
and waving hats and
dancing
and going swimming in rivers
on picnics
in the middle of the summer
and just generally
‘living it up’
Yes
but then right in the middle of it
comes the smiling

mortician

These days I can see us clinging to each other
as we are swept along by the current
I am clinging to you to keep you from
being swept away and you are clinging to me
we see the shores blurring past as we hold
each other in the rushing current
the daylight rushes unheard far above us
how long will we be swept along in the daylight
how long will we cling together in the night
and where will it carry us together..
– W. S. Merwin, Here Together

How to Believe in God
Tell me about the God you don’t believe in.
Is it the God who separates the saved
from the damned, reserving bliss
for the blessed, and brimstone
for the nonbeliever?
Or perhaps the narrow-minded God
who resists new ways of thinking,
the God who will brook no question
and no discourse, the one who prefers
the world the way it was before feminism
or civil rights,
before the discovery of evolution
and quantum physics
or the creation and collapse of stars?
Is it the God who sponsors crusades, jihads, and pogroms? Or maybe the one
who tells a twenty-four-year-old man
with a wife and three children
to blow himself up
in a crowded public square…?

For most Westerners, God lives in the Bible.
For better or worse, we can’t change
our idea of God without changing our ideas about the Bible first. And this is true for everyone in our society, whether they were raised in a religiously observant household or not. The Bible is the spiritual matrix of Western culture, the point of origin for all of our deepest beliefs and hopes and fears. It is the source of many of our laws and customs, not to mention many of our everyday expressions and the mind-set that comes along with them. It is the origin even of our ideas of time, from the seven days of the week to the “beginning” and the “end” of the world. You may not read it, or even know what it says, and still the Bible is inside of you. It’s in the air we breathe, and it’s in the culture at large. And therefore the idea of God is in us, too. There is no escaping it…

It is important to understand up front that, when it comes to belief in God, no one develops much beyond the age of three or four years old. Our spiritual beliefs may evolve, becoming more complex or sophisticated, but that most basic, most singular belief—in an eternal reality beyond the reaches of the self—does not develop. It’s a simple mechanism, like a life jacket or a ladder. The effort to develop or systematize it nearly always has the effect of obscuring it in the end. That is why Jesus advised his disciples to become like little children if they would enter the kingdom of God, and the reason why the Japanese Buddhist saint Honen once said, “The moment a scholar is born, he forgets the Buddha’s name.” I don’t believe for a moment that Honen was talking only about those who study religion in an academic or theological setting. He was referring to the basic human tendency to forget what is most simple and true…

My glimpse at the eternal lasted only for a fraction of a second, but its effects were with me for weeks thereafter as a deeply settled feeling, a trust that all was well and always had been, that in all the universe there was not one cause for worry or alarm…

Because I had rejected Christianity, it never occurred to me to identify that experience with God. Like many other people who grew up during the sixties and seventies, I had read books on Eastern philosophy and religion. And so it was to Buddhism I turned for an explanation of what had happened, and it was there, driven by the relentless energy of conversion, that my adult religious education began. I say religious education, not spiritual, because from the very beginning my experience of Buddhism was characterized by a phenomenon I call half-belief, and half-belief has everything to do with religion and nothing to do with Buddha or with God…

Half-believers aspire to believe in God or Buddha, Allah or Avalokiteshvara, and take on the guise of belief (with its attendant attitudes, behaviors, and other norms), but in truth they still feel unsettled in their hearts, which is no doubt why they are often so intent on turning up the volume on religion, bringing it to the forefront of their political and social life. Half-believers seek some confirmation in the external world to complete an internal process that remains half finished within them, and among other things that usually means denying the truth or efficacy of other religious paths…

Even if our lives go well and we somehow manage to negotiate life’s more commonplace heartaches and disasters, eventually we will reach the place where we can go no further. Advanced as we may be compared with people who lived at the time of Jesus or Buddha, we still live in denial of this simplest of all existential facts: we will die. Eventually all that we love, and all that we hold to by way of belief or conviction, will simply pass away. And the self we have constructed and maintained and believed in more than anything, making it the center of our reality as thinking beings, will dissolve as quickly as a waking dream.

I am reminded of a verse from the Psalms
that reads: “His breath goeth forth,
he returneth to his earth;
in that very day his thoughts perish”
(Psalm 146:4)

As long as we are convinced
that we can save ourselves,
we will use every means at our disposal
to do so—even spiritual means.
We will attempt to do good deeds
and avoid evil ones, not for their own sake,
or out of love for God,
but as part of a calculated bargain,
and this, finally, is the essence of half-belief. Were it a matter of those who believed
and those who did not,
there would be no problem, but half-belief—which carries the liabilities of both
and the benefits of neither—
is the most dangerous form
of religious self-expression.
Over the centuries it has fueled such atrocities as inquisitions, witch hunts, abortion clinic bombings, “Red Scares,” and the wholesale slaughter of Muslims, Christians, Hindus, and Jews. It goes without saying that the person who truly believes in God
has no need to perform such acts.
Those who commit them are engaged
in the work of trying to believe,
not the work of belief itself.

– Clark Strand, How to Believe in God
(Whether You Believe in Religion or Not)

We should be careful
Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.
– Philip Larkin

What You Missed That Day You Were Absent from Fourth Grade

by Brad Aaron Modlin

Mrs. Nelson explained how to stand still and listen
to the wind, how to find meaning in pumping gas,

how peeling potatoes can be a form of prayer. She took
questions on how not to feel lost in the dark

After lunch she distributed worksheets
that covered ways to remember your grandfather’s

voice. Then the class discussed falling asleep
without feeling you had forgotten to do something else—

something important—and how to believe
the house you wake in is your home. This prompted

Mrs. Nelson to draw a chalkboard diagram detailing
how to chant the Psalms during cigarette breaks,

and how not to squirm for sound when your own thoughts
are all you hear; also, that you have enough.

The English lesson was that I am
is a complete sentence.

And just before the afternoon bell, she made the math equation
look easy. The one that proves that hundreds of questions,

and feeling cold, and all those nights spent looking
for whatever it was you lost, and one person

add up to something.

If our sanity is to be strong and flexible, there must be occasional periods for the expression of completely spontaneous movement—for dancing, singing, howling, babbling, jumping, groaning, wailing—in short, for following any motion to which the organism as a whole seems to be inclined. It is by no means impossible to set up physical and moral boundaries within which this freedom of action is expressible—sensible contexts in which nonsense may have its way. Those who provide for this essential irrationality will never become stuffy or dull, and, what is far more important, they will be opening up the channels through which the formative and intelligent spontaneity of the organism can at last flow into consciousness.
– Alan Watts, The Joyous Cosmology

Dancing is poetry with arms and legs.
– Charles Baudelaire

Meister Eckhart:
Theologians may quarrel, but the mystics of the world all speak the same language.

The world would be right if you were god –
course it would, be right, I mean, but,
except, well,
there’d only be one person in it, see –
only room for one,
and that ain’t no world at all —
we don’t need a bigger “MAN” for the job –
what we need is a bigger SOUL—
– Elijah Morton

This unity of all human beings, their interconnection and interdependence, is the primary vision of mysticism. It says that the virtue mystics practice is necessary not only because of its functional utility but because it is realistic. One should treat the other as oneself because below the surface we are all aspects of one being; the Golden Rule is not an arbitrary, culturally determined morality but an expression of the actual nature of the world. Our continued existence as a species and our further development depend on our capacity for recognizing this reality despite the compelling influence of the object self.
– Arthur J. Deikman

If you are discouraged, be refreshed by the image of your original nature.
– Gospel of Mary Magdalene

ONE HEART
It is late afternoon and I have just returned from
the longer version of my walk nobody knows
about. For the first time in nearly a month, and
everything changed. It is the end of March, once
more I have lived. This morning a young woman
described what it’s like shooting coke with a baby
in your arms. The astonishing windy and altering light
and clouds and water were, at certain moment,
You.

There is only one heart in my body, have mercy
on me.

The brown leaves buried all winter creatureless feet
running over dead grass beginning to green, the first scent-
less violet here and there, returned, the first star noticed all
at once as one stands staring into the black water.

Thank You for letting me live for a little as one of the
sane; thank You for letting me know what this is
like. Thank You for letting me look at your frightening
blue sky without fear, and your terrible world without
terror, and your loveless psychotic and hopelessly
lost
with this love.
– Franz Wright, Walking to Martha’s Vineyard

If our sanity is to be strong and flexible, there must be occasional periods for the expression of completely spontaneous movement—for dancing, singing, howling, babbling, jumping, groaning, wailing—in short, for following any motion to which the organism as a whole seems to be inclined. It is by no means impossible to set up physical and moral boundaries within which this freedom of action is expressible—sensible contexts in which nonsense may have its way. Those who provide for this essential irrationality will never become stuffy or dull, and, what is far more important, they will be opening up the channels through which the formative and intelligent spontaneity of the organism can at last flow into consciousness.
– Alan Watts, The Joyous Cosmology

If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow: and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are.

‘Interbeing’ is a word that is not in the dictionary yet, but if we combine the prefix ‘inter’ with the verb ‘to be’, we have a new verb, inter-be. Without a cloud, we cannot have paper, so we can say that the cloud and the sheet of paper inter-are.

If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, the forest cannot grow. In fact nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. The paper and the sunshine inter-are. And if we continue to look we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper. And we see the wheat. We know that the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. And the logger’s father and mother are in it too. When we look in this way we see that without all of these things, this sheet of paper cannot exist.
– Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

When we can listen to what the birds have to say, to what nature has to say, and when we perceive the beauty of nature, then we are completing the circle and returning this physical world to its source through our own consciousness.

It’s love for the world, love of the world. It comes from the world and we’re just there to give it back to the world. And the senses are the sacramental instruments that we’ve been given.
It’s all here. Here we have everything we need—we don’t have to go looking for extraordinary rituals. We are just given, everywhere, right now. Every sound is an opportunity to be conscious.
It’s the cosmos calling.
– Peter Kingsley

People without hope not only don’t write novels,
but what is more to the point, they don’t read them.
They don’t take long looks at anything,
because they lack the courage.
The way to despair is to refuse to have any kind of
experience,
and the novel, of course, is a way to have
experience.
– Flannery O’Connor

I never say anything but no one pays any attention so I keep repeating it.
– Richard DeMartino

The more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers most.
– Thomas Merton

Words Along the Way:
Dalai Lama: Never Give Up
“Never give up
No matter what is going on
Never give up
Develop the heart
Too much energy in your country
Is spent developing the mind
Instead of the heart
Be compassionate
Not just to your friends
But to everyone
Be compassionate
Work for peace
In your heart and in the world
Work for peace
And I say again
Never give up
No matter what is going on around you
Never give up”
– Dalai Lama XIV

Pilate said, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Don’t you know I have the authority to release you, and to crucify you?” Jesus replied, “You would have no authority over me at all, unless it was given to you from above.

First cultivate
the qualities of a man,
then reflect
… upon the character of angels.
– Shyakh Saadi Shirazi

For Courage

When the light around you lessens
And your thoughts darken until
Your body feels fear turn
Cold as a stone inside,

When you find yourself bereft
Of any belief in yourself
And all you knowingly
Leaned on has fallen,

When one voice commands
Your whole heart,
And it is raven dark,

Steady yourself and see
That it is your own thinking
That darkens your world,

Know that you are not alone
And that this darkness has purpose;
Gradually it will school your eyes
To find the one gift your life requires
Hidden within this night-corner.

Invoke the learning
Of every suffering
You have suffered

Close your eyes.
Gather all the kindling
About your heart
To create one spark.
That is all you need
To nourish the flame
That will cleanse the dark
Of it’s weight of festered fear.

A new confidence will come alive
To urge you toward higher ground
Where your imagination
Will learn to engage difficulty
As its most rewarding threshold.

– John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us

THINGS
by Lisel Mueller

What happened is, we grew lonely
living among the things,
so we gave the clock a face,
the chair a back,
the table four stout legs
which will never suffer fatigue.

We fitted our shoes with tongues
as smooth as our own
and hung tongues inside bells
so we could listen
to their emotional language,

and because we loved graceful profiles
the pitcher received a lip,
the bottle a long, slender neck.

Even what was beyond us
was recast in our image;
we gave the country a heart,
the storm an eye,
the cave a mouth
so we could pass into safety.

Atreya Thomas:
The beginning of freedom
starts with the revelation
that we are not responsible
for the quality of our thoughts.
Whether they are extraordinary
or absolutely hideous;
thoughts in and of themselves
are hollow and quite devoid
of any power over us.
Rather, much of our internal struggles
are concerned with manipulating, coercing, judging, retaining and resisting them.
Let mind business be mind business
and not your business.
Then, all your energy will start to gather
in the heart which will then
dethrone the neurotic mind
and replace it with authentic love.

To lie back under the tallest
oldest trees. How far the stems
rise, rise
before ribs of shelter
open!

To live in the mercy of God. The complete
sentence too adequate, has no give.
Awe, not comfort. Stone, elbows of
stony wood beneath lenient
moss bed.

And awe suddenly
passing beyond itself. Becomes
a form of comfort.
Becomes the steady
air you glide on, arms
stretched like the wings of flying foxes.
To hear the multiple silence
of trees, the rainy
forest depths of their listening.

To float, upheld,
as salt water
would hold you,
once you dared.

To live in the mercy of God
To feel vibrate the enrapture
waterfall flinging itself
unabating down and down
to clenched fists of rock.
Swiftness of plunge,
hour after year after century,
O or Ah
uninterrupted, voice
many-stranded.

To breathe
spray. The smoke of it.
Arcs
of steelwhite foam, glissades
of fugitive jade barely perceptible. Such passion—
rage or joy?

Thus, not mild, not temperate,
God’s love for the world. Vast
flood of mercy
flung on resistance.

– Denise Levertov, To Live in the Mercy of God

Thich Nhat Hanh:

“How can I possibly be happy
cleaning the toilet?”

“Nhất Hạnh goes on to explain that, when he was a novice monk in Vietnam, he and those around him did not have toilets at all. In fact, they were lucky to find a few dead leaves to use after their walk up the hill to use the bathroom, in fact! Now, he feels that having a toilet to clean at all is a reason for joy. We can be happy when we realize that we already have what we need for a good life.

In another tale, Nhất Hạnh delves into a bit of Western psychology by telling a story from his childhood. Looking into a large, water-filled clay jar, he found a beautiful leaf of many colors. It rested at the bottom of the water, out of reach of his arm.

He found a stick, but no matter how he swirled the water, he could not make the leaf rise to the surface. Giving up, he walked away. When he returned, a few moments later, the leaf lay upon the surface of the water, and he picked it up. The water had continued to swirl while he was away, bringing the leaf to the surface.

Nhất Hạnh continues the story by saying that this is how our unconscious minds work. When we have a problem to solve, struggling with our conscious mind becomes futile at a certain point. We must be able to stir the water and step away for a moment.

You might wonder: why not simply teach these lessons directly? Why not simply tell others that they already have the conditions for happiness? Why not tell them to plant question-seeds in their minds and let them be for a while, engaging our unconscious minds to aid in finding the answer?

Because people aren’t good at internalizing facts. They are, however, good at internalizing stories. They’ll remember the story of the toilet when next they feel their lives lack the conditions for happiness before they’ll remember a platitude.

I hear that the axe has flowered,
I hear that the place can’t be named,

I heard that the bread which looks at him
heals the hanged man,
the bread baked for him by his wife,

I hear that they call life
our only refuge.
– Paul Celan

The Elements in Everyday Life
I asked what use in everyday life is this new connection with the elements. The answer was that the greatest use is the power of love that resonates in me, in anyone, as we make the connection. It is that love from each of us that is needed in the world and that will change the environment. It is right to be focused in practical things, but it is the attitude with which practical things are done that betters any situation or relationship. This is so simple that it is constantly overlooked. Indeed I had thought my love for God was as deep as possible, but it had to be deepened for the tremendous power of the elements. Many people at present feel uplift from the angels, and that is wonderful. The elements partake more fundamentally on all levels of life, including that of the angels, and therefore can be exceedingly useful and helpful for humankind. When I objected to the four elements as being an outdated medieval concept, I was asked to approach them as a truth in my present, to see that they are a more potent part of life than any scientific theory and in fact are the basis of science.
If the elements are so strong on all levels, then their qualities act on what is purely physical and what is purely of the soul, and on all areas between. Everything in our world is created through the transformation of the elements; they are the active powers of the soul level of the world.
– Dorothy Maclean, Choices of Love

Bill McKibben: One understands why FDR was so beloved: what one would give for some confident, kind, competent, calm leadership from the top.

America when will we end the human war?
– Allen Ginsberg

Yoko Ono:
Don’t let panic slip in between us. We are one. One body, one mind of a very strong, intellegent and inspired seven billion people.

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg:
People’s lives > rich people getting richer

It’s not a question.

Shailja Patel:
Tired: fear, uncertainty, loss, disaster profiteers

Wired: capitalism fissuring before our eyes, and we’re pushing progressive victories through every crack

Inspired: this is the great upheaval that will overthrow the oligarchs and birth the planetary transformation we dream of

Go, my people, enter your chambers, And lock your doors behind you. Hide but a little moment, Until the wrath passes.
– Isaiah 26:20

Don’t get lost in your pain,
know that one day your pain
will become your cure.
– Rumi

Be quick to do good. If you are slow, the mind, delighting in mischief, will catch you.
– Teachings of the Buddha

Stop talking and thinking, and there is nothing you will not be able to know.
– Sosan Zenji

Bruce Cockburn:
If this were the last night of the world
What would I do?
What would I do that was different?
Unless it was champagne with you…

Ethan Nichtern:
My daughter, not yet three, just said to me “It’s OK dad. I’ll keep you safe.

I don’t think I’ve ever believed anything anyone has said to me quite as much as this.

Tao is everywhere. It cannot be kept from the sincere.
– Deng Ming-Dao

There’s a world of difference between insisting on someone’s doing something and establishing an atmosphere in which that person can grow into wanting to do it.
– Fred Rogers

T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights:
We do not measure the value of a person’s life based on their utility in society, their immigration status, their nationality, their fame, or even their character.

Each person is created in the image of the divine.

Each life is precious.

Intuitive Zen:
Your life is dead and boring only because you’ve opted for “safe love” rather than real love.

Who is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life.
– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Rob Hudson:
A basic income would have been so much easier and fairer.

A. N. Devers:
I am thinking 50 states was a bad idea.

we enter the unknown of our houses
– Linda Hogan

If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present.
– Wittgenstein

Tao following the way of the watercourse, as the heart/mind through meditation returns to the sea.
– Alan Watts

By now whatever
I see is lovely
seems a reflection of you.
– W.S. Merwin, Long Love

To close the book, close the books, and to face, all at once, not life, which is very big, but the fragile armor of the present.
– Alejandro Zamora, tr. Megan McDowell

Ethan Nichtern:
Increasingly, mental moments of “Hoping I get what I want” have transformed themselves into moments of “Hoping everyone has what they need.”

Those moments are so much more fulfilling.

Hope you’re having a few more of them, too.

Shira Erlichman:
I keep thinking about how Im still teaching poetry in these times & how, actually, it hasn’t become defunct or of less use, but rather, has tripled in its potency––we are crying, on screens, together; we are pouring over poems like bread; we are halving solitude & tripling light.

If I weep and wail, that shows
that I do not understand the rules of nature.
So I ceased weeping.
– Zhuangzi

Shara Lessley:
It’s kind of incredible to watch what all of the other governments are doing to take care of their people.

Kristen Arnett:
oh man after this maybe we can all stop lying about being proficient in excel on our resumes.

Yoko Ono:
Anything you do creatively will give you satisfaction and make you feel better about yourself and others.
Keep being creative and you will have so much love for yourself, the human race, the planet and the universe, you won’t know what hit you.

Airea D. Matthews:
May you find the poet in you and may they tell you they were never lost.

claire schwartz:
It’s okay to need poems right now. It’s okay not to need poems right now.

I expect some new religion
to rise up like tear gas
from the streets of New York
– Audre Lorde

Gary Snyder:
Empty mountains:
 no one to be seen.

Yet- hear-
 human sounds and echoes.

Returning sunlight
 enters the dark woods;

Again shining
 on the green moss, above.

Believe, meditate, see. Be harmless. Be blameless. Awake to the Dharma and from all sorrow free yourself.
– Gautama Buddha

Mindfulness Training:
If you didn’t come from a healthy family, make sure a healthy family comes from you.

There’s no situation we can’t make peace with.
– Byron Katie

Seamus Heaney:
If we winter this one out, we can summer anywhere.

There’s a part of all of us that longs to know that even what’s weakest about us is still redeemable and can ultimately count for something good.
– Fred Rogers

Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.
– Virginia Woolf

peter himmelman:
I work best in solitude most days. But the problems unfold when solitude starts to bleed into isolation. As challenging as the virus itself is, left unfulfilled, the human need to be close to others would seem to be equally so.

What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible.
– Theodore Roethke

As between clear blue and cloud,
Between haystack and sunset sky,
Between oak tree and slated roof,

I had my existence. I was there.
Me in place and the place in me.
– Seamus Heaney

To burn with desire
and keep quiet about it
is the greatest punishment
we can bring on ourselves.
– Federico García Lorca

Don’t believe it
It’s a lie

Actually, it was never true
what those now dead old men said
those who feared women, the feminine, the holy, the whole.

Time to say a prayer,
offer a eulogy (an honest one)
bury their ashes
and dance upon the Earthen grave above.

Don’t you think?

– David Bedrick

The pursuit of poetry is more a pursuit of question than answer.
– Eleni Sikelianos

William Blake:
The man who never alters his opinion
is like standing water,
and breeds reptiles of the mind.

Leonard Cohen:

I don’t consider myself a pessimist at all.
I think of a pessimist as someone
who is waiting for it to rain.
And I feel completely soaked to the skin.

I’m beginning to realize how careful
we must be with each other in this time.

People are extremely sensitive,
many without even realizing it.
Many are contradictory and volatile.
Many are still in denial. Many are very afraid.

What this virus is giving humanity
is a direct insight into what loss of control feels like. To realize that we can’t control something that we can’t see,
that we don’t know if we carry it,
or our friends carry it,
because we can’t get tested,
is shaking up the illusion quite a bit.
The illusion being, that we are in control.

Complete liberation is the freedom
from that illusion. It is incredibly liberating,
but the passage to realize
the ultimate absence of control
can be extremely challenging
(to the one that thinks it knows
how to be in control).
It tears down all the strategies
we have relied on to maintain that illusion.
We are shifting from what we have relied on,
to something we can’t “do”
in order to change a circumstance.

So, if we can recognize those that are in denial, or are angry, or are afraid,
that they might be beginning
to encounter the loss of those strategies.
Some of them might be unconsciously
getting in touch with what it would feel like
to lose control, and maybe its just too much
for them to handle,
which is completely understandable.
Because when control gets ripped away
from us, there is nothing to handle
(except in this case stay-at-home
and wash your hands,
and do your spiritual practices).

If we can understand
what people are going through,
and support them,
rather than judge them for their denial,
or their anger,
we can have a great insight
into the evolution of humanity,
as consciousness.
And yet, we can also still
hold each other accountable,
as we all need to be held accountable.
To see where we are coming from,
in each and every encounter,
will enable us to remain alert,
and compassionate.
– Joi Sharp

Remember, remember, this is now,
and now, and now.
Live it, feel it, cling to it.
I want to become acutely aware
of all I’ve taken for granted.
– Sylvia Plath

Trying to “raise your vibration” is a misunderstanding of your own being which consists of the whole frequency range. “Raising your vibration” only makes you ungrounded and unbalanced. Instead, look for an aligned vibration, a natural vibration, a true and authentic vibration.
– Intuitive Zen

If you try to block your emotions, that only cuts off your life force energy and leads to illness. Instead, channel that energy into life decisions you love and a life you love.
– Intuitive Zen

Monica Timbal:
A breath finer than the air
Supports the whole creation
Upholding life and death
On wings of sublime secrecy
And unnamed origins
Hidden
Behind your seeing
Behind your being,
Who told you that you were
Born in life?
Is not life born through you?
Carrying your thoughts
Yet thought cannot reach
Its profundity,
Without it, nothing is or isn’t
Outside the boundaries of time and space
Untouched and always unchanged
By moving pictures
In the game of human race,
The golden breath, the elusive self.

Our culture made a virtue of living only as extroverts. We discouraged the inner journey, the quest for a center. So we lost our center and have to find it again.
– Anaïs Nin

The welfare of the part
means the welfare of the whole,
and the distress of the part
brings distress to the whole.
– Shoghi Effendi

There are so many unsung heroines and heroes at this broken moment in our collective story, so many courageous persons who, unbeknownst to themselves, are holding together the world by their resolute love or contagious joy. Although I do not know your names, I can feel you out there.
– David Abram

Do you remember the story of the Chinese rainmaker told by Richard Wilhelm that greatly influenced Jung? A village is afflicted by a terrible drought. They send for a sage reputed to be a weather wizard. When he arrives he enters a house and secludes himself. Nobody sees him until days later when the rain comes.

Asked what he was doing the sage says, in paraphrase, “When I arrived at the village I felt a great imbalance in myself. I sequestered myself until I felt myself back in balance. Then the rains came.”

I feel myself in deep resonance with this story. I am grateful – since I have had to cancel or postpone so many in-person workshops and trainings – that I have online platforms for new courses and for interaction with our fabulous international dreaming community at a time when the tools and resources of Active Dreaming for soul and survival are more essential than ever.

However I am not inclined to expand my internet and air time right now and you may find me more taciturn on social media than before the pandemic. Like the character in the Chinese story, I feel the need to go deep within, in quiet and solitude, and seek to restore balance in myself and the world.

Stay safe and well and strong.

Bright blessings

– Robert Moss

It’s a rare human who can break free from their patterns and social structures to really live and feel life. But once you start seeing the internal and external systems of control, the whole thing starts to crumble.
– Intuitive Zen

Understand, I’ll slip quietly
away from the noisy crowd
when I see the pale
stars rising, blooming, over the oaks.

I’ll pursue solitary pathways
through the pale twilit meadows,
with only this one dream:

You come too.

– Rainer Maria Rilke, Pathways

I call monster any original, inexhaustible beauty.
– Alfred Jarry

The peak of that mountain formed of the wisdom of aliveness must be arrived at individually. Then we can see that the path differs for everyone. All trees grow toward the sun but each in its unique way.
– Eligio Stephen Gallegos,PhD, Into Wholeness: The Path of Deep Imagery

In truth we have been so preoccupied with the outer aspects of mythology that we have failed to realize that it is the inner, the subjective, dimension of mythology that is the potent healing place in each individual. The journey, once told, is what we take mythology to be. But the myth came forth spontaneously in a human being before it ever became a story told. And it came forth for the purposes of healing and growing that individual; it was a specific, unique, personal experience.
– Eligio Stephen Gallegos, PhD, Into Wholeness: The Path of Deep Imagery

Time seems to pass. The world happens, unrolling into moments, and you stop to glance at a spider pressed to its web. There is a quickness of light and a sense of things outlined precisely and streaks of running luster on the bay. You know more surely who you are on a strong bright day after a storm when the smallest falling leaf is stabbed with self-awareness. The wind makes a sound in the pines and the world comes into being, irreversibly, and the spider rides the wind-swayed web.
– Don DeLillo

Dead Stars
by Ada Limón

Out here, there’s a bowing even the trees are doing.
Winter’s icy hand at the back of all of us.
Black bark, slick yellow leaves, a kind of stillness that feels
so mute it’s almost in another year.

I am a hearth of spiders these days: a nest of trying.

We point out the stars that make Orion as we take out
the trash, the rolling containers a song of suburban thunder.

It’s almost romantic as we adjust the waxy blue
recycling bin until you say, Man, we should really learn
some new constellations.

And it’s true. We keep forgetting about Antlia, Centaurus,
Draco, Lacerta, Hydra, Lyra, Lynx.

But mostly we’re forgetting we’re dead stars too, my mouth is full
of dust and I wish to reclaim the rising—

to lean in the spotlight of streetlight with you, toward
what’s larger within us, toward how we were born.

Look, we are not unspectacular things.
We’ve come this far, survived this much. What

would happen if we decided to survive more? To love harder?

What if we stood up with our synapses and flesh and said, No.
No, to the rising tides.

Stood for the many mute mouths of the sea, of the land?

What would happen if we used our bodies to bargain

for the safety of others, for earth,
if we declared a clean night, if we stopped being terrified,

if we launched our demands into the sky, made ourselves so big
people could point to us with the arrows they make in their minds,

rolling their trash bins out, after all of this is over?

Nothing about you needs to be destroyed, or razed; no warfare is necessary.
– Chogyam Trungpa

It’s like the sky. Whenever you’re in a hot spot or feeling uncomfortable, whenever you’re caught up and don’t know what to do, you can find someplace where you can go and look at the sky and experience some freshness, free of hope and fear, free of bias and prejudice, just completely open. And this is accessible to us all the time. Space permeates everything, every moment of our lives.
– Pema Chodron

Maybe we, too, are living like dead people. We move about life in our own corpse because we are not touching life in depth. We live a kind of artificial life, with lots of plans, lots of worries and anger. Never are we able to establish ourselves in the here and now and live our lives deeply. We have to wake up! We have to make it possible for the moment of awareness to manifest. This is the practice will save us – this is the revolution.

Has the most wonderful moment of your life already happened? Ask yourself that question. Most of us will answer that it hasn’t happened yet, but that it could happen at any time. No matter how old we are, we tend to feel that the most wonderful moment of our life has not happened yet. We fear maybe it’s too late, but we are still hoping. But the truth is, if we continue to live in forgetfulness – that is, without the presence of mindfulness – the moment is never going to happen.

The teaching of the Buddha tells you clearly and plainly to make this the most magnificent and wonderful moment of your life. This present moment must become the most wonderful moment in your life. All you need to transform this present moment into a wonderful one is freedom. All you need to do is free yourself from your worries and preoccupations about the past, the future.


– Thich Nhat Hanh

No matter what the universe has in store, it cannot take away from the fact that you were born. You’ll have some joy and some pain, and all the other experiences that make up what it’s like to be a tiny part of a grand cosmos. No matter what happens next, you were here. And even when any record of our individual lives is lost to the ages, that won’t detract from the fact that we were. We lived. We were part of the enormity. All the great and terrible parts of being alive, the shocking sublime beauty and heartbreak, the monotony, the interior thoughts, the shared pain and pleasure. It really happened. All of it. On this little world that orbits a yellow star out in the great vastness. And that alone is cause for celebration.
– Sasha Sagan, For Small Creatures Such as We

The question sacrifice ask is; “What are you willing to give up to ensure your own unfolding, and the unfolding of what is holy in your life?” Each time we sacrifice — each time we let go of something, die to an old way of being, relinquish our grip on the fruit– we are practicing for bigger and bigger surrenders, and eventually for growing old gracefully and — a tough one– dying. We all owe god a death, Shakespeare once said, so we owe it to ourselves to practice for the occasion whenever possible.
– Gregg Levoy

Each transition requires that you end one thing—a mind-set, a lifestyle, a trade—before beginning another, and as such these transitions involve both fear and elation, terrible anxiety and tremendous freedom, the freedom to make new choices, to redefine your life. At some point you simply have to make a leap of at least some distance. But you also have to be gentle with yourself. Big transitions are by their very nature dramatic and effortful, and growth always in some sense violent and disruptive. Treat yourself as if you were in a cocoon, not a padded cell. On the other hand, do not be so easy on yourself that you cheat yourself out of changes you really need to make.
– Gregg Levoy

Camas Lilies
by Lynn Ungar

Consider the lilies of the field,
the blue banks of camas opening
into acres of sky along the road.
Would the longing to lie down
and be washed by that beauty
abate if you knew their usefulness,
how the natives ground their bulbs
for flour, how the settlers’ hogs
uprooted them, grunting in gleeful
oblivion as the flowers fell?
And you—what of your rushed
and useful life? Imagine setting it all down—
papers, plans, appointments, everything—
leaving only a note: “Gone
to the fields to be lovely. Be back
when I’m through with blooming.”
Even now, unneeded and uneaten,
the camas lilies gaze out above the grass
from their tender blue eyes.
Even in sleep your life will shine.
Make no mistake. Of course
your work will always matter.
Yet Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these.

In this strange, terrible, graceful time, I feel a quiet compassion settling over the land. And here in the virtual landscape of facebook, I am seeing much more healing and creativity, with much less hateful political polarization. It is a time of purification, filled with tragedy and beauty. When we have the courage to whisper the mantra, “I don’t know,” the mind sinks into the heart.
– Fred LaMotte

A fierce message from Rumi, one I need to hear right now: A Man Talking to His House

I say that no one in this caravan is awake
and that while you sleep, a thief is stealing

the signs and symbols of what you thought
was your life. Now you’re angry with me for

telling you this! Pay attention to those who
hurt your feelings telling you the truth.

Giving and absorbing compliments is like
trying to paint on water, that insubstantial.

Here is how a man once talked with his house,
“Please, if you’re ever about to collapse,

let me know.” One night without a word the
house fell. “What happened to our agreement?”

The house answered, “Day and night I’ve been
telling you with cracks and broken boards and

holes appearing like mouths opening. But you
kept patching and filling those with mud, so

proud of your stopgap masonry. You didn’t
listen.” This house is your body always

saying, I’m leaving; I’m going soon. Don’t
hide from one who knows the secret. Drink

the wine of turning toward God. Don’t examine
your urine. Examine instead how you praise,

what you wish for, this longing we’ve been
given. Fall turns pale yellow light wanting

spring and spring arrives! Trees blossom.
Come to the orchard and see what comes to

you, a silent conversation with your soul.
– Jelalludin Rumi, tr. Coleman Barks

Death is around. Please don’t turn away too quickly.

Denial makes death angry; denial makes death’s power bigger; denial makes death grow closer, trying to reach us.

It needn’t stop your living impulses (although death is part of living), but it needs some space – a meditation, a prayer, a candle, some tears, some crying out, a conversation with a friend, a poem.

It needs some reflection. Here is meditation that arises in me as I asked Spirit for her guidance this morning. Perhaps it will resonate for you, even a little.

Dear Death: I know you are nearby. I sense you with one of my senses – in the tiredness of my body, in a vision I can see, in a memory of a loss, in a fear that something could happen to me or a loved one, in the Earth or corral reefs that are ill in places.

I sense you in one of these places and I will keep my attention with you, on you. I will let the tiredness drop me down all the way for some minutes. I will look at that vision, remember that loss, allow that fear to touch me more deeply, weep for that piece of Earth.

And now that I am with you, have allowed you to touch me for this moment, I will live a little closer to knowing you as I move through my day, bringing me closer to my heart, my desire to live, or my realization that it is time for something in me to surrender, to let go, to die a little.

Dear Friends: Please don’t ignore the death that is growing so fast right now. Take a homeopathic dose, it can help build your immune system. It may even save your life.

Much love to all.

– David Bedrick

“ECONOMY”: From the Greek “ecos,” home, “nomos,” law or rule. Economy: governing from the home.

Ecology: Earth Household – Gary Snyder

If we were able to speak to her, what comment would she pass on the pathological effects of our ignorance–the pollution of her earth, her seas, her air, the abysmal and wanton sacrifice of animals and the contamination with toxins and pesticides of the food and water that is her gift of life to us? And what of the torture, rape and murder of men, women and children in war, the use of explosives to destroy flesh and bone, the agony of orphaned, abandoned, murdered and maimed children? To hear her answer, we would have to attune ourselves to her being. We would have to listen with her ear to the voice of the suffering we bring into being by our ignorance of the oneness and divinity of life. We would have radically to change our habits of behaviour and become more consciously aware that the suffering we inflict on others is actually suffering that we are inflicting on the “body” of spirit: that Spirit suffers through our suffering.

If we could sense her Presence, surely we would awaken to the sacredness and divinity of life. We would begin to see matter and our own bodies in a different light. We would treat them with greater respect. If we could awaken to her voice, we could bring matter and spirit, body and soul together, healing the deep wounds inflicted by the beliefs and concepts which have separated them. Even as we accomplish this, we would begin to transmit the light and love flowing to all creation from the Holy Spirit.

– Anne Baring, Awakening to the Divine Feminine and the Soul. The Black Madonna, Divine Wisdom, the Holy Spirit

Tension against the stream is habitual, and the frustration which it engenders is chronic. If I believe that I would like to break a habit, that very wish is another form of the same tension. And this in turn is a form of the basic un-get-at-ability of it.
– Alan Watts

Someone tell the Lord to leave me alone.
I’ve had enough of his love
that feels like burning and flight and running away.

– Li-Young Lee

it is wild country here
brothers and sisters
– Lucile Clifton

The magnitude of the love that lay at the font of creation was beyond description. To awaken to this love was to remember a primordial decision that I had somehow participated in. It was part of my spiritual genetic make-up, something I had inherited along with everything else that I had not understood about my life. Remembering choices made before matter and time even existed, I reconnected with the divine love that had inspired these choices. This experience completely shattered my heart, and I wept deeply.

From this perspective, I experienced all the suffering that humanity had endured as taking place not outside this love but inside it. I realised that all the suffering inherent in evolution was noble beyond words. It was all part of a cosmic plan that had been entered into freely by all participants, however unconscious of this fact we had become along the way. The nobility of great suffering voluntarily shouldered in the name of Divine Love, suffering that would stretch across millions of years, suffering that would become so utterly inscrutable that it would be used as evidence that the universe itself was devoid of compassion, this was the nobility of humanity’s gift to the Creator. All of the suffering that humanity had endured and would continue to endure, especially the suffering of forgetfulness itself, was part of a consciously chosen creative process, a process that had not yet come to full fruition.

I saw that out of the seething desires of history, out of the violent conflicts and of the scheming of individuals and nations, there was now driving forward a new awareness in human consciousness. Its birth in us no less difficult or violent than the birth of a new continent through volcanic upheaval. It drives upward from the floor of our being, requiring a transposition of everything that has gone before to make room for its new organisational patterns.

The great difficulty I have is describing the enormity of what is being birthed. The true focus of this creative process is not individuals but all humanity. It is actually trying to reawaken the entire species. What is emerging is a consciousness of unprecedented proportions, the entire human species integrated into a unified field of awareness. The species reconnected with its fundamental nature.
– Christopher Bache, Dark Night, Early Dawn

And there came that day
when our world was turned upside-down,
inverted – The river still flowed
yet opposite the direction we were used to;

Springtime’s budding blooms burrowed
into ground with those souls planting them,
diverted – The gulls still found
fish on which to feed, plunging into heaven;

As passers-by observed the scene
aside their own skyward reflection –
All continuing onward, across the horizon
and forward-moving, still walking

Together, only much more separately.

– Hollace M Metzger

One of the people I most admire is this wonderful priest in Los Angeles, named Father Greg Boyle, he works with the gang population. And he found that the key to healing was unconditional love.
He uses these words: “For healing to take place, it has to take place in the context of a irresistible culture of tenderness, in which each person knows that they are cherished.
So, when I heard those words, I was so excited, I thought, “That’s what I want to say”. And then, I got that the “irresistible culture of tenderness” has to be established not just between people, but in every cell in the body.
– Cynthia Lane, Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

The ancient Athenians had a word for that moment when some intangible part of ourselves leaves our bodies and touches a living intelligence in the world: aisthēsis. There is an exchange of soul essence accompanied by a gasp of recognition, a deep breath, an inspiration. In the modern West we are trained to discount such experiences, to forget them. But, perhaps out of stubbornness, I have always remembered those moments. For example, one time I lay with my great-grandfather by the banks of a pond in rural Indiana. We did not talk. We just lay side by side, and in that silence something of him came into me, and something of me went into him. The poet Robert Bly has said that something necessary to our humanity is passed on in moments of silence between the man and the boy, the woman and the girl. I also remember a time when I hesitated by my grandfather’s open study door while he was working. For some reason the light in the room had a particular radiance that day. It seemed as if I were seeing a deeper light within the everyday light. That room took on a living radiance, almost a velvety fragrance that I could feel. And the silence there was itself a kind of sound. My grandfather and I exchanged a glance and were held suspended in time while the metaphysical background of the world intruded on our waking experience.

The moment passed, as these moments always do, but we were left changed in its wake. All of us have moments like that, but sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and cherish them — though it seems that poets and small children always do. These experiences are the source of much beauty in our lives.
– Stephen Harrod Buhner

It is possible to have the mind so still and so calm and so peaceful that we can hear the sound of the trees when there is no wind.
– Arvid Straube

An invincible wall, the wall of poetry, enclosing the citadel of art. Wherein the ideas stroll naked.

– Fausto Melotti

Ram Dass:
Bearing the unbearable is the deepest root
of compassion in the world.
When you bear what you think you cannot bear, who you think you are dies.
You become compassion.
You don’t have compassion –
you are compassion.

True compassion goes beyond empathy
to being with the experience of another.
You become an instrument of compassion.

Fear the Right Thing
by Robert A. F. Thurman

We all think that fear is awful and painful,
yet the Buddhists—the master psychologists for thousands of years—don’t include fear
in the long list of mental afflictions contained in the Abhidharma, the core teachings on Buddhist psychology. Anger is mentioned. Impatience is mentioned. Many other familiar afflictions are mentioned. But not fear.
I’ve always thought that was curious,
but if we consider it closely, we’ll see a way
in which it makes sense.

Being free of fear is certainly praised
in the buddhadharma. One of the three major types of giving is giving someone protection from fear. It’s the essence of the abhaya,
the no-fear mudra. This is the famous gesture of the Buddha where he holds up his hand, palm out. Indeed, when you become a buddha, you become fearless.

Under normal circumstances fear is not
a problem, which is why it’s not listed
among the afflictions. Fear is a healthy thing,
in general. It is awareness of danger.
Fear is protective; it’s what helps us
to avoid wandering into a hungry lion’s den.

So fear is helpful in that everyday sense.
It is also helpful in the Buddhist sense,
in the form of fear of suffering,
embodied in the first noble truth.
The truth of suffering is not a doomsday prediction. It is not expressing
an inevitable destiny. On the contrary,
it alerts us to the fact that we are not
being aware of what we really are.
We are deluded about suffering.
We ought to be aware of our suffering.
We should be afraid of suffering, in fact. Otherwise, why would we have any reason
to do anything about it?

Fear will motivate us to try to understand
the world and ourselves, and when we do,
we will come to appreciate the second noble truth: that suffering is caused by a habit
of constructing an absolute self.
We go through life being absolute,
as if no one else matters, but we can look
at that habit and come to learn
that it doesn’t work. We can develop
deep concentration, deep meditation
about that and ultimately free ourselves
from that gut feeling of being “the real me,” opposed to everything and everyone else.
If we don’t overcome this sense
of self-absoluteness, we will descend
into the lower realms of being.
That is something it is reasonable to fear.

The third noble truth is nirvana—
the fact that it is possible to become permanently free of suffering and yet not dead. Many people in America think they’re going
to be permanently free of suffering
just by dying, but the third noble truth tells us that it is possible to be free of suffering
and also be alive. That is ultimate fearlessness. And the Buddha offered us
a means to realize this in the form of the fourth noble truth, which describes an educational process involving study, concentration, meditation, and changing your lifestyle.

If you follow this path, you can reach a stage where you’re connected to your own nobleness and the nobleness of others. You realize
there is no absolute self, and therefore the self is a flexible, relational thing, like an aikido master of reality. You understand yourself
as interwoven with the universe.
You have diminished your sense of isolation and alienation from others,
your disconnectedness from the world.
You have increased and intensified your sense of connection to the world. You do not fear
that connectedness.

It is said that out of ignorance we fear
what we should not fear, and we are not afraid of what we should be afraid of.
Normally we fear the connectedness,
but it is in fact the disconnectedness
that we ought to be afraid of.
Starting out with the right kind of fear
is the way to fearlessness.

You’ve been making the wrong mistakes.
– Thelonious Monk

Restore your attention or bring it to a new level by dramatically slowing down whatever you’re doing.
– Sharon Salzberg

I should love my neighbour not because he is neighbourhood, — for what is there in neighbourhood and distance? nor because the religions tell me he is my brother, — for where is the root of that brotherhood? but because he is myself. Neighbourhood and distance affect the body, the heart goes beyond them. Brotherhood is of blood or country or religion or humanity, but when self-interest clamours what becomes of this brotherhood? It is only by living in God & turning mind and heart & body into the image of his universal unity that that deep, disinterested and unassailable love becomes possible.
– Sri Aurobindo

If I throw a manuscript into the forest did I just submit it to nature.
– Alexander Lin

I hated childhood
I hate adulthood
And I love being alive.
– Mary Ruefle

Remove duality and do away
with all disputes….
*
Deem everyone virtuous,
there are no thieves.
For, within everybody … HE
himself resides.
How the Trickster has put
on a mask!

– Baba Bulleh Shah

Hope is not about proving anything. Its’s about choosing to believe this one thing: that love is bigger than any grim, bleak shit anyone can throw at us.
– Annie Lamott

When I Am Among the Trees
by Mary Oliver
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

I composed a beautiful letter to you in the sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone: I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way…This letter is just really a squeal of pain.

– Vita Sackville-West to Virginia Woolf

Praying
It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
– Mary Oliver

The highest truth is to delete, not to add. To get rid of the things you believe in now. So empty yourself out totally and completely. All of your ideas, your feelings, all have to be emptied out of you. When you become totally and completely empty there is nothing you have to do to fill it up again. Emptiness is realization. Emptiness is Brahman. Emptiness is the Self. Emptiness is your real nature.
– Robert Adams

Most people die before they are fully born. Creativeness means to be born before one dies.
– Erich Fromm

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of
colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the
night.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Just as love for one individual which excludes the love for others is not love, love for one’s country which is not part of one’s love for humanity is not love, but idolatrous worship.
– Erich Fromm

There are more fake guides, teachers in the world than stars. The real guide is the one who makes you see your inner beauty, not the one who wants to be admired and followed.
– Shams Tabrizi

[Happiness] is the purging of mental toxins, such as hatred and obsession.
– Matthieu Ricard

I have built you a shore with all my best words & still, the waves.
– Claire Schwartz

Each person has inside a basic decency and goodness. If he listens to it and acts on it, he is giving a great deal of what it is the world need most. It is not complicated but it takes courage. It takes courage for a person to listen to his own goodness and act on it.
– Pablo Casals

Although we say mountains belong to the country, actually, they belong to those that love them.
– Dōgen Zenji

A friend is what the heart needs all the time.
– Henry Van Dyke

I came to embrace reality with all my heart.
– Byron Katie

It’s like the sky. Whenever you’re in a hot spot or feeling uncomfortable, whenever you’re caught up and don’t know what to do, you can find someplace where you can go and look at the sky and experience some freshness, free of hope and fear, free of bias and prejudice, just completely open. And this is accessible to us all the time. Space permeates everything, every moment of our lives.
– Pema Chodron

Imagine with me for a moment–
don’t worry, I’m not saying it’s real.
Imagine, if you can, that there has been
not a calamity, but a great awakening.
Pretend, just for a moment,
that we all so loved our threatened earth
that we stopped going on cruises,
limited international flights,
worked on cherishing the places
where we already are.
In this pretty fantasy, everyone who possibly can
stops commuting. Spends the extra time
with their kids or pets or garden.
We have the revelation that everyone
needs health care, sick leave, steady work.
lt occurs to us that health care workers
are heroes. Also teachers.
Not to mention the artists of all kinds
who teach us resilience and joy.
Imagine, if you will,
that we turned to our neighbors
in mutual aid, trading eggs for milk,
checking in on those who are elderly
or alone. Imagine that each of us
felt suddenly called to wonder
In this moment, what does the world
need from me? What are my gifts?
Yes, I know it’s just a fantasy.
The world could never change
so radically overnight.
But imagine.
– Lynn Ungar

America can break your heart.
– W. H. Auden

The present convergence of crises––in money, energy, education, health, water, soil, climate, politics, the environment, and more––is a birth crisis, expelling us from the old world into a new.

We sense that ‘normal’ isn’t coming back, that we are being born into a new normal: a new kind of society, a new relationship to the earth, a new experience of being human.
– Charles Eisenstein

if you’re writing or editing or working on a book right now, it may be incredibly difficult because the future is so uncertain. but every word you put on paper is an affirmation of the fact that there will be a future. it’s a profound act of faith.
– Talia Lavin

Becoming liberated from samsara is an inner journey. You can travel across the world and universe, and you will not find a way out. To get out, you must go in.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

Umbrella, light, landscape, sky.
There is no language of the holy.
The sacred lies in the ordinary.
– Deng Ming-Dao

A Twist in the Road

One day there was a twist
or turning in the road
and after that
I was no longer
part of the crowd.
Although to be quite honest
I had never been part
of any crowd or group
or gathering.
Because I always knew
that I was different,
set apart as if
there was something wrong
with me,
a birth defect,
an incapacity that I had
no name for,
that I compensated for
by the knowing itself,
and thus defined myself
as the unfortunate other,
homeless in the sense
of one who has no home,
just a restless discomfort,
never fully assuaged.

Dante said, “Midway in the journey of our life
I found myself lost in a dark wood,”
and thus began his story of his
long journey home,
arrival at the place
where the angels danced,
where the air smelled
of a sweetness
like honey made by
sacred bees,
like perfume manufactured
by the apprentice gods
learning to be holy.
His journey took years (metaphorically),
lifetimes maybe,
but mine took only seconds,
or seemed to make a transition
from one state to the next
in the famous blink of
the famous eye,
and left me stunned,
immersed in rapture
before I had time
to name it or wonder
about it,
I knew only
that I was being overwhelmed
by an unknown force,
commanded by love
to release all remorse
and regret
and simply be
that which was happening
from which I could never return.

And now I was outside
the outsiders,
alien among aliens,
stranger even to that reality
of suffering I had claimed
as my own.

And so I became other,
both witness and alchemical subject,
experiment in progress
and new being in love with
and loved by the invisible,
nameless suitor,
self rediscovered at last.
– Dorothy Walters

To Be of Use
I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.
– Marge Piercy

There is a wonderful intelligence to the unconscious. It’s always smarter than we are.
– Russell Banks

Octopus Empire
by Marilyn Nelson
What if the submarine
is praying for a way
it can poison the air,
in which some of them have
leaped for a few seconds,
felt its suffocating
rejected buoyancy.
Something floats above their
known world leading a wake
of uncountable death.
What if they organized
into a rebellion?

Now scientists have found
a group of octopuses
who seem to have a sense
of community, who
live in dwellings made of
gathered pebbles and shells,
who cooperate, who
defend an apparent
border. Perhaps they’ll have
a plan for the planet
in a millennium
or two. After we’re gone.

…Everything and everyone is precious beyond words. Everything and everyone is holy. And the point of our being on this sweet planet is to be of service to it all. And when we understand this truth in our bones, joy fills our hearts.
– Geri Larkin

We move, we love, we cry out,
we hold or cannot hold to what we are
and finally wake to find ourselves
changed beyond all imagining.
Was it enough to have lived?
In that moment of still approach,
will it be given to us to know?
– Elizabeth Spires

There are periods in human existence when the inevitability of a great upheaval, of a cataclysm that shakes society to its very roots, imposes itself on every area of our relationships. At such epochs, all people of good will begin to realize that things cannot go on as they are; that we need great events that roughly break the thread of history, shake humanity out of the ruts in which it is stuck and propel it toward new ways, toward the unknown. …
– Pyotr Kropotkin

Threshold
by Newton Smith
It has happened.
You thought you had some control
of your life
and that you were in a place
you understood
in a time that moved
from a past you knew
to a future that followed
in a more or less straight line.
But here you are at the edge
of a shore, the shallow waves
washing over your feet
taking the sand you stand on
away and suddenly you wonder
if all the ground beneath you
is disappearing.
You have stepped through the threshold.
The door closed and locked behind you.
You are on the other side.
You try to forget it, distract yourself,
but nothing works.
You check your messages.
The doctor’s office left a number
on your phone.
Is it is a blood test result,
survival rate for treatment,
or days left to live?
Now you are alone.
After the panic subsides you stand there
looking around.
Everything is fresh,
colors are vivid,
you can smell scents,
even subtle ones,
and your hearing is sharp.
You feel the breeze on your skin
and the tickle of hairs moving
across your brow.
You are pierced through
with the inexplicable joy
at having nothing.
The sand forms around your foot
and the water wipes out all traces of your path.
Everywhere you turn there is something new
and the space around you
holds you gently
as it spills out and becomes
a part of the expanding world.
So many things are remarkable now.
Here is the freedom that always frightened you.
You have forgotten your name
and it does not matter.

Something deep in the human soul awakens as things fall apart. Something in the soul knows that everything in this world can become lost. And something in the soul knows how to survive periods of devastation, disorientation and loss. Descent and falling is the way of the soul from its beginning. We each fell from the womb of life when the waters of the inner sea broke and it came time for us to breathe on our own. We continue to descend in order to become ourselves more fully, in order to find our own inner depths and be born again from within. A specific gravity brought each of us here and at times we must descend further, for our soul would have us understand who we already are at our core and in our depths.
– Michael Meade, Why the World Doesn’t End

You don’t have to know how it’s all going to work out.
You don’t have to know where it begins and ends.
Just know there is goodness in the middle of this mess
And breathe.
You don’t have to be a superhero today.
You don’t have save the world.
Just hold someone you love tightly in your arms
And breathe.
You don’t have to predict the future.
You don’t even have to see a silver lining in the latest catastrophe.
Just notice the sky above your head.
And breathe.
You don’t have to know all the words.
You don’t have to speak with conviction.
Just say, “I am here,”
And breathe.
I often forget there is something I can do when I don’t know what to do:
Breathe
There’s something miraculous about breathing
That unravels the kinks
Offers perspective
And provides clarity.
There’s something magical about surrendering in moments of doubt
That calms anxiety
And reveals possibilities.
Perhaps you don’t have to have the slightest idea
Or even a shred of hope right now.
I know what to do:
Breathe
Just breathe.
It may be the answer you’re looking for.
– Rachel Macy Stafford

I have no name,
I am as the fresh breeze of the mountains.
I have no shelter;
I am as the wandering waters.
I have no sanctuary, like the dark gods;
Nor am I in the shadow of deep temples.
I have no sacred books;
Nor am I well-seasoned in tradition.
I am not in the incense
Mounting on the high altars,
Nor in the pomp of ceremonies.
I am neither in the graven image,
Nor in the rich chant of a melodious voice.
I am not bound by theories,
Nor corrupted by beliefs.
I am not held in the bondage of religions,
Nor in the pious agony of their priests.
I am not entrapped by philosophies,
Nor held in the power of their sects.
I am neither low nor high,
I am the worshipper and the worshipped.
I am free.
My song is the song of the river
Calling for the open seas,
Wandering, wandering,
I am Life.
I have no name,
I am as the fresh breeze of the mountains.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

First of all, it is absolutely necessary
to establish the correct view.
To establish the view means to acquire complete certainty about the absolute truth, which is that the phenomenal world,
though obviously appearing and functioning,
is utterly devoid of any ultimate reality.
This view of all phenomena as appearing
yet void is the seed from which the perfect fruit of enlightenment will grow.
The first step in establishing the view
is to acquire a proper understanding
of the teachings about it. Then, to incorporate the view into our inner experience,
we put it into practice over and over again;
this is the meditation. Maintaining our experience of the view at all times
and under all circumstances is the action. Through the constant combination of these three—view, meditation, and action—
the fruit of the practice of Dharma
will fully ripen. As the saying goes,
“When milk is carefully churned,
butter is produced.”
What are the fruits of practice?
Gentleness and self-discipline are indications of understanding; freedom from obscuring emotions is the sign of meditation. These and all the spiritual qualities of liberation will take root in our being and will be expressed effortlessly in our actions. Establishing the view is like recognizing the qualities and usefulness of a particular tool. Meditation is like shopping for this tool, acquiring it, and learning how to use it. Action is like putting it to skillful use all the time. The fruit corresponds to the completed tasks or finished products that come from its use. The third part of the text shows how the results of the practice find expression in a daily life free from preoccupation with worldly affairs and in harmony with the teachings.
As we develop a strong feeling of revulsion for saṃsāra, overcome the delusion that saṃsāra will bring happiness, and immerse ourselves in the practice of Dharma, a growing sense of freedom will naturally arise: we are simply no longer attracted to things that cause suffering. Only by turning our minds away from worldly goals and developing a genuine determination to be free can the goal of liberation be reached…
Alas for people in this age of residues!
The mind’s wholesome core of truth has withered, and people live deceitfully,
So their thoughts are warped, their speech is twisted,
They cunningly mislead others—who can trust them?
In the golden age, the age of perfection, there was no need for sunlight or moonlight, for beings radiated light from their own bodies. They could move miraculously through space, and they lived without needing any solid food.
All creatures naturally abided by the ten virtues. But, as time passed, they began to harm each other, to be ruled by their desires, to steal, and to lie. They lost their natural radiance and had to depend on sun and moon for light; they lost their ability to fly; they began to need solid nourishment, and when eventually the spontaneous harvest and the bountiful cow disappeared, they had to toil to produce their food.
Now in our present epoch, all that remains of the qualities of the golden age are residues, like the unappealing left-over scraps of a sumptuous feast. Anyone with eyes of wisdom seeing the miserable condition of people in this decadent age cannot help but feel great compassion.
In this age of conflict people are ill intentioned and full of deceit. They put themselves first and disregard the needs of others. Whoever flatters them they regard as a friend; whoever contradicts or opposes them they see as an enemy.
As these attitudes gradually distort all their actions, words, and thoughts, people become more and more warped and twisted, like crooked old trees, until finally their mentality degenerates so far that any notion of right and wrong is completely lost.
We are in an age when anger, craving, ambition, stupidity, pride, and jealousy are the rule of the day. It is an age when the sun of Dharma is already sinking behind the shoulders of the western mountains, when most of the great teachers have left for other realms, when practitioners go astray in their meditation, and when neither lay people nor the ordained act according to the Dharma.
People may obtain some transient advantage from the misguided values of these times, but ultimately they are cheating no one but themselves.
The poisonous emotions that saturate people’s minds in this dark era are the principal cause
of their wandering in the endless cycle
of saṃsāra. To deal with those emotions
we need to keep a constant vigilance,
following the example of the Kadampa masters, who used to say:
I will hold the spear of mindfulness
at the gate of the mind,
And when the emotions threaten,
I, too, will threaten them;
When they relax their grip,
only then will I relax mine.
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

As I see it, there isn’t so much to do.
Just be ordinary — put on your robes,
eat your food, and pass the time
doing nothing.
– Linji Yixuan, The Record of Linji

What We’ve Been Waiting For
We will be able to approach the plants,
at night,
the rivers,
shamelessly,
meekly,
with clear eyes,
with calm hands;
and we will use substantial words
authentic;
not like those words bristling with malice
or those who are drowned
in syrupy stanzas
and corrupted whipped egg;
but simple words,
words made of springs,
words made of roots,
making us more close
in the distance,
or better yet
we’ll remain silent
to take the pulse of everything that exists
and to live the miracle of everything surrounding us,
while someone is telling us,
with a voice of oak,
what for centuries
we’ve been waiting for.
– Oliverio Girondo
(version by JL Soler)

TO BE HELD
by Linda Hogan⁣

To be held⁣⁣
by the light⁣⁣
was what I wanted,⁣⁣
to be a tree drinking the rain,⁣⁣
no longer parched in this hot land.⁣⁣
To be roots in a tunnel growing⁣⁣
but also to be sheltering the inborn leaves⁣⁣
and the green slide of mineral⁣⁣
down the immense distances⁣⁣
into infinite comfort⁣⁣
and the land here, only clay,⁣⁣
still contains and consumes⁣⁣
the thirsty need⁣⁣
the way a tree always shelters the unborn life⁣⁣
waiting for the healing⁣⁣
after the storm⁣⁣
which has been our life.⁣⁣
⁣⁣
⁣+ We don’t have many words about the ache we feel when missing the touch of our community. The longing of skin to skin contact, a lover’s embrace, grandma’s kiss on your cheek, or an unexpected, but invited opportunity to hold hands with someone new. We are weathering this together, in all the many ways we are called to, and can only say — we miss you all, and hope to hold you again soon.

When we are sick, we stay in bed and do nothing. Often we don’t even eat or drink. All of our energy is directed toward healing. We need to practice resting even when we are not sick. Sitting meditation, walking meditation, and mindful eating are good opportunities for resting. When you feel agitated, if you are able to go to a park or a garden, it is an opportunity for rest. If you walk slowly and remember to take it easy, if you are able to sit and do nothing from time to time, you can rest deeply and enter a state of true ease.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

The reason why the universe is eternal
is that it does not live for itself;
it gives life to others as it transforms.
– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Silence is the beginning of purifying the soul.
– St Basil the Great

Haiku

When oxygen is
the new enlightenment for
lungs praying for air.

I send gifs, photos,
youtube songs for some comfort
in isolation.

She is too wiped out
to respond like she did once,
24 hours ago

when everything was
different- the god of air-
is the one she calls.

– M.S.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

Music will help dissolve your perplexities
and purify your character and sensibilities,
and in time of care and sorrow,
will keep a fountain of joy alive in you.

Some say that love never judges. I disagree.

My love can judge, and when I’m up to love’s demand, I do it clearly, directly, and judiciously in service of soul and others.

Some say love never hates. I disagree.

My love has integrated a homeopathic dose of hate, making it stand strongly, even unmovable at times.

Some say love is always open hearted. I disagree.

My love also protects, includes a fierce “No,” and is free to close up and set boundaries in service of my own and others’ well being.

Some say love is never violent. I disagree.

My love sometimes rips the mask off the face of lies, denial, veneers of inauthenticity, and deceptive packaging.

When I truly follow love’s dictates, allow love to do its beautiful and terrifying work, I am awed by the mysteries of intimacy, power, truth and beauty it reveals to me.
– David Bedrick

The Kabbalists also call this non-dimensional level of reality the domain of yechidah, which means “singularity”.
It is a singularity in that whatever particular is right in front of your face contains every other particular in reality. Literally everything is in everything. Every particular that ever was, is, and will be is in each and every other particular. Whatever the experience is, it is a singular experience. It is all right here, right now without even being a here or a now.

The implications of this realization are enormous, because it means that everything that ever was, is, and will be is right here, right now. This is the kind of perception that begins to open up. Basically, the non-dimensional truth of Adam Kadmon collapses all concepts of “distance”. It erases the concept that there is a distance between moments in time or between points in space or between particular people. So you can have experiences like being somebody else, being animals, or being somewhere else, because it is happening right here. Everything happens in parallel but interpenetrating realities.

– Zvi Ish-Shalom, The Kedumah Experience: The Primordial Torah

The Bowl
by Jane Hirshfield
If meat is put into the bowl, meat is eaten.

If rice is put into the bowl, it may be cooked.

If a shoe is put into the bowl,
the leather is chewed and chewed over,
a sentence that cannot be taken in or forgotten.

A day, if a day could feel, must feel like a bowl.
Wars, loves, trucks, betrayals, kindness,
it eats them.

Then the next day comes, spotless and hungry.

The bowl cannot be thrown away.
It cannot be broken.

It is calm, uneclipsable, rindless,
and, big though it seems, fits exactly in two human hands.

Hands with ten fingers,
fifty-four bones,
capacities strange to us almost past measure.
Scented—as the curve of the bowl is—
with cardamom, star anise, long pepper, cinnamon, hyssop

It’s This Way
by Nazim Hikmet
I stand in the advancing light,
my hands hungry, the world beautiful.
My eyes can’t get enough of the trees–
they’re so hopeful, so green.
A sunny road runs through the mulberries,
I’m at the window of the prison infirmary.
I can’t smell the medicines–
carnations must be blooming nearby.
It’s this way:
being captured is beside the point,
the point is not to surrender.
(tr. Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk)

Everyone has their own road
Everyone has their own sky
– Daur Mongols

Like a feather that is blown wherever the wind takes it, a weak and undisciplined mind is easily influenced by its environment and can be blown off the path.
Until your mind becomes like a mountain that no wind can move, take care of who you mix with, and how you spend your time.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

Poetry is a way of living in the world.
– Lucille Clifton

The human mind makes foolish divisions in what love sees as one.
– Anthony de Mello

Nature is not a deciding agent, standing outside organisms and waving them to the right or the left. However much we may speak of selection “operating” on populations, “molding” bodies and minds, when the metaphorical dust has settled, what we are referring to is still the cumulative result of particular life courses negotiated in particular circumstances.
– Susan Oyama

I have thought a lot about not being in control. We usually think that humans’ success comes from being in control. But if you think of the evolutionary history of humans, until very recently, we weren’t much in control of anything. humans were at the mercy of forces that were completely beyond our control – the elements, wild animals, plagues, floods, and so forth.

The best strategy is to navigate and position yourself within the flux of circumstances. I find the metaphor of surfing useful. Surfers take control of themselves within the wave, then they’re carried by it, then they center and adjust, then they’re carried. That’s what we’re doing in life all the time.

– Brian Eno

It is important to remember that life is not always linear, or that the lines we follow do not always lead us to the same place. It is not incidental that the drama of life, moments of crisis that require a decision, is represented by the following scene: you face a fork in the road, and you have to decide which path to take. This way or that one, you must decide. And then you go one way. Maybe you go that way without being sure that’s the right way to go. Maybe you go that way because the path seems clearer. The longer you proceed on this path, the harder it is to turn back. You keep going in hope that you are getting somewhere. Hope is an investment that the paths we follow will get us somewhere. Turning back risks the wasting of time, as a time that has already been expended or given up.

Sometimes what happens is not simply a matter of a conscious decision. Something unexpected happens that throws you. You feel thrown when you are thrown off course. You might be redirected by an unexpected encounter; a little sideways movement can open up new worlds. Sometimes encounters might come as the gift of a lifetime; other times they might not; they might be experienced purely as loss. What happens when we are knocked off course depends on the psychic and social resources we have behind us. Such moments of being thrown off course can be experienced as a gift, as opening up a possibility; or they can be traumatic, registered as the loss of a desired future, one that you are grasping for, leaning toward.

Maybe we realize: it would have been possible to live one’s life in another way. We can mourn because we didn’t even realize that we gave something up. The shape of a life can feel like a past tense; something we sense only after it has been acquired.
– Sara Ahmed

Only within yourself exists that other reality for which you long.
– Hermann Hesse

It just may be that the most radical act we can commit is to stay home. What does that mean to finally commit to a place, to a people, to a community?

It doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it does mean you can live with patience, because you’re not going to go away. It also means commitment to bear witness, and engaging in ‘casserole diplomacy’ by sharing food among neighbors, by playing with the children and mending feuds and caring for the sick. These kinds of commitment are real. They are tangible. They are not esoteric or idealistic, but rooted in the bedrock existence of where we choose to maintain our lives.

That way we begin to know the predictability of a place. We anticipate a species long before we see them. We can chart the changes, because we have a memory of cycles and seasons; we gain a capacity for both pleasure and pain, and we find the strength within ourselves and each other to hold these lines.

That’s my definition of family. And that’s my definition of love.

– Terry Tempest Williams

The poet Mark Doty once said, ” “A good poem is the yoking of polarities. A poem that doesn’t move us is usually a poem that does not feel as complicated as life.” Today, as the death toll rises and the birds and petals wildly sing spring on the hill I reach out to Anna Ahkmatova who wrote this poem in the midst of the terror and destruction of the Russian Revolution…

Everything is plundered, betrayed, sold,
Death’s great black wing scrapes the air,
Misery gnaws to the bone.
Why then do we not despair?

By day, from the surrounding woods,
cherries blow summer into town;
at night the deep transparent skies
glitter with new galaxies.

And the miraculous comes so close
to the ruined, dirty houses —
something not known to anyone at all,
but wild in our breast for centuries.

– Anna Akhmatova, translated by Stanley Kunitz

A certain strand of anti-humanist thinking lays the blame for climate disruption squarely at the feet of humans. In a volatile nutshell, the core idea of this anti-humanism is this: if humans did not overpopulate the planet, destroy ecosystems, commit atrocious crimes against each other, pump gases into the atmosphere, proliferate plastic products that hurt other species, the earth would be in a better and healthier place. Ergo the elimination of humans is good thing. In some extreme instances, we must stop having children (or even curse our own parents – as did a lady in an angry letter mistakenly sent to me – for giving birth to us).

Ironically, anti-humanism is emphatically pro-humanism. In the very effort to villainize the figure of the human, it re-prioritizes it and centralizes it. What this approach misses, what it throws away to the background, is that what we conveniently call ‘human’ is an ongoing cartographical project of microbial, geological, gastronomical, political, sociopsychological, scientific, technological, ecological, theological consortia. The idea that humans are discrete biological bodies with pre-relational properties and qualities (that are either good or bad) already surgically removes ‘humans’ from their intimate relationships with the world. Perhaps more worryingly, it discountenances the contributions of nonhumans in and around us (you know, like the microbial symbionts that constitute and shape how we think, the moods we have, and the capacities we claim as exclusive to us), paints a rosy picture of ‘Nature’ as this harmonious and stable place devoid of violence and pain and loss, and arrives at a resolution too convenient to the old narratives of good versus evil (if all things ‘human’ must go, then what do we do with this human narrative? And if the counter-argument is that the narrative is not human, then anti-humanism must at least acknowledge that there are other-than-human influential agencies in the world’s materialization – which renders moot the urgency of anti-humanism).

If the affect of guilt reinvests us with an all-or-nothing drive to rid the planet of humans, then anti-humanism is humanism’s most intelligent move yet. Discontinuity is often a system’s most creative effort at perpetuating itself.
– Bayo Akomolafe

Truth comes at a Cost
by Adyashanti
If I was to translate the enlightened state down into human terms, I’d have to describe it as contentment. Being nobody, going nowhere, needing no reason to exist. To the ego, that probably sounds a little boring and of course to an ego it is. But then again, there’s really nothing for the ego in enlightenment. In enlightenment, the egoic false self is rendered an irrelevant illusion, a mask, a character that nothingness wears while pretending to be human. Not only is there nothing in enlightenment for the ego, the ego is really nothing but a defense against enlightenment. I’m not saying that ego is bad or evil because it’s not. I’m saying that ego is a social and personal construct and therefore an illusion. But there’s nothing wrong with an illusion. A painting is an illusion; a movie is an illusion; a good novel is an illusion. The problem isn’t with illusion; the problem is with the emotional attachments and addictions of ego.

To most people “attachment” is a very abstract word that they think they understand. People in spiritual circles think of attachments in terms of things that they are attached to. They identify the things attached to and endeavor to let go of them, but this misses the whole point of what attachment really is. Attachment isn’t about things attached to; it’s about emotion in the form of a magnetic energy of attraction. That energy is how you know who you are as an ego. That energy is who you are as an ego. Ego defines itself by what it does and does not like. There is no ego outside of this emotional energy of attraction and repulsion—better known as love and hate, like and dislike, good and bad, right and wrong, us and them, me and you. Without emotional investment in the ego’s points of view, what’s left of ego but a hollow shell with a little personality mixed in?

You breathe life into your ego in the form of emotional addictions. Emotion is the very lifeforce of ego. So the point of detachment isn’t to detach from things, but to detach from your emotional bonds with things. And you don’t simply let go of emotional bonds; you burn through them with investigative awareness. You see them for what they are: prisons, false structures holding you in spiritual infancy. You may think that I am being a bit harsh—which I am, but awakening to truth is a harsh business. Bottom line is “What do you want more: to feel better or to realize the truth?” Sure, truth realization feels really good, but no one gets there whose driving motivation is simply to feel good. Feeling really good is a byproduct of the awakened state; it is not the state itself. The state itself is reality, and it’s won at the hands of unreality.

Simply put, ultimate truth comes at a cost, and the cost is everything in you and about you that is unreal. The end result is freedom, happiness, peace, and no longer viewing life through the veils of illusion.

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
– George Orwell, 1984

Compassion could be said to be emotion, an intense longing to put things into practice.
– Chogyam Trungpa

Our illusions — the beliefs we hold on to — are the very doorways to our freedom. We simply have to enter through them without grasping or pushing away. We must not believe them, but we must not run away from them either. We need to see each moment of apparent bondage as an invitation to freedom. Then it becomes an act of love, an act of compassion, to stop running away.
– Adyashanti

In all these deserts of information we need some oasis, and that’s what the lyric is.

– Alexander Kluge

What if you knew you’d be the last
to touch someone?
If you were taking tickets, for example,
at the theater, tearing them,
giving back the ragged stubs,
you might take care to touch that palm,
brush your fingertips
along the life line’s crease.

When a man pulls his wheeled suitcase
too slowly through the airport, when
the car in front of me doesn’t signal,
when the clerk at the pharmacy
won’t say Thank you, I don’t remember
they’re going to die.

A friend told me she’d been with her aunt.
They’d just had lunch and the waiter,
a young gay man with plum black eyes,
joked as he served the coffee, kissed
her aunt’s powdered cheek when they left.
Then they walked half a block and her aunt
dropped dead on the sidewalk.

How close does the dragon’s spume
have to come? How wide does the crack
in heaven have to split?
What would people look like
if we could see them as they are,
soaked in honey, stung and swollen,
reckless, pinned against time?
– Ellen Bass

” Who is
the house of my heart? ”
I cried in the middle of the night.
God said, ” It is I, … but what are
all these images that fill your house?”
I said, ” They are the reflection of Your
beautiful Face. ”
God asked, ” But what is this image full
of pain?”
I said, ” It is me lost in the sorrows of life,
and showed God my soul full of wounds.
God offered me one end of a thread and
said, ” Take it so can I pull you back, but
do not break the delicate string. ”
I asked, ” Why the harshness, O my Lord?”
God said, ” To remind you that those who
come to My Holy space …. proud and full
of themselves, will sent away. ”
Look at your God with …. the eyes of the heart. ”

– Molaana RUMI

Survive. Critique. Create.

– Thomas Berry

When Bhodidharma, known as Daruna, brought Buddhism to the West, the emperor demanded an audience with him. An imperial scribe read a list of the emperor’s merits. Then he asked Bhodidharma what merits he had achieved. Bhodidharma said, “I don’t know.”

In the bindhu between your breaths, just for an instant, be held in the gentle palm of desolation. Let your next inhalation be a wing of desirelessness gliding up your spine, ringing the starry bell of night in each vertebra, turning the cells of your body into chalices of golden fire~

Then the imperial magistrate read Bhodidharma the royal laws and statutes, after which the emperor asked him,”What law do you follow?” Bhodidharma answered, “I don’t know.”

Gaze into the mirror of Seeing itself. Let radiant beams of emptiness hallow the face of the Invisible. Let your eyes be yantras that precede creation, opening a way to the darkness of love~

The exasperated emperor commanded the high priest to recite the central verses of holy scripture. Then he ordered Bhodidharma to reveal the most essential precepts of his own religion. Daruna said, “I don’t know.”

Words and phrases congeal out of pure silence to torture your mind with worry. Let them disperse into letters and syllables of delightfully meaningless but inspired phonemic vibration, the sounds a baby makes after drinking pearls of breast milk. Let this garland of angelic burps and giggles enfold your body with a fragrant circle of protection, each unfading petal a bija, sacred name of the Unknowable~

The emperor banished Bhodidharma from the capital and prohibited him from teaching anything whatsoever to the people. So Daruna wandered to a forest cave, where he sat quietly, staring at an empty limestone wall that seeped droplets of fresh water, somehow sparkling in the dark.

Now listen down and undo the world. Listen to the hum where hearing arises. Let pure listening re-calibrate the wobble of each atom, healing the bodies of all sentient creatures~

In the solitude of his cave, Daruna said nothing, thought nothing, dreamed nothing, yet he was wide awake. Thus the teaching of the Dharma spread rapidly throughout the land.

Can you breathe out everything you ever thought you were against, and surrender the argument? Cherish the subtle luminous flavor of silence. Resist not. If your restless mind must mutter some words, then whisper the great liberating maha-mantra: “I Don’t Know.”

HAIKU
~
Hoping to travel
again someday: until then,
the string of a kite
– Clark Strand

we are all Buddhas . . .
I become indistinguishable
from the dusk
– Ryushi

Because our greatest gifts and deepest wounds reside in the same area; because the resurrection of old pains can be so fearful and painful, people need to be reminded in diverse ways that the inner dream of life, the wise word set within and the psychic gold are the natural inheritance of each human soul. Because it is so easy to forget what we so desperately need to remember; old stories talk of golden treasures and great dreams that call us to undertake adventures and pilgrimages that in the end reveal what was within us all along.
– Michael Meade

We can’t restructure our society without restructuring the English language. One reflects the other. A lot of people are getting tired of the huge pool of metaphors that have to do with war and conflict and the proliferation of battle metaphors, such as being a warrior, fighting, defeating, and so on. In response, I could say that once you become conscious of these battle metaphors, you can start “fighting” against them. That’s one option. Another is to realize that conflict is not the only human response to a situation and to begin to find other metaphors, such as resisting, outwitting, skipping, or subverting. This kind of consciousness can open the door to all sorts of new behavior.
– Ursula Le Guin

The One Reality of Interbeing.

With the insight of interbeing,
we have seen how nothing in the world, including our bodies, exists by itself, alone.
All things are mutually dependent on one another. If things were never dirty,
how could they be immaculate?
Without suffering, there could never be happiness, and without evil,
there could never be goodness.
If there were not suffering,
how could we look deeply into it
to give rise to understanding and love?
Without suffering, how could there be insight? If there were no wrong,
how could we know what right is?

We say, ‘God is good; God is love,’
but if God is good and if God is love,
does this mean God is not in those places where there is no goodness and love?
This is a very big question.
In the light of Buddhist teachings,
we can say that the ultimate nature of reality, the true nature of God, transcends all notions, including the notions of good and evil.
To say anything less is to diminish God.

In the face of devastating natural disasters
in which thousands of people die,
there are those who ask, ‘How can God,
who is good, allow such suffering?’

When we hear news of wars, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, earthquakes, tsunamis,
or hurricanes, we may feel overwhelmed
by despair. It is hard to make sense of it.
We don’t understand why some of us
have to endure such suffering and death,
but not others. The insight of emptiness
can help. When a young baby,
an elderly grandmother, a teenager,
or a young man dies in a disaster,
we feel somehow that a part of us also dies. We die with them because we don’t have
a separate self, we all belong to the same human species. Insofar as we are still alive, they are also still alive in us.
When we can touch this insight of no self,
we are inspired to live in such a way
that they continue, beautifully, in us.

“Nirvana, the ultimate nature of reality,
is indeterminate; it is neutral.
That is why everything in the cosmos
is a wonder. The lotus is a wonder,
and so too is the mud.
The magnolia is a wonder, and so too
is the poison oak. Ideas of good and evil
are created by our mind, not by nature.
When we let go of and release all these ideas, we see the true nature of reality.
We cannot call an earthquake, storm,
or volcano ‘good’ or ‘evil.’
Everything has its role to play.

So we may need to reexamine
our way of seeing God. If God is only
on the side of goodness, then God
cannot be the ultimate reality.
We cannot even say that God
is the ground of all being, because if God
is the ground of being, what is the ground
of nonbeing? We cannot speak of God
in terms of existing or not existing,
being or nonbeing.
Even the peace and happiness that arises
from touching the ultimate
comes from within us,
not from the ultimate itself.
The ultimate, nirvana, is not itself peace or joy, because no notion or category like ‘peace’
or ‘goodness’ can be applied to the ultimate. The ultimate transcends all categories.
– The Art of Living – Peace and Freedom in the Here and Now by Thich Nhat Hanh

If you are wondering what is the point in obtaining this human body that is so hard to find, the benefits of doing so are enormous. Not only is one easily able, temporarily, to accomplish all the happiness and perfections of the higher realms, but one can also accomplish the nirvana of the lower vehicles and unsurpassable enlightenment as well.

Without obtaining a human body, there is no way one can achieve any kind of happiness in cyclic existence, let alone accomplish liberation. But by starting from the most insignificant positive actions and devoting one’s efforts exclusively to the sublime Dharma, one obtains the manifold perfect qualities of higher rebirth and ultimate excellence. As it says in the Jewel Garland,

If you constantly practice the Dharma,
You will make the whole world
And yourself happy,
And this will be all to the good.

With the Dharma you will always fall asleep happy
And wake up happy.
Inwardly you will be without fault, and so
Even in your dreams you will see virtue.

By wholeheartedly respecting your parents,
Venerating the head of the lineage,
Putting your wealth to good use, being patient, giving generously,
Speaking gently, avoiding slander, and telling the truth —
Observing these for one lifetime,
You will reach the level of Indra
And be Indra again and again.
Bit by bit you will accomplish Buddhahood.

And in the Sutra of the Arborescent Array we read:

Child of good family, whoever has the freedoms and advantages, on him will also fall the great and abundant rain of the Buddha’s teaching, and he will acquire infinite other benefits.

– Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche – A Torch Lighting the Way to Freedom – Shambhala Publications

Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
by Dan Albergotti

Measure the walls. Count the ribs. Notch the long days.
Look up for blue sky through the spout. Make small fires
with the broken hulls of fishing boats. Practice smoke signals.
Call old friends, and listen for echoes of distant voices.
Organize your calendar. Dream of the beach. Look each way
for the dim glow of light. Work on your reports. Review
each of your life’s ten million choices. Endure moments
of self-loathing. Find the evidence of those before you.
Destroy it. Try to be very quiet, and listen for the sound
of gears and moving water. Listen for the sound of your heart.
Be thankful that you are here, swallowed with all hope,
where you can rest and wait. Be nostalgic. Think of all
the things you did and could have done. Remember
treading water in the center of the still night sea, your toes
pointing again and again down, down into the black depths.

It Will Never Be Right (Not Here)
by David Goldstein

We are taught to perfect the World
Or, at least, to improve it
“Tikkun Olam”, “Heaven on Earth”
We call it many things

But, it may be helpful to understand:
This World will never be perfected
This place is not for that
This place is for falling short

The best we might manage
Are Guidelines
“The Seventh Generation”
Comes to mind

The guidelines may serve for a while
Only to be washed or wiped away
To resurface in another place and time
And the again

Does that sound depressing?
I guess that it might
To exist upon this playing field of rise-and-fall
Of discipline-and-delusion

Where, then, is solace to be found?
Perhaps in the last place we will look
A place that makes no sense at all:
The Trickster’s realm

The Trickster confounds:
Turn into it!
This place of orientation-disorientation
This place of remembering-forgetting

THIS is what is offered
– What has been given –
It will not change, it will not improve
Not now, not ever

The Trickster might counsel
That you are left with one option:
Learn to love it.
If you can.

