Journal X

Descend
And what of those who have no voice
and no belief, dumbstruck and hurt by love,
no bathysphere to hold them in the depths?
Descend with them and learn and be reborn
to the changing light. We all began without it,
and some were loved and some forgot the love.
Some withered into hate and made a living
hating and rehearsing hate until they died.
The shriveled ones, chatter of the powerful—
they all go on. They go on. You must descend
among the voiceless where you have a voice,
barely a whisper, unheard by most, a wave
among the numberless waves, a weed torn
from the sandy bottom. Here you are. Begin.
– David Mason

One way to find food for thought is to use the fork in the road, the bifurcation that marks the place of emergence in which a new line of development begins to branch off.
– William Irwin Thompson

Scattered throughout my teaching career is the mantra, there is no value-free space. It is impossible to do authentic liberation ethics sitting in armchairs… Instead, as embodied social selves, we create collaborative dialectic space…
– Rev. Dr. Katie Cannon

Because the Master doesn’t know who she is,
people recognize themselves in her.
Because she has no goal in mind,
everything she does succeeds.
– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Ch. 22

When I’ve learned to meet my thoughts with understanding, I naturally meet you with understanding.
– Byron Katie

The main thing that any writer has to be is free.
– Nikki Giovanni (in conversation with Kiese Laymon)

If your spirit feels trapped please make some changes, whether it’s where you live, what your doing for work, the people your around. I promise if you’re really on the right path, your spirit will never feel trapped, only free.
– Blunted Buddha

The gods see through everything.
– Japanese proverb

Rich man down and poor man up — they are still not even.
– Yiddish proverb

Some birds sing when sun shines bright
Our praise is not for them
But the ones who sing in the dead of night
We raise our cups to them
Wherever he (Orpheus) is wandering
Alone upon the earth
Let our singing follow him
And bring him comfort
– hades town

Wasn’t it strange that a poem, written in my vocabulary and as a result of my own thoughts or observations, could, when it was finished, manage to show me something I hadn’t already known?
– Tracy K. Smith, from Ordinary Light

When you become a lover of what is, the war is over.
– Byron Katie

Things become complicated only when we think about them.
– Alan Watts

Yeah, when I give a difficult test to my students and they do poorly, they always want a retake. No retakes available, and no extra credit given for someone who has overseen almost a quarter of a million deaths due to incompetence and negligence, sorry.
– Ward Q Normal

Hatred and anger can only be a mistake. Only love is the right answer.
– Bokar Rinpoche

When there is stress, it is usually a sign that the ego has returned, and you are cutting yourself off from the creative power of the universe.
– Eckhart Tolle

A relationship should be about helping each other deal with the stress the world brings, not adding unnecessary stress to each other’s lives.
– Mindful Training

In case you didn’t know, your ancestors wait patiently for you to heal, break your generational curses, and create a new lineage.
– Persisten Observer

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

Capitalism is an economic system based on infinite “growth” & endless consumerism on a planet with limited resources. Therefore, by definition it will result in the death of the planet. We can choose to have capitalism or we can choose to have a future. But we can’t have both.
– Lee Camp

Love and death are alike:
when we are lost we go to them.
– Silvina Ocampo

The best thing a human being can do is to help another human being know more.
– Charlie Munger

Because your question searches for deep meaning,
I shall explain in simple words
– Dante Alighieri

To have some deep feeling about Buddhism is not the point; we just do what we should do, like eating supper and going to bed. This is Buddhism.
– Shunryu Suzuki

When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others..
– Peace Pilgrim

Lots of revolutionaries are motivated in large part by a deep, burning sense of compassion and love for other humans beings.

Unfortunately tho, many of us struggle to apply that same loving compassion to ourselves.

We are all suffering in our own ways. Be gentle with yourself.
– Rev Left Radio

Even though we sometimes would not get a thing, we were happy with the joy the day would bring.
– Stevie Wonder

When you work with Wu Wei, you put the round peg in the round hole and the square peg in the square hole. No stress, no struggle.
– Benjamin Hoff

Can you comprehend everything in the four directions and still do nothing?
– Lao Tzu

I do not act, and people become reformed by themselves.
– Lao Tzu

I am tired of leftism always being framed as extreme in these debates.

Saving our planet, providing everyone healthcare & paying every worker a living wage is not extreme.


Endless wars, predatory capitalism & 2 billionaires owning more wealth than half of our nation is extreme.
– Ryan Knight

Emptiness is bound to bloom, like hundreds of grasses blossoming.
– Dōgen Zenji

Handling our suffering is an art. If we know how to suffer, we suffer much less, and we’re no longer afraid of being overwhelmed by the suffering inside.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

The path of enlightenment is what is underneath our feet.
– Douglas Penick

The act of writing is the act of making soul, alchemy.
– Gloria E. Anzaldúa

We’re a diverse country — and unless we are able to treat people equally, we’re just never going to meet our potential.
– Joe Biden

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
– Mother Teresa

The true object of all human life is play.
– G.K. Chesterton

Keep ignoring things that lower your vibration.
– Inner Practicioner

I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street.
– W.H. Auden

Don’t keep searching for the truth, just let go of your opinions.
– Buddhist proverb

Make peace with silence, and remind yourself that it is in this space that you’ll come to remember your spirit.
– Wayne Dyer

Seamus Heaney:
Believe that a farther shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells.

As if with words
we could scrape the sky clean of every kind of pain.
– Patrick Lane

I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself.
– Nelson Mandela

And what it is I need: a gentle exile: an absence of world (my world) without solitude.
– Roland Barthes

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin:
I like the way Thomas Berry said it – The world is a communion of subjects not a collection of objects.

Imagine the governments, energy systems, forests, oceans, job descriptions, family lives, art, and ceremonies we’d have in a world organized along those lines.

When a person becomes the keeper of an image, it requires a vow that is strange. This is because the significance of the image is only revealed in the act of preserving it.
– Fanny Howe

I can tell you there is a war
going on, but don’t ask me
to distinguish if it’s ash, snow, or moonlight
that creases these people’s faces.
– Li-Young Lee

Colin Barrett:
Massive respect to everyone still experiencing time as a linear sequence

Nothing can satisfy greed, but even a small measure satisfies nature.
– Seneca

As crude a weapon as a cave man’s club, the chemical barrage has been hurled against the fabric of life.
– Rachel Carson

I slept because it was the only
thing I could do. I even dreamed.
I couldn’t stop myself.
– Rita Dove

A generous heart is always open, always ready to receive our going and coming. In the midst of such love we need never fear abandonment. This is the most precious gift true love offers – the experience of knowing we always belong.
– bell hooks

I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.
– Emily Dickinson

Love the earth as you would love yourself.
– John Denver

It is strange to write to you
just because I want to,

but I hate to be undone
by a little thing like distance.