PASSOVER
a poem by Lynn Ungar

Then you shall take some of the blood, and put it on the door posts and the lintels of the houses . . . and when I see the blood, I shall pass over you, and no plague shall fall upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
– Exodus 12: 7, 13

They thought they were safe
that spring night; when they daubed
the doorways with sacrificial blood.
To be sure, the angel of death
passed them over, but for what?
Forty years in the desert
without a home, without a bed,
following new laws to an unknown land.
Easier to have died in Egypt
or stayed there a slave, pretending
there was safety in the old familiar.
But the promise, from those first
naked days outside the garden,
is that there is no safety,
only the terrible blessing
of the journey. You were born
through a doorway marked in blood.
We are, all of us, passed over,
brushed in the night by terrible wings.
Ask that fierce presence,
whose imagination you hold.
God did not promise that we shall live,
but that we might, at last, glimpse the stars,
brilliant in the desert sky.

The Ecstasy
The ecstasy is beautiful
but it is not the point.
It is indeed the sign
of deep connection
to the all, the god/goddess
making love
inside your body,
the divine outflowing/inflowing
of eternal grace, ineffable cosmic reality.
Yet beyond bliss
there is another
more profound,
more transcendent state
of being.
Silence, stillness,
final receptivity.
Journey into wholeness.
Vastness sustaining all.
Both are ultimate.
Both are who you are.
– Dorothy Walters

A poem … is when you are in love and have the sky in your mouth.
– @enchantedlion

Be as one spirit, one soul,
leaves of one tree,
flowers of one garden,
waves of one ocean.
– Abdul Baha

What mattered was to humble himself, to organize his heart to match the rhythm of the days instead of submitting their rhythm to the curve of human hopes.
– Albert Camus

What we call ‘life’ is consciousness that is not separated from warmth.
– Garchen Rinpoche

Nothing is more contagious
than genuine love and genuine care.
Nothing is more exhilarating
than authentic awe and wonder.
Nothing is more exciting
than to witness people having the courage
to fight for their highest vision.
– Rabbi Michael Lerner

You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report.
You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more
Than an order of words, the conscious occupation
Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying.
– TS Eliot

OPEN AND CLOSED SPACES
A man feels the world with his work like a glove.
He rests for a while at midday having laid aside the gloves on a shelf.
There they suddenly grow, spread
and black out the whole house from inside.

The blacked-out house is away out among the winds of spring.
“Amnesty,” runs the whisper in the grass: “amnesty.”
A boy sprints with an invisible line slanting up in the sky
where his wild dream of the future lies like a kite
bigger than the suburb.

Further north you can see from a summit the blue endless
carpet of pine forest
where the cloud shadows
are standing still.
No, are flying.
– Tomas Tranströmer

Something happens when the real breaks through. Our usual considerations, our projections, our games of ego acquisition, even our good-faith projects, risk becoming totally redundant. The chaff falls off of the wheat. The essential-rudely interrupts our fantasies. The real makes us realize how much we have been sleepwalking.

Apocalypse, etymologically speaking, means to ‘reveal’, or ‘uncover’-to show us the real. It is not necessarily a nihilistic concept; we don’t need to think in end-of-days or conspiratorial terms. The apocalypse is the large scale tragedy that also allows the space for catharsis, for renewal, or what Zak Stein calls the post-tragic.
A real apocalypse (or even an ordinary tragedy) can show how abstract and propositional our everyday notions are – how we live in mere ‘thought-forms’ – instead of the real much of the time. The event brings us directly in contact with what is beyond thinking, or the unthinkable. The unthinkable is always there – in a pandemic or otherwise. And life and death are themselves both unthinkable.
It might seem like truism to say that life and death are one – but it bears repeating because we deny it so vehemently, especially in ‘normal’ times. The fact is: if the plague doesn’t kill us, life will.

“The world of dew is the world of dew. And yet, and yet”. … the Japanese poet Issa mused, contemplating the early spring and the death of his child. During tragedy we confront the real, the terrible, but also the angel that Rilke says ‘serenely disdains to annihilate us’. Any palliative care worker knows this.

We don’t need a pandemic to show us the pathos of the real. The apocalypse – our own encroaching extinction – is always already the case, is built into the very fabric of reality. But this pandemic can wake us up to how vivid our life is, how tragic and ecstatic, beautiful and terrible, unbearable and full of potential.
– Andrew Sweeny

When a stranger appears at your door,
feed him for three days
before asking who he is,
where he’s come from,
where he’s headed.
That way, he’ll have strength
enough to answer.
Or, by then you’ll be
such good friends
you don’t care.
– Naomi Shihab Nye

Adrift
Everything is beautiful and I am so sad.
This is how the heart makes a duet of
wonder and grief. The light spraying
through the lace of the fern is as delicate
as the fibers of memory forming their web
around the knot in my throat. The breeze
makes the birds move from branch to branch
as this ache makes me look for those I’ve lost
in the next room, in the next song, in the laugh
of the next stranger. In the very center, under
it all, what we have that no one can take
away and all that we’ve lost face each other.
It is there that I’m adrift, feeling punctured
by a holiness that exists inside everything.
I am so sad and everything is beautiful.
– Mark Nepo

Alexander searches for the chains of Prometheus.
Everywhere else today is just Tuesday, yet
Fearless magpies challenge the eagle’s crossing.
– J. K. McDowell

One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment.
– Hart Crane

A Poem on Hope
It is hard to have hope. It is harder as you grow old,
for hope must not depend on feeling good
and there’s the dream of loneliness at absolute midnight.
You also have withdrawn belief in the present reality
of the future, which surely will surprise us,
and hope is harder when it cannot come by prediction
anymore than by wishing. But stop dithering.
The young ask the old to hope. What will you tell them?
Tell them at least what you say to yourself.

Because we have not made our lives to fit
our places, the forests are ruined, the fields, eroded,
the streams polluted, the mountains, overturned. Hope
then to belong to your place by your own knowledge
of what it is that no other place is, and by
your caring for it, as you care for no other place, this
knowledge cannot be taken from you by power or by wealth.
It will stop your ears to the powerful when they ask
for your faith, and to the wealthy when they ask for your land
and your work. Be still and listen to the voices that belong
to the stream banks and the trees and the open fields.

Find your hope, then, on the ground under your feet.
Your hope of Heaven, let it rest on the ground underfoot.
The world is no better than its places. Its places at last
are no better than their people while their people
continue in them. When the people make
dark the light within them, the world darkens.
– Wendell Berry

If you want the cooperation of humans around you, you must make them feel they are important – and you do that by being genuine and humble.
– Nelson Mandela

To be a good storyteller one must be gloriously alive.
– Ruth Sawyer, The Way of the Storyteller

The fact that compulsive drives for success will arise only in a competitive culture does not make them any less neurotic.
– Karen Horney

Truth is not far away. It is nearer than near. There is no need to attain it, since not one of your steps leads away from it.
– Dōgen Zenji

I hate to tell you,
but opening the heart has nothing
(to do with) with feeling groovy.
When the heart is open,
it means you are present.
When your heart is as wide as the world
there is room for everything to come through,
and you are right there with everything,
not just the pleasant stuff.
– Krishna Das

Anger is not the same as hate. Anger can be productive. Feel the anger, acknowledge it, but let it be accompanied by change. Let it propel you toward necessary action for the betterment of yourself and others.
– Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, author of “I Shall Not Hate”

Real practice has no purpose or direction, so it can include everything that comes.
– Shunryu Suzuki

When fishermen cannot go to sea, they repair nets.
– Nabil Sabio Azadi

If they cannot love and resist at the same time, they probably will not survive […] This is what mothers teach — love, survival”
– Audre Lorde

…a loveless world is a dead world, and always there comes an hour when one is weary of prisons, of one’s own work, and of devotion to duty, and all one craves for is a loved face, the warmth and wonder of a loving heart.
– Albert Camus

A man doesn’t have time in his life
to have time for everything.
He doesn’t have seasons enough to have
a season for every purpose. Ecclesiastes
Was wrong about that.

A man needs to love and to hate at the same moment,
to laugh and cry with the same eyes,
with the same hands to throw stones and to gather them,
to make love in war and war in love.
And to hate and forgive and remember and forget,
to arrange and confuse, to eat and to digest
what history
takes years and years to do.

A man doesn’t have time.
When he loses he seeks, when he finds
he forgets, when he forgets he loves, when he loves
he begins to forget.

And his soul is seasoned, his soul
is very professional.
Only his body remains forever
an amateur. It tries and it misses,
gets muddled, doesn’t learn a thing,
drunk and blind in its pleasures
and its pains.

He will die as figs die in autumn,
Shriveled and full of himself and sweet,
the leaves growing dry on the ground,
the bare branches pointing to the place
where there’s time for everything.
– A Man In His Life, by Yehuda Amichai

We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.
– Carl Sagan

To travel across the ocean of our afflicted mind to the enlightened state of a buddha, we need to study and practice.

Without study would be like having oars without a boat. And without practice would be like having a boat without oars.

– Chamtrul Rinpoche

God Your Lover––poem by Dorothy
“Never trust a god who doesn’t dance.”
– Daniel Danilou

No matter what I may have said yesterday,
today I embrace another truth:
Ecstasy is real, the final affirmation,
the holy union and joining of self
as human
and the unseen divine.

How can you describe it?
How can you tell anyone
what it is like
to be invaded, assaulted,
seized and ravished
by something you can neither
see nor describe?

Summon all your courage
and let it have its way
with you,
your subtle and holy body,
your feeling self.

Know that this is
the heavenly lover,
the world suitor,
telling you secrets
of the flesh and spirit,
creator and destroyer,
who seeks to allow you
this brief glimpse,
this minute taste
of the reality
from which you came,
cosmic orgasm,
universal explosion,
now awakening you
through grace,
through hidden alchemy,
into the awareness
that many seek
and often do not find,
who remakes and transfigures your body
every hour of every day,
each tissue and cell,
accept the kiss,
receive the blessing,
do not refuse the Beloved
who is God.
– Dorothy Walters

Writing is the painting of the voice.
– Voltaire

Overcoming Moralism
We have discussed the hinayana level represented by the shravakayana and the
pratyekabuddhayana and the mahayana level, represented by the practice ideal of the bodhisattva. Last, we discussed the shunyata principle. At this point, instead of discussing the first tantric yana, the kriyayoga tantra, it might be helpful to give an introduction to tantra as a whole. We could get into the details of the six tantric yanas later on.

As has been indicated, the impermanence, suffering, and egolessness that we discover on the hinayana level play an extremely important part, a crucial part, in tantra as well. We cannot deny this. It is important to understand and acknowledge that we are not just transcending hinayana and latching on to the higher hopes of tantra. Likewise, we cannot ignore the bodhisattva’s path, involving the transplantation of bodhichitta into one’s mind and the practice of the six paramitas. Also the bodhisattva’s understanding of nonduality is quite important.

If seems that we do need these technical understandings in order to understand the buddhadharma. The idea of the buddhadharma is not particularly to make you into professors or scholars as such. Nevertheless, when we discuss big ideas, powerful ideas, those ideas have to have some specific elements to relate with. So tantra is desperately dependent on an understanding of the hinayana and mahayana, always. Some little technical knowledge of the hinayana principles concerning reality and the mahayana’s principles of morality is a basic necessity, absolutely important. If you don’t have any understanding of those, probably you will miss the whole point of vajrayana, or tantra.

People in the West usually think that tantra is concerned purely with pranayama, mudras, visualizations, and so on. They think that’s what tantra is all about, which is not quite true. There’s something more than that.

To begin with, tantra is based on the understanding of who is practicing tantra.
Who are we? Who am I? If you asked a tantric practitioner, “Who are you?” he would automatically say, using the same logic developed on the hinayana level, “I am a collection of stuff that actually doesn’t exist, the five skandhas.” This is also the hinayana answer and the mahayana answer. And if you asked the tantric practitioner, “Why are you practicing this path?” he would automatically say, “Because I have surrendered myself, and my work is dedicated to the benefit of all sentient beings.” This is a pragmatic combination of both the hinayana (“I’ve surrendered”) and the mahayana (“I’ve decided to dedicate my life to the benefit of all sentient beings”).

The question might be asked? “What is the basic need to go beyond the hinayana and mahayana? Why don’t we stay on in the hinayana and perfect the hinayana? Or why don’t we stay on in the mahayana and perfect the mahayana? What’s the point of going beyond those into another area?” The mahayana practitioner would say, “The perfection of the hinayana is the mahayana; I can’t help it.” And the tantric practitioner would say, “The perfection of the mahayana is the vajrayana; I can’t help it.”

One of the follies of the bodhisattva or mahayana path is that there is still a good
intention involved. No matter how much we try to be detached from our good intention, we are still involved with it. There is some sense of a paramitas, of transcending, of reaching the other shore.

There is an element of goodness that rejects the sense of energy. Bodhisattvas claim to be the bravest and most powerful warriors of all. But the bodhisattva’s trying to live up to his virtue becomes a hang-up, a problem. Still searching for warriorhood rather than being a warrior becomes a problem. As bodhisattvas, when we sit down to meditate, we’re trying
to become good meditators rather than being in the meditation.

There is no pronounced good intention involved in tantra. Nor for that matter a bad intention either, if you’re concerned about that.

We need to say a bit more about the mahayana notion of shunyata, which is discussed in the Prajnaparamita Sutra, for example. Shunya means “empty,” and ta means “-ness.” Shunyata is removing the barrier, the screen, between subject and object. Shunyata, the absence of the screen, is, for the time being, very important, very powerful.

A hinayana school of Buddhist philosophy says that everything is made out of atoms and everything is conditioned by time. Therefore it is impermanent. This atomist philosophy has been challenged by saying that such logic is not necessary. We don’t need deductive logic to prove our point. In order to see the transparency of the world, we do not have to reduce everything to dust [atoms] or moments [atoms of time] necessarily. To do so is in some sense believing in nothingness. It’s believing that things don’t exist because they’re made out of atoms. So what? Still there is some materialism left over [in the belief that the atoms and the moments exist].

Another philosophical school, referred to as pluralists, believes that a mass is a collection, which proves the nonexistence of the mass. All of the elements of the mass are conditioned by time and space. Things don’t exist because the elements depend on a mutual space. And so forth and so on. It gets very complicated to
discuss the pluralists’ and atomists’ view of reality.

The notion of shunyata cuts through the position of the atomists and pluralists
naturally by saying that we don’t have to reduce everything into dust. In order to demonstrate the nonexistence of a table, we don’t have to grind it to dust and then show it: “Look, this is the remains of the table.” We don’t have to do that. There’s something else involved. If you are saying the table doesn’t exist because it wasn’t a table, it was a collection of dust, then you are creating the idea [that something does exist there that isn’t a table]. Then you still have a pattern of fixed belief. The table consists of a pile of dust, garbage.

The shunyata principle in the bodhisattva’s philosophy does not bother to say that. It does not matter whether the table is supposed to be solid or made out of a collection of atoms. That way, you still end up with a table in some form or other no matter what your belief is. But the bodhisattva would say that your belief itself doesn’t exist. The reason your belief doesn’t exist is that it is you who believe. Who are you, anyway? You don’t exist in any case. That removes the barrier.

I’m afraid this is a very crude example. Very crude, kindergarten level. But in any case, since you as a fixed, ongoing entity do not exist, the so-called table, as you named it, as you believed it, as you used it, does not exist. Your version of the table does not exist.

So then the question is, what does exist? The barrier exists, the filter [between subject and object] exists. The optical illusion, the eyeglasses you use, do exist— rather than the projection or the projector.

What the shunyata teaching does is tell you that you do not need to have a barrier to name things. You do not need to have an interpreter to tell you what things are named. [The message here is] the nonexistence of the interpreter. Or the folly of the interpreter. [Without the interpreter, you have] no problem with language. You could have a relationship with language, in fact. Just kick out the
interpreter—then you don’t speak any language. That’s fine. Then you are really relating with exploring things as they are. The interpreter doesn’t tell you how things are.

So we come up with a very simple, simple-minded conclusion. Kick out the
interpreter, then begin to explore. If nobody explains to you what a table is or what its function is, then you begin to explore its tableness—or potness or rockness or flowerness. You begin to explore, to work with things as they are.

That is what is being talked about in the Heart Sutra when it says “Emptiness is also form.” Form is no different from emptiness—things do exist in their own right without your judgments, preconceptions, and so forth. [When we drop those,] we begin to see in a very direct way, a straightforward, literal way. The colors are not called red, white, blue, but they are as they are. If we don’t name them, conceptualize them, they become much redder, bluer, and whiter, and so forth. That seems to be the idea of the shunyata principle: seeing things as they are.

But there is the problem of the possibility that when you don’t use preconceptions about things as they are, when you reject the whole language and begin to explore the true nature of things, somehow or other you might be reduced to infanthood. You might become like a deaf person who never heard the language, though you still have a relationship with the things you explore. There’s that problem.

That is the problem of nihilism. If you cut down the preconceptions so that there are no ideas, no fantasies, no categorizing, no pigeonholing, there is the possibility that you might end up as a deaf person, a stupid person. (This is a danger from the tantric point of view, by the way.) And there is also the danger [that of eternalism] that you might end up in an absolute, completed, perfected, meditative state in which you don’t care what things are called. You are only relating to what things are. Both those are possibilities of raising the ape instinct again. There is that problem.

Of course the whole thing sounds good and beautiful: You become completely detached from the whole world of preconceptions—there are no concepts, no naming; things are constantly organic, relational. That’s a very intelligent thing. But at the same time, there’s something that does not quite click, shall we say. Things do not quite work ideally in terms of how we function in the world, in the world of human beings. There is that problem with the mahayana way. The whole thing is moralistic. You try to be good, noncategorizing, all perfect—good and great and kind to everybody. You don’t listen to bad language. You do still acknowledge bad language, but you don’t actually listen to it. That seems to be one of the biggest problems with the mahayana approach to reality. That is the biggest problem.

That is precisely the reason why tantra is necessary. As you can see, you have to cut down dualistic trips of all kinds, conceptualized notions of all kinds, all kinds of believing this and that. You have to cut down that whole thing. But then we are left with numbness. And the tantric approach to life from this point of view is to redefine, regenerate the whole thing again: reintroduce duality, reintroduce
conceptualization—but at an entirely different level.

You can’t just begin as a tantric practitioner. That is not possible at all. You have to cut down your things. Everything. You have to cut it all down. You have to reduce yourself to numbness. This is absolutely necessary. Having done that, then you regain your perception. Another evolution begins to happen. That is the evolution of what is called energy or power in tantric language.

In the tantric language, we have the idea of chandali, which means “ever-present force” or “ever-present energy.” That energy comes in reawakening from the sedations of the bodhisattva’s trip. You awaken again, but still you have been cured of your dualistic problems. [You awaken to the notion that] duality is necessary. Samsara is necessary. In fact, tantric literature often talks about the
sameness or indivisibility of samsara and nirvana. That means that some relationship is taking place that raises your intelligence after the devastating detachment, the devastating sweep, of mahayana. You have to regain energy from somewhere, which is from buddha nature.

So this reawakening fundamentally involves raising the principle of buddha nature, tathagatagarbha, as well as reintroducing the three marks of existence: suffering, impermanence, egolessness. But now they manifest in an entirely different light. Now suffering manifests as an adornment, energy; impermanence as a consort, to dance with; and egolessness as the basic strength to be. The whole thing is interpreted from an entirely different angle. But it is still in keeping with the understanding of life developed on the hinayana level.

Suffering is energy. Impermanence is a consort to dance with. And egolessness is a way to be. This becomes an extremely powerful tantric statement.

One of the founders of our lineage, Naropa, was a great student and scholar of the hinayana and mahayana. But he found that something was lacking in him. He had to give up his [monastic] robe and involve himself again with a teacher. He had to do all kinds of undesirable things that his teacher asked him to do. You can read about all that in Guenther’s Life and Teaching of Naropa. You will find the
details there. It’s a very good book to read; worth reading if you are interested in tantra. You can find out more there about the outrageousness of the teaching—that nirvana is identical with samsara. That’s one of the phrases that tantric teachers used: khorde yerme in Tibetan. That’s a very powerful statement.

Similarly we could say that the teaching of the three marks of existence is a very samsaric statement. Life is pain, miserable. Impermanence—it’s obvious: People are dying, we are all dying, constantly. Egolessness means that we have no substance whatsoever to hang on to. These are samsaric statements, obviously— the portrait of samsara. But embodying them in vajrayanic language makes them extremely powerful, tremendously powerful.

If you read Guenther’s book on Naropa, you will probably find those three described as the three gates of liberation—in one of his footnotes, I think. That would be worth looking up.

The whole point here is that tantric philosophy—we call it philosophy for lack of a better word—speaks the language of samsara. Tantra is the language of samsara —the redefined language of samsara. After one has gone through all the spiritual trips of the hinayana and the mahayana, tantra is coming to the world. But in a somewhat, we could say, reformed way. It is more intelligent than the samsara-samsara approach. The tantric approach is samsara plus samsara rather than purely samsarasamsara. It is super-samsara, very intelligent samsara.

That is why tantra has been looked down upon by a lot of the hinayana schools and certain mahayana schools. And even in the twentieth century we have scholars who look down on tantra as being samsaric.

Dr. Edward Conze, a noted Buddhist scholar, is highly resentful of the existence of tantra. He would like to make the mahayana the glorious peak of Buddhism, make that the highest idea we could connect with. But then he finds there is another pyramid rising above that, and he says, “Oh, those tantric people are just freaks who just want to make love and drink. It’s purely samsara, no good.” Which is quite right from his point of view.

It is like Nagarjuna at an early age. When he was a young man, he was an impressive, handsome logician of a mahayana school. At that stage, he would have defended Buddhism from tantra. But as he grew older and more experienced and began to think about himself twice, he became a tantric siddha. And that’s the process Naropa went through as well. Why didn’t he just stay at Nalanda University, remain a scholar? He couldn’t do it. When people get older and more mature and begin to think twice about life, they always come back to tantra. That’s true. It always happens that way. You may not call yourself a tantric practitioner as
such, but you find yourself being one anyway.

The basic idea of tantra from this point of view is the sameness of samsara and nirvana. The samsaric experience with its chaos and problems is obviously neurosis. Neurotic problems should be related to with detachment and openness, from an entirely new angle.

Why should we be too polite to samsara or to nirvana? Why should we be to cultured, polite, and reasonable? Let us turn the world upside down! Let us! Let us see the spacious quality of the earth and the earthly quality of space. That’s what we will see if we turn the world upside down.

That is the tantric approach to life. Space is solid, earth is spacious. And by no means can you call this perverted, because there is no one to judge what is perverted and what is not. There’s no reason. Who is the perverter? There’s no one to watch. You just become either the earth or the space anyway. Nobody judges that. That is called crazy wisdom. There’s no watcher to moderate, to gauge moral obligations of any kind. You are doing it yourself.

So I would like you to understand before we continue: The basic point in tantra at this point is a further approach to reality. Reality could be regarded as unreal, and unreality could be regarded as reality. That’s the logic of tantra,
fundamentally speaking. That’s why samsara is regarded as nirvana and nirvana is regarded as samsara. And we do not have any obligation to stick to one doctrine or another. We are free from all dogma.

– Chogyam Trungpa, An Introduction to Tantra

No government has the right to decide on the truth of scientific principles, nor to prescribe in any way the character of the questions investigated. Neither may a government determine the aesthetic value of artistic creations, nor limit the forms of literacy or artistic expression. Nor should it pronounce on the validity of economic, historic, religious, or philosophical doctrines. Instead it has a duty to its citizens to maintain their freedom, to let those citizens contribute to the further adventure and the development of the human race.
– Richard Feynman

I don’t quite know what we’re doing on this insignificant cinder spinning away in a dark corner of the universe. That is a secret which the high gods have not confided in me. Yet one thing I believe and I believe it with every fiber of my being. A man must live by his lights and do what little he can and do it as best as he can.
– Walker Percy

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
When a thought moves, simply recognise
the thinker. The thinking then dissolves.
No matter what the thought is about,
the thinking and the thinker are empty.
A thought in itself is not made
of any concrete substance;
it is simply an empty thought movement.
By recognising the empty essence in a thought, it vanishes like a bubble in water.
That is how to deal with any particular
present thought at hand.
Once you know how to let the present thought dissolve, any subsequent thought
can be dealt with in exactly the same way,
as simply another present thought.
But if we get involved in the thought,
thinking of what is being thought of,
and continue it, then there is no end.
It is our thinking that propels us
or forces us into further samsaric existence.
As long as we get caught up
in our own thinking, samsara doesn’t stop.
On the other hand, any thought
is an empty thought, in that it has
no concrete substance to it whatsoever.
It is very easy to notice this,
because the moment you recognise mind essence, the thought dissolves right there.
The thought vanishes into your empty essence, into your basic nature which is emptiness. There is no remnant whatsoever.
That is the only way to solve the problem. When recognising your essence,
the thought is executed on the spot;
it is totally obliterated.

OPEN AND CLOSED SPACES
A man feels the world with his work like a glove.
He rests for a while at midday having laid aside the gloves on a shelf.
There they suddenly grow, spread
and black out the whole house from inside.

The blacked-out house is away out among the winds of spring.
“Amnesty,” runs the whisper in the grass: “amnesty.”
A boy sprints with an invisible line slanting up in the sky
where his wild dream of the future lies like a kite
bigger than the suburb.

Further north you can see from a summit the blue endless
carpet of pine forest
where the cloud shadows
are standing still.
No, are flying.
– Tomas Tranströmer

Being set on the idea
Of getting to Atlantis,
You have discovered of course
Only the Ship of Fools is
Making the voyage this year…
– W.H. Auden (Atlantis)

While other parts of the psyche may question or alter personal identity, commitment works in the ongoing fields of meaningful attachment to maintain valued patterns of repetition and connection in present form. Commitment is a faculty that values the status quo. This is that aspect of biological experience which knows it took millions of years to evolve given species, cultures and individuals, and it refuses to impulsively throw such worthy forms away. It enables us to feel a stable and ongoing sense of who we are and with who we choose to identity with (which can free up possibilities in those times when there is no perceived threat or urgent need). This mindset can be fiercely and sometimes unreasonably defensive or possessive. And it can be ruthless when it comes to vetoing new innovations, if they are seen as too threatening. So it’s helpful to recognize one’s own commitments, some of which may have been established by command in pre-verbal childhood, and which may not be consistent with one’s essence.

The cells of our bodies have also committed themselves to specific jobs that they stick to for the sake of the whole organism (instead of being freewheeling single-celled organisms). Yet the immune cells are the committed protectors who put their lives on the line for the integrity of the whole body. Another anatomical representative of this process is the fruit of a flowering plant or the womb of a mammal, both of which involve sacrificing some of one’s personal energy and ease for the development of another’s life. Just as the best police are those who care the most about doing their best, it’s probably the same for the best white blood cells. (Not joking.) Like the immune system, commitment maintains established patterns of goodness.

Developing strong commitments to relationships, skills and meaningful places is particularly essential for social species. About deep attachments, this type of value-direction is also involved with our psychological and social “immune systems.” Every commitment to an individual, a group or a process depends on excluding any other focus that would distract one too much from that commitment. Such commitments are involved with psychological and social immune systems.
– George Gorman

Any emerging disease in the last 30 or 40 years has come about as a result of encroachment into wild lands.
– Peter Daszak, Disease Ecologist

Grandma once gave me a tip:

During difficult times, you move forward in small steps.
Do what you have to do, but little by bit.
Don’t think about the future, not even what might happen tomorrow. Wash the dishes.
Take off the dust.
Write a letter.
Make some soup.
Do you see?
You are moving forward step by step.
Take a step and stop.
Get some rest.
Compliment yourself.
Take another step.
Then another one.
You won’t notice, but your steps will grow bigger and bigger.
And time will come when you can think about the future without crying. Good morning
– Elena Mikhalkova, The Room of Ancient Keys

Most of our suffering arises from our ideas and concepts. If you are able to free yourself from these concepts, anxiety and fear will disappear.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

You must personally accept the responsibility of improving your own life.
– Lama Surya Das

When you have realized understanding, even one word is too much.
– Zen proverb

Energy itself, William Blake said, is eternal delight — and all life is to be lived in the spirit of rapt absorption in an arabesque of rhythms.
– Alan Watts

There’s a huge amount of suffering that is generated not by the actual challenges in life but by the fictitious problems that the mind generates.
– Eckhart Tolle

Our life depends on others so much that at the root of our existence is a fundamental need for love. That is why it is good to cultivate an authentic sense of responsibility and concern for the welfare of others.
– Dalai Lama XIV

your hands, your breath, the time of day, the place where you are reading this–these things are real. I’m real too. I am not an avatar, a set of preferences, or some smooth cognitive force; I’m lumpy and porous, I’m an animal.
– Jenny Odell, from How to Do Nothing

He who lives purely and self-assured,
In quietness and virtue,
Who is without harm or hurt or blame,
Even if he wears fine clothes,
So long as he also has faith,
He is a true seeker.
– Buddha, Dhammapada

Elissa Washuta:
I feel such a profound disconnect from anyone who’s being productive in ways that require critical thinking right now. I can barely even read, can barely think of the words for a simple text.

Can there be a religious resurgence or an ecological pact that might reverse the tendencies toward automation and devastation?
– Julia Kristeva

Soulnami – The tidal wave of benevolent energy that arises when members of the same soulpod gather together to support one another’s expansion. As they soak their heads in the ocean of essence, they come back up for air with new eyes, united in their intention to enhearten humanity and liberate it from the egoic ties that bind. Once it begins, the soulnami of goodness cannot be stopped, over-flowing at the banks, spreading its message of compassion from one village to the next…

This is what is happening right now. We are joining benevolent forces, in an attempt to contain and defeat this virus. I see it everywhere. So many of us finally fighting a shared battle in an effort to preserve our species. It’s unfortunate that it takes a tragedy to bring us together, but I find some comfort in the fact that we are finally on the same (soul) page. As I go for a walk in town, I see and experience my fellow humans differently than before. Unity consciousness feels less theoretical, and more tangible. I see myself in them, and I see them in me. Our collective vulnerability opens my eyes to our shared heartbeat. We were always in this life, together, but this makes it clearer. We are in this together, and we are this… together.
– JEFF BROWN

Lauren Worsh:
The spirit is always revolutionary. That is its very nature. We ARE change. We are the movement, we are the updraft and the penetrating roots.
We can have the courage of our convictions — that societies can be built on love, care, celebration and right relation. We can stand for truth in a world where liars hold the levers and channels of corrupted power.
Our deepest power IS love. Any power that expresses to close-down or go against what love would do is corrupted power. You must have the will to see the truth about those who are corrupt. It is time to remove them from power, and before we can do that we must acknowledge how corrupt the great majority of our worldly leaders are. In my country, the United States, our entire government—the Democrats and the Republicans— are a criminal syndicate. There are exceptions, people like Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and many in the latest generation of young public servants, but the great majority of our politicians are completely out of touch with their hearts. They are disconnected from the wisdom of the heart, this is what we mean when we say they are corrupted: they are disconnected from the heart and from the earth.
So don’t be afraid to call things what they are. Maya Angelou said something like when a person shows you who they are, believe them the first time. We are the ones who must hold those in power in our societies to account. If they are abusing that power to enrich themselves, at great expense to the great majority of human beings living on this planet, then it is time for them to retire. It is time for us to retire them.
Don’t be afraid of movement, there is a great revolving happening right now. Don’t feel like you’re doing it alone either, there is a lot of support from Gaia and from allies unseen for this great change. Let your spirit be lifted by the knowledge that freedom is possible among humans, and right relationship between humans and the more-than-human worlds — is possible!
It’s our true nature to live in right relationship. We can remember how it feels to be in harmony and balance.

People tend to plan their Dharma practice, and especially like to dream of making a long retreat. We plan how the retreat hut should look, its shape and where it should be positioned; we plan the time to start our retreat, maybe one, two or three years from now. It is very easy to make such plans, but it is more difficult for these plans to become reality. Therefore, it is more realistic to engage in Dharma practice today, right this moment, not tomorrow or next year. Practice now in whatever situation is at hand. Otherwise, your life can easily run out while planning to practice later. Do not make long-term plans.
– Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche

God doesn’t need to come down upon a mountain, for the mountain itself is the revelation. We only have to look at it and we will know how we should live.
– John Moriarty

I know a girl who told me that recovery is important & that healing is more interesting than suffering.
– Blythe Baird

SPRING 1940 by Vita Sackville West
All writers on country matters have commented on the particular beauty of this spring, and doubtless many keepers of private diaries have made similar entries. Some of us have taken the view that Nature was mocking us; others, that she was doing her best to console. One must make up one’s mind which way to accept it. At moments the recurrent exaggerated beauty seemed unendurable; at other moments it came as a gift of permanence and reassurance. I suppose it all greatly depends on the moods which attack us at different hours of the day, moods beyond the control of reason, moods not based on “the news” but on some strange, unanalyzed psychological process taking place within ourselves. Between breakfast and midday one may sink to a failure of spirit; during the afternoon rise to courage and confidence; by the evening be almost able to persuade oneself that one really prefers to watch history in this smoky foundry of its making than to live in the Victorian security of the late nineteenth century. The difficulty is to establish any constant level of one’s mettle.

People vary, but probably for most of us the early hours are the worst. To wake at dawn when the physical strength is lowest, when the mind between sleeping and waking is at its least manageable, when the nightmare slowly turns out to be not a nightmare at all but the far more terrible truth, when the loneliness of soul overcomes us and the sorrow of the separate burden appears in its starkness as a thing never to be shared—then indeed is the moment when courage is needed to find consolation and not irony in the beauty of nature. Yet consolation is to be had and a strange exhilaration, even in that bleak, abandoned hour. Perhaps the loneliness in itself serves to enhance perception’s poignancy. I know that the other morning when I awoke, aroused not only by the first square of dawn beyond my window but also by the thrum of engines overhead, I looked out on a world so fair that the grief attendant on that hour dissolved into what was almost a rejoicing in the union of tragedy and beauty. It suggested a mythological marriage between light and darkness: the pale nymph of the English dawn lying still virginal and unravished before the Wagnerian wooing of Wotan. A thin and milky mist drifted across the trees; a huge pale lemon moon still moved suspended in the morning sky. A few stars still showed, pale yellow in the pale blue, though the weaker ones had vanished with the night. Those few great stars which had travelled from darkness into daylight seemed to me symbols of the faint, far hope persisting into dawn. The weak had been extinguished; the strong remained. And in a few moments the sun would come up, flooding all.

Ever tumbling decisions seem to block the path.
There is a confusion about where we are today.
The choice made long ago, now this is the crossing.
– J. K. McDowell

Refusing to hold and alchemically cook anger, grief, pain, jealousy, resentment or judgmentalness is a disempowering form of innocence.

Intentions to simply rid oneself of these qualities are an ultimate self-betrayal – it looks like a betterment of oneself, a spiritual lifting, when actually it leads to ethical and relational dishonesty as well as a corrupted shadow-casting light.

If you are to unfold the flower that you are, bring your voice to bear, ripen your gifts, or step further into the authenticity of your path, you will face a wave of inner and outer censure and oppression, voices of disdain and dislike, even the rupture of relationships you may hold dear.

In 25 years of practicing depth psychology, I have not seen a person withstand the censure, oppression and disdain they will inevitably meet as they step into greater authenticity, without tempering their steel in the hot flames of their own shadow.
– David Bedrick

The reason I drink is to understand the yellow sky the great yellow sky, said Van Gogh. When he looked at the world he saw the nails that attach colours to things and he saw that the nails were in pain.
– Anne Carson

We are committed to the idea that study is what you do with other people. It’s talking and walking around with other people, working, dancing, suffering, some irreducible convergence of all three, held under the name of speculative practice.
– Fred Moten

There are two kinds of suffering. There is the suffering you run away from, which follows you everywhere. And there is the suffering you face directly, and so become free.
– Ajahn Chah

When the superior person hears of the Tao he diligently studies it.
– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

The spiritual life is first of all a life. It is not merely something to be known and studied, it is to be lived.
– Thomas Merton

All will come again into its strength:
the fields undivided, the water undammed,
the trees towering and the walls built low.
and in the valleys, people as strong and varied as the land.

And no churches where God
is imprisoned and lamented
like a trapped and wounded animal.
The houses welcoming all who knock
and a sense of boundless offering
in all relations, and in you and me.

No yearning for an afterlife, no looking beyond,
no belittling of death,
but only longing for what belongs to us
and serving earth, lest we remain unused.

– Rilke, Book of Hours.
Translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

lol being told “just be yourself” when everyone has many, sometimes contradictory, selves and that’s what’s wonderful & interesting!
– Chen Chen

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee:
…the true measure of civilizations
are not the monuments they leave behind,
its sciences, the sophistication of its weapons, or the standard of living its citizens enjoy,
but the quality of consciousness it fosters.

From the injustice of our time, take refuge in poetry.
From the harshness of the beloved, take refuge in poetry.
From glaring cruelty, take refuge in poetry.
– Abbas Kiarostami

It should never have taken a disaster to remove a disaster.
– Pastor John Pavlovitz

He who lusts after 50 people has 50 woes;
he who lusts after no one has no woes.
– Buddha

Moods are in the mind and do not matter. Go within, go beyond. Cease being fascinated by the content of your consciousness. When you reach the deep layers of your true being, you will find that the mind’s surface play affects you very little.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

We’re only here for a short while. And I think it’s such a lucky accident, having been born, that we’re almost obliged to pay attention.
– Mark Strand

We forget that despite the superficial differences between us, people are equal in their basic wish for peace and happiness.
– Dalai Lama XIV

Inter-dependence … is a fundamental law of nature.
– Dalai Lama XIV

Believe in what you are creating. It is helping the world to get better.
– Yoko Ono

Spiritually, you may come
to some very wonderful places,
but if they’re not complete and absolutely true, then eventually you’re going to outgrow them. It doesn’t feel good to leave them behind because that’s where you’re comfortable,
and the new hasn’t been revealed yet.
Then the misinterpretation that’s usually made is that you have fallen away from,
rather than reached the limitation of,
the realization that you had before,
as wonderful as it was.
When you mature,
it’s time to leave earlier stages behind.
It makes it much harder to leave if you say
that you have fallen away from it
rather than matured out of it.
These are completely different interpretations. With one, you are trying to grasp
or get back to what was before.
With the other,
you look back over your shoulder
and bid it goodbye as a nice experience, realizing something more mature is coming.
– Adyashanti

Ours is an old story…

Jung believed that whenever you are confronted with evil, look for the good and don’t give up hope! The world is going through a dark night of the soul as it did during the reign of Hitler and rise of fascism (aka white nationalism) and the herd mentality of the “mass man” who blindly followed them!

But this too shall pass! As individuals, our most important duty is to do our inner work and cast out the evil in ourselves instead of projecting our shadow onto the other! This will have a ripple effect on our communities! As without, so within. As above, so below!
– Sarvnaz Shirazi, Green Healing

I sometimes hear from folks who occasionally imagine: “If only I didn’t have to care for this vulnerable or elderly person. If only I didn’t have children or have to care for elderly parents, then finally I could do what I want and be free.” But it seems its often not like that. The real “freedom” is sometimes limitation. The grounded limitation of having to care for elderly parents, for a vulnerable person or for children isn’t a burden but an anchor. It might be what anchors us in love. Without it maybe our “freedom” would be to float off into the cosmos on some realm of narcissism or escapist journey. Caring for another human being can be the real “spiritual” journey, which roots us in love and in the body and the earth.
– Jason Hine

Religion is here to unite us.
It’s not here
…. to divide us.
If it’s dividing us,
it’s not God’s religion.
It’s something else.
– Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Wordsworth:
No sooner had I sight of this small Skiff,
Discover’d thus by unexpected chance,
Than I unloos’d her tether and embark’d.
The moon was up, the Lake was shining clear
Among the hoary mountains; from the Shore
I push’d, and struck the oars and struck again
In cadence, and my little Boat mov’d on
Even like a Man who walks with stately step
Though bent on speed. It was an act of stealth
And troubled pleasure; not without the voice
Of mountain-echoes did my Boat move on…

If the way to the center were easy to find—if it were capable of being captured in doctrines or were subject to human control—it would not be the genuine way. If the path that opens the heart and the mind could be found by simple belief, all the true believers would be opening the doors and windows of their hearts with gestures of true compassion. They would readily understand the common threads in the words “Jesus was right,” “Moses led me along,” and “Mohammed opened doors in my heart.” When the great way opens even for a moment the path between mind and heart widens. The heart begins to find the thought of unity buried within it and the mind begins to see subtleties that were impossible to grasp just a minute before. Finding the great way requires a willingness to surrender again and again, not simply a zeal for bowing one’s head in the same old way.
– Michael Meade, Why the World Doesn’t End

Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are, in fact, plans to protect man.
– Stewart Udall

Beloveds, if I love,
what language will I
love you in If I see
what language will I use to see

& if I love & if I see
you Then strike lines across
the terrorful verbs, write:

“love,” “study,” “make,” “disturb.”

– Aracelis Girmay

After losing a land and then giving up a tongue,
we stopped talking of grief
Smiles began to brighten our faces.
We laugh a lot, at our own mess.
Things become beautiful,
even hailstones in the strawberry fields.
– Ha Jin

Experience is never limited,
and it is never complete;
it is an immense sensibility,
a kind of huge spider-web of the finest silken threads suspended in the chamber
of consciousness,
and catching every air-borne particle in its tissue.
– Henry James, The Art of Fiction

The deepest feeling always shows itself
in silence
not in silence, but restraint.
– Marianne Moore

Underneath all the texts, all the sacred psalms and canticles, these watery varieties of sounds and silences, terrifying, mysterious, whirling and sometimes gestating and gentle must somehow be felt in the pulse, ebb, and flow of the music that sings in me. My new song must float like a feather on the breath of God.
– Hildegard of Bingen

The growing evidence that children, rather than adults, have the kind of minds capable of creating new languages suggests that language-making is a kind of play. Spoken dialogue is highly fluid and unpredictable, like play, though, also like games, languages have strict rules. Yet I think that the play of language is tied up with the mystery of humor. Storytellers from the beginning of time have made us laugh and shake our heads. The ambiguity of words makes language the perfect medium for exploring the nature of ambiguity, which is what humor, like dreaming, does. How appropriate that humor should also be the best means of diffusing tensions, often the very tensions created by the struggle to communicate.
– George Gorman

Nobody can tell you who you really are. It would just be another concept, so it would not change you. Who you are requires no belief. In fact, every belief is an obstacle. It does not even require your realization, since you already are who you are. But without realization, who you are does not shine forth into this world.
– Eckhart Tolle

Padmasambhava:

What is the use of a realization
that fails to reduce your disturbing emotions?

I believe that most of what was said of God was in reality said of that Spirit whose body is Earth. I must in some fashion indicate the nature of the visions which led me to believe with Plato that the earth is not at all what the geographers suppose it to be, and that we live like frogs at the bottom of a marsh knowing nothing of that Many-Coloured Earth which is superior to this we know, yet related to it as soul to body.

– AE (George William Russell), The Candle of Vision

Be like a great bird, that can fly through a storm to the peaceful expanse of sky. Fly through the storm of your afflictive emotions to the peaceful expanse of your mind.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

Adyashanti:

Do in life what you do in meditation.
Assume the same attitude and intention.

You cannot catalog, you cannot codify the infinite. Science will be unable to truly comprehend the mysteries of the spirit, but it’s not science’s fault. And truly, it is not necessary – some things are richer, and more beautiful as a mystery.

You cannot come to faith through reason…
– Eric Seibel

I came into poetry feeling as though, on some level, these words were not just mine but my grandparents’, their parents’.
– Joy Harjo

they visited / me in a stanza where we could be nearest each other / breathing
– Layli Long Soldier

Sometimes, I just say names I love out loud, I’ve always had a thing for this…I worked at banks during the college years, Western Bank, I filed the signatures on cards, I found that to be an eager time, I said the names out loud, and loved the sounds they made, the way their sounds made my mouth move… I loved guessing which countries or ethnicities each was from, entering the sweep and arc of their pen as their signed name became a visual gathering of ink; without looking at their date of birth, I’d guess their age or personality, by the speed of their sweep, or the teacherly slow perfection of a lower or uppercase F. Sometimes, I’d see the names of aunts and be so proud to see them among the many names I had not known. I remember the name I had not seen before, Hilario, and I wondered if he was. I would see the name Joaquin, and make a note to tell him the Semitic root of

Sometimes, I just say names I love out loud, I’ve always had a thing for this…
Yannis Ritsos
Speedy Claxton
Ish Smith

Zaza Pachulia, how many days I’d mouth his name out loud, so much it became beauty and verve, and part of the reason I wrote something close to my heart, enumerating the names and countries from which each came… But I have had to drop this name from my mouth, not the way I dropped it into air, celebrating the Zs and the power and punch of it, but after the game where my mouth dropped, instead, at what he did or did not mean to do, I have had to keep that name in a memory box, and wonder how to pull its root from the poem it part-inspired, I ask myself how, I ask myself to cleave it between the then and now, I totter between–lose it or leave it… Because a root can grow things it might later regret, but time does not dissipate the first moment it rose in its width and breadth…

Sometimes, I just say names I love out loud, I’ve always had a thing for this…

Maybe I say your name, too
The closest I’ve come
to your kiss

*

OR THIS ENDING COUPLET

Names of the living or the dead
–and other names I’d miss

YEAR AGO TODAY


– Marian Haddad

Cruelty is, perhaps, the worst kid of sin. Intellectual cruelty is certainly the worst kind of cruelty.
– Gilbert K. Chesterton

Sometimes skulls are thick.
Sometimes hearts are vacant.
Sometimes words don’t work.
– James Frey

All poets, all writers are political. They either maintain the status quo, or they say, ‘Something’s wrong, let’s change it for the better.
– Sonia Sanchez

I swear to you, there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.
– Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road

Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world:
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded…

– from the Metta Sutta, the Buddha’s words on lovingkindness

Now the woods are all black, but still the sky is blue.
– Proust

For it is the way of life to soften the sense of our own ills that we may the better bear them.
– Proust – Jean Santeuil

I cast a spell on the city asking it to last.
– Czesław Miłosz

A god has the power. But tell me, shall a man
Wring the same from a slender lyre?
His senses are awry. And there stand no temples of Apollo
At the crossings of two heart-lines.

Song, by Your example, does not concern desire,
Nor pursuit and attainment of its object;
Song is – to be. Trifling for the god;
But when shall we be? And when does He

Alter the earth and the stars in our being?
This is not, my lad, a matter of your passions, though
Your voice throw open your lips, – learn

To forget that you sang out. That is fleeting.
True singing is breath of another kind.
A breath that aims nowhere. Pneuma within the god. A zephyr.
– Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus

Let go of Unrealistic Standards

“There’s no rule book to take with you that says,
“When I get into this condition, do this.”
My rule is actually really simple:
I continually work to quiet my mind,
to stay mindful. I continue to work
to soften my heart, to stay ‘heartfelt.’
I work as well as I can to keep the energies moving in my system.
I mean this is energy.
I am constantly opening and watching
and listening and tuning.
I am listening my way into the universe.
I am hearing my way,
not listening actually.

You can feel that when you really listen,
you almost start to dissolve
into the other person’s storyline.
You can feel that when you really listen,
you tune your way into the universe,
and when the fear rises, you sit with it.
I sit with it and I don’t push it away.
I don’t grab at it. I know what my limits are,
and I often say, “I can’t handle that one just yet,”
and I don’t end up feeling guilty about it.

I stopped holding myself to a standard
of where I should be as a means
of beating myself up when I’m not there.

Don’t turn the spiritual journey
into another psychological thing
to prove you are a victim, or you
are somehow inadequate, or impotent
or incompetent, or something.
You can do it if you want to,
but it’s really not that much fun
to go about it that way. You want to go
from using the spiritual journey
in the service of your psycho-dynamics,
in the service of your ego,
to using your psychodynamics
in the service of the spiritual thing.

In other words, I can use my anger
to liberate me now,
while before I used my righteous desire
to show how good I was,
which was an ego trip,
and in answer to the question, “Who am I?”
My usual answer now is that I don’t know.
I don’t know, and it’s interesting
that that part of me that wants to know,
also just doesn’t really care now.
I don’t know why, but all I know
is that at this moment this feels fine.
However, if this were two in the morning,
it probably wouldn’t.
I may be sitting here alone,
talking to myself and maybe someone would come along.
It would be a new moment,
a special moment,
and maybe I’d keep talking,
maybe we would start a conversation
that would change how I feel.
I don’t know, but at some moment,
a set of events will transpire
and this feeling will stop,
and then I will come back to it again.

So I think from a political,
social point of view,
what you find is that in every walk of life
there are people who recognize
the predicament, and that’s
what you really end up doing,
is hanging out with people
who recognize the predicament,
and then you do what you can do.
– Ram Dass

King Solomon was wrong: there is something so new under the sun that virtually no one has explored its meaning. Suddenly, a world in which every person lived their own separate lives, with their own special routines, amid their own opportunities and threats, is now being brought into synch. Now we are all learning the same way to wash our hands, the same habit of not touching our faces, the same routines of a homebound life. We are all worrying about the same threat, watching its growth, preparing for sickness, and the possible death of loved ones. And however much we may focus on our own little worlds, we are being entrained to the patterns of a wider world that suddenly seems smaller.

It is as if the whole world is fighting the exact same war, and we are all on the same side. And not only are we all going through the same ordeal as Chinese and Iranians and Germans, we are experiencing a taste of the constrictions on Gazans and Syrians and Yemenis. We are all learning what it is like for poorer Nigerians and Ugandans, whose lives might be cut short by disease in an instant; all sensitizing ourselves to the thinnest curtain that separates life from death. And yet, somehow, amid this otherwise expansive moment, we are also contracting into smaller worlds, holding close to those who are nearest. It is a beautiful thing to protect those who are dearest, but let’s not forget to spread the love to the most vulnerable, whose lives have just been made more precarious. The homeless and refugees, hungry and stateless, are now at greater risk; and we are now in a better position to understand the risks they face. And we can use this crisis to open our hearts, so when we come out on the other side, we are better positioned to make the world anew. For when the dawn begins to break, we may well find ourselves living in a strikingly more global civilization. We will be bound together by the same threats, the same routines, the same traumas, and the same science that just saved us. And then it will be time to take on climate change.
– Theo Horesh, author of Convergence: The Globalization of Mind

Stranger, pause and look;
From the dust of ages
Lift this little book,
Turn the tattered pages,
Read me, do not let me die!
Search the fading letters finding
Steadfast in the broken binding
All that once was I!
– Edna St. Vincent Millay, Collected Poems

If you cannot read these great books with love and pure motives and just because you are fond of the life of the spirit—the life of the mind—it won’t do you any good and it won’t do students any good.
– Hannah Arendt

Using harsh words reflects narrow-mindedness—to be happy and joyful we need friends. Friendship is based on trust and treating others kindly.
– Dalai Lama XIV

I am the train of sadness
There are no platforms
Where I could stop
In all my journeys
My platforms slip away
My stations
Slip away from me…
– Nizar Qabbani

O love, were I love
And with love to love you, love
O love, for love grant that love
May know love wholly as love.
– Hadewijch

I don’t think we can eat information,
my father said,
20 years ago.
Prescience.
– Lenore Norrgard

Perhaps you’re a slave to your own idea of yourself.
– D. H. Lawrence

It’s so easy to become peaceful. It’s so easy to become loving, blissful, happy. You just have to reject all those thoughts that come to you — all those thoughts, all those feelings, all the emotions. Just reject them. You reject them by not giving them power. You give them power every time you let them feel something inside of you. When your thoughts take on a feeling nature you give them power. But when you refuse to take on that feeling nature, the thoughts will disappear. In other words, you are the one that gives them power. You are the one that creates your condition, be it good or bad. You are the one who sees the world the way you see it. See only yourself, see only reality. See only emptiness. It’s really very simple to do this. Just sit the way you’re sitting now and observe. Do not analyze, don’t try to change your thoughts, do not fight your thoughts, just observe them, watch them, look at them, and when you’re ready you can ask the question, “To whom do these thoughts come?”
– Robert Adams

I felt a strange sensation in my throat.
I spat against a wall.
A mass of black phlegm
large as a soapberry
rolled down the side…
Suddenly, just at that moment…
I realized what it was
that had escaped me until now:
All things are perfectly resolved
in the Unborn
[the Eternal, Absolute, Open,
Infinite Awareness].

It struck me like a thunderbolt
that I had never been born,
and that my birthlessness
could settle any and every matter.”
“don’t get born,” i.e., don’t take on
seriously even for a moment any false,
limiting identifications of being a man,
a woman, a Buddhist, a Confucian,
good, bad, old, young, angry, elated,
mortal body or even a distinct, immortal soul.
– Bankei Yōtaku

If there is one thing I have learned in thirty-five years as a psychotherapist, it is this: If you can let your experience happen, it will release its knots and unfold, leading to a deeper, more grounded experience of yourself. No matter how painful or scary your feelings appear to be, your willingness to engage with them draws forth your essential strength, leading you in a more life-positive direction. My work, both with other people and with myself, has thoroughly convinced me of this truth, which has become the bedrock of my therapeutic practice, Just as the depth and stillness of the ocean lie hidden beneath the stormy waves on its surface, so the power of your essential nature lies concealed beneath all your turbulent feelings. Struggling with these feelings only keeps you tossing around on the stormy surface of yourself, disconnected from your larger being.

Tossing in the waves keeps you from going beneath them and accessing the power, warmth, and openness of the heart. Letting yourself have your experience, by contrast, allows you to ride or surf the waves instead of being carried away by them. In moments of allowing and opening to your experience, you are— you are there for yourself. You are saying yes to yourself as you are, as you are feeling right now. This is a profound act of selflove.

How then to start letting yourself have your experience? How to make friends with your feelings, just as they are in this moment, no matter how difficult they may be? The key is always to start right here where you are, wherever that is. I call this “acknowledging.”

ACKNOWLEDGING
For instance, if you’re confused or disturbed right now by what I’m suggesting, you could start by simply acknowledging the confusion or disturbance, without judging it as something bad or trying to get rid of it. Or, if you would be willing to tune into the place of unlove within you, you could see how this lack of love feels in your body. Simply acknowledge the sensations in your body, and meet them with awareness: “Yes, this is what’s here.” When you give up struggling to avoid your experience, you are no longer caught in a struggle, and you start to relax.

ALLOWING
Next, allow the feeling to be there, giving it plenty of space. Allowing doesn’t mean wallowing in the feeling or acting it out, but rather opening up space around feeling the sensations in your body. This is like giving the feeling some breathing room, so it is not confined or constricted. Experience the space around the feeling and notice how the space lets the feeling be there, just as it is, without tension or resistance. Let yourself rest in that space. As you do this, you will find that you are holding the feeling in a much softer way. You have become the larger awareness in which your woundedness is held. Then there is nothing to fight against, and the body starts to settle down.

OPENING
As you begin to settle, you could also go a little further and see if you can open yourself to feeling the unlove directly, not maintaining any barrier against it. Opening to a feeling means letting down your defensive walls. Or you could see it as opening to yourself in the place where you feel this way. Basically, you are now opening your heart to yourself, which unlocks a stream of kind understanding toward your experience, just as you might empathize with your child or your dearest friend if he or she were hurting.

ENTERING
A further, more advanced step is to enter right into the center of the feeling with your awareness so that you are at-one with the feeling, not separate from it in the least. When your awareness enters into a feeling in your body, it no longer remains something other that can torment or overwhelm you. When you can be present in the very center of a feeling, you discover its nature as fluid energy. There is a kind of surrender or letting go that can happen here, as all sense of struggle drops away. This is a more advanced phase of unconditional presence.


If the old wound of not feeling loved or lovable is undigested pain from childhood, then letting yourself experience it with unconditional presence is a way of digesting that old pain. As you digest it, it no longer remains something solid and frozen that clogs your system. This is a simple and direct way of starting to heal your woundedness, the fearful shutdown you became stuck in as a child.

Being present with yourself like this is an act of love that unlocks the door to your deeper resources. There is a simple principle operating here: When you show up for your experience, your being shows up for you. And when the larger being that you truly are reveals itself, you have an experience of coming home to yourself. Settling into yourself gives you access to native resources — strength, acceptance, peace, compassion— that help you meet and relate to whatever you’re going through.

Coming home to yourself and your resources, you discover what is more true than any self-judgment: that you are just fine as you are, in your basic nature. You savor the basic goodness inherent within you, which has a clear, refreshing taste like pure water. Discovering this helps you appreciate your life, even with all its difficulties. In this way, letting yourself have your experience is the gateway to self-acceptance and self-love.
– John Welwood

I saw a single, perfect, lovely,
manzanita
Ha.

– Gary Snyder

The most ordinary conversation is often the most poetic, and the most poetic is precisely that which cannot be written down.
– Virginia Woolf

The true Way is as vast and boundless as outer space. How can you talk about it in terms of right and wrong?
– Nansen

Mary Oliver for Corona Times (after Wild Geese)
You do not have to become totally zen,
You do not have to use this isolation to make your marriage better,
your body slimmer, your children more creative.
You do not have to “maximize its benefits”
By using this time to work even more,
write the bestselling Corona Diaries,
Or preach the gospel of ZOOM.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body unlearn
everything capitalism has taught you,
(That you are nothing if not productive,
That consumption equals happiness,
That the most important unit is the single self.
That you are at your best when you resemble an efficient machine).
Tell me about your fictions, the ones you’ve been sold,
the ones you sheepishly sell others,
and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world as we know it is crumbling.
Meanwhile the virus is moving over the hills,
suburbs, cities, farms and trailer parks.
Meanwhile The News barks at you, harsh and addicting,
Until the push of the remote leaves a dead quiet behind,
a loneliness that hums as the heart anchors.
Meanwhile a new paradigm is composing itself in our minds,
Could birth at any moment if we clear some space
From the same tired hegemonies.
Remember, you are allowed to be still as the white birch,
Stunned by what you see,
Uselessly shedding your coils of paper skins
Because it gives you something to do.
Meanwhile, on top of everything else you are facing,
Do not let capitalism coopt this moment,
laying its whistles and train tracks across your weary heart.
Even if your life looks nothing like the Sabbath,
Your stress boa-constricting your chest.
Know that your antsy kids, your terror, your shifting moods,
are no less sacred than a yoga class.
Whoever you are, no matter how broken,
the world still has a place for you, calls to you over and over
announcing your place as legit, as forgiven,
even if you fail and fail and fail again.
remind yourself over and over,
all the swells and storms that run through your long tired body
all have their place here, now in this world.
It is your birthright you be held deeply, warmly, in the family of things, not one cell left in the cold.
– Adrie Kusserow

With what man can do
makes the poem

What escapes him
belongs to future men

– Homero Aridjis

Love is wise; hatred is foolish.
In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn
to tolerate each other, we have to learn
to put up with the fact that some people
say things that we don’t like.
We can only live together in that way.
But if we are to live together,
and not die together, we must learn
a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance,
which is absolutely vital
to the continuation of human life
on this planet.
– Bertrand Russell

More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.
– Charlie Chaplin

When we trust something that we know to be true—not from our ego or wanting it to be true, but from something that deep-down we know is true for us, we begin to walk our talk.
– Maticintin

Greed has never brought lasting happiness. Just the definition of the word alone implies wanting and dissatisfaction.
– B. D. Schiers

There are two classes of poets — the poets by education and practice, these we respect; and poets by nature, these we love.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

For All The Helpers

You Bringers of Heaven
You Peacemakers
Christ-bearers
Life givers,
You who bear
the living waters
that quicken the hearts
and awaken the spirits
of weak and weary souls.

You Breaker of chains
You Healers of the sick
Transformers
Givers of hope
Empowering
the poor, and disenfranchised.
You lighten the load
and ease the hearts
of humble and gentlefolk.
Thank You.
For You are the hands and the heart and the feet
of Christ in this world.

You are the Light of the world
and the Salt of the earth
and the Glory of God that heals whole.

– Bob Holmes

One of the things that became clear to me on my journey, was the interesting relationship between anger and vulnerability. It took me some time, and much resistance, before I could accept that I couldn’t be fully in my vulnerability if I couldn’t express my anger. Both because anger release cleared the debris so I could open my heart again, and because I could not touch into the deepest parts of my vulnerability without it. Until our inner child knows that we have the capacity to protect his tenderness with ferocity, he will not fully reveal it. He will only open so much, until he knows that we can protect him and hold him safe. This is one of the reasons why those who grew up unprotected as children will often keep their hearts closed. They weren’t given a healthy template for self-protection. Sometimes we have to forge that template ourselves, in the fires of our own empowerment. The more sturdily we can touch into and express our rightful anger, the more comfortable we will feel embodying and expressing our vulnerability. The more powerful our roar, the more open our core. The more we open the anger gate, the more we open the heart gate.
– Jeff Brown

SONG IN A YEAR OF CATASTROPHE
BY WENDELL BERRY

I began to be followed by a voice saying:
“It can’t last. It can’t last.
Harden yourself. Harden yourself.
Be ready. Be ready.”

“Go look under the leaves,”
it said, “for what is living there
is dead in your tongue.”
And it said, “Put your hands
into the earth. Live close
to the ground. Learn the darkness.
Gather round you all
the things that you love, name
their names, prepare
to lose them, It will be
as if all you know were turned
around within your body.”

And I went and put my hands
into the ground, and they took root
and grew into a season’s harvest.
I looked behind the veil
of the leaves, and heard voices
that I knew had been dead
in my tongue years before my birth.
I learned the dark.

And still the voice stayed with me.
Waking in the early mornings,
I could hear it, like a bird
bemused among the leaves,
a mockingbird idly singing
in the autumn of catastrophe:
“Be ready. Be ready.
Harden yourself. Harden yourself.”

And I heard the sound
of a great engine pounding
in the air, and a voice asking:
“Change or slavery?
Hardship or slavery?”
and the voices answering:
“Slavery! Slavery!”
And I was afraid, loving
what I know would be lost.

Then the voice following me said:
“you have not yet come close enough.
Come nearer the ground. Learn
from the woodcock in the woods
whose feathering is a ritual
of the fallen leaves,
and from the nesting quail
whose speckling makes her hard to see
in the long grass.
Study the coat of the mole.
For the farmer shall wear
the greenery and the furrows
of his fields, and bear
the long standing of the woods.”

And I asked: “you mean a death, then?”
“yes,” the voice said. “Die
into what the earth requires of you.”
Then let go all holds, and sank
like a hopeless swimmer into the earth,
and at last came fully into the ease
and the joy of that place,
all my lost ones returning.

I hang on to is the human & personal. I do not want to enter impersonal, non-human worlds. I want my solitude, my peace, the beauty of my house; I want to find my lightness & my joy again. Introspection does not need to be a still life. It can be an active alchemy.
– Anais Nin

…the habit of despair is worse than despair itself.
– Camus

There’s a world behind the world we see that is the same world but more open, more transparent, without blocks. Like inside a big mind, the animals and humans all can talk, and those who pass through here get power to heal and help.
– Gary Snyder

Nothing about you needs to be destroyed, or razed; no warfare is necessary.
– Chogyam Trungpa

The Buddha said that the universe
is created by the karma of the beings
who inhabit the universe.
So each of us sees our own universe.
– Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

There seem to be two kinds of searchers: those who seek to make their ego
something other than it is,
i.e. holy, happy, unselfish . . .
and those who understand
that all such attempts
are just gesticulation and playacting,
that there is only one thing
that can be done,
which is to disidentify themselves
with the ego, by realising its unreality,
and by becoming aware of their eternal identity with pure Being.
– Wei Wu Wei, Fingers Pointing Towards the Moon: Reflections of a Pilgrim on the Way

Sins have
many side-effects.
One of them is ….
that they steal
knowledge from you.

– Ibn Qayyim al- Jawziyyah

What is humility?
Perhaps it is the recognition
of our ultimate inability to control this moment – our total powerlessness in the face
of the unbridled, untamed, raw energy of Life. There is no protection here under a vast starry night sky – no filter, no boundary,
no protective layer between who I am
and Life Itself! This is wild vulnerability…
and if we can lean into this raw, shaky, unresolved place, accept our uncertainty
and lack of answers today,
soften into our not knowing
and allow our hearts to break to our smallness and sensitivity and fragility, we may discover what we were always longing for.
Peace beyond understanding.

Here is the paradox:
In humility, we are giants.

– Jeff Foster

We fell asleep in one world,
and woke up in another.
Suddenly Disney is out of magic,
Paris is no longer romantic,
New York doesn’t stand up anymore,
the Chinese wall is no longer a fortress,
and Mecca is empty.
Hugs & kisses suddenly become weapons,
and not visiting parents & friends
becomes an act of love.
Suddenly you realize that power,
beauty & money are worthless,
and can’t get you the oxygen you’re fighting for.
Nature continues on with its life
and it is beautiful.
It only puts humans in cages.
I think it’s sending us a message:
“You are not necessary.
The air, earth, water and sky
without you are fine.
When you come back,
remember that you are my guests.
Not my masters.
– Anon

…in true science as little as in history are there propositions properly speaking, that is assertions which are valid in and by themselves or apart from the movement by which they are produced, or which have an unlimited and universal validity. What is essential in science is movement; deprived of this vital principle its assertions die like fruit taken from the living tree.
– Friedrich Schelling

Flat Tires Are Part of the Journey
There is a problem in thinking
that you are supposed to be advancing
in your practice all the time.
You don’t have to constantly be on the road.
If you have a flat tire,
that is also part of the journey.
Ambition makes you feel
that you are not doing anything.
There seems to be a hypnotic quality
to ambition and speed,
so that you feel that you are standing still
just because you want to go so fast.
You might actually be getting
close to your goal.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Nonfiction is translation, a word that literally means to ‘carry across.’ Where translators carry a text from one language into another, nonfiction writers carry the ‘texts’ of the worlds around us and the worlds within us to the text of words on the page.
– Brian Goedde

I wondered whether music might not be the unique example of what might have been—if the invention of language, the formation of words, the analysis of ideas had not intervened—the means of communication between souls.
– Marcel Proust

In General Semantics they say ‘the map is not the territory,’ meaning words are not the thing it is describing. ‘Tao’ is the same way. ‘Tao’ is just the word it is not the Tao. It is just the road map, it is not the Way.
– B. D. Schiers

I write poetry because I can’t disobey the impulse; it would be like blocking a spring that surges up in my throat.
– Gabriela Mistral

When your inner commentary finally ends, your happiness can finally begin.
– Brian Thompson

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
– Buddha, Sutta Nipata

A not admitting
of the Wound
Until it grew it so
wide
That all my
Life had Entered it
– Emily Dickinson

People need to be liberated from their systems of symbolism and become more intensely aware of the living vibrations of the real world.
– Alan Watts

If I wanted to understand a culture, my own for instance… I would turn to poetry first. For it is my confirmed bias that the poets remain the most ‘stunned by existence,’ the most determined to redeem the world in words.
– C.D. Wright

If you don’t pick a day to relax, your body will pick it for you.
– Mindfulness Training

The ego doesn’t know that the source of all energy is within you, so it seeks it outside.
– Eckhart Tolle

of all the things we’re dying from tonight,
being alive is the strangest.
– Li-Young Lee

Dispelling dread isn’t a matter of trying to forget about washing dishes. It is realizing that in actual fact you only have one dish to wash, ever: this one; only one step to take, ever: this one. And that is Zen.
– Alan Watts

There’s a reason poets often say, ‘Poetry saved my life,’ for often the blank page is the only one listening to the soul’s suffering, the only one registering the story completely, the only one receiving all softly and without condemnation.
– Clarissa Pinkola Estes

If the whole universe can be found in our own body and mind, this is where we need to make our inquires. We all have the answers within ourselves, we just have not got in touch with them yet.
– Ayya Khema

Stand up to your obstacles; do something about them. You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have.
– Zen proverb

To be alive at this time means to be caught in the great unraveling that strands us near all the loose threads of creation; but it also means to be close to the revelation of the new design and the next paradigm. The old knowers say that the cave of knowledge can be found in the depths of the human soul, that each soul is threaded with inner qualities intended to be woven into the world and added to the garment of creation. They say that the creative energies of each soul become more important when the dark times come round again. In facing up to the enormous problems of the world and accepting the troubles that knock on our doors, we can better learn what hidden resources, deep resolves, and surprising designs we have hidden within us.
– Michael Meade, Why the World Doesn’t End

I have recently realized
that to be a buddhist does not
necessarily mean that you have
to have some sort of homework.
What you need is to admire the spirit
or the principle of ‘tathagata’ [authenticity].
Once you have that,
once you become a fan of ‘tathagata’,
once you admire the Tathagata,
once you really can’t have enough
of the spirit of the Tathagata then, I think,
you may not be chanting mantras,
you may not be sitting [for] hours and hours,
you may not be changing your outfit,
but you are a follower of the Tathagata.
– Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Moon Poem

I’m waiting for the moon, impatiently. She
was swallowed by a cloud dragon who has
not yet given her back to the night sky. I want
to say that this is unfair, especially when she
is full, in her splendor, something that I want
to see so that the world feels right again.

Have you ever waited for things? Precious
things? In that longing is everything that
could save us all.

– Jamie K. Reaser

MIRÓ
Why choose reality
when your soul’s
wrapped up with the blue star
on your shoestrings?
– Jax Allen-Sutton

Your first writing is as delicate as a seedling. Don’t show it to some yahoo who wouldn’t know an orchid from kudzu.
– Carolyn See

Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world:
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded…

– from the Metta Sutta, the Buddha’s words on lovingkindness

I regard poems as embodying a certain quality of grace.
– Shin Yu Pai, from Ensō

Something
in your soul trusts me
Otherwise it would not
let you near these words.
God has spilled
a Great One into each
…. of us,
This warrior is always
fearless
…. but also always kind.
The only
business I am concerned
with these days,
Since I heard
the Moon’s drunk singing,
Is stealing
back our flute from Krishna.
– Hafez

It is the living in sensation
that makes man material,
and after some time
…. he becomes ignorant of the spirit.

– Hazrat Inayat Khan

The old cathedrals are good, but the great blue dome that hangs over everything is better.
– Thomas Carlyle

Negative thoughts and emotions undermine the very causes of peace and happiness. In fact, when we think properly, it is totally illogical to seek happiness if we do nothing to restrain angry, spiteful, and malicious thoughts and emotions.
– Dalai Lama XIV

we are as pilgrims. we reach a place of respite and we build an altar. we build an altar because sometimes we are distracted and we don’t see the altar that was already there: everywhere and in abundance.
– hune margulies

Yeshe Tsogyal:

If you know me, you know that
I reside in the hearts of all beings.
Just summon me and I will return!

The Blessed Buddha once said:
The eye, the ear, the nose, the tongue, the body & the mind, Bhikkhus,
is an ocean of attractive stimuli for any uninstructed ordinary person…
Its streams are forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touches, and mental states,
that all are seductive, gorgeous, alluring, agreeable, pleasing, enticing,
tempting and tantalizing…. Here this entire world and its devas, its maras,
and brahmas, this generation with its recluses & priests, its kings and all
normal people, almost all are sunken and submerged, being like an entangled
and knotted coil of thread, like intertwined weeds, who all are unable to
pass beyond this dimension of misery, these painful destinations, these lower
worlds, this ocean of Suffering by repeated death ever again, this Samsara!
One who withstands that mighty and strapping current consisting of forms,
sounds, smells, tastes, touches, and mental states is said to have crossed
this sensual ocean of the eye, the ear, the nose, the tongue, the body and
the mind, with its great waves, whirlpools, terrifying sharks, and demons!
Crossed over, gone all beyond, such a Hero now stands safe on high ground…
Having extinguished all attraction, aversion and blinded ignorance, one has
crossed this ocean so hard to cross with its dangers of terrifying sharks,
scary whirlpools, waves and a vast variety of creepy demons…
Such a chain-breaking death-forsaker, elevated all without accumulations,
has eliminated all Suffering by leaving all behind any renewed existence…
Transcended, he cannot ever be defined, measured or even recognized!
I tell you, Bhikkhus: He has confused even the King of Death…
– Samyutta Nikāya

The spiritual seekers
are tired,
two or three at each stage
of the path.
The rest who have
given up
…. never knew your adress at all.
– Mirza Ghalib

Your heart gets bored with your mind and it changes you
– John Prine

What is Dhamma?

The word ‘Dharma’ has been misused in India since the past 1,500 to 2,000 years because people started to use Dharma in the sense of a religion or sect.

However, Dharma is universal and eternal. Dharma is not Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, etc. These are all different religions or sects.

In ancient times, Dharma meant the universal laws of nature, which are applicable to everyone. Even today, we come across Dharma being used in this sense. For example, in Hindi we say that it is the Dharma of fire to burn and to cause to burn. Here, Dharma has nothing to do with any religion but means the nature of fire. How can fire be Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Parsi or Sikh? Fire is fire.

Likewise, ice is ice. The Dharma of ice is to be cold and to cause to cool. This is the nature of ice, which is universal and eternal.

Similarly, when a person develops negativity such as anger, aversion, jealousy, and animosity, he feels unpleasant sensations and becomes miserable.

Neither the mental negativity nor the resultant misery can be called as Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or Jain. This is the nature of mental defilements: to make one miserable.

When India became independent, the Indian government prepared its constitution, which stated that the constitution and government would be Dharma-nirpeksh, meaning non-Dharmic. This was a blunder. How can any government be non-Dharmic? It has to be Dharmic, meaning it will give importance to right conduct. Actually, the constitution should have stated that it is non-sectarian, not non-Dharmic. The English word ‘secular’ was wrongly translated as Dharma-nirpeksh.

Seth Govinddas was an eminent Hindi writer. I knew him well because he occasionally came to Myanmar. He played a major role in the Hindi translation of the constitution. So, I drew his attention to this blunder. He accepted the error and later corrected it. When I came to India, I came to know that the late Mr. Laxmimal Singhviji also objected to this mistake and made a request to correct it. Finally, ‘Dharma-nirpeksh’ was changed to ‘panth-nirpeksh’ (non-sectarian). However, even today, national leaders and others still use Dharma-nirpeksh.

Whenever a sectarian word is added to Dharma, it corrupts its meaning. The Buddha never added any sectarian adjective to Dhamma. The only adjective that he added was ‘truth’. Therefore, he used the term ‘saddhamma’ (true Dharma) for his teaching. When the teaching is based on saddhamma, it does not give rise to blind beliefs. The law of nature is the same for everybody. Therefore, the word saddhamma did not give rise to a sect because the entire teaching is based on truth.

This is why the Buddha is known as saccanāma, one whose name means truth. Nāma also means mind. Thus, saccanāma is a person whose mind is always immersed in truth. Later, saccanāma also came to be known as satanāma.

When Bhaktimarg (path of devotion) became predominant in India, some saints used the word satanāma as a synonym for God…

Sometimes, satanāma is found in its true meaning. For example, when Guru Nanakji said:

“Satināma karatā purukha” meaning one whose name personifies truth and who practices only truth, who has attained the state ofsatanāma through one’s own efforts. Having attained this state, he becomes free from all hatred and fear.

‘Akāla mūrati’ meaning eternal and imortal. ‘Ajūnī’ meaning one does not arise again in the womb (natthidāni punabbhavo’ti in Pali). Gura Prasādi meaning this saccadharma is obtained only by the grace of a guru.

That is why Guru Nanakji gave importance to the practice of truth on the path of Dharma. He clearly stated

“Kiva saciyārā hoīye, kiva kūdai tutai pāli.”

-A meditator should become so truthful that every step should be based on the truth of personal experience. All the mental layers of falsehood should be broken.

The entire path of liberation is based on truth:

Ādi sacu, jugādi sacu, hai bhī sacu, nānaka hosī bhī sacu.

– Meditation should begin with the truth as its object, and as one progresses, hai bhī sacu, one should give all importance to the truth of the present moment. As one advances step-by-step, with the base of truth, one finally reaches the stage where hosī bhī sacu, one attains the ultimate truth.

One who wants to practice this path of truth does not gain anything by mere thinking or reasoning:

Socai soci na hovaī, je socī lakhavāra.

-The ultimate truth cannot be obtained even if one thinks about it one hundred thousand times.

The Buddha also said that one does not attain the ultimate stage through suta maya paññā (received wisdom) and cinta maya paññā (intellectual wisdom). So, he taught the practice of meditation to still the mind.

A certain tradition believes that the ultimate stage can be attained by observing silence. However, even if one is silent at the vocal level, the mind does not become silent. Various thoughts and ideas keep arising in the mind.

Therefore, Guru Nanakji said:

“Cupai cupa na hovaī, je lāi rahā liva tāra.”

-Another meditative tradition says that if one starves the body till it is reduced to a skeleton, one can attain the ultimate stage. Another extreme course is to stuff oneself with food. But, one cannot fully appease craving by eating.

Bhukhiyā bhukha na utari, je bannā purīā bhāra.

-The Buddha said that a meditator should be bhattamattaññū, meaning one who knows the exact amount of food that he requires. One neither eats more nor less than necessary.

Sahasa siānapā lakha hohi, ta ika na calai nāli.

-Although one might appear wise, only one in a thousand or hundred thousand accompanies one to the ultimate state.

Guru Nanakji explains the way to attain that stage:

“Hukami rajāī calanā, Nānaka likhiyā nāli.”

-One must walk the path in accordance with the law of nature, which can be realized only through personal experience. This law (hukami) or will (rajā) cannot be found in any book or discourse. It is within ourselves and can be realized only through experience.

Guru Nanakji also said:

“Hukamai andari sabhu ko, bāhari hukama na koī.”

-This law is within every individual. Seeking it outside is meaningless. One can progress only by understanding it through personal experience. This law is universal.

Great saints used the term sikkha to refer to those who trained themselves in this path that leads to liberation. Buddha also referred to those who trained themselves in this technique as sekkha.

‘Nānaka hukamai je bujhai ta haumai kahai na koi.’

-When one realizes this law (hukamai) by his own experience, one’s ego is completely destroyed and one no longer says ‘I’ and ‘mine’.

‘Haumai ehā jāti hai haumai karama kamāhi.’

‘Haumai eī bandhanā phiri phiri jonī pāhi.’

-Ego is the origin of karma and of birth.

-Ego is the fetter that causes repeated birth.

In addition:

‘Haumai dīrgha rogu hai dārū bhī isu māhi.’

-Ego is a dangerous illness. However, the remedy can be found within oneself. When one realizes this through experience, one clearly understands that the path of liberation is contained within oneself.

‘Eha māiā mohaṇī jini etu bharami bhulāīā.’

-One becomes swayed by this illusion of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ and forgets the truth.

‘Asantu anādī kade na būjhai, kathanī kare tai māiā nāli lūjhai’.

-One who is ignorant will never understand. He merely pays lip service but does not act accordingly. Such a person is in the grip of delusion and quarrels with everybody.

‘Manu māiā mein urajhi rahio hai, būjhai nahin kachu giānā’

-One who is entangled in the snare of illusion simply does not understand the truth.

‘Jinā potai punnu ti humai mārī’

-One who has gained merit by knowing the truth for oneself destroys one’s ego.

‘Sabade ūco ūcā hoi; Nānaka sāci samāvai soi.’

-That word alone is noble hearing which a meditator becomes immersed in truth.

‘Nānaka māiā moha pasārā, āgai sāthi na jāī’.

-Guru Nanakji said that one who is trapped in the snare of illusion do not understand that it will not accompany one to the ultimate stage. He also explained the way to realize the actual truth.

The Buddha also said that one should know and experience the actual truth as it is (yathā bhūta), which manifests itself within oneself at the present moment. It should not be a truth that has been created, imposed or imagined.

Guru Nanakji taught the same path:

‘Thāpiā na jāi, kītā na hoi, āpe āpi niranjanu soi.’

-One should not impose any imaginary belief on the truth that manifests itself from moment to moment, within oneself (saccanāma). Therefore, it is called niranjanu (neither created nor imposed truth).

When one objectively observes the truth of mind and matter, he clearly understands by his own experience that the mind-matter phenomenon is impermanent. It arises and passes away every moment. One realizes that this mind and matter, which is so ephemeral, cannot be ‘I’, ‘mine’, or ‘my soul’.

When one understands the true nature of mind and matter by personal experience, one does not generate craving or aversion, which is dependent on the false notion of ‘I’, and ‘mine’. One realizes the ultimate truth because one is liberated from the snare of illusion.

The entire path of liberation is based on truth. Truth is eternal and not dependent on external conditions.

As a child, I studied at a Khalsa school, where we would greet our friends with the salutation, sata-siri-akāla (truth is auspicious and eternal). At that time I thought sata-siri-akāla was similar to namaste and pranaam. Later, when I understood the true meaning of sata-siri-akāla, I was delighted.

A meditator who walks on this true path experiences the truth pertaining to the entire mind-matter aggregate within oneself (saccakhanda), eradicates all mental defilements and purifies the mind. Then one is called as Khalsa.

Therefore, Guru Govind Singhji said:

‘Khālisa tāhi nakhālisa janai.’

-One who knows the ultimate truth (nakhālisa) is known as Khalsa. He may belong to any race, clan or nationality.

The guru who develops such pure-minded Khalsa is a true guru (sadguru). He is highly praised and known as wāhaguru. Such awāhaguru, who trains pure disciples (Khalsa) is always venerated.

‘Wāhagurujī dā khālsā, wāhagurujī dī fataha.’

-Blessed are the Khalsa Sikhs (sekkha) who are walking on the path of true Dharma (saddhamma).

‘Ādi sacu, jugādi sacu, hai bhī sacu, nānaka hosī bhī sacu’.

-Whoever walks on such a path becomes truly happy and will certainly become liberated.”

– S. N. Goenka and Sayagyi U Ba Khin, Encounter with Vipassana

Miracles do happen. You must believe this. No matter what else you believe about life, you must believe in miracles. Because we are all, every one of us, living on a round rock that spins around and around at almost a quarter of a million miles per hour in an unthinkably vast blackness called space. There is nothing else like us for as far as our telescopic eyes can see. In a universe filled with spinning, barren rocks, frozen gas, ice, dust, and radiation, we live on a planet filled with soft, green leaves and salty oceans and honey made from bees, which themselves live within geometrically complex and perfect structures of their own architecture and creation. In our trees are birds whose songs are as complex and nuanced as Beethoven’s greatest sonatas. And despite the wild, endless spinning of our planet and its never-ending orbit around the sun – itself a star on fire – when we pour water into a glass, the water stays in the glass. All of these are miracles.
– Augusten Burroughs

Why, if it’s possible to spend this span
of existence as laurel, a little darker than all
other greens, with little waves on every
leaf-edge (like the smile of a breeze), why, then,
must we be human and, shunning destiny,
long for it? . . .

Oh, not because happiness,

that over-hasty profit of loss impending, exists.
Not from curiosity, or to practice the heart,
that would also be in the laurel . . .
but because to be here is much, and the transient Here
seems to need and concern us strangely. Us, the most transient.
Everyone once, once only. Just once and no more.
And we also once, Never again. But this having been
once, although only once, to have been of the earth,
seems irrevocable.
– Rainer Maria Rilke
translated by C. F. MacIntyre

Sometimes from sorrow, for no reason,
you sing. For no reason, you accept
the way of being lost, cutting loose from
all else and electing a world
where you go where you want to.