– Jessica Jacobs

At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.
– Frida Khalo

Our sons don’t burn their cities as a rule,
born, as they are, up to their necks in fuel.
– Patricia Smith

You got incantation
You got quantum vibration
Temple trembles as the Lord draws nigh
You got transformation
Thunder shaking
Seal is broken and the Spirit flies
– Bruce Cockburn

The game is not about becoming somebody, it’s about becoming nobody.
– Ram Dass

Common sense tells us we’ll be happy even if we’re poor if we’re warm-hearted, whereas if we’re wealthy but self-centered we’ll be miserable.
– Dalai Lama XIV

Let me drink from the waters where the mountain streams flood
Let the smell of wildflowers flow free through my blood
Let me sleep in your meadows with the green grassy leaves
Let me walk down the highway with my brother in peace.
Let me die in my footsteps
– Bob Dylan

Note to self (and maybe to others) — stop saying yes to work you know you really want to say no to. A scarcity mentality can back you into corners you never wanted to be in to begin with
– Afrobella

Anis Mojgani:
Oh blueness of day, giving your finishing over to the blueness of night beginning to become, you are my favorite blue, my favorite color this world gives me

Only beginning to understand the truth of this statement–from Zen teacher Ross Bolleter:

Even after a deep realization, we feel that it is not enough. Actually, that is a measure of its depth: the deeper the realization, the deeper the sense that it is not enough.
– Vince Horn

Your high vibrational new tribe is always worth the wait. Never settle.
– Inner Practicioner

I’d feel better about “Indigenous Peoples Day” if it meant that we could round up as many of these morons who brag about how many generations they’ve been out West as we can, load them on trains, and ship them somewhere else. Then take all their stuff.

I might be placated by forty acres and mule too, for that matter. I’d name mine Stanley, after my coffee cup, the only thing keeping me sane so far this morning.
– Chris La Tray

We are the people who have substituted entertainment for thinking and entertainment for politics. [The President] didn’t do that.
– Ayad Akhtar, to the L.A. Times, October 11, 2020

In shalom, warring over turf, wealth, or national security are extinct practices. In shalom, family wealth is no longer the point of blessing because living out shalom offers an alternative way for people to view wealth.
– Shalom & the Community of Creation

The world will give you a long list of responsibilities you have to worry about. May you wake up one day and laugh at it.
– Violet Zanelle

People who live for the future are ‘not quite all there’ — or here: by overeagerness they are perpetually missing the point. Foresight is bought at the price of anxiety, and, when overused, it destroys all its own advantages.
– Alan Watts

Want to lessen your likelihood of getting sick this winter?

Stop eating fast food
Lose weight (if you need to)
Move your body daily
Stop watching the news
Get sun exposure
Avoid negative people

What else would you add?
– Cynthia Thurlow, NP

The most powerful revolution is a quiet revolution.
– Violet Zanelle

Silver rain sings dancing rhyme
Sunlight on blue water
Rocky shore grown soft with moss
Catches all our laughter
And it sends it back without its edge
To strengthen us anew
That we may walk within these walls
And share our gifts with you
– Bruce Cockburn

I’m angry. Indignant.

I’m tired of the emotional gaslighting that pretends anger is disqualifying. I’m exhausted by injustice. By gleeful ignorance. By unchecked privilege.

I’m tired of bullshit. I’m tired of the voices of toxic positivity demanding compromise, civility, and grace from the exhausted—to mollify the comfortably rested.

I’m frustrated. Enraged. And I refuse to apologize for that—or have my voice minimized because because you’ve grown to fear anger. It may not be righteous anger—but I’m not wrong.

If you’re not exhausted right now; it’s likely you’re the exhausting one. If you’re not angry; it’s likely you are buffered by privilege. If your one sustained note is judgmental critiques in response to the agonized cries of the oppressed, you’re likely the oppressor.

The purveyors of injustice don’t get to dictate the terms of reparative justice. Those had have wrought trauma don’t get to decide the timeline for healing, the tone of the response, or temerity of the efforts.

I’m exasperated. Disheartened.

Focused.

– The Subversive Lense

Being with you and not being with you
is the only way I have to measure time.
– Jorge Luis Borges

Mark Twain said You can’t throw a bad habit out the window. You’ve got to walk it slowly down the stairs”. I also apply this thinking to our defenses against feeling, which have served us well. When we try to rush our transformation, these defenses become more vigilant and fortified. Yes, there can be intense breakthroughs and peak experiences, but I have always found that the most sustainable transformation happens in the steady, subtle, but deeply real spaces between. The emotional armor formed for a valid reason- bows to its wisdom- and it’s shedding is an incremental process…

WHAT WE MISS
Who says it’s so easy to save a life? In the middle of an interview for
the job you might get you see the cat from the window of the seven-
teenth floor just as he’s crossing the street against traffic, just as
you’re answering a question about your worst character flaw and lying
that you are too careful. What if you keep seeing the cat at every
moment you are unable to save him? Failure is more like this than like
duels and marathons. Everything can be saved, and bad timing pre-
vents it. Every minute, you are answering the question and looking
out the window of the church to see your one great love blinded by
the glare, crossing the street, alone.
– Sarah Manguso

I beg you to remember the proper name of that troubling tree in Eden: it is ‘the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.’ What is meant by the masculine sensibility is the ability to eat the fruit of that tree, and live. What is meant by the ‘human condition’ is that, indeed, one has no choice: eat, or die.
– James Baldwin

We meet no ordinary people in our lives.
– C.S.Lewis

warriors choose a simple life —
not because it is easy
…because it is hard.
– Shinzen

Every single book is a translation device between moments and spaces that appear to be distant.
– Andrés Newman

Leonard Cohen:

I was always working steady
But I never called it art
I was funding my depression
Meeting Jesus reading Marx
Sure it failed my little fire
But it’s bright the dying spark
Go tell the young messiah
What happens to the heart

There’s a mist of summer kisses
Where I tried to double-park
The rivalry was vicious
And the women were in charge
It was nothing, it was business
But it left an ugly mark
So I’ve come here to revisit
What happens to the heart

I was selling holy trinkets
I was dressing kind of sharp
Had a pussy in the kitchen
And a panther in the yard
In the prison of the gifted
I was friendly with the guard
So I never had to witness
What happens to the heart

I should have seen it coming
You could say I wrote the chart
Just to look at her was trouble
It was trouble from the start
Sure we played a stunning couple
But I never liked the part
It ain’t pretty, it ain’t subtle
What happens to the heart

Now the angel’s got a fiddle
And the devil’s got a harp
Every soul is like a minnow
Every mind is like a shark
I’ve opened every window
But the house, the house is dark
Just say Uncle, then it’s simple
What happens to the heart

I was always working steady
But I never called it art
The slaves were there already
The singers chained and charred
Now the arc of justice bending
And the injured soon to march
I lost my job defending
What happens to the heart

I studied with this beggar
He was filthy he was scarred
By the claws of many women
He had failed to disregard
No fable here no lesson
No singing meadowlark
Just a filthy beggar blessing
What happens to the heart

I was always working steady
But I never called it art
I could lift, but nothing heavy
Almost lost my union card
I was handy with a rifle
My father’s .303
We fought for something final
Not the right to disagree
Sure it failed my little fire
But it’s bright the dying spark
Go tell the young messiah
What happens to the heart.