Arbitrary, sound comes, a reminder
that a steady center is holding
all else. If you listen, that sound
will tell where it is, and you
can slide your way past trouble.

Certain twisted monsters
always bar the path – but that’s when
you get going best, glad to be
lost, learning how real it is
here on the earth, again and again.
– William Stafford

Try to be precise and you are bound to be metaphorical.
‪— John Middleton Murry ‬

Stop thinking this is all there is.

Realize that for every ongoing war and religious outrage and environmental devastation and bogus Iraqi attack plan, there are a thousand counter-balancing acts of staggering generosity and humanity and art and beauty happening all over the world, right now, on a breathtaking scale, from flower box to cathedral . . . Resist the temptation to drown in fatalism, to shake your head and sigh and just throw in the karmic towel . . . Realize that this is the perfect moment to change the energy of the world, to step right up and crank your personal volume; right when it all seems dark and bitter and offensive and acrimonious and conflicted and bilious . . . there’s your opening. Remember magic. And, finally, believe you are part of a groundswell, a resistance, a seemingly small but actually very, very large impending karmic overhaul, a great shift, the beginning of something important and potent and unstoppable.
– Mark Morford

The essence of a poet’s function is to harmonise the sadness of the universe.
– Sir Leslie Stephen (1876)

With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?

– Oscar Wilde

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.
– Charles Bukowski

I am so disappointed. I fully understand that the situations we are living through are causing fear and a remarkably deep trauma response from entire communities. I understand the importance of protecting life and in ensuring that the systems that are in place are not overwhelmed. What is disappointing to me is the “you’re with us or against us” mentality that I see coming from people I have considered to be thoughtful and intellectually stalward.

I have a few thoughts on the criticism of and writing off of those who dig deeper and want more information. Those who don’t feel that the politicians who you’ve questioned and did not feel had your best interests at heart three months ago are all of a sudden protecting you with their every decision. Those who have always known there is more to a story than the official line shared on main stream media. Those who KNOW because of years of lived experience that the media sensationalizes everything.

Why do people not instantly trust politicians and the media? Because their opinions weren’t fickle in the first place.

Perhaps because they have a deep respect for the pure scientific method and they know that it is important to CONSTANTLY be seeking to disprove findings. To understand them more fully and avoid confirmation biases. And that science for the sake of public policy is ALWAYS skewed. ALWAYS. By it’s very nature it is because it is filtered information. Are the findings skewed? Maybe. But the recommendations always are. They have to be because humans are skewed. Every single one of them. It’s how our brains work. We can’t avoid it even if we wanted to.

Perhaps because they are watching rights being eroded and war language being used and they know where that has led in the past.

Perhaps because our systems are not infallible and make mistakes regularly. And because they know that as of three months ago that was still the case.

Does this mean that everyone who is skeptical doubts the reality of our situation? Does everyone who is skeptical think this is a hoax? An evil plan perpetrated by giant lizards? Fuck no. And by painting anyone who harbours doubt (doubt of perfect medical efficacy from a system that once believed vitamins weren’t a thing…doubt in benevolent politicians who’ve fucked us over time and time again have suddenly changed their modus operandi…and doubt that the media has suddenly dropped their money through sensationalizism core in place of a fair and balanced reporting designed to enhance humanity) with the same strokes as people who believe giant lizards control the world, you are not adding anything of value to humanity. It doesn’t make you sound educated or above anyone (although it sure sounds like that’s what you’re trying to project).

I’m sick of the “unfriend me if” comments. Unfriend people yourself you spineless shits. Then apologize down the road when you realize that drawing lines in the sand with people who have remained the same as they always were is a fucking joke. One that is nothing but virtue signalling.

Listen, I know that fear is king right now. I get it. Some people are saying stupid shit and making others even less comfortable. That’s not kind or helpful. But fostering an atmosphere where it’s unsafe to have doubts is a threat to all of us.

Doubt can be educated and informed and it can be ignorant and hollow. Don’t paint both forms with the same brush. Thank god for those who dig deeper and seek to understand the nuance at play in all things. I’m deeply disappointed that so many I respect have shown they will use public shaming as a tool to suggest otherwise.

– Natalie Pepin

Dzogchen: the Self-Perfected State
by Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

Someone who begins to develop an interest in the teachings can tend to distance themselves from the reality of material things, as if the teachings were something completely apart from daily life. Often, at the bottom of all this, there is an attitude of giving up and running away from one’s own problems, with the illusion that one will be able to find something that will miraculously help one to transcend all that. But the teachings are based on the principle of our actual human condition. We have a physical body with all its various limits: each day we have to eat, work, rest, and so on. This is our reality, and we can’t ignore it.

The Dzogchen teachings are neither a philosophy, nor a religious doctrine, nor a cultural tradition. Understanding the message of the teachings means discovering one’s own true condition, stripped of all the self-deceptions and falsifications which the mind creates. The very meaning of the Tibetan term Dzogchen, Great Perfection, refers to the true primordial state of every individual and not to any transcendent reality.

Many spiritual paths have as their basis the principle of compassion, of benefiting others. In the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, for example, compassion is one of the fundamental points of the practice, together with the knowledge of the true nature of phenomena, or voidness. Sometimes, however, compassion can become something constructed and provisional, because we don’t understand the real principle of it. A genuine, not artificial, compassion, can only arise after we have discovered our own condition. Observing our own limits, our conditioning, our conflicts and so on, we can become truly conscious of the suffering of others, and then our own experience becomes a basis or model for being able to better understand and help those around us.

The only source of every kind of benefit for others is awareness of our own condition. When we know how to help ourselves and how to work with our situation we can really benefit others, and our feeling of compassion will arise spontaneously, without the need for us to hold ourselves to the rules of behaviour of any given religious doctrine.

What do we mean when we say, becoming aware of our own true condition? It means observing ourselves, discovering who we are, who we believe we are, and what our attitude is towards others and to life. If we just observe the Limits, the mental judgments, the passions, the pride, the jealousy, and the attachments with which we close ourselves up in the course of one single day, where do they arise from, what are they rooted in? Their source is our dualistic vision, and our conditioning. To be able to help both ourselves and others we need to overcome all the limits in which we are enclosed. This is the true function of the teachings.

Every kind of teaching is transmitted through the culture and knowledge of human beings. But it is important not to confuse any culture or tradition with the teachings themselves, because the essence of the teachings is knowledge of the nature of the individual. Any given culture can be of great value because it is the means which enables people to receive the message of a teaching, but it is not the teaching itself. Let’s take the example of Buddhism. Buddha lived in India, and to transmit his knowledge he didn’t create a new form of culture, but used the culture of the Indian people of his time as the basis for communication. In the Abhidharma-kosha, for example, we find concepts and notions, such as the description of Mount Meru and the five continents, which are typical of the ancient culture of India, and which should not be considered of fundamental importance to an understanding of the Buddha’s teaching itself. We can see another example of this kind of thing in the completely novel form Buddhism took in Tibet after its integration with the indigenous Tibetan culture. In fact, when Padmasambhava introduced the Vajrayana into Tibet he did not do away with the ritual practices used by the ancient Bon tradition, but knew just how to use them, incorporating them into the Buddhist tantric practices.

If one doesn’t know how to understand the true meaning of a teaching through one’s own culture, one can create confusion between the external form of a religious tradition and the essence of its message. Let’s take the example of a Western person interested in Buddhism, who goes to India looking for a teacher. There he meets a traditional Tibetan master who lives in an isolated monastery and knows nothing about Western culture. When such a master is asked to teach, he will follow the method he is used to using to teach Tibetans. But the Western person has some very big difficulties to overcome, beginning with the obstacle of language. Perhaps he will receive an important initiation and will be struck by the special atmosphere, by the spiritual vibration, but will not understand its meaning. Attracted by the idea of an exotic mysticism he may stay for a few months in the monastery, absorbing a few aspects of Tibetan culture and religious customs. When he returns to the West he is convinced that he has understood Buddhism and feels different from those around him, behaving just like a Tibetan.

But the truth is that for a Westerner to practice a teaching that comes from Tibet there is no need for that person to become like a Tibetan. On the contrary, it is of fundamental importance for him to know how to integrate that teaching with his own culture in order to be able to communicate it, in its essential form, to other Westerners. But often, when people approach an Eastern teaching, they believe that their own culture is of no value. This attitude is very mistaken, because every culture has its value, related to the environment and circumstances in which it arose. No culture can be said to be better than another; rather it depends on the human individual whether he or she will derive greater or lesser advantage from it in terms of inner development. For this reason it is useless to transport rules and customs into a cultural environment different from the one in which they arose.

A person’s habits and cultural environment are of importance to that individual to enable them to understand a teaching. You can’t transmit a state of knowledge using examples that are not known to the listener. If tsampa with Tibetan tea is served to a Westerner, he or she will probably have no idea how to eat it. A Tibetan, on the other hand, who has eaten tsampa since he was a child, won’t have that problem, and will right away mix the tsampa with tea and eat it. In the same way, if one does not have a knowledge of the culture through which a teaching is transmitted, it is difficult to understand its essential message. This is the value of knowing about a particular culture. But the teachings involve an inner state of knowledge which should not be confused with the culture through which it is transmitted, or with its habits, customs, political and social systems, and so on. Human beings have created different cultures in different times and places, and someone who is interested in the teachings must be aware of this and know how to work with different cultures, without however becoming conditioned by their external forms.

For example, those who already have a certain familiarity with Tibetan culture might think that to practice Dzogchen you have to convert to either Buddhism or Bon, because Dzogchen has been spread through these two religious traditions. This shows how limited our way of thinking is. If we decide to follow a spiritual teaching, we are convinced that it is necessary for us to change something, such as our way of dressing, of eating, of behaving, and so on. But Dzogchen does not ask one to adhere to any religious doctrine or to enter a monastic order, or to blindly accept the teachings and become a Dzogchenist. All of these things can, in fact, create serious obstacles to true knowledge. The fact is that people are so used to putting labels on everything that they are incapable of understanding anything that does not come within their limits. Let me give a personal example. Every now and then I will meet a Tibetan who doesn’t know me well, and who will ask me the question, Which school do you belong to? In Tibet, over the course of the centuries, there have arisen four principal Tibetan Buddhist traditions, and if a Tibetan hears of a master, he is convinced that the master must necessarily belong to one of these four sects. If I reply that I am a practitioner of Dzogchen, this person will presume that I belong to the Nyingmapa school, within which the Dzogchen texts have been preserved. Some people, on the other hand, as has actually happened, knowing that I have written some books on Bon with the aim of re-evaluating the indigenous culture of Tibet, would say that I am a Bonpo. But Dzogchen is not a school or sect, or a religious system. It is simply a state of knowledge which masters have transmitted beyond any limits of sect or monastic tradition. In the lineage of the Dzogchen teachings there have been masters belonging to all social classes, including farmers, nomads, nobles, monks, and great religious figures, from every spiritual tradition or sect. The fifth Dalai Lama, for example, whilst perfectly maintaining the obligations of his elevated religious and political position, was a great practitioner of Dzogchen.”

“Sometimes compassion can become something constructed and provisional, because we don’t understand the real principle of it. A genuine, not artificial, compassion, can only arise after we have discovered our own condition.

A person who is really interested in the teachings has to understand their fundamental principle without letting him or herself become conditioned by the limits of a tradition. The organizations, institutions, and hierarchies that exist in the various schools often become factors that condition us, but this is something that it is difficult for us to notice. The true value of the teachings is beyond all the superstructures people create, and to discover if the teachings are really a living thing for us we just need to observe to what extent we have freed ourselves from all the factors that condition us. Sometimes we might believe we have understood the teachings, and that we know how to apply them, but in practice we still remain conditioned by attitudes and doctrinal principles that are far from true knowledge of our own actual condition.

When a master teaches Dzogchen, he or she is trying to transmit a state of knowledge. The aim of the master is to awaken the student, opening that individual’s consciousness to the primordial state. The master will not say, Follow my rules and obey my precepts! He will say, Open your inner eye and observe yourself. Stop seeking an external lamp to enlighten you from outside, but light your own inner lamp. Thus the teachings will come to live in you, and you in the teachings.

The teachings must become a living knowledge in all one’s daily activities. This is the essence of the practice, and besides that there is nothing in particular to be done. A monk, without giving up his vows, can perfectly well practice Dzogchen, as can a Catholic priest, a clerk, a workman, and so on, without having to abandon their role in society, because Dzogchen does not change people from the outside. Rather it awakens them internally. The only thing a Dzogchen master will ask is that one observes oneself, to gain the awareness needed to apply the teachings in everyday life.

Every religion, every spiritual teaching, has its basic philosophical principles, its characteristic way of seeing things. Within the philosophy of Buddhism alone, for example, there have arisen different systems and traditions, often disagreeing with each other only over subtleties of interpretation of the fundamental principles. In Tibet these philosophical controversies have lasted up until the present day, and the resulting polemical writings now form a whole body of literature in itself. But in Dzogchen no importance at all is attached to philosophical opinions and convictions. The way of seeing in Dzogchen is not based on intellectual knowledge, but on an awareness of the individual’s own true condition.

FROM OBLIVIOUS WATERS

after William Empson

The sink is clogged. We brush our teeth and wait
for it to drain, our conversation stalled
until, the water low, we spit. It’s late,
but I want to find a line I’ve just recalled
where a woman cleans her teeth into a lake.
My love is patient. He watches me search sprawled
on the floor among the masters, Donne and Blake
and Pope not having written of the sky
a woman made in morning, half-awake,
her toothpaste stars slow orbiting each thigh.
A picture, stored between pages years ago,
falls to the floor and catches my lover’s eye:
me, bathing in a river in Tokyo.
Instead of verse, I’ve unearthed memory—
six lost friends, a forgotten language, the photo
itself forgotten until now. We see,
of course, the poem in the suds, though there’s
no mist, no dawn, but day and younger me
washing her hair in the passing current. She wears
my swimsuit, holds my hairbrush, smiles back
at someone on the shore it’s clear she cares
for, even loves. Who was he, then, whose backpack
spills into the frame? Too many years
have passed. I’ve lost his name. The things I lack
confound, so the poet I can’t find appears
behind the camera, in his open bag
the poem, extra film, a couple beers,
and the summer blanket we’ll hang like a flag
to mark our cabin. William, was it you
who knew me then, who watched my wet skin brag
with stars? The river carried them out of view
before they could pool to mimic the coming night,
leaving a trail of white soap residue.
Another woman, then, appears in the bright
red of a darkroom, where my film is dipped
into developer. She lifts the campsite
from the stop bath. The negatives are clipped
to dry in even rows and she surveys
all the photographs that weren’t slipped
between the pages of a book, her gaze
following chemical drops that seem to freeze
each separate tress forever where it lays.
What does she know who pulls my memories
from oblivious waters, who brings light to every frame?
The face of someone I loved. The startling peace
in the stills. On a sign, the river’s name.
She trims the film to where the pictures start.
The world is water, a woman at its heart.
– Kimberly Kemler

Seekers do not wake up because of practice, but in spite of it!
– Robert Wolfe

What you meet in another being is the projection of your own level of evolution.
– Ram Dass

Capitalism is breathing its last, it is on the ground twitching and clutching its machine heart, let’s love the people who are so confused and so afraid of being no one, they will do anything to keep it alive.
– Melissa Hughes

We cannot achieve greatness unless we lose all interest in being great, for our own idea of greatness is illusory, and if we pay too much attention to it we will be lured out of the peace and stability of the being god gave us, and seek to live in a myth we have created for ourselves. It is therefore a very great thing to be little – which is to say, to be ourselves.
– Thomas Merton

Your old life was a frantic running
from silence.
The speechless full moon
comes out now.
– Rumi

I sometimes hear from folks who occasionally imagine: “If only I didn’t have to care for this vulnerable or elderly person. If only I didn’t have children or have to care for elderly parents, then finally I could do what I want and be free.” But it seems its often not like that. The real “freedom” is sometimes limitation. The grounded limitation of having to care for elderly parents, for a vulnerable person or for children isn’t a burden but an anchor. It might be what anchors us in love. Without it maybe our “freedom” would be to float off into the cosmos into some realm of narcissism or escapist journey. Caring for another human being can be the real “spiritual” journey, which roots us in love and in the body and the earth
– Jason Hines

The young need discipline and a full bookcase.
– Vivienne Westwood

If you are not already dead, forgive. Rancor is heavy, it is worldly; leave it on earth: die light.
– Jean-Paul Sartre, Le Diable et le Bon Dieu

A Practice Nourishing Forgiveness

Take a gentle inbreath, dropping into the body on the exhale
Touching into the profound value of forgiveness
Settling on these phrases,
May I forgive myself for mistakes made and things left undone
May I forgive myself for not meeting my loved one’s needs
May I be forgiven by all those whom I have harmed
May I forgive all those who have harmed me
May I accept my limitations with compassion
May I forgive and be forgiven

– Joan Halifax

Genius is nothing more than childhood recovered at will.
– Charles Baudelaire

Any Morning

Just lying on the couch and being happy.

Only humming a little, the quiet sound in the head.

Trouble is busy elsewhere at the moment, it has

so much to do in the world.

People who might judge are mostly asleep; they can’t

monitor you all the time, and sometimes they forget.

When dawn flows over the hedge you can

get up and act busy.

Little corners like this, pieces of Heaven

left lying around, can be picked up and saved.

People won’t even see that you have them,

they are so light and easy to hide.

Later in the day you can act like the others.

You can shake your head. You can frown.

– William Stafford

Our Dust
by C. D. Wright

I am your ancestor. You know next-to-nothing
about me.
There is no reason for you to imagine
the rooms I occupied or my heavy hair.
Not the faint vinegar smell of me. Or
the rubbered damp
of Forrest and I coupling on the landing
en route to our detached day.

You didn’t know my weariness, error, incapacity.
I was the poet
of shadow work and towns with quarter-inch
phone books, of failed
roadside zoos. The poet of yard eggs and
sharpening shops,
jobs at the weapons plant and the Maybelline
factory on the penitentiary road.

A poet of spiderwort and jacks-in-the-pulpit,
hollyhocks against the tool shed.
An unsmiling dark blond.
The one with the trowel in her handbag.
I dug up protected and private things.
That sort, I was.
My graves went undecorated and my churches
abandoned. This wasn’t planned, but practice.

I was the poet of short-tailed cats and yellow line paint.
Of satellite dishes and Peterbilt trucks. Red Man
Chewing Tobacco, Black Cat Fireworks, Triple Hit
Creme Soda. Also of dirt dobbers, nightcrawlers,
martin houses, honey, and whetstones
from the Novaculite Uplift. What remained
of The Uplift.

I had registered dogs 4 sale; rocks, dung,
and straw.
I was a poet of hummingbird hives along with
redheaded stepbrothers.

The poet of good walking shoes—a necessity
in vernacular parts—and push mowers.
The rumor that I was once seen sleeping
in a refrigerator box is false (he was a brother
who hated me).
Nor was I the one lunching at the Governor’s
mansion.

I didn’t work off a grid. Or prime the surface
if I could get off without it. I made
simple music
out of sticks and string. On side B of me,
experimental guitar, night repairs and suppers
such as this.
You could count on me to make a bad situation
worse like putting liquid make-up over
a passion mark.

I never raised your rent. Or anyone else’s by God.
Never said I loved you. The future gave me chills.
I used the medium to say: Arise arise and
come together.
Free your children. Come on everybody. Let’s start
with Baltimore.

Believe me I am not being modest when I
admit my life doesn’t bear repeating. I
agreed to be the poet of one life,
one death alone. I have seen myself
in the black car. I have seen the retreat
of the black car.

Your solitude will be a support and a home for you,
even in the midst of very unfamiliar circumstances,
and from it, you will find all your paths.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

I don’t know if I’ve learned anything yet!
I did learn how to have a happy home,
but I consider myself fortunate in that regard because I could’ve rolled right by it.
Everybody has a superficial side
and a deep side, but this culture doesn’t place much value on depth — we don’t have shamans or soothsayers, and depth isn’t encouraged
or understood. Surrounded by this shallow, glossy society we develop a shallow side, too, and we become attracted to fluff.
That’s reflected in the fact that this culture
sets up an addiction to romance
based on insecurity — the uncertainty of whether or not you’re truly united with
the object of your obsession is the rush people get hooked on. I’ve seen this pattern
so much in myself and my friends
and some people never get off that line.

But along with developing my superficial side, I always nurtured a deeper longing, so even when I was falling into the trap of that other kind of love, I was hip to what I was doing. I recently read an article in Esquire magazine called ‘The End of Sex,’ that said something that struck me as very true. It said: “If you want endless repetition, see a lot of different people. If you want infinite variety, stay with one.” What happens when you date is you run all your best moves and tell all your best stories — and in a way, that routine is a method for falling in love with yourself over and over.

You can’t do that with a longtime mate because he knows all that old material. With a long relationship, things die then are rekindled, and that shared process of rebirth deepens the love. It’s hard work, though, and a lot of people run at the first sign of trouble. You’re with this person, and suddenly you look like an asshole to them or they look like an asshole to you — it’s unpleasant, but if you can get through it you get closer and you learn a way of loving that’s different from the neurotic love enshrined in movies. It’s warmer and has more padding to it.

– Roberta Joan Mitchell

Prayer for These Strange Times

May we who are merely inconvenienced
remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors,
remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home,
remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close,
remember those who have no childcare options.
May we who have had to cancel our trips,
remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market,
remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for quarantine at home,
remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country, let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
let us find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.
– Cameron Bellm

Teresa of Avila
Let nothing disturb thee;
Let nothing dismay thee:
All things pass;
God never changes.
Patience attains
All that it strives for.
He who has God
Finds he lacks nothing:
God alone suffices.
– Poem IX in Complete Works St. Teresa of Avila

Your God transcends gender.
And yet She is also Mother.
She is Shekhinah, pillar of holy fire,
guiding you through the wilderness.
She is Sophia and Al-Hakim,
the essence of Wisdom,
filling your troubled heart and telling you exactly what needs to be done next.
She is Jamal, beauty, and Sakina, serenity.
She is Rahim, the merciful source of all life.
She is Shakti, coursing through your veins when you cry out for God, infusing you with unbearable longing.
She is Guanyin, radiating well-being.
She is Tara, formed from the Buddha’s own tears as he gazed upon the suffering of the world and wept.
She is Miriam, Mary, Maryam…

Your God transcends form.
And yet She also dwells
within every created thing.
She animates all that is growing
and going to seed, all that is ripened
and fragrant, all that is raw and undomesticated.
She dwells in creativity, in beauty, in chaos.
She breathes with the laboring female animals,
breathes with the newborn’s first inhalation,
breathes with the old ones as they exhale
one last time…

You do not mean to break the rules
and call Her God.
You try not to even conceive of God that way.
But sometimes you can’t help it.
Everything that feels holy feels like Her.
– Mirabai Starr

(Zen) Buddhism is really hard, particularly Dogen’s teaching. He gives you a very hard practice: Keep your mouth shut and look directly at impermanence!
– Dainin Katagiri Roshi

Purpose always trumps panic.
– J.P. Sears

I see nothing to fear in inner space.
– Yeshe Tsogyal

Just for today,
a Sabbath
from knowledge.
Who knows?
Just for today,
a Sabbath from judgment.
Is forgiveness
not your nature?
Just for today,
A Sabbath from
being right or wrong.
If a day is too long
then just for an hour?
If an hour is too long
then isn’t it enough
to bathe a thousand stars
in one breath
of love?
Just for this moment, friend,
stay with me.
– Fred LaMotte

In such ugly times, the only true protest is beauty.
– Phil Ochs

I want to tell my friends how beautiful
the world is. Not but what they know
it is terrible too– they know as well as I;
but nevertheless, I want to tell my friends.

[…]You are my friend. The world is beautiful.
Dear friend, you are. I want to tell you so.

– William Bronk

We are surrounded at every instant
by sights that ought to strike the sane
unbenumbed person tongue-tied, mute
with gratitude and terror. However,

there may be three sane people on earth
at any given time: and if
you got the chance to ask them how they do it,
they would not understand.
– Franz Wright

Pack my village in your suitcase let’s get out of here.
– Sally Wen Mao

After one look at this planet any visitor from outer space would say I want to see the manager.
– William Burroughs

Rachael de Moravia:
A lavender sky! I knew mornings like this once.

What an urgent time for a radical soul.
– Kimiko Hahn

Natalie Diaz:
No matter what this world throws at so many people, there are enough large-hearted, wonderful, expansive and loving people in this world to make any fight worth it for me. How lucky I have been in being found by my friends and the strangers who have become my beloveds.

Consider love as a spectrum. There is not, as it were, just nice love and nasty love, spiritual love and material love. These are all forms of the same energy. And you have to take it and let it grow where you find it.
— Alan Watts

If it so happened that we replaced
all our words with
growls, grunts,
sobs,
howls and whisper deep
murmurations
and grrrrrrs deep from the throat;
joined the night chorus as
crickets & frogs emerge in Spring,
sounding
from our animal bodies
thrashing and furious
with beauty and wrath.
Abandon the pretense of softness
and go for it full throttle
under a dark night with no stars,
under a waning moon
a waning epoch
a waning democracy
and too tired to bright side it,
we just growled a new
dissembling that looked nothing
like we thought it
would be.
Reduced to this body of
sound, more honest and
not knowing.
On my walks
I am watching the
honey bees
that cannot find flowers this early,
so instead they go low to the ground
and sip the minerals of
mud.
Like they do:
Hummmmmm, bzzzzzzzz
long tongue thrust out
drinking in the mysteries
of mud and earth,
no waiting
for flowers.
– Margo Stebbing

The story of man
Makes me sick
Inside, outside,
I don’t know why
– Kerouac

We need to become the sanctuary we seek.
— Jack Kornfield

Your heart is a parachute. Make sure it opens in time.
– Andrea Gibson

There is nothing more dangerous to the current system than you loving yourself, and others, unconditionally.
– melissa ann

Poetry… is the primary activity of the human mind.
– Vico

The you that goes in one side of the meditation experience is not the same you that comes out the other side.
– Henepola Gunaratana

Dr. Kate Marvel:
When this is all over, I would like to invite the epidemiologists to have a very strong drink with us climate scientists.

Pamela Alexander:

A really interesting pattern has emerged as I’ve been trying to listen to the voice of each of my friends and acquaintances around ‘what’ is currently happening in much of the world. Since my circle is broad, and represents a huge diversity of culture, religion, education, occupation and ideology, the pattern emerging is all the more startling: a lot of folks I know either think that we are being lied to, or that there is missing information being consciously or unconsciously left out of the story and the decision-making process.

What we differ on, of course, is what is the missing info– what the nature of the unconscious or conscious untruth– might be. That’s where everyone’s theories get wild and wooly, and I’m finding it hard to keep up with ya’ll, and with myself.

But among many I know: a questioning, a wondering, a thought form: what isn’t being said? what isn’t being shared? A sense of ‘there’s something missing here’, or ‘there’s something I’m not seeing fully’. Also: ‘What piece am I personally missing? or ‘What am I not sharing?’ ‘What aspect of myself is sitting in the darkness, here?’

It could partly be that the mass media seems to have no other ‘profitable’ ideas or stories to tell right now. Apparently all wars, famines, refugee camps, natural disasters, slavery and other forms of suffering and injustice at home and abroad have just gone away. The fact that 95% of the world is missing from the evening broadcast is certainly part of it, for me.

Whatever it is, I imagine it would be wise for me to notice this common tale of The Missing Piece, even as it is represented in a diverse cacophony of colours, textures, sounds, images, words and silences.

Shaking Hands
Pádraig Ó Tuama
27ú lá Meitheamh, 2012

Because what’s the alternative?
Because of courage.
Because of loved ones lost.
Because no more.
Because it’s a small thing; shaking hands; it happens every day.
Because I heard of one man whose hands haven’t stopped shaking since a market day in Omagh.
Because it takes a second to say hate, but it takes longer, much longer, to be a great leader.
Much, much longer.

Because shared space without human touching doesn’t amount to much.
Because it’s easier to speak to your own than to hold the hand of someone whose side has been previously described, proscribed, denied.
Because it is tough.
Because it is tough.
Because it is meant to be tough, and this is the stuff of memory, the stuff of hope, the stuff of gesture, and meaning and leading.
Because it has taken so, so long.
Because it has taken land and money and languages and barrels and barrels of blood.

Because lives have been lost.
Because lives have been taken.

Because to be bereaved is to be troubled by grief.
Because more than two troubled peoples live here.
Because I know a woman whose hand hasn’t been shaken since she was a man.
Because shaking a hand is only a part of the start.
Because I know a woman whose touch calmed a man whose heart was breaking.
Because privilege is not to be taken lightly.

Because this just might be good.
Because who said that this would be easy?
Because some people love what you stand for, and for some, if you can, they can.
Because solidarity means a common hand.
Because a hand is only a hand; so hang onto it.

So join your much discussed hands.
We need this; for one small second.
So touch.
So lead.

Roman Year
by Reginald Shepherd

Martius

The corrugated iron gates are
rolling down storefronts
in paradise, late light flecks windows,
rain’s acid fingerprints. Motes
float between iron and glass, sink
into sanded pavements, weather’s
footprints, cracked mappa mundi: silk
tea roses with a fringe of plastic fern;
grapes, apples, and bananas ripened
to painted wax: your eyes
blinking away pollen
in wind that says spring’s coming, wait
for me. Months sometimes it takes

Aprilis

lights scrolls across an unmade bed,
we were setting out for Aries
in paper planes (white dwarf stars
bright in a wilderness of wish scatter
white feathers among me, fistfuls
of light): bees busied themselves
with the seen, moment’s
multiple tasks, for the pollen, honey
in the blood, bees would drown
each day: from a thicket of nos
to one sepaled blossoming, all
in an afternoon

you thought of bees as summer

Maius

This heliotrope gaze has fixed me
in its sights (the turning solar year suffers
in sudden rain, grazes my cold
with vague waves, plashing
particles, but lightly): lightly
take this sky, bound up in so much
loose light, light wind brushes chapped
lips. Light-footed gods break open
day to see what it contains: body
survives light’s inquisitions.

Junius

Beside the shale pigeons a dove
color of old brick dust, the sound
of brick dust settling: traffic noise
rides heat-rise off wet streets, summer
music echoes borrowed air: light
centrifugal, sent scattering, lost later
every day:some gold
against bright water (handfuls
scattered over lake), unnecessary, true
candleland waning to wax
and wick, silver water shattering
like backed glass

Quintilis

When I was in Egypt, light fell
instead of rain, congealed to grains of sand,
pyramidal, uninterred. Uninterrupted waves
of palms departed for shuddering oases. Why was it
I spent centuries in that mirage, caravanserai
of the sirocco stopped, pausing at
reflection, also called the polished sky,
and still no fall of shade? The light hung
triangular, aslant, touched the colossus
to song.

Sextilis

Wanting to understand, not wanting
to understand, worried that
by taking thought you lose it, by not
taking, thought. Watching him run a hand
through thin blond hair, passing
at arm’s length on a lunch hour
street. Wondering is it good now, am I
pleasure, and which part is it that I need,
while air migrates too slowly to be seen
and noon crawls groggy over August
skin. Then thinking No, it’s too
and turning back to look at traffic.

September

Sudden storm, then sudden sun. Give me,
I almost said: and stopped, began again
with your voice, what gets invented by the
I-can’t-say-that-here. The afternoon of after rain
dazzles with cloudlessness and a painful green
set casually against blue: light
mottled by fractal leaves
freckles your outstretched arm,
repeating apple, apple, apple, sour
fruit and crabgrass. A damp T-shirt
takes on that color, nothing
will wash it out. I wear it for weeks.

October

doorway, flutter, moth
or leaf in flight, in fall
foyer, stammer of wind, a patter
hovering, dust hushed or
pressed to trembling
glass, smut, soot, mutter
of moth or withered stem,
late haze, gray stutter
crumpled, crushed,
falter, fall, a tread …

November

williwaw, brawl in air,
shunt or sinew of wind shear
blown off course, pewter skew
vicinity, winnow and complicit

sky preoccupied with grizzle,
winter feed of lawns’ snared
weathervane, whey-faced day
brume all afternoon of it

(lead reticence of five o’clock)
remnant slate all paucity and drift
salt splay, slur and matte brink
snow stammers against sidewalks

December

White light seen through
the season’s double window
clouding the room reveals the roses’
week-old gift of petals bruised purple-black.
Dry paper falling on white cloth
seconds the white room’s wonder
at cold sun flurried, crumbling stars
compacted underfoot: lattice
of fixed clarity, wintrish eidolon
half patience, half at prayer.

The Earth is generous, men are not. It is time to choose Whom you wish to serve.
– Clark Strand and Perdita Finn

The physician can bury his mistakes,
but the architect can only advise his clients
to plant vines.
– Frank Lloyd Wright

After Mama:
Near Balmoreah
~
The flat-topped hills
are not like you, Mother,
you are arched
—like the dome
of a rainbow—
where light colors
the sky—and leaves
us looking upwards
and dreaming—
coming into
Ozona—and the light
here is beautiful
—and you are light,
Mother—you are light
and now, you span
the sky—and this mountain
is a steeple, and you are
praying there and you
are everywhere
~
Marian Haddad
from Wildflower. Stone.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
by William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Passion for Solitude
by Cesare Pavese (trans by Geoffrey Brock)

I’m eating a little supper by the bright window.
The room’s already dark, the sky’s starting to turn.
Outside my door, the quiet roads lead,
after a short walk, to open fields.
I’m eating, watching the sky—who knows
how many women are eating now. My body is calm:
labor dulls all the senses, and dulls women too.

Outside, after supper, the stars will come out to touch
the wide plain of the earth. The stars are alive,
but not worth these cherries, which I’m eating alone.
I look at the sky, know that lights already are shining
among rust-red roofs, noises of people beneath them.
A gulp of my drink, and my body can taste the life
of plants and of rivers. It feels detached from things.
A small dose of silence suffices, and everything’s still,
in its true place, just like my body is still.

All things become islands before my senses,
which accept them as a matter of course: a murmur of silence.
All things in this darkness—I can know all of them,
just as I know that blood flows in my veins.
The plain is a great flowing of water through plants,
a supper of all things. Each plant, and each stone,
lives motionlessly. I hear my food feeding my veins
with each living thing that this plain provides.

The night doesn’t matter. The square patch of sky
whispers all the loud noises to me, and a small star
struggles in emptiness, far from all foods,
from all houses, alien. It isn’t enough for itself,
it needs too many companions. Here in the dark, alone,
my body is calm, it feels it’s in charge.

I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means—except by getting off his back.
– Leo Tolstoy

Love isn’t the work of the tender and the gentle;
Love is the work of wrestlers.
The one who becomes a servant of lovers
is really a fortunate sovereign.
Don’t ask anyone about Love; ask Love about Love.
Love is a cloud that scatters pearls.
– Rumi Jalalu’l-Din

Moth: I gave you my life.
Flame: I allowed you to kiss me.

– Hazrat Inayat Khan

Don’t pretend to be a candle, be a moth, and know the power hidden in serving.

– Mevlana Rumi

The poet’s first obligation is survival. No bolder challenge confronts the modern artist than to stay healthy in a sick world.
– Stanley Kunitz

People who exude love are apt to give things away. They are in every way like rivers; they stream.
– Alan Watts

Give back what you have learned. Share your experience.
– Deng Ming-Dao

The work will show you how to do it.

Almost every day I am reminded of the truth of this Estonian saying.
– Robert Moss

Take a word.
Wet the page with rain
and let it bleed into the margins like water color
blue so dark
it becomes just this side of black;

but the nuances are important:
why ban chemical warfare
but not subsonic cruise missiles,
what kind of shit stinks worse: human or pig?
Wait!
Let me start again.

Take a word,
wet the page with rain
and let it bleed for all of us,
let it be proxy for the innocent.
Let it redeem this long anthropocene moment
let it count its worth through all the ages;
make it as worthy as a whale song or Aboriginal song lines,
red rock mesas at sunset, the exuberant mirth that dolphins have
in the wild, or the scarlet flower
that blooms only every forty years,
as rare or as often
as forgiveness in the human heart.

Take a word,
wet the page with rain
and let it exude breath like a rain forest,
the moment
when words shift from indigo
into something that becomes
just this side of quiet.

– Margo Stebbing

All those broken and ruined ones,
With their Hearts and Souls,
Keep their hopes … pinned on You,
Expecting to get something
From Your endless knowledge.

It is expected that Your favor,
Which is the favor of favors,
Will alleviate suffering.
Every place will turn …. into peace
And be done with struggling.

It is expected that this humdrum world
Will stop.
It will be …. a different road and journey.
New melodies will appear in every heart,
And hearts will be attached
To each other like chains.

– Divan -e- Shams -e- Tabrizi

The Rainbow
Love is a rainbow that appears
When heaven’s sunshine lights earth’s tears.

All varied colors of the light
Within its beauteous arch unite:

There Passion’s glowing crimson hue
Burns near Truth’s rich and deathless blue;

And Jealousy’s green lights unfold
‘Mid Pleasure’s tints of flame and gold.

O dark life’s stormy sky would seem,
If love’s clear rainbow did not gleam!

– Effie Waller Smith

The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.
– Karl Marx

I saw old Autumn in the misty morn stand shadowless like silence, listening to silence.
– Thomas Hood

Justice is Love lived out.

Justice isn’t revenge; it’s re/alignment with Love.

Justice re/aligns the economy with Love.

Justice re/aligns the climate with Love.

Justice re/aligns the criminal “justice” system with Love.

Etc.

Justice is Tangible Love.

It’s beyond noise.

– Bernice King

Brothers, have no fear of men’s sin.
Love a man even in his sin,
for that is the semblance of Divine Love
and is the highest love on earth.
Love all God’s creation, the whole of it
and every grain of sand in it.
Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light.
Love the animals, love the plants,
love everything. If you love everything,
you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you have perceived it, you will begin
to comprehend it better every day,
and you will come at last to love the world
with an all-embracing love. Love the animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and untroubled joy. So do not trouble it,
do not harass them, do not deprive them
of their joy, do not go against God’s intent. Man, do not exhale yourself above the animals: they are without sin, while you in your majesty defile the earth by your appearance on it,
and you leave the traces
of your defilement behind you —
alas, this is true of almost every one of us!
Love children especially, for like the angels
they too are sinless, and they live to soften
and purify our hearts, and, as it were,
to guide us. Woe to him who offends a child.

My young brother asked even the birds
to forgive him. It may sound absurd,
but it is right none the less, for everything,
like the ocean, flows and enters into contact with everything else: touch one place,
and you set up a movement at the other end
of the world. It may be senseless
to beg forgiveness of the birds,
but, then, it would be easier for the birds,
and for the child, and for every animal
if you were yourself more pleasant
than you are now.
Everything is like an ocean, I tell you.
Then you would pray to the birds,
too, consumed by a universal love,
as though in ecstasy,
and ask that they, too, should forgive your sin. Treasure this ecstasy, however absurd people may think it.
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Awakening is all about belonging to landscape as the manifestation of Tao’s generative tissue.
– David Hinton

You will get letters, very reasoned and illuminating, from many people; I cannot write you that sort of letter now, I can only tell you that I am shaken, which may seem to you useless and silly, but which is really a greater tribute than pages of calm appreciation.
– VSW to VW

If every head of state and every government official spent an hour a day reading poetry we’d live in a much more humane and decent world.
– Mark Strand

Peace doesn’t require two people; it requires only one. It has to be you. The problem begins and ends there.
– Byron Katie

The reason people awaken is because they have finally stopped agreeing to things that insult their soul.
– Terence McKenna

It is love alone that leads to right action. What brings order in the world is to love and let love do what it will.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

Give back what you have learned. Share your experience.
– Deng Ming-Dao

People who exude love are apt to give things away. They are in every way like rivers; they stream.
– Alan Watts

The poet’s first obligation is survival. No bolder challenge confronts the modern artist than to stay healthy in a sick world.
– Stanley Kunitz

Inner Practitioner:
Whether others understand you or not, you are under no obligation to accept their energy, bullshit, projection, and blame.

Zen is a way of liberation, concerned not with discovering what is good or bad or advantageous, but what is.
– AlanWatts

Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it ‘SIMPLICITY.’
– Charlie Chaplin

Devotion

The heart can think of no devotion
Greater than being shore to the ocean –
Holding the curve of one position,
Counting an endless repetition.
– Robert Frost

Two there are who are never satisfied — the lover of the world and the lover of knowledge.
– Rumi Jalalud-Din

Musicians must make music, artists must paint, poets must write if they are to be ultimately at peace with themselves. What human beings can be, they must be. They must be true to their own nature. This need we may call self-actualization.
– Abraham Maslow, American psychologist

Gathering Momentum

Wash me in the river
Cleanse my soul
Let it flow like icebergs
Gathering
to tear down hills
crush boulders.
Wash me in the moonlight
Let me glitter like New Year’s eve
With magic
With fireworks
with cosmic chaos
on the silver streets.
Bathe me
in the breeze
of mountains
Chinook me, tsunami my body,
break waves on lakes over my feet until they sparkle.
Build bridges with stones and bones
Dug from the ice age.
Shower me in billows of
Iris, rose, lavender, lilac
Until I’m clean, until I rejoice.
*
Alone, no radio, no internet, no tv, nada.
Just the waterfall rush of Westcliffe wind
To remind me of all I’ve missed.
The scorch of skin,
blisters on palms,
The tired broken back,
The dry throat that can’t be quenched.
I owe someone something.
I want to repay the gift,
With kindness
With forgiveness.
*
I abandoned the beach and wind,
The sunshine changing
My hue from beige to mocha.
It’s a lullaby: rockabye baby
In the tree top
When el viento blows…

The emerald grass
The silver lake,
The mountains
The blood of Christ
Los montañas bleed
With every sunset.
*
I pretend to sleep,
Listen to you turn
pages in your book,
Try to imagine
if we had never met.
I always thought
my son would save me—
But honestly,
it was you.
All you need is love
Love is all you need.
– Juliana Aragon Fatula

Every day doing zazen as an important part of your life?

Zazen is not the form of sitting zazen, but all motions of the day are zazen. Since the time of the Buddha it is taught in this way. Sitting is zen, standing is zen, all five positions of the day are zazen.
After the awakening of the Buddha for 49 year without resting a single day, the Buddha taught his students. Bodhidharuma as well at the high age of 140 he travelled to China. Not being quiet for a single moment, the ancients passed on their experience to society. Not only sitting zazen when there was a need for it, but doing training all day long. Not losing the state of mind of Zazen in our daily life, that is not how Zen looks at it. Zen is taking every single moment of your day as being your zazen. For that we need to know our center well, then not losing that center, just like a top spinning. When the top is balanced well on its one point, then it can move freely in all directions.

The same is true for us. When we have many extraneous thoughts, we lose the natural flow of our mind. This is called confusion.

Sitting zazen, talking or being quiet – that is also zazen. We can do all types of work, we can stay centered in our mind from morning until night, not having lost our center we do not stop anywhere. Our body then responds and acts accordingly. That is called Zen. If we think, it is all about sitting, then as soon as we move, we lose our essence easily. We may be quiet when sitting but as soon as we move, we are pulled around by outer impressions. If we fall into inner noise, that is not zen.

We simply sit to experience the base of our mind.
“Daily work is worth 10000 times that of sitting zazen. “ Zazen is not only when sitting, but when we work, we can do not lose our center – that is zen. Not just in the zendo but in our daily life, not stuck on the form, when we are in society, we do not lose this central focus. Please see this as important. And check for yourself how alive your zazen is. In daily life staying centered is important.

How we sleep at night is how our day starts. How we sleep affects us is of great importance. When we go to sleep, we should be in a huge expansive state of mind, facing up, the legs a bit apart, and feeling as if this great universe is embracing us. Just when our mother held us in her arms when we were small, when we could completely entrust to being held, with this huge feeling we can fall asleep. Not forcing ourselves to sleep, but with a natural feeling, not pulling that along what happened during the day, neither being so exhausted that we simply fall asleep, but with a huge feeling, a huge state of mind, we can rest deeply. This is a habit of our daily life which we can practice. How we fall asleep, we know it best ourselves and need to look at this carefully. Huge and entrusting completely, that is how our state of mind should be. Do not be mean and critical with yourself, do not judge yourself, but simply entrust. There is no need to think about anything when falling asleep.

If we pull those many thoughts and emotions of the day into our sleep, we create a huge damage to our mind. This we should not do. If we were to do this, we do not wake up with a good feeling. We can check ourselves when we wake up. If we can wake up quickly, feeling light and bright, that shows us we we actually fell asleep. If you want to wake up refreshed, then to point is about how we fall asleep.

Do not carry those happenings of the day, those many thoughts and emotions into your sleep. That is the important point of zazen. If we wake up refreshed, our day will continue in this way and we can respond to encounters in a bright way. How we sleep at night shows us how we give life to our zazen.

Please look at this carefully. It is not about making efforts to sit only, we should not try to not think either, but this hugeness of mind is what we need to experience.
Please however the situation in society may be, do not let your state of mind get affected by it.

In an interview with Jung’s grandson Dieter Baumann, Jung’s grandson, when the subject of Chinese wisdom comes up, tells two interesting anecdotes. One is that he heard his grandfather say once that when you ask one informed by Chinese wisdom to bring you a flower, he returns with the whole garden.
That is, with the whole world..
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
At Jung’s birthday party at Kusnacht once, while he was opening presents, some stranger who wandered in through the garden and came into the house without knocking surprised everyone. He said to Jung, “Are you Dr. Jung?” Jung hesitates for a moment, then says, “Yes..” The stranger then says, “May I have a word with you?” Jung agrees, interrupting the party. He returns in about a half hour saying,
“That was an amazing man.
He contains the opposites.”
Dieter found out later the stranger was
Alan Watts.
von Franz : “The Chinese would say that if you pull one grass root you always get the whole meadow, and that is what Jung calls the contamination of the archetypal images.”

those who you cannot teach to fly, teach them to fall faster.
– F.N.

Just think about Social Security, The New Deal, freeing the slaves, or child labor laws… all represent great turning points in our nation that progressives made possible. The fact is, our entire history – from our revolution to healthcare reform – is filled with progressive accomplishments, and it’s hard to sell the Conservative brand to people who know that history.
– Thom Hartmann

Never forget what these ridiculous and reckless people on the right said and did, how dangerously and shamefully they behaved, as American jobs were lost in their millions and American lives were lost in their thousands. Never forget — and, most important of all, never listen to any of these people about anything ever again.”
Right now, House and Senate Republicans are denying that another relief bill is even necessary — and erasing and ignoring their complicity in making this public health crisis even worse.
What they’re doing is immoral. Their inaction will only cause more suffering. We must refuse to let them get away with it, in November and right now.
– E.J.

i have been gifted by woman in this way
and i have gifted woman in this way
and i have been dropped by woman in this way
and i have dropped woman in this way
and yes it hurts
a lot
and maybe makes us want to stop
stop trying
stop caring
stop
and still
i believe we must tend to each others hearts
now more than ever we i believe we must
and i believe we all can
in some way
some how
we can
tend
so today i am reminded of how grateful i am
for the friends who have held me heart
when i was bottoming out
and i am misty eyed remembering
the ones who let me in this way
for them
the gift isn’t only in the giving
the gift is in the allowing yourself to receive as well
maybe today instead of extending a hand
you offer your heart
some people are family
not because they share blood
because they share hearts
– E.R.

I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is my belief.
– Franz Kafka

If you want to grow, then step out of the way. Ask to be used for something greater than yourself. Ask to be used as an instrument of light. Ask to be used as a channel of peace. Ask to be used as a healer of pain. Ask to be used as a gateway to the Other World. Understand that your vision, your dream, can have a significant impact in our universe. Understand that your dream can influence the next generation.
– James Weeks, Across The King’s River

Time is deep, he seems to say: take the long view.
– Agne Mlinko

EASTER POEM
Every month, when I get my period,
I breathe a sigh of relief and thank God
I’m not pregnant, because you never know
when Jesus is coming back, and you never
know who god’s gonna choose to be the next
Virgin Mary. And can you imagine anything
more terrifying than staring down between your legs
and seeing the little glowing head of baby Jesus?
HOLY SHIT, NO THANK YOU.
I mean, what kind of bumper sticker would you get?
Your son’s an honour student? Yeah, well my son
walks on water, fuckers. Think of the pressure
Personally, I’d prefer to give birth to Lucifer––
a fixer-upper. The kind of kid who will sit
at the Last Supper and complain that Judas
got more mashed potatoes, because god knows
the holy have done more damage
to this world than the devil ever could.
– Andrea Gibson

a contagion of hope from heart to heart…Christ’s resurrection is not a magic formula that makes problems vanish, it is the victory of love…It does not pass over suffering and death, but passes through them…this is not a time of indifference…not a time of forgetfulness…not a time of division…not a time of self-centeredness… [it is a time to]… work actively for the common good…to enable everyone to lead a dignified life.
– Pope Francis

Coming home
May I be open to the true nature of life.
May I open to the unknown as I let go of the known.
May I offer gratitude to those around me.
May I be grateful for this life.
May I and all beings live and die peacefully.
– Joan Halifax

When it comes to my loved one’s future,
I cannot predict. So let me stop.
I cannot accelerate. So let me pause.
I cannot control. So let me release.
But there is something I can do. There is something we can all do to celebrate our loved ones for who they are now—not what their current skills or interests indicate they might become.
We can wonder.
To wonder about you is to see you and delight in you, just as you are.
To wonder about you is to love you in the most powerful way possible.
Today I invite you to join me in the Act of Wondering in an effort to enhance futures rather than diminish them. Take a look:
To the kid who rather catch butterflies than fly balls …
To the kid who wants to play catch ‘til the sun goes down …
You are a wonder.
To the kid who prefers quiet solitude …
To the kid who prefers an audience …
You are a wonder.
To the kid who does things in her own way, in her own time …
To the kid who is forges ahead with no signs of slowing down …
You are a wonder.
To the kid who wears his heart on his sleeve …
To the kid who wears a costume to the supermarket …
You are wonder.
To the kid whose butterfly colors light up a room …
To the kid whose firefly light shines quietly from within …
You are wonder.
To the kid who questions everything about life …
To the kid whose inherent knowledge runs deep …
You are a wonder
So go on, extraordinary one.
Live and let live.
Love and be loved.
Bloom in time—in your own time.
Now I see you for who you really are.
And you are a wonder.
I’m sorry I didn’t see it before.
But I see it now.
I see it now.
And with you as my inspiration,
I’ll be looking for the wonder in me.
– Rachel Macy Stafford, Only Love Today

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche:
Simplicity, free from conceptual mind,
Dawns as one taste, fresh relaxed.
Seeing nothing but That Is the ordinary mind.

There are whole
years I have
dropped to the
bottom of an
uneasy ocean.
– Brenna Twohy

The idea of a limit-experience
that wrenches the subject from itself
is what was important to me in my reading
of Nietzsche, Bataille, and Blanchot,
and what explains the fact that however boring,
however erudite my books may be,
I’ve always conceived of them as direct experiences
aimed at pulling myself free of myself,
at preventing me from being the same.
– Michel Foucault

Even the youngest people on this planet today are unlikely to see a young pine develop into something like the ancient pine, yet it is important to think what the young pine may look like in hundreds of years time, and the ecosystem it will be a part of.
We should be thinking long-term when rewilding if we are to ensure it’s a success for years to come. Allowing our habitats the space and time to develop all of their wonderful complexity is key if we are to breathe new life into our ecosystems of the future.
– Gus Routledge

An Old Story
by Tracy K. Smith
We were made to understand it would be
Terrible. Every small want, every niggling urge,
Every hate swollen to a kind of epic wind.

Livid, the land, and ravaged, like a rageful
Dream. The worst in us having taken over
And broken the rest utterly down.


A long age Passed. When at last we knew how little
Would survive us—how little we had mended

Or built that was not now lost—something
Large and old awoke. And then our singing
Brought on a different manner of weather.

Then animals long believed gone crept down
From trees. We took new stock of one another.
We wept to be reminded of such color.

Perhaps we need to revisit the brilliant thought paths of our Palaeolithic Ancestors and recover enough cognitive function to correct the impossible messes civilisation has created, before the echidnas decide to sack us all and take over as the custodial species of this planet.

The stories that define our thinking today describe an eternal battle between good and evil springing from an originating act of sin. But these terms are just metaphors for something more difficult to explain, a relatively recent demand that simplicity and order be imposed upon the complexity of creation, a demand sprouting from an ancient seed of narcissism that has flourished due to a new imbalance in human societies.

There is a pattern in the universe and everything in it, and there are knowledge systems and traditions that follow this pattern to maintain balance, to keep the temptations of narcissism in check. But recent traditions have emerged that break down creation systems like a virus, infecting complex patterns with artificial simplicity, exercising a civilising control over what some see as chaos. The Sumerians started it. The Romans perfected it. The Anglosphere inherited it. The world is now mired in it.

The war between good and evil is in reality an imposition of stupidity and simplicity over wisdom and complexity.

– Sand Talk By Tyson Yunkaporta

The world of a borderline, like that of a child, is split into heroes and villains. A child emotionally, the borderline cannot tolerate human inconsistencies and ambiguities; he cannot reconcile another’s good and bad qualities into a constant, coherent understanding of that person. At any particular moment, one is either ‘good’ or ‘evil’; there is no in-between, no gray area. Nuances and shadings are grasped with great difficulty, if at all. Lovers and mates, mothers and fathers, siblings, friends, and psychotherapists may be idolized one day, totally devalued and dismissed the next… Contemporary social forces implore us to embrace a mythical polarity black or white, right or wrong, good or bad relying on our nostalgia for simpler times, for our own childhoods. The political system presents candidates who adopt polar stances: “I’m right, the other guy is wrong”; America is good; the Soviet Union is “the Evil Empire”; Iran, Iraq, and North Korea are the “Axis of Evil.” Religious factions exhort us to believe that theirs is the only route to salvation. The legal system, built on the premise that one is either guilty or not guilty with little or no room for gray areas, perpetuates the myth that life is intrinsically fair and justice can be attained; that is, when something bad does happen, it necessarily follows that it is someone else’s fault and that person should pay… All these attempts to impose order and fairness on a naturally random and unfair universe endorse the borderline’s futile struggle to choose only black or white, right or wrong, good or bad. But the world is neither intrinsically fair nor exact; it is composed of subtleties that require less simplistic approaches. A healthy civilization can accept the uncomfortable ambiguities. Attempts to eradicate or ignore uncertainty tend only to encourage a borderline society… The borderline’s greatest obstacle to change is his tendency to evaluate in absolute extremes. The borderline must either be totally perfect or a complete failure; he grades himself either an A+ or, more commonly, an F.”

Whether through trauma, neglect, abuse or supremacy the mind can become set in stone. The mind is no longer fluid.

– Jerold J. Kreisman MD and Hal Straus

If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
– Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

I am never far from those with faith, or even from those without it, though they do not see me. My children will always, always, be protected by my compassion.
– Guru Rinpoche

Virtually nothing obeys this oppositionality. Nothing is obliged to take an opposing position in order for the first thing to be substantiated and have its own presence and consequence. It’s a very atrophied understanding of life. The opposite is not required. The rest is what’s required. The rest of the story. There’s the part you are talking about and there’s the rest of it. You can hear the village informed notion… Your wake (funeral) is not the opposite of your life. It’s the rest of your life. That’s where the meaning of your life begins to cohere as people tell stories, you know, and some of them are lies and some of them nobody was there but they’re talking with authority. Some of them are slanderous things of course. Somewhere in there the meaning of your life begins to become articulate and start to mobilize and to move. And people begin to consider you a ‘thing entire’, you could say. Not quite finished but the information is done now and the meaning of the thing is in the offing now and how we live with your goneness is the last part of the story that you ,as the dead person do not get to inform us about, That’s our job as village minded people.

The meaning of your life is entrusted to us not to you. That’s not the opposite of you. That’s the rest of you. So what’s the rest yellow? There is none. There’s the rest of the story, the rest of the spectrum. What’s the opposite of wood? Everything else where that tree came from and everything that relies upon it which would ultimately be us as well.

So, what’s the rest of life? Well, life doesn’t have an opposite with the possible exception of non-being. You know, from what I’ve been able to gather in my travels over the years, and this is a gross generalization, but you might say that non-missionized, indigenous people have an understanding of Hell… that’s not informed in any way by a Bible story. There understanding of Hell seems to be Non being. The possibility that you had never been. The possibility that you will now not be now that you’re dead. I think that’s their take on Hell. The utter corruption of being. Death is part of that story. If you don’t have death, you don’t have Earth. Earth come from the demise of things. And that’s what all life is planted in.

Life’s not life giving. Life is life taking. That’s what it does – life consumes as it goes. So, you can’t rely upon life in order to live. You have to rely on everything that’s once lived that will endorse and underwrite your capacity to live now. If you’re a farmer, you’re a dirt farmer ongoingly. You’re not a rye farmer, or a corn farmer or a pig farmer. If you have any sanity in the matter at all, you are forever augmenting everything that died before your turn at this farm. And you’re introducing recently dead matter to the place in hopes that some bit of life can grow thereby.

But these are not opposites These are mutually reliant things. So they don’t require a kind of open warfare between them in order to become distinct and to appear before us.

So, what’s the opposite of a self? Everybody else? No, they all got selves too apparently so that’s not oppositional. Ah, I know. Those life forms that have no self. Ah, you mean like not soul or anything. No sentientness. Like are we talking about stones here? You really willing to go out on a limb and say nothing’s alive except that which resembles us? We, who depend on everything in the world to be here so that we have a shot on it at all?
– Stephen Jenkinson

Courtesy first. As long as courtesy is on your tounge, everything is milk and honey.
– Stephen Jenkins

Much of western European history conditions us to see human differences in simplistic opposition to each other: dominant/subordinate, good/bad, up/down, superior/inferior.
– Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider

As the Spirit laments within us, so we become, even in our self-isolation, small shrines where the presence and healing love of God can dwell. And out of that there can emerge new possibilities, new acts of kindness, new scientific understanding, new hope.
– N.T. Wright

The road home is small; it is quiet. It is a warm you have to get used to. It is a ship made from everyone that ever told you they loved you and stayed when your heart slammed shut so loud you could not say it back.
– Des Dallagiacomo

Samsara will never just disappear on its own. You have to want to get rid of it actively yourself.
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Everything you think and do affects our society. So think peace. Start with that.
– Yoko Ono

If you want to live a more spiritual life, live a more human life. Be more truly, fiercely, heartfully human.
– Jeff Brown

In the moment when we answer “what do I intend to do about that?”, we are really saying, “This is how I currently define myself. This is how I define Who I Really Am. This is how I define Divinity, as a matter of fact.
– Neale Donald Walsh

However industrious you may be,
There is no end to worldly activities;
But if you practice the Dharma
You will swiftly conclude everything.

However nice they may seem,
Samsaric affairs always end in disaster;
But the fruits of practicing the Dharma
Will never deteriorate.

Since beginningless time
you have collected and encouraged
Karma, negative emotions,
and habitual tendencies,
Which force you to wander in samsara.
If you continue like that,
when will liberation arrive?

If you only see all this at the moment of death,
It’s rather too late –
When the head’s already been severed,
What use is any medicine?
Recognizing the suffering of samsara,
Turn toward the peace of nirvana.

– Padmasambhava,The Heart of Compassion: The Thirty-seven Verses on the Practice of a Bodhisattva

What most attracted me to the philosophy
was that I assumed that I was going right
to the essentials. I had never liked the details,
I saw the global meaning of things
more than their singularities
and I preferred to understand to see;
I had always wanted to know everything;
philosophy would allow me to achieve that desire,
because it aimed at the totality of the real;
he installed himself immediately in his heart
and revealed to me, instead of a disappointing
whirlwind of facts or empirical laws, an order,
a reason, a need. Science, literature, all other
disciplines seemed to me poor relatives.
– Simone de Beauvoir

I despise the kind of book that tells you
how to make yourself happy!
The first duty of philosophy
is making you understand
what deep shit you are in.
– Slavoj Žižek

Women live amid permanent contradictions
and unsustainable labours. Everything,
really everything, has been codified in terms
of male needs—
even our underwear, sexual practices, maternity.
We have to be women according to roles
and modalities that make men happy,
but we also have to confront men,
compete in public places,
making them more and better than they are,
and being careful not to offend them.
– Elena Ferrante as translated by Ann Goldstein

If all the woman of the world
recorded their dreams for a single week
and laid them all end to end,
we would recover
the last million years
of women’s hymns and chants
and dances,
all of women’s art and stories,
and medicines,
all of women’s lost histories.
Sing it!
Nothing
that can be remembered
with love,
can ever be lost!
– Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

The sky is that beautiful old parchment in which the sun and the moon keep their diary.
– Alfred Kreymborg

Of all the words that pour out of our mouths every day, how many of them are really ours, and how many are patched together from others’?
– Haemin Sunim

If you believe this virus is spread human to human, the antidote is building the immune system by eating plants & natural medicines and sitting in nature alone or with your immediate family, soaking up vitamin D & sunshine.

If you believe that this virus is symptoms of 5G exposure, then the antidote is sitting in nature, connecting to Mother Earth, building your immunity with eating plants and natural medicines – submerge yourself in water & dirt.

If you believe that this is all a hoax and you just need to sit back while Q saves us all, then the answer is sitting in nature, build a garden for the new earth, commune with God, eat plants & natural medicines that strengthen your connection and open your channel to the new earth frequency ~ ascend with her.

If you believe the economy is collapsing, and authoritarian dictatorship is imminent, the most radical thing you can do in protest is build a garden, releasing dependency on the system.

If you believe that Mother Earth is mad at us and purging the human race, the answer is go outside and listen, build a garden, align with her.

The answer is always nature. Always.

We do not have to argue about the why. The antidote is obvious. Alignment with the mother, with our source of nurturance. Remembering everything we use and need comes from her. Give thanks. Humble. Slow down. Observe. Listen.
– Katie LaMonte

Mary Annaïse Heglar:
It’s okay to not be a movement organizer or political strategist. Really, it is.

We may idealize freedom, but when it comes to our habits, we are completely enslaved.
– Sogyal Rinpoche

To be angry is to let others’ mistakes punish yourself. To forgive others is to be good to yourself.
– Master Cheng Yen

For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sage wisdom in ancient China meant understanding the deep nature of consciousness and Cosmos, how they are woven together into a single fabric, and how to dwell in that weave as an organic part of Tao’s generative cosmological process.
– David Hinton

Yoko Ono:
Everything you think and do affects our society. So think peace. Start with that.

Maura O’Connell:
Only love, love only, only love will do.

Bruce Cockburn:
Mists part
Sunrise
Shining key
Christ is risen to lead us free

The game is not about becoming somebody, it’s about becoming nobody.
– Ram Dass

If you’re invested in security and certainty, you are on the wrong planet.
– Pema Chödrön

Recuerdo
by Linda Hogan
Let me take it through my heart again,
that unchanging moment,
you wading through the river,
me wading toward you, laughing,
the illumination of that moment,
the shine of our skin
and clouds coming toward us.
They are the sky beings who live above
with tears ready to fall
like the origins of rain; no one knows
what they have seen in their previous fluid form.

For now, I merely go through that one day again,
remembering, traveling toward the river
past the place where snakes shed their skin
against stone
and move on
new, shining like a constant,
ceaseless stream of water
as it crawls across earth, changes and passes
blood memory, saltwater memory,
toward our laughter and joy
that moves once again through this heart.

What I Keep
by Linda Hogan
Once we had mountains
and you took them down.

It was enchanted before,
with the song of golden winds
of pollens from flowers
you also removed, as if it were the gold
you searched for. We gave you our labor.
We gave you our food, our sleeping mats.
You slept a year before we sent you away
with burning arrows and your fat ran across earth.

You took the plants on ships
away from our beautiful woods
from the forest,
you took them back to strange lands
already destroyed.
Then you needed our lands,
our labor,
and more of you
always arriving,
until you took our homes
while we still lived inside them.
You took the birds, the rookeries of beautiful waters,
feathers for hats
made from animals of this land
and all the time you lost,
so much even
a young woman had to lead the way
for your fame.

You need us now,
so I give to you
my knowledge, my mind, my stone soup.
But to myself, for myself
I keep my soul.
Our gods, your people
will never take.

One must go realize that to meditate is to pass beyond effort, beyond practice, beyond aims and goals, and beyond the dualism of bondage and liberation.
– Chogyam Trungpa

Let Him easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us, be a crimson-cresseted east.

– The Wreck of the Deutschland by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Easter is a verb.

a gentle reminder to stop wasting a single minute of your divine breath doing anything other than loving, all of it, every human, every action, every obstacle, every person who refuses to love u in return, all of it.
– BrainPoetNinja

Associate with the noblest people you can find;
read the best books; live with the mighty;
but learn to be happy alone.
– Saul Bellow, Ravelstein

Longing is not a mind game
and that is why I’ve always trusted it.
Longing is raw, longing is real;
it makes one listen and be attentive
to what’s inside. There is mad honesty in longing.
So mad that it feels suitable.
It is very suitable for me, I’m telling you—
I don’t even want to write it or write about it,
I want to be it.
– Anne Sexton, A Self-Portrait In Letters

Many know the way, few walk it.
– Bodhidharma

Tenzin Gyatso:
Too often we make what we call
“the happiness of all beings”
the object of our prayers and meditations,
yet when we rise from our meditation cushions
we fail to give practical help
to our neighbors and others in need.
If we are to fulfill our altruistic wish,
we cannot discriminate
between spirituality and our life in society.
Without the support of our fellow beings
we could not practice at all,
and without a concern for their welfare
our practice has little meaning.

If you’ve got nothing to dance about,
find a reason to sing.
– Melody Carstairs

Robert Johnson:
Dr Jung tells the story of a man who came in for treatment of an ailment. When asked to share his dreams he replied that he never dreamed, but that his six year old son dreamed most vividly. Dr Jung asked him to record his son’s dreams. The man brought his son’s dreams for several weeks and then suddenly began dreaming himself. The son’s overblown dreams stopped immediately!

Dr Jung explained that the man, unwittingly – for he had fallen into the usual modern collective attitude toward such things – had failed to take care of an important dimension of his own life and the son had been obliged to bear that burden for him. If you wish to give your children the best heritage, give them a clean unconscious, not your own unlived life, which is hidden in your unconscious until you are ready to face it.

Carl Jung:
Christians often ask why God
does not speak to them,
as he is believed to have done in former days.
When I hear such questions,
it always makes me think of the rabbi
who was asked how it could be that God
often showed himself to people
in the olden days while nowadays
nobody ever sees him.
The rabbi replied:
“Nowadays there is no longer anybody
who can bow low enough.

If (the Lord) likes you, He’ll give you everything; if He loves you He’ll take everything away.
– Devi Bhagavata Purana

Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore, we are saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we are saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as from our own; therefore, we are saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.
– Reinhold Niebuhr

Beloved, You know me,
in flesh and soul-ailing I stroll.
Nothing makes me whole!
You know what I show,
also what I hide;
Only You can heal
…. all the ban I bide!
– Baba Tahir

Samuel Beckett:

What is demanded of the artist is that, as an individual, he vanish from his work…

Yes, you must be here, and also, millions of light-years away. All at the same time…

Writing has led me to Silence

[The mystics] I like… I like their… their illogicality… their burning illogicality – the flame… the flame… which consumes all our filthy logic.

Ever Tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again.
Fail again. Fail better.

You’re on earth. There’s no cure for that.

A Kite for Aibhin
by Seamus Heaney

After “L’Aquilone” by Giovanni Pascoli (1855-1912)

Air from another life and time and place,
Pale blue heavenly air is supporting
A white wing beating high against the breeze,

And yes, it is a kite! As when one afternoon
All of us there trooped out
Among the briar hedges and stripped thorn,

I take my stand again, halt opposite
Anahorish Hill to scan the blue,
Back in that field to launch our long-tailed comet.

And now it hovers, tugs, veers, dives askew,
Lifts itself, goes with the wind until
It rises to loud cheers from us below.

Rises, and my hand is like a spindle
Unspooling, the kite a thin-stemmed flower
Climbing and carrying, carrying farther, higher

The longing in the breast and planted feet
And gazing face and heart of the kite flier
Until string breaks and—separate, elate—

The kite takes off, itself alone, a windfall.

This is a chapter; it will end,
And there will be another chapter, and that will end, and so on,
Until we come to the end of the book, and that’s that.
But the thing is, what did your book add up to, what did it say?
The Greeks believed your character determines your fate.
You can veer here and there, but ultimately something inside you,
the way you are,
Has already determined the kinds of choices you will make.
– Vincent Katz

You have a deep green mission
on a thirsty planet,
tasked with the grace
of a fallen raindrop,
to abandon despair.

To slow down and notice those
tiny cataclysms of Spring,
how long it takes
an apple bud to burst.

Not merely to hear
thrush song at dawn,
but to listen.
And in a mountain meadow,
to be not only the fragrance
of honeysuckle on a ragged breeze,
but the wind itself,
unscented.

Don’t waste time becoming
anyone but a Lover.
Always gaze into what vanishes.
Give people hope
that this moment is enough.

Teach little children and old men
how to dwell in the kingdom
of impermanence.
Do beauty with your hands.
Breathe peace.

These are simple words, my friend,
but they were born of many tears.

– Alfred K. LaMotte

Years ago, anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about fishhooks or clay pots or grinding stones.

But no. Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal.

A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts, Mead said.

We are at our best when we serve others. Be civilized.

– Ira Byock

All you Zen students, training in the Way, don’t be victimized by sounds; don’t follow up on forms. You may have a realization on hearing a sound or enlightenment on seeing a form — that’s natural. But don’t you know that true Zen students can ride sounds and veil forms? They see all and sundry clearly; they handle each and every thing deftly.
– Wu-men

The clash of ideas is the sound of freedom.
– Lady bird Johnson

The Lemons
by Eugenio Montale

Listen to me, the poets laureate
move only among plants
with rare names: boxwood, privet and acanthus.
But I like roads that lead to grassy
ditches where boys
scoop up a few starved
eels out of half-dry puddles:
paths that run along the banks
come down among the tufted canes
and end in orchards, among the lemon trees.

Better if the riot of the birds
dies out, swallowed by the blue:
we’ll hear more of the whispering
of friendly branches in not-quite-quiet air,
and the sensations of this smell
that can’t divorce itself from earth
and rains a restless sweetness on the heart.
Here, by some miracle, the war
of troubled passions calls a truce;
here we poor, too, receive our share of riches,
which is the fragrance of the lemons.

See, in these silences where things
give over and seem on the verge
of betraying their final secret,
sometimes we feel we’re about
to uncover an error in Nature,
the still point of the world, the link that won’t hold,
the thread to untangle that will finally
lead to the heart of a truth.
The eye scans its surroundings,
the mind inquires aligns divides
in the perfume that diffuses
at the day’s most languid.
It’s in these silences you see
in every fleeting human shadow
some disturbed Divinity.

But the illusion fails, and time returns us
to noisy cities where the blue
is seen in patches, up between the roofs.
And the rain exhausts the earth;
winter’s tedium weighs the houses down,
the light turns miserly – the soul bitter.
Till one day through a half-shut gate
in a courtyard, there among the trees,
the yellow of the lemons is revealed;
and the chill in the heart
thaws, and deep in us
the golden horns of sunlight
pelt their songs.

We are very probably at the end of a historical period and at the beginning of another. The end of the Modern Age or just a mutation? It is difficult to tell. In any case, the collapse of Utopian schemes has left a great void, not in the countries where this ideology has proved to have failed but in those where many embraced it with enthusiasm and hope. For the first time in history mankind lives in a sort of spiritual wilderness and not, as before, in the shadow of those religious and political systems that consoled us at the same time as they oppressed us. Although all societies are historical, each one has lived under the guidance and inspiration of a set of metahistorical beliefs and ideas. Ours is the first age that is ready to live without a metahistorical doctrine; whether they be religious or philosophical, moral or aesthetic, our absolutes are not collective but private. It is a dangerous experience. It is also impossible to know whether the tensions and conflicts unleashed in this privatization of ideas, practices and beliefs that belonged traditionally to the public domain will not end up by destroying the social fabric. Men could then become possessed once more by ancient religious fury or by fanatical nationalism. It would be terrible if the fall of the abstract idol of ideology were to foreshadow the resurrection of the buried passions of tribes, sects and churches. The signs, unfortunately, are disturbing.

This intact present, recently unearthed, shakes off the dust of centuries, smiles and suddenly starts to fly, disappearing through the window. A simultaneous plurality of time and presence: modernity breaks with the immediate past only to recover an age-old past and transform a tiny fertility figure from the neolithic into our contemporary. We pursue modernity in her incessant metamorphoses yet we never manage to trap her. She always escapes: each encounter ends in flight. We embrace her and she disappears immediately: it was just a little air. It is the instant, that bird that is everywhere and nowhere. We want to trap it alive but it flaps its wings and vanishes in the form of a handful of syllables. We are left empty-handed. Then the doors of perception open slightly and the other time appears, the real one we were searching for without knowing it: the present, the presence.
– Octavio Paz

There is nothing to practise. To know yourself, be yourself. To be yourself, stop imagining yourself to be this or that. Just be. Let your nature emerge. Don’t distub your mind with seeking. You have only to look and see. Look at your self, at your own being. You know that you are and you like it. Abandon all imagining, that is all.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

The affairs of the world will go on forever. Do not delay the practice of meditation.
– Milarepa

Be wary of any influence in your environment which dismisses or judges your enthusiasm. Without it, we would become anaesthetised to life itself. Anyone who demands this smallness of you is in danger themselves and may have contracted this insidious, deadening monotone. Enthusiasm is the vitality of spirit expressing itself through us and its grace in our voice should be welcomed and cherished. The word originates in the early 17th century, from the Greek enthousiasmos meaning ‘possessed by god.’ Now, more than ever, the world needs your enlargement, your weirdness, your fiery crescendos of rebellion from boring.
– Toko-pa Turner, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home

Healing is not an “off” switch, a restoration to the previous, an expulsion of the ‘monster-exterior’, or a deletion of bodily marks. Not even vaccines work this way. Whichever method vaccine development and administration adopts, it always involves the introduction of the pathogen in some form (reduced virulence, dead, attenuated, for instance) into the body of the subject. Immunity happens at the crossroads, not on the highway and not in the safe distance. Even then, it does not happen once and for all. It is not an internal and independent state of achievement, it is a provisional posture that is dependent on an ecology of surprising movements (for instance, the mutation of viruses and development of resistance to antibodies).

This calls into question the nature of healing as a sealing of porous membranes. Or as closure. If the reiterativity of healing and/or immunity is anything to go by, then healing is the proliferation of monstrosity, an ongoing negotiation of boundaries, a ritual that meets the never-resolved crisis of form.

Seen from a non-anthropocentric perspective then, healing has the attributes we imposed on the experience of illness (though this doesn’t mean they are the same thing). The modern world with all its gestures and micro-gestures, addicted to rationalised closure and the rationalised subject, performs “sickness” as openness and healing as closure. As returning to an original shape. Of course, some form of closure is required for bodies to function; one cannot be radically open to the exclusion of resolutions. The modern body however dreams of making the cut fixed and permanent: its biases leave us bereft of our kinship with the microbial, the fungal, the monstrous, with grieving and with dying.

What’s at stake? This performance of the “human-interior” and “monster-exterior” leaves out our accountability to the manifold others that make us human. It loses sight of the ways we are already being changed, refashioned and reconfigured – perhaps at molecular levels that escape our anorexic tunnels of vision. It pathologizes the “invaders” and ignores the gifts that often stream in from the world we’ve ruled out. Perhaps most pressingly, it binarizes this trafficking of boundaries, blind to the idea that beyond sickness versus health is a third option: the imperative of shapeshifting.

Whether we find a coronavirus vaccine or not, whichever way we go, there will be monsters. What if we leaned into our ongoing monstrosity, touching our tentacles, our many eyes and long bodies? What might shift?
– Bayo Akomolafe

I am quite confident that even as the oceans boil, and the hurricanes beat violently against our once safe shores, and the air sweats with the heat of impending doom, and our fists protest the denial of climate justice, that there is a path to take that has nothing to do with victory or defeat: a place we do not yet know the coordinates to; a question we do not yet know how to ask. The point of the departed arrow is not merely to pierce the bullseye and carry the trophy: the point of the arrow is to sing the wind and remake the world in the brevity of flight. There are things we must do, sayings we must say, thoughts we must think, that look nothing like the images of success that have so thoroughly possessed our visions of justice.

May this new decade be remembered as the decade of the strange path, of the third way, of the broken binary, of the traversal disruption, the kairotic moment, the posthuman movement for emancipation, the gift of disorientation that opened up new places of power, and of slow limbs. May this decade bring more than just solutions, more than just a future – may it bring words we don’t know yet, and temporalities we have not yet inhabited. May we be slower than speed could calculate, and swifter than the pull of the gravity of words can incarcerate. And may we be visited so thoroughly, and met in wild places so overwhelmingly, that we are left undone. Ready for composting. Ready for the impossible.

Welcome to the decade of the fugitive.

– Bayo Akomolafe

Yes it’s amazing how the earth is healing in the absence of humans. But the answer is not to stay inside. Rather, when all this is over, we must go outside and interact with her, in a completely different way.

Human beings were designed to be a keystone species, upholding whole food webs and ecosystems. I know this because I’ve seen it. Our ancestors proved that there is a way. A way to be so good to the earth that, if we were to leave, she would actually miss us.

The Yaruba elders call humans “the chosen ones.” Not because we are so special, but because we were chosen to take care of the earth. We were created to be her nurturer.

Many Native Nations are still doing this. The Haíɫzaqv are still planting massive kelp gardens to give the herring a place to spawn. The Menominee are still pruning the whole forest on a rotating basis to keep the trees and animals healthy. The Mardu are still doing small low intensity burns in the Australian desert to increase biodiversity throughout the land.

We are not a curse to the land, we have simply forgotten our true nature as beings created specifically to help steward and protect the land. We can and must go back to this practice. As it is a practice — a conversation — between us and the land, about mutual support and unbridled abundance for all.
– Lyla June

And to use something as elegant as a tree? Imagine this design assignment: Design something that makes oxygen, sequesters carbon, fixes nitrogen, distills water, makes complex sugars and foods, changes colors with the seasons, and self-replicates. and then why don’t we knock that down and write on it?
– William McDonough

You cannot pray wholeheartedly for someone without the consequence of yourself being blessed
– Saint Porphyrios

It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.
– Albert Camus

Money is like love;
it kills slowly and painfully
the one who withholds it,
and enlivens the other
… who turns it on his fellow man.

– Khalil Gibran

Probably most of you have not thought about this problem at all: to die each day… That means not to carry over from yesterday all your ambitions, grievances, your memories of fulfillment, your grudges, your hatred. You understand? To die every day.

Most of us wither away, but that is not dying. To die is to know what love is. Love has no continuity, no tomorrow. The picture of a person on the wall, the image, in your mind – that is not love, it is merely memory. Love means, surely, to die to everything that you have known. As love is the unknown, so death is the unknown. So you cannot love with the known. And to enter the unknown, which is death, one must die every day to everything. Then only is the mind fresh, young and innocent; and in that there is no death…

And it can be done, only it demands a great deal of self-inquiry, and awareness of every thought, every gesture, every word, so that there is no accumulation. Surely, that one can do. Then you will know what it is to die every day; and then perhaps we shall also know what it is to love every day, and not merely know love as memory. We don’t know what it is to live, because we are afraid, and we don’t know what it is to die.

We don’t know what it is to love, but we do know what it is to be attached, which we call love: my family, my husband, my child… to die to that attachment, to actually die to it. Without any argument, without any choice. And perhaps you will know what it is to love. All that we know now is the smoke, the smoke of jealousy, envy, ambition, greed, and the pain of all that. We do not know the flame behind the smoke. To find that out one must put away the smoke, completely, totally.

Then we shall find that living and dying are the same thing, not theoretically, but actually.

– J. Krishnamurti, Excerpt from 7th Public Talk in Paris, 1961

She got a big-time Moses lonesome on.
– John Gorka

It is especially important in this discussion to recognize the unity of the total process, from that first unimaginable moment of cosmic emergence through all its subsequent forms of expression until the present. This unbreakable bond of relatedness that makes of the whole a universe becomes increasingly apparent to scientific observation, although this bond ultimately escapes scientific formulation or understanding. In virtue of this relatedness, everything is intimately present to everything else in the universe. Nothing is completely itself without everything else. This relatedness is both spatial and temporal. However distant in space or time, the bond of unity is functionally there. The universe is a communion and a community. We ourselves are that communion become conscious of itself.

– Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth, 1988

The Faithful Lover

When I was looking for you
I cried aloud.

When I found you,
I wept for joy.

Now we are one
in quiet wedlock,
you invisible as always,
me patiently waiting.

Occasionally you appear once again,
fresh as ever.

That’s how I know
you will never leave.

– Dorothy Walters

Dear Stranger,

1.
There was never not a bridge
from your chest to mine.
My heartbeat was always
the sound of your feet walking towards me.
I can’t believe how many years
I lived without knowing
the air you were breathing out,
was the air I was breathing in.

Forgive me for not saying ‘thank you’
before our lungs had reason to hide.

2.
Fear is what you make it
and I’ve been trying to make it my teacher.
When the lesson starts to break me
I remember the dogs in the shelters–
how even those we call ‘the mean ones’
will follow their fear to each other’s sides
in the middle of the night,
make pillows of each other’s chests
when they think no home is coming.

Almost everyone in the world
is softer than they look.

3.
Do you pray now more than you used to?
I pray all of the time. I pray to The Big Bang
and to The Tiny Bang and to The Bangs
we’ll all have to cut ourselves so we can see
what beauty can only be seen from 6 feet away.

4.
Last night, a poet whose writing I love said he hasn’t written
a single poem since the beginning of the quarantine.

He said every time he’s inclined to
he calls someone he loves instead.

5.
The first thing I learned from this virus
was to question everything wanting to go viral.
The second thing I learned was to dream
only giant dreams.

6.
A giraffe’s neck is 6 feet long.
A decade from now will I remember the week
I spent wondering if I could hug a giraffe’s torso
and not get sick if the giraffe coughed?

I don’t want to forget anything about this.
Especially not how it feels to worry
about everyone I love at the same time.
So much of the world had been doing that already.

7.
If every heart-worthy novelist weeps for days
before killing a beloved character off,
how many centuries must god have spent sobbing
before pressing a pen to the page of this year?

8.
I used to be a gardener in New Orleans.
Every evening I’d spend almost an hour
cleaning the earth out of my nails.
She held on so tight. I loved her more for it.

Later I moved to the desert and was sitting
beside a cactus in my living room
when I heard a hurricane named Katrina
was about to hit my former home.

‘Save the flowers’, I said out loud,
watching a storm cloud rage its hungry spiral
across the television screen. ‘Save the flowers’, I said,
having no idea we wouldn’t save the people.

9.
When the water left the city I went back,
drove through the 9th Ward to a church
that had been gutted by the storm.
The preacher had spray-painted his phone number
across the length of the falling building.
There was something about his phone number
being as tall as the door––I couldn’t stop crying.

The world falls apart and people
become foundation.
– Andrea Gibson

There are poems
that are never written,
that simply move across
the mind
like skywriting
on a still day;
slowly the first word
drifts west,
the last letters dissolve
on the tongue,
and what is left
is the pure blue
of insight, without cloud
or comfort.

– Linda Pastan

Whatever happens in your life,
no matter how troubling things might seem,
do not enter the neighbourhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed,
God will open up a new path only for you.

Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful
when all is well. A Sufi is thankful
not only for what he has been given
but also for all that he has been denied.

– Shams Tabrizi

He who learns must suffer.
And even in our sleep
pain that cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart,
and in our own despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom to us
by the awful grace of God.

– Aeschylus

A crime against humanity … Every scientist, every health worker, every citizen must resist and rebel against this appalling betrayal of global solidarity.

– Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of the UK-based Lancet medical journal, on Trump’s decision to defund WHO

Until every being has reached nirvana,
may I serve only as a condition
that encourages progress and joy.

– Shantideva, Engaging in Bodhisattva Behavior

Pandemic
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
– Lynn Ungar

Hope sees with eternal eyes,
Hears the whisper of Christ,
Breathes the breath of the Spirit.
And walks with God in the cool of the day.

– Bob Holmes

There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.
– Aldous Huxley – Brave New World, 1932

The perfect dictatorship will look like democracy, a prison without walls where prisoners never dream of escaping. A system of slavery where, thanks to consumption and fun, slaves will love their slavery.
– from a letter from Huxley to Orwell

The Blanket

I have been thinking about the happiness
we had during our first year together––
something about being in that small town,
something about being thirty-one.

We sang often because it pleased us,
pulled funny faces for the camera––
when we jumped on the blanket,
friends held the edges secure.

Over the years, the friends moved away––
or did we? There was no one to hold
the blanket. We still jumped,
but the landings got harder.

And sometimes we forgot to be friends
to each other. There was less singing
the mandolin-top grew dusty, our
thirties were gone, and then––

Stories with only two people end sadly.
In our story there was a third who
dusted off the mandolin, called
back the village of friends

With a song: something about our faces
rising out of a pot of yellow tulips,
something about holding the edge of a
blanket, something about singing.

– Thomas R. Smith, The Dark Indigo Current

Stories are compasses and architecture; we navigate by them, we build our sanctuaries and our prisons out of them, and to be without a story is to be lost in the vastness of a world that spreads in all directions like arctic tundra or sea ice.
– Rebecca Solnit

The country shattered,
mountains and rivers remain.

– Pauline Yu translation of Tu Fu

When meditators are learning
to stabilize the mind, they should not regard
meditative equipoise as something good.
If they fail to have an experience
of meditative equipoise,
they should not regard that is a failure.
The important point is not whether
meditative equipoise is present,
but whether you can maintain awareness
in both a settled and a disturbed state of mind.
If disturbing thoughts arise,
you should use them with awareness
to recognize that thoughts are transient —
they arise, persist for a while,
and then disperse.
The transience of a thought is revealed
by its elusiveness.
Before you can get hold of a thought,
it is already gone, and another one
has appeared in its place.

– Gampopa, also known as Dakpo Rinpoché

You keep going.
That is the Bodhisattva’s way.
As long as it benefits even one being
you have to, without any sense of discouragement, go on.

– Rangjung Rigpe Dorje

You can’t make a map and expect a river to bend to it.
– Robin Gregory

Do not go on the authority of sacred texts;
Do not go on the grounds of pure logic;
Do not go by a view that seems rational;
Do not go by reflecting on mere appearances;
Do not go along with a considered view because you agree with it;
– Buddha, Kalama Sutta

An open ear is the only believable sign of an open heart.
– David Augsburge

Nora Bateson:
It could be time to start noticing those customs, contracts, communications, justifications & rationales that stink of the logic of the last system -which failed to advocate for vitality.

I have been remarking lately,” (fill in the blank)– No thanks, that is so last system.”

#SoLastSystem

Hey, Humanity, This Is Mother Nature

Giving your species a quick slap
on your collective cheek. Pop!

You’ve been moving too fast, for too long,
chasing cash and consumption, instead of Community,
not Sharing your wealth with the Downtrodden,
ignoring the Indigenous and their Wisdom,
walking past the Homeless, your phones aglow,
believing you’re so connected based on likes instead of Love,
buying more and more, and ever more stuff. Stop! Please! Pop!

Remember, everything you use comes out of me –
mined from the bones of my Mountains and Valleys,
slurped and strained from the veins of my Rivers and warming Seas,
gobbled from my Soiled skin, milled from my felled Trees…

But you’ve been taking so much, so fast, that
I’m getting depleted, drained, diminished.
So I had to do something to get your attention.
Pop! And now, it seems, I have it.
I’m sorry millions will suffer, tens of thousands will die.
But you’ve ignored my prior pleas – floods, fires, droughts,
Katrina, Victoria, Paradise,
so I could wait no longer. Pop!

It’s time to hit pause, people. To reassess, rethink, reimagine,
recalculate, reconsider what’s truly important,
what matters most in this mystery called Life on Earth.

Which is why I enlisted this microscopic organism.
To rein in your runaway stock markets and the scarring of my Skin.
To cut carbon emissions and cleanse my Hair and Lungs.
To slow the flow of plastics and waste into my Womb.
To halt shopping and shipping and all the distractions.
To dissolve your obsession with division, injustice, inequality –
us vs. them, rich over poor, dark below light, left against right.
To put a crack in the system so all of that can bleed away.
To smack you hard into pausing long enough to ponder:
“What the hell are we doing, anyway?”

Pop! Feel the sting burning through the fear and panic?
Stop! Wash your hands and hold them against your moving ribs.
Feel it? So much Potential right there inside each of You,
if you’ll just slow down and focus on that, instead of stuff.

This is your chance, Humanity.
Will you seize or squander this global moment?
I am watching. And I get to bat last.

– G. A. Kleiner

There is a kind of happiness and wonder
that makes you serious.

– C. S. LEWIS

Human beings have a natural urge to worship that “something greater” which coheres us, but we, in modernity, are living in a kind of spiritual cul-de-sac where our gifts only serve ourselves. Unlike the many shamanic cultures that practice dreamwork, ritual, and thanksgiving, Westerners have forgotten what indigenous people understand to be cardinal: that this world owes its life to the unseen. Every hunt and every harvest, every death and every birth is distinguished by beauty-making and ceremony for that which we cannot see, feeding back that which feeds us. I believe our alienation is the felt negligence of that reciprocity.

Although every culture has its own mythologies, the animistic way of seeing the world is to know that spirit lives in everything. Not just the human people, but the people with four-legs, the tall standing ones, the far-seeing feathered ones, the strong and silent cliff people, those sleeping mountain dreamers, and the always-up-for-a-conversation river people. Sometimes you can even catch spirit in the curve of a ceramic cup.

While animistic cultures live in a reciprocity with what author and Mayan shaman Martín Prechtel calls the “holy in nature,” we have become a culture infatuated with literality and rationalism. Divorced from myth and the symbolic life, our personal stories cease to have meaning in a larger collective momentum. Also atrophying in this separation, is our ability to imagine, wonder, and envision a way forward.

But each of us has a private gateway back into kinship with mystery—through our dreaming life. The practice of dreamwork is a powerful way of weaving back into intimate relationship with what the Sufis call the Beloved: that divine coherence, the holy in nature, from which all beings originate. As we remember it, it remembers us.

– Toko-pa Turner

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, so shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
– Gibran Khalil Gebran

If, through fundamental misperception of reality, an individual enters into the confusion of dualism, primordial consciousness, which is in fact the source of all manifestation (even of dualistic consciousness and, in fact, of all phenomena), itself becomes obscured. The individual’s deluded mind then mistakes the manifestations of its own pure, innate primordial awareness for an external reality existing separately from itself, which it endlessly, and ultimately unsuccessfully, attempts to manipulate, trying in vain to bring an end to the continual underlying sense of dissatisfaction and unease which is the inevitable experience of the obscuration of pure awareness. The experience of underlying dissatisfaction that unavoidably arises with a deluded mind, continues, no matter how ‘successful’ the individual becomes in dealing with his or her world in materialistic terms, until the individual regains the experience of the primordial state.
– Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

Impermanence

1. So now you have your freedom, hard to find,
And yet its time is passing;
it is subject to decay.
Look closely; see its hollowness
like bubbling foam.
It is not worthy of your trust!
Think night and day
upon the utter certainty of death.

2. This body is the ground of pain
and every mental sorrow,
A plenteous wellspring of defiled affliction.
And yet you garland it with flowers,
Adorning it with robes and jewels.
But though you tend and wait on it
With many a tasty gift of food and drink,
At last it will not stay;
it will decay and leave you.
You cherish now the future food
Of jackal, fox, and graveyard bird!
Don’t think of it
as something permanent and clean,
But implement the holy teaching
from this moment on.

3. Brahmā, Śiva, Indra, great and powerful gods,
Enjoy the greatest wealth in all the three dimensions of the world.
They blaze with glory
through their merit and renown,
Yet in the contest with the Lord of Death
They have no victory.
Because they have achieved samādhi,
they can live for aeons,
Yet when their karma is used up,
their hour of death arrives.
Devas and asuras,
rishis, those with magic power,
The rulers and the ruled—
unnumbered are their births,
And not a single one without the fear of death!

4. This lifetime passes like the weeping clouds
Where dance the lightning garlands
of the Lord of Death,
And from them, day and night, there falls
An endless rain to bathe the shoots
That grow in the three levels of existence.

5. The world and its inhabitants will pass.
The universe is formed and then destroyed
By seven fires, a flood,
and then the scattering wind.
The all-encircling sea, the continents,
And even mighty Sumeru
compounded of four jewels,
All girded by the rings of lesser peaks—
all this will pass.
The time will come when all
will have dissolved Into a single space.
Remember this
and practice Dharma from your heart.

6. The Guide and Guardian of the world,
Surrounded by a throng of the pratyekabuddhas, śrāvakas,
And all the bodhisattva offspring of the Lord,
Is like the peerless, hare-marked moon
aloft in limpid skies,
Amid a host of starry constellations.
Clear, resplendent, radiant he shines,
And yet he is impermanent:
He demonstrates his passing
to the state beyond all pain.
And see how the unbounded sun
Of his most precious Doctrine sets
And disappears as the generations pass.
Coreless like the plaintain tree,
This form of human flesh,
This mere illusion of a dwelling place,
How can it not decay and be destroyed?

7. Death therefore is sure;
Uncertain is its when and where and how.
This life is ever dwindling;
no increment is possible.
Many are death’s circumstances;
Those that make life possible are few.
You have so little time to live!
Rein in your projects for the future—
Better far to strive in Dharma
from this very instant!

8. This shelter built of the four elements,
Endowed with mind adorned with its inhabitants—
The thoughts that move—
Arises through conditions.
Thus it is compounded.
Being so, it is destructible.
Like a village crumbling down, it will not last.
Be swift to practice holy Dharma!

9. You’re momentary, ephemeral,
Aflutter like a flame caught in a gale.
When powerful dangers to your life descend,
You won’t last long; it’s certain you will die.
So practice holy Dharma right away.

10. Servants and possessions,
friends both close and dear,
Your youth, your strength,
your beauty, your good family—
You’ll lose them all; you must go forth alone.
But actions white and black,
not left behind, will shadow you.
Other than the Dharma,
there’s no other refuge at that time.
Why then do you not
pass your time in diligence?

11. Think now about the past
and future peoples of the world.
Of former generations
countless beings have already passed,
And most of those who now are on this earth
Within a century’s time will surely be no more.
For those who follow after, it will be the same.
Look how they pass!
The old and young have all an equal destiny.
From them you are no different in your nature.
Remember that your death is certain;
practice Dharma!

12. Throughout the triple world,
from hell until the summit of the world,
There is no place of safety
from the Deadly Lord.
Everything is passing, changing, essenceless.
Nothing can be trusted;
all is turning like a chariot wheel.
Especially this human state
is plagued by many perils.
Disease and evil forces
are the source of numerous ills.
Fire and sword, vast chasms,
poisons, savage beasts,
And kings and robbers, enemies and thieves,
And all the rest destroy prosperity and life.

13. And even without harms,
the lives of beings slip by,
Changing every second’s instant, night and day.
They drift toward the kingdom
of the Lord of Death
Like rivers running to the sea
And like the round orb of the sun
That sets behind the western hills.

14. If food and all the good amenities of life
May be, like actual poisons, cause of pain,
How could goodness and perfection not be quenched by real adversity?
There is nothing that cannot
become the cause of death.
And since its place and cause
and time are all uncertain,
Rid yourself of all the futile and deceptive things pertaining to this life.
Sincerely practice Dharma:
This will help you in the moment of your death.

15. So now that you have found the boat of freedoms and advantages
That’s fitted with the rudder
of a master’s teaching,
If now you do not strive
to cross the stream of sorrow,
There is no self-betrayal more terrible than this!

16. Now you have attained a precious vessel,
Free of every defect, perfect,
lauded by the Buddha.
If you do not store in it the riches
of the twofold aim for self and others,
You will but bind yourself
within the prisons of saṃsāra.

17. Alas, it is like giving teachings to a stone!
Most people in this world—
To think of them brings sorrow welling up!
They do not comprehend when taught,
And explanation brings no understanding.
Tomorrow death awaits them,
but they think they’ll live forever.
Saṃsāra does not sadden them,
And of the will for freedom
they have not the slightest trace.
If they have knowledge, they are arrogant.
If they have some understanding,
it is all distorted.
They are borne away
by busyness and pastimes
And are deluged by the rain of their defilement.
When might I be of help to them?

18. But you who wish to cross
the ocean of your faults
Accomplishing the marvelous
qualities of excellence,
In this very moment think
about death’s certainty.
Meditate at all times, day and night,
on your impermanence.
Cultivate repeatedly an attitude
of sadness at saṃsāra,
And be determined to be free from it.

19. By this means
you’ll implement the Teaching,
Useful, beneficial, for the present
and for future lives.
You will strive in practice
with a strong endeavor,
In your mind abandoning this life,
And bring to nothing
the delusion of self-clinging.
All good qualities, in brief, will be achieved.
The cause of highest freedom
and the halting of all defects
Is to think about impermanence,
Reducing projects for the future.
It is indeed the root of all the Dharma.

20. The minds of beings are wearied
by defilement and distraction,
By clinging to phenomena
they think are permanent.
Through this helpful teaching,
deep and pleasing to the ear,
Resounding from the drum of Dharma clouds,
May their minds today find rest.

– Longchenpa, Finding Rest in the Nature of the Mind

I first realized it in a dream.

I was invited into a huge room of drums – snare drums, bass drums, congas, bongos.

– “Come on in and play,” a voice said.
– “But I don’t know how to play,” I responded, thinking I needed to know certain rhythms, songs, beats.
– “Play. Play.” the voice implored me.

Growing up in a home that was unsafe excluded even the idea of play, waiting for a dream.

That dream came when I turned fifty.

I can still hear the words from 15 years ago: “I don’t know how to play,” grateful that it is no longer true.

– David Bedrick

Love is not liking somebody. Anyone can do that. Love is loving things that sometimes you don’t like.
– Ajahn Brahm

D. A. Powell:
A poem is a stimulus package for the imagination.

Inner Practitioner:
In case you didn’t know, when someone holds a non-judgmental space for you to be vulnerable and release your accumulated emotions, that is their love for you. When someone is vulnerable with you and bares their soul, that is their love for you.

The Way is empty,
yet inexhaustible,
like an abyss!
– Laozi

What would it feel like to make our love bigger than our sorrows?
– Jack Kornfield

What we need to do is to pay more attention to the ways in which we are the same as other people.
– Dalai Lama XIV

If words come from the heart, they will enter the heart. If they come from the tongue, they will not pass beyond the ears.
– Sufi proverb

You have the power to take away someone’s happiness by refusing to forgive. That someone is you.
– Alan Cohen

I have sung over so many abysses,
And lived in so many mirrors.
– Anna Akhmatova

Allison N Devers:
All I want is a little house with two bedrooms, an office, a bathroom, a garden, and six libraries by the sea.

I love the necessary clarity of our mutual puzzle

– Mahmoud Darwish

Terence McKenna:
That is what has driven American society deeper and deeper into artificiality – the need to supply this synthetic, manufactured paradise. The cult of the celebrity and intense media saturation is all a diversion – it’s a substitute for a life.

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Jennifer Wright:
Well, millennials finally stopped going out for avocado toast. Can everybody afford a house now?

Our first instinct should be caritas, then veritas
– Jonathan Rowson

I am expansive, joyous, and lyrical.
I come to you through birdsong,
you can experience me
in the song of your soul.
Give voice to that which seeks to enliven
and fill the ether,
become supple in your surrender
to that which seeks to flow through you.
Become the instrument
and player of your own pipe,
gently transforming the darkness
into golden light through birdsong.
– Ari Annona

I don’t need you
to change me.
Just help me become
who I Am.
It is good
and it is very good
to feel precisely
what I am feeling.
The cloud of grief,
the downpour
of despair.
I dissolve
in healing rain.
There is no darkness
left to penetrate.
I am all night.
Then may arise
a liquid sliver of the sun
on the jagged edge
of mourning.
This is how a bud
breaks open,
spilling beauty
from its wound.
This is how a chrysalis
frees the golden moth
from its season
of uncertainty.
This is how your tear
becomes the sky.
– Fred LaMotte

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.
– Isaiah 53:7

Maybe free thinkers have done all we’re able to do. Perhaps it’s time to step away and trust the Higher Power to carry the ball the rest of the way.
– Elizabeth Galles

Citizens have first amendment rights to a variety of antagonistic views.
– Mark Lloyd

Art should be communal, not an exhibition of individual egos. It needs to get back to the primordial campfire. It should be thought of as food and sustenance, as well as entertainment. In other words, essential and prophetic.
– Andrew Sweeny

I should be doing more
to save the planet – plant a tree, raise
a turbine, put solar panels on the roof
to grab the sun and bring it inside. Instead,
I’m sitting here scribbling, sitting on a wrought
iron chair, the air cold from last night’s frost,
the thin sunlight sinking into the ruined
Appalachians of my spine. I know it’s all
about to fall apart; the signs are everywhere.
But on this blue morning, the air bristling
with crickets and birdsong, I do the only thing
I can: put one word in front of the other,
and see what happens when they rub up against
each other. It might become something
that will burst into flame.
– Barbara Crooker

The province of poetry is a private ecstasy made public… capable of healing our sense of mortal estrangement—from ourselves, each other… our destiny and The Divine.
– Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore

When it happens,
it turns you upside down
and all the coins fall out
of your pocket,
your appointment book
goes blank,
and you are a child of wonder,
everything changing
from black and white to technicolor.

The earth starts spinning
at a different rate,
everyone is you
and you them,
how can anybody stand
so much love?

Your identity card
is in tatters,
your sense of self
lost in rapture,
nothingness your portion,
but you don’t care,
you are now just
a pulsating particle
in an invisible body
of bliss.

– Dorothy Walters

From the great Anne Lamott: “A proverb says when a person hurries, the devil smiles. To make him mad, go slow, pay attention, write a page (badly), breathe, carry a pen.”

Some people have the seed of an oak inside of them and others the seed of an orchid.

Some are pregnant with the wings of a humming bird and others with the wings of an eagle.

Some are born with the spirit of a jaguar and others with that of a tortoise.

If you are pregnant with an oak, you cannot turn yourself into a flower. If you are pregnant with a hummingbird, you cannot turn yourself into an eagle.

Friends: Be careful with your visions for yourselves to ensure that you unfold the magnificent beauty of your authentic self and that the road you travel is your true path of heart.

– David Bedrick

We are all foot soldiers in the war between giving the people what they want, and giving the people something they don’t yet know they want.
– Guante

That old but tenacious westward push for settlement, to gather gold, to reap the lingering promises of whiteness in the new world, to stake one’s claim to land and place in tight times, to flatten the wilds and build oneself a home, lives on today as the Euro-American promise of whiteness. Not just in the Global North but in the South, where the imperative to catch up with the West is the underlying governing principle.

The terms of that modern contract did not anticipate the agency of the land. It had no place for roving spirits and lurking ancestors; it had no room for viruses as wide as economies, as high as the heavens, and as resilient as hell; it had no sunset clause for animated climates.

That contract is broken and there is no place to go. No marching forward. No credible promise of stability down the road. Now is the time to practice being in exile, to feel the textures of hopelessness, and to treat our many griefs and traumas as allies in our sense-making pilgrimages.

Perhaps the cartography of exile offers senses, capacities, wisdoms and gestures that the promise of whiteness never could. Perhaps we might be afforded an opportunity to compost the intergenerational trauma of never arriving. Perhaps we might know ourselves anew in this new and ancient country.
– Bayo Akomolafe

beware the accounants
the legions of counters, dividers, simplifiers,
number priests

beware of their statistics, speaches, convincing rehtoric
beware of the chiming of numbers
beward of the number one or the number two

for there are no numbers
in the silent hemisphere
in the bees treasure trove
in the singing meadows
in the outrageous fliration
of spring flowers

beward of assigning names
to those
beward of classifiction systems
beware of stealing the tounges from children

beware of those accountains
those silly rationalists
those who divide the world
into likes and dislikes
who are continually talking
continually spouting so called facts

have the seen the waterfall?
have they seen the purple flowers obsene petals?
do they know love, or only copulation
do they know penetration, or only fucking?
can you touch a number
can you define a river
can you say what a tree means?

beware and be wary
of the legion of accountants
for they are NOT human they are not even animal
what they are is a mysterious absence
an amputation
give them back their limbs
give them back
the spring flowers
– Andrew Sweeny

Poetry is most deeply a way of doing philosophy–not as mere juggling of abstractions, but as lived and felt experience. This is how the twentieth-century avant-garde used it, as a way to construct and inhabit a worldview.

– David Hinton

Too many of us have been disempowered or silenced as a result of being bullied by those who have more power, whether those are parents, bosses, groups with more social power or systems that suppress and oppress.

While that silence is clearly understandable, our psychological and even physical health may depend upon us learning to wield our power to fight back, especially by using our voice.

In the words of scholar and activist bell hooks, Ph.D., “[T]he strength and power that emerges from sustained resistance and the profound conviction that these forces can be healing, can protect us from dehumanization and despair.”

It is often the case that people need to support their power, resistance, and voice until they feel free to fight back. Once they are free to fight back, they also become free to not fight — a true empowerment.

– David Bedrick

Kentucky River Junction
to Ken Kesey & Ken Babbs

Clumsy at first, fitting together
the years we have been apart,
and the ways.

But as the night
passed and the day came, the first
fine morning of April,

it came clear:
the world that has tried us
and showed us its joy

was our bond
when we said nothing.
And we allowed it to be

with us, the new green
shining.

*

Our lives, half gone,
stay full of laughter.

Free-hearted men
have the world for words.

Though we have been
apart, we have been together.

*

Trying to sleep, I cannot
take my mind away.
The bright day

shines in my head
like a coin
on the bed of a stream.

*

You left

your welcome.

– Wendell Berry

You must always remember that silence is the greatest teacher. Quietness, silence, total stillness, it is the greatest teacher.

Reality shines through where there is silence. If you want to experience reality just keep quiet.

That is all you have to do.

Shut up.
Stop talking.
Stop thinking.
Stop imagining.

Leave it all alone.

– Robert Adams

The mind is quite as much in need of an expression for its fears as of an expression of its hopes. We invert the relation of cause and effect when we consider that our emotions are determined by our imaginative creeds. We are not melancholy because we believe in hell, but we believe in hell because we are melancholy.

– Leslie Stephen

The old symbols have ceased to be interesting, and we have not gained a new set of symbols.
– Leslie Stephen

Every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace the flag. Hope to live in that free republic for which it stands. Give your approval to all you cannot understand. Praise ignorance, for what man has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers. Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias. Say that your main crop is the forest that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men. Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

– Wendell Berry

Shakespeare said that art is a mirror held up to nature. And that’s what it is. The nature is your nature, and all of these wonderful poetic images of mythology are referring to something in you. When your mind is simply trapped by the image out there so that you never make the reference to yourself, you have misread the image.

– Joseph Campbell (with Bill Moyers), The Power of Myth

Earth Verse

Wide enough to keep you looking
Open enough to keep you moving
Dry enough to keep you honest
Prickly enough to make you tough
Green enough to go on living
Old enough to give you dreams

– Gary Snyder, Mountains and Rivers Without End: Poem

Poetry survives because it haunts and it haunts because it is simultaneously utterly clear and deeply mysterious, because it cannot be entirely accounted for, it cannot be exhausted.
– Louise Glück

I have a brother who builds wooden boats,
Who knows precisely how a board
Can bend or turn, steamed just exactly
Soft enough so he, with help of friends,
Can shape it to the hull.

The knowledge lies as much
Within his sure hands on the plane
As in his head;
It lies in love of wood and grain,
A rough hand resting on the satin
Of the finished deck.

Is there within us each
Such artistry forgotten
In the cruder tasks
The world requires of us,
The faster modern work
That we have
Turned our life to do?

Could we return to more of craft
Within our lives,
And feel the way the grain of wood runs true,
By letting our hands linger
On the product of our artistry?
Could we recall what we have known
But have forgotten,
The gifts within ourselves,
Each other too,
And thus transform a world
As he and friends do,
Shaping steaming oak boards
Upon the hulls of wooden boats?
– Judy Brown, Wooden Boats, The Sea Accepts All Rivers & Other Poems

The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.
– Bruce Lee

Showing our love for the children wins the parent’s heart. Since Buddhas and Bodhisattvas consider all sentient beings their children, when we love impartially all sentient beings, all the Buddhas rejoice. Just giving one’s devotion to the Buddha benefits only oneself, for a Buddha has perfect happiness and wisdom and does not need the devotion of others. However, if Great Compassion prompts devoted service, all the Buddhas rejoice and the whole Dharma-Realm benefits.
– Torei from “The Inexhaustible Lamp

Tell the Bees
by Sarah Lindsay
Tell the bees. They require news of the house;
they must know, lest they sicken
from the gap between their ignorance and our grief.
Speak in a whisper. Tie a black swatch
to a stick and attach the stick to their hive.
From the fortress of casseroles and desserts
built in the kitchen these past few weeks
as though hunger were the enemy, remove
a slice of cake and lay it where they can
slowly draw it in, making a mournful sound.

And tell the fly that has knocked on the window all day.
Tell the redbird that rammed the glass from outside
and stands too dazed to go. Tell the grass,
though it’s already guessed, and the ground clenched in furrows;
tell the water you spill on the ground,
then all the water will know.
And the last shrunken pearl of snow in its hiding place.

Tell the blighted elms, and the young oaks we plant instead.
The water bug, while it scribbles
a hundred lines that dissolve behind it.
The lichen, while it etches deeper
its single rune. The boulders, letting their fissures widen,
the pebbles, which have no more to lose,
the hills—they will be slightly smaller, as always,

when the bees fly out tomorrow to look for sweetness
and find their way
because nothing else has changed.

Prophecy of a Monday
if the cotton crop fails
if the wheat crop fails

if Oklahomans wander forever
among the back lots of Hollywood

if the potato crops fail
if the corn crops fail

if the sun corrodes a copper
mirror our faces afloat

above a crib in Guadalajara where the ceiling fan
rends our voices

and the secret lives of aloe roots
confess to a window in feathers of ice

then the bluebells yawning up in ruts
of mining roads will measure the border wall

in the serene apotheosis of their sepals

and one drop of my blood

will freeze in the eye
of an old fox, and one drop

from your eye thaw
to feed the iris bulbs

three beads from our lungs
inhaled by a prisoner

in the electric chair a queen
in a fairy tale a farmer

planting mines east of her field if
the gears of the clouds say yes

if ants flow up and down the funnels
of evolution

then time will prism into its possibles
and you’ll end up in a bar

in Alabama a cherry in your mouth
watching a hotel key

float toward you
or you’ll wake in a labyrinth

called Monday called Your Life
called The Things You Prayed For

and your intricate decisions
will lead you out and deeper in

your mirrors dissolving in ghost water

and your indecisions will go on
subtracting numbers from the garden

and building houses in the air

– Chad Sweeney

Thoughts will come as long as the potential for them is inside you. Good thoughts, bad thoughts, they will all keep coming.

There is nothing you can do about this flow, but at the same time, this flow of thoughts need not be a problem.

Be the Self, be the peace that is your real nature, and it will not matter what comes up. Walk, eat, drink, sleep, meditate, but never think that you are the one who is doing these things. The thought that you are doing something is the thought that is poisoning your life.

Because once you think that you are doing something, you will start to think that you need to be doing something else to put yourself in a better situation. You don’t have to do anything to experience the nectar of the Self. All you need to do is drop the idea that you are doing anything at all.

– Annamalai Swami

I did not know the work of mourning
Is like carrying a bag of cement
Up a mountain at night
..
Look closely and you will see
Almost everyone carrying bags
Of cement on their shoulders

That’s why it takes courage
To get out of bed in the morning
And climb into the day

– Ed Hirsch

One man draws, and releases an arrow
Humming, flat,
Misses a gray stump, and splitting
A smooth red twisty manzanita bough
– Gary Snyder

8 Stoic Ways to Find Peace:

– Don’t suffer imagined troubles

– Accept your own mortality

– Remember whose opinion matters

– Schedule stillness into your life

– Find the beauty in everyday life

– Take the view from above

– Live by a code

– Reflect often

– Daily Stoic

As our circle of knowledge expands,
so does the circumference of darkness
surrounding it.
– Albert Einstein

I sense that the old spirituality is crumbling,
the sad patriarchal spirituality
that suppressed the feminine,
shamed the body and its sensitivity
and its sexuality and its deep feeling.
Something new is emerging.
Or rather, some timeless truth
is being rediscovered now.
We are perfectly divine
in our imperfect humanity.
Enlightenment does not eradicate
our weirdness, our humour, our vulnerability,
it only makes it all so f**king holy.

Let the shaming of our human longings,
needs, physicality and sensuality end!
Let spirituality be nothing less
than a celebration of the wholeness
in our utter brokenness.
Let us play with the paradoxes!
Let our fragility be our power!
Let the dogmas collapse
under their own weight.
Let the moment be the teacher.
Let the guru be the birdsong,
the morning traffic, the touch of a friend,
the tingling in the belly.
The dawn and the sunrise.
The ocean and the light.
Life, life, life.

Let the holy books dissolve
into a fresh new moment.
Let us bow to the ordinary,
prostrate ourselves before it.

There are no experts,
here in the heart.

I give to you, a new world.

– Jeff Foster

Let mystery have its place in you; do not be always turning up your whole soil with the plowshare of self-examination, but leave a little fallow corner in your heart ready for any seed the winds may bring, and reserve a nook of shadow for the passing bird; keep a place in your heart for the unexpected guests, an altar for the unknown God.

Then if a bird sings among your branches, do not be too eager to tame it. If you are conscious of something new—thought or feeling, wakening in the depths of your being—do not be in a hurry to let in light upon it, to look at it; let the springing germ have the protection of being forgotten, hedge it round with quiet, and do not break in upon its darkness.
– Henri-Frédéric Amiel

We thought we were beggars without property
until we began to lose one thing after another.
Then every day became a day of memory
and we began to compose new songs
about the wealth we once had
and God’s generosity in the past.
– Anna Akhmatova

The true purpose of Zen…
is to see things as they are…
and to let everything go as it goes.
– Suzuki Roshi

Of all the fighting in this world, the biggest battle is inside, and the greatest enemy is you.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

Define loneliness?
Yes.
It’s what we can’t do for each other.
– Claudia Rankine

All that exists anywhere in the world, be it trees and plants, insects, reptiles, or any other living thing – their birth is indeed your birth, and their death your death. On the level where everything is contained within you and you are present in everything, there is only the One, and He alone.
– Sri Anandamayi Ma, Translated and Compiled by Atmananda

We depend on the community in which we live. Therefore, we need a sense of global responsibility, because the well-being of humanity is our own well-being.
– Dalai Lama XIV

Every night
we drop our everyday mind
and let Spirit’s wind
blow through
and awaken our inner senses.

Images, feelings,
whole new worlds open to us.

They speak of wounds of the past,
foretell the path of tomorrow.
They fill out the colors and textures
our egos carefully omit.

Then, in the morning,
when we wake,
we cross our legs,
put our hands together,
study spiritual texts,
and offer our humming Ommm

Forgetting
that all we have to do
is close our eyes
and dream.
– David Bedrick

Freda Bedi
We can’t say for sure if she is Tara,
but she is very special,
because she knew Buddha in her heart.
– Ani Wangchuk

The Karmapa told me to look after her.
He told me directly, ‘She is an emanation
of White Tara.’ He also said that he
and Mummy-la were of the same essence.
– Pema Zangmo, Freda’s secretary

Dalai Lama:
I often think of my mother
as my first teacher of compassion.
She was simple, uneducated,
just a village farmer, but so kind-hearted –
and her kindness was unconditional.
It is the love with which she nurtured me
that is the core of the compassion
I can find in myself and feel for others.
This very basic level of affection
is natural to human beings.

Do you suppose that God takes himself seriously? I know a Zen master, Joshu Sasaki, who has let it be known that the best form of meditation is to stand up with your hands on your hips and roar with laughter for ten minutes every morning.
– Alan Watts

Allow
by Danna Faulds

There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild and the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes

No matter how many words
arise in your mind,
or how many places
its musings travel;

No matter how many
thoughts or opinions
it clings to,
how many attachments
to how many stories;

No matter how many shoots
called projections or memories,
or how many judgments
it imagines are true;

There is one single tendril
wound round all the others,
that must be unwound
if you want to be free;

The last one to drop
is the one you most cherish,
the one that insists
its productions are real;

The tendril that causes
all of your suffering?
The one that holds tightly
to a thought called “me.”

– Dorothy Hunt

I believe only in art and failure.
– Jane Rule

A hurtful act is the transference to others
of the degradation which we bear in ourselves.
– Simone Weil

At this time, when fear and anxiety have gripped the entire planet, it is very important that we meditate to neutralize the negative impact. Tell your family, friends, everyone, come let’s meditate twice a day, and nullify all the negative vibrations that are getting into the akasha, into space, through the fear and anxiety of so many people. Remember, when we meditate, we not only take care of our body and mind, but we also create positive vibrations to nullify the negativity of the world.
– Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

If you meditate on mind training, and your personality becomes stiff with pride and arrogance, it is as though you have reduced a god to a demon – dharma has become non-dharma.

The more you meditate on mind training, the more supple your personality should become.

Act as the lowest servant to everyone.

– Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye

green heroes against orange zeroes. may life protectors be protected from life predators.
– Hune Margulies

Manly Palmer Hall:

Christ, Buddha or Mohammed, the name means little, for the Initiate recognizes only the light and not the bearer. He worships at every shrine, bows before every altar, whether in a temple, mosque or cathedral, realizing with his truer understanding the oneness of all spiritual truths.

North, east, south and west stretch the diversities of human thought, and while the ideals of man apparently differ, when all is said and the crystallization of form with its false concepts are swept away, one basic truth remains: all existing things are Temple Builders, laboring for a single end. There is no place for little minds in the great work.

Liquid Modernity is the title of a book by the Polish-British sociologist Zygmund Bauman, who defines it as the condition of a society that lacks a clear sense of orientation, or the kind of stability that derives from a long-standing tradition or set of norms. In Will Hutton’s version of it, it is a situation in which all of life is lived in “a permanent state of contingency”. It is the social and cultural face of globalization, the ideational and emotional counterpart of the New Economy. America has been the cutting edge of this way of life, a society characterized by speed, fluidity, and transience – obsessive change, in short. Being modern in this context means having an identity that is always shifting, always “under construction”. In effect, says Bauman, it is like living a life of musical chairs. The problem is that this fluidity is not a choice we are free to make. Despite the unifying patriotic rhetoric that permeates the United States, on some level Americans are not really fooled: at bottom, each person knows he or she must continually “reinvent themselves”, which is to say, go it alone. America is the ultimate anticommunity.
– Morris Berman
Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire

Our task as humans is to find the few principles that will calm the infinite anguish of free souls. We must mend what has been torn apart, make justice imaginable again in a world so obviously unjust, give happiness a meaning once more to peoples poisoned by the misery of the century. Naturally, it is a superhuman task. But superhuman is the term for tasks we take a long time to accomplish, that’s all.
– Albert Camus, running ’cause i can’t fly

Passing through walls hurts human beings, they get sick from it,
but we have no choice.
It’s all one world. Now to the walls.
The walls are a part of you.
One either knows that, or one doesn’t; but it’s the same for everyone
except for small children. There aren’t any walls for them.

The airy sky has taken its place leaning against the wall.
It is like a prayer to what is empty.
And what is empty turns its face to us
and whispers:
“I am not empty, I am open.”

– Tomas Tranströmer

Language Is a Virus
by Laurie Anderson
Paradise is exactly like
Where you are right now
Only much, much better
I saw this guy on the train
And he seemed to gave gotten stuck
In one of those abstract trances
And he was going: Ugh… Ugh… Ugh…
And Fred said: I think he’s in some kind of pain
I think it’s a pain cry
And I said: Pain cry?
Then language is a virus
Language
It’s a virus
Language
It’s a virus
Well, I was talking to a friend
And I was saying: I wanted you
And I was looking for you
But I couldn’t find you
I couldn’t find you
And he said: Hey!
Are you talking to me?
Or are you just practicing
For one of those performances of yours?
Huh?
Language
It’s a virus
Language
It’s a virus
He said: I had to write that letter to your mother
And I had to tell the judge that it was you
And I had to sell the car and go to Florida
Because that’s just my way of saying
That I love you
And I Had to call you at the crack of dawn
And list the times that I’ve been wrong
Cause that’s just my way of saying
That I’m sorry (It’s a job)
Sorry!
Language
It’s a virus
Language
It’s a virus
Paradise is exactly like
Where you are right now
Only much much better
(It’s a shipwreck)
(It’s a job)
You know?
I don’t believe there’s such a thing as TV
I mean – they just keep showing
The same pictures over and over
And when they talk they just make sounds
That more or less synch up
With their lips
That’s what I think
Language
It’s a virus
Language
It’s a virus
Language
It’s a virus
Well, I dreamed there was an island
That rose up from the sea
And everybody on the island
Was somebody from TV
And there was a beautiful view
But nobody could see
‘Cause everybody on the island was saying:
Look at me!
Look at me!
Look at me!
Look at me!
(Why?)
Because they all lived on an island
That rose up from the sea
And everybody on the island
Was somebody from TV
And there was a beautiful view
But nobody could see
‘Cause everybody on the island was screaming:
Look at me!
Look at me!
Look at me!
Look at me!
Look at me!
Paradise is exactly like
Where you are right now
Only much much better

Earth, we might say, is a single reality composed of a diversity beyond all understanding or description. This diversity in its arctic and tropical regions, its oceans and continents, in its mountains and valleys, its forests and deserts, its rivers and their floodplains, all give to Earth both its endless wonder and its functional integrity. These landscape features and these living forms have come into being as some self-woven tapestry or some self-composed symphony or some self-designed painting. To experience this wonder and to enter into intimate relations with the various life communities of these regions seems to be the high purpose of human presence on the Earth.
– Thomas Berry

The reason why Africans say that ‘in order to find your way, you must become lost’ is because they make no fundamental distinction between the traveler and his environment, or the pilgrim and the pilgrimage.
In a sense, it is not the case that ‘we’ are travelling through the ‘world’, moving from one predetermined point to another. It is the case that the world is researching itself, iteratively and materially re/configuring what it means to be on a journey…much in the same way that a wave doesn’t travel across the ocean, it is the ocean in its ongoing complexity. As such, ‘becoming lost’ is really about losing the specificity of our boundaries, the intransigence of our anthropocentrism; it is about shapeshifting, colluding with plants and rocks and wind, and becoming fine enough to meet the challenge of a dead-end. 
Perhaps it is more about noticing that we are the dead ends we confront, we are the monsters on our path. It is about broadening our spectrum enough to see that ‘the way ahead’ is not as demanding and as exclusive as our frantic maps make it out to be, but a promiscuous field of threadbare possibilities wanting to be stitched.
– Bayo Akomolafe

Shunryu Suzuki-roshi:
Buddha’s mercy is so deep, so clear,
and so wide. We selfish human beings
always want something good to eat,
something good to hear,
or something good to see.
So if someone gives you something to hear
or eat or see, most human beings will stay. Knowing this fact, Buddha became more
and more strict with us [laughs].
It is something that you must think about.
And when you study or when you want to learn religion, you must learn something more than this. Just to solve our everyday problems
is not the purpose of studying Buddhism.

Don’t let your mind leave your heart, then this noise will get weaker and weaker, and there won’t be this up and down-ness. The mind will always be in the dressing to catch your attention. If you go for it, then somehow you’re in. Gradually we ignore, this is what the sages do, they ignore this. You ignore it out of existence, like it’s not importance.
– Mooji

Don’t let your mind leave your heart, then this noise will get weaker and weaker, and there won’t be this up and down-ness. The mind will always be in the dressing to catch your attention. If you go for it, then somehow you’re in. Gradually we ignore, this is what the sages do, they ignore this. You ignore it out of existence, like it’s not importance.
– Mooji

Unless we have the courage to fight for a revival of wholesome reserve between man and man, we shall perish in an anarchy of human values … Socially it means the renunciation of all place-hunting, a break with the cult of the “star,” an open eye both upwards and downwards, especially in the choice of one’s more intimate friends, and pleasure in private life as well as courage to enter public life. Culturally it means a return from the newspaper and the radio to the book, from feverish activity to unhurried leisure, from dispersion to concentration, from sensationalism to reflection, from virtuosity to art, from snobbery to modesty, from extravagance to moderation.
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

TOMORROW
there will be sun, scalloped by clouds,
ushered in by a waterfall of birdsong.
It will be a temperate seventy-five, low
humidity. For twenty-four hours,
all politicians will be silent. Reality
programs will vanish from TV, replaced
by the “snow” that used to decorate
our screens when reception wasn’t
working. Soldiers will toss their weapons
in the grass. The oceans will stop
their inexorable rise. No one
will have to sit on a committee.
When twilight falls, the aurora borealis
will cut off cell phones, scramble the internet.
We’ll play flashlight tag, hide and seek,
decorate our hair with fireflies, spin
until we’re dizzy, collapse
on the dew-decked lawn and look up,
perhaps for the first time, to read the long lines
of cold code written in the stars
– Barbara Crooker

Mountains
With frontier strength ye stand your ground,
With grand content ye circle round,
Tumultuous silence for all sound,
Ye distant nursery of rills,
Monadnock, and the Peterborough hills;—
Firm argument that never stirs,
Outcircling the philosophers,—
Like some vast fleet
Sailing through rain and sleet,
Through winter’s cold and summer’s heat;
Still holding on upon your high emprise,
Until ye find a shore amid the skies;
Not skulking close to land,
With cargo contraband;
For they who sent a venture out by ye
Have set the Sun to see
Their honesty.
Ships of the line, each one,
Ye westward run,
Convoying clouds,
Which cluster in your shrouds,
Always before the gale,
Under a press of sail,
With weight of metal all untold;—
I seem to feel ye in my firm seat here,
Immeasurable depth of hold,
And breadth of beam, and length of running gear.

Methinks ye take luxurious pleasure
In your novel western leisure;
So cool your brows and freshly blue,
As Time had nought for ye to do;
For ye lie at your length,
An unappropriated strength,
Unhewn primeval timber
For knees so stiff, for masts so limber,
The stock of which new earths are made,
One day to be our western trade,
Fit for the stanchions of a world
Which through the seas of space is hurled.

While we enjoy a lingering ray,
Ye still o’ertop the western day,
Reposing yonder on God’s croft,
Like solid stacks of hay.
So bold a line as ne’er was writ
On any page by human wit;
The forest glows as if
An enemy’s camp-fires shone
Along the horizon,
Or the day’s funeral pyre
Were lighted there;
Edged with silver and with gold,
The clouds hang o’er in damask fold,
And with fresh depth of amber light
The west is dight,
Where still a few rays slant,
That even Heaven seems extravagant.
Watatic Hill
Lies on the horizon’s sill
Like a child’s toy left overnight,
And other duds to left and right;
On the earth’s edge, mountains and trees
Stand as they were on air graven,
Or as the vessels in a haven
Await the morning breeze.
I fancy even
Through your defiles windeth the way to heaven;
And yonder still, in spite of history’s page,
Linger the golden and the silver age;
Upon the laboring gale
The news of future centuries is brought,
And of new dynasties of thought,
From your remotest vale.

⁠But special I remember thee,
Wachusett, who like me
Standest alone without society.
Thy far blue eye,
A remnant of the sky,
Seen through the clearing of the gorge,
Or from the windows of the forge,
Doth leaven all it passes by.
Nothing is true,
But stands ‘tween me and you,
Thou western pioneer,
Who know’st not shame nor fear,
By venturous spirit driven
Under the eaves of heaven,
And canst expand thee there,
And breathe enough of air.
Even beyond the West
Thou migratest
Into unclouded tracts,
Without a pilgrim’s axe,
Cleaving thy road on high
With thy well-tempered brow,
And mak’st thyself a clearing in the sky.
Upholding heaven, holding down earth,
Thy pastime from thy birth,
Not steadied by the one, nor leaning on the other;—
May I approve myself thy worthy brother!

– Henry David Thoreau

The status quo perpetuates itself by convincing us that change is inconceivable, impossible, and unnecessary, and then suddenly it becomes conceivable, possible, and necessary. This is the biggest illusion that gets shattered in these moments.
– Rebecca Solnit

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.
– St. Theresa of Lisieux

Wait
Wait, for now.
Distrust everything if you have to.
But trust the hours. Haven’t they
carried you everywhere, up to now?
Personal events will become interesting again.
Hair will become interesting.
Pain will become interesting.
Buds that open out of season will become interesting.
Second-hand gloves will become lovely again;
their memories are what give them
the need for other hands. And the desolation
of lovers is the same: that enormous emptiness
carved out of such tiny beings as we are
asks to be filled; the need
for the new love is faithfulness to the old.

Wait.
Don’t go too early.
You’re tired. But everyone’s tired.
But no one is tired enough.
Only wait a little and listen:
music of hair,
music of pain,
music of looms weaving all our loves again.
Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,
most of all to hear
the flute of your whole existence,
rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.
– Galway Kinnell

I accept chaos. I am not sure whether it accepts me.
– Bob Dylan

But any knowledge that doesn’t lead
to new questions quickly dies out:
it fails to maintain the temperature
required for sustaining life.
– Wisława Szymborska

Invoked or uninvoked, our authentic spiritual guides will appear.
– Robert Moss

A poet is someone who stands outside in the rain
hoping to be struck by lightning.
– James Dickey

The writer is either a practicing recluse
or a delinquent, guilt-ridden one—or both.
Usually both.
– Susan Sontag

This prayer I make,
Knowing that Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; ’tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy: for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e’er prevail against us, or disturb
Our cheerful faith,
that all which we behold Is full of blessings.
Therefore let the moon
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
And let the misty mountain-winds be free
To blow against thee: and, in after years,
When these wild ecstasies
shall be matured Into a sober pleasure;
when thy mind
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms.
– William Wordsworth

Love is the key. Again and again unmask with love, again and again give love. No love, no healing. Please love now. Please love every now. The divide is healed with love. The duality is remedied with love. Love in union with space.
– Aric Parker

Can we just leave literature alone? “Is poetry dead?”
“Is the novel over?” and today, the “personal essay.”

Do all arts work like this?

“Sculpture is canceled!” “NO MORE BASSOONS!”

I’m just wondering

– Shaindel Beers

These moves will lower your vibration:
Anger
Hatred
Racism
Sarcasm
Jealousy
Insecurity
Resentment
Judging others
Shaming others
Reducing others
Bullshiting others
Gaslighting others
Making fun of others
Projecting onto others
Looking down on others
Seeking self-love from others
– Inner Practitioner

There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.
– Anaïs Nin

If you come to an undivided peace
with yourself, and you really are at peace,
it’s strange how all of a sudden
you’re at peace with others.
– Adyashanti

Using the mind to look for reality is delusion;
not using the mind to look for reality is awareness.

Freeing oneself from words is the way to liberation.

– Bodhidharma

As you grow older you become an immigrant from a vanished country…
– Rebecca Solnit

Maalik! Awaken your heart to kindness
and mercy for the people and love
and tenderness for them. Never, never act
with them like a predatory beast which seeks
to be satiated by devouring them,
for the people fall into two categories:
they are either your brethren in faith
or your kindred in creation.
Men of either category suffer from the same weaknesses and disabilities that human beings are inclined to, they commit sins,
indulge in vices either intentionally or foolishly and unintentionally without realizing
the enormity of their deeds. Let your mercy
and compassion come to their rescue
and help in the same way and to the same extent that you expect Allah to show mercy
and forgiveness to you.
– Ali ibn Abi Talib

Poetry, by its very nature, is defiant.
– Anne Michaels, Infinite Gradation

Do you think
a person who fully indulges
himself in pleasures of this
worldly life
will ever get his fill? Never!
Only those who detach
themselves from it
will feel
…. contentment and sufficiency.
– Ibn al-Jawzee

Many people misunderstand the concept of safety. They think they can gain it by protecting themselves from other people or choosing safe people. Safety actually occurs when we learn to trust our ability to take care of ourselves.
– Mary MacKenzie

Wait Without Hope
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
Of death and birth.
– T. S. Eliot

I only believe in attainment, which is to use everything that is available to attain a higher potential. To not take advantage of all of the things that are available in this world as a means of conscious growth, is to accept the limitation of one’s ego and one’s defensiveness. To use everything, is to allow what exists to guide us to our ultimate destination; to free us from our own limitations and detach us from everything on the physical and material level. When you can surrender everything, you can enjoy everything.
– Rudi

Know thyself was the permanent counsel of the Oracle of Delphi. What does self-knowledge mean to you?
– Robert Moss

Life makes sense only when we stop trying to make it make sense.
– Robert Augustus Masters

Timothy Leary:

You’re only as young
as the last time you changed your mind.

Eckhart Tolle:

The whole motivating power behind my academic success was fear and unhappiness.

It all changed one night when I woke up in the middle of the night. The fear, anxiety and heaviness of depression were becoming so intense, it was almost unbearable…

Everything was totally alien and almost hostile. I later saw a book written by Jean-Paul Sartre called Nausea. That was the state that I was in, nausea of the world. [Chuckle] And the thought came into my head, “I can’t live with myself any longer.” That thought kept repeating itself again and again…

“If I cannot live with myself, who is that self that I cannot live with? Who am I? Am I one—or two?” And I saw that I was “two.” There was an “I,” and (here was a self. And the self was deeply unhappy, the miserable self. And the burden of that I could not live with. At that moment, a dis-identification happened. “I” consciousness withdrew from its identification with the self, the mind-made fictitious entity, the unhappy “little me” and its story. And the fictitious entity collapsed completely in that moment, just as if a plug had been pulled out of an inflatable toy. What remained was a single sense of presence or “Beingness” which is pure consciousness prior to identification with form—the eternal I AM. I didn’t know all of that at the time, of course. It just happened, and for a long time there was no understanding of what had happened.

As the self collapsed, there was still a moment of intense fear…

I felt like being sucked into a hole. But a voice from within said, “Resist nothing.” So I let go. It was almost like I was being sucked into a void, not an external void, but a void within. And then fear disappeared and there was nothing that I remember after that except waking up in the morning in a state of total and complete “newness.” I woke up in a state of incredible inner peace, bliss in fact. With my eyes still closed, I heard the sound of a bird and realized how precious that was. And then I opened my eyes and saw the sunlight coming through the curtains and felt: There is far more to that than we realize. It felt like love coming through the curtains. And then as I walked around the old familiar objects in the room I realized I had never really seen them before. It was as if I had just been born into this world; a state of wonder. And then I went for a walk in the city. I was still in London. Everything was miraculous, deeply peaceful. Even the traffic. [Chuckle]

I knew something incredible had happened, although I didn’t understand it. I even started writing down in a diary, “Something incredible has happened. I just want to write this down,” I said, “in case it leaves me again or I lose it.” And only later did I realize (that my thought processes after waking up that morning had been reduced by about eighty to ninety percent. So a lot of the time I was walking around in a state of inner stillness, and perceiving the world through inner stillness.

And that is the peace, the deep peace that comes when there is no longer anybody commenting on sense perceptions or anything that happens. No labeling, no need to interpret what is happening, it just is as it is and it is fine. [Laughter] There was no longer a “me” entity. After that transformation happened, I could not have said anything about it.

“Something happened. I am totally at peace.
I don’t know what it means.” That is all I could have said…”

– from a book called Dialogues With Emerging Spiritual Teachers by John W Parker

Where there are humans / You’ll find flies / And Buddhas.
– Kobayashi Issa

Yes, I read. I have that absurd habit. I like beautiful poems, moving poetry, and all the beyond of that poetry. I am extraordinarily sensitive to those poor, marvelous words left in our dark night by a few men I never knew.
– Louis Aragon

Renunciation isn’t a moral imperative or a form of self-denial. It’s simply cooperation with the way things are: for moments do pass away, one after the other. Resisting this natural unfolding doesn’t change it; resistance only makes it painful. So we renounce our resistance, our noncooperation, our stubborn refusal to enter life as it is. We renounce our fantasy of a beautiful past and an exciting future we can cherish and hold on to. Life just isn’t like this. Life, time, is letting go, moment after moment. Life and time redeem themselves constantly, heal themselves constantly, only we don’t know this, and much as we long to be healed and redeemed, we refuse to recognize this truth.
– Norman Fischer

Waiting Patiently

Patience comes to those who have learned
the value of a thing: a seed or a beloved.
It’s some set of bones saying,

“I know your worth,”

and never stepping back from the heart’s
placement on what could be but isn’t, yet.

In this hurried world, patience is a living
life declaring:

“There is something dear to wait for,
to still for. I will. I am. Until the time is right,
and then—oh, my deep desire.”

~

The cardinal happened to be on a branch above
the feeder, looking down, waiting patiently,
but he could have been there watching the love
of his life, below, scratching in old oak leaf litter,
not yet aware of their springtime unfolding.

Would it have mattered? I couldn’t have
faulted him for either:

Black oil sunflowers
Anticipated devotion

~

What’s interesting to me about patience
is how an act of nothingness prepares something
yet unclaimed to take full possession of us.

Patience is the slow welcoming of our singular
demise. Oh, excruciating bliss!

Sigh.

So, how much longer will it be before your
lips know reward?

– Jamie K. Reaser

Rupert Spira:
How would it be to lead a life
that is consistent with the understanding
that there is one indivisible, infinite awareness
that shines in each of our minds
as the knowledge ‘I am’ or the feeling of being?
How would it be to live the possibility
that the being that shines in each of our minds
as the knowledge ‘I am’ is the same being.
The experience of love is the knowledge
of our shared being.

I don’t speak to anyone for a week. I just sit on a stone by the sea.
– Anna Akhmatova

People usually think that progress consists in the increase of knowledge, in the improvement of life, but that isn’t so. Progress consists only in the greater clarification of answers to the basic questions of life. The truth is always accessible to a man. It can’t be otherwise, because a man’s soul is a divine spark, the truth itself. It’s only a matter of removing from this divine spark (the truth) everything that obscures it. Progress consists, not in the increase of truth, but in freeing it from its wrappings. The truth is obtained like gold, not by letting it grow bigger, but by washing off from it everything that isn’t gold.
– Leo Tolstoy

The status quo perpetuates itself by convincing us that change is inconceivable, impossible, and unnecessary, and then suddenly it becomes conceivable, possible, and necessary. This is the biggest illusion that gets shattered in these moments.
– Rebecca Solnit

We cannot live in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a home. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening. To use our own voice. To see our own light.
– Hildegard of Bingen

PHYSICS
by Doug Anderson
I bent to the pond and saw myself.
Then a fish went for a dragonfly
and all wavered. The water has not been still
since and I wonder if clarity is vanity.
I have always been fluid, and when
the image crystalizes before me,
it is already the past.
And that is for you, too, beloved.
What I hold of you my mind is a spring
that won’t be still. Van Gogh saw this,
and even the most day-bright of his paintings
is a field alive. Even those shoes
will soon be filled with feet and out in the fields.

Dogen Zenji:
Mind is no other than mountains,
rivers, the great wide earth,
the sun, moon and the stars.

When nothing whatsoever is conceptualized,
How could you possibly go astray?
Annihilate your conceptions,
And rest.
– Machig Labdron

Only in the US does “liberate” mean “go back to work.
– The Public Archive

the poet meister eckhart said: “you need seek god neither below or above. he is no farther away than the door of the heart.” that god is not below or above it is clear to me, for god is the between of an i and a thou. but i ask the poet: where should i find the place of the heart? these words i wanted the poet to say: “you need seek the heart neither within or without, for it is no farther away than between you and me.”
– hune margulies

Many of us are stopped by an idea of who we “should be” and the idea does not fit the way shoes that are the wrong size can’t ever fit no matter how we try to squeeze ourselves into them. Here’s advice from Martin Shaw: “Call out to the whole divine night for what you love. What you stand for. Earn your name. Be kind, and wild, and disciplined and absolutely generous.
– Gunilla Norris

Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.
– Franz Kafka

You may do this, I tell you, it is permitted. Begin again the story of your life.
– Jane Hirshfield, The Lives of the Heart

One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, ‘What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew i would never see it again?’
– Rachel Carson

There can be only one permanent revolution — a moral one; the regeneration of the inner man.
How is this revolution to take place? Nobody knows how it will take place in humanity, but every man feels it clearly in himself. And yet in our world everybody thinks of changing humanity, and nobody thinks of changing himself.
– Leo Tolstoy

Art hurts. Art urges voyages—
and it is easier to stay at home.
– Gwendolyn Brooks

Simplicity is an advanced course.
– Sri Chinmoy

If our minds are ruled by destructive emotions, by self-centredness, with little regard for others, we won’t be happy. As social animals we need to work together. With friends around us, we feel secure, happy and our minds are calm. We’re physically well too. When we’re filled with anger, fear and frustration, our minds are upset and our health declines. Therefore, the ultimate source of happiness is warmheartedness.
– The Dalai Lama

Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.
– Proverbs 4:23

Nature never repeats itself. The possibilities of one human soul will never be found in another.
– Elizabeth Stanton

The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature.
– Prevost Abbe, Manon Lescaut

Rev. Jim Rigby:

It is understandable when climate activists try desperately to get us to care about the earth by giving more and more information. It is very important to face the facts, but it is also important to understand the emotional reasons why people are shutting their minds and hearts to the climate crisis in the first place.

If people have been taught to think of the earth as a mere stage for the human drama, and the animals as raw material created to serve our needs, then, in addition to new information, we will need a transformation from human centered creationism to an awakened ecological sense of what it means to be human. So long as our sense of value and safety come from an obsolete cosmology it is very human to shut out inconvenient truths.

Some parts of wisdom have to be felt as well as thought. If people are going to care about the earth enough to change our ways, in addition to hearing new facts, we are going to need to hear a new poetry. We must come to feel in our bones that plant and animals are more than raw material for our clothing and food, they are our extended family. We must come to know the earth is not just a backdrop for our purposes, but is our home and temple. We must come to a sense of happiness based on serving life not on asking life to serve us.

When we understand scripture in the light of ecological reality it can be heard, not as magical stories about human beings, but as the poetry of nature mysticism. As such, scripture no longer calls us away from nature but more deeply into nature’s mysteries.

What if we heard Jesus, not as the leader of one particular religious cult, but as a nature mystic whispering poetry to us on behalf the plants, the animals and on behalf of life itself, saying, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Cut off from me you can do nothing.”

What else would ecological love say?

– Earth Day sermon

If you can’t see the dancing bliss and high level intelligence in a simple strawberry, then forget it. You’ve got a long, disappointing journey ahead of you.
– Intuitive Zen

Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.
– D. H. Lawrence

Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering its a feather bed.
– Terence McKenna

One day I will be an ancestor and I want my descendants to know
that I used my voice so that they could have a future.
– Autumn Peltier

I cannot stress this enough: we inhabit (and are inhabited by) a multitude of worlds that exceed us. That will not be rendered meaningful, will not be co-opted into the regimes of intelligibility we are familiar with, that are too sublime for our spiritual sensibilities and quotable wisdoms to approximate.
A friend once told me that there is an indigenous people in Australia that say there are more than 99 senses, in contrast with the popular idea that humans have five or a few more senses. She added that the community says that though there are 99 senses, making sense of things is just one of them.
Such a powerful repudiation of the modernist notion that the universe is fundamentally meaningful, observable, understandable, and controllable! As Haldane noted, the universe is not only queerer than we think, it is queerer than we can think.
Whatever pandemic plots are afoot and are meaningful to us are our co-creative efforts, strategies in the moment, contingent upon our biological/political/social imperatives. Doodles in the sand just before a wave comes crashing on the seashore with its fluid reappraisal.
There are matters implicated in our current situation that exceed the tiny space of story and plot. We are participating in sense-making practices that hope to approach, see, and understand this pandemic, but there are incalculable aspects of this “event” that retreat inwards, so to speak…resisting our efforts to own them.
In sum, be wary of a world in which you are the center. This is not to say those of us who identify as humans (or not-yet-humans) are not important or that the tragic events and yearnings associated with this period are insignificant. In a relational universe, the things that are important are not in the center, they are crowded in the mangled spaces, tumbled into other bodies, folded into layers and palimpsest of texts and questions, lingering at the edges in the middle, trembling with waves and waves of transmutating signals, always beside themselves.
We won’t figure this out. Not in a final way. That’s plantation politics. We need weird politics. Small implosions of messianic possibilities. Seditions from the normal. Fugitive study. The microbial vibrancy of the undercommons. Exilic incapacitation. Sensuous reconfigurations. Making sanctuary.
– Bayo Akomolafe

Hey, hey, lucky students,
diligent, faithful and smart,
Take a look at mind’s nature –
simplicity unborn
When reference points
and signs dissolve in certainty
Don’t strive, strain, or stop, just relax naturally
Look nakedly at the inexpressible –
Mind’s basic nature, bliss and emptiness
Relaxed, at ease, fixation-free,
All that binds is free in bliss-emptiness
Within this clear light, the dharmadhatu,
Take a look at the play of unborn mind
Mind’s play manifests as appearance-emptiness
Pure awareness, from beginningless time,
Naturally present, transcending mind –
Thoughts that this view
is best dissolve naturally
When we realize mind’s reality.
Then tigles of light and rainbows can shine
But since we don’t think they’re real, these
dzogchenpas are fine!
– Khenpo Tsultrim Rinpoche

Eavan Boland:

I can see nothing now.

I write at my desk alone.

I choose words taken from the earth,

from the root, from the faraway

oils and essence of elegy:

Bitter. And close to the bone.

Do not lose the heart of a beginner for an instant.
– Dahui Zonggao

George Gorman:
Cooperative behavior works closely with rhythm entrainments of emotional resonance that lead to achievements of mutual benefit, as when rowing together in the same canoe. Which is why cooperative values cannot be subject to the same standards of verification as the hard sciences. Such shared ideas arise as aids to shared desires and satisfactions, and the test of their value is in how rewarding they are. This is why the cooperative processes of human economies should not be governed by money or by any one part always being the leader in control. This is how modern economies, unlike mature ecosystems, often lose their vital energies and crash. Because even the most cut-and-dried goals depend on dramatic feelings that coordinate important what’s, why’s and how’s by staying open to relevant impulses and longer-term desires. And sometimes it’s helpful for everyone to follow someone who has what feels like a good sense of what will work best for the whole the group. That’s what the best leaders are doing. But for us humans using compulsive hierarchic associations – unlike every other species – this has blinded us to how the living work best.
So we don’t have to give up the Leader ideal, as elephants haven’t. Yet pachydermal matriarchs don’t exercise compulsive controls in the same ways that human authorities of too many kinds are doing. The best leaders feel how one’s influences must be of mutual agreement and benefit in the long run, rather than compulsively commanding. That’s why good politicians give inspiring speeches. Though at urgent times, some strong certainties are helpful, the most successful leaders don’t just make decisions alone and then command everyone to follow. It works much better to build a good coalition of diverse talents to which various responsibilities can be agreeably delegated, while encouraging a sense of skillfully working together like Knights at a Round Table.

When you ask a question, and there is no answer, that is the answer.
– Haemin Sunim

There is a unity that binds all living things into a single whole. This unity is sensed in many ways. Sometimes, when walking alone in the woods far from all the traffic which makes up the daily experience, the stillness settles in the mind. Nothing stirs. The imprisoned self seems to slip outside its boundaries and the ebb and flow of life is keenly felt. One becomes an indistinguishable part of a single rhythm, a single pulse.
– Howard Thurman, The Binding Unity

A few thoughts on addiction: From the outside it may look like the addict “just” has to make the decision to stop. But you have to change absolutely everything. Dive naked from a cliff into a raging river with no idea where you’ll end up, beat to crap. Wake in a foreign land with no common language. WAY beyond making a decision. It takes everything inside your soul, a courage that cannot even be imagined. And then learning to love yourself no matter what. That may be the hardest part. I suggest that we don’t just wait for the addicts to take these steps but all do it. Make a complete, ongoing surrender to our better natures. Do the personal work. Ask for help, hold someone’s hand. Find a great guide to lead you through all that trauma. Tell the truth. Go to any length to heal and be able to show up. Go to every length to live. Rest a lot. Honor your needs. Find someone or something you can help. Be of service. And have a freakin blast! Make it an adventure, cherish the moments. It’s an amazing journey to reincarnate in the middle of life and so worthwhile!
– Valarie Szarek

We are all going into a world of dark.
And that’s okay,
Given the wing-wrung alternative.
It’s okay. That’s where the secrets are,
The big ones, the ones too tall to tell.
The way in is twisty and torturous,
but easy, they say, easy.
The way out, however, is unavailable, and not to be mimed.

Hard to remember that when the full moon
offers its efficacy
Downwind through the winter weeds,
Unpeeling its limitless hope.
But not, at least for tonight, for us.
Not for us, bystanders back from the river of light.
So file down your fingertips, boys,
and pull on your skins.
Incandescense is temporary, we know, but it still shines.

And that’s it. My life has been spent
trying to leave it.
As though an invisible figure in a Schneeman landscape of Tuscany,
I’ve always wanted to be elsewhere,
Hair on fire, a radiance
Undeniable,
My shoes golden, my heart tucked away
back under my shirtsleeve.

Not now, the world in winter.
This is what comforts us,
Bare trees, bare streets, bare expectations.
Our lives are spent here,
our ho-hum and sweet, existential lives,
Stories of cirrus and cumulus.
And why not, this world has been good to us,
the sun goes up and the sun
Goes down, the stars release and disappear,
everything tutta gloria wherever we turn our faces.
– Charles Wright

Swimming in the Rain

Swaddled and sleeved in water,
I dive to the rocky bottom and rise
as the first drops of sky

find the ocean. The waters above
meet the waters below,
the sweet and the salt,

and I’m swimming back to the beginning.
The forecasts were wrong.
Half the sky is dark

but it keeps changing. Half the stories
I used to believe are false. Thank God
I’ve got the good sense at last

not to come in out of the rain.
The waves open
to take in the rain, and sunlight

falls from the clouds
onto the face of the deep as it did
on the first day

before the dividing began.

– Chana Bloch

So, in an age of acceleration, nothing can be more exhilarating than going slow. And in an age of distraction, nothing is so luxurious as paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is so urgent as sitting still.

So you can go on your next vacation to Paris or Hawaii or New Orleans; I bet you’ll have a wonderful time. But if you want to come back home alive and full of fresh hope, in love with the world, I think you might want to try considering going nowhere.
– Pico Iyer

Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of this world.
– Hans Margolius

Love is what carries you, for it is always there, even in the dark, or most in the dark, but shining out at times like gold stitches in a piece of embroidery.
– Wendell Berry

Just do it. Never ever give up. Keep pushing. Always try again. It just takes a little more effort. Whatever you do, don’t lose hope.

These are the messages our almost-globalized world streams through pixels, through glossy surfaces, through architecture, through the stories we tell, through speeches of photogenic leaders, through the myths we’ve filtered into visibility. You may call it a planetary ethic of resilience; I call it the ballad of the lone ranger – the human figure – wading through the unforgiving desert of dead things. An ode to the Anthropos making his way home – like Odysseus of old.
And yet, despite the obviousness of these tropes, there are times of irrepressible demise when resilience blinds us not only to the fragility of our situation and the scope of our crisis, but to the more-than-rational invitations and possibilities that are afoot in dramatic shifts. We want to trust in our grit; we want to believe our survival to be eternally plausible. But then this insistence that things will work out fine, that grief and loss get in the way of the urgent task of getting ahead, feeds our sense of stability and deadens the senses.

Somewhere among the fossils of the Bronze Age, in the ashen and ghastly figures of Pompeii, in the ruins of the Roman Civilization, in the collapse of the old Oyo Empire, is hope. Cold, dead alien hope. Unchanging and glistening. Cauterized in the fires of its endless worship.

Hope will often stand in the way of transformation. Justice will often be embodied by the very structures we seek escape from. What do we do when hope incarcerates us? Abandon it? Not quite. We reintroduce it to its estranged kin: hopelessness. We retreat into the dark and learn the luminosity of descent. Somewhere in the studious embrace of our demise, of our littleness, of our insignificance, we call upon the manifold others whose names our lips dare not utter. It is the others that teach us to purge our eyes, to count other matters, to sense other colours, to taste other notions, to come alive to the exquisite promiscuity of the many life-death ecologies we are entangled with. to be cast beside oneself so ecstatically that one loses shape.


In these times of unsettling impasses, I refuse the binary options. Our ‘choice’ is not between survival and damnation. There is a third gift: bewilderment. The madness of compost and the promise of monsters.
– Bayo Akomolafe

The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.
– Charles Malik

Those honour Nature well, who teach that she can speak on everything, even on theology.
– PASCAL

There is a realm of time where the goal is not to have but to be, not to own but to give, not to control but to share.
– Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

When my heart
was hardened
and my courses
constrained,
I made my hope
…. a stairway
to Your forgiveness.
My sins burdened me
heavily, but when I
measured it
by Your forgiveness Lord ….
Your forgiveness
…. was far greater.
– Sayyiduna Imam al Shafi’i

I’m not liberated until everyone is liberated. By having strong, local climate justice movements that are in solidarity with each other, we are dismantling this global system.
– Mishka Banuri

Some things you must always be unable to bear. Some things you must never stop refusing to bear. Injustice and outrage and dishonor and shame. No matter how young you are or how old you have got. Not for kudos and not for cash: your picture in the paper nor money in the bank either. Just refuse to bear them.
– William Faulkner

In everything that disturbs us, be it anxiety, anger, hurt, illness, relationship patterns or addiction, as well as everything that we enjoy, be it a pleasure, a success, or a sweetness, there exists the seed of something that, with love, is waiting to flower into the beauty, power, and intelligence that we truly are.
– David Bedrick

They call it ‘peace of mind’ but maybe it should be called ‘peace from mind.’
– Naval Ravikant

I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.
– Brené Brown

In Shobo-genzo Zuimonki, Zen Master Dogen says that we should live each day, each hour, in the same frame of mind as that of a man falling from a horse. In that brief moment before he hits the ground, all his ability and learning [are] useless, and there is no time to think, no time for daydreams or self-reproach. When we face a matter of life and death, there is no time to look around or fantasize. All depends on our readiness. Zen Master Dogen said that we should live our whole lives in a state of readiness.
– Shundo Aoyama Roshi

If you don’t know the kind of person I am

and I don’t know the kind of person you are

a pattern that others made may prevail in the world

and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.



For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,

a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break

sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dike.
 


And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,

but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,

I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty

to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.
 


And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,

a remote important region in all who talk:

though we could fool each other, we should consider
—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.



For it is important that awake people be awake,

or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;

the signals we give — yes or no, or maybe —

should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

– William Stafford, A Ritual to Read Each other

Song to Forgotten Ancestors

Whatever you sing to them
Is only this world humming to itself
Through the single human song
Is only your heart answering their love.
And the words you sing are not your own
Though you sounded them they are older than you
They rise from the soul of your people
Music of your emigrant ancestors
Whose hard history left a long soul scar.
They are behind you breathing through you
Still hungering for the unlived life beyond.
Their passion never fired breaks through in you
Their energy passed to you carries it so strongly on
Listen where the ages roar
In the morning wind through the forest
Where no one yet walks.

– Douglas Stewart, MacTalla

Hokusai Says

Hokusai says look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing.

He says look forward to getting old.
He says keep changing,
you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it, repeat
yourself as long as it is interesting.

He says keep doing what you love.

He says keep praying.

He says every one of us is a child,
every one of us is ancient
every one of us has a body.
He says every one of us is frightened.
He says every one of us has to find
a way to live with fear.

He says everything is alive —
shells, buildings, people, fish,
mountains, trees, wood is alive.
Water is alive.

Everything has its own life.

Everything lives inside us.

He says live with the world inside you.

He says it doesn’t matter if you draw,
or write books. It doesn’t matter
if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn’t matter if you sit at home
and stare at the ants on your veranda
or the shadows of the trees
and grasses in your garden.
It matters that you care.

It matters that you feel.

It matters that you notice.

It matters that life lives through you.
Contentment is life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength
is life living through you.
He says don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid.
Love, feel, let life take you by the hand.
Let life live through you.

– Roger S. Keyes

The mantra,
‘I Don’t Know,’
brings wondrous
healing.
– Fred LaMotte

“Satogokoro”

(inspired by Ryūzen-sama’s
shamisen music on 4/30/2020,
Day 31 of his inner pilgrimage)

There is an ache inside this heart…
for a village in which I have never lived
for a love I have never known
for elders I have never had
for a song my soul knows
but which these ears have never heard.
Alas, the pluck of a string brings it all back.
Despite Buddha’s teaching on non-attachment,
my spirit leaps toward old memories —
a life before this one.
A blessing,
a curse,
my satogokoro: 里心
The village one carries inside the heart.

– Frank LaRue Owen

Practice zazen tenaciously and you are Buddha. Sawaki is always a deluded person. However, zazen seeps into Sawaki’s blood drop by drop, making him a Buddha. How joyful!
– Kodo Sawaki

The apocalypse is not something which is coming. The apocalypse has arrived in major portions of the planet and it’s only because we live within a bubble of incredible privilege and social insulation that we still have the luxury of anticipating the apocalypse.~L
– Terence McKenna

The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.
– Princess Leia

In Spite of Everything, the Stars

Like a stunned piano, like a bucket
of fresh milk flung into the air
or a dozen fists of confetti
thrown hard at a bride
stepping down from the altar,
the stars surprise the sky.
Think of dazed stones
floating overhead or an ocean
of starfish hung up to dry. Yes,
like a conductor’s expectant arm
about to lift toward the chorus,
or a juggler’s plates defying gravity,
or a hundred fastballs fired at once
and freezing in midair, the stars
startle the sky over the city.

And that’s why drunks leaning up
against abandoned buildings, women
hurrying home on deserted side streets,
policemen turning blind corners, and
even thieves stepping from alleys
all stare up at once. Why else do
sleepwalkers move toward the windows,
or old men drag flimsy lawn chairs
onto fire escapes, or hardened criminals
press sad foreheads to steel bars?

Because the night is alive with lamps!
That’s why in dark houses all over the city
dreams stir in the pillows, a million
plumes of breath rise into the sky.

– Edward Hirsch

I’m gonna stay out here on the margin,
and let the center look for me.
– Toni Morrison

…. you need the struggle, otherwise there’s no journey.
– Chögyam Trungpa

We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.

– Australian Aboriginal Proverb

Let us forgive each other—
only then will we live in peace.
– Leo Tolstoy

One of the problems meditators experience
is that there is a slight, almost subconscious, guilty feeling that they ought to be
doing something rather than just experiencing what goes on. When you begin to feel
that you ought to be doing something,
you automatically present millions of obstacles to yourself. Meditation is not a project;
it is a way of being. You could experience
that you are what you are.
Fundamentally, sitting there and breathing
is a very valid thing to do.
– Chögyam Trungpa

If I had the time and space, I might tell you the story of a young man who asked his ancestral spirits to tell him what he was to commit his life to. I would tell you the story and the moral of the story. But, like I said, I don’t have time.

Somewhere in the middle of this story, which I insist on not telling you about, there is a giant boulder and a whispered instruction to the young man in question to push at this particular rock. By pushing at this rock, by resisting it, the man takes on a new shape, becomes bulkier, and weightier – just like the rock he strenuously resists. And then he is whisked away to wherever spirits whisk inquisitive young men when they ask too many questions. Who cares?

The moral of the story might make sense to you if I told it to you. At heart, this unspeakable lesson is that resistance is not innocent; that we eventually become what we assiduously resist; that an idea that contradicts another idea is the same idea entangled by negation; that villainy will often replicate itself in the selfsame effort to exterminate it, and is as such a risky way of making sense of the political ‘other’; that when the hero and the madman are locked in their eternal reproduction of sameness, there are usually generous openings in the body of the world that invite criminal acts of justice… fugitive departures; and, finally, that how we behave and what we believe exceed the localized contents of our behaviours and our beliefs, so that we are often already doing what we confidently assert we would never do.

But it’s simply too much to tell you all that now, stories and lessons – given, like I’ve said before, time and space constraints. So I won’t. Good night.

– Bayo Akomolafe

That things ‘just go on’ is the catastrophe.

– Walter Benjamin

The words of an enemy have never hurt you. Only your reaction to the words hurt you. Only your reaction is your enemy.
– B. D. Schiers

We get lost in doing, thinking, remembering, anticipating – lost in a maze of complexity and a world of problems. Nature can show us the way home, the way out of the prison of our own minds.
– Eckhart Tolle

This is what language is:
a habitable grief.

– Eavan Boland

We’re all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.
– J.K. Rowling

The Second Coming – W. B. Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Spirit of love
That flows against our flesh
Sets it trembling
Moves across it as across grass
Erasing every boundary that we accept
And swings the doors of our lives wide —
This is a prayer I sing:
Save our perishing earth!

Spirit that cracks our single selves —
Eyes fall down eyes,
Hearts escape through the bars of our ribs
To dart into other bodies —
Save this earth!
The earth is perishing.
This is a prayer I sing.

Spirit that hears each one of us,
Hears all that is —
Listens, listens, hears us out —
Inspire us now!
Our own pulse beats in every stranger’s throat,
And also there within the flowered ground beneath
our feet,
And — teach us to listen! —
We can hear it in water, in wood, and even in stone.
We are earth of this earth, and we are bone of its
bone.
This is a prayer I sing, for we have forgotten this
and so
The earth is perishing.

– Barbara Deming

Some haystacks don’t even have any needle.
– William Stafford

Our heads are round so thought can change direction.
– Allen Ginsberg

Why does one begin to write?
Because she wants to rephrase the world,
to take it in and give it back again differently,
so that everything is used and nothing is lost.
– Nicole Krauss

Even in Siberia there is happiness.
– Anton Chekhov

As a central element of… a shared meaning system, a cosmology comprises the way a group understands the workings of the world, nature, and the cosmos. Cosmologies thus encompass what we think of as religion, physics, and philosophy in a comprehensive framework.
– Christopher C. Fennell

Our insanity is not that we see people who aren’t there; it’s that we ignore the ones who are.
– Andrea Gibson

The web of life is calling us forth at this time.
We’ve come a long way and are here to play our part.
With Active Hope we realize that there are adventures in store,
strengths to discover, and comrades to link arms with.
Active Hope is a readiness to discover the strengths
in ourselves and in others;
a readiness to discover the reasons for hope
and the occasions for love.
A readiness to discover the size and strength of our hearts,
our quickness of mind, our steadiness of purpose,
our own authority, our love for life,
the liveliness of our curiosity,
the unsuspected deep well of patience and diligence,
the keenness of our senses, and our capacity to lead.
– Joanna Macy

When Giving Is All We Have
One river gives
Its journey to the next.

We give because someone gave to us.
We give because nobody gave to us.

We give because giving has changed us.
We give because giving could have changed us.

We have been better for it,
We have been wounded by it—

Giving has many faces: It is loud and quiet,
Big, though small, diamond in wood-nails.

Its story is old, the plot worn and the pages too,
But we read this book, anyway, over and again:

Giving is, first and every time, hand to hand,
Mine to yours, yours to mine.

You gave me blue and I gave you yellow.
Together we are simple green. You gave me

What you did not have, and I gave you
What I had to give—together, we made

Something greater from the difference.

– Alberto Ríos

Dharmas exist in the manner of dreams, illusions, echoes, or moons in water.
– Yeshe Tsöndrü

No Clue

What have you taken from us?
I hesitate any longer to
say your name.
It alone smears
the unspeakable across
my mood.
Though that syllable
rings in my ears still
today, having put away,
like clothes I don’t
wear anymore, certain
hopes, or more,
expectations, fragile
ventures in the sky of
awareness, words
floating like angels over
fields, streams,
casual themes,
everything that makes
no profit for
anyone, what
you’ve taken, or try
to take, the cusp of
consciousness, the beat
full of breath and
passion, genuine
wanting, you too big
like a bulbous balloon
closing the sky for
us all, and you think
it’s okay, to take all this
for yourself, what you
don’t even use
because, while you
spit out and claim and slaughter,
you have no clue
do you?
You have no clue.

– Susan Griffin

I want to walk through the city
Without fear of what I might come across
Wander through the woods
Without the trees suggesting
What might have been
– Jaz Allen-Sutton

I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.
– Thomas Jefferson

Fundamentally without illusions, without satori, universal, of the same root as the sky and the earth, it fills the universe. Such must be our religion.
– Kodo Sawaki

Those who project their shadows onto others will be ruled by their own shadows that they cannot see. They will be dreamers of the day, sleepwalkers in their own lives, believing the danger is others when it is themselves, their own waking, that they fear.

No one can wake them but themselves. And whoever’s touch tries to wake them, even if it is their own, will suffer the thrashing of the sleeper. And the pain and the thrashing and the fleeing will be worse if that touch that tries to wake them is purely the touch of love.

Own the shadow. Love it, too. It has its music and its uses. The work of a life is to integrate the multitudes in the self. The way up is the way down. The way in is the way out. The way back is the way forward. The tree that reaches for the sunlight has beautiful roots in the darkness. Gnarled as they are, they have their own forms. Our knowing them shows us they’re not chaos. Our knowing them shows us ourselves. Our knowing them makes us masters of what we do. Go down into the depths of the shadow. Or it will come up to you.
– Joseph Fasano

The wrecked landscape of our World House could sprout a renewed world, but a new language has to be found. We can’t make the old world come alive again, but from its old seeds, the next layer could sprout.

This new language would have to grow from the indigenous hearts we all have hidden.