– The Flame is the final work from Leonard Cohen, the revered poet and musician whose fans span generations and whose work is celebrated throughout the world.

I have one wish and one wish only that you never discover who you really are.
– Sophocles

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, Complete Works St. Teresa of Avila

We are children of the earth.
We rely on the earth, and the earth relies on us. Whether the earth is beautiful, fresh, and green, or arid and parched,
depends on our way of walking.
Please touch the earth in mindfulness,
with joy and concentration.
The earth will heal you
and you will heal the Earth.
– Thich Nhat Hanh, Touching Peace: Practicing the Art of Mindful Living

The greatest investment that you could ever make is not in the future of the financial or material world. It is in the future of your mind, as that is the only thing that you will have after death.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

Resilience is not a luxury. It’s the foundation of being able to thrive in times of crisis, change and transition like the ones we’re living through now. When we don’t tap into our resilience, it’s easy to give in to cynicism, resignation and despair.
– Arianna Huffington

Sexist language, racist language, theistic language – all are typical of the policing languages of mastery, and cannot, do not permit new knowledge or encourage the mutual exchange of ideas.
– Toni Morrison

I wish I could hit upon a pleasant track of thought, a track indirectly reflecting credit upon myself, for those are the pleasantest thoughts, and very frequent even in the minds of modest mouse-coloured people, who believe genuinely that they dislike to hear their own praises.
– Heather Christle

Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche:

To see the bottom of a lake,
we need to stop stirring up the mud below.
We also need to let the mud of wild
and discursive thoughts settle down.
When this happens, the mind will naturally become transparent. We will then be able
to see far into the mind’s depths
and perceive its true nature.

Do you ever notice, at public places, when people are really nice and happy and super to everybody else, but the person they’re with? Never ceases to amazes me, see it too often.
– Marian Haddad

And all the demons cry ’cause you & I found love, in a broken place.
– Demi Lovato

Immerse yourself in life there where it happens – in the timeless moment that we call “Now”. Beyond that there is no life. Where else can you be?
– Doka Sensei

Cadralor #11: “Irridophores”
1. “Beowulf, Patron Saint of Boatbuilders”
When did you first realize Beowulf and Grendel were the same person,
his bioelectrical field gone acedic, flesh overcoming spirit, arm in arm
with his own mortal desires? You have only to listen for the echo of masts,
the lines slapping spars, hawsers straining under load: it is the singing of the Other
in his blood, the sea-creature pull of battle, the call to dark places and strange deeds.
Oh, hero. You’ll wait all night in the mead hall as the fire dampens on the hearth;
wordhoarde unbound, your magnetic field spilling out over the tables, across strong bodies.
You never knew you would sacrifice your own arm to thermal time, to claim this green-eyed pleasure, to sink by firelight into the mingling of tongues, into golden sheath and sword
. . .or did you?

2. “Arteries”
Above our blue masks, we smile with our eyes; we recognize the flawed dialect of our synchronous clothes. Our hair shines, smooth above good jewelry, scarves in jade and turquoise, perfect lipstick and clean glasses. look down It is too cold for sandals, but our feet have forgotten how to close inside shoes. What is a sock but a sarcophagus, a slip of concrete? We push carts across the parking lot, the squawking protests of wheels, hoard bright patterned bundles in our trunks like elephants. In her car now, I see her shoulders move; I think she’s laughing until my own hands rise in grief. When I surface, she is gone. I dry my eyes, practice smiling with my whole face. An adult human’s bone mass is mostly hydroxyapatite crystals;
we are growing more arteries. Soon, our veins will flow deeper, evolution protecting us from us. We both drive home to strew porches with pumpkins, meager talismans against a civil war.

3. “The Streets of German Village”
The cobbles are glossed, softened by three hundred years; they’re glazed with the lives of our great-great grandparents. You remember the copper and steam of your grandmother’s kitchen, the hand-rolled noodles, yes? Walk down the street to the Book Loft, loose your ness into its brownstone labyrinth, wander into the music that calls you. You may spend hours in a room the size of a closet, transported to Orgiva, the coast of Normandy, buying bread. Steve, in his timeless blue shirt, dark haired, rings you up, remembers you after three years away. Walk through gaslight glow to the Mohawk; drink wine with people who have loved you for three thousand miles, for thirty years. Later, make pesto in the rented kitchen, gnocchi steam beading windows, anointing the spider plant’s long green legs. Love is alchemical, lifts us fragrant. Dip your finger in Chantilly cream, and summon me to taste.

4. “we peppered moths…”
Mars breathes methane, sends plumes into the atmosphere, lost hieroglyphs spiking pyramids into summer. Water may once have flown here; pebbles line the river channel. Look too long, your eyes will sketch footprints along the waterline. My student tells me:
“Methane only survives a short time. It shouldn’t be there. Something is…replenishing it.”
I think: even if it is only serpentinization, iron-bearing rocks reacting with water… there is water. All my body’s molecules rise to peer east at the red planet. You and I know it takes more
than eyes to see what thrives below the surface, to skein our fingers through dimensions.
Bohr says we must unsharpen. The peppered moth sees with its skin; dermal photoreception means that if blinded, it still changes color to mimic environment. How would you illuminate yourself with Earth and Mars? What if you could drink their oceans and continents with your skin, drench your irridophores iridescent?

5. “Quantum Entanglement”
Spread this old white blanket, just so, under the ancient olive tree; anchor corners with
kicked-off shoes, the full basket, keys you know you’ve lost this way again and again. Bring out sweet dark cherries, soft white cheese, pour red wine into blue enamel cups; pour fingertips and mouths toward angles of repose. Be still, now, and let the pinyon jays alight: a quickening of dovesoft bluegrey, if water were silk and feathered, voiced with marjoram and leaving. A quick rain spangles the air with petrichor, entangles with sparks as the train comes by.
We granulate, come to valence, falling through; our bodies and voices mingle
and fizz like an unfocused film, the static blurring our pulselines in this sacred field,
the final keep of the known world, where we are only visible when we collide.
Rising, we catch the holy afternoon light by its gills like a golden fish and eat it with our hands.
– Lori Howe

I knew someday that you would fly away
For love’s the greatest healer to be found
So leave me if you need to, I will still remember
Angel flying too close to the ground.
– Willie Nelson

W. H. AUDEN:

But once in a while the odd thing happens,
Once in a while the dream comes true,
And the whole pattern of life is altered,
Once in a while the moon turns blue.