It shouldn’t be the tongue of oneness, not one language, not a computer tongue of homogenization, but a diverse, beautiful, badly made thing whose flimsiness and inefficiency force people to sing together to keep it well-spoken and sung into life over and over again, so that nobody forgets to remember.

We need to find gorgeous, unsellable, ritual words to reanimate, remeasure, rebuild, and replaster the ruined, depressed flatness left by the hollow failure of this mechanized, orphaned culture.

For this, we need all peoples: our poets, our shamans, our dreamers, our youth, our elders, our women, our men, our ancestors, and our real old memories from before we were people. We live in a kind of dark age, craftily lit with synthetic light, so that no one can tell how dark it has really gotten. But our exiled spirits can tell.

Deep in our bones resides an ancient, singing couple who just won’t give up making their beautiful, wild noise. The world won’t end if we can find them.

– Martin Prechtel

How I spot an Operation Mockingbird psy-op:

All of a sudden we all start arguing about the same topic.

People on both sides of the argument repeat the same key words and phrases.

We are encouraged to see other everyday regular people as our enemies.

Usually a psy-op will use some sort of trauma to hook people: often, the trauma is around what we consider our identities. Often, it’s a primal trauma that harkens back to our formative years.

This renders us less capable of talking and listening. The key phrases are designed to act as both sword and shield: we parrot them instead of telling our own, deeper truths. We also dismiss them when they come from the other side because they are so repetitive that they start to lose meaning.

This process dehumanizes us, divides us, disconnects us, and makes us less able to see one another as fully human.

This is by design.

– Katy Barrett

We Are of a Tribe

We plant seeds in the ground
And dreams in the sky,

Hoping that, someday, the roots of one
Will meet the upstretched limbs of the other.

It has not happened yet.
We share the sky, all of us, the whole world:

Together, we are a tribe of eyes that look upward,
Even as we stand on uncertain ground.

The earth beneath us moves, quiet and wild,
Its boundaries shifting, its muscles wavering.

The dream of sky is indifferent to all this,
Impervious to borders, fences, reservations.

The sky is our common home, the place we all live.
There we are in the world together.

The dream of sky requires no passport.
Blue will not be fenced. Blue will not be a crime.

Look up. Stay awhile. Let your breathing slow.
Know that you always have a home here.

– Alberto Rios

Restoration is the divine creative process of connecting each and every disconnect, one by one, healing the flow of God in our hearts, our bodies, our souls, and our lives.
– Bob Holmes

Sometimes it’s not enough to know
the meaning of things.
Sometimes we have to know
what things don’t mean as well.
– Bob Dylan

What another would have done as well as you,
do not do it.
What another would have said as well as you,
do not say it;
what another would have written as well,
do not write it.
Be faithful to that which exists nowhere
but in yourself—
and thus make yourself indispensable.
– André Gide

In order to cut the root of basic confusion,
one should rest in the natural state
without altering it. Once one is resting
in the genuine natural state,
one should neither follow one’s thoughts
nor search for an antidote for them.
If the intrinsic nature is left in its natural state,
as it is said, ‘When water is not stirred,
will become clear’, Just as dirty water,
if not stirred, will become clear,
if the nature of mind is left unaltered, as it is,
deluded thoughts will automatically clear up.
The natural flow of the intrinsic nature will come automatically.

Awareness will become clearer
and clearer of its own accord;
we don’t have to force it to become so.
In the practice of the Great Perfection,
we first recognize
the primordial nature of mind,
and then become more and more
experienced in recognizing it,
eventually achieving complete stability
in its realization.

– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

We are witnessing a great social war.

The separation is increasing as the gap between worldview continues to widen.

And the greatest challenge I am noticing is our lack of regard for different forms of knowing. Allow me to elaborate.

There was a time in history in which other forms of knowing was intact and highly regarded. This form of knowing was eventually disregarded with the advancements in technology and what we call: science.

Science, which was historically dominated by men and holds a particular point of view, eventually reigned as the ultimate say in everything.

Science became the new world religion, as some have been known to say.

And, with this new religion of reason and logic, out went all feminine ways of knowing (intuition, heart, nature, felt experience).

And those who held onto their deep ways of knowing and remained connected to their natural environment were turned against, and either silenced or killed.

Do not fool yourself, the validation of other forms of knowing (what I call a feminine way of knowing) continues to be discredited and debunked as non-scientific or invalid.

And yet, I believe with all my Being, that it is exactly this form of knowing that will heal our divide and open us collectively to a New Story that is not based in fear and control.
…………………

When we approach this pandemic through the lens of fear and the skull brain intellect, we experience a massive divide and an increase in aggression in our attempts to argue our personal or collective points of view.

There is no room for alternative points of view.

This is expected when we perceive a threat of death. Our survival instinct will ‘kill’ to protect itself. And when I say ‘kill’ I mean psychically attack.

In so much that the need to prove that the dominant narrative is 100% true is resulting in attacks on peoples character, social shunning, screaming at one another, killing another, shaming, shutting down with insults, and throwing ‘facts’ at one another faster than we could ever do if we were engaged in a real time conversation around a fire.

And, I believe that this social war is a huge distraction. We are pitting against each other. And, while this is happening I am holding the questions: What is really going on here?

……………..

The God of science is now validating these other forms of knowing.

Research informs us that we have three brain centres (not just one).

We have a skull brain (which is considered to be a triune brain with three separate structures within the skull); we have a heart brain which contains separate neuronal tissue and has its own intelligence separate from the skull brain, as well as a measurable electromagnetic field that ‘reads its environment’; we have a gut brain which contains as many neurons as the skull brain and needs microbiome to thrive.

Each centre is a centre of knowing.

Each centre communicates with one another and when in harmony, fosters health and wellbeing.

Each centre is a valid form of knowing.

The gut is intelligent. And, listening and responding to the gut is an important act of knowing.

The heart is intelligent. And, listening to the heart and responding accordingly is an important act of knowing.

We have been separated from other forms of knowing for far too long.

The greatest challenge we are facing, from my vantage point, is the massive disconnection and devalue we have for other forms of knowing.

As we move forward to make decisions or follow ‘mandates’, I pray everyday that we wake up to our other forms of knowing.

Science tells us that mental, emotional, physical, and social health results or expresses itself when the system is in a state of coherence (aka harmony).

This means that all differentiated parts of the system (of the ways of knowing) are in harmony with one another.

If your skull brain is saying yes, out of a place of fear or unquestioned logic, but your heart and gut are saying something different, you must not ignore those other centres of knowing.

When all three are aligned, I believe we will step into a New Story that is fuelled by love and coherence.

– Jennifer Summerfeldt

The longer you are in the anger phase of healing, the more it will distort and divide your inner lens. You can unconsciously start to see people as being similar to those who hurt you and those who are not similar. Feel your anger, let go, and move onto the next phase of healing.
– Inner Practitioner

Like victims of an ancient spiritual and cultural shipwreck, we have been adrift for four thousand years, floating on people-centered rafts of provisional civilizations that have convinced themselves they are the real thing and the cutting edge of human evolution, while designating our true magical origins of deep small cultures as some dirty, half-evolved, grunting, primitive past.


But no matter how far we’ve drifted away, the spirits of our last happy, intact indigenous ancestors from before we began to drift are effortlessly coursing right along with us. Having merged with the vastness of the natural wild tossing sea we so fear to drown in, they follow each of us like a pod of giant sea turtles, their big sweet scaly heads thumping up under us, trying their best to get our attention and tow us home to our real selves, knocking on the hull of the lifeboat of today’s assumed culture, while we drift along figuring that the anxiety of civilisation’s never-ending feeling of emergency is normal.

The seeds are here with us wherever we are, but we are never where we are, but always heading elsewhere to escape that feeling of never being where we are. We are never at home.

To find our seeds to plant new culture, we have to find a way to be quiet and feel welcome at home on earth. When we can find ways of being at home, our ancient seeds will be there with us and will have a place to re sprout.

So first we have to stop drifting away from what home really means and learn to be at home right in the lost place where we have drifted to and try to reseed and re-flower with culture and food plants the odd, alienated condition of the present.

Somewhere on behalf of every ecologically shattered centimetre of our overworked ground, every forgotten scrap of enslaved matter, every caste of work-wounded laborers, every genetically manipulated species and seed, this vital Indigenous force lay ready to ambush the folly of humans pretending to live life from the distance of an armchair and computer screen, with the real touch of life on the hoof.

…This innate vital force is involved in a never-ending revolution that doesn’t topple but is armed only with Beauty, to struggle for Beauty and to make the Holy in Nature live. For people this means the appearance of Beauty of a world proceeding naturally, each thing moving according to its nature and its place in the staggered concentricities of all things living and dying at their appointed hours to feed the next thing, who will do the same. A beauty to antidote and heal civilisation’s unquestioned toxicity to life brought on by its hatred of its own real natural origins, its original people, its original plats, animals and earth.

This was a spiritual thing of the oldest type, not a Christian spirituality, a Jewish spirituality, or a Buddhist, Muslim, or any other kind of human-centred spirituality, but a spirituality of Seeds, Seeds who once sprouted out of our forgotten origins and flowered into cultures mythologically lived out that recognised humans as the magical descendants of both plants and animals.

…Not knowing who we really are in the big picture according to the Holy in Nature or where all that we have ended up adopting originates from, the motivating factor that guides all “good” policies and decisions for the world would always have as its prime incentive the furtherance of a clever mechanical thinking, that at best only wants the natural world as something separate from humans, and the survival of the Wild advocated only as some denaturalised human-managed minion, touristic prop, or resource so that people could have medicines and air enough to themselves “survive” long enough to continue the same absurd self-defeating earth-wrecking trajectory of the present. This was not part of the original agreement with the Holy Wild.

Rather, the earth had to be understood as our own tangible soul, and any trauma caused to the earth eroded our souls. People, when they become the real humans they started out to be, have an inborn love for the big overwhelming beauty of the Holy in Nature, as much enamored of its subtlety as of its terror of depth and motion, understanding and wanting the fact that bears snoring in their deep snowbound caves love dreaming summer back out of the frozen ground, waking the snakes and Thunder, whose lightning refreshes the trampled dry sea of steppe grass with its tornadoes of rock-melting prairie fires, flash floods, and nitrogen-injecting hailstorms.

We could never transcend the mad toxic trap of the present without deferring the Hell of it in the next generation. Nor could we “perfect” ourselves or “purify” ourselves or the world without becoming spiritual fascists. No, our grief over the reality was the Hopeful thing. For we, as “sacred farmers” who cultivate the ancient seed of culture and keep our original agreement with the Holy in Nature, know we must learn to metabolise our grief into a nutrient of spiritual awareness of our real place on earth, compost the failures of civilisation’s present course, and cultivate in that cooking mound of composting tears and detours a future worth living in, all smack-dab in the middle of modernity’s meaningless waste.

– Martin Prechtel, The Unlikely Peace at Cuchumaquic: The Parallel Lives of People as Plants: Keeping the Seeds Alive

There is hope in the past.

I am writing to you
all the time, I am writing

with both hands,
day and night.

– Franz Wright

The most crucial prerequisite for the practise of dharma is complete isolation because when we are alone, we are subject to fewer distractions, creating the perfect conditions for sadness to grow in our minds.

For those who know how to use it, sadness is a fertile ground from which all kinds of beneficial thoughts can spring with very little effort.

Jigme Lingpa described sadness as one of the most invaluable kinds of noble wealth, and in the sutras Buddha hailed sadness as the trailblazer for all subsequent good qualities.

With sadness comes trust and devotion, which, once developed, mean the practises of shamatha and vipashyana require very little effort. Shamatha practise ensures that mind becomes malleable and workable, and a flexible mind makes vipashyana relatively easy to accomplish.

– Dzongsa

Those moments when we feel happy, our body literally heals in that moment. It becomes stronger and revitalized. Joy has a power to it that is ultimate. Wellness comes from joy. It comes from a quiet mind, which is a state of joy
– Maticintin

Too often, people think that solving the world’s problems is based on conquering the earth, rather than touching the earth, touching ground.
– Chögyam Trungpa

My view is that if your philosophy is not unsettled daily then you are blind to all the universe has to offer.
– Neil deGrasse Tyson

The most important book you will ever read is your journal. You won’t understand this until you have kept it for at least 5 years.
– Robert Moss

There seems to be a wave of people forgetting or not knowing about nuance. Nuance is everything.

Not all vaccines are good. Not all are bad.
Not all western medicine is good. Not all is bad.
Not all holistic medicine is good. Not all is bad.
Not all Trump supporters are good. Not all are bad.
Not all Bernie supporters are good. Not all are bad.
And so on.

Yes, there are certainly patterns and stereotypes that can lean true, but nuance exists in every situation, and we will feel more at peace if we lean into the nuance.

We need to get away from these black/white reactions and arguments, and get back to a place where we try to understand each other. Let’s be more mature in our opinion-forming and our debate-having.

– Doorae Shin

Mankind owns four things
That are no good at sea:

Rudder,
Anchor,
Oars,
And the fear of going down.

– Antonio Machado translated by Robert Bly

We don’t fall in love with people because they’re good people. We fall in love with people whose darkness we recognise. You can fall in love with a person for all of the right reasons, but that kind of love can still fall apart. But when you fall in love with a person because your monsters have found a home in them– that’s the kind of love that owns your skin and bones. Love, I am convinced, is found in the darkness. It is the candle in the night.
– C. JoyBell C.

And the emptiness turns its face to us and whispers,
‘I am not empty, I am open.’
– Tomas Tranströmer

Act without expectation
– Lao Tzu

Conventionality is not morality.
Self-righteousness is not religion.
To attack the first is not to assail the last.
– Charlotte Brontë

The only way to freely move oneself for a human is to have a mind capable of imagining “what” one is intending to do, and thus doing it. If this is how we all move ourselves, why would it be radically different for the rest of the living? The living are here on their own recognizance, which means not being happily controlled by outside agencies. As your mom may have said when you were whining about what to do now, “Just use your imagination.” If little kids are more effectively doing what they want this way, this is because it’s the way of the living, who’ve been using imagination since they first realized they were free to move their bodies around. For as long as cellular cilia have waved, we’ve been imagining what to do next. Thank goodness we all have our own ways of dreaming up new directions and possibilities through the imaginative powers of our minds. Thank God we don’t always have to tell each other exactly what to do. When parents do that to children, they don’t feel trustworthy any more. So, instead of indulging in sneaky beliefs masquerading as science, it is more honorable (and more reasonable) to assume that if a cell-based body is imaginatively able to move itself in purposefully unpedictable ways, that’s because it’s imagining what the fuck it wants to do.
– George Gorman

Once more the poem woke me up,
the dark poem.
– Brenda Hillman, Bright Existence

we hear it say that we need to tame our monkey-minds. we jump from thought to thought, from feeling to feeling, from perception to perception, and as a result we are never at rest. but the monkeys are perfectly at rest in their jumpings and flyings from branch to branch. and they are joyous too. they watch the quiet slugs facing the trunks of the trees, eat my mangoes, and they warn each other against the dangers of tamed sluggy-minds. let us not pre-define what rest is, and how much quietness is restful. some rest in their joy, others are joyful in their restlessness, and other are neither. let us strive to be peaceful monkeys.
– hune margulies

The truth has been bitter since hemlock was given to Socrates.
– Ariel Thomas Melchizedek

The truth is like a tempest: it causes wreckage.

The common man is pleased with praise and displeased when told the truth, because his best buddy is deceit.

People delight more when they hear talk of fallacies than truths. They are fascinated with falsity and astounded by the truth.

The truth has been bitter since hemlock was given to Socrates.

– Ariel Thomas Melchizedek

Even the Storm is Different
– JKM

A general truth
Is not always subsumable
To the spontaneous
Arc of the present.

Have a care
That knowledge doesn’t stomp
The dreaming fetus
Of wonder to dust.

Now is sometimes only
A cocoon.

– George Gorman

I feel like there’s an unchallenged assumption held by many (most?) radicals that goes something like this: “We can’t speak too openly, too publicly, too frankly about how serious, how massive, how painful the changes we so desperately need are going to be because, if we do, we’ll scare people off.”
But, this line of reasoning takes it for granted that we need every person we can get. I’m not so sure that’s true. If people cannot face the enormity of the problem, can they offer much help anyway? I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to understand these people. But doesn’t the truth need to be told as often as possible? And, isn’t facing that truth simply a necessary step toward protecting what’s left of the world?

– Will Faulk

The mind of great compassion is to devote oneself to one’s parents, to live in harmony with one’s husband or wife, to be loyal to one’s friends, and to be the friend of one’s brothers and sisters. In multiple fashion it transforms all things.
– Kodo Sawaki, Commentary on the Song of Awakening

#5 (prayer)

Dear ancient one:
Please hear this rough prayer

Is not naming you an ignorance
Is not fitting you into collective notions
A way of reducing you?

So let me bypass the traditional gate
The formula, the image
So let me speak directly to you
As my very heart

Align me with forces
That will help me grow and expand
Rather than ossify and drift
That will keep the soul vivid
And a be worthy vessel for intelligence and beatific offering

Let me be one with deeper luminosity
Instead of the shell
With the poetry instead of the prosaic
May utility and joy be aligned here

And may the magic of words
Not be used for black purposes
May they not benefit the personality – that arrogant and insecure ego –
But the deeper one

May I not listen to the clamoring voices of collectivity
But the still intelligent voice
The one that speaks truly
And knows the way through the dark wood

And when I meet you, may I be ready
To toss away the artifice, the rind, the remainders
May I be fully transparent, naked
May I be already born

And may our meeting in joy rain down relief
To those many souls who bargain with hell
Who suffer meaninglessly
May they find meaning and fullness

May this existence be a boon and not a burden
A liberation and not an a sentence
A dance and not race towards nullity

And even though I falter, and even though
I crawl through dark mud, fog, and poison air
And even though I get lost
In that collective darkness

May the true individual be born in me
May the true gift be realized
May the miracle be unleashed

May excessive gratitude and giving
Be my ordinary state
May I learn to truly give thanks
And to humbly admit my faults

May the words ‘I love you’
Not used as a marketing strategy
But just be the ordinary state

May we lift each other up
May we give each other wings
May we cause each other excessive joy

May we see that this is the way things really are

– Andrew Sweeny

The most important book you will ever read is your journal. You won’t understand this until you have kept it for at least 5 years.
– Robert Moss

My view is that if your philosophy is not unsettled daily, then you are blind to all the universe has to offer.
– Neil deGrasse Tyson

Briefly It Enters, and Briefly It Speaks
by Jane Kenyon

I am the blossom pressed in a book,
found again after two hundred years. . . .

I am the maker, the lover, and the keeper. . . .

When the young girl who starves
sits down to a table
she will sit beside me. . . .

I am food on the prisoner’s plate. . . .

I am water rushing to the wellhead,
filling the pitcher until it spills. . . .

I am the patient gardener
of the dry and weedy garden. . . .

I am the stone step,
the latch, and the working hinge. . . .

I am the heart contracted by joy. . .

the longest hair, white
before the rest. . . .

I am there in the basket of fruit
presented to the widow. . . .

I am the musk rose opening
unattended, the fern on the boggy summit. . . .

I am the one whose love
overcomes you, already with you
when you think to call my name. . . .

Half of life is lost in charming others. The other half is lost in going through anxieties caused by others. Leave this play, you have played enough.
– Rumi

I HAVE FOUND MY TRUE RELIGION

I studied the world’s great religions.
I devoured the long, dense tomes of philosophers.
I did what the gods and gurus said I should do.

I was a good boy yet I found no comfort, no home.
Only second-hand thoughts from second-hand people
and a brief respite from a terrible nostalgia.

In the name of spirituality I fell into denial.
I denied anger and called it peace.
I denied shame and called it power.
I denied sexuality and called it purity.
I denied my humanity and called it Awareness.
I denied desire itself and proclaimed myself enlightened.

Now, I find my home in simplicity.
I have been humbled. I know nothing.
I see a cloud and hot tears stream down my face.
Or the face of an old friend, it shocks me with its perfection.
Or a lamppost on my evening walk,
bowing to me with its perfect incandescent light.
All things pull me back to God, I cannot prevent it.

I use human language but I am not quite human.
I am a sparrow at dawn. My song is my home.
My body is my temple. My altar is loss and the strange relief of grieving.
I find solace in the utter lack of solace.
I find rest in my own restless desire for life.

My love, may I sit beside you now?
Will you share with me what’s on your heart?
(I am as lost as you are).
Will you give me your tears, your shudders and your trembling?
Shall I hold you until it stops, and if it never stops shall I hold you?
Will you hold me too?
Shall we look after each other, as the end draws near?
Yes, shall we look after each other?

Oh God. Oh God. I have found my true religion.
Simple. Human. Kindness.

– Jeff Foster

Suddenly I understood
that we must take care of things
just because they exist.

I’m twenty-six and I feel as If I’ve lived my life. Strange sensation, almost as if
I’m close to death. Any desires, ambitions, hopes I may have had have either been fulfilled or spontaneously dissipated.
I’m totally content. Of course I want to get deeper, see clearer, but even if I could
only have this paltry, shallow awakening,
I’d be quite satisfied….
So in a sense I feel I’ve died.
For myself there is nothing else to strive after, nothing more to make my life worthwhile
or to justify it. At twenty-six, a living corpse
and such a life! …
If I have another fifty or sixty years
(who knows?) of time,
I want to live it for other people.
What else is there to do with it? …
So I must go deeper and deeper and work hard, no longer for me, but for everyone I can help.
– Maura O’Halloran

Air and earth and ocean, everything is full of Angels.

– St. Ambrose

Feminine Rage will Save this World.

Yes that’s right.

I know they told you your Anger is terribly unfeminine.

I know they said you would never be loved again.

If you let just one breath of rage slip from your lips.

Good girls don’t get angry.

That’s for the bad ones.

The ones no one will ever love.

The ones we call crazy.

Delusional.

Hysterical.

Broken.

Wounded.

Confused.

Ah, but the Art of Feminine Anger is what will heal this broken world.

Because that nice complacent smile is now part of the destruction.

Do you hear me?

Stockholm Syndrome.

Oh the Destroyer means well!

Have compassion.

Soft and Gentle.

Easy does it. Don’t mess up the furniture, now.

Careful of your lipstick.

Be a nice girl. Be sure not to make anyone uncomfortable.

This prison cell is decorated so lovely, don’t you think?

Ah, it’s a beautiful day outside.

The earth is being ravaged and destroyed. Just watch how the machinery drills and sucks and siphons.

Look how it kills the Mother with complete dissociation.

Keep smiling.

Don’t get judgmental.

So un-feminine.

So unspiritual!

Ah, see how it grooms and seduces the most innocent core of human beings.

Watch how it exploits their trust and then abuses and discards them.

Watch how the psychopath consumes this world.

The way there is no end to this hunger for violence.

Well, every thing has two sides.

We all play our part.

Compassion and Forgiveness.

That’s what they told me.

Always be nice.

Yes.

They told me that’s the way.

Just be sweet.

It’s oh so very Feminine, don’t you think?

Ah, the last tree in the forest was just chopped down.

Lovely.

Nothing but forgiveness here.

The Feminine is so loving, isn’t it?

And Loving is Accepting.

Just keep accepting. And don’t forget to smile!

Feminine Rage…..

Why do you think it’s so taboo?

Could it be perhaps that this Matrix is running on Feminine complacency?

You see there is an art to Feminine Rage.

It takes practice to channel the forces of Loving Destruction

With Righteous Clarity and Truth.

No, I’m not talking about the frothing, whining, complaining tantrum born of your repressed bitterness kinda rage.

No, I’m not talking about that aimless wail of your deep pain kinda rage.

I’m talking that deep down low Rage.

That split the world in two with Erotic Searing Passion Rage.

Erupting from the place that KNOWS the difference between RIGHT AND WRONG Rage.

I’m talking the Rage that can birth universes.

Can open portals to creation.

Can strip this world of all its ugly lies kinda Rage.

The Rage so sweet and clear it pierces the fog of all the distortions kinda Rage.

The willingness to kill in the name of Love kinda Rage.

That empty mind, open heart kinda Rage.

That Mama Lion don’t fuck with my children kinda rage.

The Slay that bullshit noise in the name of all that is good and Holy kinda Rage.

Pure. Clear.

Holy Love.

From the Deep.

From the Cunt.

Yes I said it- The Cunt.

Did you know that the original meaning of Cunt is A Woman of Power?

They wanted to make that into a dirty word, didn’t they?

Oh they are so scared of the Cunt.

Believe me.

They are very, very afraid.

Of the Deep Down Pulsing Fertile Power that is She.

Who’s Love for innocence.

Who’s love for her children.

Who’s love for this Life.

Will chop fucking heads.

The machine does not like the Cunt one bit.

And it certainly will do whatever it takes to neuter that Feminine Rage.

So unspiritual!

Did you know that most poltergeist phenomena is actually telekinetic activity in a space where an angry teenage girl lives?

Yeah, that’s right.

Read it again.

An angry female who’s womb has just come online can make doors slam and furniture fly.

I know because I was one.

They thought I was possessed by demons.

Like Mary Magdelene Herself.

They put crosses made of holy water on the walls of my room.

Beware the Angry Woman.

She makes shit happen.

She might just rearrange the furniture

In this whole damn place.

– Maya Luna

Don’t carry a grudge. While you’re carrying a grudge, the other guy’s out dancing.
– Buddy Hackett

I don’t know why people expect art to make sense.
They accept the fact that life doesn’t make sense.
– David Lynch

You are scientific
proof that there are
still new ways to smile.
– Omar Holmon

The crack between the worlds,
Mounds of listening.
Silicon voices coax life
Down from the stars,
Who urge us to saddle up.

Light years ride in seconds
On origami folds.
Poised in the house of many doors,
Waiting for that familiar hum.
– Bobbie

And will never be any more perfection than there is now, /
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.
– Walt Whitman

Second-hand books are wild books, homeless books;
they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather,
and have a charm which the domesticated volumes
of the library lack.
Besides, in this random miscellaneous company we may rub
against some complete stranger who will, with luck, turn into the best friend we have in the world.
– Virginia Woolf

I adore the struggle you carry in yourself.
I adore your terrifying sincerity.
– Anaïs Nin in a letter she wrote to Henry Miller

Confusing Charisma with Wisdom
by Jack Kornfield
Another source of spiritual misunderstanding is our confusion of charisma with true wisdom. Certain spiritual leaders possess the ability to evoke extraordinary states. Amplified by our hopes, feelings of bliss and transcendence arise easily around these charismatic ministers, priests, Zen masters, mystics, rabbis, and gurus. It is easy to mistake such spiritual powers as definite signs of wisdom or enlightenment or divine love. We forget that power and charisma are just power and charisma, that these energies can just as easily serve demagogues, politicians, and entertainers.

It is possible for someone to be charismatic but not wise. Conversely, wisdom is not necessarily flashy or powerful – it can manifest in a humble and simple heart, and in the most ordinary-seeming of lives. In communities where special spiritual power is highly valued, students should take special care: when secret teachings or ancient lineages are evoked, when one group is chosen to be saved or awakened above all others in the world, spiritual communities are ripe for becoming cults. This does not always happen, of course, but it is particular risk within the blinding arena of charisma. Wise traditions include safeguards against such misuse, often by the creation of a network of elders, respected teachers able to watch over one another’s spiritual condition and behavior.

– After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path

Byron Katie:
You think you’re judging a person,
but really you’re judging an image in your mind. No one has ever judged anyone.

Is there no way out of the mind?
– Sylvia Plath

Seek the path of the heart, and you will find that we are all walking together.
– Nicholas Pierotti

The penchant for self-motion alone would doom every biological mind to relentless warfare, not only with matter but with all other minds, if not for the possibility of some cooperation, which requires a lot of empathically attentive communication by the minds of all participants. Since all social species have experientially developed their own cultural processes of associative cooperation, it’s clear that such mutually beneficial collaboration is the biosentient ideal upon which every thoroughly living association depends. Thankfully, this can be loads of fun, as it clearly is for the social in the wild. Every murmuration of starlings or pod of cetaceans repeatedly shows how exciting it is to coordinate oneself with others in terms of mutual benefit. Like great basketball teams, groups of bacteria or amoebas synchronize themselves in cooperative ways because they have minds for doing it.
– George Gorman

What the writer most wants is to be at home, alone, bubbling with anticipation, nurturing a fresh bud, being neatly deluded by nature and glad of it.
– Nuala Ní Chonchúir

Empathy is the most mysterious transaction that the human soul can have, and it’s accessible to all of us, but we have to give ourselves the opportunity to identify, to plunge ourselves in a story where we see the world from the bottom up or through another’s eyes or heart.
– Sue Monk Kidd

ROAD WARRIORS
My traveling clothes light up the noon.
I’ve been on my way for a long time
back to the past,
That irreconcilable city.
Everyone wants to join me, it seems, and I let them.
Roadside flowers drive me to distraction,
dragonflies
Hover like lapus lazuli, there, just out of reach.

Narrow road, wide road, all of us on it, unhappy,
Unsettled, seven yards short of immortality
And a yard short of not long to live.
Better to sit down in the tall grass
and watch the clouds,
To lift our faces up to the sky,
Considering – for most of us – our lives have been a constant mistake.
– Charles Wright

I am real as you are real whom I speak to.
I raise my head, see over the edge of my nose. Look up

and see that nothing is changed. There is no flash
to my eyes. No change to the room.

Vita Nuova – No! The dead, dead world.
The strain of desire is only a heroic gesture.
An agony to be so in pain without release

when love is a word or kiss.
– Michael McClure

Everything is natural. The light on your fingertips is starlight. Life begins with coiling – molecules and nebulae. Cruelty, selfishness, and vanity are boring. Each self is many selves. Reason is beauty. Light and darkness are arbitrary divisions.

Cleanliness is as undefinable and as natural as filth. The physiological body is pure spirit. Monotony is madness. The frontier is both outside and inside. The universe is the messiah. The senses are gods and goddesses. Where the body is – there are all things.
– Michael McClure

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.
– Steve Jobs

A spiritually fatherless woman will always try to lead a man astray or attack/compete with him because she didn’t have the dad she wanted. The fatherless spirit is also the foundation of the extreme feminist movement and the new age goddess camps who are consistently at war with the Masculine.
– Nicole Gayle

Mother Earth: Her Whales
An owl winks in the shadows
A lizard lifts on tiptoe, breathing hard
Young male sparrow stretches up his neck,
big head, watching—

The grasses are working in the sun. Turn it green.
Turn it sweet. That we may eat.
Grow our meat.

Brazil says “sovereign use of Natural Resources”
Thirty thousand kinds of unknown plants.
The living actual people of the jungle
sold and tortured—
And a robot in a suit who peddles a delusion called “Brazil”
can speak for them?

The whales turn and glisten, plunge
and sound and rise again,
Hanging over subtly darkening deeps
Flowing like breathing planets
in the sparkling whorls of
living light—

And Japan quibbles for words on
what kinds of whales they can kill?
A once-great Buddhist nation
dribbles methyl mercury
like gonorrhea
in the sea.

Pere David’s Deer, the Elaphure,
Lived in the tule marshes of the Yellow River
Two thousand years ago—and lost its home to rice—
The forests of Lo-yang were logged and all the silt &
Sand flowed down, and gone, by 1200 AD—
Wild Geese hatched out in Siberia
head south over basins of the Yang, the Huang,
what we call “China”
On flyways they have used a million years.
Ah China, where are the tigers, the wild boars,
the monkeys,
like the snows of yesteryear
Gone in a mist, a flash, and the dry hard ground
Is parking space for fifty thousand trucks.
IS man most precious of all things?
—then let us love him, and his brothers, all those
Fading living beings—

North America, Turtle Island, taken by invaders
who wage war around the world.
May ants, may abalone, otters, wolves and elk
Rise! and pull away their giving
from the robot nations.

Solidarity. The People.
Standing Tree People!
Flying Bird People!
Swimming Sea People!
Four-legged, two-legged people!

How can the head-heavy power-hungry politic scientist
Government two-world Capitalist-Imperialist
Third-world Communist paper-shuffling male
non-farmer jet-set bureaucrats
Speak for the green of the leaf? Speak for the soil?

(Ah Margaret Mead . . . do you sometimes dream of Samoa?)

The robots argue how to parcel out our Mother Earth
To last a little longer
like vultures flapping
Belching, gurgling,
near a dying doe.
“In yonder field a slain knight lies—
We’ll fly to him and eat his eyes
with a down
derry derry derry down down.”

An Owl winks in the shadow
A lizard lifts on tiptoe
breathing hard
The whales turn and glisten
plunge and
Sound, and rise again
Flowing like breathing planets

In the sparkling whorls

Of living light.

Stockholm: Summer Solstice 40072

– Gary Snyder

If you want to believe goofy shit that makes no sense, there’s nothing I can do about that.
– Brad Warner

Something happens when we enter into our innocent childlike self, wonder appears, our ego drops and our true self comes out to play.
– Bob Holme

On Growth
Dressed all in plastic,
which means oil,

we’re bright-eyed, scrambling
for the colored cubes

spilled
on the rug’s polymer.

Inside each
is a tiny car.

When we can’t unscrew the tops
we cry for help.

We’re optimists.

*

To sleep is to fall
into belief.

Airing even
our worst suspicions
may be pleasurable;

we are carried,
buoyed.

In sleep,
the body can heal,
grow larger.

Creatures that never wake
can sprout a whole new
limb,

a tail.

This may be wrong.

– Rae Armantrout

There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world, rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.
– John Lennon

If you’re having difficulty coming up with new ideas, then slow down. For me, slowing down has been a tremendous source of creativity. It has allowed me to open up—to know that there’s life under the earth and that I have to let it come through me in a new way. Creativity exists in the present moment. You can’t find it anywhere else.
– Natalie Goldberg

It is the logic of our time,
No subject for immortal verse,
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse.
– Cecil Day-Lewis (Daniel’s father)

The ego’s job is to trick ‘you’ out of touch with reality.
– Byron Katie

On the Road by Anna Akhmatova
translated by Jane Kenyon

Though this land is not my own
I will never forget it,
or the waters of its ocean,
fresh and delicately icy.

Sand on the bottom is whiter than chalk,
and the air drunk, like wine.
Late sun lays bare
the rosy limbs of the pine trees.

And the sun goes down in waves of ether
in such a way that I can’t tell
if the day is ending, or the world,
or if the secret of secrets is within me again.

And if you cannot make your life as you want it,
at least try this
as much as you can: do not disgrace it
in the crowding contact with the world.

– C.P. Cavafy

Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.
– Francis de Sales

Things to Think
by Robert Bly

Think in ways you’ve never thought before
If the phone rings, think of it as carrying a message
Larger than anything you’ve ever heard,
Vaster than a hundred lines of Yeats.

Think that someone may bring a bear to your door,
Maybe wounded and deranged: or think that a moose
Has risen out of the lake, and he’s carrying on his antlers
A child of your own whom you’ve never seen.

When someone knocks on the door, think that he’s about
To give you something large: tell you you’re forgiven,
Or that it’s not necessary to work all the time, or that it’s
Been decided that if you lie down no one will die.

The Great Work remains to be done…. A largeness of vision and supreme dedication are needed.
– Thomas Berry

The dharma, whether it is sutra, tantra, mahamudra, or dzogchen, is like pure gold. No matter how many other metals that mix with it, pure gold can always be extracted. Likewise, any culture can easily absorb the dharma, whether it is in ancient Tibet or the modern day West, as the dharma is beyond culture, time, and place.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

Though I have lived in 5 different cities, I always end up saying, “I like it here, but this is not my home.

I wondered if I would ever feel at home.

A few years ago, I awoke to a dream where I was staying at a place called “The Non-Local Hotel.”

According to quantum physics, “non-local” means something is connected to things indirectly; even at great distances it is still in relationship with things far away in ways that can’t always be seen.

I now see that home for me is not a place, it is a connection with the world, seen and unseen.

I hope to build this sense of connection further, nurturing the feeling of being home not in one place, but at home in the world.
– David Bedrick

Silence with its gloved hand holds the wild hawk of the mind.
– R.S. Thomas

Deciding to follow another human being—
not a god, not a machine, not nature,
not a system of governance,
not the sun or the moon,
but a shower-taking, sleeping,
yawning, shitting,
moody, bribable being—
is either the most stupid thing a person can do,
or the most rewarding.
It is a gift to have this inclination
and the tenacity to follow it.
It is a gift to have doubtless confidence.
It is a gift to be able to kill doubt with doubt.
Not everyone has these gifts.

– Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, The Guru Drinks Bourbon

Get out of the construction business!
Stop building bridges across the raging waters of samsaric existence, attempting to reach
the “far shore,” nirvana. Better to simply relax, at ease and carefree, in total naturalness,
and just go with the primordial flow,
however it occurs and happens.
And remember this: whether or not
you go with the flow, it always goes with you.
– Nyoshul Khenpo Jamyang Dorje

Think about the strangeness of today’s situation.
Thirty, forty years ago, we were still debating
about what the future will be: communist, fascist,
capitalist, whatever.
Today, nobody even debates these issues.
We all silently accept
global capitalism is here to stay.
On the other hand, we are obsessed
with cosmic catastrophes:
the whole life on earth disintegrating,
because of some virus,
because of an asteroid hitting the earth, and so on.
So the paradox is, that it’s much easier to imagine
the end of all life on earth
than a much more modest radical change in capitalism.
– Slavoj Žižek

It is that we are never so defenseless
against suffering
as when we love,
never so helplessly unhappy
as when we have lost our loved object or its love.
– Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents

Rudolf Steiner:

Spirit Triumphant! Flame through the impotence of faltering, fainthearted souls!
Burn up egoism, kindle compassion,
so that selflessness, the lifestream of humanity, may flow as the wellspring of spiritual rebirth!

Lecture 5 of 14, Kassel, Germany.

What can get worse can also get better.
– James Baldwin

Human beings can acquire a certain solitude, even in the middle of New York City.
– Alan Watts

Nirvana means to extinguish the burning fires of the Three Poisons: greed, anger, and ignorance. This can be accomplished by letting go of dissatisfaction.
– Shinjo Ito

Poem begins her speech from afar, the speech takes the poet too far.
– Tsvetaeva

When you don’t understand the nature and origin of your thoughts, your thoughts use you. When the Buddha recognized the nature of his mind, he reversed the process.
– Mingyur Rinpoche

Joyous Vesak to everyone everywhere.

There are these three things which shine forth for all to see, which are not hidden. Which three?

The disc of the moon shines for all to see; it is not hidden. The disc of the sun does likewise. The Dhamma-Discipline [dhamma-vinaya] of a Tathagata [Buddha] shines for all to see; it is not hidden. These are the three things.”

Be a lamp of your own awakening, don’t just take someone else’s word for it. The truth is within, and all around you. It is each one’s journey to see it.
– Aric Parker

A great many internal and external portents…have caused us all to feel, more or less confusedly, that something tremendous is at present taking place in the world. But what is it?
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Without a net, I catch a falcon
and release it to the sky,
hunting God.

This wine I drink today
was never held in a clay jar.

I love this world,
even as I hear the great wind
of leaving it rising,
for there is a grainy taste I prefer
to every idea of heaven:
human friendship.

– Rumi/Barks

On a planet that increasingly resembles one huge Maximum Security prison, the only intelligent choice is to plan a jail break.
– Robert Anton Wilson

Community cannot for long feed on itself; it can only flourish with the coming of others from beyond, their unknown and undiscovered brothers.
– Howard Thurman, The Search For Common Ground

O laggard, busy with the mere shape of things. Leave off the pleasures of seductive form. The love of the face of the Rose has merely driven thorns into your heart. It is your master. However beautiful the Rose, the beauty vanishes in a few days… If the Rose’s smile awakens your desire, it is only to hold you ceaselessly in sorrow… leave the Rose and the redness.
– Attar, Parliament of the Birds

Even if the whole world is nothing but a bunch of jerks all doing jerk-type things, there is still liberation in simply not being a jerk.
– Eihei Dogen

We must entertain the spirits, starting with our own — the child self, the inner artist, the animal spirits, the creative daimon.
– Robert Moss

Not only is your story worth telling, but it can be told in words so painstakingly eloquent that it becomes a song.
– Gloria Naylor

Imagination lays the tracks for the reality train to follow.
– Caroline Casey

** What are YOU imagining? **

We are all meant to be mothers of God, for God is always needing to be born.
– Meister Eckhart

Until it becomes clear what theme of thoughts keep you poorly defined and disconnected from your essence, those thinking themes continue, unhampered, habitual, consistent, perpetual, and the status quo remains and even worsens.

The ideals you hold dear, the topics you feel strongly about, until you are grounded in your non-resistant Self, are the bars of your prison cell, the framework of your forgetting.

You exist outside the field of your beliefs, especially the ones you feel are important.

– Roger Castillo

When you’ve eaten lies, your heart is hungry.
Dive deep, your new eyes are waiting.
– Chandali Ishta

Richard P. Feynman:
Nature uses only the longest threads
to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization
of the entire tapestry.

I’m very skeptical of those who rush in with their hopeful visionary flags on high

I feel deeply cautious to subscribe to narratives that speak to keeping our focus strictly on the light

I’m disturbed by those who have a six week solution and a buy now button for ascension

I do not trust those who are so seemingly certain about any one stance or one way

No

I feel safest with those who speak openly about their humanity and usher us into the raw unfiltered mess of discovery

The grief and fear and overwhelm and mystery of it all

Those who make room for feeling lost and lonely — openly wondering how they can discover a deeper belonging

Those who let themselves get angry and sad so that they can flush the energy through fully and wash the debris from their truth

I’d like to make a whole lot of room for all of the uncomfortable feelings— without shaming them as a low vibration, but honoring them as an essential part of the resurrection sequence

A life/death/life sequence that loops and undulates in waves

This is a tenuous time full of intensity and uncertainty

I would like to turn the volume down on this love and light business and embrace the dark mystery that is upon us all

Let’s please learn to tenderly hold the one thing that we can trust: the truth of how we feel

Let’s not deny what’s real, but harness it

As we patiently integrate all of the pieces as they arise, a natural momentum emerges with its own guiding intelligence

So

How can we stay grounded while grieving?

How do our fears call us to act with newfound intention?

How can our tears open the way for our eyes to see anew?

How can this heartbreak open new circuits to love even deeper?

What whispers arise after our last roars are emptied out?

How can we best huddle in this collective nightfall?

What dreams appear when we stop knowing so much?

– written by Danielle West

Roethke: What’s madness but nobility of soul at odds with circumstance.

Anne Lamott:
The road to enlightenment is long and difficult, and you should try not to forget
snacks and magazines.

Since being pacific has never gotten me anywhere, I’ve decided to be Atlantic
– Nicholas Pierotti

People who maintain their sense of calm when things around them are in a state of flux and confusion are always wonderful to be around. We feel calmer just being near them, as if they have activated our own sense of inner peace. From them, we learn that we can be calm, even when everything around us is in turmoil, because we know that no matter what happens, this inner sense of calm will help us to function well. Often, times of confusion are the times that enable us to find that part of ourselves that knows how to cope, and how to be a light to others in the storm.

If we allow ourselves to be thrown off balance by every piece of disturbing news that comes our way, we may be relying too much on our emotions. On the other hand, our thoughts may also be unreliable at times like these, as they chatter on endlessly about what might happen next. If our feelings and thoughts activate one another in a hectic way, then we become caught up in the confusion that surrounds us. However, if we can locate the stillness at the center of our hearts, we can find composure in almost any situation. In addition, we provide a safe place for our friends and family, who are also prone to taking on the confusion of a world in flux.

It helps to remember that we don’t need to completely understand what’s happening right now, nor do we need to be able to predict the future. Most of us just want to find our way to being at peace with whatever happens, and we can find this peace inside. Cultivating our inner clarity with meditation, journaling, and reading words that inspire us, will lead us to that place inside us that’s already there, just waiting.
– Madisyn Taylor

What have Capitalists ever done for you? Free School? Free Medicine? Anything?
– Nicholas Pierotti

Seek the spirit, forget the form
Close the chapters of blasphemy forever
Forget the tortures of the grave and hell
It appeals to the heart that
the spirit is all there is to know

Pilgrims return from the holy land
Clad in robes of honor
Keen to sell their repute for pennies
When did the faqirs ever care for pilgrimage?
How long can the truth be veiled?
The spirit is all there is to know.”

Not a believer in the mosque am I,
Nor a disbeliever with his rites am I.
I am not the pure amongst the impure,
I am neither Moses nor Pharaoh.
Bulleh, I know not who I am.

Not in the holy books am I,
Nor do I dwell in bhang or wine,
Nor do I live in a drunken haze,
Nor in sleep or waking known.
Bulleh, I know not who I am.

Not in happiness or in sorrow am I found.
I am neither pure nor mired in filthy ground.
Not of water nor of land,
Nor am I in air or fire to be found.
Bulleh, I know not who I am.

Not an Arab nor Lahori,
Not a Hindi or Nagouri,
Nor a Muslim or Peshawari,
Not a Buddhist or a Christian.
Bulleh, I know not who I am.

Secrets of religion have I not unravelled,
I am not of Eve and Adam.
Neither still nor moving on,
I have not chosen my own name!
Bulleh, I know not who I am.

From first to last, I searched myself.
None other did I succeed in knowing.
Not some great thinker am I.
Who is standing in my shoes, alone?

Bulleh, I know not who I am.

Your love has made me dance all over.
Falling in love with you
Was supping a cup of poison.
Come, my healer, it’s my final hour.
Your love has made me dance all over.
– Bulleh Shah

Poetry is above all a concentration of the power of language, which is the power of our ultimate relationship to everything in the universe.
– Adrienne Rich

Rev. Jim Rigby:
The words “conservative” and “liberal” are ethically neutral until we have defined what is being conserved or liberated. One thing is clear, however. In times of injustice to fight against reform is to fight to conserve the evils of one’s day. Those who fought against civil rights are not remembered as conservative, but as racist. Those who fought against a woman’s right to vote are not remembered as conservative but as misogynist. And so it is in our day, those who fight against universal access to healthcare, dignity and a sustainable planet will not be remembered as “conservatives” but as “guardians of injustice.

Emotion is the chief source of all becoming conscious. There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion.
– Carl Jung: Psychological Aspects of the Mother Archetype.

Do you seek
the Ka’bah or the Lord of
the Ka’bah?
When you visit someone
do you visit
the house or … the owner
of the house?

– Sayyid Al- Habib Umar

Liberty University [sic] has fired every philosophy professor and abolished the philosophy department. Apparently, too many students were learning to think for themselves.

– Bruce Bartlett

Diary Of An Old Soul

For May 12

Fair freshness of the God-breathed spirit air,
Pass through my soul, and make it strong to love;
Wither with gracious cold what demons dare
Shoot from my hell into my world above;
Let them drop down, like leaves the sun doth sear,
And flutter far into the inane and bare,
Leaving my middle-earth calm, wise, and clear.

– George MacDonald

…leave the past to the infinite mercy of God, the future to His good Providence, give the present wholly to His love by being faithful to His grace.
– Jean-Pierre de Caussade

His Holiness The Dalai Lama:

If you look at me,
your eye consciousness forms an image,
but makes no judgement
such as ‘This is my friend.’
Close your eyes and a mental image remains. Joy and wisdom function on that mental level; peace of mind is achieved
through mental training.

The love and compassion common to all
major religions and their teachings
about tolerance and patience
also relate to training the mind.

For Mother’s Day
THE LANYARD (billy collins)
The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room
bouncing from typewriter to piano
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the “L” section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word, Lanyard.
No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one more suddenly into the past.
A past where I sat at a workbench
at a camp by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid thin plastic strips into a lanyard.
A gift for my mother.
I had never seen anyone use a lanyard.
Or wear one, if that’s what you did with them.
But that did not keep me from crossing strand over strand
again and again until I had made a boxy, red and white lanyard for my mother.
She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
set cold facecloths on my forehead
then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim and I in turn presented her with a lanyard.
“Here are thousands of meals” she said,
“and here is clothing and a good education.”
“And here is your lanyard,” I replied,
“which I made with a little help from a counselor.”
“Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth and two clear eyes to read the world.” she whispered.
“And here,” I said, “is the lanyard I made at camp.”
“And here,” I wish to say to her now,
“is a smaller gift. Not the archaic truth,
that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took the two-toned lanyard from my hands,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless worthless thing I wove out of boredom
would be enough to make us even.

Some Rumi translated by Robert Bly =

We should ask God
To help us towards manners. Inner Gifts
Do not find their way
To creatures without just respect.

If a man or woman flails about, he not only
Smashes his house,
He burns the world down.

Your depression is connected to your insolence
And refusal to praise. If a man or woman is
On the path, and refuses to praise-that man or woman
Steals from others every day-in fact is a shoplifter!

The sun became full of light when it got hold of itself.
Angels began shining when they achieved discipline.

The sun goes out whenever the cloud of not-praising comes near.
The moment that foolish angel felt insolent, he heard the door close.

Emily Dickinson wrote, “Anger as soon as fed is dead; ’Tis starving makes it fat.”

However, most of us have been taught to respond to anger in ways that starve it by suppressing it, thereby treating anger as an enemy with nothing of value to offer.

I view anger shamanically, like an animal coming to us in our dreams with a message on its lips and power in its stride.

And like an animal in the wild, the best way to care for our safety is to be respectful of the animal’s nature, not to cage it or anesthetize it.

Creating such a meeting is an act of power that requires courage. Then we listen with heart and mind to the message it brings about our relationship with ourselves and others.

Then we welcome the power it has for furthering a way of living that is true to our gifts, potentials, and authentic life path.
– David Bedrick

Ecologically considered, it is not primarily our verbal statements that are “true” or “false,” but rather the kind of relations that we sustain with the rest of nature. A human community that lives in a mutually beneficial relation with the surrounding earth is a community, we might say, that lives in truth. The ways of speaking common to that community—the claims and beliefs that enable such reciprocity to perpetuate itself—are, in this important sense, true. They are in accord with a right relation between these people and their world.

Statements and beliefs, meanwhile, that foster violence toward the land, ways of speaking that enable the impairment or ruination of the surrounding field of beings, can be described as false ways of speaking—ways that encourage an unsustainable relation with the encompassing earth. A civilization that relentlessly destroys the living land it inhabits is not well acquainted with truth, regardless of how many supported facts it has amassed regarding the calculable properties of its world.
– David Abram

Behind all hardening and tightening and rigidity of the heart, there’s always fear. But if you touch fear, behind fear there is a soft spot. And if you touch that soft spot, you find the vast blue sky. You find that which is ineffable, ungraspable, and unbiased, that which can support and awaken us at any time.
– Pema Chödrön

The goal of the hero’s journey is yourself, finding yourself.

– A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living

There is a taboo which has to be broken in order for consciousness to be achieved. The forbidden somehow becomes the saving element…and most mysteriously and most paradoxically, the gods seem to be behind both the taboo and the thrust out of the taboo into the new pattern.

– Elizabeth Boyden Howes

Blow it out your Tubenburbles!
– Rose Nylund

The beach is the most beautiful landscape
in the world. A formal statement.
A slice of sky, a slice of sea, a slice of sand.
The three elements of life: air, water, earth.
There’s nothing more beautiful.

– Agnes Varda

We stumble through familiar scenes
Never thinking what it means
In this cluttered landscape to be loved
I need you like I need the stars above
– Bruce Cockburn

They agreed that it was neither possible nor necessary to educate people who never questioned anything.

– Joseph Heller

Poets whose work supports the status quo often fail to acknowledge that their poems are just as political as poets whose work questions it.
– Jericho Brown

Ethan Nichtern:

The progressive tendency to focus more attention on the flaws of our allies than we focus on the intentionally harmful behaviors of our opponents is, well…

…”unskillful” is the Buddhist word for it.

Voltaire:

Life is bristling with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to cultivate one’s garden.

– Letter to Pierre-Joseph Luneau de Boisjermain

Because your writing isn’t a translation. It is all you are now.
– Alice Notley – In the Pines

Fear is a universal experience. Even the smallest insect feels it. We wade in the tidal pools and put our finger near the soft, open bodies of sea anemones and they close up. Everything spontaneously does that. It’s not a terrible thing we feel fear when faced with the unknown. It is part of being alive, something we all share. We react against the possibility of loneliness, of death, of not having anything to hold on to. Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.
– Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart

An Onda:
Nothing that is God’s is obtainable by money.
Tertullian

None of us understand
what we’re doing,
but we do beautiful things
anyway.

– Allen Ginsberg

Courage to All.
Courage out of poverty.
Courage towards harmony.
The burden is heavy,
but if we all lift it together,
All together,
the burden will be light.
– Nicholas Pierotti

More Rumi = again translated by Robert Bly:

I don’t like it here, I want to go back.
According to the old Knowers
If you’re absent from the one you love
Even for one second that ruins the whole thing!

There must be someone… just to find
One sign of the other world in this town
Would be enough.

You know the great Chinese Simurgh bird
Got caught in this net…
And what can I do? I’m only a wren.

My desire-body, don’t come
Strolling over this way.
Sit where you are, that’s a good place.

When you want dessert, you choose something rich.
In wine, you look for what is clear and firm.
What is the rest? The rest is mirages,
And blurry pictures, and milk mixed with water.
The rest is self hatred, and mocking other people, and bombing.

So just be quiet and sit down.
The reason is: you are drunk,
And this is the edge of the roof.

We know so little about one another. We embrace a shadow and love a dream.
– Hjalmar Söderberg

Kabir––”Truth”
(tr. Andrew Harvey)
Truth,
that astute warrior,

shot and wounded me.

From my feet to my head;

From outside, I seem whole;

Inwardly, I’m torn to shreds.

A book is more than a verbal structure or series of verbal structures; it is the dialogue it establishes with its reader and the intonation it imposes upon his voice and the changing and durable images it leaves in his memory. A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships.
– Jorge Luis Borges

Deserve your dream.
– Octavio Paz

Empty Your Boat

If a man crosses a river
and an empty boat collides with his own skiff,
Even though he be a bad-tempered man
He will not become very angry.
But if he sees a man in the boat,
He will shout at him to steer clear.
If the shout is not heard, he will shout again, and yet again, and begin cursing.
And all because someone is in the boat.
Yet if the boat were empty,
He would not be shouting, and not angry.

If you can empty your own boat
Crossing the river of the world,
No one will oppose you,
No one will seek to harm you.

– Chuang-Tzu

Circle
by Pádraig Ó Tuama

It’s funny how things come in
circles.
You, sitting on a step,
smoking a cigarette,
watching leaves fall off a
slowly stripping tree.
Me, hanging photos on a wall,
including one of you
receiving, like a priestess,
your lover’s confession.
Me telling stories of
your conversations.
You, weeping
when your dad asked you
how you were.
Me writing poems about life
while I was slowly plunging into
death.
You breathing in those
same lines,
sitting on a step,
smoking a cigarette.

Really now, do we not invent many of our own demons, feed and coddle them, manufacture and amplify and make them into unstoppable armies? Given the size of the population, our rapacious rates of consumption, the dazzling reach of the internet and the speed at which suffering can now gain traction and travel, we have more potential threats to the stability of our psyche – both personal and collective – than we’ve ever had before.
– Mark Morford

I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eighths of it underwater for every part that shows.
– Hemingway

So many of my perceptions
are mistaken.
So many of yours are correct.
But words like ‘right’ and ‘wrong,’
‘yours’ and ‘mine,’
what do they mean?
They are moths teased and sizzled
by a flame.
Billions of viewpoints
float like dust
in a boundless golden ray
leading us back to the star inside,
this golden thingless light
reflected in each raindrop
and each tear.
Our story of love needs telling, friend,
but the past tense vanishes
into fire.
Are you a dust
or the sunbeam?
Find the breath of wonder
we all breathe now,
many moist lips on the verge
of a single kiss.
– Fred LaMotte

Some people have a way with words, and other people… oh, uh, not have way.
– Steve Martin

What cannot be said above all must not be silenced but written.
– Jacques Derrida

A Time to Rest

Her beak, tucked under thick wing.
Her eyes, shut to daylight.
The spring-sweet magnolia and
hemlock boughs holding space.

~

We must give ourselves permission to rest,
to engage with the gentleness of spirit
that resides in that place between doing
and being. Softly. Shhhh. Quiet now.

Nothing is wrong. Let it alone. All of it.
You have already been there and made
your way here. Let quietude provide
cover and be your attentiveness.

Here is exhaustion’s antidote.
Here is blessed resilience.
Here is the imagination looking
out and looking in for that which
will restore the whole heartedness
necessary for your next rising.

I can promise you that there is something
alive in this black-lit void just waiting
for all of the other voices to fall silent so
that you will meet your next breath,

and love yourself again.

~

I didn’t disturb her, the owl.

– Jamie K. Reaser

In the end
I want my heart
to be covered
in stretch marks.
– Andrea Gibson

The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts…. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained.
– Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Stress and difficulty may not be our enemies but our necessary catalysts for change. They ask us to transform what “is” into a new “can be”. This may happen for us individually if we have hearts for hope and daring. It will take many, many such individuals to change a toxic culture.
– Gunilla Norris

Sorry but I been gone awhile said the mountain.
– Nicholas Pierotti

Music meant to me, self-exploration, more than anything else.
– Todd Rundgren

We are worried over narcotics,
we are worried over contagious diseases,
we are worried over millions of refugees without a roof over their heads or enough food to eat. We sit by and watch a group of selfish persons bringing these things into a crisis.
It isn’t that the world can’t take care of us,
but the world will not take care of us
unless we can take care of each other. There’s a problem of getting past this great delusion of grandeur and getting down
to the fact that a very modest way of life
would keep us all healthy for a long time, whereas utter extravagance can only lead
to not only financial collapse but ethical
and moral bankruptcy. We are beginning
to see this.
– Manly Palmer Hall, Venture Inward

i used to think
that if someone was upset with me
i must have done something wrong
and sometimes that is true
and often it is not
but i didn’t know…
what i did know
is that if i apologized enough
said sorry soon
the wrath lessened
the volume lowered
as my terror turned to tearful
“forgive me, forgive me please
i am so, so very sorry”
i learned early on that this strategy
yielding the most immediate relief for me
kept me safest and out of the fray
when there wasn’t a sorry
i wasn’t willing to say
but what i didn’t know
was the cost i would incur
avoiding truths in service
of this painful peace
i didn’t know
how it would have my world
filled with people
who would demand this from me
those who prey
on people who are willing
to take responsibility
regardless of reality
in service of stopping
the battle before
it could even really begin
I didn’t know
but i do now know
that so many of us apologize
when we have nothing
to apologize for…
why? well, maybe… because we want to be
a good sweet girl, or are attempting
to avert anger coming our way
or trying to avoid conflict,
or think it will make a situation better
or have someone like us better.
but anything made better
or dodged by being untrue
cannot be good for you.
the costs are great and often hidden.
if you have been apologizing
for things you didn’t actually do
than the person you might need
to apologize to is you.
– Emily Rosen

Y’know, Music is a beautiful thing.
When I’m reincarnated, I’m gonna come back as a musical note!
That way can’t nobody capture me.
They can use the hell out of me
but ain’t nothin’ too much they can do to me.
They can mess me up. They can play the wrong note.
They can play a C, but they can’t really destroy a C.
All it is, is a tone.
So I’m gonna come back as a note!
– Rahsaan Roland Kirk

Fuck / Time
BY INUA ELLAMS
Once upon a time / Yo-Yo Ma / traveling through Botswana searching for music / crosses a local shaman singing / into the savannah / He rushes to notate the melody / Please Sing Again he requests / to which the shaman sings something else and explains / to the baffled Yo-Yo Ma that earlier / clouds had covered the sun and wild antelope grazed in the distance / But the dial of the world had twirled since / The antelopes had cantered into some other future / The clouds had gone / so the song had to change / had to slough off the chains us mortals clasp everything with / even our fluid wrists / The universe in fact is monstrously indifferent to the presence of man / We are small as moth wing fall / in an orchestra broad as galaxies / playing a symphony Time isn’t bothered to fathom / It respects no constant and is always moving on

Are you looking for me?
I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
You will not find me in the stupas, not in Indian shrine rooms,
nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals;
not in masses, nor kirtans,
not in legs winding around your own neck,
nor in eating nothing but vegetables.
When you really look for me, you will see me instantly —
you will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.
– Kabir

In the entire universe there is not even a single object alien to Buddha Nature, nor is there any second existence other than this universe here and now.
– Dogen (Shobogenzo Bussho)

Ramana Maharshi:
There is no greater deception
than believing that liberation,
which is ever present as one’s own nature,
will be attained at some later stage.

“Even in cockshut light an old friend should know me!”
“Cockshut light” is an archaic term for
twilight (the time when woodcocks fly out in the open)
– Nicholas Pierotti

It’s the kind of totalitarian thinking and conduct that has cost millions of lives in recent world history. The fact that it’s being done by private companies and not government doesn’t change that.
– Ron Coleman

It’s not my fault that we are made so,
half from disinterested contemplation, half from appetite
– Czeslaw Milosz

Queers need fabulation. We need to imagine and theorize and practice strategies that make our beings possible. Against our training. For something else.
– @keguro, Frottage

What you dislike about yourself may be the very location of a great gift.

How do I know this to be true?

I am a follower of the profound intelligence revealed in nighttime dreams. Having analyzed 1000’s of dreams, I have learned that:

– Hated round bellies may actually indicate a pregnancy, a new life waiting to be born;

– Disturbing headaches may actually indicate the presence of a booming power waiting to be claimed;

– The insecurities we hope to overcome may actually be a highly tuned sensitivity waiting to be trusted;

– Dreaded depressions may actually indicate a capacity to swim under water, an ability to see beneath the surface, waiting to be voiced;

– Tirednesses and fatigues may actually indicate a relationship with the world that is more shamanic, waiting to break free from a world caught in materialism and superficial forms of productivity.

It’s true: What you dislike about yourself may be a gift waiting for you to turn towards it and say, “Tell me of your ways and visions.”

Perhaps then, by nurturing this relationship, you may not only find a bit of relief from your suffering, but a way of living that is closer to the life you were meant to live.

– David Bedrick

Fear of God

If you should rise from Nowhere up to Somewhere,
From being No one up to being Someone,
Be sure to keep repeating to yourself
You owe it to an arbitrary god
Whose mercy to you rather than to others
Won’t bear to critical examination.

Stay unassuming. If for lack of license
To wear the uniform of who you are,
You should be tempted to make up for it
In a subordinationg look or toe,
Beware of coming too much to the surface
And using for apparel what was meant
To be the curtain of the inmost soul.
– Robert Frost

Birth is when I appear out of myself.
Life is when I dance within myself.
Death is when I disappear into myself.
– Adyashanti

When we become entranced with what is inconsequential, we stop listening to what matters. This is how worry feeds itself, how it fills us with psychic noise.
– Mark Nepo

Someone asked me,
“Aren’t you worried about the state
of the world?” I allowed myself to breathe
and then I said,

What is most important is not to allow your anxiety about what happens in the world to fill your heart. If your heart is filled with anxiety, you will get sick, and you will not be able to help. There are wars — big and small — in many places, and that can cause us to lose our peace. Anxiety is the illness of our age. We worry about ourselves, our family, our friends, our work, and the state of the world.

If we allow worry to fill our hearts, sooner or later we will get sick.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

The arrangement of the words matters, and the arrangement you want can be found in the picture in your mind. The picture dictates the arrangement…
– Joan Didion

It’s our turn to show up for what we believe in. I’d rather be fooled than not believe.
– Mark Nepo (talking about whatever you care the most about)

Generating the Mind for Enlightenment

For those who admire the spiritual ideals of the Eight verses on Transforming the Mind it is helpful to recite the following verses for generating the mind for enlightenment. Practicing Buddhists should recite the verses and reflect upon the meaning of the words, while trying to enhance their altruism and compassion. Those of you who are practitioners of other religious traditions can draw from your own spiritual teachings, and try to commit yourselves to cultivating altruistic thoughts in pursuit of the altruistic ideal.

With a wish to free all beings
I shall always go for refuge
to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
until I reach full enlightenment.

Enthused by wisdom and compassion,
today in the Buddha’s presence
I generate the Mind for Full Awakening
for the benefit of all sentient beings.

As long as space endures,
as long as sentient being remain,
until then, may I too remain
and dispel the miseries of the world.

In conclusion, those who like myself, consider themselves to be followers of Buddha, should practice as much as we can. To followers of other religious traditions, I would like to say, “Please practice your own religion seriously and sincerely.” And to non-believers, I request you to try to be warm-hearted. I ask this of you because these mental attitudes actually bring us happiness. As I have mentioned before, taking care of others actually benefits you.
– His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso

Wisdom cannot be imparted.
Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart
always sounds like foolishness to someone else.
Knowledge can be communicated,
but not wisdom.
One can find it, live it, do wonders through it,
but one cannot communicate and teach it.
– Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

Tao Te Ching – chapter 80

Let the country be small,

And the inhabitants few.

Although there are weapons

For tens and hundreds of soldiers,

They will not be used.

Let people take death seriously,

And not travel far.

Although they have boats and carriages,

There’s no occasion to use them.

Although they have armor and weapons,

There’s no occasion to wear them.

Let people return to making knots on ropes,

Instead of writing.

Their food will be tasty.

Their clothes will be comfortable.

Their homes will be tranquil.

They will rejoice in their daily life.

They can see their neighbors.

Roosters and dogs can be heard from there.

Still, they will age and die

Without visiting one another.

evening light
It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
– Praying by Mary Oliver

QIGONG WITH MASTER GU
(Written after today’s Qigong movement and meditation with Master Mingtong Gu)
Our trauma finally heals
not in words and images
of memory told again and again;
but in the body, this moment,
as pure energy released
from the name and form
of the story.
The mind, with all its stories,
is the past.
Presence is the body.
There is only one location
and we are all here –
the place where our galactic hips
swirl in slow circles,
sky sweeps brain
clear and empty,
breath brushes the tender sternum
from inside,
and our barefoot thirsty soles
massage mother soil
like infants’ lips,
pressing forth the nectar
of the earth.

The Clear Bead at the Center
changes everything
There are no edges to my loving now.
I’ve heard it said, there’s a window
that opens from one mind to another.
But if there is no wall
there is no window,
And if there is no window,
there is no need for a latch
There are no edges to my loving now.
The clear bead at the center
changes everything.
– Rumi

Again the work starts
As soon as you open your eyes
in the morning.

Hoepfully you got
some good rest

Why go into the city or fields
without first kissing God –

who always stands at your door?

It takes only a second,
and why not,
create some habit that will mint
gold?

Your arms are violin bows
your eyes are warm,
soft oceans of divine music,

where jeweled dolphins dance
and then leap into this world. ”

– Hafiz translated by Daniel Ladinsky

That’s the whole problem with science. You’ve got a bunch of empiricists trying to describe things of unimaginable wonder.
– Bill Watterson

The whole language of writing for me is finding out what you don’t want to know.
– James Baldwin

When you express gentleness and precision in your environment, then real brilliance and power can descend into that situation.
– Chögyam Trungpa

Let your perception of life soften. There is no need to be invested with energy or attention on what’s going on phenomenally. Stay within as much as you can, in a gentle soft manner. No pushing or grasping now. Relax on the outside (physical body) and relax on the inside.
– Jac O’Keeffe

Why are doors more difficult to open
as if some sadness were leaning against them?
Why do windows darken and trees bend
when there is no wind? You call that occasional
roar the roar of a plane and I imagine
a time when I might have believed that.

But now the darkness has been going on
for too long, and I have accustomed myself
to the pleasure of thinking that soon
there will be no reason to hold on in this place
where rocks are like water and it’s so difficult
to find something solid to hold on to.
– Stephen Dobyns, Clouds

If we were all given by magic the power to read each other’s thoughts, I suppose the first effect would be almost all friendships would be dissolved; the second effect, however, might be excellent, for a world without any friends would be felt to be intolerable, and we should learn to like each other without needing a veil of illusion to conceal from ourselves that we did not think each other absolutely perfect.
– Bertrand Russell

The groove is so mysterious. We’re born with it and we lose it and the world seems to split apart before our eyes into stupid and cool. When we get it back, the world unifies around us, and both stupid and cool fall away.
I am grateful to those who are keepers of the groove. The babies and the grandmas who hang on to it and help us remember when we forget that any kind of dancing is better than no dancing at all.
– Lynda Barry

Let your perception of life soften. There is no need to be invested with energy or attention on what’s going on phenomenally. Stay within as much as you can, in a gentle soft manner. No pushing or grasping now. Relax on the outside (physical body) and relax on the inside.
– Jac O’Keeffe

Iris Murdoch:
We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality.

Peace is not only the opposite of war, it is not only the time in between wars… Peace is more. It is the Law of life. It is when we conduct ourselves righteously and between every single being, justice reigns.
– Iroquois proverb

When we recognize a thought,
that recognition alone will not liberate it.
It is not that we should not recognize it;
it must be recognized. But then when recognizing it, without grasping at the thought, the basis from which it arises –
the unaltered natural state of mind pointed out by our teacher – should also be recognized. When we look at that recognition, the strength of the thought is broken, and the recognition
of the intrinsic nature becomes stronger.
Then no reaction can be produced.
Once we cease producing a reaction,
since thoughts in themselves are self-arising and self-liberating, we will find the source of that liberation. Being taken in by a thought
is like being afraid of a man wearing a lion’s mask. But if we know that the nature
of thoughts is emptiness, like realizing
that it is only a man wearing a mask,
the strength of the thought will be broken
and we will naturally relax.
– Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Three Words That Strike The Vital Point

Jon Kabat-Zinn:
If you want the future to be different,
the only leverage you have is to inhabit
the present moment fully, and that means mindfully and heartfully. That itself is an action, even though it looks like non-doing.

Lama Surya Das;
The Covid Beatitudes

Blessed are those who stay indoors,
For they have protected others.

Blessed are the unemployed and self-employed,
For their need of help is great.

Blessed are the corner shopkeepers,
For they are purveyors of scarce things.

Blessed are the delivery drivers and the postal workers,
For they are the bringers of essential things.

Blessed are the hospital workers,
the ambulance crews,
The doctors, the nurses, the care assistants, and the cleaners,
For they stand between us and the grave,
And blessing is surely theirs.

Blessed are the checkout workers,
For they have patience and fortitude in the face of overwork and frustration.

Blessed are the refuse collectors,
For they will see hope
despite the mountains of waste.

Blessed are the teachers,
For they remain steadfast
and constant in disturbing times.

Blessed are the spiritual leaders:
For they are a comforting presence
in a hurting world.

Blessed are the single parents,
For they are coping alone with their responsibilities and there is no respite.

Blessed are those who are alone,
For they shall be beloved.

Blessed are the bereaved,
for whom the worst has already happened.
They shall be comforted.

Blessed are those who are isolated
with their abusers
For one day, we pray, they will know safety.

Blessed are all during this time
who have pure hearts:
All who still hunger and thirst for justice;
All who work for peace and who model mercy.

May you know comfort.
May you know calm.
And may you feel loved.

– Adapted from the original text by Jayne Manfredi

Robert Moss;
An artist’s ‘waiting’, funny as it may look in cartoons, is not to be confused with laziness or passivity. It requires a high degree of attention, as when a diver is poised on the end of the springboard, not jumping but holding his or her muscles in sensitive balance for the right second. It is an active listening, keyed to hear the answer, alert to see whatever can be glimpsed when the vision or words do come.

– Rollo May, “The Courage to Create”, page 92, lines 6-16.

Exactly. As the heron may stand on one leg, seemingly as dormant as a dead tree in the water, until the moment comes to strike, swift as a spear. Surely all creators come to recognize this phase of attentive waiting.

…Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.
– Wendell Berry

Every poem is a momentary stay against the confusion of the world.
– Robert Frost

Art is risk made visible.
– Arno Rafael Minkkinen

…The press as it is now, with its daily expenditure of lungpower on exclaiming, deafening, inciting, shocking – is it anything more than the permanent false alarm that leads ears and senses off in the wrong direction?
– Nietzsche

Alleviating suffering of the most marginalized communities must begin with assessing the needs of entire communities and allowing the most marginalized to lead the strategy. My belief is those closest to the pain are closest to the solution.
– Linda Sarsour

@IAmMyBestToday
May you spot manipulation, hidden agendas, ulterior motives, ego mindsets, controlling and predatory behaviors, masks, posturing, insincerity, dishonesty, energy-sucking, and any other low vibe behaviours from a mile away, and know how to steer your energy accordingly.

I walk; I speak to no one; I dig the birds and let them do the talking for me; I admire the quickness of chipmunks; I walk and I think of combinations of words I might write down, or not; I come back to my apartment; I meditate; I feed the machine; I eat; I sleep.
– Joseph Massey

Life always waits for some crisis to occur before revealing itself at its most brilliant.
– Paulo Coelho

Orchid 1.5°C Tierney:
is language a shelter?
a means to obtain retreat,
hesitation, or punishment?

I know that all of my enterprises will fail. I know that already. I’m not holding out hope that somehow anythings going to change as a result of doing them. All I’m trying to do is participate in some small way in the small collection of memories that will accompany my death. That’s all I’m trying to do is having a small part to play in what those memories might be. Understanding now, that the way I’m proceeding is helping to author those things that people will remember. If they’re inclined to. And there’s not much more to me than that. But that is not a recipe for futility. One of the things I learned at the deathbed is… that’s the whole thing. That’s the magic of it. Our willingness to remember turns out to be a kind of banquet… and the remembering is the food. And I think that’s what we have to do in a rough time like this one, is that we have to give people even not yet born, we have to leave in the air a kind of an aroma… let’s call it ‘inconsolable possibility’ – a possibility that won’t be consoled into impotence.
– Stephen Jenkinson

Not every Republican is a racist, but all racists are Republicans.
– Bruce Bartlett

Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse:
The day before you achieve enlightenment,
the last garbage to throw in the trash is buddhism. But until then, you have to use it.

With the great problems now facing society it’s important to find a way to share our understanding with others.
– Chogyam Trungpa

Brad Warner:
That messy, greasy, mixed-up, confused,
and awful situation you’re living through
right now is enlightenment itself.

In the end, stories are about one person
saying to another:
This is the way it feels to me.
Can you understand what I’m saying?
Does it feel this way to you?”
– Kazuo Ishiguro

So instead of being the only species organizing itself along the authoritarian lines of dominance and submission, the rest of the living are endowed with their own inner inclinations, from which they derive passionate powers to overcome the cynical tugs of determinism.
– George Gorman

Do not undervalue attention. It means interest and also love. To know, to do, to discover, or to create you must give your heart to it – which means attention. All the blessings flow from it.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Strictly speaking, nobody has ever “healed” anyone, ever.

A true “healer” simply remains present. She provides a safe Field in which unfamiliar and intense energies can be felt and move to completion, bound-up and unconscious emotions can be released into the warm light of Awareness.

In such a Field, we can come out of time, together, out of the drama of thought and the chaos of My Life, and we can breathe into our aching bodies, taste the simplicity of a brand new moment on Earth, fall into our own cosmic power.

Healing is not a destination, then, nor a special ability in the hands of a gifted few, it is a surrender into That which is already healed, already whole, beyond the healer and the healed – our true nature, the Oneness of all life, the sheer rightness at the core of things.

Healing is never far away, for the Field is never far away; it has lived in your very own Heart, ever since you were a child.

– Jeff Foster

The golden rule of conduct, therefore, is mutual tolerance, seeing that we will never think alike and we shall see truth in fragments and from different angles of vision. Conscience is not the same thing for all. Whilst there, it is a good guide for individual conduct, imposition of that conduct upon all will be insufferable interference with everybody’s freedom of conscience.
– Gandhi

When you need an apology, give yourself one.
– Byron Katie

And every good artist knows that the gift comes from somewhere else, and it’s there for a reason, and that’s to make the world a better place.
– James Lee Burke

If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As one changes their own nature, so does the attitude of the world change. We need not wait to see what others do.
– Adapted from a quote by Mahatma Gandhi

We are only victims of the actions of world leadership if we accept what “they” give us and lie down. It’s our choice to join together to oppose evil and tyranny and make our world the fair and just place we want it to be!
– Reggie Harris

What in your life is beyond good or bad, right and wrong?

What are you unequivocally committed to?

What is it you can’t turn away from?

What practice means is to give up our attachment to the self that suffers. If you think of practice as something that will improve the self, that is still practice based on a self.

Practice is something we do that is not based on this separate, ego-self.

Practice is a way of life based on the larger self, the one that identifies with all of life rather than an isolated part.

– Sobun Katherine Thanas

The only thing greater than the power of the mind is the courage of the heart.
– John Nash

To live an archetypic life is no reason for inflation as it is the ordinary life of [hu]man … for [Jung] the totally extraordinary has become the utterly ordinary which, what’s more, was the normal state of humanity from the start.
– Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

Even if the whole world is nothing but a bunch of jerks all doing jerk-type things, there is still liberation in simply not being a jerk.
– Eihei Dogen

Fundamentally without illusions, without satori, universal, of the same root as the sky and the earth, it fills the universe. Such must be our religion.
– Kodo Sawaki

The mind loves the unknown. It loves images whose meaning is unknown, since the meaning of the mind itself is unknown.
– René Magritte

Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair. Not because I have my head in the sand, but because joy is what the earth gives me daily and I must return the gift.
– Robin Wall Kimmerer

Gratitude is more and more a path I need to walk on – gratitude for good things, yes, but gratitude for difficult things as well. Those are like turnstiles that have to be negotiated so the path can continue into different, spacious fields. Sometimes I get caught in the turnstile and have to go around and around, but being grateful pops me out, and you will have found that, too, I bet.
– Gunilla Norris

I remember as well that in Navajo one of the greatest compliments is to say of another ‘he takes care of his relatives,’ where ‘relatives’ means not just other people but all aspects of creation… I offer, for instance, another part of the Bluehouse-Zion article, where they write about someone who has denied their ‘Navajo-ness’ by acting against Navajo teachings: “[This denial] is expressed in the maxim ‘He acts as if he had no relatives.’ A person who acts that way betrays solidarity and kinship; he or she is not behaving Navajo, and may behave in a ‘crazy’ way.’ There are two different worlds emerging here. There is the world I am learning about, where people will consider someone crazy if, for instance, he denies his relationship with rocks, and there is my own world, where will will call him crazy as soon as he does start talking to them!
– Rupert Ross, Returning to the Teachings

Happy to report that in writing 80,000 words about ski bums I fiiiiiinally learned how to spell privilege right on the first try.
– Heather Hansman

When you arrive at the extinction of reality, there is nothing but the spontaneity
of pure potential. There is no other way
to dance in the sky.
– Yeshe Tsogyal

When we get too caught up
in the busyness of the world,
we lose connection with one another –
and ourselves.
– Jack Kornfield

Always a good day to be reminded of this, by Rebecca Solnit: “Joy doesn’t betray but sustains activism. And when you face a politics that aspires to make you fearful, alienated, and isolated, joy is a fine initial act of insurrection.”

Jeremy Corbyn:
There must be no new wave of the austerity that has caused disgraceful levels of poverty, inequality and insecurity.
We need investment in all our futures.

Ethan Nichtern:

Hot take: the vast majority of humans in this world are decent, considerate, and orient their lives toward compassion.

Often, those just tend not to be the humans we put in power.

If we solve this little kink, we’re gonna be alright.

Spark Notes: Back in my day you couldn’t just ask someone out on a date. You had to buy the house across the bay from them, throw a bunch of parties, and just kind of hope they’d show up.

Ilya Kaminsky:

On this day, nearly a century ago, Russian govt filled the ship with hundreds of philosophers, poets, etc. & sent them away.

It’s been known as a “Philosophers’ Ship”

Later, the official said: “we couldn’t provide legal reason to shoot philosophers, but couldn’t stand them.”

Think higher, feel deeper.
– Elie Wiesel

But one must do something about the past. It doesn’t just cease to be. It goes on existing and affecting the present, and in new and different ways, as if in some other dimension it too were growing.
– Iris Murdoch

In those moments when we realize how much we cannot control, we can learn to let go.
– Sharon Salzberg

Bruce Cockburn:

You know I long to feel that sail
Leaping in the wind
And I long to see what lies beyond that rim
Oh, ever-new lover and friend
Sing me that love song again

In the presence of #nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

After all it is those who have a deep and real inner life who are best able to deal with the irritating details of outer life.
– Evelyn Underhill

If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.
– Jane Austen

Adrian Matejka:
There are some poets who have been writing in isolation their whole lives. You can see it in the way their poems echo on the page like nobody is listening

Night Vision:
You might not be the most aware person in the world, but as long as you try to sort your shit out, I’m giving you my time.

Like a dog
forever
getting ready
to sit,
all day
and
all night
I circled my cushion.

These days
body and mind
sit together
like old friends.

Since we aren’t getting anywhere,
they eventually decided,
why not have a seat
and try to relax?

There are many paths.

– Sama

Keeping Quiet

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

For once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fisherman in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would not look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

– Pablo Neruda

Just as we lose hope
she ambles in,
a late guest
dragging her hem
of wildflowers,
her torn
veil of mist,
of light rain,
blowing
her dandelion
breath
in our ears;
and we forgive her,
turning from
chilly winter
ways,
we throw off
our faithful
sweaters
and open
our arms.

– Linda Pastan

Away above a Harborful
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Away above a harborful
of caulkless houses
among the charley noble chimneypots
of a rooftop rigged with clotheslines
a woman pastes up sails
upon the wind
hanging out her morning sheets
with wooden pins
O lovely mammal
her nearly naked breasts
throw taut shadows
when she stretches up
to hang at last the last of her
o white washed sins
but it is wetly amorous
and winds itself about her
clinging to her skin
So caught with arms
upraised
she tosses back her head
in voiceless laughter
and in choiceless gesture then
shakes out gold hair
while in the reachless seascape spaces
between the blown white shrouds
stand out the bright steamers
to kingdom come

Comets
by Richard Brautigan
There are comets
that flash through
our mouths wearing
the grace
of oceans and galaxies.

God knows,
we try to do the best
we can.
There are comets
connected to chemicals
that telescope
down out tongues
to burn out against
the air.
I know
we do.
There are comets
that laugh at us
from behind our teeth
wearing the clothes
of fish and birds.
We try.

The fact that our task is
exactly as large as our life
makes it appear infinite.
– Franz Kafka

It is never too late to turn on the light.
– Sharon Salzberg

It is not stress that drains life from us. That is a ruse designed to sell the accouterments of an endless, fruitless and failing effort. The problem is not stress but meaninglessness. And, what is deadly, is the combination of the two……stressful meaninglessness and meaningless stress – almost a definition of samsara.

We are a culture, axtually a cult, built around consumption rooted in impossibilities. We are a cult of “the weekend”, retirement, the holiday, time off, entertainment, stress reduction as compensation for meaninglessness.

In this endeavor we trade joy for fun, nourishment for entertainment, meaning for the commodified dream of a stress free life. It becomes an ever more aggressive pablum.