The body is a little universe,
The mind, a lost city with hidden tribes, where wisdom waits at the door of remembering,
Waiting to lead us back to its source.


I*l
“Many times, when I give a public lecture, people ask me about prophecies of the world ending. They have an incredible emotional identification with such a cosmic psychodrama. They continually avoid doing things because of this eventual catastrophe. But the reward for anything is in the moment in which it is done. It is not like a Christmas Club, in which you save up for something twelve months later. If we do not get, moment by moment, the reward for our effort, and if the consciousness is not there, then there will never be enlightenment. Raising consciousness minute by minute is the reward. It does not accumulate and explode. That is a fairy tale for the childish spiritualists who hope to receive the instantaneous enlightenment that can only come through consciousness; work, more work, and more work.
– Rudi

“God does not give you more than you can handle.” Really? Did you ask God yourself? Did she confirm your theory? Look, I get that sometimes we say stuff like this because we don’t know what else to say, or because we actually think it helps. We don’t want people to give up. We want them to keep on fighting to stay alive. But, honestly, it doesn’t help. Few survivalist mantras do. Because there is more to life than survival at all costs. There is more to life than armoring up and toughing it out in the heart of our suffering. There is also something to be said for healing our way to wholeness. For meeting each other in our woundedness. For embracing the possibility that our trauma is actually a lot more than we handle. So, next time you feel tempted to tell a trauma survivor, “God does not give you more than you can handle,” try something different. Say this, “Something tragic has happened. You should not have to handle it alone. How can I help you to grieve and to heal?” Remind them that God is a soft place to land. Remind them that God is compassion in human form.
– Jeff Brown

We must play from the soul, not like trained birds.
– C.P.E. Bach

To Be a Poet

Life taught me long ago
that music and poetry
are the most beautiful things on earth
that life can give us.
Except for love, of course.

In an old textbook
published by the Imperial Printing House
in the year of Vrchlický’s death
I looked up the section on poetics
and poetic ornament.

Then I placed a rose in a tumbler,
lit a candle
and started to write my first verses.

Flare up, flame of words,
and soar,
even if my fingers get burned!

A startling metaphor is worth more
than a ring on one’s finger.
But not even Puchmajer’s Rhyming Dictionary
was any use to me.

In vain I snatched for ideas
and fiercely closed my eyes
in order to hear that first magic line.
But in the dark, instead of words,
I saw a woman’s smile and
wind-blown hair.

That has been my destiny.
And I’ve been staggering towards it breathlessly
all my life.

– To Be a Poet from The Poetry of Jaroslav Seifert
Translated from the Czech by Ewald Osers

My momma’s church would rather
blame depression on the devil as if
they don’t teach the story of Job,
where God gambled a man’s soul
collected the winnings when he
was done.
– Rachel “Raych” Jackson

The life that you live in order to photograph it is already, at the outset, a commemoration of itself.
– Italo Calvino

Them and Us

Today, a baby was hurled in a fire
and burned alive by a Burmese soldier.

You try to forget the hot headline
as you stir in some milk. How can anyone
out there be so barbaric.

You try to forget the newborn
scream burned into your throat
as you swallow your blackened toast.

You think about how Joan of Arc’s heart
survived the fire
whole. It stays with you

for months like a stray pain that found you
and just won’t let go and maybe
you even nurse it a little.
– Leah Callen

I would like my misery
to be translated into the utmost beauty.
– Alejandra Pizarnik

He, Too
Solmaz Sharif
Returning to the US, he asks
my occupation. Teacher.

What do you teach?
Poetry.

I hate poetry, the officer says,
I only like writing
where you can make an argument.

Anything he asks, I must answer.
This he likes, too.

I don’t tell him
he will be in a poem
where the argument will be

anti-American.

I place him here, puffy,
pink, ringed in plexi, pleased

with his own wit
and spittle. Saving the argument
I am let in

I am let in until

Let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another” (Romans 14:19) and we give greater honor to the small members (1 Corinthians 12:23)! There is no great and despised, powerful and weak. “You are all brothers!” Bullying and indifference toward others are of the spirit of the world. This condemns empty words and worldly honorifics because the foundation of primacy among us is not only service– anyone, in his place, can claim service– but rather Christ the Servant! “I am among you as one who serves” (Luke 22:27). The issue, from beginning to end, is an issue of imitating Christ the Servant who emptied Himself and took on the image of a slave, since He loved His own until the end, until He sacrificed Himself for them.
– Orthodox Synaxis

… being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.
– St. Paul’s Letter to the Phillipians

Entrance to the Great Perfection

If we are missing nonduality, our every act will lead to disappointment. How far do you go if you are a therapist trying to help an alcoholic or drug addict? If this person has somehow decided to become a drug addict for the next five thousand lifetimes, you, as a bodhisattva, must have the determination to be reborn wherever they are going to be reborn. You might, for instance, aspire to be reborn at the right time and place to be nearby him or her. Say for example, you are a bodhisattva and have been trying to help this drug addict for over two thousand lifetimes. Now, somewhere in an obscure place, their 2,042nd rebirth is going to happen. Although you need to appear for only half a day, in order to do that you actually have to be reborn there. It is almost a waste of a complete whole life, to be reborn there just to do something that will take only half an hour, or half a day, but as a bodhisattva you must do it. That is what we call the strength and quality of relative compassion.

Now we come to the real quintessence of bodhichitta. Why does a bodhisattva have this degree of compassion? Why don’t they give up? What is the real basis of their confidence? The bodhisattva realises that the notion of “drug addict,” “problem,” “healing,” and “being healed” are all in their own mind. The bodhisattva knows that none of this exists “out there” somewhere, externally and truly. Based on this wisdom, the bodhisattva can develop compassion.

This understanding can really help. My own experience is like being a firefly in front of the sun. Even so, when I try to help people and things don’t work according to plan, I say to myself, “How can I get frustrated?” In the first place, I myself have set up a certain goal based on my own interpretation. In helping a person, I imagine that he or she should reach a certain level, but this is my own idea. After becoming obsessed with the idea of success, when the person is not there, I might lose hope and confidence in this person. Sometimes we do realise that it is all our own projection, but most of the time we don’t. Instead, we think: “This is how it should be. This is real success!” We don’t realise that it is all our own interpretation. This is where we go blind. When you are helping, if you know that your so-called “help,” “success,” and “failure” are all in your own mind, you won’t get worn out. Because you realise that it is all your mind’s doing, you won’t get tired. This is a very general and somewhat course example of ultimate bodhichitta. If you have this understanding, you have a complete picture of bodhichitta.