In truth human beings thrive on challenge and the creative response to challenge – thrive on the efforts and stresses of a noble work life, good life, with creative demands met with intelligence and directness. And then …….

There is the Great Work of wisdom realization, the benefit of beings. Tiring indeed! But also ennobling, enriching, nourishing and inherently meaning-full in a way untouchable even by death.
– t.k.

Joy is the most vulnerable emotion we experience..
And if you cannot tolerate joy,
what you do is you start dress rehearsing tragedy.
– Brené Brown

The word connects the visible trace with the invisible thing, the absent thing, the thing that is desired or feared, like a frail emergency bridge flung over an abyss.
– Italo Calvino

Leo Tolstoy:

But the law of loving others
could not be discovered by reason,
because it is unreasonable.

– Anna Karenina

William Blake:

Gratitude is Heaven itself.

My soul, where are you? Do you hear me? I speak, I call you – are you there? I have returned, I am here again. I have shaken the dust of all the lands from my feet, and I have come to you, I am with you. After long years of long wandering, I have come to you again. Should I tell you everything I have seen, experienced, and drunk in? Or do you not want to hear about all the noise of life and the world? But one thing you must know: the one thing I have learned is that one must live this life. Do you still know me? How long the separation lasted! Everything has become so different. And how did I find you? How strange my journey was! What words should I use to tell you on what twisted paths a good star has guided me to you? Give me your hand, my almost forgotten soul. How warm the joy at seeing you again, you long disavowed soul. Life has led me back to you. Let us thank the life I have lived for all the happy and all the sad hours, for every joy, for every sadness. My soul, my journey should continue with you. I will wander with you and ascend to my solitude.
– C.G. Jung, Liber Novus

If we are to take science seriously, then we must notice its own humorous insufficiency in the face of a cosmos too relational, too perverse, too promiscuous and intimate to be resolved. The vocation of seeing further and further and clearer and clearer is already troubled by science itself. The relationality of science means we do not live in a world of objectified facts awaiting discovery. And it is not the case that the more we see the more we dispel uncertainty or complexity. Facts intensify mystery: every knowledge act we enact reshapes what is knowable – an observation that led Niels Bohr to suggest that the core ‘problem’ of quantum physics is indeterminacy, not uncertainty.
– Bayo Akomolafe

Boogie: 1 A.M.
BY LANGSTON HUGHES
Good evening, daddy!
I know you’ve heard
The boogie-woogie rumble
Of a dream deferred
Trilling the treble
And twining the bass
Into midnight ruffles
Of cat-gut lace.

If activism isn’t necessarily calibrated to the pace of victory or the pace of our legitimate demands for justice, then what other gestures are possible? What other sensitivities can we cultivate? What other places of power and postures sprout unexpectedly along the highway to ‘city hall’? Who or what are the invisible actors in this constellation of bodies and longings and motivations? Victory often has the side effect of locking us into the familiar. The “other side” is vanquished, the status quo maintained. ‘Good’ wins, ‘evil’ slithers away through ontological cracks. But this model of activism is often unable to appreciate the complexity of the molecular transactions – the performative flows that streak out and ripple on from the seemingly isolated event of winning (or losing) – that disturb dualisms of popular imagination. This tale of two cities, of an ancient war, deserves scrutiny.
– Bayo Akomolafe

Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.
– Betty Smith

Ah jeez! I forgot.
I’m stuck here.
I took the Bodhisattva Vow.
– Nicholas Pierotti

Finally, the poem
I will not write.
– Adam Falkner

I water things now constantly:
water the hearts of dead friends with light,
the sores of the living with anything warm,
water the skies with a thousand affections
and follow the voices of animals
into grasses that move like ocean.
I eat flowers now and birds come.
I eat care and things to love arrive.
I eat time and as I age
whatever I swallow grows timeless…
– Mark Nepo, Surviving Has Made Me Crazy

This is the everyday we spoke of.
– Marie Howe

The Ruins of Bam

Translated by Idra Novey and Ahmad Nadalizadeh
For the city of Bam destroyed in the 2003 earthquake

The window is black
the table, black
the sky, black
the snow, black
You’re mistaken!
I don’t need medicine
or a psychotherapist.
Just lift these stones,
sweep aside the earth
and look into my eyes!

My eyes
that are round like the Earth

an image of the world
the world of shut doors
of countless walls

anytime I stand before the mirror
the image of an upside-down tortoise
makes me long for a passer-by
to arrive and invert the world

Some night
our hands will tremble from all this solitude
and our depiction on the canvas
will be scribbled out

the ruins of Bam scribbled out
the shelters we built
collapsing on our heads

I am terrified by the next images in this poem
the image of God lifting all the doors onto his shoulders
getting away
retreating far and then farther

I write: one day
the missing keys will be recovered.
What should we do about the missing locks.

Matt Haig:
Loving the little things. Instead of booking holidays to Greece I am looking forward to pizza night and ginger beer. Instead of going to the cinema I watch seagulls on roofs. Instead of going to the gym I garden more. You take things away and the things left rise in value.

People need to be liberated from their systems of symbolism and become more intensely aware of the living vibrations of the real world.
– Alan Watts

The things you desire give no more satisfaction than drinking sea water, therefore practice contentment.
– Atisha

Antonia:
Not one person who went for a job interview in 2015 got the answer right to, “So where do you see yourself 5 years from now?”

Terence McKenna:
The ‘stuff’ cult, which is sweeping the planet and emptying the earth of its metals, and polluting the rivers, could be chalked off in a world where the imagination was the value being maximized.

I would rather write nothing at all than propagandize for the world as is.

– Anne Boyer

Bruce Cockburn:
Earthbound while everything expands
So many grains of sand
Slipping from hand to hand
Catching the light and falling into dark
The world fades out like an overheard remark
In the falling dark

Hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining, always blaming others . . . but you are still distinct from it. You may even criticize it in yourself and wish you could stop it. But there may come a day when you can no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood or even to enjoy it, but just the grumble itself, going on forever like a machine. It is not a question of God “sending us” to hell. In each of us there is something growing, which will BE hell unless it is nipped in the bud.
– C. S. Lewis

FORGE YOURSELF
You must forge yourself into who you want to be. No one else can do it for you. No god will shape you. No one will substitute for your labor. Why? Because only what is made from the inside will last.
We’re constantly bombarded by messages from the outside. Buy this product. Use this thing. Learn these exercises. All of those are to be taken if they fit your goals. Otherwise, they are of no help.
There are no secrets. There is no fantastical power. There’s only sheer hard work to build a mind, heart, and body that is supreme. No one will follow you on the road that leads through heaven, hell, and this endless earth. No one knows your path. No one can pave the way for you.
Your feet. Your limbs. Your breath. Your eyes. Your hands. Your heart. Your spirit. Forge yourself into who you want to be.
– Deng Ming-Dao

Love is the finest silence, the most trembling, the most unbearable.
– Jaime Sabines

Certainty allows no room for creativity.
– Sorcha Trant

The Scripture says the fear of God is the the beginning of wisdom, and wisdom is to depart from evil. That means we must avoid evil, or anything that lures us to do evil or wickedness.

I have often wondered why we love poetry so. How is it, it speaks to us when other words fail?
– Hershel Franklin

God is an intelligent, burning breath–formless, ever-changing into what he wishes, becoming a part of everything.
– Posidonius (b. ca. 135 bce)

Loving you less
might have been
the sweetest gift I
could have given
my own life.
– Andrea Gibson

Information is a pornographic form of knowledge. It lacks the inwardness which characterizes knowledge. Knowledge also contains negativity in the sense that it is often gained against a resistance. Knowledge has an altogether different temporal structure from that of information. It stretches between past and future. Information, by contrast, dwells in a smoothened-out time that is made up of indifferent point-like presences. This is a time without events [Ereignis] and destiny.
– (from “Saving Beauty (English Edition)” by Byung-Chul Han, Daniel Steuer)

They have the guns,
and we have the poets.
Therefore, we will win.

– Howard Zinn

I’ve always been intrigued
by Stockholm Syndrome.
Reminds me of my childhood.
– Jonathan Ames

Jetsünma Tenzin Palmo:

So the whole Buddhist path on one level
can be a way of understanding
how to loosen and eventually drop
our desperate grasping at this sense of me. Right there at the center of the universe
and definitely the big spider
in the middle of the web
that we are all weaving.
Which we imagine if we can only keep satisfied, if we can only please,
if we can only keep feeling that it’s worthwhile, we will be happy. And not recognizing that that is the cause of all our suffering.

Most people are so busy
knocking themselves out
trying to do everything
they think they should do,
they never get around to doing
what they want to do.

– Kathleen Winsor

Our longing lives in the unapproached regions of our lives. Because we are always trying to placate or outrun it, we rarely listen to what longing has to say. But if we can learn to treat that absence with reverence, as a place that is fully dilated, readying to receive the very things it is missing, longing then becomes a call to the edge of the question we have for our lives. Am I in alignment with the great nature of things? Am I in service to that which I love, and which loves me? In showing us what is missing, longing is a siren calling us towards our true home.
– Toko-pa Turner, Belonging

As a young boy, I was taught in those underground chambers to look within. I discovered I was silence and darkness. And then I saw that by seeing with my eyes I created movement and out of it illumination came, and then I realized the silence and the darkness were full of emptiness, and the emptiness was full of light.
– Joseph Rael

You were once wild… Don’t let them tame you.
– Isadora Duncan

On Being Brave

The Buddha himself taught that texts, representations and teachings on great compassion (mahākaruṇā), dependent arising (pratītyasamutpāda) and emptiness (śūnyatā) are extremely precious in whatever form they may manifest.

Just relating or associating with such texts and teachings without even reading or contemplating their profound meaning, but simply by having them in a temple or in one’s room, wearing them, or simply respecting them by placing them on one’s head or circumambulating them—all that is said to create merit far greater than paying homage to thousands of buddhas for aeons.

And yet, in ancient times, such texts were extraordinarily difficult to access. We need only recall Vairotsana’s and Xuanzang’s arduous trips to India to realize that the search for the true Dharma could even be life-threatening. And at the most practical level, how incredibly long it took painstakingly to inscribe texts by hand on fragile palm-leaves, let alone to distribute them in ways that inevitably restricted their use to the fortunate few.

With each advance in technology, needless to say, the Buddha’s disciples took full advantage of stone carving, woodblock printing, calligraphy, and paper printing to preserve and share the Buddha’s teachings more widely and effectively. In fact, Buddhists were pioneers in this use of technology: the 9th century Vajracchedika Sutra in Chinese translation found at Dunhuang remains the world’s earliest known example of block printing.

How incredibly fortunate we modern people are in this day and age to have instant access to a vast collection of the Buddha’s wisdom and to be able to share that treasure in a way never before possible. How amazing that the entire world, from its remotest and most far-flung corners, can now access the Buddha’s words with the click of a finger!

Yes, we rightly bemoan the misuse of social media and the rapid spread of bad news, misinformation, violence and malicious gossip. But can’t we be a bit smart by applauding these same methods as ways to counter those negative trends, to tell the truth of the Dharma, and to create untold benefit?

Can’t we imagine a teenager on the subway, wanting to be cool and perhaps too shy to take out a sutra text too bulky for his backpack, instead reading about śūnyatā and compassion on his smart phone? Imagine tiring of meaningless party conversation, retiring to the bathroom for a few minutes and reading a paragraph from a sutra on your phone. Or web browsing online shopping on your computer and momentarily flipping to a sutra….

If the Buddha was right in proclaiming the value and power of these teachings in whatever form they appear, then no one can deny the tremendous merit and wisdom from even such sporadic modern encounters with the genuine truth!

Of course, for personal, artistic and devotional reasons, we may still copy a sutra in beautiful handwriting and cherish a print copy on our shrine and bookshelf. But there is also every reason to be brave and savvy in taking full advantage of the enormous opportunities afforded by modern technology.

In fact, we should all embrace these new possibilities with the greatest joy and enthusiasm, knowing that we can now preserve and propagate the Dharma so widely and effectively, and that we can make the Buddha’s words available more quickly, more easily, and more conveniently to more beings than ever before in human history.

– Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

An unconscious people, an indoctrinated people, a people fed only partisan information and opinion that confirm their own bias, a people made morbidly obese in mind and spirit by the junk food of propaganda, is less inclined to put up a fight, ask questions and be skeptical. That kind of orthodoxy can kill a democracy – or worse.

– Bill Moyers

It took me some years to understand that many of us are more afraid of happiness than misery. Because misery and martyrdom have an inherent safety about them – one is never particularly vulnerable, nor at risk of disappointment. Unhappiness becomes a security blanket, a way to armor ourselves against deep feeling. On the other hand, happiness has an intrinsically risky quality. When we open our hearts to life, we are always vulnerable to loss, to shattering, to having it all fall away. But it can also expand and deepen, joyfully permeating every element of our life. I can often sense when someone has made unhappiness their shield, their perpetual life stance. And it saddens me. Because locking ourselves into a negative way of being is a self-fulfilling prophecy: misery begets misery. Because only through risking something can we arrive at a new perspective. And most significantly, because the rhythms and tides of one’s life can truly shift in the blink of an eye. All it takes is one good day and the whole damn thing can come back to light.
– Jeff Brown

The healthy is a form of expression of the smooth. Paradoxically, it radiates something morbid, something lifeless. Without the negativity of death, life solidifies into something dead. It is smoothened out into the undead. Negativity is the invigorating force of life. It also forms the essence of beauty. Inherent to beauty is a weakness, a fragility, and a brokenness”.

Today’s kalocracy which considers the healthy, the smooth as absolute values, eliminates beauty. And the mere, healthy life, which today takes the form of a hysterical survival, turns into something dead, into the undead. Thus, we are today too dead to live, and too alive to die.”

(from “Saving Beauty (English Edition)” by Byung-Chul Han, Daniel Steuer)

Some Kabir:

I said to the wanting-creature inside me:
What is this river you want to cross?
There are no travelers on the river-road, and no road.
Do you see anyone moving about on that bank, or resting?

There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman.
There is no tow rope either, and no one to pull it.
There is no ground, no sky, no time, no bank, no ford!

And there is no body, and no mind!
Do you believe there is some place that will make the
soul less thirsty?
In that great absence you will find nothing.

Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
there you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don’t go off somewhere else!

Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of
imaginary things,
and stand firm in that which you are.

– translated by Robert Bly

There’s a wedding in your chest.
Inhalation and exhalation kiss.
The chuppah, made of bones,
is adorned with seven flowers.
Christ serves the wine,
Mary holds the polished cup.
The Sun gives the Moon away,
darkness entangled in light.
If you remain awake
there’s a wedding in your chest
with every breath.
Let this be your evening meditation.
– Fred LaMotte

Our Torah tells you that you must not fear. Even if an army is charging towards you,
you must not fear. For there is no danger
worse than fear.
But you are only human. Do you truly have control over the dread and panic
pounding in your heart?
Yes. Not directly, but through the power
of your mind. If you will choose not to dwell
on those things that instill panic and dread, those emotions will wither and fade.
And the choice is yours. What do you want
to speak about? What do you want to think about?
For the thoughts of your mind are the mother and the father of the emotions of your heart.
– Rabbi Tzvi Freeman

No matter how much you study, how many books you read or how much theory you learn, this kind of knowledge can only be an aid, but never the driving force, toward peace of mind. And actually, if one is not careful, theoretical exercise can even be an obstacle. The important thing is to let go of mind and body and take refuge in truth itself. It is a matter of permitting yourself, all you can, to recognize truth, to sincerely live in the now, here which IS your life.

If you see only the differences between yourself and others, you feel easily irritated, overly sensitive. If you’re out to take care of just your own little self, guard your own little castle, protect your own separate existence in whatever way you can, it’ll all eventually just go under anyway, won’t it? So go back to the starting point, return to your true Home, the home which is the same for every single being in this world. I want to see you awaken to your true self.
– Tangen Harada Roshi

Now and again, it is necessary to seclude yourself among deep mountains and hidden valleys to restore your link to the source of life.
– Morihei Ueshiba

Fate
by Ralph Wald Emerson
That you are fair or wise is vain,
Or strong, or rich, or generous;
You must have also the untaught strain
That sheds beauty on the rose.
There is a melody born of melody,
Which melts the world into a sea:
Toil could never compass it;
Art its height could never hit;
It came never out of wit;
But a music music-born
Well may Jove and Juno scorn.
Thy beauty, if it lack the fire
Which drives me mad with sweet desire,
What boots it? what the soldier’s mail,
Unless he conquer and prevail?
What all the goods thy pride which lift,
If thou pine for another’s gift?
Alas! that one is born in blight,
Victim of perpetual slight:
When thou lookest on his face,
Thy heart saith, “Brother, go thy ways!
None shall ask thee what thou doest,
Or care a rush for what thou knowest,
Or listen when thou repliest,
Or remember where thou liest,
Or how thy supper is sodden;”
And another is born
To make the sun forgotten.
Surely he carries a talisman
Under his tongue;
Broad are his shoulders, and strong;
And his eye is scornful,
Threatening, and young.
I hold it of little matter
Whether your jewel be of pure water,
A rose diamond or a white,
But whether it dazzle me with light.
I care not how you are dressed,
In the coarsest or in the best;
Nor whether your name is base or brave;
Nor for the fashion of your behavior;
But whether you charm me,
Bid my bread feed and my fire warm me,
And dress up Nature in your favor.
One thing is forever good;
That one thing is Success, —
Dear to the Eumenides,
And to all the heavenly brood.
Who bides at home, nor looks abroad,
Carries the eagles, and masters the sword.

If we exist in a universe without a creator god
I’ll live love and care — like this

If we occupy a cosmos
absent supernatural force or essence
I’ll find beauty and make meaning — like this
If we inhabit a world
without Divine Source of Justice karma or morality
I’ll behave ethically and carry on — like this

If there is no transmigration of an eternal spirit, consciousness, or soul after death
I’ll breathe grieve and find courage — like this

Now, pray tell:
What difference would such universe make in your life?

– Andrew Kent Hagel

I am no longer waiting for a special occasion; I burn the best candles on ordinary days.
I am no longer waiting for the house to be clean; I fill it with people who understand that even dust is Sacred.
I am no longer waiting for everyone to understand me; It’s just not their task
I am no longer waiting for the perfect children; my children have their own names that burn as brightly as any star.
I am no longer waiting for the other shoe to drop; It already did, and I survived.
I am no longer waiting for the time to be right; the time is always now.
I am no longer waiting for the mate who will complete me; I am grateful to be so warmly, tenderly held.
I am no longer waiting for a quiet moment; my heart can be stilled whenever it is called.
I am no longer waiting for the world to be at peace; I unclench my grasp and breathe peace in and out.
I am no longer waiting to do something great; being awake to carry my grain of sand is enough.
I am no longer waiting to be recognized; I know that I dance in a holy circle.
I am no longer waiting for Forgiveness.
I believe, I Believe.
– Mary Anne Perrone

Erwin Schrödinger:
The total number of minds in the universe
is one. In fact, consciousness is a singularity phasing within all beings.
Consciousness is never experienced in the plural, only in the singular. Not only has
none of us ever experienced more than one consciousness, but there is also no trace of circumstantial evidence of this ever happening anywhere in the world. If I say that there cannot be more than one consciousness in the same mind, this seems a blunt tautology — we are quite unable to imagine the contrary…

Chandali Ishta:
Don’t Despair
that freedom knows your name
or the small body still lingers,
clinging to the rails of any support
offered, when a new day opens
your old eyes
that know, you’ve done this before
and that this opening of eyes
is why you’re here.
Remember how sometimes you woke
forgetting, stumbling out of bed
for that nourishment
just to know you had arrived,
just to make sense
of one more day.
And when your mold was set
to the shape of approval,
then you had time
to explore.
Although you forgot
for a while
believing the die was cast..
until you were reminded
there were other more natural shapes
of things in your world.
Ah, yes, that day
you remember.

Each of us literally chooses, by way of attending to things, what sort of universe he or she shall appear to inhabit.
– William James

The fact that enormous collective challenges almost certainly lie ahead for humanity —
most of them self-created by the unawakened, egoic state of consciousness that still has the majority of humans in its grip — should not be interpreted as an indication that a more widespread awakening is not going to occur. The opposite is probably the case: the crises we are experiencing, and the greater turmoil to come, may act as a catalyst for a collective shift in consciousness. As Steve Taylor puts it: “The evolutionary leap was already under way before these problems became so serious,
but perhaps it has become — and is becoming — more powerful as a result of them.”
Challenges are the lifeblood of all evolution. Every life-form, from plants to animals to humans, evolves as a response to the challenges it encounters. Your comfort zone is not the most likely place where you are going to find spiritual awakening, although the ego may tell you otherwise. If you look to people, places, things, or circumstances for fulfillment or happiness, you will be disappointed again and again. Don’t tell the world, “Make me happy!” You would be placing an impossible demand on it and condemning yourself to perpetual frustration. Instead, allow the world to make you conscious. You may find that every challenge, every obstacle that life seems to put in your path, is an opportunity for awakening, for becoming present, or for deepening the state of presence.
Many challenges you encounter, whether of a personal or collective nature, will have been created by human unconsciousness, either your own or that of other people. Every seeming obstacle to your happiness or fulfillment is a potential portal into presence! Just modify your response to it and see what happens. Your life is not determined by what happens to you, but by how you respond to what happens.
Most importantly, don’t add to the collective unconsciousness, which manifests particularly in the media and politics, through your reactivity. Bring the light of consciousness
to every encounter, every problem,
and every Facebook post!
– Eckhart Tolle

Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche:

You are not the limited person
you think you are.
Any trained Buddhist teacher can tell you
with all the conviction of personal experience
that, really, you’re the very heart of compassion, completely aware, and fully capable
of achieving the greatest good,
not only for yourself, but for everyone
and everything that you can imagine.

Seek solace in the peace and serenity of the forests,
for they are the guardians of hope and wonder,
the enchanted keepers of magic and dreams.
– Marcel Proust

What would it be like if you lived each day, each breath, as a work of art in progress? Imagine that you are a Masterpiece unfolding every second of every day, a work of art taking form with every breath.
— Thomas Crum

Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche:
When you don’t understand the nature
and origin of your thoughts,
your thoughts use you. When the Buddha recognized the nature of his mind,
he reversed the process. He showed us how
we use our thoughts instead of being used
by them.

The closer I get
to You, Beloved,
The more can I see
It is just You
and I all alone
in this world.
A knock at my door,
Who else
could it be,
So I rush with brushing
My hair.
For too
Many nights
I have begged for Your
Return
And what
Is the use of vanity
At this late hour,
at this Divine season,
That has now come
to my folded
Knees?
If Your love letters
are true dear God
I will surrender myself to
Who You keep saying
I
Am.
– Hafez

Practice in a straightforward way. There is no need to live in fantasy and ‘pretend’ to be anything other than what you are. Be honest and open with yourself – if you are a good person, recognize that goodness and build upon it. If you are a deluded person, recognize that delusion and begin to disentangle yourself from it, be rid of it. It is essential that your practice be pure, straightforward and honest.
– Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche

Adyashanti:
The truths job is to strip you.
No matter where you find yourself,
in the greatest heaven or the greatest hell,
you will always find the cosmic Buddha (truth) undoing your buttons
on the front of your shirt…
you’ll always find that the cosmic Buddha
will be taking off your garments.
No matter what clothes you wear,
the great compassion of the truth
will always be stripping you.
The Great Death is the willingness
to be totally stripped.
The final liberation.
Including stripped of our own awakening
and our own enlightenment…
You can’t even want to hold to
something that’s ultimately real.
If you want to hold on to it,
you know that’s not it. (truth, reality)
Nothing really dies. It just changes form.
How can you want what already is?
Somebody that has a belief, (in heaven, etc.)
at the end of their life,
they’re going to be very afraid.
At the time of death, our belief (about death) isn’t worth very much.
Death is an experience.
And all experience is an illusion.
But only by measuring the truth
by what is eternally always present.
All this experience is nothing
but a display of our true nature…
is temporary.

When all my earlier ways of grasping
had faded away, I came to rest
in the spontaneous vastness
of the ever-pure ground of being.
In that moment, everything that arose
as the creative expressions
of that ground dissolved
naturally back into that same expanse.
This primordial ground—
together with its creative expressions,
free of modification, antidote,
meditation practice, memory, grasping,
and identification—is called path pristine awareness.
This ultimate reality is most easily seen
in the absence of mental activity.
As hopes, fears, negation, and affirmation dissolve into absolute space,
their quiescence reveals the self-emergent primordial consciousness,
the timeless mode of the great dharmakāya, free of all extremes,
partiality, going, and coming.
Know that all appearances
are the creative expressions
of pristine awareness;
they slip back into the essential nature, dissolving into the primordial womb
like waves naturally subside
back into the ocean…
– Düdjom Lingpa

All beings are primarily Buddhas.
– Hakuin

The business of stories is not enchantment.
The business of stories is not escape.
The business of stories is waking up.
– Martin Shaw

To let the mind become vast and open like the sky, is the key instruction for enhancing practice.
– Shri Singha

The Buddha is not going to project you to buddhahood, as if throwing a stone. He is not going to purify you, as if washing a dirty cloth, nor is he going to cure you of ignorance, like a doctor administering medicine to a passive patient. Having attained full enlightenment himself, he is showing you the path, and it is up to you to follow it or not. It is up to you now to practice these teachings and experience their results
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Don’t wait for it…Create a world, your world.
Alone. Stand alone. Create. And then the love
will come to you, then it comes to you.
– Anaïs Nin

The 14th Dalai Lama:
Genuine compassion involves analyzing
the situation regardless of whether the person is close or not.

We need to be HARD at work, white folks.

– Maureen Benson

HAIKU
~
What does it matter
if a waterfall stumbles
at the very edge?

– Clark Stand

Everything depends on the individual human being, regardless of how small a number of like-minded people there are, and everything depends on each person, through action and not mere words, creatively making the meaning of life a reality in his or her own being.
– Viktor Frankl

I start in the middle of a sentence 
and move both directions at once.
– John Coltrane

the wise know nothing at all
well   maybe one song

– Ikkyu Sojun

Of course you must study the dharma to know exactly what you have to do, but you must also understand that an inch of practice can sometimes be worth a mile of theory.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

Thich Nhat Hanh:

Many of us walk for the sole purpose of getting from one place to another. Now suppose we are walking to a sacred place. We would walk quietly and take each gentle step with reverence. I propose that we walk this way every time we walk on the earth. The earth is sacred and we touch her with each step. We should be very respectful, because we are walking on our mother. If we walk like that, then every step will be grounding, every step will be nourishing.

We can train ourselves to walk with reverence. Wherever we walk, whether it’s the railway station or the supermarket, we are walking on the earth and so we are in a holy sanctuary. If we remember to walk like that, we can be nourished and find solidity with each step.

To walk in this way, we have to notice each step. Each step made in mindfulness can bring us back to the here and the now. Go slowly. Mindfulness lights our way. We don’t rush. With each breath we may take just one step. We may have run all our life, but now we don’t have to run anymore. This is the time to stop running. To be grounded in the earth is to feel its solidity with each step and know that we are right where we are supposed to be.

Each mindful breath, each mindful step, reminds us that we are alive on this beautiful planet. We don’t need anything else. It is wonderful enough just to be alive, to breathe in, and to make one step. We have arrived at where real life is available—the present moment. If we breathe and walk in this way, we become as solid as a mountain.

There are those of us who have a comfortable house, but we don’t feel that we are home. We don’t want for anything, and yet we don’t feel home. All of us are looking for our solid ground, our true home. The earth is our true home and it is always there, beneath us and around us. Breathe, take a mindful step, and arrive. We are already at home.

Uniting Body and Mind

We can’t be grounded in our body if our mind is somewhere else. We each have a body that has been given us by the earth. This body is a wonder. In our daily lives, we may spend many hours forgetting the body. We get lost in our computer or in our worries, fear, or busyness. Walking meditation makes us whole again. Only when we are connected with our body are we truly alive. Healing is not possible without that connection. So walk and breathe in such a way that you can connect with your body deeply.

Walking meditation unites our body and our mind. We combine our breathing with our steps. When we breathe in, we may take two or three steps. When we breathe out, we may take three, four, or five steps. We pay attention to what is comfortable for our body.

Our breathing has the function of helping our body and mind to calm down. As we walk, we can say, Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I bring peace into my body. Calming the breath calms the body and reduces any pain and tension.

When we walk like this, with our breath, we bring our body and our mind back together. Our body and our mind are two aspects of the same reality. If we remove our mind from our body, our body is dead. If we take our body out of our mind, our mind is dead. Don’t think that one can be if the other is not.

Walking meditation is first and foremost a practice to bring body and mind together peacefully. No matter what we do, the place to start is to calm down, because when our mind and our body have calmed down, we see more clearly. When we see our anger or sadness clearly, it dissipates. We begin to feel more compassion for ourselves and others. We can only feel this when body and mind are united.

Walking meditation should not be work. It is very pleasant, especially in the early morning when the air is still very fresh. When we walk mindfully, we see the beauty and the wonder of the earth around us, and we wake up. We see that we are living a very wonderful moment. If our mind is caught and preoccupied with our worries and suffering, we miss these things. We can value each step we take, and each step brings us happiness. When we look again at the earth and the sky, we see that the earth is a wonderful reality.

We Are Not Separate From the Earth

We think that the earth is the earth and we are something outside of the earth. But in fact we are inside of the earth. Imagine that the earth is the tree and we are a leaf. The earth is not the environment, something outside of us that we need to care for. The earth is us. Just as your parents, ancestors, and teachers are inside you, the earth is in you. Taking care of the earth, we take care of ourselves.

When we see that the earth is not just the environment, that the earth is in us, at that moment you can have real communion with the earth. But if we see the earth as only the environment, with ourselves in the center, then we only want to do something for the earth in order for us to survive. But it is not enough to take care of the earth. That is a dualistic way of seeing.

We have to practice looking at our planet not just as matter, but as a living and sentient being. The universe, the sun, and the stars have contributed many elements to the earth, and when we look into the earth we see that it’s a very beautiful flower containing the presence of the whole universe. When we look into our own bodily formation, we are made of the same elements as the planet. It has made us. The earth and the universe are inside of us.

When we take mindful steps on the earth, our body and mind unite, and we unite with the earth. The earth gave birth to us and the earth will receive us again. Nothing is lost. Nothing is born. Nothing dies. We don’t need to wait until after our body has disintegrated to go back to Mother Earth. We are going back to Mother Earth at every moment. Whenever we breathe, whenever we step, we are returning to the earth. Even when we scratch ourselves, skin cells will fall and return to the earth.

Earth includes the life sphere and the atmosphere. So you don’t have to wait until you die to go back to Mother Earth, because you are already in Mother Earth. We have to return to take refuge in our beautiful planet. I know that earth is my home. I don’t need to die in order to go back to Mother Earth. I am in Mother Earth right now, and Mother Earth is in me.

You may like to try this exercise while you walk: Breathing in, I know Mother Earth is in me. Breathing out, I know Mother Earth is in me.

Paul Tillich, the German theologian, said, “God is not a person but not less than a person.” This is true of the earth as well. It is more than a person. It has given birth to millions of species, including human beings. Many ancient cultures believed there was a deity that inhabited the sun, and they worshiped the sun. But when I do walking meditation and touching the earth, I do not have that kind of dualistic view. I am not worshiping the earth as a separate deity outside of myself.

I think of the earth as a bodhisattva, a great and compassionate being. A bodhisattva is a being who has awakening, understanding, and love. Any living being who has awakening, peace, understanding, and love can be called a bodhisattva, but a bodhisattva doesn’t have to be a human being. When we look into a tree, we see the tree is fresh, it nourishes life, and it offers shade and beauty. It’s a place of refuge for so many birds and other creatures. A bodhisattva is not something that is up in the clouds far away from us. Bodhisattvas are all around us. A young person who has love, who has freshness, who has understanding, who offers us a lot of happiness, is a bodhisattva. The pine standing in the garden gives us joy, offers us oxygen, and makes life more beautiful.

When we say that earth is a beautiful bodhisattva, this is not our imagination. It is a fact that the earth is giving life and she is very beautiful. The bodhisattva is not a separate spirit inhabiting the earth; we should transcend that idea. There are not two separate things—the earth, which is a material thing, and the spirit of the earth, a nonmaterial thing that inhabits the earth.

Our planet earth is itself a true, great bodhisattva. It embodies so many great virtues. The earth is solid—it can carry so many things. It is patient—it takes its time moving glaciers and carving rocks. The earth doesn’t discriminate. We can throw fragrant flowers on the earth, or we can throw urine and excrement on the earth, and the earth purifies it. The earth has a great capacity to endure, and it offers so much to nourish us—water, shelter, food, and air to breathe.

When we recognize the virtues, the talent, the beauty of the earth bodhisattva, love is born. You love the earth and the earth loves you. You would do anything for the well-being of the earth. And the earth will do anything for your well-being. That is the natural outcome of the real loving relationship. The earth is not just your environment, to be taken care of or worshiped; you are each other. Every mindful step can manifest that love.

Part of love is responsibility. In Buddhism, we speak of meditation as an act of awakening. To awaken is to be awake to something. We need to be awake to the fact that the earth is in danger and living species on earth are also in danger. When we walk mindfully, each step reminds us of our responsibility. We have to protect the earth with the same commitment we have to protect our family and ourselves. The earth can nourish and heal us but it suffers as well. With each step the earth heals us, and with each step we heal the earth.

When we walk mindfully on the face of the earth, we are grounded in her generosity and we cannot help but be grateful. All of the earth’s qualities of patience, stability, creativity, love, and nondiscrimination are available to us when we walk reverently, aware of our connection.

Let the Buddha Walk

I have a student named Sister Tri Hai who spent a long time in prison. She was a peace activist I knew since she was in middle school. She came to the United States to study English literature before going back to Vietnam and becoming a nun. When she was out in the streets advocating for peaceful change, she was arrested and put in prison.

During the day, the prison guards didn’t like her to sit in meditation. When they see someone sitting in a prison cell solidly and stably, it feels a bit threatening. So she waited until the lights had gone out, and she would sit like a person who has freedom. In outer appearance she was caught in the prison. But inside she was completely free. When you sit like that, the walls are not there. You’re in touch with the whole universe. You have more freedom than people outside who are imprisoning themselves in their agitation.

Sister Tri Hai also practiced walking meditation in her prison cell. It was very small—after seven steps she had to turn around and come back. Sitting and walking mindfully gave her space inside. She taught other prisoners in her cell how to sit and how to breathe so they would suffer less. They were in a cold cell, but through their walking meditation, they were grounded in the solid beauty of the earth.

Those of us who can walk on the earth, who can walk in freedom, should do it. If we rush from one place to another, without practicing walking meditation, it is such a waste. What is walking for? Walking is for nothing. It’s just for walking. That is our ultimate aim—walking in the spring breeze. We have to walk so that we have happiness, so that we can be a free person. We have to let go of everything, and not seek or long or search for anything. There is enough for us to be happy.

All the Buddhist stories tell us that the Buddha had a lot of happiness when he sat, when he walked, when he ate. We have some experience of this. We know there are moments when we’re walking or sitting that we are so happy. We also know that there are times, because of illness or physical disability or because our mind is caught elsewhere, when we cannot walk freely like the Buddha. There are those of us who do not have the use of our legs. There are those of us who are in prison, like Sister Tri Hai, and only have a few feet of space. But we can all invite the Buddha to walk for us. When we have difficulty, we can leave that difficulty behind and let the Buddha walk for us. In a while the solidity of the earth can help us return to ourselves.

We are made of body and mind. Our body can radiate the energy of peace and compassion. Our mind also has energy. The energy of the mind can be powerful. If the energy of the mind is filled with fear and anger, it can be very destructive. But if we sit mindfully, if we walk mindfully and reverently on the earth, we will generate the energies of mindfulness, of peace, and of compassion in both body and mind. This kind of energy can heal and transform.

If you walk reverently on the earth with two other people, soaking in the earth’s solidity, you will all three radiate and benefit from the energy of peace and compassion. If three hundred people sit or walk like this, each one generates the energy of mindfulness, peace, and compassion, and everyone in the group receives that healing energy. The energy of peace and mindfulness does not come from elsewhere. It comes from us. It comes from our capacity to breathe, to walk, to sit mindfully and recognize the wonders of life.

When you walk reverently and solidly on this earth and I do the same, we send out waves of compassion and peace. It is this compassion that will heal ourselves, each other, and this beautiful green earth.

Meditation: Walking on the Earth
One way to practice walking meditation is to breathe in and take one step, and focus all your attention on the sole of your foot. If you have not arrived fully, 100 percent in the here and the now, don’t take the next step. I’m sure you can take a step like that because there is buddhanature in you. Buddhanature is the capacity of being aware of what is going on. It is what allows you to recognize what you are doing in the current moment and to say to yourself, I am alive, I am taking a step. Anyone can do this. There is a buddha in every one of us, and we should allow the buddha to walk.

While walking, practice conscious breathing by counting steps. Notice each breath and the number of steps you take as you breathe in and as you breathe out. Don’t try to control your breathing. Allow your lungs as much time and air as they need, and simply notice how many steps you take as your lungs fill up and how many you take as they empty, mindful of both your breath and your steps. The link is the counting.

When you walk uphill or downhill, the number of steps per breath will change. Always follow the needs of your lungs. You may notice that your exhalation is longer than your inhalation. You might find that you take three steps during your in-breath and four steps during your out-breath, or two steps, then three steps. If this is comfortable for you, please enjoy practicing this way. You can also try making the in-breath and the out-breath the same length, so that you take three steps with your in-breath and three with your out-breath. Keep walking and you will find the natural connection between your breath and your steps.

Don’t forget to practice smiling. Your half-smile will bring calm and delight to your steps and your breath, and help sustain your attention. After practicing for half an hour or an hour, you will find that your breath, your steps, your counting, and your half-smile all blend together in a marvelous balance of mindfulness. Each step grounds us in the solidity of the earth. With each step we fully arrive in the present moment.

Walking Meditation Poem
I take refuge in Mother Earth.
Every breath, every step
manifests our love.
Every breath brings happiness.
Every step brings happiness.
I see the whole cosmos in the earth.

Those who do not feel this Love pulling them like a river,
those who don’t drink dawn like a cup of springwater
or take in sunset like supper,
those who don’t want to change, let them sleep. 
– Rumi

MICROCOSMOS
When we first started looking through microscopes
a cold fear blew and it’s still blowing.
Life hitherto had been frantic enough
in all its shapes and dimensions.
Which is why it created small-scale creatures,
assorted tiny worms and flies,
but at least the naked human eye
could see them.
But then suddenly beneath the glass,
foreign to a fault
and so petite,
that what they occupy in space
can only charitably be called a spot.
The glass doesn’t even touch them,
they double and triple unobstructed,
with room to spare, willy-nilly.
To say they’re many isn’t saying much.
The stronger the microscope
the more exactly, avidly they’re multiplied.
They don’t even have decent innards.
They don’t know gender, childhood, age.
They may not even know they are – or aren’t.
Still they decide our life and death.
Some freeze in momentary stasis,
although we don’t know what their moment is.
Since they’re so minuscule themselves,
their duration may be
pulverized accordingly.
A windborne speck of dust is a meteor
from deepest space,
a fingerprint is a farflung labyrinth
where they may gather
for their mute parades,
their blind iliads and upanishads.
I’ve wanted to write about them for a long while,
but it’s a tricky subject,
always put off for later
and perhaps worthy of a better poet,
even more stunned by the world than I.
But time is short. I write.
 – Wisława Szymborska
translated by Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh

THE ONE WHO IS AT HOME
Each day I long so much to see
The true teacher. And each time
At dusk when I open the cabin
Door and empty the teapot,
I think I know where he is:
West of us in the forest.

Or perhaps I am the one
Who is out in the night,
The forest sand wet under
my feet, moonlight shining
On the sides of the birch trees,
The sea far off gleaming.

And he is the one who is
At home. He sits in my chair
Calmly; he reads and prays
All night.  He loves to feel
His own body around him;
He does not leave the house.
– Francisco Albanez, translated by Robert Bly

We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.
– Albert Einstein 

When you’re young and waking up from the cultural wasteland that is the dream of progress, more and climbing ladders of success, when notions of rat races lose all appeal, another idea is whispered to us – and it changes our lives forever – “do whatever makes the best memories”. And so we do. We travel the world. We stumble drunkenly down streets with even more drunk friends arm in arm knowing that life doesn’t get any better than this gentle summer night with its gentle breezes and full moon and this comraderie hell bent on sucking the marrow out of life. We collect memories like the precious and wild things they are. But, as we get older, we come to see another level of that whisper “do whatever makes the best memories” – that the whisper wasn’t referring to us. It was telling us to make those memories for those we love. That we’re not here to collect memories like misers but to be a part of creating more beautiful moments for others, a sort of meal they can return to over and over again – the feast of our days in the meadhall of our shared lives to which we brought the best food we could.
– Tad Hargrave

I meet so many women in my work who have gorgeous ideas but are terrified to release them into the world. This terror is a combination of things, but at the fundamental level it is the fear of criticism. The inner critic, a spokesperson for all the diminishing voices in our past and in our culture, is the first gatekeeper of true belonging. It barrages us with buts. But you don’t have anything original to say. But you can’t prove that. But you will look or sound ridiculous. But you aren’t as talented as X, and so on. When we look at these criticisms more rigorously, we begin to see that they are all based on the outer-measurement we’ve come to associate with patriarchal thinking. The challenge of this gate is not to measure up, but to use a different barometer altogether.
– Toko-pa Turner

We are each other’s destiny — and should act with this ethos of accompaniment. Whatever you aim to do, whatever problem you hope to address, remember to accompany those who are struggling, those who are left out, who lack the capabilities needed to solve their own problems. We are each other’s destiny. Beneath the hard skills and firm strategic priorities needed to resolve our greatest challenges lies the soft, fertile ground of our shared humanity. In that place of hard and soft is sustenance enough to nourish the entire human family.
– Jacqueline Novogratz, On Being with Krista Tippett

There are many people in this world who believe that they have to go through tests. And they go through test after test after test, suffering after suffering after suffering. All this is unnecessary. You do not have to have any tests whatsoever. If you believe in tests you will be given tests. Because your mind is believing that you have to go through tests. It’s all in the mind, the mind makes all of these things up. It plays games with you, it fools you. Do not think about this at all. Do not say when something happens I’m going through a test, God is testing me. There is no God to test you whatsoever. You are the God and your mind is creating whatever you feel is true. Therefore be here now. Awaken this moment. Understand your true nature now. You are the Buddha. You have the Buddha nature now! Not next week or when you go through tests, when you go away to a monastery. Now is the only time there is. And right now you are free.
– Robert Adams

Complaining is one of the ego’s favorite strategies for strengthening itself.
– Eckhart Tolle

Once you’ve had a glimpse of reality,
there’s nothing you can do
to stop the ego from dissolving in time.
– Adyashanti

One of the profound statements in the Bible
is Thou shall not worship images.
It does not refer to statues, but to the image
of one’s self. It is part of surrendering
to allow the changing of images to take place. 

Nature, in its extraordinary expression,
always gives animals an appearance
that protects them in the environment
in which they exist. It is a person’s will
that has distorted his or her form.
It is not according to the law of nature,
but according to the law of man
that one assumes different shapes.
These distortions are produced
by enormous tensions which,
until they are released, limit the growth potential and spiritual evolvement of a human being.
– Swami Rudrananda (Rudi) Albert Rudolph

Debates conceal rather than reveal the truth. 
Truth is revealed in solitude.
– Leo Tolstoy

O Lord, thou hast searched me, 
and known me.
Thou knowest my down-sitting
and mine uprising,
thou understandest my thought afar off.
Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word in my tongue,
but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.
Thou hast beset me behind and before,
and laid thine hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
Whither shall I go from thy spirit?
or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there:
if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Even there shall thy hand lead me,
and thy right hand shall hold me.
If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee;
but the night shineth as the day:
the darkness and the light
are both alike to thee.
For thou hast possessed my reins:
thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully
and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
My substance was not hid from thee,
when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Thine eyes did see my substance,
yet being unperfect; and in thy book
all my members were written,
which in continuance were fashioned,
when as yet there was none of them.
How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, 
O God! how great is the sum of them!
If I should count them,
they are more in number than the sand:
when I awake, I am still with thee.
Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God:
depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.
For they speak against thee wickedly,
and thine enemies take thy name in vain.
Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee?
and am not I grieved with those
that rise up against thee?
I hate them with perfect hatred:
I count them mine enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart:
try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
– Psalm 139, Attributed to David

Control
If you try to control it,
you are like a lion tamer
controlling the beast,
but the beast subdued
is still ready to spring
at unexpected moments.

You will feel proud
of yourself,
gratified that you
are master
of such a jungle
creature.
You can brag and strut,
teach others your method
of being in charge,
but you are never in charge,
really,
for all comes through
in a different dialect,
another language
that only a few can
speak or understand.

Stand on the street corner
and shout “Love”
and see who answers.
Listen to your own
inner voice.
Follow it.
That is the way
students are chosen
in this school.
– Dorothy Walters

I have to constantly re-identify myself to myself, 
reactivate my own standards,
my own convictions about what I’m doing and why.
– Nina Simone

Art must be an expression of love or it is nothing.
– Marc Chagall

You should carry the monastery in yourself. 
The desert is within you. 
The desert calls you and draws you back, 
and if you were fettered to the world 
of this time with iron, 
the call of the desert wold break all chains.
Truly, I prepare you for solitude.
– Carl Jung, The Red Book

The question is whether any civilization 
can wage relentless war on life without destroying 
itself, and without losing the right 
to be called civilized.

– Rachel Carson

Do you know that your body is the temple—the sacred dwelling place—of the Holy Breath within you?
– 1 Corinthians 6:19

To love another is something
like prayer and it can’t be planned, 
you just fall into its arms 
because your belief undoes 
your disbelief.
– Anne Sexton

My dear, resign yourself to the lifelong sadness 
that comes from never being satisfied. 
But also resign yourself to the lifelong 
momentary flashes of happiness 
that arrive in the seconds 
between after having completed a journey 
and before pursuing a new one. 
For while we, the never satisfied, 
are lifelong grievers, the rest are lifelong settlers. 
For while we aim high and constantly fall short, 
they aim low, and lower, 
and are constantly satisfied with themselves 
for having hit such low hanging fruit.
– Zadie Smith

Extremists have shown what frightens them most: a girl with a book.
– Malala Yousafzai

Would you harbor me?
Would I harbor you?
Would you harbor me?
Would I harbor you?
Would you harbor a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew
a heretic, convict or spy?
Would you harbor a run away woman, or child,
a poet, a prophet, a king?
Would you harbor an exile, or a refugee,
a person living with AIDS?
Would you harbor a Tubman, a Garrett, a Truth
a fugitive or a slave?
Would you harbor a Haitian Korean or Czech,
a lesbian or a gay?
Would you harbor me?
Would I harbor you?
Would you harbor me?
Would I harbor you?
– Ysaye M. Barnwell

In praise of humility, humiliation & radical acceptance:

The only wisdom we can hope to acquire Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless…
– T.S. Eliot

Humiliations are my sweetest sweets.
– Mother Teresa

I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. 

Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! 

I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. 

I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. 

Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.

– Nietzsche

A library is a rainbow in the clouds.
– Maya Angelou

The poet, the one you’d expect to have faith in language, knows that naming alone does nothing to dispell mystery. For [them] a word is a gesture in the direction of reality, and does not limit or circumscribe; the poet knows that nothing at all is settled by the word.
– Mark Doty

The Truth is the only thing you’ll ever run into that has no agenda.
– Adyashanti

The novice eats medicine and spits up poison
The intermediate eats medicine and spits up medicine
The Expert eats poison and spits up medicine.
– Buddhist Proverb

The only recognizable feature of hope is action.
– Grace Paley

Upon suffering beyond suffering: 
the Red Nation shall rise again 
and it shall be a blessing for a sick world. 
A world filled with broken promises, selfishness and separations. 
A world longing for light again. 
I see a time of Seven Generations 
when all the colors of mankind will gather under the Sacred Tree of Life 
and the whole Earth will become one circle again. In that day, there will be those 
among the Lakota who will carry knowledge and understanding of unity 
among all living things 
and the young white ones will come 
to those of my people and ask for this wisdom. I salute the light within your eyes 
where the whole Universe dwells. 
For when you are co at that center within you 
and I am that place within me, 
we shall be one. 
– Chief Crazy Horse, Oglala Sioux

If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God 
at all.
– Siri Singh Sahib Ji, Yogi Bhajan

We cripple ourselves by only gazing from within our caves of reflection. If we would see with the eyes of freedom, we must be as open and as unceasing as the Sea. 
– Susie Motz

Tilopa:
Samsara is to see fault in others.

When you are concerned for the welfare of others, bullying and exploitation cease.
– Dalai Lama XIV

The great American novel has not only already   
been written, it has already been rejected.
– W. Somerset Maugham

We’re the only creature who can decide not to do something we’re capable of doing. That’s our superpower, even if we exercise it too rarely.
– Bill McKibben

The Truth is the only thing you’ll ever run into that has no agenda.
– Adyashanti

Until you can see everything in the world as your friend, your work is not done.
– Byron Katie

Complaining is one of the ego’s favorite strategies for strengthening itself.
– Eckhart Tolle

Pay more attention to the silence than to the sounds. Paying attention to outer silence creates inner silence: the mind becomes still.
– Eckhart Tolle

Ethan Nichtern:
Voting and Meditation share one big misconception: the idea that doing it once is supposed to make a huge difference.

You have to do both as often as you can over many years if you want to see any real transformation.

The hearts of my brothers are broken. If I knew another way to be, I would call up a brother, I would hear myself saying, my brother, dear brother, my dearest brothers, dear heart—
– Claudia Rankine

There is more to knowing
than just being correct.
– Taoist proverb

We should not let the projections of the past or the future break us down. They’re just ghosts. That’s why we train ourselves to always be in the present moment. That’s our practice. That’s our path.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Silence never won rights. They are not handed down from above; they are forced by pressures from below.
– Roger Baldwin

We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.
– Albert Einstein

Once Only

almost at the equator
almost at the equinox
exactly at midnight
from a ship
the full

moon


in the center of the sky.

Gary Snyder
Sappa Creek near Singapore
March 1958

The moon is new and your seat is empty.
I remember how you sat here last year
wounded like a lonely city.
– Julia Knobloch

But deluded people don’t realize that their own mind is the Buddha. They keep searching outside.
– Bodhidharma

A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar.
– Lao Tzu, Tao de Ching

heart hums the song of dust
like a sweet beehive
– Yusef Komunyakaa

An elegant song won’t hold up long
When the palace falls and the parlour’s gone
We all must leave but it’s not the end
We’ll meet again at the festival of friends.
– Bruce Cockburn

a man leaves the world
and the streets he lived on
grow a little shorter
– Naomi Shihab Nye

When we stop opposing reality, action becomes simple, fluid, kind, and fearless.
– Byron Katie

There’s a narrow path to a life to come
That explodes into sight with the power of the sun
A mist rises as the sun goes down
And the light that’s left forms a kind of crown
The earth is bread, the sun is wine
It’s a sign of a hope that’s ours for all time.
– Bruce Cockburn

People need to be liberated from their systems of symbolism and become more intensely aware of the living vibrations of the real world.
– Alan Watts

One of the most constant characteristics of beliefs is their intolerance. The stronger the belief, the greater its intolerance. Men dominated by a certitude cannot tolerate those who do not accept it.”
– Gustave Le Bon

If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you fall down, how will you do in the jungle of the Jordan?
For even your brothers and the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you; they are in full cry after you; believe them not, though they speak fair words to you.
– Jeremiah 12:5-6

He alone loves the Creator perfectly who manifests a pure love for his neighbor.
– Venerable Bede

We live in an age where
the artist is forgotten.
He is a researcher.
I see myself that way.
– David Hockney

Thank you for this day made
of wind and rain and sun and the scent
of old-fashioned lilacs. Thank you

for the pond and the slippery tadpole
and the wild iris that opened beside the pond
last week, so pale, so nearly purple,

their stems already flagged and bent.
Thank you for the yellow morels hiding in the field grass,
the ones we can only see when we are already

on our knees. And thank you for the humming
that rises out of the morning as if mornings
are simply reasons to hum. What a gift,

this being alive, this chance to encounter the world.
What a gift, this being a witness to spring –
spring in everything. Spring in the way

that we greet each other. Spring in the way the golden eagle
takes to the thermals and spirals up to where
we can barely see the great span of its wings.

Spring in the words we have known
since our births. Like glory. Like celebrate.
like flowering. What is it in us that longs to unfurl,

to expand, to open up and leap out—
something feral, unnamable, something
so fierce it can push through the crust of the soil,

something so vulnerable it can freeze and overnight
disappear. Thank you for this return to exactly
where we are, this greening, this bright roar

of the river rising, this swooping
of swallows, this leafing of lettuce,
this now, this yes, this here.

– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Those who are dead to their lower selves are alive with God.
– Sufi Saying

Love based on a desire for gain is worthless.
God is desireless; how could one with desire attain the Desireless?
When I was conscious of individual existence, the love of the Master filled my heart;
When the love of the Master filled my heart, my sense of selfhood was dissolved.
O Kabir, this path is too narrow for two to travel.
– Kabir

A kind of sanity explains
Itself as being from the past.
A kind of elegance restrains
Itself from being what must last.

But from a bird, or a true word,
A glimpse of someone’s love-eyes dear,
Or, how a dog’s surprising love,
Cuts through the husk of all the years,

And pierces my first-spirit core
With burning looks of honest grace,
These are all like songs, yet more
Well-principled. Right in my face.

My heart may ache, and I not know
If it’s for those deserving more,
Or for my own uncertain, slow,
And struggling use of semaphore.

My sanity was all too sane,
My elegance, a bit rehearsed,
Therefore I pray for love’s old rain,
If there are gods who still heed verse.
– George Gorman

The self that we defend in isolation is just a shadow of our true self. And the connection that we make by attempting to merge with other people is just a fraction of our capacity for intimacy. 

It is through inward contact with our own organism that we become capable of true contact with other people. We grow toward our true distance from other people and our true oneness with them at the same time.

I first noticed this about thirty years ago, while I was living at a Zen monastery in upstate New York. It is an old joke that the hardest thing about being a monk is other monks, and although I was not technically a monk, this was particularly true for me. I arrived at the monastery at a very low point in my life. I had suffered some losses, of both my physical health and people close to me, several years before and had been living in near isolation ever since. I found the communal situations of monastic life almost unbearable, the boisterous presence of other souls bruising and disruptive. We were expected to eat all our meals together, to work together cleaning the monastery, and to socialize together on the two days each week when the formal schedule was suspended. We also meditated together twice a day, sitting in silence and absolute stillness, attending to our breath or to the compelling phrase of a Zen koan.

It was in this stillness that I first noticed the movement inward, how each breath brought me infinitesimally closer to the core of my body. As the year went by and this inward movement progressed, I began to notice that I felt further away from the people around me. I could look across the distance and connect with them. I could feel their presence while still feeling my own. I could also feel the stillness that was the same in all of us, that was continuous between us, and that was unchanged by even the most intense movement of thoughts, feelings, and sensations.

It is very interesting that when we inhabit the internal space of our body, the barrier between ourselves and other people dissolves. 

We experience oneness of our internal and external experience, a mutual transparency of self and other. But when we live on the surface of ourselves, as most people do, we live in divided space; we feel separate from everything around us. We can say that the world of the severely defended person is (almost) flat, whereas, at the other end of the spectrum, the world of the advanced spiritual master is (almost) round. This is a deepening of perspective, a deepening of contact with oneself and others.

– Judith Blackstone

A dark night of the soul is a kind of initiation, taking you from one phase of life into another. You may have several dark nights in the course of your life because you are always becoming more of a person and entering life more fully. … One simple rule is that a truly deep dark night requires an extraordinary development in life.

There are many examples of men and women who endured unimaginable ordeals and yet contributed in a striking way to humanity’s progress. Nelson Mandela was in prison for 27 years under harsh conditions, yet he never lost his vision and sense of destiny. One of his younger fellow prisoners said of him: “The point about Nelson, of course, is that he has a tremendous presence, apart from his bearing, his deportment and so on. He’s a person who’s got real control over his behaviour. He is also quite conscious of the kind of seriousness he radiates.” This is Dark Night talk. Mandela’s Dark Night was an actual imprisonment, not a mood. Still, he teaches how to deal with a Dark Night. Don’t waste time in illusions and wishes. Take it on. Keep your sense of worth and power. Keep your vision intact. Let your darkness speak and give its tone to your bearing and expression.

I want to encourage you to enter the darkness with all your strength and intelligence, and perhaps find a new vision and deeper sense of self. Even if the source is external – a crime, rape, an abortion, being cheated, business pressure, being held captive, or the threat of terrorism – you can still discover new resources in yourself and a new outlook on life.

While giving a dark night its due, you can also cultivate a love of life and joy in living that doesn’t contradict the darkness. You can be dedicated to your work and your vision for humanity and also feel overwhelmed by the suffering in the world.

You probably know more about the depths of your soul from periods of pain and confusion than from times of comfort. Darkness and turmoil stimulate the imagination in a certain way. They allow you to see things you might ordinarily overlook. You become sensitive to a different spectrum of emotion and meaning. You perceive the ultraviolet extremes of your feelings and thoughts, and you learn things you wouldn’t notice in times of normalcy and brightness.
– Thomas Moore

Responsibility to yourself means refusing 
to let others do your thinking, talking, 
and naming for you; it means learning 
to respect and use your own brains 
and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work.
– Adrienne Rich

We enjoy lovely music, beautiful paintings, 
a thousand intellectual delicacies, 
but we have no idea of their cost, 
to those who invented them, in sleepless nights, 
tears, spasmodic laughter, rashes, asthmas, 
epilepsies, and the fear of death, 
which is worse than all the rest.
– Marcel Proust

The most fundamental aggression 
to ourselves, 
the most fundamental harm we can do 
to ourselves,
is to remain ignorant 
by not having the courage and the respect 
to look at ourselves honestly and gently.
– Pema Chödrön

Becoming liberated from samsara is an inner journey. You can travel across the world and universe, and you will not find a way out. To get out, you must go in.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

Our summers of riots are caused by winters of delay.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

Just a few inches of soil is enough to keep startling secrets.
– Robert Macfarlane

Everyone’s behaviour now
is just what we’ve inherited,
from our parents and our cultures
and our histories and peers,
Everyone’s behaviour now
is all a culmination
of partial twisted vision,
of memories and fears,
And the good, the bad,
and the ugly,
and the very beautiful
will rise and cry,
dance and die,
half empty 
and half full,
over and over.
– Orit Shimoni

There is no such person as a stranger. Everybody needs compassion.
– Yoko Ono

Mark Zuckerberg is our greatest reminder that we should probably create a future system where being really talented at computer coding shouldn’t give you the economic and social power to completely destroy democracy.
– Ethan Nichtern

The whiff of the cool sea breeze,
As i enjoy my walk at ease,
Brings memories of yesteryears,
Often filled with joy and sometimes tears.

The sight of the setting sun,
Engulfed by the waves but none,
Always so delightfully artistic,
Which unfolds a tale so mystic.

The parrots fly past me in flamboyance,
So do some eagles with elegance,
The grace of the Almighty is everywhere,
That divine peace is now here.

The clouds reflect the golden hue,
Bordered with gray and blue,
There lies heaven in our very skies,
So why wait for the travel until one dies.

The setting sun is a graceful sight,
The union of every day and night,
And everyday a new tale is told,
And it’s just up to us to decipher and unfold.
– Deepak Calyampoondi

All beautiful poetry is an act of resistance.
– Mahmoud Darwish 

Believe in yourself, go ahead—see where it gets you.
– Rita Dove, Demeter’s Prayer to Hades

Light, landscape and sky. There is no language of the holy. The sacred lies in the ordinary.
– Ming-Dao Deng

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence.
– Mother Teresa

It’s not magic; it isn’t a trick.
Every breath is a resurrection.
And when we hear the poem
Which is the world, when our eyes
Gaze at the beloved’s body,
We’re reborn in all the sacred parts
Of our own bodies:
the heart
Contracts, the brain
Releases its shower
Of sparks,
and the tear
Embarks on its pilgrimage
Down the cheek to meet
The smiling mouth.
– Gregory Orr

Night
I wish the night was short, like my hair,
And that it was bright, like my heart, 
And I could tie the distance between us with my life.
These tears are nothing but drops from my eyes,
And now I’m being rusted by them….
– Uyghur poet Abdushukur Muhammet

America…even your dinner napkins are on fire.
– Solmaz Sharif

Our ego sings of illusions
While our true self
is an instrument of spirit
sings with the breath of God.
– Bob Holmes

But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.
– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

…in regard to external factors, I do not perceive another single factor so helpful as good friendship..
– Buddha

Don’t do anything you don’t wanna do.
– Abbas Kiarostami, Iranian Filmmaker

Make excursions in pure simplicity.
Identify yourself with non-distinction.
Follow the nature of things and admit no personal bias.
Then the world will be in peace.
– Chuang Tzu

Most radicals agree that we need to “change the culture.” Even most anti-civilization radicals define civilization as a culture based on the development and support of cities. But, it seems like there’s a hole in radical analysis regarding how we “change culture.” Is that a reasonable conclusion? I’ve become increasingly dissatisfied with the simple statement “we need to change the culture” because I don’t think we can change the culture without drastically changing the material conditions producing culture. In other words, culture is not a primarily mental phenomenon located in what one believes. It’s primarily an ecological phenomenon located in the total habitat humans are born into and develop with. If this is true, then the changes we need are more radical than even most radicals seem to understand. It would mean that we need to prioritize physically altering the habitat destructive humans currently develop in.

 
I think this view also jives with what we’ve learned about human behavior. It doesn’t seem like human behavior is determined rationally (or rationality is a much much smaller factor than is popularly understood), but is more a reflection of unconscious factors. It may be impossible to change a culture through education. And, if this is true, what does that mean for the vast majority of social and environmental justice strategies?
– Will Falk

GRACE OF KALI
Vedic texts like the Puranas declare, it is precisely during the darkest age, the age of Kali Yuga, that the most direct path, the easiest path, the purest path to liberation is given. Grace is more abundant in the darkest time. This is the compassion of the Infinite. It is said that one cry of the Mother’s name is enough.

We are liberated not by staying in paradise, but incarnating on earth as dense voluptuous bodies, in the garden of opposites. The gods are jealous of humans who get to be on earth at this time.

Here, the densest matter is a springboard to the higher Self. But we spring inward, not upward. We become both gross and subtle, dark and bright, human and divine. We become whole.

Wholeness means total release from clinging. Wholeness means we no longer cling to light, or flee from shadows. We no longer cling to spirit, or flee from matter. Wholeness means we stop eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and start eating from the tree of life.

Now the mind is confused by duality, and those who pretend “to know” are the most confused of all. Yet precisely when the head is uncertain are we invited to fall into the Heart, to tap the source of divine Wisdom and divine Beauty.

Thus we find the simplest yet most profound instruction for spiritual sadhana repeated nearly verbatim in both the Indian yogic text, Vijnana Bhairava, and the early Christian manual of prayer, The Philocalia: “Let the mind sink into in the heart.”

Why waste this precious chance in anxious despair and outrage? See the chaos on the surface of the world as the husk of the fruit, whose interior is juicy, tangy and sweet with the nectar of life itself. Only then do you truly hold something in your eye, your smile, your tear, your gentle hand, that gives nourishment to others.

Practice vivekya, discernment, to distinguish the eternal depth from the ever-changing surface. In Kali Yuga, one cry of the Name slices through the bitter rind. One breath of the Divine sweeps away the illusion of ten thousand lives.

– Fred LaMotte

Do you think it’s possible that if you were to wake up one morning and come to the realization that your freedom is hanging by a thread, that you wouldn’t do anything more than get dressed and go to work, as if it were the same as any other day? Is it possible that our freedom and our country could be lost inch by inch without one defining moment to mark the transformation from freedom to oppression, and is it possible that we could miss hearing the call when it comes, or if we do hear it, simply be too tired or not have the time, the strength, the energy, the know-how, or the courage to stand up for justice anyway?

…and if you haven’t the courage to tell the truth, or the consciousness to honor the truth, or the love to love the truth, then one day you will not have the truth to tell, and soon thereafter you will not live in a place that will acknowledge the truth when it is told, and not long after that the truth will not be told, for it will no longer be allowed. You cannot hope to be a traitor to life, and then expect to live in a free and just society.
– Mark A. Goldman, The Critical Choice

If you can cultivate the right attitude, your enemies are your best spiritual teachers because their presence provides you with the opportunity to enhance and develop tolerance, patience and understanding.
– The Dalai Lama, The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus

Given that I did not play my part in harmony with others, how could I expect to change people?
– Zhuangzi

What’s Left
for Dick

I love what’s left over—
sage leaves stripped,
stirred into the stew,
a green stem remaining,
holding only itself.

I undress the garlic cloves,
garlic warding off evil,
my grandmother said.
The papery skins lift
in a gust of wind through the window.

A half-inch of wine turns
my glass by the sink
into a red prism.
Five of the set of twelve glasses
we bought at Ikea remain.

Next morning, I grind dark beans
into a wake-up call. The cup
you used to drink from
sits in the corner
of the cupboard.

– Susan Landgraf

Orphan
Child of secret soil,
What suns have warmed you yet?
What hands have tended,
With what tenderness?
What dreams have toiled
Over you like storms?
What roots have touched secrets,
To forget, and be upended?
What quick tears have mended
The hopes that were torn,
The fears that weren’t befriended,
Bitter half-truths,
The unacknowledged whole?
When the rains came,
What did you do then?
Did you understand the lightning,
Who has such a quick tongue?
Did you recognize the ones
Your every move,
Was but a giving to,
And a taking from?
– George Gorman

Thich Nhat Hanh:
When someone says something challenging,
if we can smile and return to our breathing,
our Dharma will be a living Dharma,
and others will be able to touch it.
Sometimes, through non-action,
we can help more than if we do a lot.
Like a calm person on a small boat
during a storm, just by being there,
we can change the situation.

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche:
If grasping fixation arises,
you do not have the view.

Reading isn’t important
because it helps get you a job.
It’s important because it gives you room
to exist beyond the reality you’re given.
– Matt Haig

What I want to do is shout. Happiness? No.
Outrage? No. What I want to do is shout
because we were all wrong, because the point
was not the point, because the world, or what
we took for the world, is breaking, breaking. We were wrong
and are not right. Break! Break! We are here!
What I want to do is shout! Break! Shout!
– William Bronk

And see now,
here is that place, those greens
are here, deep with those blues. The air
we breathe is freshly sweet, and warm, as though
with berries. We are here. We are here.
Set this down too, as much
as if an atrocity had happened and been seen.
The earth is beautiful beyond all change.
– William Bronk

A very important thing
is not to make up your mind
that you are any one thing.
– Gertrude Stein

Always remember, the true teacher is in your heart. The real teacher is within you. A person who has gone within for many years, has become silent within, will be attracted to the same silence in the without. In other words, they will come to the place that agrees with the within. When you have attained a degree of spiritual knowledge, truth, realization from within, you will meet the Sage or the teacher without. It’s the same difference. There’s no difference whatsoever. But those of you who shop for teachers, who shop for gurus, who go shopping for spiritual life, will always be disappointed, for you will find some fault wherever you go. And again, the fault that you find, is also within yourself. Everything is within yourself. You’ve got all the answers. Don’t look to me for answers. You’ve got all the answers yourself, they’re within you. I’m only here to advise you that you are free and liberated. That’s all I’m doing. I’m here to tell you don’t need anything. Whatever you’re looking for, you already are, you already have. You are that.
– Robert Adams

Our poems will have failed
If our readers are not brought by them
beyond the poems.
– Muriel Rukeyser

To follow their own paths to wholeness, both Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung (1875–1961) and Jewish Auschwitz victim Etty Hillesum (1914–1943) trusted in and hearkened to the voice of God in their deepest Selves.

Many educated and sophisticated people are not willing to submit to indirect, subversive, and intuitive knowing, which is probably why they rely far too much on external law and behavior to achieve their spiritual purposes. They know nothing else that feels objective and solid. Intuitive truth, that inner whole-making instinct, just feels too much like our own thoughts and feelings, and most of us are not willing to call this “God,” even when that voice prompts us toward compassion instead of hatred, forgiveness instead of resentment, generosity instead of stinginess, bigness instead of pettiness.

But think about it: If the incarnation is true, then of course God speaks to us through our own thoughts! When accusers called Joan of Arc (1412–1431) the victim of her own imagination, she is frequently credited with this brilliant reply: “How else would God speak to me?”

The inner voice so honored by Hillesum and Jung is experienced as the deepest and usually hidden self, where most of us do not go. It truly does speak at a level “beneath” rational consciousness, a place where only the humble—or the trained—know how to go.

Late in his life, Jung wrote, “In my case Pilgrim’s Progress consisted in my having to climb down a thousand ladders until I could reach out my hand to the little clod of earth that I am.” Jung, a supposed unbeliever, knew that any authentic God experience takes a lot of humble, honest, and patient seeking.

This is where embracing the Christ Mystery becomes utterly practical. Without the mediation of Christ, we will be tempted to overplay the distance and the distinction between God and humanity. But because of the incarnation, the supernatural is forever embedded in the natural, making the very distinction false. How good is that? This is why mystics like Hillesum, Jung, Augustine, Teresa of Ávila, Thomas Merton, and many others seem to equate the discovery of their own souls with the very discovery of God. It takes much of our life, much lived experience, to trust and allow such a process. But when it comes, it will feel like a calm and humble ability to quietly trust yourself and trust God at the same time. Isn’t that what we all want?
– Fr. Richard Rohr

When wisdom is established in the heart,
and the tender shoots of peace break through,
then at once the light of the Self shines forth.
Then, wherever he looks, he will see only limitless peace.
– Jnaneshwar Maharaj

The True Coyote

Love knows no bounds,
Sees through disguises,
Breaks any law,
Sneaks past every border,
Because it’s the true coyote.

Heedless of worldly identities,
Immune to webs of authority,
Always hungry,
Always ready,
Love disables the guards,
Exposes the tenderest meat,
The ingenuous virtues.

In the end,
Love tricks us all
To live, to die,
To play the game,
To care about learning,
To learn about caring,
To think that one can be all,
To feel that all are one,
To build a cozy nest,
To fly away.

By the honey of bees,
The lightning’s lash
And the gut-red lava of birth,
Love draws and erases
What comes and goes,
To feel what endures
Because of love,
Beyond the bounds
Of time.
– George Gorman

To begin, begin.
– William Wordsworth

I believe that introversion is my greatest strength.
I have such a strong inner life that I’m never bored
and only occasionally lonely.
No matter what mayhem is happening around me,
I know I can always turn inward.
– Susan Cain

i want a country that don’t treat its people like a virus.
– Danez Smith

… what happens when this trauma didn’t just happen to me, but to everyone like me? When a group of people experience similar traumas, they’re strategies they use to cope are going to look similar, too. When that happens, it starts to look a lot like culture. That’s what we call traumatic retention.
– Resmaa Menakem

Why should I be studying for a future that soon may be no more, when no one is doing anything to save that future? And what is the point of learning facts when the most important facts clearly mean nothing to our society?
– Greta Thunberg

The Waters of March
by Antonio Carlos Jobim

A stick, a stone
It’s the end of the road
It’s the rest of a stump
It’s a little alone

It’s a sliver of glass
It is life, it’s the sun
It is night, it is death
It’s a trap, it’s a gun

The oak when it blooms
A fox in the brush
A knot in the wood
The song of a thrush

The wood of the wind
A cliff, a fall
A scratch, a lump
It is nothing at all

It’s the wind blowing free
It’s the end of the slope
It’s a beam, it’s a void
It’s a hunch, it’s a hope

And the river bank talks
Of the waters of March
It’s the end of the strain
The joy in your heart

The foot, the ground
The flesh and the bone
The beat of the road
A slingshot’s stone

A fish, a flash
A silvery glow
A fight, a bet
The range of a bow

The bed of the well
The end of the line
The dismay in the face
It’s a loss, it’s a find

A spear, a spike
A point, a nail
A drip, a drop
The end of the tale

A truckload of bricks
In the soft morning light
The shot of a gun
In the dead of the night

A mile, a must
A thrust, a bump
It’s a girl, it’s a rhyme
It’s a cold, it’s the mumps

The plan of the house
The body in bed
And the car that got stuck
It’s the mud, it’s the mud

Afloat, adrift
A flight, a wing
A hawk, a quail
The promise of spring

And the riverbank talks
Of the waters of March
It’s the promise of life
It’s the joy in your heart

A stick, a stone
It’s the end of the road
It’s the rest of a stump
It’s a little alone

A snake, a stick
It is John, it is Joe
It’s a thorn in your hand
And a cut in your toe

A point, a grain
A bee, a bite
A blink, a buzzard
A sudden stroke of night

A pin, a needle
A sting, a pain
A snail, a riddle
A wasp, a stain

A pass in the mountains
A horse and a mule
In the distance the shelves
Rode three shadows of blue

And the riverbank talks
Of the waters of March
It’s the promise of life
In your heart, in your heart

A stick, a stone
The end of the road
The rest of a stump
A lonesome road

A sliver of glass
A life, the sun
A knife, a death
The end of the run

And the riverbank talks
Of the waters of March
It’s the end of all strain
It’s the joy in your heart

Sanity Within Confusion
The Buddhist approach is founded
on the belief that basic sanity is operative
in all states of mind. Confusion, from this point of view, is two-sided: it creates a need,
a demand for sanity, which is the beginning point of Buddhism. That is what moved Buddha to meditate beneath the bodhi tree twenty-five hundred years ago—
to confront his confusion and find its source. Basically, we are faced with a similar situation now. There is a tremendous amount of emotional anxiety. We are confused,
anxious, and hungry psychologically.
From the Buddhist viewpoint, the anxiety
and the search for treatments are evidence
of the nature of basic sanity operating
within the confusion.
– Chögyam Trungpa

They carried all they could bear,
and then some,
including a silent awe for the terrible power
of the things they carried.
– Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried

THE CALL OF THE EMPATHIC WARRIOR
As you awaken from the age-old trance of shame and fear-based conditioning, and as you drop into your authentic self, and as you uncover your deep vulnerability and your shockingly innocent heart, you may discover an empathy you never knew you were capable of. An empathy for all humanity… and for your own deepest humanity. For the flaws and pains of others… and for your own beautiful imperfections.

You may find that you are now more able to open your heart in compassion to others, able to hold space for them as they break and rest and heal, and able to listen without judgement, since you are now able to listen to yourself. You may become more comfortable with silence and with awkwardness. You may become more present, less distracted, more authentic, less interested in fixing and controlling those around you.

As people touch into your ‘newfound’ empathy and ability to listen from presence, you may trigger them in unexpected ways. You may find that people who weren’t drawn to you in the past are now drawn to you. They now feel somehow safer with you, more willing to open their hearts, to express their deepest authentic feelings, to tell their raw truth, to touch gently into their trauma, to relax and be fully themselves in your presence, knowing that they will not be judged, or shamed, or manipulated.

You become a healing field for others as you become a healing field for yourself.

You will meet others who walk the same path as you, others who want to do this work. You will meet new friends, brothers and sisters on the path, who find safety in your presence and can offer you the same. (You will also encounter those who want you to be their unpaid therapist, or even a dumping ground for their unconsciousness, drama and complaints, so you will need to learn healthy boundaries!)

When you are empathic – which I believe is our true nature, underneath our narcissistic programming and our myriad defences – you become a mirror for others, a reflective pool in which they can clearly see themselves, if they wish to. And herein lies the rub. Some people are simply not ready to see themselves in your mirror! For some, the prospect of having their deepest inner truths reflected back to them – nowhere to hide, nowhere to run, no-one else to blame – is deeply uncomfortable, edgy, even scary. For some, the kind of intimacy, love and safety you are now offering triggers a deep unconscious fear, perhaps greater than the fear of death. The thought of being truly seen and exposed in love’s warm light can feel overwhelming, terrifying, even downright repulsive to the ego. As much as we may long for intimacy, when it is offered freely and lovingly we can find ourselves running a mile, finding every excuse under the sun to not step in, quite sure that if our ‘negative’ patterns, desires, urges and feelings are truly seen and exposed, we will be rejected and shamed again, and not loved and embraced.

We can run from genuine love and acceptance as much as we long for it.

As you awaken, as you care more and more about truth, and less and less about the self-image, you will discover who your real friends and family are. You will find out who wants to stand in your empathic mirror and be seen in return, and who rejects the mirror, fears it, resents it, judges it, blames it, avoids it or pushes it away.

Empathy is what we all long for, deep down, but empathy can be terrifying, at least at first. The warm loving relational field of another can trigger our deepest wounds and awaken our unhealed trauma, and invite us to integrate and heal, perhaps before we are ready. As an empath you may unknowingly, unwittingly, with your stillness, your equanimity, your ability to listen deeply from non-judgemental presence, trigger old pain, shame, guilt, fear, even rage, in those who spend time with you.

As an empath, you will naturally invite others to face themselves.

Some will be drawn to you, yes, will want what you want; but others will run away, or will view your empathy as weakness, or madness; something basically undesirable, even boring. Perhaps they just don’t want to look at themselves. Perhaps they are ashamed of their own ‘badness’, afraid of being found out. Perhaps they are addicted to drama, and wary of the devastatingly simple truth of their life. Perhaps the unlovability they feel inside is just too great to connect in intimacy; they simply do not feel worthy of the love you are offering them.

Your ability to be empathic is a great gift, yes, but the truth is, not everyone sees it as a gift, or is ready for such a life-changing present.

That’s okay. There is power in your vulnerability, and you cannot turn back now. You can honour those who stay, and honour those who leave. You can understand that the powerful light of your empathy is illuminating to some, but blinding, uncomfortable, even disorienting, to others. You cannot force people into the light of self-knowledge before they are ready. And they may never be ready, and that’s okay too.

Bless those who come closer, bless those who walk away.
You are a warrior of empathy now, friend, and your path is clear.
– Jeff Foster

Every action we make is carved into the universe forever. The actions we take at this moment can never be undone.
– Gudo Wafu Nishijima Roshi

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.
– Albert Einstein

Tis no disparagement to be a stranger, or so irksome to be an exile. The rain is a stranger to the earth… The soul is an alien to the body… and such things commonly please us best, which are most strange, and come farthest off.
– Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy

SPELL TO BE SAID AGAINST HATRED
by Jane Hirshfield
Until each breath refuses they, those, them.
Until the Dramatis Personae of the book’s first page says, “Each one is you.”
Until hope bows to its hopelessness only as one self bows to another.
Until cruelty bends to its work and sees suddenly: I.
Until anger and insult know themselves burnable legs of a useless table.
Until the unsurprised unbidden knees find themselves bending.
Until fear bows to its object as a bird’s shadow bows to its bird.
Until the ache of the solitude inside the hands, the ribs, the ankles.
Until the sound the mouse makes inside the mouth of the cat.
Until the inaudible acids bathing the coral.
Until what feels no one’s weighing is no longer weightless.
Until what feels no one’s earning is no longer taken.
Until grief, pity, confusion, laughter, longing know themselves mirrors.
Until by we we mean I, them, you, the muskrat, the tiger, the hunger.
Until by I we mean as a dog barks, sounding and vanishing and sounding and vanishing completely.
Until by until we mean I, we, you, them, the muskrat, the tiger, the hunger, the lonely barking of the dog before it is answered.

The world has a serious shortage of both logic and kindness.
– Haruki Murakami

The history of other cultures is non-existent
until it erupts in confrontation with the United States.
– Edward Said

One of the greatest mistakes America ever made was failing to utterly crush the South after the Civil War — dismantle its power structures, imprison its leaders, expressly disavow its values & traditions, & put it under the equivalent of receivership for several decades.
– David Roberts

Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

This is the truth we all need to understand: We are ONE. We are interrelated and interdependent upon one another for our well being. When we hurt another, we hurt ourselves. This is why violence is never acceptable.

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Absurd desires

When struck by the desire arrow,
all of our common sense, sobriety,
and sanity go out the window
while false dignity, decadence,
and immorality trickle in.

Poisoned, we stop at nothing
to get what we want.
Someone struck with passion
might even find
a streetwalking hippopotamus sexy,
even as a beautiful girl
loyally waits for him at home.

Like moths to the flame
and fish to baited hooks,
many on this earth
have been ensnared by their desire
for food, fame, praise,
money, beauty, and respect.

– Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, What Makes You Not a Buddhist

We are all like the cells in one body. If our elbow is sick and inflamed, we don’t say “bloody elbow! Cut it off”! We do everything we can to heal it because without it, we are less able, less useful, less whole. There are cells in the body of humankind screaming in pain. It is the responsibility of all of the rest of the cells to rush to their aid.
– Susan Harding Sheper

Oh, my heart—
what’s in here is
not all my own
anymore, anyway.”l
– Kerrin McCadden

When a river goes through a wide valley, the flow of water is very weak. But where that valley narrows, the flow becomes powerful. Likewise, a scattered mind has very little power, compared to when it’s in concentration. The greater the concentration, the greater the power of mind and any practice that it engages in.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

It is funny that men who are supposed to be scientific cannot get themselves to realise the basic principle of physics, that action and reaction are equal and opposite, that when you persecute people you always rouse them to be strong and stronger.
– Gertrude Stein

Decolonization might suggest returning to an original palette, an ancient way – but the idea of originary paths and autonomous givens are themselves products of white frames of knowing.
– Bayo Akomolafe

“Bad apple? That’s a lovely name for murderer. … I mean, I’ve had a bad apple. It was tart, but it didn’t choke me out… I know it’s hard being a cop … But some jobs can’t have bad apples. Some jobs, everybody gotta be good. Like, pilots. American Airlines can’t be like, ‘You know, most of our pilots like to land, we just got a few bad apples that like to crash into mountains.
– Chris Rock

Mother dear, may I go downtown
Instead of out to play,
And march the streets of Birmingham
In a Freedom March today?”

No, baby, no, you may not go,
For the dogs are fierce and wild,
And clubs and hoses, guns and jails
Aren’t good for a little child.

But, mother, I won’t be alone.
Other children will go with me,
And march the streets of Birmingham
To make our country free.

No, baby, no, you may not go,
For I fear those guns will fire.
But you may go to church instead
And sing in the children’s choir.

She has combed and brushed her night-dark hair,
And bathed rose petal sweet,
And drawn white gloves on her small brown hands,
And white shoes on her feet.

The mother smiled to know her child
Was in the sacred place,
But that smile was the last smile
To come upon her face.

For when she heard the explosion,
Her eyes grew wet and wild.
She raced through the streets of Birmingham
Calling for her child.

She clawed through bits of glass and brick,
Then lifted out a shoe.
“O, here’s the shoe my baby wore,
But, baby, where are you?