To reiterate, ultimate bodhichitta is an understanding of emptiness. Only when this is included is there a complete picture of bodhichitta. When we talk about bodhichitta, usually we make reference to something simple, such as a kind, compassionate heart, but that’s not all. This is something many people have. It does not necessarily make you a bodhisattva. Of course this is not to deny that there are very kind and compassionate people. There are people who may even sacrifice their lives for others, but still they may not be bodhisattvas. In fact, they are in danger of acting out their obsession and could end of being victimised by their goal-oriented mind. Being too obsessed with a goal can produce a lot of side effects, such as thinking, “This is how it should work!” With this approach, a bodhisattva can lose hope and determination when things do not work out; they may even stop being a bodhisattva. Having said this, a bodhisattva should not just do things aimlessly.

– DZONGSAR KHYENTSE RINPOCHE, Advice on the Longchen Nyingtik Preliminary Practices

Leave it to poets to find the dark lining in the silver cloud.
– Kelli Russell Agodon

I think one of the most important understandings environmentalists must arrive at is the destruction of the planet is not a mistake. Corporations, governments, and the rich derive their power through destroying the natural world. They’ve always known this and they protect their means for destroying the natural world at all costs. To stop them, we will have to deprive them of their ability to destroy. This will be achieved through physical force and not intellectual or rational persuasion.
– Will Falk

Is suffering really necessary. Yes and no. If you had not suffered as you have, there would be no depths to you as a human being — no humility, no compassion. You would not be listening to this now. Suffering cracks open the shell of ego. And then comes a point where it has served its purpose. Suffering is necessary until you realize that it is unnecessary.
– Eckhart Tolle

Fruit Cocktail in Light Syrup
Rocket-shaped popsicles that dyed your lips blue
were popular when I was a kid. That era got labeled
“the space age” in honor of some longed-for,
supersonic, utopian future. Another food of my
youth was candy corn, mostly seen on Halloween.
With its striped triangular “kernels” made
of sugar, wax and corn syrup, candy corn
was a nostalgic treat, harkening back to days
when humans grew, rather than manufactured,
food. But what was fruit cocktail’s secret
meaning? It glistened as though varnished.
Faint of taste and watery, it contained anemic
grapes, wrinkled and pale. Also deflated
maraschino cherries. Fan-shaped pineapple
chunks, and squares of bleached peach
and pear completed the scene. Fruit cocktail’s
colorlessness, its lack of connection to anything
living, (like tree, seed or leaf) seemed
cautionary, sad. A bowl of soupy, faded, funeral
fruit. No more nourishing than a child’s
finger painting, masquerading as happy
appetizer, fruit cocktail insisted on pretending
everything was ok. Eating it meant you embraced
tastelessness. It meant you were easily fooled.
It meant you’d pretend semblances,
no matter how pathetic, were real, and that
when things got dicey, you’d spurn the truth.
Eating fruit cocktail meant you might deny
that ghosts whirled throughout the house
and got sucked up the chimney on nights
Dad wadded old newspapers, warned you
away from the hearth, and finally lit a fire.
– Any Gerstler

ASTERISKS
by Martin Vest
Reading a book by a respected poet,
I come to a poem that I don’t understand.
It’s one of many, really, but as this one
is particularly famous, I surrender my pride
to the internet and conduct a quick search
from which I learn that the piece
is about the death of the author’s father.
More confused than ever, I return to the book,
wondering how I could miss something so essential.
It’s here somewhere in all these words,
this tangled rosary of stanzas linked by asterisks.
But I could never find Waldo in his red and white world,
the crown among the zigzags in Highlights’hidden pictures—
and even now, I concede, I am not clever enough
to find the death of this man’s father in his poem.
As a boy, I was in special education,
pinched into tiny cinder-block rooms that stank
of citric cleanser and earwax.
We studied the mathematics of bananas
and apples, fought with prepositions,
tried our hands at haiku,
converting syllables into one
too many blackbirds, while in other rooms
students turned numbers into music and made
chemicals react in puffs of natural magic.
Monumental! blurbs one writer.
Resonating! raves another. Erudite! Unflinching!
I stare into the page the way one stares into a 3D poster,
waiting for an image to emerge,
but nowhere can I see a dead father.
Frustrated, I lay the volume aside
and begin tidying the room,
anxious to shake off this sense of inadequacy,
as I was once so eager to escape
the syndromes and impediments
and congenital hygienes of my classmates,
when I stared into the night sky
of a workbook—
the constellations, dots I couldn’t connect,
figures I couldn’t grasp,
which existed, I was told,
somewhere above me.

The main thing that any writer has to be is free.
– Nikki Giovanni (in conversation with Kiese Laymon)

Ryokan devoted his life to the study of Zen. One day he heard that his nephew, despite the admonitions of relatives, was spending his money on a courtesan. Inasmuch as the nephew had taken Ryokan’s place in managing the family estate and the property was in danger of being dissipated, the relatives asked Ryoken to do something about it. Ryokan had to travel a long way to visit his nephew, whom he had not seen for many years. The nephew seemed pleased to meet his uncle again and invited him to remain overnight. All night Ryokan sat in meditation. As he was departing in the morning he said to the young man: “I must be getting old, my hand shakes so. Will you help me tie the string of my straw sandal?” The nephew helped him willingly. “Thank you,” finished Ryokan, “you see, a man becomes older and feebler day by day. Take good care of yourself.” Then Ryokan left, never mentioning a word about the courtesan or the complaints of the relatives. But, from that morning on, the dissipations of the nephew ended.

I have been thinking about all the people I may overlook during these difficult days. It is so easy for that to happen. As we are all distracted by the daily toll collected by the virus and as we are focused on the election process already happening around us, it is no wonder that we can look away from the people in need who are always there. So many people who live beneath the headlines. The lives of the poor continue in their struggle. Single parents keep working hard. Bullied children wake up to a familiar pain. The lonely watch the clock and the hungry search for food. If we only take a moment to look around, we see that every day we are offered an opportunity to be aware of those who need us. Even in the midst of historic events: we have the chance to change another life for the better.
– Steven Charleston

Transformation is not just a positive change in behavior, still less a call to absorb unquestioningly the moral values of a particular culture or religion. It is a change in consciousness in which one sees reality in a wholly new and expanded way. All one’s relationships are illumined by this light. One sees the good in everyone, the oneness of everything, and the wisdom of the divine creative and redemptive plan.

More than an apostle, teacher or preacher, our vocation as human beings is to be transmitters of divine life. Transmission is not just the communicating of a teaching or message but the communication of life in its evolving sense of opening more and more to the reception of the Ultimate Reality. It is a new perspective on the life we have known and carved out for ourselves as our self-consciousness developed chronologically. It is a new depth of self-knowledge rooted in a more profound experience of love. Saint John of the Cross calls it “the science of love.
– Thomas Keaton, Reflections on the Unknowable

Remember when you were in grad school, and all you did all day was read poetry and prose, dissect it, live it, breathe it, read it aloud, hear others read it aloud, study the poets, themselves, meet the poets, organize events, associate edit a national mag, read poetry, call Yusef and say, “—” …. write “Merwin” back and say “—-” …….sequence the pieces, secure the distrib, then read read read, write write write, edit, learn, sit near Glover Davis at thesis conference sessions, MUSIC, MUSIC, MUSIC, I NEED A DOWNBEAT, ONE MORE SYLLABLE, YOU’VE GOT IT

Now, I elevate my leg, I do taxes, BUT—————–WHEN I WORK ON YOUR MANUSCRIPTS, I FEEL THAT LIFE………..INSIDE POETRY AND LYRICAL PROSE……………..MY FAVORITE PLACE

I DO STILL READ AND WRITE, just not 24/7′

For all the negative comments made about MFA programs, man—-I support them; if you want immersion, you get immersion. Ain’t nothin’ more beautiful than that.

And, you’re like doing what you love, and get to call it school. DO WHAT YOU LOVE, LOVE WHAT YOU DO, though it takes energy, tons of, it’s play, yes, it’s work, but YOU GET TO READ AND WRITE ALL DAY, EDIT, LEARN, AND CALL IT A DAY. HOW WOW IS THAT?
– Marian Haddad

Myths are public dreams; dreams are private myths. By finding your own dream and following it through, it will lead you to the myth-world in which you live. But just as in dream, the subject and object, though they seem to be separate, are really the same.
– Joseph Campbell

In my position it is somewhat important that I should not say foolish things.
– President Abraham Lincoln, November 18, 1863

Dying is not a user-friendly proposition in a culture that doesn’t believe in endings.
– Stephen Jenkinson

So there must also be
a family circled round
the bedside of someone

who is dying. I place
myself among them.
All of us are waiting

for the little we believe we need
to hold onto, and repeat.
But this is not my family

although it is you
who are dying, your words
I am again unable to imagine

as everything continues
sliding together in the light,
that day so easily

changed to this one,
the sky that is so blue, and the clouds
that cross my gaze with such terrible speed.
 – Lawrence Raab

After thinking it over… I think I see… some folks just don’t know how to bow down, open wide, clear our puny decks of mortal banality, to receive deeply, the cataclysmic healing answer to prayer, when Lightening deigns to strike our lives into glittering shards of the New.

But then again, some folks do…

– Pat McCabe

I am an extrovert when our energies align. I am an introvert when our energies don’t align. It’s not personal. It’s vibrational.
– Inner Practicioner

Music in the soul can be
heard by the universe.
– Taoist proverb

You are my true self, O Lord
by Shankara
(788 – 820)
English version by Ivan M. Granger
You are my true self, O Lord.
My pure awareness is your consort.
My breath, my body are your handmaids.
I am your holy ground.
My every action is an offering to you.
My rest is my melting into you.
Every step I take circles you.
Every word I speak is a song for you.
Whatever work I do, that work is worship of you,
O Fountain of Bliss!

swaying pampas grass / sun-warmed pine needle incense / shrine of autumn peace Today, I felt the weight of the world of red dust. The deaths. The personal upheavals of people I know. The collective divisiveness and the “infections of consciousness” that have infiltrated civic society and government. Those struggling to manifest projects, ventures, or next steps in life during a pandemic. I looked at one too many headline of the buffoons at the helm. Decided to head out on a long walk in the “green world” and those in-between places where the two worlds touch. At one of these in-between places, a big gust of wind stirred up and blew the most amazing forest fragrance my way. Instantly, I felt a sense of peace. Remember to unplug from devices and the bad news and re-Source in the Great Spirit of Nature.
– Hawk of the Pines

Calculations
by Brenda Cárdenas

I don’t know what to tell you.
Your daughter doesn’t understand
math. Numbers trouble her, leave
her stuck on ground zero.

Y fueron los mayas
quienes imaginaron el cero,
un signo para nada, para todo,
en sus gran calculaciones.

Is zero the velvet swoop into dream,
the loop into plumes of our breath?

I suggest you encourage languages.
Already she knows a little Spanish,
and you can teach her more of that.
She lives for story time.”

In the beginning there was nothing.
Then the green of quetzal wings.

Las historias siguen cambiando,
sus verdades vigorizadas
con cada narración
como X x X = X2

When we disown parts of ourself, we tend to judge others who display those same qualities. We lay claim to moral superiority. This holding too tightly to a role can create a chasm between people that’s difficult to cross.
– Frank Ostaseski

In a Desert Courtyard: Casa de Suenos, Santa Teresa, New Mexico
Near the hand-carved benches,
this Mexican Elder will bear white blossoms
in spring—nearby, the blue fountain.
I look up. The photographic eye
takes shape—the importance of framing
a periphery can bring. Absence
of walls—a big open space
from here—to there—and the stars seem nearer
this night. With no possible edge or end
in even the keen eye’s gleaming sight. And far
away, still visible, the silhouette of mountains
guarding—these villages of light.
* * *
– MARIAN HADDAD

verything you see is in the past, as far as you’re concerned. If you look up at the Moon, you’re seeing a little over a second ago. The Sun is more than eight minutes in the past. And the stars you see in the night sky are deep in the past, from just a few years to millennia.
– Katie Mack

Despite the astonishing things that humans are capable of doing, we remain unsure of our goals and we seem to be as discontented as ever. We have advanced from canoes to galleys to steamships to space shuttles – but nobody knows where we’re going. We are more powerful than ever before, but have very little idea what to do with all that power. Worse still, humans seem to be more irresponsible than ever. Self-made gods with only the laws of physics to keep us company, we are accountable to no one. We are consequently wreaking havoc on our fellow animals and on the surrounding ecosystem, seeking little more than our own comfort and amusement, yet never finding satisfaction. Is there anything more dangerous than dissatisfied and irresponsible gods who don’t know what they want?
– Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

One October Night
by W. S. Merwin
Far down the other side of the shining valley
one dog is barking like a cuckoo at the strange light
Paula my love never stirred when I
slipped out through the unlit house to look at the night
where the stars I can see and those I will never see
will not ever again be in the same places
as they are at this moment
we could do with a bit of rain but the sky
shows not a hair of cloud and the breeze
scarcely reaches us
the full moon that we claim for October
shines from above the fronds of the tall Howea
we are all here together without knowing it
flying at a speed beyond thinking
the dog has stopped barking the night is still

The Love for October
by W. S. Merwin
A child looking at ruins grows younger
but cold
and wants to wake to a new name
I have been younger in October
than in all the months of spring
walnut and may leaves the color
of shoulders at the end of summer
a month that has been to the mountain
and become light there
the long grass lies pointing uphill
even in death for a reason
that none of us knows
and the wren laughs in the early shade now
come again shining glance in your good time
naked air late morning
my love is for lightness
of touch foot feather
the day is yet one more yellow leaf
and without turning I kiss the light
by an old well on the last of the month
gathering wild rose hips
in the sun

While others are asking for beauty or fame,
Or praying to know that for which they should pray,
Or courting Queen Venus, that affable dame,
Or chasing the Muses the weary and grey,
The sage has found out a more excellent way –
To Pan and to Pallas his incense he showers,
And his humble petition puts up day by day,
For a house full of books, and a garden of flowers.