– Dudley Randall

We decided to remove buffers in the name of efficiency; we decided to let capitalism run wild and shrink our government’s capacities when we needed them most; we decided not to cooperate with one another in a pandemic; we decided to deforest the Amazon; we decided to invade pristine ecosystems and hunt their wildlife. Facebook decided not to restrict any of President Trump’s incendiary posts; Twitter did.
. . .
That’s the uber lesson here: As the world gets more deeply intertwined, everyone’s behavior — the values that each of us bring to this interdependent world — matters more than ever. And, therefore, so does the “Golden Rule.” It’s never been more important.

Do unto others as you wish them to do unto you, because more people in more places in more ways on more days can now do unto you and you unto them like never before.
– Thomas L. Friedman, How We Broke the World

The presence of evil was something to be first recognized, then dealt with, survived, outwitted, triumphed over.
– Toni Morrison, Sula

Whoever seeks higher knowledge must create it for himself. He must instill it into his soul. It cannot be done by study; it can only be done through life. Whoever, therefore, wishes to become a student of higher knowledge must assiduously cultivate this inner life of devotion. Everywhere in his environment and his experiences he must seek motives of admiration and homage. If I meet a man and blame him for his shortcomings, I rob myself of power to attain higher knowledge; but if I try to enter lovingly into his merits, I gather such power. The student must continually be intent upon following this advice. The spiritually experienced know how much they owe to the circumstance that in face of all things they ever again turn to the good, and withhold adverse judgement. But this must not remain an external rule of life; rather it must take possession of our innermost soul.

Man has it in his power to perfect himself and, in time, completely to transform himself. But this transformation must take place in his innermost self, in his thought-life. It’s not enough that I show respect only in my outward bearing; I must have this respect in my thoughts. The student must begin by absorbing this devotion into his thought-life. He must be wary of thoughts of disrespect, of adverse criticism, existing in his consciousness, and he must endeavour straight away to cultivate thoughts of devotion.

Every moment that we set ourselves to discover in our consciousness whatever there remains in it as adverse, disparaging and critical judgement of the world and of life; every such moment brings us nearer to higher knowledge. And we rise rapidly when we fill our consciousness in such moments with thoughts evoking in us admiration, respect and veneration for the world and for life. It is well known to those experienced in these matters that in every such moment powers are awakened which otherwise remain dormant. In this way the spiritual eyes of man is awakened. He begins to see things around him which he could have not seen before. He begins to understand that hitherto he had only seen a part of the world around him.
– Rudolf Steiner, How to Know Higher Worlds

One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

You cannot buy the revolution.
You cannot make the revolution.
You can only be the revolution.
It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.
– Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed

Because how would he ever know,
now, how much or little truth there was in this?
And how would he ever know how much
or little it had to do with himself?
– Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road

If Buddha came to New York City,
how would he come? Why not as a driver on the Third Avenue bus? What better way
to really be in contact with people?”

My car broke down and Maharajji said,
“Take it to Delhi to have it fixed.”

I thought, What does he know about cars? I’ll have it fixed here in Nainital. So they tried and they tried and they couldn’t fix it. I went to Maharajji and said, “They can’t fix the car in Nainital.”
Maharajji said, “Take it to Delhi.”

I said, “Maharajji, it would mean renting a truck to put it on and driving 200 miles to Delhi!”
Maharajji said, “Take it to Delhi.”

Again I thought, What does he know about cars? He’s a silly old man. There was a Volkswagen repair place in Almora. So I contacted them, and for weeks they wouldn’t come. I went back to Maharajji and said, “The Volkswagen people in Almora won’t come. They’re German mechanics.”
Maharajji said, “Take it to Delhi.”

So I finally figured, all right, I’ll take it to Delhi. We rented a truck and put the car aboard;
Krishna Das drove down with it on the big truck. We got to Delhi and took it off the truck at the garage. The man reached in back and touched a wire . . . and the car started.

Just a silly old man.
What does he know about cars?
– Ram Dass, Changing Lenses

We are continually faced with great opportunities which are brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems.
– Margaret Mead

I remember the first time I realized the world we are born into is not the one we leave.
– Mary Ruefle

Even though the sun is always there, it will only be seen once the wind has blown away the clouds. Likewise, when the wind of dharma practice has blown away the clouds of obscurations, the nature of mind will appear.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

If we were never bewildered,
there would never be a story
to tell about us.
– Henry James

The path of the seeker is full of pitfalls
and temptations, and the seeker must walk it alonewith God. I would recommend that you keep your feet on the ground and your thoughtsat lofty heights, so that you may attract only good.

Concentrate on giving so that you may
open yourself to receiving;
concentrate on living according to the light you have so thatyou may open yourself to more light; get as much light as possible through the inner way.

If such receiving seems difficult, look for some inspiration from a beautiful flower or a beautiful landscape, from some beautiful music or some beautiful words. However, that which is contacted from without must be confirmed within before it is yours.

In my work I have chosen the positive approach. I never think of myself as protesting against something, but rather as witnessing
for harmonious living. Those who witness for,
present solutions. Those who witness against, usually do not–they dwell on what iswrong, resorting to judgment and criticism
and sometimes even name-calling.
Naturally,the negative approach has
a detrimental effect on the person who uses it, while thepositive approach has a good effect. When an evil is attacked, the evil mobilizes,
although it may have been weak and unorganized before, and therefore the attack gives itvalidity and strength.

When there is no attack, but instead good influences are brought tobear upon the situation, not only does the evil tend to fade away, but the evildoer tends tobe transformed. The positive approach inspires; the negative approach makes angry.

When you make people angry, they act in accordance with their base instincts, often
violently and irrationally. When you inspire people, they act in accordance with their
higher instincts, sensibly and rationally. Also, anger is transient, whereas inspiration
sometimes has life-long effect.
– Peace Pilgrim

“Not what we experience, but how we perceive what we experience, determines our fate.”

No es lo que experimentamos, sino cómo percibimos lo que experimentamos, lo que determina nuestro destino.

– Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach.

INNER SILENCE
We live among sounds both pleasing and discordant. We often find ourselves assailed by unwelcome noises from sources over which we have little control-TV and radio trivia from our neighbours, jackhammers in the street, planes buzzing overhead, even the drone of conversations conducted by others. This is why silence is regarded as a positive value. Suddenly we find ourselves alone again, with no unwanted demands on our attention, and it is as if we have stumbled upon a long-lost treasure. Silence is the natural state of the spirit. In its truest form it is found only within, in the core of the self, which is indistinguishable from the spirit. If we know how to access this inner silence, we unfailingly find it, because it is always there, and always has been.

To connect with inner silence and to attain spiritual awareness, a true acquaintance with the self, are one and the same thing. How do we penetrate the walls of noise that surround spirit? External noises are relatively easy to avoid, but it is more difficult to muffle the din of ego. Our egotistical attachments, emotions and anxieties create an inner clamour, which we must learn how to quieten.

For this, we do not need esoteric, demanding techniques, simply a willingness to listen to the silence symphony of the self, whatever other noises claim our attention both inside and outside the concert hall.
– MIKE GEORGE

If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.
– Loren Eiseley

I am in the mood to dissolve in the sky.
– Virginia Woolf

We are all like the cells in one body. If our elbow is sick and inflamed, we don’t say “bloody elbow! Cut it off”! We do everything we can to heal it because without it, we are less able, less useful, less whole. There are cells in the body of humankind screaming in pain. It is the responsibility of all of the rest of the cells to rush to their aid.
– Susan Harding Sheper

Maybe the answer is to fight always for what you particularly love, not for abstractions and not against anything: don’t fight against even the devil, and don’t fight to ‘save the world.’
– Wendell Berry

People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you?!
– Greta Thunberg

HOW ANGELS SLEEP
Unsoundly. They toss and turn, trying to understand the mystery of the living. They know so little about what it’s like to fill a new prescription for glasses and suddenly see the world again, with a mixture of disappointment and gratitude.

Also, they don’t dream. For this reason, they have one less thing to talk about. In a backward way, when they wake up they feel as if there is something they are forgetting to tell each other. There is disagreement among the angels as to whether this is a result of something vestigial, or whether it is the result of the empathy they feel for the Living, so powerful it sometimes makes them weep. In general, they fall into these two camps on the subject of dreams. Even among the angels, there is the sadness of division.
– Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

Not everybody will play the same role in the revolution. You have to respect that.

Somebody has to watch the kids.
Somebody has to stack the money to bail folks out.
Somebody has to stay home making sandwiches to ensure everybody is fed.
Somebody has to be praying and looking out for spiritual wellbeing.
Somebody has to be the encourager-keeping everybody lifted.
Somebody has to be the informant- keeping us up to date
Somebody has to be the strategic analyst- helping navigate the next move
Somebody has to march
Somebody has to riot
Somebody has to be the mediator
Somebody has to be the ally

Respect folks’ positions. We won’t all move the same way- but yet we are all needed to reach the common goal.
– Christle Reed

The soul cares less about ‘right’ and ‘wrong,’ and more about what is nourishing or not.
– Thomas Moore

The Buddha’s Last Instruction
by Mary Oliver

“Make of yourself a light,”
said the Buddha,
before he died.
I think of this every morning
as the east begins
to tear off its many clouds
of darkness, to send up the first
signal — a white fan
streaked with pink and violet,
even green.
An old man, he lay down
between two sala trees,
and he might have said anything,
knowing it was his final hour.
The light burns upward,
it thickens and settles over the fields.
Around him, the villagers gathered
and stretched forward to listen.
Even before the sun itself
hangs, disattached, in the blue air,
I am touched everywhere
by its ocean of yellow waves.
No doubt he thought of everything
that had happened in his difficult life.
And then I feel the sun itself
as it blazes over the hills,
like a million flowers on fire —
clearly I’m not needed,
yet I feel myself turning
into something of inexplicable value.
Slowly, beneath the branches,
he raised his head.
He looked into the faces of that frightened crowd.

Learn to do good; seek justice;
correct oppression.
– Isaiah 1:17

Claude Monet:

Everyone discusses my art and pretends
to understand, as if it were necessary
to understand, when it is simply necessary
to love.

I can’t understand why people are frightened
of new ideas.
I’m frightened of the old ones.
– John Cage

My feeling is that mythic forms
reveal themselves gradually in the course
of your life if you know what they are
and how to pay attention to their emergence. My own initiation into the mythic depths
of the unconscious has been through the mind, through the books that surround me
in this library. I have recognized in my quest
all the stages of the hero’s journey.
I had my calls to adventure, my guides, demons, and illuminations.
– Man and Myth: A Conversation with Joseph Campbell, Psychology Today, July 1971

In our modern world, people are now becoming so concerned about their outer appearance, that they often neglect their inner appearance.

Just how you look in a mirror, and wash away the dirt from your body, and dress it with clothes, it is so important to look inside your mind, and wash away the dirt of ignorance, anger, and desire, and dress it with wisdom and compassion.

– Chamtrul Rinpoche

How did it come down to this? We’ve gone from flowers to fists. These poison words from lips which used to kiss, how did it come down to this?

Love grows more slowly than fear. I used up all I had to draw you near. When rage overtakes, kindness disappears. Love grows more slowly than fear…
– Peter Himmelman

There is hope in people, not in society, not in systems, but in you and me.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

One hundred ten billion (110,000,000,000) humans have existed on this planet in the span of the last two hundred thousand (200,000) years. This is a reasonable order of magnitude estimate, reliable within a population uncertainty of five to ten billion. Incidentally, this is the same order of magnitude of stars that inhabit the Milky Way galaxy.

How many supernatural agents [gods, goddesses, celestials, angels, and demons] have existed in human minds?

A number of people have posited there are as many gods as there have been individual human subjective ideas of them. We can count amongst those obvious divine beings of myth, human behaviors toward other people and things — behaviors which, phenomenologically and psychologically, exhibit the equivalency of god-like worship, devotion, and dedication.

Our parents are our first gods — followed by other people such as lovers and celebrities. Historically, celestial bodies, abstractions, ideologies, and institutions such as churches and governments; science, money, wealth, and economics may be counted as gods in that they’ve been just as revered and worshipped with the same [or considerably more] investments in trust, faith, hope, attention, devotion and dedication.
One might even count the “gods of addiction” — namely obsession, compulsion, or possession by sex, drugs, relationships, gambling, sports, extreme high-adrenaline adventure, material acquisition technological gadgetry, health & body perfectionism plastic surgery, dieting, and weight loss, etc.

Keep in mind that literal divine beings are not categorically immortal — many are born, live out their story, and die in religious myths and legends throughout the millennia — for example, Egyptian and Babylonian gods, and the embodied god of Christianity to name but a a few — death, resurrection, and consumption of gods has been a recurring archetype since pre-history. We think we’ve outgrown such superstitious mythmaking when in fact, the gods never die — they just morph their archetypal influence into more sophisticated forms, abstractions, and institutions.

Taking the above into consideration, one may argue with reasonable confidence that there have been something on the order of at least one trillion (1,000,000,000,000) supernatural agents over the span of human history. We have worshipped the gods of our choosing based on subjective experience — we dedicate ourselves to those gods that ring true, feel right, and work for each individual. Succinctly stated, there is a god for each of our anthropomorphic [and theopomorphic] projections.

Which of these gods do you worship?
An honest answer includes a sober recognition that
the gods we individually worship
are not precisely the same gods
that have lent an equal measure of subjective truth and meaning
to one hundred billion
of our human predecessors.

– Andrew Kent Hagel

Answers
They ask what I believe in—
Sour milk: the curdle & butter of it
Baby’s breath ragged with phlegm
The green sheen clinging to her skin like algae
The bone & teeth of us mossy and alive with DNA

But what’s your religion, they’re after—
What gods do you pray to?
The frilly curtains of her laughter
remodeling alla my pain
Oh, how she adorns this house of mine

So god’s a woman? (hands on they hips)
How water ain’t a woman
the way she make your thirst
her temperamental breasts
& everywhere everything everyone everywhichway—water

Well, who your altars honor?
The ghosts that inhabit us
& all the evidence of them:
double vision—floaters flecking
our periphery when we look away

from the light—all the mouths
at the bottom of our stomach—
Ever wonder why we eat two plates
& still hungry? Or how our anger
multiplies in seconds like a kitchen

of negro roaches? Yes, even the roaches
have melanin black/brown with the spirits
of wayward witches I burn candles
& pour brown liquor out for my bitches
& they glorious golden auras

To what churches do you tithe?
Our Lady of Ladled Magnificence
God of Ghetto Grace Incorporated
Our Mother Who Art in Harlem
House of Regurgitated Resurrections

Have you ever been possessed?
We ain’t never not been owned
not with all that restless bone
sediment at the bottom of the Atlantic
wonder why we frantic with personalities

How we sing with three throats
bending notes weeping willow
What are trees if not spirits
weeping & dancing simultaneous?
How we dipped our nooses in gold

& hung crosses from them
& wore them like shiny portable altars
How is there not a church in our chests?
How our breasts leak gospel truth
How our teeth ache with the blood of Jesus

Who, then, is your muse?
(pointing) ain’t she a muse amusing
a maze amazing amazon
of our dreams prisms that fracture
into auras & auras that fragment dimensions

Isn’t mourning a religion, then?
Like how all these feelings grow
muscles & flex & jerk inside of me
Like how they can’t kill us even when
they hands scream bloody murder

Like how we show up wearing white
just to spite them—spit at the pulpit
of bullshit & Babylon How we eat
bibles for breakfast Leviticus & grits
Our souls sizzling in the skillet like gizzards

What is the geography of your grief?
Everywhere they are & ain’t
painting the block milk white & sickly
a tricky bluish tint (think: veins under skin)
a sticky blues a blush blood—bluing the block black
– T’ai Freedom Ford

….We can spend our lives cultivating our resentments and cravings, or we can explore the path of the warrior — nurturing open-mindedness and courage. Most of us keep strengthening our negative habits and therefore sow the seeds of our own suffering. The bodhichitta practices, however, are ways for us to sow the seeds of well being. Particularly powerful are the aspiration practices of the four limitless qualities — loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity.
– VD

Like a bear coming out of his den,
I won’t look back at the long winter.
My vitality is gratitude enough
For the places and the times that have mattered.

Bones don’t forget kindred walls and stones,
But memories of grace and death,
Like starlings in the rafters,
Take wing.

To those who have kept abreast,
Fall leaves,
In step with the wind,
Are my gratitudes,
Sniffing for gravity’s loopholes.
– George Gorman

I judge no being for the mistakes it makes in its journey through this mystery.
– Nicholas Pierotti

Again I resume the long
lesson: how small a thing
can be pleasing, how little
in this hard world it takes
to satisfy the mind
and bring it to its rest.
– Wendell Berry, Sabbaths

Anyone with any degree of mental toughness
ought to be able to exist
without the things they like most
for a few months at least.

– Georgia O’Keeffe

A crystal takes on the color of the cloth
upon which it is placed, whether white, yellow,
red or black. Likwise, the people with whom
you spend your time whether their influence
is good or bad, will make a huge difference
to the direction your life and practice take.

Spending your time with true spiritual friends will fill you with love for all beings and help you to see how negative attachment and hatred are. Being with such friends, and following
their example, will naturally imbue you
with their good qualities, just as all the birds flying around a golden mountain are bathed
in its golden radiance.

Never forget how swiftly this life will be over, like a flash of summer lightning or the wave
of a hand. Now that you have the opportunity to practice dharma, do not waste
a single moment on anything else.
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

The merit of a style consists precisely in this:
that it delivers the greatest number of ideas in the fewest number of words.
– Aleksandr Veselovsky

The Black Riders
by Cesar Vallejo
(translated by Robert Bly)

There are blows in life so violent—I can’t answer!
Blows as if from the hatred of God; as if before them,
the deep waters of everything lived through
were backed up in the soul . . . I can’t answer!

Not many; but they exist . . . They open dark ravines
in the most ferocious face and in the most bull-like back.
Perhaps they are the horses of that heathen Atilla,
or the black riders sent to us by Death.

They are the slips backward made by the Christs of the soul,
away from some holy faith that is sneered at by Events.
These blows that are bloody are the crackling sounds
from some bread that burns at the oven door.

And man . . . poor man! . . . poor man!
He swings his eyes, as
when a man behind us calls us by clapping his hands;
Swings his crazy eyes, and everything alive
is backed up, like a pool of guilt, in that glance.

There are blows in life so violent . . . I can’t answer!

The action of human solidarity transcends hope.
– Chris Hedges

Buying anti-racist books from Amazon is antithetical. It doesn’t make sense. Don’t do it.
– Harvard Bookstore

Ahmed Ali:
It’s a privilege to learn about
racism instead of experiencing
it your whole life.

There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.
– Auden

Close your mouth, block off your senses, blunt your sharpness, untie your knots, soften your glare…this is the primal identity.
– Lao Tzu

Hostilities aren’t stilled through hostility, regardless.
Hostilities are stilled through non-hostility:
this, an unending truth.
– Buddha, Dhammapada

Whether I blaze
with the fire of hatred
or the fire of compassion,
those who are near me
will be touched by the flames —

But I will be consumed by them.

– Fa Hsing Jeff Miles

The surest way to heaven
that I have ever seen
is a path of earthen brown
through a field of deepest green.
– Fa Hsing Jeff Miles

intelligence is intuitive
you needn’t learn to love
unless you’ve been taught
to fear and hate
– Saul Williams

Interdependence does not eradicate individuation, individuation does not eradicate interdependence.
– Judith Blackstone

I am not separate from the deaths, the demands,
and the dealings, the disasters, the deceits,
the demagogues, and the diplomacy.

This is our incompleteness, our separation,
our greed at work. Let me own my part.
The world’s hunger is mine.
The world’s helplessness is mine.
The world’s failure to love is mine.
Sober me to this connection in my life.
Let the news be printed on my conscience.
Help me bear it.

– Gunilla Norris, Being Home

Breath by breath, let go of fear, expectation, anger, regret, cravings, frustration, fatigue. Let go of the need for approval. Let go of old judgments and opinions. Die to all that, and fly free. Soar in the freedom of desirelessness. Let go. Let Be. See through everything and be free, complete, luminous, at home–at ease.
– Lama Surya Das

No one on Earth can cause you so much trouble as you can yourself.
– Meša Selimović – The Fortress

lord knows I have been called by what I look like
more than I have been called by what I actually am
– Hanif Abdurraqib

dear reader, with our heels digging into the good
mud at a swamp’s edge, you might tell me something
about the dandelion & how it is not a flower itself
but a plant made up of several small flowers at its crown
& lord knows I have been called by what I look like
more than I have been called by what I actually am
– Hanif Abdurraqib

Ethics is at the center of both spiritual practice and social transformation. Without a strong ethical foundation, we inevitably fall into contradictions between means and ends, between our actions and our ideals.
– Donald Rothberg

There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.
– Auden

Callings
Do you hear yourself being called
to places that are far away,
beckoned by landscapes
intimately known and unimaginable?
Does it feel as if only strangers
can speak your name?
You must leave home.
You must leave HOME!
Escape the walls of your
upbringing any way you
can.
Caterpillars do it.
Travel far and wide,
get lost,
be robbed,
over and over again,
realize that the world is big,
you are small.
Forget who you believed
yourself to be,
who you thought
others thought you were.
Become someone who can’t
answer simple questions like,
“What do you do?”
Fail.
Totally and completely fail
to reach your intended destination,
though carrying a map and compass.
You are where you need to be
the moment after you
give up on all the landmarks.
Sit down and cry out
all of your laments.
Cry out the laments
all your ancestors
feared to cry.
You are indeed walking
in circles,
downward,
inward,
along a path marked
“Grief and Despair”
that leads directly
to soul.
You have arrived.
Arrived at the place
you began
that it killed you to leave.
There is no entrance,
nor exit.
Never was.
When people ask you to tell the
story of your travels,
your journey,
of the road you have taken,
do so by living your life,
ecstatically.
Now you are human.
– Jamie K. Reaser

Unless it grows out of yourself no knowledge is really yours, it is only borrowed plumage.
– D.T. Suzuki

Just as cold is dispelled by heat, its opposite, anger and #lovingkindness counter one another.
– Dalai Lama XIV

Intuitive Zen:
Whether you sacrifice yourself to it or fight it, you empower it with your own energy.

Having no destination, I am never lost.
– Ikkyu

Rumi:
You and I have spoken all these words but, for the way we have to go, words are no preparation. Only grace will get us ready.

The torture of being the unseen object, and the constantly observed subject.
– Amiri Baraka

MONEY MADNESS
Money is our madness, our vast collective madness.
And of course, if the multitude is mad
the individual carries his own grain of insanity around with him.
I doubt if any man living hands out a pound note with-out a pang;
and a real tremor, if he hands out a ten-pound note.
We quail, money makes us quail.
It has got us down, we grovel before it in strange terror.
And no wonder, for money has a fearful cruel power among men.
But it is not money we are so terrified of,
it is the collective money-madness of mankind.
For mankind says with one voice: How much is he worth?
Has he no money? Then let him eat dirt, and go cold. –
And if I have no money, they will give me a little bread
so I do not die,
but they will make me eat dirt with it.
I shall have to eat dirt, I shall have to eat dirt
if I have no money.
It is that that I am frightened of.
And that fear can become a delirium.
It is fear of my money-mad fellow-men.
We must have some money
to save us from eating dirt.
And this is all wrong.
Bread should be free,
shelter should be free,
fire should be free
to all and anybody, all and anybody, all over the world.
We must regain our sanity about money
before we start killing one another about it.
It’s one thing or the other.
– D. H. Lawrence

Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche:
There is no simple solution to the world’s problems. We can’t impose an improved structure for society from the outside. We can’t remedy greed, aggression, and confusion with a pill. I believe there is only one way to bring about greater harmony in society and the environment, both locally and globally. This is for individuals like ourselves to work on our own minds and hearts so we can change from within.

Best be still; best be empty.
In stillness and emptiness
we find where to abide.
Talking and moving we lose the place.
– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

The most urgent filmmaking anybody’s doing in this country right now is by black people with camera phones.
– Wesley Morris

Grandma, how do you deal with pain?
With your hands, dear. When you do it with your mind, the pain hardens even more.
With your hands, grandma?
Yes, yes. Our hands are the antennas of our soul. When you move them by sewing, cooking, painting, touching the earth or sinking it into the earth, they send signals of caring to the deepest part of you and your soul calms down.
This way she doesn’t have to send pain anymore to show it.
Are hands really that important?
Yes, my girl. Thinking of babies: they get to know the world thanks to their touches. When you look at the hands of older people, they tell more about their lives than any other part of the body. Everything that is made by hand, so is said, is made with the heart because it really is like this: hands and heart are connected. Masseuses know this: When they touch another person’s body with their hands, they create a deep connection. Thinking of lovers: When their hands touch, they love each other in the most sublime way.
My hand’s grandma… how long haven’t I used them like that!
Move them, my girl, start creating with them and everything in you will move. The pain will not pass away. But it will be the best masterpiece. And it won’t hurt anymore. Because you managed to embroider your essence.
– Elena Barnabé

Every attitude we assume, ever word we utter, and every act we undertake establishes us in relation to others.
– Stephen Batchelor

When I was a chef for my Zen teacher, I had to be very good at what I did. It’s the mindful eating thing – you take small bites, you eat slowly, you focus your attention on every bite, every ingredient. Nothing worse than eating a bad meal mindfully.
– B. D. Schiers

Only by adopting a new path—which means, in truth, returning to the original path of our founding ideals—will we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad.
– James Mattis

Before I learned mindfulness, I had a mind full of thoughts. After I learned mindfulness, the thoughts are still there, I just don’t attach to them. I don’t allow them to crowd out the essence of reality and what is important.
– B. D. Schiers

The pollution of the planet is only an outward reflection of an inner psychic pollution: millions of unconscious individuals not taking responsibility for their inner space.
– Eckhart Tolle

In the Year of Permutations
by Mai Der Vang – 1981
Go live with yourself after what you didn’t do.
Go and be left behind. Pre-package
your defense, tell yourself
you were doing
your oath, guarding the futility of
your corrupted good,
discerning the currency of some.
As if them over all else.
Over us.
Above God and Spirit.
You over me, you think.
This is no shelter in justice not sheltering with
enclosure of soft iron a sheltering of injustices
into an inferno flooding of your crimes committed
and sheltered by most culprit of them all.
These nesting days come
outward springs of truth,
dismantle the old structures,
their impulse for colony—I am done
with it, the likes of you.
To perpetrate.
To perpetrate lack of closure, smolders of unrest.
To perpetrate long days alone, centuries gone deprived.
To be complicit in adding to the
perpetration of power on a neck,
there and shamed,
court of ancestors to disgrace
you, seeing and to have done nothing.
Think you can be like them.
Work like them.
Talk like them.
Never truly to be accepted,
always a pawn.

I personally believe that the problems coming at us are too large to be solved by egoic awareness, even well-intentioned, collectively organized egoic awareness. There is a structural relationship between the self-interest and short-sightedness that has created this crisis and the nature of the ego itself. I do not believe that we can grow the planet into a greater whole as long as we remain psychologically fragmented ourselves. If the private ego remains in control of our lives, we will remain a divided people, and if that happens we will likely perish. The ego of the private self built our divided world and is being consumed by the fires that are consuming this world.

In order to solve this impending crisis, we desperately need to grow up as a species, to shift from what Duane Elgin call our adolescent self to our adult self. From a reincarnational perspective, “growing up” means owning and integrating the larger consciousness that has been gestating within us for thousands of years. Owning it, seeing the world through its eyes, and letting its accumulated wisdom shape our choices. The Soul lives in history differently than the ego. In order to solve this crisis, we need to adopt the long-term perspective that is natural to the Soul. The Soul knows that its relationship with this planet extends beyond the limits of its present life. It knows that the Earth we leave behind is the Earth we will inherit in our next incarnation. It knows this and it acts accordingly.
– Christopher Bache, Diamonds from Heaven

I believe that the global system crisis taking place in the world outside us is deeply connected to the evolutionary metamorphosis taking place inside us. As our planet struggles to become more integrated geopolitically, we are struggling to become more integrated psycho-spiritually. As our nations confront the consequences of our political and cultural divisions, we are confronting these same divisions carried in the memory of our former lives. As Earth struggles to become one planet, we are struggling to become one Soul. I believe that these processes are deeply intertwined and mutually reinforcing.
– Christopher Bache, Diamonds from Heaven

Adyashanti:
Belief is the enemy of spirituality—
it gets in the way.
The first thing all spiritual inquiry has to do
is clear the deck.
It’s the open-ended question that’s the great aid to spirituality, a question that’s married to a deeply contemplative perceiving of your experience and also to a kind of devotion.
Unless you empty your mind,
nothing new will enter it.

When we love truth for its own sake, it is actually truth loving itself.
– A. H. Almaas, Runaway Realization

If we want the twenty-first century to be different, if we want healing and transformation, the realization is crucial that we are all one organism, that the well-being of others, the safety of others, is our own safety, our own security… Only that kind of awakening, that kind of insight… can prevent the destruction that has arisen from individualism in the twentieth century.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Keep your love of nature,
for that is the true way
to understand art more and more.
– Vincent Van Gogh

I’ll rise up as a poem.
– Marina Tsvetaeva

For she was of that generation
who, having found nothing in religion,
had formed themselves through literature.
– Doris Lessing

I think in images.
– Vladimir Nabokov

Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before. Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.
– Alice Walker, Living by the Word

Hope is tough.
It’s tougher to be uncertain than certain.
It’s tougher to take chances than to be safe.
And so hope is often seen as weakness,
because it’s vulnerable,
but it takes strength to enter into that vulnerability
of being open to the possibilities.
– Rebecca Solnit

What do I think of Western civilization? I think it would be a very good idea.
– Ghandi

Sigh

Mother tongue of the soul
a sigh needs no translation
universal breath

Past words
over their heads
quietly heard
noble air

Melancholy music
played by the spirit
on the harp strings
of the heart

Sighs escape
unguarded

Proofs of endurance
evidence of excess luggage
plaintive protests
wrapped in acceptance
wistful winds on wings

From the depths
to the heights

They hover in the air
rise and return
in the form of rain
when clouds sigh, in turn
and wash us clean, again
with their tears.
– Yahia Lababidi

Try to forget yourself
and rely on your voice,
your voiceless voice,
your non-verbal voice.
– Shunryu Suzuki

It is like being in the desert. At first you listen to the absence of sounds and call it silence. Then suddenly you may be taken by the presence of stillness where you are one with listening itself.
– Jean Klein

You have a secret work
inside your work,
the business of the heart
inside the heart.
The energy comes from gratitude,
the connection a root feels
with the sun.
You feel that same dark warmth
when you melt and stir the ghee
of Being into doing.
A new kind of doing is born.
For the white-throated sparrow
it’s the labor of a song,
the golden industry of silence
in the hour before dawn.
– Fred LaMotte

It’s not just about trying…
It is about learning.

If the script stays the same, that is an indication that there is stagnation in learning.

In a moment in which every comment thread, video clip, identity script, political statement and news story is generating division– I ask myself if I have already said the thing I am about to say. If so, it’s time to stop, learn more, change angles, expand the edges, go deeper.

Coherence & continuance of the existing destructive systems require these divisions.

Continuance of life & humanity?
– Nora Bateson

If a June night could talk, 
it would probably boast 
it invented romance.
– Bernard Williams

My challenge as a writer was not to describe, but to interact. Not to confirm, but to animate and resurrect.
– Judith Kitchen

Joanna Macy:
The heart that breaks open 
can contain the whole universe.

If you compose your emancipation and your idea of justice within the epistemology of your oppressor, you risk a victory that reinforces the conditions of your enslavement.
– Bayo Akomolafe

I don’t think we can rely on governments, regardless of who is in power, to do the work that only mass movements can do.
– Angela Y. Davis, Freedom Is a Constant Struggle

We spend our lives searching for meaning in ourselves, engaged in deep conversations with our ‘inner child’, meditating on a mat indoors, trained to be ever-mindful of what’s going on inside us – our breath and our thoughts and emotions – when so much of the meaning we need is beneath our feet, in the plants and animals around us, in the air we breathe. We swaddle ourselves so tightly in the centrality of our own self-referential humanness that we forget that we are creatures of the earth, and also need to connect with the earth. We need to get out of the confines of our own heads. We need – we badly need – grounding; we need to find our anchor in place, wherever it is that we live. Once we find that anchor, so many of our problems fade away. And once we find that anchor, so often we uncover the nature of our true work, the nature of the gift we can offer up to the world.
– Sharon Blackie

THE WORLD IS GOING TO WAKE US UP
This world needs tremendous help. Everybody’s in trouble.
Sometimes they pretend not to be,
but still, there’s a lot of pain and hardship. Everybody, every minute,
is tortured, suffering a lot. We shouldn’t just ignore them and save ourselves alone.
That would be a tremendous crime.
In fact, we can’t just save ourselves,
because our neighbors are moaning
and groaning all over the place.
So even if we could just save ourselves,
we wouldn’t have a peaceful sleep.
The rest of the world is going to wake us up with their pain.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

ink and blood

cyclic waves crashing
against a rocky shore

this dust-ridden mind
goes back and forth

between the severing pain of these times

a self-saturation
with which
I have always done battle

and the
Liberated True Perception
of the One Heart-Mind
beneath it all.

Rising early,
before the sun of day,
I follow the old instructions
of the sages who tread this path before.

I remember
Mahakashyapa’s smile
from the old story.

I think of the “cave lion
(Bodhidharma).

I push on
with this ancient way
of sitting like a mountain
wander in the trees
pen a poem
sip some wine
relax.

Suddenly, vigilance fades.
I become a sand castle
washed out to sea;
a boat capsizing in troubled waters.

Forgetting all progress,
these feet lose their footing.
Once again,
I am smashed
onto the rocks.

I would invoke
this or that bodhisattva,
but then I hear the teacher’s words:

Any buddha
outside your own mind
is an apparition.
Head into the mountains.
Enter the Womb-Cave.
Remain until the deluded self
dies again to the Greater Self.

– hawk of the pines

How would you have us, as we are?
Or sinking ‘neath the load we bear?

– James Weldon Johnson

You are who I love, writing letters, calling the senators, you who, with the seconds of your body (with your time here), arrive on buses, on trains, in cars, by foot to stand in the January streets against the cool and brutal offices, saying: YOUR CRUELTY DOES NOT SPEAK FOR ME.
– Aracelis Girmay

No matter what we’re going through, faith in life means believing that there’s always more beyond the condition of our understanding.
– Mark Nepo

Khandro-la:
Dedicate your life to altruism,
to serving others, to developing love, compassion and warmheartedness.

This is so wholesome that it will create
the natural result of more happiness.

Dissent is a heroic legacy of the ancestors

I write myself out of a tight ball each day,
out of a very small place,
out of an echo chamber of self-doubt.
I write not because I am an expert, but because, at
the end of my life, I want to know what freedom
feels like.
I want to know how my body feels when
it is no longer under the weight of water,
internalized oppression.
I want to name all the things,
because I finally see
that personal healing cannot happen without
naming the all the systems of oppression,
without dismantle.

My ancestors are waiting, as are the trees, the falcon,
the redwing blackbird with its calliope sound of bamboo chimes.
We have not gone through the histories to lay down
the fight.

Gimme some mettle, I say. And they say:
look down
at whose shoulders you are standing on.

m.s.
#SisterSummer Desiree Lynn Adaway

In 1989, thirteen nations comprising 1,695,000,000 people experienced nonviolent revolutions that succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest expectations. . . . If we add all the countries touched by major nonviolent actions in our century (the Philippines, South Africa . . . the independence movement in India . . .), the figure reaches 3,337,400,000, a staggering 65% of humanity! All this in the teeth of the assertion, endlessly repeated, that nonviolence doesn’t work in the ‘real’ world.
– Walter Wink

How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow? I must have a dark side also If I am to be whole.
– C.G. Jung

A childhood without books — that would be no childhood. That would be like being shut out from the enchanted place where you can go and find the rarest kind of joy.
– Astrid Lindgren

Those who inflict pain on others out of their confusion and ignorance are a small minority of this world’s seven billion plus people. If we lose perspective and overestimate their prevalence, then our inspiration will be hijacked by skepticism and negative thinking. There are those—especially in extreme religious groups and some portions of the media and politics—who attempt to serve their own agendas by promoting negative, polarizing thinking. There are others who have no agenda but are habitually negative. But if our aim is to open our heart and let its natural, exuberant warmth spread to others, we must not let this kind of thinking infiltrate our mind.

– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

Walking With Wisdom: Mother Teressa on Silence

We cannot find God in noise and agitation. Nature: trees, flowers, and grass grow in silence. The stars, the moon, and the sun move in silence. What is essential is not what we say but what God tells us and what He tells others through us. In silence He listens to us; in silence He speaks to our souls. In silence we are granted the privilege of listening to His voice.
Silence of our eyes.
Silence of our ears.
Silence of our mouths.
Silence of our minds.
…in the silence of the heart
God will speak.
Silence of the heart is necessary so you can hear God everywhere – in the closing of the door, in the person who needs you, in the birds that sing, in the flowers, in the animals.
If we are careful of silence it will be easy to pray.

– St. Teresa of Calcutta

Another method is to meditate upon the real Lama in the center of your heart.
Keep your mind fixed on him [or, her] for as long as possible, and then, finally, letting go, rest in the state of Knowledge.

Or again, meditate upon a tiny point of bright light in the center of your heart. Imagine it descending until it reaches the Seat of Indra (the navel center). This method will certainly destroy diffused and rampant thought.
When agitation is stilled, rest in the state of Knowledge. When torpor is present, sharpen your gaze, and after stripping Knowledge naked, sustain the radiance.

– Flight of the Garuda, Shabkar Lama

I had a great, great fear
that I was bent on doing something
for which I have no ability,
and that took years and years to get rid of.
TharI was dedicating my life to something
I was not fit for.

– Mavis Gallant

The Internet is a useful communication platform, and an increasingly important one…but books, oh, books are more than paper and ink. They are powerful medicine. Real books, I mean. Physical books, sitting on the dusty shelves of my studio and surrounding me like old friends, dog-earred and battered with love and use, their pages thick with margin notes and underlines. How could I ever doubt that art matters? Words have saved me over and over. Words are saving me right now. Books are what I turn to when the world grows dark, and they never fail to give me strength.
– Terri Windling

Solidarity is based on the principle that we are willing to put ourselves at risk to protect each other.

– Starhawk

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi:

I discovered that it is necessary,
absolutely necessary, to believe in nothing.
That is, we have to believe in something
which has no form and no color–
something which exists
before all forms and colors appear…
No matter what god
or doctrine you believe in,
if you become attached to it,
your belief will be based
more or less on a self-centered idea.”

Faith is a state of openness or trust…
In other words,
a person who is fanatic in matters of religion,
and clings to certain ideas
about the nature of God and the universe,
becomes a person who has no faith at all.
Instead they are holding tight.
But the attitude of faith is to let go,
and become open to the truth,
whatever it might turn out to be.

Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark. In effect, the people who change our lives the most begin to sing to us when we are still in darkness. If we listen to their song, we will see the dawning of a new part of ourselves.

– Rabindranath Tagore

Chögyam Trungpa:

Acknowledging foolishness
is a very powerful and important experience.

Like the shooting star, the mirage, the flame,
Optical illusion, dew drop and bubble on the water,
The dream, the lightning and the cloud,
Consider everything composed.
– SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA, 5th century BC

One unkind thing done or said can topple the fragile balance in a family or in a community. The opposite is also true–one kind thing done and said can restore balance. These small, but profound task done daily work towards mending the ruptures we find around us. Even the smallest of things can be agents of grace.
– Gunilla Norris

The essay paradigm is filled with both doubt and wonder, seeking not a dominion over but harmony with the world, a recognition of each individual’s insignificance and the mind’s inability to do more than make limited and subjective tests of truth.
– Patrick Madden

Chogyam Trungpa ~ THE TRUTH OF THE PATH

Letting go is only possible for short periods. We need some discipline to bring us to “letting be.” We must walk a spiritual path. Ego must wear itself out like an old shoe, journeying from suffering to liberation. The truth of the spiritual path, the practice of meditation, is the Fourth Noble Truth taught by the Buddha.

– Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chögyam Trungpa

Continuous Dissatisfaction ~ Chögyam Trungpa
Whether we eat, sleep, work, play, whatever we do life contains dissatisfaction, pain. If we enjoy pleasure, we are afraid to lose it; we strive for more and more pleasure or try to contain it. If we suffer pain we want to escape it. We experience dissatisfaction all the time. All activities contain dissatisfaction or pain, continuously.
– Chögyam Trungpa from the book Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

Lack of awareness of the basic unity of organism and environment is a serious and dangerous hallucination.

– Alan Watts

Où va l’attention, l’énergie circule.

Where focus goes, energy flows.

– Tony Robbins

SEVEN SIMPLE RULES FOR LIFE IN HIDING
1) Never trust a cop in a raincoat.
2) Beware of enthusiasm and of love, both are temporary and quick to sway.
3) If asked if you care about the world’s problems, look deep into the eyes of he who asks, he will never ask you again.
4) Never give your real name.
5) If ever asked to look at yourself, don’t look.
6) Never do anything the person standing in front of you can’t understand.
7) Never create anything, it will be misinterpreted, it will chain you and follow you for the rest of your life.
– Hunter S. Thompson

Out of patience comes joy….you can be there on the spot and celebrate what you have.
– Chogyam Trungpa

Walk, don’t run.
That’s it.
Walk, don’t run.

Slow down, breathe deeply,
and open your eyes because there’s
a whole world right here within this one.
The bush doesn’t suddenly catch on fire,
it’s been burning the whole time.

Moses is simply moving
slowly enough to see it. And when he does,
he takes off his sandals.

Not because
the ground has suddenly become holy,
but because he’s just now becoming aware that
the ground has been holy the whole time.

Efficiency is not God’s highest goal for your life,
neither is busyness,
or how many things you can get done in one day,
or speed, or even success.

But walking,
which leads to seeing,
now that’s something.
That’s the invitation for every one of us today,
and everyday, in every conversation, interaction,
event, and moment: to walk, not run. And in doing so,
to see a whole world right here within this one.

– Rob Bell

It’s a neutral given. But disastrous, as it is considered. We are often unaware. We are not aware of the fact that we discriminate against: by colour, social class, by gender. And sometimes, sometimes a thought comes up that corrects us, tells us what we do is not quite good. But then we throw the canvas over it that silenced the parrot.

We don’t want to face our imperfections.

We want to sit on board the luxury yacht and feed the sharks with our excess shrimp snacks. We want to drink champagne but don’t think about the grape pickers who work for a minimum wage sweat. We don’t want any responsibility for the past, for the present and for now. That we have colonized whole countries and that our prosperity is still due to the robbing of those countries, we don’t want to think about that. We’ll have another glass.
We prefer to have another glass because it’s too painful. There is also a realization that this is not good but it is too painful to admit, too outrageous to say that our ancestors did not act purely. So we maintain what was, we suppress women, discriminate against someone with a different color or another class and we’ll have another glass.

The fact that there is discrimination is not only what hurts the person who is discriminated against, it is more and more denial that it is there, silence and therefore fully admit that it still works like this in the world. There is still discrimination. And it hurts horribly to admit that I still discriminate against myself. But it is. And in admitting, in acknowledging it, lies my salvation. And in acknowledging it, there can be a closer approach. The other doesn’t need satisfaction, he knows what’s up, or what has been. And in recognition lurks the beginning of reconciliation. With something that was, with something that has been. With something that’s not necessary. With something that is also not true.
Every species is equal to the other, whether you like it or not. A flower is worth no less than a bird, a bird no more than a rain shower, a mood no bigger than a human. A human not more important than a lice. A white man worth nothing more than a black or yellow fellow man. Together, that makes the whole story. And as soon as you discriminate against or not feeling connected to that what surrounds you, you tell a lie, discriminate against, limit yourself and short your own life.

In acknowledging that everything there is equally matters, the salvation. From you, mine, from the ant, the clouds, the sky, the earth. We are. And we are at our best when we are connected to everything and everyone. Then even all environmental problems solve, after all, we really know what is important.
We live in a misunderstanding now. A horrific misunderstanding. Discrimination is nothing but ranking yourself higher in the pitch order. And with that you create your own downfall, and the other one. And eventually of the world. Because in recognizing each other’s equality and in an equal togetherness wins everything, everyone wins. Yes, even the earth will make a dance of joy in the universe. But it asks man a knee trap. And in that surrender is his resurrection.
– Jan of Kessel

We’re always part of something larger than our condition, and the circumstance we’re in—real and consuming as it can be—is not the condition of the Whole.
– Mark Nepo

We live in challenging and changing times that are unprecedented in human history. Our spiritual insights and practices need to help us respond appropriately. For centuries much of spirituality has been oriented to trascendental and transpersonal realms and experiences; in some cases, the physical world – and our physical selves – have even been seen as obstructions to discovering and expressing our true natures which were deemed to be not of this earth. While there is much of value to be found in transpersonal, mystical and trascendental experiences, the challenge of our time is to be a harmonious and collaborative part of the earth. We are asked to be more present to the physical world, not less.
Environmental degradation, climate change, the increase in pollution, and the diminishment of fossil fuels and other invaluable resources with the consequent rising cost of energy to power our civilizations are not mystical or abstract challenges. They are concrete problems rising from how we relate to the physical world around us, to each other, and to ourselves…
Yet the solutions to them are not entirely physical. In addition to their material causes, these challenges come from attitudes and beliefs we hold, some of them very ancient and rooted in religious and spiritual ways of thinking. To meet the needs of our time, we need to reexamine these beliefs and attitudes. We must develop a deeper and more holistic form of spirituality in order to do so. We need spiritual perspectives that enable us to connect to the world more skillfully, intimately and collaboratively…
– David Spangler

This Is the Time to Be Slow
This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.
Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.
If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning
– John O’Donohue

My argument with so much of psychoanalysis, is the preconception that suffering is a mistake, or a sign of weakness, or a sign even of illness. When in fact, possibly the greatest truths we know, have come out of people’s suffering. The problem is not to undo suffering, or to wipe it off the face of the earth, but to make it inform our lives, instead of trying to “cure” ourselves of it constantly, and avoid it, and avoid anything but that lobotomized sense of what they call “happiness”. There’s too much of an attempt, it seems to me, to think in terms of controlling man, rather than freeing him – of defining him, rather than letting him go! It’s part of the whole ideology of this age, which is power-mad!
– Arthur Miller

The Hopi have always had their fingers on the pulse of the planet. And they do now…check this out. Are you going through a portal or down a hole?
Message from White Eagle, Hopi indigenous.
This moment humanity is going through can now be seen as a portal and as a hole. The decision to fall into the hole or go through the portal is up to you.
If you repent of the problem and consume the news 24 hours a day, with little energy, nervous all the time, with pessimism, you will fall into the hole. But if you take this opportunity to look at yourself, rethink life and death, take care of yourself and others, you will cross the portal. Take care of your homes, take care of your body. Connect with your spiritual House.
When you are taking care of yourselves, you are taking care of everything else. Do not lose the spiritual dimension of this crisis; have the eagle aspect from above and see the whole; see more broadly.
There is a social demand in this crisis, but there is also a spiritual demand — the two go hand in hand. Without the social dimension, we fall into fanaticism. But without the spiritual dimension, we fall into pessimism and lack of meaning. You were prepared to go through this crisis. Take your toolbox and use all the tools available to you.
Learn about resistance of the indigenous and African peoples; we have always been, and continue to be, exterminated. But we still haven’t stopped singing, dancing, lighting a fire, and having fun. Don’t feel guilty about being happy during this difficult time.
You do not help at all being sad and without energy. You help if good things emanate from the Universe now. It is through joy that one resists. Also, when the storm passes, each of you will be very important in the reconstruction of this new world.
You need to be well and strong. And for that, there is no other way than to maintain a beautiful, happy, and bright vibration. This has nothing to do with alienation.
This is a resistance strategy. In shamanism, there is a rite of passage called the quest for vision. You spend a few days alone in the forest, without water, without food, without protection. When you cross this portal, you get a new vision of the world, because you have faced your fears, your difficulties.
This is what is asked of you:
Allow yourself to take advantage of this time to perform your vision-seeking rituals. What world do you want to build for you? For now, this is what you can do — serenity in the storm. Calm down, pray every day. Establish a routine to meet the sacred every day.
Good things emanate; what you emanate now is the most important thing. And sing, dance, resist through art, joy, faith, and love.

Jimmy Carter:

It is very nice now 
that when people wave at me, 
they use all their fingers.

And this our life, exempt from public haunt, 
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones.
– William Shakespeare, As You Like It

We die. That may be the meaning of life. 
But we do language. 
That may be the measure of our lives.
– Toni Morrison

The oppressor is solidary with the oppressed only when he stops regarding the oppressed as an abstract category and sees them as persons who have been unjustly dealt with, deprived of their labor—when he stops making pious, sentimental, and individualistic gestures and risks an act of love.
– Paulo Freire

The new mythology to come must be a global mythology, and it’s got to solve the problem of the in-group by showing that there’s no out-group. We’re all members of a society of the planet.
– Joseph Campbell

Just see the person you imagine yourself to be as a part of the world you perceive within your mind, and look at the mind from the outside, for you are not the mind. After all, your only problem is the eager self-identification with whatever you perceive. Give up this habit, remember that you are not what you perceive, use your power of alert aloofness.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Every single one of the old… mythologies reserved love for the in-group, and aggression and denigration were reserved for the out-group. Now, something’s got to break that.
– Joseph Campbell

the winds of change
are picking up strength

winter snows
are losing power

summer is coming
with its bright light

to melt away
the thin layer of white

and much-needed growth
will ripen and flower
– Fa Hsing Jeff Miles

Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.
– Alan D. Wolfelt

All poets are political. We are political by our noise and by our silence.

When a poet writes about trees, she is being political both by what she chooses to write about and what she chooses not to write about.

– Kwame Dawes

The pollution of the planet is only an outward reflection of an inner psychic pollution: millions of unconscious individuals not taking responsibility for their inner space.
– Eckhart Tolle

Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos; trees, clouds, everything.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space that makes it livable.
We work with being, but non-being is what we use.
– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

attica locke:
I’m not going to do the work for you. I’m just not. I’m not gon’ be on a panel. I’m not writing an essay. Y’all are sentient human beings with access to books and high sped internet access. It’s lazy to ask me to explain my humanity to you or to ask me to help you find yours.

You can choose to go through life consciously or unconsciously. Most choose the latter. It’s called auto-pilot. Go to work. Come home. Repeat. It doesn’t leave much to tell your grandchildren about.
– B. D. Schiers

I never again want anyone to say theorizing doesn’t lead to change. Black feminist theory and intersectionality informed the creation of black lives matter. We’d never be this close to change without powerful black queer women organizing & theorizing.
– Andrea Roberts, PhD

Llewellyn Vaughan-lee :
There is a new story waiting to be born, waiting to redeem the planet and nourish our souls. It is a story of a oneness that includes the diversity of creation in a self-sustaining whole, a story that can bring back the magic within nature that is needed to heal our damaged planet. It is a story of co-operation rather than competition or conflict. And it includes the mystery of life as well as the understanding that science can give us. It is also a new story, arising from deep within the psyche of humanity and the world soul at this moment in our and its evolution.
We are not the sole creators of this story, because it is the story of life evolving, recreating itself anew, but we are needed to midwife it into existence. As with all births it needs to come from the inner to the outer world.
Only when we recognize the inner origins of this world-changing story can we participate in this birth. Only when we work together with the symbolic, archetypal world can its power and numinosity come into our existence and speak to the whole of humanity. Only then will this story be heard.
We cannot afford the still-birth of new ideas that lack the life force that comes from the depths. We are called to return to the root of our being where the sacred is born. Then, standing in both the inner and outer worlds, we will find our self to be part of the momentous synchronicity of life giving birth to itself.

I am quite confident that even as the oceans boil, and the hurricanes beat violently against our once safe shores, and the air sweats with the heat of impending doom, and our fists protest the denial of climate justice, that there is a path to take that has nothing to do with victory or defeat: a place we do not yet know the coordinates to; a question we do not yet know how to ask. The point of the departed arrow is not merely to pierce the bullseye and carry the trophy: the point of the arrow is to sing the wind and remake the world in the brevity of flight. There are things we must do, sayings we must say, thoughts we must think, that look nothing like the images of success that have so thoroughly possessed our visions of justice.
May this new decade be remembered as the decade of the strange path, of the third way, of the broken binary, of the traversal disruption, the kairotic moment, the posthuman movement for emancipation, the gift of disorientation that opened up new places of power, and of slow limbs. May this decade bring more than just solutions, more than just a future – may it bring words we don’t know yet, and temporalities we have not yet inhabited. May we be slower than speed could calculate, and swifter than the pull of the gravity of words can incarcerate. And may we be visited so thoroughly, and met in wild places so overwhelmingly, that we are left undone. Ready for composting. Ready for the impossible.
Welcome to the decade of the fugitive.
– Bayo Akomolafe

Defunding the police sounds radical until you realize realize we’ve been defunding education for years.
– T.J. McKay @CoachTJMCKay

It is a tremendous surge of empathy.
It is a passionate and shared and long overdue outrage, a huge and global cry for justice.

And here we are in the Bardo.
In a pause between two realities.
And nobody knows what’s next.
– Laurie Anderson

I understood from a very early time that I would have to revolt.
– Leonor Fini

Some sort of pressure must exist;
the artist exists because the world is not perfect.
Art would be useless if the world were perfect,
as man wouldn’t look for harmony
but would simply live in it.
Art is born out of an ill-designed world.
– Andrei Tarkovsky

All difficulties in prayer can be traced to one cause: praying as if God were absent.
– St. Teresa of Avila

Root out the violence in your life,
and learn to live compassionately and mindfully.
Seek peace.
When you have peace within,
real peace with others is possible.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

The collective egoic mind is the most dangerously insane and destructive entity ever to inhabit this planet. What do you think will happen on this planet if human consciousness remains unchanged?
– Eckhart Tolle

I will go anywhere as long as it’s forward.
– David Livingston

It is a simple truth that we can’t go where we can’t imagine. No one can. In this tumultuous, fearful time, to be able to imagine constructive ways to have more equality, more opportunity for everyone, and more compassion are profoundly vital. That kind of imagination needs nurturing. We need to do it together or it won’t happen. All around us we see that our society has lost its values. We have slipped away from being truly human. To go back to fundamental values, ones that honor life itself is where our imagining needs to go now. I think it is called moral imagination. It begins in the heart of each of us. We may be drops in the bucket, but the buckets will fill and spill new life where it is needed.
– Gunilla Norris

The certitude of natural being is not in any concept. The silent and wordless natural state, like the child consciousness, cannot be conceived or perceived. It is spontaneously present before any thought or concept appears. Being distracted by the conceptual stream is why the sense of ‘not getting there yet’ pervades the mind. Doubt is only a thought. Being is not a concept or thought. Be what you are. Let the mind be free to rest on nothing. Let thoughts come and go. In this way the natural state, seeing-knowing, will reveal that emptiness is your true nature… and the beauty of the entire manifestation will dissolve all boundaries in the mind. The timeless nature of awareness itself will open (is openness itself ) and reveal its all inclusiveness. Revelation is the nature of ‘what is’.
– Gilbert Schultz

Because everything is in relationship, everything we do matters. We’re part of an intricate system in which everything leans.
– Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

The bodhisattva path is a path of engagement. It’s not a path of individual liberation… We tend to split this notion of spirituality as something that’s not involved in the world…and then we look at activism as something other… One of the most powerful forms of activism is not to reify another person, and not to reify your view.
– Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

Andrea Gibson:
I am so in love with and so grateful for the community of activists in my life. Every worthy part of me was built by my friends/teachers and their insistence that I be more of me. “Be more of you” is the best advice I could ever give anyone because what isn’t you is the only thing standing in the way of a brighter world.

Many of us are using our spirituality as a way to avoid life, to avoid seeing things we really need to see, to avoid being confronted with our own misunderstandings and illusions. It is very important to know that life itself is often our greatest teacher. Life is full of grace – sometimes it’s wonderful grace, beautiful grace, moments of bliss and happiness and joy, and sometimes it’s fierce grace, like illness, losing a job, losing someone we love, or a divorce. Some people make the greatest leaps in their consciousness when addiction has them on their knees, for example, and they find themselves reaching out for a different way of being. Life itself has a tremendous capacity to show us truth, to wake us up. And yet, many of us avoid this thing called life, even as it is attempting to wake us up.
– Adyashanti

Love’s Philosophy
How dear is love to those, like us, who, while changing
In such times as souls, conspiring, change,
Help improvise a wakeful age, rearranging
Ourselves in situations dear, yet strange.
How needful that certain ties remain undated,
Though even souls have synergies reborning.
As daily news barks out another warning,
More fiercely must some constants dance elated.
And thus we do outlive these times, as souls
Know something more than time, more limitless background,
Even while, as fauns no mastermind controls,
We skirl and flit this stormy world around.
So life escapes itself again to see,
Though hedged by wild brambles, love breaks free.
– George Gorman

“Capitalism” no longer exists as such. What we have now is corporate tyranny fueled by the delusion of freedom provided by “markets” How sad these markets are compared to the agoras of the past (or today’s farmer’s markets) where people actually meet and exchange news, care, greetings as well as goods.
– Rebecca Solnit

No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.
— Victor Hugo

Those heavy days in June
When love became an act of defiance.
– Florence Welch

Everyone should see how complicated, how deeply troubled, and yet at the same time, beautiful and awesome the world can be. Everyone should experience, even as the clouds gather, what’s at stake, what could be lost, what’s still here.
– Anthony Bourdain

Why should a sequence of words
be anything but a pleasure?
– Gertrude Stein

Full of trust you left home,
and soon learned to walk the Path—
making yourself a friend to everyone
and making everyone a friend.

When the whole world is your friend,
fear will find no place to call home.

And when you make the mind your friend,
you’ll know what trust
really means.

Listen.

I have followed this Path of friendship to
its end.

And I can say with absolute certainty—
it will lead you home.

– Mitta

Where there is no hope, we must invent it.

– Albert Camus

As a man, it’s not enough for me to tell a woman her heart is safe with me.

I must BE Safe. I must show her.
– Jo’el Adifon

All my heroes were
evil once. But at least
they returned in time for
dinner. Imagine that.
All it takes to be a good
man is to come back.
– Dave Harris

It is terrible when people do not know God,
but it is worse when people identify as God
what is not God.
– Leo Tolstoy

Mountain spirits are among humanity’s greatest allies in the changes that you face, though you don’t yet realize it.
– David Spangler, Conversations with the Sidhe

Tree
by Jane Hirshfield

It is foolish
to let a young redwood
grow next to a house.
Even in this
one lifetime,
you will have to choose.
That great calm being,
this clutter of soup pots and books—
Already the first branch-tips brush at the window.
Softly, calmly, immensity taps at your life.

Jeff Foster:

Friend,
you’ve tried absolutely everything
except the obvious:
Doing absolutely nothing at all.

I want to be clear about this.
If you wrote from experience,
you’d get maybe one book,
maybe three poems.
Writers write from empathy.
– Nikki Giovanni

Forget about grammar and think about potatoes.
– Gertrude Stein

The God of the universe stands there in all of His love and forgiving power saying, ‘Come home. Western civilization, you have strayed away into the far country of colonialism and imperialism.’
– Martin Luther King Jr.

If now isn’t a good time for the truth, I don’t see when we’ll get to it.
– Nikki Giovanni

I don’t need your praise
to survive. I was here first,
before you were here, before
you ever planted a garden.
And I’ll be here when only the sun and moon
are left, and the sea, and the wide field.

I will constitute the field.

– Louise Glück, The Wild Iris

…grief, if not metabolized, almost always goes to some form of accusatory violence in the end. Either externalized, exported, or internalized – or all of the above.

It’s needful for the peace of a people, peace of the human heart, peace of the earth, for grief to be there, not transcending on a bliss journey to avoid grief…

We need a culture of passionately gradual people who can hear, give, and truly feel the deep weeping grief inside the absurd platform of hate caused by the writhing of human pain. Instead of compulsively defusing the situation, these cool people would know to find and digest the grief through the whole bigger ‘story’ of life, knowing it is hard in our frustration not to always want to fight against ‘something’ to make it all right…

How relaxing it would be if there really just was a bunch of bad guys who you had only to depose to make the world all fixed up. But that’s too simple and the source of even more loss, because in the instance of trying to cure it all by force you plant the next round of the sickness of revenge. So what do you do?

Get courageous.

Become a person. Make beauty out of grief. Become real people who might have untenable rotten ideas, but who in the end grow into solid old people who are generous and unconniving, people who know things and don’t just see everything as a business opportunity. Be courageous, make your hate into an art of love beyond your wants, and stop sending undigested grief in the form of sorrow frozen into hate into the arms of the future. Hand over the world with some modicum of the possibility for peace.
– Martin Prechtel

True creativity doesn’t just make things; it feeds what feeds life. In modern culture where people are no longer initiated, the spirit goes unfed. To be seen, the uninitiated create insane things, some destructive to life, to feel visible and powerful. These creations are touted as the real world. They are actually forms of untutored grief signaling a longing for the true reality of village togetherness.”

The result of this uninitiated approach to life is violence, spiritual and otherwise, where the hoarding of wealth, street violence, the soul-curdling banality of popular television, and the creation of weapons of mass destruction are considered status quo.
– Martín Prechtel, Secrets of the Talking Jaguar

Green was the silence, wet was the light,
the month of June trembled like a butterfly.
– Pablo Neruda

Thoughts come in tensile bundles,
Fascia of the mind.

It matters how well thoughts play together,
Not only with other thoughts,
But with senses, feelings and intentions,
Embryos of experience.

Such sentient musculature depends
On teams of communicants never revealed
By science, or costumed by art.

Reality’s mystic flair imparts itself
Through who and how a time allows
Both thoughts and bodies to dance.

When the whirl goes well,
The fascia of mind
Are enamored of each another
Through timely coordinants,
Just as bodies are also showing,
While working in sync with their minds.

Plenty of fascial webworks
Of cooperative appeal and consent,
All voluntarily dependent
On resonant rhythm entrainments.

– George Gorman

Despite the tremendous progress in material conditions the world over, suffering remains. The afflictions such as greed, anger, hatred and envy that underpinned much of our misery thousands of years ago continue to do so even today. Unless there is a radical change in human nature
within a rapid period of time, these afflictions will plague us for many centuries to come.
– Dalai Lama

I have no philosophy. I have senses.
– Fernando Pessoa

Long before the present crisis there have been wonderful voices asking for more awareness from us and as a consequence more helpful and conscious action from us. The first quote is from Kathleen Moore’s book, Great Tide Rising, and the second is a piece of Gary Snyder’s words from Turtle Island. “Even as seas rise against shores, another great tide is beginning to rise–a tide of outrage against the pillage of the planet, a tide of commitment to justice and human rights, a swelling affirmation of moral responsibility to the future and to Earth’s fullness of life.” Snyder: “To climb these coming crest one word to you, to you and your children: ‘stay together/learn the flowers/go light.”
– Gunilla Norris

Well, I think after reading a bunch of tense emails and a zoom which taught me something: I am glad to be myself. Yes, I am 55 and I have no powerful position in academia or in any organization, and I just realized this is enormous freedom. I don’t have to angle for power. I don’t have to go around people or step on people for my own advancement. What a relief. No more mourning my lack of fitting in in academic circles or organizations. I am poor, but I am free from manipulating people for my own advancement. There are some pretty shitty people out there, but maybe they have been wounded. I don’t know, but I’m glad I don’t have to throw people under the bus feigning goodness.
– Sheryl Luna

One reason I instinctively mention the ancestors so often is that these are exactly the kind of situations where their help is most needed. Those who went before us understood hardship. They understood what it was like to live in a world that seemed fragile and, consequently, a community that had to be strong. They came through it all with fewer resources and less technology. Instead they used common sense, courage and compassion. Our ancestors are spiritual reminders to us in hard times. I mention them so often not because they are so different from us but because they are us, all of us, on our best days, when we let their kind of love fill our hearts with confidence.
– Steven Charleston

Everyone should see how complicated, how deeply troubled, and yet at the same time, beautiful and awesome the world can be. Everyone should experience, even as the clouds gather, what’s at stake, what could be lost, what’s still here.
– Anthony Bourdain

You can tell a pioneer by the arrows in his back.
– Beverly Rubik

The work is offline.
The work is online.
The work is presence.
The work is strategic absence.
The work is virtual.
The work is in the streets.
The work is in legislative halls.
The work is in art.
The work is in policies.
The work is at the polls.
The work is where we are.
– Bernice King

Now that you’re awake please don’t be lulled back to sleep. There’s nothing but sleep there.
– Airea D. Matthews

I am so jealous of New Zealanders.
– Matt Haig

May every living thing be full of bliss.
– The Dhammapada

I’ve been cut by the beauty of jagged mountains
And cut by the love that flows like a fountain from God
So I carry these scars, precious and rare
And tonight I feel like I’m made of air
– Bruce Cockburn

Wherever we walk, whether it’s the railway station or the supermarket, we are walking on the earth and so we are in a holy sanctuary. If we remember to walk like that, we can be nourished and find solidity with each step.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

To be mindful of social phenomena is thus to identify more clearly hatred, greed, and delusion as well as the seeds of wisdom and compassion both around us and in us.
– Donald Rothberg

If after I read a poem the world looks like that poem for 24 hours or so I’m sure it’s a good one.
– Elizabeth Bishop

Of all the songs sung in any day
Your voice is all I hear
For though each song has its own place
And, finished, quickly fades away
I hear you everywhere
– Bruce Cockburn

My hearts been hanging up so long
My soul is wearing thin
So honey come and help me build a house to put it in
– Bruce Cockburn

We may idealize freedom, but when it comes to our habits, we are completely enslaved.
– Sogyal Rinpoche

One thing at a time. Most important thing first. Start now.
– Caroline Webb

Get still and you will see.
– Byron Katie

Silence is a fence round wisdom.
– German proverb

Look out for the grain of things, the way of things. Move in accord with it and work is thereby made simple.
– Alan Watts

If I seem distant, then please know that I have been feeling and processing my own and the collective’s anger, anxiety, fear, and sadness about what happened, and transmuting this heavy energy. I am very careful not to project negative energy and release it back to the world.
– Inner Practicioner

To be healed, we need to be seen through the eyes of compassion.
– Haemin Sunim

All men know the use of the useful,
but nobody knows the use of the useless.
– Zhuangzi

Care is the antidote to violence.
– Saidiya Hartman

This moment is gone. It can never be relived.
– Zen proverb

The wind has settled,
the blossoms have fallen;
Birds sing, the mountains grow dark.
This is the wondrous power of Buddhism.
– Ryōkan Taigu

The man who has anticipated the coming of troubles takes away their power when they arrive.
– Seneca

The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot.
– Werner Herzog

Bruce Cockburn:
Underneath the mask of the sulphur sky
A bunch of us were busy waiting
Watching the people looking ill-at-ease
Watching the fraying rope get closer to breaking

I will go anywhere as long as it’s forward.
– David Livingston

The cry, ‘Back to Nature!’ used to be derided as unrealistic sentimentality, but I am wondering if it is not becoming an urgent necessity.
– Alan Watts

Andrea Gibson:
Every uprising has
the universe on its side.
That’s not a horizon you see.
That’s the earth drawing the line.

It would be an endless battle if it were all up to ego
because it does not destroy and is not destroyed by itself
It is like a wave
it makes itself up, it rushes forward getting nowhere really
it crashes, withdraws and makes itself up again
pulls itself together with pride
towers with pride
rushes forward into imaginary conquest
crashes in frustration
withdraws with remorse and repentance
pulls itself together with new resolution.
– Agnes Martin

My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate – the genetic and neural fate – of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.
– Oliver Sacks

I come to you from the mountain fastnesses of my mind.
– Nicholas Pierotti

…It is said by those among us who seem to know better about our own nobility that we have lost our own stories, our own histories, our own senses of fortitude and worth. They say, in effect, that we have potholes in our roads, not because we are laughably inadequate to the task of tarring our highways, but because something in the soil resists the finality of the industrial order, and potholes might very well be the orifices through which other potential political imaginaries breathe.
– Bayo Akomolafe

Let there be such oneness between us that when one cries, the other tastes salt.
– Hebrew Saying

As long as you live, keep learning how to live.
– Seneca

know that if one shares concerns, heartbreak, and commitment to social change and actions directed to social change in relation structural and direct violence, there will be pushback. i expect it. i also have strong boundaries and if i feel that there is untoward speech or actions, i block. I also try to live the Ninth Mindfulness Training of the Order of Interbeing: The Ninth Mindfulness Training: Truthful and Loving Speech
Aware that words can create happiness or suffering, we are committed to learning to speak truthfully, lovingly and constructively. We will use only words that inspire joy, confidence and hope as well as promote reconciliation and peace in ourselves and among other people. We will speak and listen in a way that can help ourselves and others to transform suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. We are determined not to say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people, nor to utter words that might cause division or hatred. We will protect the happiness and harmony of our Sangha by refraining from speaking about the faults of other persons in their absence and always ask ourselves whether our perceptions are correct. We will speak only with the intention to understand and help transform the situation. We will not spread rumours nor criticise or condemn things of which we are not sure. We will do our best to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may make difficulties for us or threaten our safety.
– Rossi Joan Halifax

…Go down to your deep old heart, and lose sight of yourself.
And lose sight of me, the me whom you turbulently loved.
Let us lose sight of ourselves, and break the mirrors.
For the fierce curve of our lives is moving again to the depths
out of sight, in the deep living heart.
– D.H. Lawrence

I believe every space and comma is a living part of the poem and has its function, just as every muscle and pore of the body has its function. And the way the lines are broken is a functioning part essential to the life of the poem.
– Denise Levertov

Her Four Faces
In summer, when the moon is full,
She teaches me to love again.
She is the spirit of the corn,
Of gentle rain, soothing wind.

In winter, when the moon is new,
Beneath the quilts of snow and dark,
She teaches me to dream again,
With delicate and wondrous art.

She exhausts my heart with love,
Then churns my mind with mysteries.
So doubly she confounds with both
That each half of her has two histories.

Her summer face, both soft and warm,
Her winter face, so cool, yet wild.
And both have both taken me by storm!

Her summer side is often halved
Between the lotus and the rose,
Virgin now, then Magdalene,
Agape, then Aphrodite’s throes.

“Not less than all of love,” says she,
But love is not a simple thing,
When, with her, it’s a healing balm,
And then it’s such a horny fling.

First she turns her soothing side,
And, thus, my fears are undermined
By the honey of good tears
Of hope, for her best truths are kind.

She is thus a lotus flower,
Kwan Yin of enfolding grace,
When I am able to receive
The benefits of her Caring Face.

But next she slips her other mien
Of gorgeous lust and boundless glee
Into my heart, and I’m a man
Brimful of pride and certainty.

Thus she becomes my bright Röslein,
A fearless guide to inmost ways
Where souls are fused in friendly fire,
When I behold her Loving Face.

But then her winter half gives such relief
From all those fires that burned me blind.
Yet this is no sabbatical, for after she
Has revived my heart, she stuns my gobsmacked mind.

Then, as my muse, her depths so full
Of wisdom’s understandings of the goal,
She, as sweet reason’s germ of science and art,
Arrives with dreams and is, through dreams, made whole.

For it was she who men claimed as their own,
Then burned her at the stake to hide the deed.
They made a world of marvels from her bones,
A sterile world, alas, without her seed.

But as she embraces life, she guages well.
She has no care for triumph or revenge.
She is the gyroscopic hub of truth,
Which shows that every excess countertends.

So she leads me stepwise through the spheres,
While orchestrating timely harmonies.
Her Cunning Face assures me of my part
Among her tiny, vital subtleties.

But just when I have learned to comprehend
The devoted demonstrations of her thought,
She turns her awesome depths on me again,
And all my proud philosophy comes to naught,
When I behold her wildly Wondrous Face.
– George Gorman

What we most love is not what we know, but what knows us and draws us.
– Ravi Ravindra

Don’t imagine you will discover the truth by accumulating more knowledge. Knowledge creates doubt and doubt makes you ravenous for more knowledge. You can’t get full eating this way. If you can let go of the Tao with the mind and surround it with your heart, it will live inside you forever.
– Laozi

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
– Kahlil Gibran

Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by poetry.
– Cassandra Clare

Andrea Gibson:
When two violins are placed in a room
if a chord on one violin is struck
the other violin will sound that same note.
Know how powerful you are.
Know you can make music in the people
around you, simply by playing your own strings.

Make me
sweet
again,

fragrant and
fresh and
wild,

and thankful
for any
small event.
– Rumi

There is a teaching that says that behind all hardening and tightening and rigidity of the heart, there’s always fear. But if you touch fear, behind fear there is a soft spot. And if you touch that soft spot, you find the vast blue sky. You find that which is ineffable, ungraspable, and unbiased, that which can support and awaken us at any time.
– Pema Chodron

To build a day
where grief need not be
the midwife who pulls truth
into the light.
– Andrea Gibson

Kalu Rinpoche:
My advice,
don’t be a Buddhist.
In the end it’s all about personal gain,
fame and business.
Just be a person with a good heart,
that’s the meaning
of a truthful Dharma practitioner.
We live in illusion
and the appearance of things.
There is a reality. We are that reality.
When you understand this,
you see that you are nothing,
and being nothing, you are everything.
That is all.

If you know wilderness in the way that you know love, you would be unwilling to let it go.
– Terry Tempest Williams

Poetry is my life, my postmark,
my hands, my kitchen, my face.
– Anne Sexton

Memory is a tough place. You were there.
– Claudia Rankine

We live in a world of motion and distance.
The heart flies from tree to bird,
from bird to distant star,
from star to love; and love grows
in the quiet house, turning and working,
servant of thought, a lamp held in one hand.
– Philippe Jaccottet / Gérard de Palézieux

Me and you, we got more yesterday than anybody. We need some kind of tomorrow.
– Toni Morrison

Quote of the Week:
Not getting along with Canada is like not getting along with a Golden Retriever.
– Seth Meyers

Poetry! I exclaimed, sitting up straight in my chair, which had the effect I wanted; they all turned to me, silent, less obedient than bewildered. I looked at them a moment, a kind of caesura, and then I repeated it, Poetry, as though it were the obvious answer to a question,
– Hannah Vanderhart

The world is violent and mercurial — it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love — love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love.
– Tennessee Williams

There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke.
– Vincent van Gogh

Can I live at the pace of relationship…? I can see now, I wasn’t living at the pace of relationship before…
– Pat McCabe

Much learning does not teach understanding. Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.
– Heraclitus

Humankind is on the threshold of a completely different order of consciousness and the first aspect of this will be manifest in the collective consciousness of mankind, unifying and becoming an articulate, capable, interdependent, cooperative whole for the purpose of creating a sustainable existence, a harmonious relationship between the living, self-aware consciousness, and the planet.

So, a sustainable world is about more than just survival, it’s a completely new paradigm for being.

Essentially, the planet wakes up as us and, as a result of that, each one of us partakes in the expanded global consciousness. As a consequence of this, a base is created, a foundation for other beings similar to my attainment, to become fully actualized in this state of consciousness.
– Sat Shree

Something has happened now that is so much bigger than any one of us. We are like cells in the collective body in which each cell starts waking up. And the more cells that wake up, the more the body awakens, and at some point there will be a critical mass. This will be an unspeakable event—one that will occur in this dimension, in this entanglement, in this human history, this human story, this waking consciousness. It’s not just going to happen in an altered state. And then you’ll begin to discover what I have discovered, which is the impossible, unspeakable wonder and awe that existence is, at every moment of life; the incredible love, and nourishment, and support, and intimacy and immediacy of being in existence—which is not even us, but which is the Supreme, experiencing itself in existence as us.
– Sat Shree

The Tradition
Aster. Nasturtium. Delphinium. We thought
Fingers in dirt meant it was our dirt, learning
Names in heat, in elements classical
Philosophers said could change us. Star Gazer.
Foxglove. Summer seemed to bloom against the will
Of the sun, which news reports claimed flamed hotter
On this planet than when our dead fathers
Wiped sweat from their necks. Cosmos. Baby’s Breath.
Men like me and my brothers filmed what we
Planted for proof we existed before
Too late, sped the video to see blossoms
Brought in seconds, colors you expect in poems
Where the world ends, everything cut down.
John Crawford. Eric Garner. Mike Brown.
– Jericho Brown

A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life which he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives.
– Albert Schweitzer

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it.
You deserve a girl who can give you
the most colorful life imaginable.
If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours
and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off
alone.
If you want the world and the worlds beyond it,
date a girl who reads.
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.
– Rosemarie Urquico

At the very beginning of my creative life I loved humanity. I wanted to do something good for mankind. Soon I understood that it isn’t possible to save mankind.
– Wislawa Szymborska

Hafiz:
Recognize the counterfeit coins
that buy you a moment of pleasure,
But then drag you for days
behind a farting camel.

It’s hard to write you.
The surf is too loud.
The beach is too crowded,
and you’re too much in my heart
to put anything down.
– Leonard Cohen

Yogi Berra:
In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is…

This is the realm of the passing away. All that
exists does not for long.
Whatever comes into this world never stops sliding
toward the edge of eternity.
Form arises from formlessness and passes back,
arising and dissolving in a few dance steps between
creation and destruction.

We are born passing away.
Seedlings and deadfall all face forward.
Earthworms eat what remains.
We sing not for that which dies but for that which
never does.
– Stephen Levine

To tell the truth is to become beautiful, to begin to love yourself, value yourself. And that’s political, in its most profound way.
– June Jordan

I don’t necessarily agree with everything I say.
– Marshall McLuhan

Say your religion without the use of your tongue.
– unknown

Ignorance is the worst of all the defilements.
Ignorance has obscured the way mind functions and the way it expresses itself
as the world. Because of this obscuration,
we do not recognize past or future lives.
We do not recognize the events
that brought about particular results,
and we do not understand karma.
Ignorance, the worst of all defilements,
has hidden this. But although we do not see
its function, karma goes on.
Once created, karma is never wasted
but will inevitably come to fruition.
Karma is like a bird and its shadow.
A hawk hovering high in the sky
does not recognize
its own shadow on the ground below.
Although that shadow is very distant,
it will follow the bird wherever it goes,
and eventually the bird
will land exactly on its shadow.
Once karma has been created,
it will follow one like one’s shadow,
and when the right conditions occur,
it will be expressed.
– Thinley Norbu, Echoes: The Boudhanath Teachings

Staying After
by Linda Gregg
I grew up with horses and poems
when that was the time for that.
Then Ginsberg and Orlovsky
in the Fillmore West when
everybody was dancing. I sat
in the balcony with my legs
pushed through the railing,
watching Janis Joplin sing.
Women have houses now, and children.
I live alone in a kind of luxury.
I wake when I feel like it,
read what Rilke wrote to Tsvetaeva.
At night I watch the apartments
whose windows are still lit
after midnight. I fell in love.
I believed people. And even now
I love the yellow light shining
down on the dirty brick wall.

A writer—
and, I believe, generally all persons—
must think that whatever happens to him
or her is a resource.
All things have been given to us for a purpose,
and an artist must feel this more intensely.
All that happens to us, including our humiliations,
our misfortunes, our embarrassments,
all is given to us as raw material, as clay,
so that we may shape our art.
– Jorge Luis Borges

I haven’t enough room to both rage and weep. I go to cry and each tear turns to steam.
– Donte Collins

Some drown, some swim about in the sea.
Some disappear like mist, some become a thousand forms.
Some display wonders, some are a jewel in a ruin.
There is no way to say how it will be.

Wisdom negates death. Wisdom invalidates the deathless.
Wisdom negates ignorance. Wisdom eclipses knowledge.
Wisdom negates bondage. Wisdom refutes liberation.
There is no way to say how it is.

If you crack open a hard nut the meat inside is delicious but if you just bite down on the shell well, broken teeth are painful. If you look inside words at the meanings the truth is brilliance but if you parrot sounds the alienation truly aches.

There is a honey whose sweetness is unique and it flows in the flavors of feeling throughout the shrine called body. The yogi knows how to sip its nectar -worldly ones are left bewildered.

There is an ocean whose depths have never been plumbed its expanse dwells in the palace of the head. The yogi swims its vastness untouched by time – mundane people just flail and drown.

Truly the body is a mystery of such wonder that even the greatest mystic will never discover a limit.

If you know this when good times arrive there is only blessing.
If you know this when bad times arrive there is only blessing.
If you know this when clarity comes there is only wisdom.
If you know this when confusion comes there is only wisdom.
If you know this when life abundant arrives there is only bliss.
If you know this then when death’s time comes there is only bliss.

The yogi who knows this secret is free in the ultimate without losing the beauty of appearances. Drinking milk they leave the water. It is a secret better than beings, better than Buddhas.
– t.k.

Even the emperor must regard the pursuit of sagehood and the self-discipline that it entails as his personal responsibility.
– Neo-Confucian principle from the Ming dynasty

My continuing passion is to part a curtain that invisible veil of indifference that falls between us and that blinds us to each other’s presence, each other’s wonder, each other’s human plight.
– Eudora Welty

Paradise is a world where everything is a sanctuary and nothing is a gun.
– Danez Smith

What if I accidentally gave my heart the wrong name?
– Blythe Baird

The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.
– Toni Morrison

Maybe poetry is what happens on the bus between wanting and having. I used to think it was what happened on the bus between oakland and berkeley.
– Fred Moten

Remain ignorant if you ever want to become enlightened. Remain innocent, childlike, if you ever want a communion with existence and reality. Remain in wonder if you want the mysteries to open up for you. Mysteries never open up for those who go on questioning. Questioners sooner or later end up in a library. Questioners sooner or later end up with scriptures, because scriptures are full of answers.

And answers are dangerous, they kill your wonder. They are dangerous because they give you the feeling that you know, although you know not. They give you this misconception about yourself that now questions have been solved. “I know what the Bible says, I know what the Koran says, I know what the Gita says. I have arrived.” You will become a parrot; you will repeat things but you will not know anything. This is not the way to know — knowledge is not the way to know.

Then what is the way to know? Wonder.

Let your heart dance with wonder. Be full of wonder: throb with it, breathe it in, breathe it out. Why be in such a hurry for the answer? Can’t you allow a mystery to remain a mystery? I know there’s a great temptation not to allow it to remain a mystery, to reduce it to knowledge. Why is this temptation there? — because only if you are full of knowledge will you be in control.

Mystery will control you, knowledge will make you the controller. Mystery will possess you. You cannot possess the mysterious; it is so vast and your hands are so small. It is so infinite, you cannot possess it, you will have to be possessed by it — and that is the fear. Knowledge you can possess, it is so trivial; knowledge you can control.

This temptation of the mind to reduce every wonder, every mystery, to a question, is basically fear-oriented. We are afraid, afraid of the tremendousness of life, of this incredible existence. We are afraid. Out of fear we create some small knowledge around ourselves as a protection, as an armor, as a defense.