[…] Oh! grant me a life without pleasure or blame
(As mortals count pleasure who rush through their day
With a speed to which that of the tempest is tame)!
O grant me a house by the beach of a bay,
Where the waves can be surly in winter, and play
With the sea-weed in summer, ye bountiful powers!
And I’d leave all the hurry, the noise, and the fray,
For a house full of books, and a garden of flowers.
– Andrew Lang, Ballade of True Wisdom

It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious.
– Alfred North Whitehead, Science and the Modern World (1925)

Without stories of progress, the world has become a terrifying place. The ruin glares at us with the horror of its abandonment. It’s not easy to know how to make a life, much less avert planetary destruction. Luckily there is still company, human and not human. We can still explore the overgrown verges of our blasted landscapes – the edges of capitalist discipline, scalability, and abandoned resource plantations. We can still catch the scent of the latent commons – and the elusive autumn aroma.
– Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins

The Jesus that I was introduced to was the one who not only was at Calvary but was also at Montgomery.
– Otis Moss, III

And so what do you do when you’re trying to exorcise your empire demons, and you want to follow the path of a Jedi? You gotta find a Yoda. And Thurman is our Yoda.
– Rev. Otis Moss III

This is a good morning to kiss your demons
and change them into dark angels.
Do not drive them away or they will return.
Lust is not a demon but a dark angel filled
with un-created star nectar.
Anger is not a demon but a dark angel of healing fire
dancing in your amygdala.
Grief is not a demon but a dark angel bearing
seven oceans of love in one jar.
The demon of depression who lives underground
keeps Wisdom hostage, binding
her dark angel bones in delicious mycelia.
The dark angel of addiction brings gifts
under one broken wing, and uses the other
to help you fly, for one of yours is broken too.
If you do not bow to your dark angels, they will
possess you and you will have to act them out.
So breathe them in, let them become your
shouts and sighs, pants of lust and terror
in your lungs. Now exhale and dissolve them
into the clear ocean of awakening.
They don’t possess you, you possess them.
Your dark angels have become the blue sky,
a swirl of hummingbirds, tree frogs
discussing everything. But beware
of enlightened teachers who claim no darkness.
They will lead you into a deeper darkness,
the shadow that hides from itself.
Against your beautiful demons a true teacher
will never set your heart.
A true teacher will empower you to kiss them
with that kiss which the mind gives
to its most terrible thoughts,
so that names, images, teeth marks, hieroglyphs
of veins scrawled on the cave of your liver,
neurons twisted into Sanskrit
etching ancient spells into your hippocampus,
the rippling gristle-flower of sound in your bellybutton,
all disappear into one Body, this Body,
where you taste the starless wine of night itself
and give birth to tomorrow’s sun.
– Fred LaMotte

Thirty-six streams are rushing toward you!
Desire and pleasure and lust…
Play in your imagination with them
And they will sweep you away.
– Buddha, Dhammapada

Sit, walk, or run, but don’t wobble.
– Zen proverb

A sparrow limps past on its little bone crutch saying / I am Federico García Lorca / risen from the dead– / literature will lose, sunlight will win, don’t worry.
– Franz Wright

Anyone else cry when they vote?
Just me?
– Beth Kander

Sandra Newman:
All my life I have wished we could use the word “akimbo” for more things

A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
– Dalai Lama XIV

If my life is going to mean anything, I have to live it myself.
– Rick Riordan

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

A change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things.
– Barack Obama

…or made invisible, remind us of beauty where no beauty seems possible, remind us of kinship where all is represented as separation.
– Adrienne Rich

Your real soulmate wouldn’t withhold affection as punishment.
– Inner Practicioner

I know that each one of us travels to love alone,
alone to faith and to death.
I know it. I’ve tried it. It doesn’t help.
Let me come with you.
– Yannis Ritsos, The Moonlight Sonata

Paradoxical as it may seem, the purposeful life has no content, no point. It hurries on and on, and misses everything. It is only when there is no goal and no rush that the human senses are fully open to receive the world.
– Alan Watts

Let it matter what we call a thing.

Let it be the exquisite face for at least 16 seconds.

Let me LOOK at you.

Let me look at you in a light that takes years to get here.

– Solmaz Sharif, Look

The entire world we apprehend through our senses is no more than a tiny fragment in the vastness of Nature.
– Max Planck

can’t believe my entire timeline is NOT that one brilliant poem but okay i will just retweet and retweet
– aria arber

A friend from college used to call people NATO. No action talk only. Something to think about.
– Marian Haddad

The U.S. Did Not Defeat Fascism in WWII, It Discretely Internationalized It.
– Gabriel Rockhill, Article in CounterPunch

Everything that’s spoken in satsang
is only meant to strike a recognition,
an aliveness, a remembrance in this moment, and nothing more. The truth is only true
if it’s living for you, for me.
If it’s alive within us, it’s real,
and it transcends anything
we could say about it.

If the truth remains only in its spoken form
it dies. Even your own insight,
if it becomes rigidified in your mind, will die. Even the greatest sutras
die as soon as they aren’t alive within somebody. When they become just words
they die because all teachings,
the truest teachings, need you and me
to bring them to life,
to find the life within them.
When you find the life,
then you can bow to the teaching
and be the living of it.
At that point the words don’t mean a whole lot.
– Adyashanti, The Five Truths About Truth, Pacific Grove, CA September 2005

Kahlil Gibran:
Your living is determined not so much
by what life brings to you
as by the attitude you bring to life;
not so much by what happens to you
as by the way your mind
looks at what happens.

Ideologies are substitutes for true knowledge, and ideologues are always dangerous when they come to power, because a simple-minded I-know-it-all approach is no match for the complexity of existence.
– Jordan Peterson

Men have been found to resist
the most powerful monarchs
and to refuse to bow down before them,
but few indeed have been found to resist the crowd,
to stand up alone before misguided masses,
to face their implacable frenzy without weapons
and with folded arms to dare a no when a yes is demanded. Such a man was Zola!
– Hannah Arendt

A man with outward courage dares to die; a man with inner courage dares to live.
– Lao Tzu

Behind the narratives shaping daily life are the open ended questions that birth those narratives.

What is the meaning of life?
Why are we here?

New questions weave new stories into life.

Perhaps the questions most needed now are the ones that reach beyond binary of good & evil–

… questions to which the living responses are stories of human warmth.