It is only cowards who reduce the tremendously valuable capacity of wondering to questions. The really brave, the courageous person, leaves it as it is. Rather than changing it into the question, he jumps into the mystery. Rather than trying to control it, he allows the mystery to possess him.

And the joy of being possessed, and the benediction of being possessed, is invaluable. You cannot imagine what it is, you have never dreamt about it — because to be possessed by the mystery is to be possessed by God.
– Osho, The Book of Wisdom: The Heart of Tibetan Buddhism

Do not spoil what you have
by desiring what you have not;
remember that what you now have
was once among the things you only hoped for.
– Epicurus

We have a choice.
We can spend our whole life suffering
because we can’t relax
with how things really are,
or we can relax and embrace
the open-endedness of the human situation, which is fresh, unfixated, and unbiased.
– Pema Chödron, Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change

Every angel is terrifying.
– Rainer Maria Rilke, First Elegy, Duino Elegies

Every time your stream of thoughts solidifies into a heavy story line that seems to be taking you elsewhere, label that ‘thinking.
– Pema Chödrön

The one thing that can stand in the way of that ultimate terrestrial possibility is if our present view of Matter and its laws represent the only possible relation between sense and substance, between the Divine as knower and the Divine as object, or if, other relations being possible, they are yet not in any way possible here, but must be sought on higher planes of existence. In that case, it is in heavens beyond that we must seek our entire divine fulfilment, as the religions assert, and their other assertion of the kingdom of God or the kingdom of the perfect upon earth must be put aside as a delusion. Here we can only pursue or attain an internal preparation or victory and, having liberated the mind and life and soul within, must turn from the unconquered and unconquerable material principle, from an unregenerated and intractable earth to find elsewhere our divine substance.
There is, however, no reason why we should accept this limiting conclusion. There are, quite certainly, other states even of Matter itself; there is undoubtedly an ascending series of the divine gradations of substance; there is the possibility of the material being transfiguring itself through the acceptation of a higher law than its own which is yet its own because it is always there latent and potential in its own secrecies.
– Sri Aurobindo

The old Lakota was wise. He knew that man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans too.
– Luther Standing Bear

Maybe all pain in the world requires poetry.
– Sandra Cisneros

Forgive me, distant wars,
for bringing flowers home.
– Wislawa Szymborska

Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak
is to narrow the range of thought?
– George Orwell, 1984

If deep down you continue to believe a tiny corner of samsara could be useful, or that it might even offer the ultimate solution to all your worldly problems, it will be extremely difficult to become a genuine spiritual seeker.
– Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye

Out here on the tower the air is cold and clear
The stars and moon are bright above us
A night wind whispers in our ears
And it loves us
And though your body weary is
In this grand canyon state of mind
If high stream of dreams and truth be told
And our intentions be entwined
Then from these high flung tower walls
Let healing grace and blessings fall
Over all this cracked and broken land.
– Mike Scott

It is a crime to exploit patriotism in the service of hatred.
– Emile Zola

You can either analyze it to death or accept it and watch it grow, because if you let it, it will.
– Trey Wing

the Lakota knew that the human heart, away from nature, becomes hard…knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans too.
– Luther Standing Bear

Sometimes in a time of limitation, new connections don’t seem possible. Persistent limitation may have us start to feel as if it will always continue. Fortunately, the one thing that really is “always” is change itself. Aren’t we asked to become more than our limitations suggest? Isn’t that an “always” invitation?
– Gunilla Norris

All ideologies are idiotic, whether religious or political, for it is conceptual thinking, the conceptual word, which has so unfortunately divided man.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

Let’s treat each other as if we plan to work side by side in struggle for many, many years to come. Because the task before us will demand nothing less.
– Naomi Klein, address to Occupy Wall Street

A sip of wine, a cigarette,
And then it’s time to go.
I tidied up the kitchenette;
I tuned the old banjo.
I’m wanted at the traffic-jam.
They’re saving me a seat.
– Leonard Cohen

The quieting of our mind is a political act.
– Jack Kornfield

In our experiencef it’s better to follow the pragmatic advice of the people who first learned to conduct spiritual electricity—the Bushman of the Kalahari. They, as well as other ecstatics around the world, share a simple but profound practice that has been lighting up the hearts of plugged-in spiritual people for thousands of years. Here it is: To keep God on the line, sing a holy song.

What renders a song “holy” is that it carries deep sacred emotion, which is inseparable from spiritual electricity and vibration. You sing a song in order to feel God on the line. As the Bushman doctors say, “the rope [connection] to God is a song.
– Mark Twain

Say Thank You Say I’m Sorry
by Jericho Brown
I don’t know whose side you’re on,
But I am here for the people
Who work in grocery stores that glow in the morning
And close down for deep cleaning at night
Right up the street and in cities I mispronounce,
In towns too tiny for my big black
Car to quit, and in every wide corner
Of Kansas where going to school means
At least one field trip
To a slaughterhouse. I want so little: another leather bound
Book, a gimlet with a lavender gin, bread
So good when I taste it I can tell you
How it’s made. I’d like us to rethink
What it is to be a nation. I’m in a mood about America
Today. I have PTSD
About the Lord. God save the people who work
In grocery stores. They know a bit of glamour
Is a lot of glamour. They know how much
It costs for the eldest of us to eat. Save
My loves and not my sentences. Before I see them,
I draw a mole near my left dimple,
Add flair to the smile they can’t see
Behind my mask. I grin or lie or maybe
I wear the mouth of a beast. I eat wild animals
While some of us grow up knowing
What gnocchi is. The people who work at the grocery don’t care.
They say, Thank you. They say, Sorry,
We don’t sell motor oil anymore with a grief so thick
You could touch it. Go on. Touch it.
It is early. It is late. They have washed their hands.
They have washed their hands for you.
And they take the bus home.

A normal existence – what could be more irrational? It’s fantastic the number of things you’re forced not to think about in order to go from one end of the day to the other without jumping the track! And the number of memories that have to be driven from your mind, the truths that have to be evaded!
– Simone de Beauvoir

Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.
– Oscar Wilde

Andrea Gibson:
Loneliness lives in the same part of the brain as physical pain.

My body was a lonely house.
I was not always home;
I was often elsewhere.
– Rebecca Solnit, Recollections of my Nonexistence

Evil comes from a failure to think.
– Hannah Arendt

One world, not three
– Ziggy Marley

Your nature is truth, and when you oppose it, you don’t feel like yourself. Stress never feels as natural as peace does.
– Byron Katie

Grief exceeds the boundaries of subjective privacy we have come to identify it with. The feeling of irreconcilable loss, of sadness, of depthless pain is more prestigious than the human figure. Grief exceeds us, broods on watery surfaces, attends to browning leaves as they waltz to the earth, and lives in the ongoing fables of gods and goddesses in their mythopoetic demise. In a single tear, in its passing, the universe wrinkles. Grief spills. Grief is territorial. A world-making and -unmaking principle. Perhaps no less worthy of the geologist’s attention than the storied stones that occupy her thoughts.

In this sense, it might be easier to understand why western globalising modernities act like breakwaters to hold back the flood of grief. Like ramparts erected to stop a horde of monsters. It is because modernity needs to protect its most precious idea: the stability of the individual. The coherence of the self. The inviolability of interiority. The integrity of the citizen-subject whose productivity feeds the city. And so we will keep building towers of steel and frozen grief; we will keep building highways. We will whisper to those who wilt, urging them to “grieve for a time and then get back to work”, or better still, “pull yourself together.” But whether we intend to or not, we will not allow them to spill open, to explode. Atlas, manly and stern, may carry the weight of the world on his back, but the one weight he cannot bear is the weight of a tear allowed to fall freely.
– Bayo Akomolafe

Loneliness does not come from being alone,
but from being unable to communicate the things
that seem important.
– Carl Jung

Reciting Poetry in the Psychiatric Ward
by Leila Chatti
Amidst all the blonde collegiate
nurses assigned to our wing, one
my mother’s age who likes me.
She’s sweet on my name—same as Ali’s
daughter!—but calls me sugar, swallowing
the r, and winks one big dark
eye at me when I pass. Over the desk,
she leans in and says, like it’s a secret, I know
you’re not crazy, then laughs
because there’s little else
she can do, can only shake her head and promise
to talk to the doctors. She’s the only one
who believes me when I say
I teach poetry at the university—
claps her long-fingered hands and quotes
Maya Angelou, declares
herself a phenomenal woman, then adds
and you’re a little caged bird
singing. When she asks me to
teach her about poetry, I am glad
for it—to stand by the nurses’ station
with some semblance of use,
to punctuate the timeless stretch
of the ward with mini-lectures
on Brooks and Lorde and Hughes—
and on my last day, when it’s determined
I can be trusted again
with my life, I am given
my things in a plastic bag
and she asks me
my favorite poem, I recite without thinking won’t you
celebrate with me—and she smiles
as I’m led through the bolted doors
where she stands, waving, like a good host,
then says kindly don’t you ever
come back now, you hear?

When I first faced pain I was shattered.
When I first met failure, defeat, denial,
loss, death, I died. Not today.
I believe in my power, in my magic,
and I do not die.
I survive, I love, live, continue.
– Anaïs Nin

Silence, words into foolishness fading,
Silence prolonged, of thought so secret
We hush the sheep-bells and the loud cicada.
And your black agate eyes, wide open, mirror
The released firebird beating his way
Down a whirled avenue of blues and yellows.
Should I not weep? Profuse the berries of love,
The speckled fish, the filberts and white ivy
Which you, with a half-smile, bestow
On your delectable broad land of promise
For me, who never before went gay in plumes.
− Robert Graves

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
– John Burroughs

In the humming silence
of our retreat
I can Feel
New worlds forming
in our hearts
– Sananda Maitreya

To be a poet means we’ve chosen
a different kind of listening.
A different kind of empathy guides us.
– Tracy K. Smith

Understand everyone of us
is held down by who we hold down.
No human’s spirit escapes the hell
they put another through.
There is no such thing as rising
from someone else’s ashes.
– Andrea Gibson

the left too often approaches conservativism like it has a legitimate point to make. it doesn’t. treat the right like a circus clown with a loaded gun. deadly, but at it’s core, a joke.
– Oliver Willis

You spent the first half of your life becoming somebody.
Now you can work on becoming nobody,
which is really somebody.
For when you become nobody there is no tension,
no pretense, no trying to be anyone or anything.
The natural state of the mind shines through unobstructed—
and the natural state of the mind is pure love.
– Ram Dass

mama matrix most mysterious.
– James Joyce.

FATHER AND SON by Stanley Kunitz
Now in the suburbs and the falling light
I followed him, and now down sandy road
Whiter than bone-dust, through the sweet
Curdle of fields, where the plums
Dropped with their load of ripeness, one by one.
Mile after mile I followed, with skimming feet,
After the secret master of my blood,
Him, steeped in the odor of ponds, whose indomitable love
Kept me in chains. Strode years; stretched into bird;
Raced through the sleeping country where I was young,
The silence unrolling before me as I came,
The night nailed like an orange to my brow.

How should I tell him my fable and the fears,
How bridge the chasm in a casual tone,
Saying, “The house, the stucco one you built,
We lost. Sister married and went from home,
And nothing comes back, it’s strange, from where she goes.
I lived on a hill that had too many rooms;
Light we could make, but not enough of warmth,
And when the light failed, I climbed under the hill.
The papers are delivered every day;
I am alone and never shed a tear.”

At the water’s edge, where the smothering ferns lifted
Their arms, “Father!” I cried, “Return! You know
The way. I’ll wipe the mudstains from your clothes;
No trace, I promise, will remain. Instruct
Your son, whirling between two wars,
In the Gemara of your gentleness,
For I would be a child to those who mourn
And brother to the foundlings of the field
And friend of innocence and all bright eyes.
0 teach me how to work and keep me kind.”

Among the turtles and the lilies he turned to me
The white ignorant hollow of his face.
– Stanley Kunitz

Each generation improves the world
for the next.
My grandparents willed me strength.
My parents willed me pride.
I will to you rage.
I give you a world incomplete
a world where
women still
are property and chattel
where
color still
shuts doors
where
sexual choice still
threatens
but I give you
a legacy
of doers
of people who take risks
to chisel the crack wider.
– Pat Parker

The next theme was that of purification. When an organism is called upon from within to become more conscious, it must first cleanse itself of the psychological by-products of living at its lower level of awareness. It must bring forward the residue of its past and purge that residue from the system in order to lay the foundation for a more refined level of operation. Our species was doing this in a wholesale manner and with greater determination by crystallising within itself generations that embodied this legacy. What I have previously seen simply as individuals reincarnating in order to clear individual Karma, I now experienced as a highly centralised decision to cleanse the human mindfield of its collective karmic legacy in order to prepare humanity for what is to come.

It was the coordinated exercise of the self-evolution of the species as a whole. At a deeper level it was the deliberate movement of the Divine Being that was evolving Itself through the experiences of our species. All our individual histories were expressions of this Being’s larger history, our individual struggles were aspects of its larger struggle. The process was so beautiful and so elegant that it swept me into a deep ecstasy and almost took me beyond my capacity to maintain coherence. It was not a vision but an experience of the reality itself.
– Christopher Bache, Diamonds from Heaven

I didn’t like having to explain to them,
so I just shut up, smoked a cigarette,
and looked at the sea.
– Albert Camus

Don’t go away, come near.
Don’t be faithless, be faithful.
Find the antidote in the venom.
Come to the root of the root of yourself.

Molded of clay, yet kneaded
from the substance of certainty,
a guard at the Treasury of Holy Light —
come, return to the root of the root of your Self.

Once you get hold of selflessness,
You’ll be dragged from your ego
and freed from many traps.
Come, return to the root of the root of your Self.

You are born
from the children of God’s creation,
but you have fixed your sight too low.
How can you be happy?
Come, return to the root of the root of your Self.

You were born from a ray of God’s majesty
and have the blessings of a good star.
Why suffer at the hands
of things that don’t exist?
Come, return to the root of the root of your Self.

You are a ruby embedded in granite.
How long will you pretend it’s not true?
We can see it in your eyes.
Come to the root of the root of your Self.

You came here
from the presence of that fine Friend,
a little drunk, but gentle, stealing our hearts
with that look so full of fire; so,
come, return to the root of the root of your Self.

Our master and host, Shamsi Tabrizi,
has put the eternal cup before you.
Glory be to God, what a rare wine!
So come, return to the root of the root of your Self.

The Intellectual

The intellectual is always showing off;
The lover is always getting lost.
The intellectual runs away, afraid of drowning;
the whole business of love
is to drown in the sea.
Intellectuals plan their repose;
lovers are ashamed to rest.
The lover is always alone,
even surrounded with people;
like water and oil, he remains apart.
The man who goes to the trouble
of giving advice to a lover
gets nothing. He’s mocked by passion.
Love is like musk. It attracts attention.
Love is a tree, and lovers are its shade.

Buy Me From My Words

Before now I wanted
to be paid for what I said,
but now I need you
to buy me from my words.
The idols I used to carve
charmed everyone. Now I’m drunk
on Abraham and tired of idols.
An idol with no color or scent
ended my whole career.
Find someone else for the job.
A happy madman without a thought,
I have swept the shop clean.
If something enters my mind,
I say, “Leave. You’re a distraction.”
Whatever is coarse and heavy, I destroy.
Who should be with Layla?
Someone who can be Majnun.
The man holding up this waving flag
actually belongs to the other side.

– Excerpts from Love is a Stranger
Poetry of Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi
Translated by Kabir Helminski

You cannot shift a paradigm without validating or witnessing the dynamics that solidified said paradigm in the first place.
– Esi Wildcat

…and it seemed to me that these fires
were with me until dawn.
And I didn’t inquire -what color
those strange eyes were.

And everything trembled and sang,
and I didn’t know -was it winter or summer,
were you friend or foe?

– Anna Akhmatova

Humor is the only survival kit
you’ll ever need.

Today
I gave up
On healing my trauma
I gave up
On practicing the skills
To become whole
Today I gave up
On evolving
Into that ever elusive
Better version of myself
Today I submitted
To the wound of love
I stopped pointing at it
Looking at it
Soothing it
Tweaking it
Fixing it
Finessing it
Hiding it
Polishing it
I stopped this game of separation
I crawled inside the wound
And spread it open
I decided to wear it like a gown
I accepted my total and utter
Failure
To be anything else
But me.
– Maya Luna

There are those who are trying
to set fire to the world
We are in danger.
There is time only to work slowly.
There is no time not to love.
– Deena Metzger

For intervals, then, throughout our lives
we savor a concurrence, the great blending
of our chance selves with what sustains
all chance. We ride the wave and are
the wave. And with renewed belief
inner and outer we find our talk
turned to prayer, our prayer into truth:
for an interval, early, we become at home in the world.
– William Stafford

The Artist is no other than he who unlearns
what he has learned, in order to know himself.
– e. e. cummings

The most interesting thing about a poem
is that it doesn’t exist until it has its music.
– C.K. Williams

flowers
by Lucille Clifton
here we are
running with the weeds
color exaggerated
pistils wild
embarrassing the calm family flowers oh
here we are
flourishing for the field
and the name of the place
is Love

Teaching is a compulsion to repeat
what one hasn’t yet understood.
– Barbara Johnson

TARA VISUALIZATION
Within the precious heart
Of the Holy Lady before me,
And upon the cushion of a moon
Inside of the vase,
Stands a letter tam;
Around it circles a string
Of Her secret words,
In a color that matches
That of the light of Her body.
As I recite Her mantra
Rays of light
With the color of molten gold
Burst forth from both
Of the strings of secret words.
They draw down to me
Each and every excellent thing
In the world, and beyond the world,
In the form of eight auspicious signs
And the seven riches of royalty.

Read and write, and do these two things whenever you have a chance. Surround yourself with writers who are better than you. Don’t be afraid to fail, and don’t depend solely on external validation.
– Karen Abbott

Practicing mindfulness is a living tradition, not a dead culture. It’s always up to date.
– Chogyam Trungpa

I am too alone in the world, and yet not alone enough
to make every moment holy.
I am too tiny in this world, and not tiny enough
just to lie before you like a thing,
shrewd and secretive.
I want my own will, and I want simply to be with my will,
as it goes toward action;
and in those quiet, sometimes hardly moving times,
when something is coming near,
I want to be with those who know secret things
or else alone.
I want to be a mirror for your whole body,
and I never want to be blind, or to be too old
to hold up your heavy and swaying picture.
I want to unfold.
I don’t want to stay folded anywhere,
because where I am folded, there I am a lie.
and I want my grasp of things to be
true before you. I want to describe myself
like a painting that I looked at
closely for a long time,
like a saying that I finally understood,
like the pitcher I use every day,
like the face of my mother,
like a ship
that carried me
through the wildest storm of all.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.

Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

Man is ensnared in the continuum called Past-Future. His attention remains fixated there, uninterrupted. To free oneself from the trap, even for a single instant, return to the point of presence, of being, of being no thing in particular. In this moment then, miraculously, the snare dissolves.
– Wu Hsin

I call a poem the very thing that teaches the heart, invents the heart, that which, finally, the word heart seems to mean and which, in my language, I cannot easily discern from the word itself…[A poem] is confided like a prayer…
– Jacques Derrida

Como Tú / Like You / Like Me
Richard Blanco – 1968-

{for the D.A.C.A DREAMers and all our nation’s immigrants}

. . . my veins don’t end in me
but in the unanimous blood
of those who struggle for life . . .

. . . mis venas no terminan en mí
sino en la sange unánime
de los que luchan por la vida . . .

—- Roque Dalton, Como tú

Como tú, I question history’s blur in my eyes
each time I face a mirror. Like a mirror, I gaze
into my palm a wrinkled map I still can’t read,
my lifeline an unnamed road I can’t find, can’t
trace back to the fork in my parents’ trek
that cradled me here. Como tú, I woke up to
this dream of a country I didn’t choose, that
didn’t choose me—trapped in the nightmare
of its hateful glares. Como tú, I’m also from
the lakes and farms, waterfalls and prairies
of another country I can’t fully claim either.
Como tú, I am either a mirage living among
these faces and streets that raised me here,
or I’m nothing, a memory forgotten by all
I was taken from and can’t return to again.

Like memory, at times I wish I could erase
the music of my name in Spanish, at times
I cherish it, and despise my other syllables
clashing in English. Como tú, I want to speak
of myself in two languages at once. Despite
my tongues, no word defines me. Like words,
I read my footprints like my past, erased by
waves of circumstance, my future uncertain
as wind. Like the wind, como tú, I carry songs,
howls, whispers, thunder’s growl. Like thunder,
I’m a foreign-borne cloud that’s drifted here,
I’m lightning, and the balm of rain. Como tú,
our blood rains for the dirty thirst of this land.
Like thirst, like hunger, we ache with the need
to save ourselves, and our country from itself.

Our universe is the most interesting of all possible universes, and our fate as human beings is to make it so.
– Freeman Dyson

Absorb the Blame
Even though somebody else
has made a terrible boo-boo
and blamed it on you,
you should take the blame yourself.
You can actually say:
“Okay, the blame is mine.”
Once you begin to do that,
it is the highest and most powerful logic,
the most powerful incantation you can make. You can absorb the poison—
then the rest of the situation
becomes medicine.
If nobody is willing to absorb the blame,
it becomes a big international football.
Everybody tries to pass it on to each other
and nothing happens.
As far as international politics is concerned, somebody is always trying
to put the blame on somebody else,
to pass that huge, overbuilt,
gooey, dirty, smelly, gigantic football
with all sort of worms coming out of it.
People say, “It’s not mine, it’s yours.”
So even from the point of view
of political theory—
if there is such a thing as politics in Buddhism—it is important for individuals to absorb unjustified blame and to work with that.
It is very important and necessary.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

All revolutions fail because they set their sights heaven-high, but none of them fail to do something, and many increase the amount of liberty, justice, and hope for their heirs.
– Rebecca Solnit

Understand everyone of us
is held down by who we hold down.
No human’s spirit escapes the hell
they put another through.
There is no such thing as rising
from someone else’s ashes.
– Andrea Gibson

the left too often approaches conservativism like it has a legitimate point to make. it doesn’t. treat the right like a circus clown with a loaded gun. deadly, but at it’s core, a joke.
– Oliver Willis

You spent the first half of your life becoming somebody.
Now you can work on becoming nobody,
which is really somebody.
For when you become nobody there is no tension,
no pretense, no trying to be anyone or anything.
The natural state of the mind shines through unobstructed—
and the natural state of the mind is pure love.
– Ram Dass

mama matrix most mysterious.
– James Joyce.

FATHER AND SON by Stanley Kunitz
Now in the suburbs and the falling light
I followed him, and now down sandy road
Whiter than bone-dust, through the sweet
Curdle of fields, where the plums
Dropped with their load of ripeness, one by one.
Mile after mile I followed, with skimming feet,
After the secret master of my blood,
Him, steeped in the odor of ponds, whose indomitable love
Kept me in chains. Strode years; stretched into bird;
Raced through the sleeping country where I was young,
The silence unrolling before me as I came,
The night nailed like an orange to my brow.

How should I tell him my fable and the fears,
How bridge the chasm in a casual tone,
Saying, “The house, the stucco one you built,
We lost. Sister married and went from home,
And nothing comes back, it’s strange, from where she goes.
I lived on a hill that had too many rooms;
Light we could make, but not enough of warmth,
And when the light failed, I climbed under the hill.
The papers are delivered every day;
I am alone and never shed a tear.”

At the water’s edge, where the smothering ferns lifted
Their arms, “Father!” I cried, “Return! You know
The way. I’ll wipe the mudstains from your clothes;
No trace, I promise, will remain. Instruct
Your son, whirling between two wars,
In the Gemara of your gentleness,
For I would be a child to those who mourn
And brother to the foundlings of the field
And friend of innocence and all bright eyes.
0 teach me how to work and keep me kind.

Among the turtles and the lilies he turned to me
The white ignorant hollow of his face.
– Stanley Kunitz

Each generation improves the world
for the next.
My grandparents willed me strength.
My parents willed me pride.
I will to you rage.
I give you a world incomplete
a world where
women still
are property and chattel
where
color still
shuts doors
where
sexual choice still
threatens
but I give you
a legacy
of doers
of people who take risks
to chisel the crack wider.
– Pat Parker

The next theme was that of purification. When an organism is called upon from within to become more conscious, it must first cleanse itself of the psychological by-products of living at its lower level of awareness. It must bring forward the residue of its past and purge that residue from the system in order to lay the foundation for a more refined level of operation. Our species was doing this in a wholesale manner and with greater determination by crystallising within itself generations that embodied this legacy. What I have previously seen simply as individuals reincarnating in order to clear individual Karma, I now experienced as a highly centralised decision to cleanse the human mindfield of its collective karmic legacy in order to prepare humanity for what is to come.

It was the coordinated exercise of the self-evolution of the species as a whole. At a deeper level it was the deliberate movement of the Divine Being that was evolving Itself through the experiences of our species. All our individual histories were expressions of this Being’s larger history, our individual struggles were aspects of its larger struggle. The process was so beautiful and so elegant that it swept me into a deep ecstasy and almost took me beyond my capacity to maintain coherence. It was not a vision but an experience of the reality itself.
– Christopher Bache, Diamonds from Heaven

I didn’t like having to explain to them,
so I just shut up, smoked a cigarette,
and looked at the sea.
– Albert Camus

Don’t go away, come near.
Don’t be faithless, be faithful.
Find the antidote in the venom.
Come to the root of the root of yourself.

Molded of clay, yet kneaded
from the substance of certainty,
a guard at the Treasury of Holy Light —
come, return to the root of the root of your Self.

Once you get hold of selflessness,
You’ll be dragged from your ego
and freed from many traps.
Come, return to the root of the root of your Self.

You are born
from the children of God’s creation,
but you have fixed your sight too low.
How can you be happy?
Come, return to the root of the root of your Self.

You were born from a ray of God’s majesty
and have the blessings of a good star.
Why suffer at the hands
of things that don’t exist?
Come, return to the root of the root of your Self.

You are a ruby embedded in granite.
How long will you pretend it’s not true?
We can see it in your eyes.
Come to the root of the root of your Self.

You came here
from the presence of that fine Friend,
a little drunk, but gentle, stealing our hearts
with that look so full of fire; so,
come, return to the root of the root of your Self.

Our master and host, Shamsi Tabrizi,
has put the eternal cup before you.
Glory be to God, what a rare wine!
So come, return to the root of the root of your Self.

The Intellectual

The intellectual is always showing off;
The lover is always getting lost.
The intellectual runs away, afraid of drowning;
the whole business of love
is to drown in the sea.
Intellectuals plan their repose;
lovers are ashamed to rest.
The lover is always alone,
even surrounded with people;
like water and oil, he remains apart.
The man who goes to the trouble
of giving advice to a lover
gets nothing. He’s mocked by passion.
Love is like musk. It attracts attention.
Love is a tree, and lovers are its shade.

Buy Me From My Words

Before now I wanted
to be paid for what I said,
but now I need you
to buy me from my words.
The idols I used to carve
charmed everyone. Now I’m drunk
on Abraham and tired of idols.
An idol with no color or scent
ended my whole career.
Find someone else for the job.
A happy madman without a thought,
I have swept the shop clean.
If something enters my mind,
I say, “Leave. You’re a distraction.”
Whatever is coarse and heavy, I destroy.
Who should be with Layla?
Someone who can be Majnun.
The man holding up this waving flag
actually belongs to the other side.

– Excerpts from Love is a Stranger
Poetry of Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi
Translated by Kabir Helminski

You cannot shift a paradigm without validating or witnessing the dynamics that solidified said paradigm in the first place.
– Esi Wildcat

…and it seemed to me that these fires
were with me until dawn.
And I didn’t inquire -what color
those strange eyes were.

And everything trembled and sang,
and I didn’t know -was it winter or summer,
were you friend or foe?

– Anna Akhmatova

Humor is the only survival kit
you’ll ever need.

Today
I gave up
On healing my trauma
I gave up
On practicing the skills
To become whole
Today I gave up
On evolving
Into that ever elusive
Better version of myself
Today I submitted
To the wound of love
I stopped pointing at it
Looking at it
Soothing it
Tweaking it
Fixing it
Finessing it
Hiding it
Polishing it
I stopped this game of separation
I crawled inside the wound
And spread it open
I decided to wear it like a gown
I accepted my total and utter
Failure
To be anything else
But me.
– Maya Luna

There are those who are trying
to set fire to the world
We are in danger.
There is time only to work slowly.
There is no time not to love.
– Deena Metzger

For intervals, then, throughout our lives
we savor a concurrence, the great blending
of our chance selves with what sustains
all chance. We ride the wave and are
the wave. And with renewed belief
inner and outer we find our talk
turned to prayer, our prayer into truth:
for an interval, early, we become at home in the world.
– William Stafford

The Artist is no other than he who unlearns
what he has learned, in order to know himself.
– e. e. cummings

The most interesting thing about a poem
is that it doesn’t exist until it has its music.
– C.K. Williams

flowers
by Lucille Clifton
here we are
running with the weeds
color exaggerated
pistils wild
embarrassing the calm family flowers oh
here we are
flourishing for the field
and the name of the place
is Love

Teaching is a compulsion to repeat
what one hasn’t yet understood.
– Barbara Johnson

TARA VISUALIZATION
Within the precious heart
Of the Holy Lady before me,
And upon the cushion of a moon
Inside of the vase,
Stands a letter tam;
Around it circles a string
Of Her secret words,
In a color that matches
That of the light of Her body.
As I recite Her mantra
Rays of light
With the color of molten gold
Burst forth from both
Of the strings of secret words.
They draw down to me
Each and every excellent thing
In the world, and beyond the world,
In the form of eight auspicious signs
And the seven riches of royalty.

The verb reading, like the verb to love
and the verb dreaming,
doesn’t bear the imperative mode.
I always advised my students
that if a book bores them leave it;
That they don’t read it because it’s famous,
that they don’t read a book because it’s modern,
that they don’t read a book because it’s antique.
The reading should be one of the ways of happiness
and nobody can be obliged to be happy.
– Jorge Luis Borges

In these times the only untainted companion left
is a cup of clear wine and a book of ghazals.
– Hafiz (d. 1389) [Elizabeth T. Gray Jr., trans.]

Equanimity means to let go, not to abandon.

– Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s
Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace,
Joy, and Liberation

It may be that poetry makes life’s nebulous events
tangible to me and restores their detail;
or conversely, that poetry brings forth
the intangible quality of incidents
which are all too concrete and circumstantial.
Or each on specific occasions, or both all the time.
– Frank O’Hara

We are so powerful
they spend billions
trying to buy our thoughts
so they can sell us the idea
that we’re not. The remedy
is to want only what’s free–
vetting what feeds us
so we can trust our guts
to come to the answers heartfully.
– Andrea Gibson

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel ~ Bravery and humbleness is what we need in the world right now. This is the spiritual practitioners’ undertaking…. True practice is whether or not you’re resting in openness/awe. This takes courage and humility.

We have to stumble through so much dirt and humbug before we reach home. And we have no one to guide us. Our only guide is our homesickness.
– Hermann Hesse

Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche:
Letting go of small things is important
in order to learn how to let go of large things. We can practice letting go daily.
In conversations with someone
who has a different point of view,
we can let go of our point of view.
Or perhaps we might be attached
to wanting to be good and generous,
but when we see a beggar in the street,
we have chains attached to our wallets.
So instead of rolling down the window,
we roll it up. The tibetan saint, Milarepa,
said if you are attached to a quarter,
summon up the courage to give away two.
It is an immediate antidote to attachment.
This benefits your mental disciple
and gives you freedom of mind.
We develop the sense of joy of letting go.
In those small ways we accumulate the gut
to let go and will be able to do so
with less trauma when big times come.
We notice the joy that comes with letting go, the joy that melts the knot in our hearts
that comes from holding on.
Like a good sportsman, we prepare ourselves to be stronger and more courageous
for the next round.

O Lord—O Lord—O Lord—
Is this love the trouble you promised?
– Tracy K. Smith, Wade in the Water

Our modern culture gives us plenty of freedom to express emotions such as aggression, but we are less commonly encouraged to express love. In the midst of all the frightening problems we face today, we can think of many outer solutions to fix our world, but the divisions in our society will make it hard to come to any consensus. We can take the grassroots approach of opening our hearts and expressing love. If we can keep this in mind every day and feel love in our hearts for all beings, we will make our world a brighter place.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us; the world is full of it, and you simply take as much as you require.
– Edward Elgar

Fiction’s about what it is to be
a fucking human being.
– David Foster Wallace

Be an advocate for love, peace, kindness, forgiveness, equality, reason, understanding and compassion – the opposite of Trump.
– Laurence Overmire

I want you to bite my lip
until I can no longer speak
and then suck my ex-girlfriend’s
name out of my mouth just to
make sure she never comes
up in our conversations.
– Rudy Francisco

There is no way you can hide your politics away
in any form of literature that you choose;
it is not more or less political than anything else.
Politics is seeded in the air we are breathing now.
All art is political, whether you are overtly aware
of it or not; to avoid looking at what is going on
is also political.
– Arundhati Roy

the way to end a poem
like this
is to become suddenly quiet.
– Charles Bukowski

Language is a very difficult thing
to put into words.
– Voltaire

The brain, as busy as it can be,
is actually very lazy…
It sees what it expects to see.
– Dr. James R. Doty

As the Buddha said, it is where we place our intention that our life will ultimately go. It is the same as riding a motorcycle; where we are looking is where we will go. So in motorcycle school, they teach us to always look up and forward, not to look at the ground. All dharmas are led by the mind. Dharma is led by intention.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

I have no pleasure in any man who despises music. It is no invention of ours: it is a gift of God. I place it next to theology. Satan hates music: he knows how it drives the evil spirit out of us.
– Martin Luther

from “Noth” 1993

So I dissolve.

Will Chaos Solve
My Rainsoft Farway?

My Heart is in the Red Chaos of Evening,
Shot with Cranes,
and Crimson Night
is Love’s Delight

I’m dancing in the stark storklight
of river Night.

The Moon’s not White!
Another Lie!
The Moon’s a Moon
The Moon Is moon

And June’s not June.

The Summer of Love is neither Summer
nor Love,

Just a June Bug
Knocking
on the Screen Door of your Heart

Let Her in!
Let Her in!

Oh what’s the use?
Life’s Short Fuse
Will burn you to a crisp!

Never nearing
In Bone White Clearing,
In Moon night wearing down.

Half a world away
The whole world sings,
The whole world swings,
For after all,
Life is Rhythm.

The Rhythm Song
Will dance till Dawn
And on and on
Anon the Pond
The Silver Fronds
Of rushes wands

will wave their benediction
of our Folly

We’re not getting anywhere

Hang up the Phone,
We’re all alone
Sea and Sand
And Mud and Stone
And Sun and Bone
And hand in hand
Along Life’s Strand
The Never Planned
Woman and Man

A Rusty Can

Wet Wife of withered strife
Oh Dream Husband
Lock me with your lips
Let us find no excuses for our behavior
Be my Savior
And I’ll be yours

And I think we’ll find
In twining Time
That there were never really neither of us
to begin with

Nor even a Begin
With which to with

Soft spinning
Foam of Lift

Sand Soft Sift

Never Beach,

Never Each,

Out of Reach
on Ever Beach

Hand in hand
My Palm feels your Palm
Soft
Warm
Sticky

Nineteen Ninety Three
In Love Soft Tree,
You and Me
makes three

You can’t figure it out
and neither can I
But this soft third
Joined thigh to thigh
and Mouth to Mouth
Heading South
The River South
The River Mouth
Join Thigh to Heaven
With Bone for Leaven
Our Brethren
await us with our sisters
on the shore

And is there more
To River Lore?

When Shore and Shore
Join Sea and Sea
And you and me,
Not Two,
Not Three,

Not One,
Not Each
This Clever Beach

It makes a Slave
Of every Wave,
It makes a Wife
Of every Strife,

It makes a Lie
Of every Truth
It wears away at our soft youth

But You and I
Will pass beyond

What need have we for beaches?

For we have melted
In their Roar
And left behind
Their tiny shore

And become the More
That has no Shore

And for our Oar,
The Lion’s Roar!

Our Endless Boat
Is now afloat
In Love’s Dark Sea
Just You and Me

And One Shark’s Fin
That spins and spins

How Simply Twin
Is Love’s Dark Din.

– Nicholas Pierotti 1993

I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.
– Billy Joel

Rebellion cannot exist
without a strange form of love.
– Albert Camus

To make living itself an art, that is the goal.
– Henry Miller, Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch

If it be knowledge or wisdom one is seeking,
then one had better go direct to the source.
And the source is not the scholar or philosopher,
not the master, saint, or teacher, but life itself—
direct experience of life. The same is true for art.
Here, too, we an dispense with ‘the masters.’
– Henry Miller, Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch

Sometimes people just need to talk. They need to be heard. they need the validation of my time, my silence, my unspoken compassion. They don’t need advice, sympathy or counselling. They need to hear the sound of their own voices speaking their own truths, articulating their own feelings, as those may be at a particular moment. Then, when they’re finished, they simply need a nod of the head, a pat on the shoulder or a hug. I’m learning that sometimes silence really is golden, and that sometimes “Fuck, eh?” is as spiritual a thing as needs to be said.
– Richard Wagamese, Embers: One Ojibway’s Meditations

FATHER AND SON by Stanley Kunitz
Now in the suburbs and the falling light
I followed him, and now down sandy road
Whiter than bone-dust, through the sweet
Curdle of fields, where the plums
Dropped with their load of ripeness, one by one.
Mile after mile I followed, with skimming feet,
After the secret master of my blood,
Him, steeped in the odor of ponds, whose indomitable love
Kept me in chains. Strode years; stretched into bird;
Raced through the sleeping country where I was young,
The silence unrolling before me as I came,
The night nailed like an orange to my brow.

How should I tell him my fable and the fears,
How bridge the chasm in a casual tone,
Saying, “The house, the stucco one you built,
We lost. Sister married and went from home,
And nothing comes back, it’s strange, from where she goes.
I lived on a hill that had too many rooms;
Light we could make, but not enough of warmth,
And when the light failed, I climbed under the hill.
The papers are delivered every day;
I am alone and never shed a tear.”

At the water’s edge, where the smothering ferns lifted
Their arms, “Father!” I cried, “Return! You know
The way. I’ll wipe the mudstains from your clothes;
No trace, I promise, will remain. Instruct
Your son, whirling between two wars,
In the Gemara of your gentleness,
For I would be a child to those who mourn
And brother to the foundlings of the field
And friend of innocence and all bright eyes.
0 teach me how to work and keep me kind.”

Among the turtles and the lilies he turned to me
The white ignorant hollow of his face.

– Stanley Kunitz

A poem I wrote last night to celebrate: “Summer Solstice”
Slate blue sky on a not-too-hot night;
a damp heat—sticky, somehow sweet
—breezes on the river’s walk
sweep honeyed scents up from big-
leaved bushes, behind the stone wall.

In El Paso, our heat was dry, arid
city I was born in—In Spring—dust mists
our air—and what is not beautiful
about that? We are made of dust
and water—let then, dust, in hot storms

mist our skin in the stead of water
—we are made of Earth. But ‘water,
water, everywhere” is given birth—I must
find rivers, seas, when far away from
them; our river in this Texas city, along

these night walks, the sky lit
with twelve, no—more, electric-towers,
spikes raised in air, flagpoles
or gargoyles, flags, themselves; shot up
into night, or day’s light. If we had

to pick which heat we’d prefer,
so many, I’ve heard speak
“dry”—when that heat is felt, hard, on skin
—sometimes scalding, seeping in;
not the misty air of Central,

or even East, or even—North
Texas summers; but we live
here, anyway; because we love
—something about this heavy air
that feels like clouds descending

filled with—the invisible
water that makes us sweat—
our bodies singing; In the desert,
I do not remember drops
running down the river of my back;

I do remember something like
sun kissing me hard, 6 o’clock
—penultimate peak of heat,
where I lay near large pools
of water, dug into—our cement.

I was warned, it is too hot for this;
but all I felt was more-than-this
—strong rays of sun, seeping
into skin, my skin was soaking in
the sun, drinking hot light

—my shut lids dreamed electric blue
dots swirling in day’s dreams
as I lay flat, heat-heavy, on low loungers,
nearer the ground, no shade, nothing
hidden; I was—hungry, like that—

for heat, forming me, somehow, into
the desert, itself. Tonight, instead,
I live this week by water, my life is made
further out, nearer the hills—I came to sing
this magical city of dreams, and

Saint Anthony, who has come
to me, before: by name, by church,
twice-given, by place; hot pink lights
on a fairy-tale Cinderella
cart, led—by horses, or electric—blue

hues, trotting down this night,
something that looks like a crown,
that carries those who come to see
our river, in this humid heat, this summer
solstice, this eve of—celebrating

what is hot and beautiful—inside us.

The only way to change human behavior is to woo, instead of preach. To make love, instead of threatening disaster. To point out how glorious something could be, and in some way to live it. This is the real meaning of ‘Make Love, Not War.’
– Alan Watts

The threshold of love’s sanctuary lies above that of reason.
To kiss that threshold you must be ready to scatter your life like coins.
– Hafiz

Stop measuring days by degree of productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence.
– Alan Watts

There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside of the dullest exterior there is a drama, a comedy, and a tragedy.
– Mark Twain

Prose is like hair; it shines with combing.
– Gustave Flaubert

SWEET THINGS
The end has been here all along,
Or at least has been very near,
I first noticed it with fashion,
Yes, fashion, of all things,
Like they’d run out of ideas
For these new decades
So now suddenly all the eras
Were fair play,
Mix’em all together,
Eclectic vintage,
The costumes of time
Were folding in on each other,
That’s how I knew
That the end was already here,
Or at least very near.

Then I knew it again,
It was in a car commercial
The voice in it spoke
the slogan
In that slick,
commercial intonation,
Almost whispered it:
Be selfish,
It said it so confidently,
Seductively:
Be Seflish,
A phrase, executively chosen
For its obvious marketable appeal,
That’s how I knew
That the end was already here,
Or at least very near.

Then it was army recruitment ads
On Canadian television,
And live beheadings
On youtube,
Then it was alcoholism
Seeming like a reasonable reaction
To the world,

Then it was music,
And only music,
But records turned to singles
And all of them were stolen,
Openly stolen,
The artist’s compensation
Now only to be found
In numbers
Of distant,
Fickle
Followers
Who
Click,
Click,
Click,
Whatever

Then it was evil
Speaking its tongue
Like it was finally allowed
back to the party,
And was now standing
drunk on the table,
Boasting,
But, worse,
Being cheered,

She wore a coat
That said
“I don’t care do you?”
“I don’t care, do you?”
when she visited children
Locked up in dirty cages,
Crying for their mama,
Crying for their papa,
I don’t care do you?
I don’t care do you?
Click,
Click,
Click,
Whatever,
That’s how I knew
The end was already here,
Or at least very near

And the fires,
And the floods,
And the plague.

A frozen, panicked chaos,
Held up in the whole
World’s mirror,
Explained in fallible words
that immediately scatter
Like the builders of Babel,
Into undecipherable noise

And when phrases appear
From the thick,
They are cries of Injustice
Clear as can be,
For all to see,
Documented wounds
for all to see,
No denying!
And yet –
Denying and Denied,
That’s how I know,
The end is already here,
Or at least very near.

But sweet things keep on coming,
The woodpecker doesn’t seem to know
It’s pecking on a dead pole,
Not even a tree anymore,
But the woodpecker doesn’t seem to notice,
Peck,
Peck,
Peck,
Whatever,
That’s how I know
That sweet things keep on coming,
Parcels in the mail,
Bread baked,
Songs written,
Lilacs to inhale,
Sweet things keep on coming,
They’re not afraid
That the end is obviously near,
They keep on coming
Acts and utterances of deep love,
My love,
My love,
The beginning
Has been here
All along, too.
Sweet things keep on coming.
– Orit Shimoni

Rev. Jim Rigby:

From Atheism, I want to learn to be honest no matter what the cost.

From the Mystics, I want to learn to feel the fire of my deepest intuitions.

From Paganism, I want to learn a reverent “nakedness” before the holy temple of nature.

From Judaism, I want to learn that the struggle to be fully human is a story much longer than my own.

From Buddhism, I want to learn how to make my fitful wants and fears dissolve into peaceful awareness.

From Hinduism, I want to learn to hear the music of the cosmic dance.

From Islam, I want to learn that I do not belong to myself.

From my own tradition, I want to learn to express all of these values in intimate community.

From every other tradition, I want to learn an ever larger truth I can recognize in everyone, everywhere, all the time.

World as we know it will be just nostalgia.
– Slavoj Žižek

Yesterday and To-morrow
Yesterday I held your hand,
Reverently I pressed it,
And its gentle yieldingness
From my soul I blessed it.

But to-day I sit alone,
Sad and sore repining;
Must our gold forever know
Flames for the refining?

Yesterday I walked with you,
Could a day be sweeter?
Life was all a lyric song
Set to tricksy meter.

Ah, to-day is like a dirge,—
Place my arms around you,
Let me feel the same dear joy
As when first I found you.

Let me once retrace my steps,
From these roads unpleasant,
Let my heart and mind and soul
All ignore the present.

Yesterday the iron seared
And to-day means sorrow.
Pause, my soul, arise, arise,
Look where gleams the morrow.

– Paul Laurence Dunbar

Alone
by Maya Angelou

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Life can’t be all bad when for ten dollars you can buy all the Beethoven sonatas and listen to them for ten years.
– William F. Buckley, Jr.

Music has been my playmate, my lover, and my crying towel.
– Buffy Sainte-Marie

Music, once admitted to the soul, becomes a sort of spirit, and never dies.
– Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

There are many more eyes upon us that wish us grace than wish us harm.
– Martin Shaw

In the total darkness, poetry is still there,
and it is there for you.

– Abbas Kiarostami

Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.
– Charlie Parker

I do not want to smash the patriarchy. I want to be the open, clear, and gentle space where it can put down all its weapons and weep its generations of grief.
– Shanti Zimmermann

Leonard Cohen:

In our kisses, we confessed
our longing to be born again.

To understand is the experience of flow—I understand when the wall that separates dissolves.
– Howard Thurman (1964)

HAIKU
~
And who made you boss
of the whole damn horizon—
distant thunderhead
– Clark Strand

You can get the monkey off your back,
but the circus never leaves town.
– Anne Lamott

The greater the practitioner, the smaller their eight worldly concerns.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

Ajahn Chah:
If you don’t practice,
you may study till the day you die,
but you’ll never know
the taste of freedom!

Pema Chödron:

The mundane details of our life eat us up. Therefore it is important to keep asking ourselves again and again: What is the most important thing? Since death is certain and the time of death is uncertain; what is the most important thing? Let that perspective be your guide.”Every act counts. Every thought and emotion counts too. This is all the path we have. This is where we apply the teachings. This is where we come to understand why we meditate. We are only going to be here for a short while. Even if we live to be 108, our life will be too short for witnessing all its wonders. The dharma is each act, each thought, each word we speak. Are we at least willing to catch ourselves spinning off and to do that without embarrassment? Do we at least aspire to not consider ourselves a problem, but simply a pretty typical human being who could at that moment give him- or herself a break and stop being so predictable? My experience is that this is how our thoughts begin to slow down. Magically, it seems that there’s a lot more space to breathe, a lot more room to dance, and a lot more happiness.

Once upon a time, there was a boy. He lived in a village that no longer exists, in a house that no longer exists, on the edge of a field that no longer exists, where everything was discovered, and everything was possible. A stick could be a sword, a pebble could be a diamond, a tree, a castle. Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in a house across the field, from a girl who no longer exists. They made up a thousand games. She was queen and he was king. In the autumn light her hair shone like a crown. They collected the world in small handfuls, and when the sky grew dark, they parted with leaves in their hair.
– Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

In case you haven’t noticed, you have a mental dialogue going on inside your head that never stops. It just keeps going and going. Have you ever wondered why it talks in there? How does it decide what to say and when to say it? How much of what it says turns out to be true? How much of what it says is even important? And if right now you are hearing, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t have any voice inside my head!” – that’s the voice we’re talking about.
– Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul

YOUR BOAT YOUR WORDS
Your boat, they will tell you,
cannot leave the harbor
without discipline.

But they will neglect to mention
that discipline has a vanishing point,
an invisible horizon where belief takes over.

They will not whisper to you the secret
that they themselves have not fully understood: that
belief is the only wind with breath enough

to take you past the deadly calms, the stopped motion
toward that place you have imagined,
the existence of which you cannot prove

except by going there.
– Pat Schneider

It is not famine, not earthquakes, not cancer but man himself who is man’s greatest danger to man, for the simple reason that there is no adequate protection against psychic epidemics, which are infinitely more devastating than the worst of natural catastrophes.
– Carl Jung

I put my heart and soul into my work, and I have lost my mind in the process.
– Vincent Van Gogh

We don’t want to live a frivolous life,
we don’t want to live a superficial life.
We want to be serious with each other,
with our friends, with our work.
That doesn’t necessarily mean gloomy or grim,
but seriousness has a kind of voluptuous aspect to it.
It is something that we are deeply hungry for,
to take ourselves seriously and to be able to enjoy
the nourishment of seriousness,
that gravity, that weight.
– Leonard Cohen

Habitation
by Margaret Atwood
Marriage is not
a house or even a tent
it is before that, and colder:
the edge of the forest, the edge
of the desert
the unpainted stairs
at the back where we squat
outside, eating popcorn
the edge of the receding glacier
where painfully and with wonder
at having survived even
this far
we are learning to make fire

Everyday life is a disaster,
and disaster can liberate us.
– Rebecca Solnit

Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.
– Matthew 7:1-2

Bruce Cockburn;
Sometimes, sometimes, doesn’t the light seem to move so far away?
You help your sisters, you help your old lovers, you help me but who do you cry to?
‘Cause isn’t it hard
To be the one who gathers everybody’s tears?
Isn’t it hard
To be the strong one?

Nourish your body with healthy food, and exercise. Nourish your mind with good literature, art, and company. Nourish your spirit with silence, stillness, and prayer.
– Sister Stan

Grateful for kindred spirits who refuse to stay stuck in the nightmare, those who work to create the dream.
– Dr. Thema

It is not famine, not earthquakes, not cancer but man himself who is man’s greatest danger to man, for the simple reason that there is no adequate protection against psychic epidemics, which are infinitely more devastating than the worst of natural catastrophes.
– Carl Jung

Keep singing your own song
They’re dancing to the tune.
– Michael Heyoka-Coach

I often think about the woman in Highgate Cemetery whose epitaph reads: “She hath done what she could.” It’s not bad.
– Kelly Davio

Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.
– St. Bernard

When people put pressure on you, don’t react, act.

Take a deep breath, think twice, then choose your response.
– Gal Shapira

My Father’s Kites
by Allison Joseph

were crude assemblages of paper sacks and twine,
amalgams of pilfered string and whittled sticks,
twigs pulled straight from his garden, dry patch

of stony land before our house only he
could tend into beauty, thorny roses goaded
into color. How did he make those makeshift

diamonds rise, grab ahold of the wind to sail
into sky like nothing in our neighborhood
of dented cars and stolid brick houses could?

It wasn’t through faith or belief in otherworldly
grace, but rather a metaphor from moving
on a street where cars rusted up on blocks,

monstrously immobile, and planes, bound
for that world we could not see, roared
above our heads, our houses pawns

in a bigger flight path. How tricky the launch
into air, the wait for the right eddy to lift
our homemade contraption into the sullen

blue sky above us, our eyes stinging
with the glut of the sun. And the sad tangle
after flight, collapse of grocery bags

and broken branches, snaggle of string
I still cannot unfurl. Father, you left me
with this unsated need to find the most

delicately useful of breezes, to send
myself into the untenable, balance my weight
as if on paper wings, a flutter then fall,

a stutter back to earth, an elastic sense
of being and becoming forged in our front
yard, your hand over mine over balled string.

If the planet were a patient, we would have treated her long ago. You … have the power to put her on life support, and you must surely start the emergency procedures without further procrastination.
– Prince Charles

Ethan Nichtern:
“Go meditate, okay?” -my daughter (3) to me on Father’s Day.

Lisa Lucas:
I think bail funds finally beat out soundclouds.

Learn to look at your sentences, play with them, make sure there’s music, lots of edges and corners to the sounds.
– Janet Fitch

When I wear my mask outside my home I NEVER think about the president, a congressperson , a Senator ….. I think HEALTHY thoughts about any body I pass in the city we live in.
– Henry Winkler

Karen Walrond:
As long as I live, I will never understand how masks came to be viewed as a political statement, rather than science-based evidence of taking care of each other.
Never, never, never.

We’re moving from an age of progress to an age of resilience.
– Jeremy Rifkin

We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

lol white ppl have thought that i’m just angry at white ppl for no reason like it’s my hobby (so fun!) or for something their ancestors did ages ago. no, i’m angry at your racist behavior right now in 20 fucking 20. & white ppl have treated me like shit in my fucking lifetime.
– Chen Chen

Apply reason to difficulties: what is hard can be softened.
– Seneca

I don’t need you to pamper my inner wounded child, because that will increase my toxic codependency and I will be enmeshed with you. I need you to hold space for me as I learn to love my inner wounded child.
– Inner Practiconer

If anything, muse is a floating abstraction that reveals itself unpredictably. It seems to come from nowhere, but in fact is rooted in words, language, books, the process of reading. I believe that you should fill yourself up with good things,…
– Moyra Davey – Polyvalence

Aria Aber:
oh don’t mind me i’m just spending friday night crying my eyes out over the responsibilities of the firstborn child in a first generation immigrant family.

…what does the soul do? It binds me to others.
– Stanley Cavell, The Claim is Reason

Blunted Buddha:
Real success is mental, not monetary.

Don’t get lost in your pain,
know that one day your pain
will become your cure.
– Rumi

one on the midnight wind
Got me thinking of the sea
And the mercies of the currents that brought me to you and you to me
In the silence at the heart of things
Where all true meetings come to be
– Bruce Cockburn

We all agree it’s too big to keep up with, that we’re surrounded by life, that we’ll never understand it…
– Keroauc

We can’t allow Equity, Diversity & Inclusion to become organizational buzzwords.

It’s not just about representation, it’s about unlearning toxic cultures and creating new ones.

We need to dismantle the very structures of oppression that got us here in the first place.
– Naheed Dosani

I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out.
– Paul Newman

Awakened Minds:
Is your mind so fragile,
that you let words bother you?

Our wail starts up
of its own accord, is mistaken for song.

– Rita Dove

in the midst of horror
we fed on beauty—and that,
my love,
is what sustained us

– Rita Dove

Inner Practitioner:
If you have been told by some people that you are too sensitive, then you know that your sensitivity is a beautiful gift, not a disease, and you are not too sensitive, they are too numb.

Mercedes is right. i’m always down
to go to the discoteca. A word that spins on the tongue
like a disco ball. keep your clubs. cops carry clubs
& in this poem there are no police.
– José Olivarez

Don’t keep searching for the truth, just let go of your opinions.
– Buddhist proverb

di brandt
River People
for Tomson and Raymond
I have come now to live with the river people. I was raised among the earth people, proud dirt under the fingernails, long rugged silent days of hoeing and plowing. Electric barbed wire to keep the cows in, tin granaries bulging with ripe wheat. Bright orange carrots rooted improbably, juicy, green feather topped, in cracked black soil. Meadowlarks perched on the fenceposts along the gravel road, announcing the morning with their cheery trilling song.
I lived with the lake people for a while, sand coloured beaches, blue grey water, sparkling sky, no fixed borders anywhere. Ground squirrels darting through the bushes. The slow put put put of the weatherbeaten grey aluminum boat. Pungent smell of rotted fish, rustle of dead mayflies, flash of white wings and sharp beaks. Shots ringing out. Midnight feast for the whole clan. Too much drink. Aurora borealis painting the night sky, and the moon, the moon.

There were the years I lived with the asphalt and cement people, dedicated to glass and steel, and cars, and money, and speed. Pinstriped linen suits over crisp white cuffs, tooled leather briefcases, colour coded digital presentations in fashionable Power Point. Statistics, analyses, tables, maps, reports. Hurry hurry, faster faster, more more. Belgian raspberry cider in goldrimmed glasses.
Yachts and sailboats on the canal. Parched ditches, car accidents, the singing stars muffled behind inky clouds.

There were the years I lived in the air, crowded cabins with TV screens built into the seatbacks, dinners on plastic trays. Smiling servants everywhere. Lipstick, pantyhose, eye shadow, stilettos. Yellow turbans and hand embroidered slippers. Passports, hotel reservations, waitlines, security checks. Fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast, crisp papaya salad for lunch, piña colada at seven. Ambassadorial receptions, keynote addresses, interviews. Pictures in the newspapers.

I have come now to live with the river people. We sit on the reedy shore and watch the water flow by, urgently, purposefully, carrying the continent’s pulse and debris firmly along to the bay we have heard about, on the edge of
a mythical northern ocean, with seal mermaids and melting ice floes, far away.

We watch the people living on the other side with their bigger yards and lusher gardens and louder dinner parties, knowing we live on the superior wilder, slower, freer side. Don’t we? And they, do they feel pity, or envy, looking across at us perched on our unadorned rocks, with our fishing lines and ragged sprawling nettle and burdock groves?

We chat with the geese. We watch the sun’s reflection as it’s going down, a long wavering red line slashing the water. We sing to the fish. We scatter many coloured flower petals to the spirit bones of our beloved remembered drowned, the overdosed, the lost, the disappeared. The
deep heart’s cry of why, why, why, why, why. We
pick wild berries, sumach, raspberry, blackberry,
on the shore. The smoke of our tiny backyard
fires, tobacco lit, spirals upward toward the heavens.
My fingers begin to remember how to weave
willow baskets and bright coloured shawls.
My lips begin to mutter the old songs in the old languages, my tongue curling gingerly around
the strange and familiar sounds. I begin to hear
the babble and gurgle, the gloog gloog gloog, at
the earth’s deep core. My mind begins to wander
the swirling galaxies. What could I possibly want, more?

Listening, she leans / into what she knows.
– Natasha Trethewey

Jesus is going to give the world an ‘Extreme Makeover: Planet Edition’ right after he finishes putting Satan in his place.
– Arianna Huffington, #rethink #noplanetB

We recognize that we are collective agents of history and that history cannot be deleted like web pages.
– Angela Davis

You will always see your internal divisions externally.
– Persistent Observer

Ignoring causation invites disaster.
– Dōgen Zenji

it’s not a good poem. i don’t

have healthcare. i don’t have healthcare. i don’t have healthcare.

there’s no way to make that pretty.
– José Olivarez

Peace is rarely denied to the peaceful.
– Johann von Schiller

I do not believe in time
I do believe in water
– Dionne Brand

As people are walking all the time, in the same spot, a path appears.
– John Locke

My toddler just came out of her room butt naked, looked me in the eye, and said “I don’t like it here.”

And then went back to her room.

Scientists, I beg you. The vaccine. Please.
– Olivia Cole

By consuming alcohol into the body, it in effect extracts the very essence of the soul, allowing the body to be more susceptible to neighboring entities most of which are of low frequencies.
– Jason Christoff

Our strongest gifts
Are hidden within our shadows.
Because from there
We learned to survive.
– Michael – Heyoka Coach

Like the mountains, meditate, unmoving and unshakeable.
– Milarepa

There is a story I’ve been haunted by for a long time, not a story, maybe, but an image that turns into a story.
– Miriam Sagan

No hell is worse than that in which one lives without knowing it.
– Alan Watts

As you think you vibrate. As you vibrate you attract.
– Abraham Hicks

Persistent Observer:
Sometimes they say it can’t be done because they are talking from their vibrational frequency.

I am intrigued by the sense that culture itself has a wild edge. As Claude Levi-Strauss remarked years ago, the arts are the wilderness areas of the imagination surviving, like national parks, in the midst of civilized minds.
– Gary Snyder

In this world of onrushing events the act of meditation – even just a “one-breath” meditation – straightening the back, clearing the mind for a moment – is a refreshing island in the stream.
– Gary Snyder

We love because it’s the only true adventure.
– Nikki Giovanni

…and it seemed to me that these fires
were with me until dawn.
And I didn’t inquire -what color
those strange eyes were.

And everything trembled and sang,
and I didn’t know -was it winter or summer,
were you friend or foe?

– Anna Akhmatova

Be silent and watch the world of delusions melt away.
– B. D. Schiers

Bruce Cockburn:
Don’t want to live in no mansion
ornate as a crown prince’s church
Don’t want to live on no sidewalk
underneath no pigeon’s perch
Just want to stand at the rainbow’s
real end with you

Bruce Cockburn:
te and strange
Understanding seldom comes in range
We stumble through familiar scenes
Never thinking what it means,
In this cluttered landscape to be loved
I need you like I need the stars above

Bruce Cockburn:
All that glory shining around and we’re all caught taking a dive
And all the beasts of the hills around shout, “Such a waste!
Don’t you know that from the first to the last we’re all one in the gift of grace?!

Bruce Cockburn:
Under the deep sky that’s squatting so close over us tonight
You’d think it was trying to hatch us
The numb and confused
The battered and bruised
The counters of cost
And the star-crossed

Bruce Cockburn:
Sometimes you’re made to feel as if your love’s a crime
But nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight
Got to kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight

Bruce Cockburn:
Yes, the world’s in convulsions and the weather is fine
Buicks get bigger and five cents costs a dime
I must get going, you know, there’s not much time
The road is waiting and I’m running out of rhyme
Up on the hillside, see how the cross does shine

Bruce Cockburn:
Turn your eyes to the world where we all sit and dream
Busy dreaming ourselves and each other into being
Dreaming is a state of death, can’t you see?
We must live through who we are

Bruce Cockburn:
Let the world retain in memory
That mighty tongues tell mighty lies
And if mankind must have an enemy
Let it be his warlike pride
Let it be his warlike pride

Bruce Cockburn:
Arrows of light, come
Pierce my soul
Pierce my soul
Breath of the bright wind
Make us one
Make us one
Life is singing
Like a great bell ringing

Bruce Cockburn:
Voice of the nova
Smile of the dew
All of our yearning
Only comes home to you
O love that fires the sun keep me burning

Bruce Cockburn:
The world is waiting
Like a Lake Superior gale
A locomotive racing along the rail
It’ll sweep you away
But you know that you’re never alone

We’re not destroying the world because we’re clumsy. We’re destroying the world because we are, in a very literal and deliberate way, at war with it.
– Daniel Quinn

Books are the ideas of things before things begin. Books create worlds and destroy worlds. Books are the mirrors of light and the mirrors of darkness in which the universe sees its own face.
– John Cowper Powys

..oh, there is so much to speak of in meeting one you love, and it always seems to me that I might have spoken more, and I almost always think that what we found to say might have been left unspoken.
– Emily Dickinson – Letter August 1851

It is a criminal blunder of our maturer years that we so tamely, and without frantic and habitual struggles to retain it, allow the ecstasy of the unbounded to slip away out of our lives.
– John Cowper Powys – Autobiography

Christina Tudor-Sideri:
Everything will be erased in a second. The dictionary of words amassed between cradle and deathbed, eliminated. All there will be is silence and no words to say it. Nothing will come out of the open mouth, neither I nor me. Language will continue to put the world into words.

Usually one gets a heavier cross when one attempts to get rid of an old one.
– Edith Stein

Steve Mitchelmore:
Consciousness is the metafiction of dreaming.

You are too weak
to honor the secret;
you err in the restlessness.
But stillness comes
after thoughts,
casually.
– Ernst Meister

It was his lot to fulfill himself only halfway. Everything in him was truncated: his way of life, like his way of thinking. A man of fragments, himself a fragment.
– Cioran – On the Verge of Existence

We command the pain to remain in the words not in us.
– Alice Notley – Iphigenia

Those whose mind is well grounded in the (seven) elements of knowledge, who without clinging to anything, rejoice in freedom from attachment, whose appetites have been conquered, and who are full of light, are free (even) in this world.
– Daily Dhammapada, v. 89

Daily Kerouac:
So, I say, life is too sweet to waste on self propaganda, I quit self promotion, I enter my page.

[Happiness] is the purging of mental toxins, such as hatred and obsession.
– Matthieu Ricard

Mindfulness Training:
The older I get the more selective I am of who is in my tribe. I would rather have four quarters than a hundred pennies.

Amy Westervelt:
The US is obsessed with personal responsibility for systemic problems that require systemic solutions. You’re supposed to bear the brunt of the problem, take the blame for causing it, and also solve it all on your own.

Thinking about how what you perceive as “mess” might reflect your own illiteracies—how to name something not yours might be rephrased as “I do not know.” How “I do not know” can be a critical posture & a generative site of inquiry, one foreclosed by a posture of authority
– Claire Schwartz

Bruce Cockburn:
We thought we could change something
We helped them win
We changed the slogans
We get hunted again
When you’re the fighter
You’re the politicians tool
When you’re the fighter
You’re everybody’s fool

You must do the things you think you cannot do.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Technology is destructive only in the hands of people who do not realize that they are one and the same process as the universe.
– Alan Watts

Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?
– Marcus Aurelius

The world is the cloister of the contemplative. Always the quest for justice draws one deeply into the heart of God. In this sacred interiority contemplation becomes the language of prayer and the impetus for prophetic action.
– Dr. Barbara Holmes, Joy, Unspeakable

Bruce Cockburn:
Disfunction
Of the institutions
That should give a frame to work in
Got to find our own solutions
Confusion
Pressure from all sides
Got to head right down the centre
In the love that will abide

Pain is important: how we evade it, how we succumb to it, how we deal with it, how we transcend it.
– Audre Lorde

Zen is not an art; it’s not a religion. It’s a realization.
– Gene Clark

When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.
– Teachings of the Buddha

To know what a person says, we must hear what remains unsaid. If we cannot hear silence, we do not know how to listen.
– Mark C. Taylor

When watching after yourself, you watch after others. When watching after others, you watch after yourself.
– Buddha, Samyutta Nikaya

A friend you get for nothing; an enemy must be earned.
– Yiddish proverb

any person who doesn’t value ALL black life is an enemy to me. i don’t give a fuck what community you claim
– noname

Give me the waters of Lethe that numb the heart, if they exist, I will still not have the power to forget you.
– Ovid, The Poems of Exile

We are witnessing now, day after day, the eruption of generations of deep suffering, inequality, racism, gender discrimination, greed, misuse of resources, pollution of the environment. It can make us feel bitter and hopeless. But, it is the hope we need now. Michael Mead tells us . . .”If we can stay in touch with ourselves, if we can find the connection to our deeper selves, we can find this deeper level of hope that truly should be called imagination . . . in the depths of each person there is a greater self and a core imagination that is truly the source of one’s life.
– Gunilla Norris

Three Kinds of Business
by Tad Hargrave
(I wrote this post in 2016 and it feels more relevant than ever).
Author Byron Katie often speaks of the three kinds of business that exist.
1) My business. My own thoughts, feelings, needs and actions.
2) Your business. Your own thoughts, feelings, needs and actions.
3) God’s business. The weather. What happens in the future. Starvation. Wars on the other side of the world that I don’t even know about and have zero immediate control over and only small long-term influence over.
Her advice? Stay in your business.
When people are railing against how cruel others or the world are, she will ask, “Whose business are you in? Whose business is it if she loves you or not? That’s her business. Whose business is it if she forgives you? Hers. Stay in your own business.”
It’s a bitter pill to swallow and humbling when we come to realize that most of our lives are consumed in trying to run the business of other people.
“They should be more kind.”
“She shouldn’t have cheated on her spouse.”
“He should eat better and exercise.”
“He really needs to work on his temper.”
“She needs to learn to be more honest.”
Other people’s business. 24/7.
The real impact of this is stress.
And we get stressed because we are trying to take on a job for which we are unqualified and for which we utterly lack capacity. It’s a job we can’t do. We can’t control other people’s thoughts, feelings, needs and actions.
But we keep trying.
And this leads to a feeling of helplessness. And helplessness is the source of anger.
We tell ourselves that our stress is a sign that we care.
Said another way: if we weren’t stressed, we wouldn’t care.
Said another way: if we were at peace, it would mean we didn’t care.
And so, it turns out that, as much as we speak about giving peace a chance, we actually think it’s a terrible idea. We tell ourselves, “If I was at peace, then I wouldn’t respond to suffering. I wouldn’t do anything.”
We’d be better off turning all of that advice around and using it ourselves: we should be more kind, we shouldn’t cheat on our spouse, we should eat better and exercise, we should work on our temper, we should be more honest.
I think this also works on the level of groups. And so, as white men, I think we are being asked to stay in our own business.
“Black Lives Matter needs to crack down on the violent elements of their group.”
“Native people need to share their ceremonies with white people.”
“Women should trust men.”
“Black people shouldn’t be so angry.”
“People of colour need to let go of the past and forgive.”
That’s all their business.
I think that our business, as white men, is to do what we can to reduce suffering and to work for justice.
Might we have critiques of how Idle No More, Black Lives Matter or feminist groups go about their work? Sure. But that’s largely their business.
If I want to offer a critique, I choose to save that for those in power not those being marginalized. Do I have advice for us as white men? Plenty. I’ll give advice to my own group. I choose to stay in our business.
We’d be better off turning all of our advice for them around to ourselves. We, as white men, need to crack down on the violent elements of our group. We need to share our ceremonies (of access to money, government and the corridors of power) with indigenous people. We should trust women (to decide what to do with their bodies). We shouldn’t be so angry (about their mistrust of us). White people need to let go of the past (in which marginalized groups didn’t treat them the way they wanted) and forgive.
Those would be some examples of many possible turnarounds.
If we feel called to criticize the actions of marginalized groups, it might behoove us to slow down and wonder if all of that energy might be better spent on our own people whose actions might be at the root of their oppression.
Don’t like seeing black people get violent towards white people simply because they’re white? How about fighting for an end to systemic racism instead of tut tutting them for not being able to forgive.
Don’t like the tactics of BlackLivesMatter? Then how about taking all of your energy and pouring it into working for the end to racist policies and culture in policing? I don’t think our job, as white men, is to criticize Black Lives Matter but to do whatever we can so that such a movement is unnecessary. Our job is to work to end a system of white supremacy not to dictate their response to that system.
Tired of seeing alcoholism in indigenous people? Then how about getting curious about how it came to be that there is so much substance abuse in their communities and working to relieve the very real pressures they face in their life every day that drive them to that? Or how about working to reduce the rampant alcoholism and substance abuse amongst white men?
And what if we saved our hardest advice for ourselves and then lived it out?
What if, instead of giving advice, we worked hard to make the systemic and structural changes that would eliminate the need for it?
What if we stopped pretending that we would do better than them if we were in their shoes and started proving it by trying to follow our own advice.
If we think it’s so easy to crack down on the violent elements of our group, share our ceremonies, to trust those who have hurt us, to let go of anger and the past… then let’s show them. Let’s show them how easy it is. How about we go first?
What if we stopped giving advice to others and started giving love instead?

Today, look upon your life, your bank account, your family, each person you meet, as a wild horse. If a problem looks difficult, relax. If it looks impossible, relax even more. Then begin encouraging small changes, putting just enough pressure on yourself to move one turtle step forward. Then rest, savor, celebrate. Then step again. You’ll find that slow is fast, gentle is powerful, and stillness moves mountains.
– Martha Beck, Taming Wild Mustangs

THE SUMMER
After we come to see it and know we scarcely live without it we begin trying to describe what art is and it seems to be something we believe is human whatever that is something that says what we are but then the same beam of recognition stops at one penguin choosing a pebble to offer to the penguin he hopes to love and later the dance of awkwardness holding an egg on one foot away from the snow of summer the balancing on one foot in the flash of summer
– W. S. Merwin

One must think like a hero to behave like a merely decent human being.
– May Sarton

I feel like a book project is not really a book project until I have a day where the mere thought of it makes me nauseous with doubt.
– Laura van der Berg

All doubts disappear when one sees God. It is one thing to hear of God, but quite a different thing to see Him. A man cannot have one hundred per cent conviction through mere hearing. But if he beholds God face to face, then he is wholly convinced.

Formal worship drops away after the vision of God. It was thus that my worship in the temple came to an end. I used to worship the Deity in the Kali temple. It was suddenly revealed to me that everything is Pure Spirit. The utensils of worship, the altar, the door-frame-all Pure Spirit. Men, animals, and other living beings-all Pure Spirit. Then like a madman I began to shower flowers in all directions. Whatever I saw I worshipped.
– Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

I turned silences and nights into words. What was unutterable, I wrote down. I made the whirling world stand still.
– Arthur Rimbaud

While perfectionism drives us away from our mistakes, the embodied life recognizes these confusions as doorways through which genius may stumble. It welcomes the fallow season as graciously as the harvest because when energy recedes – when we’re lost, fed up and full of grief – a new inclination is quietly coalescing underneath.
– Toko-pa Turner

Sometimes a wound cuts so deep that the healing is as much a dying process as one of ‘getting better.’
– David Bedrick

What a mess.
Just look at Einstein’s desk.
The breath of chaos
is the seed of order.
The whirling particulars
of dark matter,
cinders heaped into a glow,
yesterday’s tobacco
in the old man’s pipe.
What is freedom?
The gift of uncertainty.
If you’re looking for equilibrium
in the elegant Chippendale
curves of space,
or invisible asymptotes of justice
in the violence of the void,
go out beyond the rim of anything.
Bask in heat-death.
Rest in entropy
where the randomly distributed
odor of a sock and a rose
are the same smell.
But if its life you crave,
breathe in catastrophe.
Savor the taste
at the end of the world,
a soupçon
of the whole mess.
Hug all the fleeting infinitesimal
stabs at perfection
on the cluttered desktop
of your genius.
Now give the cosmos
one more chance.
– Fred LaMotte

Tara is accessible even to those who have not received the initiation of Tara. She is simply present. The reemergence of Tara’s energy, her feminine wisdom, and her compassion are essential for the earth and all people right now. We are out of balance, and feminine wisdom is lacking. One problem for those who know this is that they are not sure how to find feminine wisdom. They ask, “How do I access it in myself and then bring it into the world?” Entering a practice like Green Tara creates the template for the development of that wisdom. In other words, it begins to help you access the wisdom of the feminine through the process of identification. This is important not only for women but for everyone.
– Lama Tsultrim Allione

Disappointment is the best chariot to use on the path of the dharma. It does not confirm the existence of our ego and its dreams. However, if we are involved with spiritual materialism, if we regard spirituality as a part of our accumulation of learning and virtue, if spirituality becomes a way of building ourselves up, then of course the whole process of surrendering is completely distorted. If we regard spirituality as a way of making ourselves comfortable, then whenever we experience something unpleasant, a disappointment, we try to rationalize it:

Of course this must be an act of wisdom on the part of the guru, because I know, I’m quite certain the guru doesn’t do harmful things.
Guruji is a perfect being and whatever Guruji does is right. Whatever Guruji does is for me, because he is on my side. So I can afford to open. I can safely surrender. I know that I am treading on the right path.”

Something is not quite right about such an attitude. It is, at best, simple-minded and naive. We are captivated by the awesome, inspiring, dignified and colorful aspect of “Guruji.” We dare not contemplate any other way. We develop the conviction that whatever we experience is part of our spiritual development. “I’ve made it, I have experienced it, I am a self-made person and I know everything, roughly, because I’ve read books and they confirm my beliefs, my rightness, my ideas. Everything coincides.

We can hold back in still another way, not really surrendering because we feel that we are very genteel, sophisticated and dignified people. “Surely we can’t give ourselves to this dirty, ordinary street-scene of reality.” We have the feeling that every step of the path we tread should be a lotus petal and we develop a logic that interprets whatever happens to us accordingly. If we fall, we create a soft landing which prevents sudden shock. Surrendering does not involve preparing for a soft landing; it means just landing on hard, ordinary ground, on rocky, wild countryside. Once we open ourselves, then we land on what is.

Traditionally, surrendering is symbolized by such practices as prostration, which is the act of falling on the ground in a gesture of surrender. At the same time we open psychologically and surrender completely by identifying ourselves with the lowest of the low, acknowledging our raw and rugged quality. There is nothing that we fear to lose once we identify ourselves with the lowest of the low. By doing so, we prepare ourselves to be an empty vessel, ready to receive the teachings.

In the Buddhist tradition, there is this basic formula: “I take refuge in the Buddha, I take refuge in the dharma, I take refuge in the sangha.” I take refuge in the Buddha as the example of surrender, the example of acknowledging negativity as a part of our makeup and opening to it. I take refuge in the dharma—dharma, the “law of existence,” life as it is. I am willing to open my eyes to the circumstances of life as they are. I am not willing to view them as spiritual or mystical, but I am willing to see the situations of life as they really are.

I take refuge in the sangha. “Sangha” means “community of people on the spiritual path, companions.” I am willing to share my experience of the whole environment of life. with my fellow pilgrims, my fellow searchers, those who walk with me; but I am not willing to lean on them in order to gain support. I am only willing to walk along with them. There dharma—dharma, the “law of existence,” life as it is. I am willing to open my eyes to the circumstances of life as they are. I am not willing to view them as spiritual or mystical, but I am willing to see the situations of life as they really are.

There is a very dangerous tendency to lean on one another as we tread the path. If a group of people leans one upon the other, then if one should happen to fall down, everyone falls down. So we do not lean on anyone else. We just walk with each other, side by side, shoulder to shoulder, working with each other, going with each other. This approach to surrendering, this idea of taking refuge is very profound.

The problem is that ego can convert anything to its own use,” he said, “even spirituality.” His incisive, compassionate teachings serve to wake us up from this trick we all play on ourselves, and to offer us a far brighter reality: the true and joyous liberation that inevitably involves letting go of the self rather than working to improve it. It is a message that has resonated with students for nearly thirty years, and remains fresh as ever today.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

The world knows three kinds of revolution. The material has strong results, the moral and intellectual are infinitely larger in their scope and richer in their fruits, but the spiritual are the great sowings.

The changes we see in the world today are intellectual, moral, physical in their ideal and intention: the spiritual revolution waits for its hour and throws up meanwhile its waves here and there. Until it comes the sense of the others cannot be understood and till then all interpretation of present happening and forecast of human’s future are vain things. For its nature, power, event are that which will determine the next cycle of our humanity.
– Sri Aurobindo, Essays in Philosophy and Yoga (1910-1950)

I began to see that everyone has a similar inner monologue, a similar self-concerned narration of consciousness, in which they are the protagonist, and that all beings are selfishly, and beautifully, constructing their stories.
– Alan Rossi

Though we often think of materialism as the drive to consume, purchase, and accumulate stuff, these are really just the symptoms of an underpinning, rationalist belief that nothing exists beyond the physical world. Intangible things like spirit, intuition, and visions aren’t considered real, and there is no relationship between our thoughts and the world around us. We are so accustomed to this way of thinking that it can be difficult to see how profoundly diminished we are by it. But it dominates every corner of our social, political, and economic systems in a wide range of cultures around the world. It is what underlies our judicial and penal systems that focus on punishing crimes rather than rehabilitating the systemic issues that fomented them. It is what exalts literature over folk tales, and rewards academic credentials over wisdom-keeping.
– Toko-pa Turner

Lauren Worsh:

Years ago I posted on maslow’s hierarchy as it relates to the hoarding class…

Because of their value system they cannot get to level 4. You can only get there with intimacy and you can’t have that if you live in domination consciousness…
As a result they have spent thousands of years trying to stop true unions … from arranged marriage to ______ <-- (every dehumanizing aspect of perverted patriarchy) ... Because then their value system would be challenged ... power undermined.
But now that there’s psychology and a decent amount of freedom, they cant attack there …
So they attack our jobs and basic survival… so that we are too stressed and numb and exhausted to get to love or self actualization…

I posted that awhile back.

Today I thought… what about society actualization ? They’d have to threaten to destroy the planet … oh.

The way the world is running now is torture for decent feeling humans and can be deadly to empaths… that’s on purpose.
Align to their value system… or they’ll literally kill everything… themselves included (but last).

Unfortunately … they have the means to continue doing this … and no deterrents.

Some say the 144,000 with christ consciousness can change this… and I think its possible… but odds are we’re going to have to put up a whole different kind of action than just existing.

And remember… Christ didn’t martyr himself. He was murdered/tortured and made an example of in front of his friends … by the same people who adopted his icon 450 years later.

If we don’t change our values to make them comfortable … they are totally willing to kill us, the planet, everything…
Because in their value system… humiliation is worse than death, because their image of themselves is all they have.

This goes for the hoarding class and those that would die defending it from being accountable for the consequences of their behavior.

It’s really hard right now for us. But stay with it. Its changing daily like our species is bipolar 2 and is rapid cycling …
Stay close to community … ours or others.
– Vito Mucci

You don’t take a photograph, you make it.
– Ansel Adams

We are destined to overcome the many ways we have been made to believe in separation. We are destined to restore with this Mother Earth a way of being that allows this Mother Earth to fulfill her destiny. We are bound together.
– Pat McCabe

A religion without mystery is a religion without God.
– Leslie Stephen (1876)

We are basically living in a stress test.
– @kairyssdal @Marketplace @NPR

When setting out on a journey,
do not seek advice
from those who have never left home.
– Rumi

If you want a picture of the future,
imagine a boot stamping on a human face—
forever.
– George Orwell

I like the unreality of your mind,
the whole thing is very splendid
and voluptuous and absurd.
– Virginia Woolf

I recognize that I love you by this:
you leave in me a wound I do not want to replace.
– Jacques Derrida

Once one has survived something
then survival itself interferes with understanding,
and you don’t even know which lives came before
and which is your life of today,
you even mix up your own lives.
– Ingeborg Bachmann, Malina

What is the source of our first suffering?
It lies in the fact that we hesitated to speak.
It was born in the moments
when we accumulated silent things within us.
– Gaston Bachelard, Water and Dreams

What does poetry mean to you?’
deserves one of two responses:
either silence or a book
that relates a terrible adventure—
the adventure of someone who sets off
to question
the poem, poetry, the poetic;
to embrace the body of the poem;
to ascertain its incantatory, electrifying,
revolutionary, and consoling power.
– Alejandra Pizarnik

He did not think of himself as a tourist;

he was a traveler.

The difference is partly one of time, he would explain.

Whereas the tourist generally hurries back home

at the end of a few weeks or months,

the traveler, belonging no more to one place

than to the next,

moves slowly, over periods of years,

from one part of the earth to another.

– Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky

My imagination makes me human
and makes me a fool;
it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

I postpone death by living, by suffering, by error, by risking, by giving, by losing.
– Anaïs Nin

My poems and the wild mint
bear messages and perfumes.
Don’t let them create a riot with their wild singing.
My heart is greener than green,
flowers sprout from the mud and water of my water.
Don’t let me stand, if you are the enemies of Spring.
– Simin Behbahani

to become someone else for a while,
only to discover that he, too, was me.
– Stephen Dunn

I feel like I’ve swallowed a cloudy sky.
– Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart

I found my silence.
– Eiko Ojala

The books that the world calls immoral
are books that show the world its own shame.
– Os