Every side is blinded in this binary. Every side thinks they are the on the side of good.
– Nora Bateson

More than bliss and ecstasy, having a stable inner strength is what fosters our self-esteem the most. Our strength determines how we feel about ourselves and the world.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, From Peaceful Heart

The art of the tea Way consists simply of
boiling water, preparing tea and drinking it.
– Rikyu

Every day, if we listen closely, we will hear a whisper, an intuition, if you will, about what matters today. And that can that can help us know we should be about in the hours ahead. It’s really tuning into the Source.
– Gunilla Norris

Some day you will be old enough
to start reading fairy tales again.
– C S Lewis

When you renounce something, you’re tied to it. The only way to get out of this is to see through it. Don’t renounce it, see through it. Understand its true value and you won’t
need to renounce it; it will just drop from your hands. But of course, if you don’t see that, if you’re hypnotized into thinking that you won’t be happy without this, that, or the other thing, you’re stuck. What we need to do for you is not what so-called spirituality attempts to do—namely, to get you to make sacrifices, to renounce things. That’s useless. You’re still asleep. What we need to do is to help you understand, understand, understand. If you understood, you’d simply drop the desire for it. This is another way of saying: If you woke up, you’d simply drop the desire for it.
– Anthony de Mello

Can you discern that nothing will make you more of what you already are? Is there any need to make water wetter?
Is there really a person, who from an inside experiences something outside itself, or is there only experiencing wherein the person is the experience?
Even the most cursory inquiry reveals the obvious: the presence of the Conscious Life Energy.
Let your attention rest there.
– Wu Hsin

Will There Be Singing
by Juliana Spahr

By the end of the year, I was used to
things I hadn’t seen before,
like a series of street brawls between fa and antifa
that often absurdly tumbled
into the Berkeley all organic full-of-strollers farmer’s market.
Used to hearing about friends’ emails caught up in various FOIAs.
Used to the social media posts about how someone somewhere
was getting a gun and planned to show up where we worked.
I should add that the DMs and the @s were rarely realized.
The gun never arrived.
And if the threat was made good on it was just that moment when
someone called up my boss and she hung up on them, confused.
If there was anything new about this moment
it was that there was no making sense of what was left and
right in the way I had previously understood it,
which was as a convention.
The DMs came in from all different directions.
One day an anonymous white nationalist,
the next a well-known comrade angry in love
and wanting to take it out on someone proximate,
and then perhaps a blog post from someone
who had been perfectly nice when last seen at a poetry reading
but now was very upset about something I had implied.
It was hard to decipher who was hating what on what day.
By the time the state was burning from both ends
and one end was called Paradise,
we didn’t bother with the metaphor.
Instead we just looked out the window, noticed the smoke,
shut the window, stayed indoors, and kept on typing.
Later we joked,
now we know what we will be doing when the world burns.
We will be shutting the windows and catching up on email
finally.

I’m concerned about these other things.
Or that is what I thought when they said
they were worried I was losing my relationship to poetry.
It was still summer.
Still mid-afternoon.
There was a nice breeze.
We had half a day of this beauty before us and we knew it.
Unhurried. Pleasure.
We drank a beer that was fresh on the tongue
in a new way. Light. Almost carbonated.
They said they were concerned
about me and my relationship to poetry.
In the afternoon sun, as the breeze blew softly,
I first protested to them not about poetry,
but about poets. Their nationalism, their acquiescence
but also their facebook and twitter accounts.
Their brags and their minor attacks, their politics.
Their prizes and their publications.
Their democratic party affiliations.
So I said to them I’m not concerned
about my relationship to poetry
which regularly felt to me like that moment
when you open your app and there are a bunch
of mentions and you haven’t posted anything a while
and all you can do is say today is so FML and start to work through them.
This is not the same as the oh no way of the Berkeley farmer’s market brawl,
not the state burning and burning again,
but still, how to write an epiphanic possibility in this sociality?
I had written for so long about being together,
about how we were together like it or not.
I had used a metaphor of breath and of space.
I had embraced the epiphanic
not just at the end of the poem, as was the lyric convention,
but sometimes I even made the whole poem epiphanic.
And that I couldn’t do anymore.
Lately there wasn’t any singing that I could hear.
Just attempts. Dark times.
Nothing about this terrible moment was new though.
It has always been a terrible moment.
And there have always been poets too.
And always poets writing the terrible nation into existence.
This is one reason I will never get a tramp stamp that says
poetry is my boyfriend.

I thought for a while there were two sorts of poets.
Poets who write the terrible nation into existence
and poets screwing around doing something else.
For years I was on team poets screwing around doing something else.
For years I had used poetry to slip away,
elude the hold of the family, the coupleform, the policing of tradition,
to pry open time into an endless stretch of possibility.
In that room where we try to pry open possibility.
When I first heard the avant garde
I heard it as an opening. A door. A window,
Maybe a garage door.
A hole in the wall I could shimmy through.
I heard it as an opening. All sorts of openings.
I could make the hole.
Or my pink crowbar could.
I would be writing and I would fall into the singing,
That whoosh. The singing whoosh.
And because at first I saw myself as someone who wanted
an opening in the tradition,
I split this whoosh up all the time.
I fragmented it into words or took away its deictics.
Another friend, a poet, who no longer talks to me
once gave me the image of the pink crowbar
as a way of thinking about writing.
Losing her was a loss all around.
But to compensate for that loss
I think often about pulling something open.
Although I’m fairly convinced she would grab
the pink crowbar out of my hand if she saw me wielding it.
For years, there was that perfect moment after the reading
where we had to leave the bar because
the couples were coming to buy their cocktails
and we couldn’t figure out where to go.
Maybe it was Friday or Saturday night and all the bars
were full of people who were not talking about poetry
so we kept walking, looking in each bar and each one wrong.
Eventually the streets opened up and we were at the bridge
and there was a river and we walked across the open space to it
and climbed down its sides and sat there.
We had bought some beers and a small glass flask of whiskey from a bodega.
We carried the cans and the flask in brown bags as a convention.
But we did not need this convention.
If there was law, the law drove by, didn’t stop.
Other things were. Night. Maybe moon. Water. Rats.
Sometimes drugs were involved.
We walked through Wall Street at 3 am and
we rattled the locked doors of all the buildings, laughing
at their absurdity because we knew where it was at
and at was rattling the doors.

During these days,
I would wake up and my head would hurt
and then I would realize that in my dream
I had said to myself that I should write some poetry.
But my dreams never explained to me why.
Or how.
How to sing in these dark times?
It is true that I have been with poetry for a long time.
Since I was a teenager.
Those loves of many years and our bodies changing together.
And yet also the deepening of this love. Despite.
That day with the breeze in the bar
And we said together, there needs to be some pleasure in the world.
And next, poetry is the what is left of life.
And we pledged, more singing.
And we referenced by saying,
In the dark times. Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing. About the dark times.

At night I thought if I just read all of Brecht,
I would maybe find the singing.
So I began to read Brecht that night,
in bed with my son while he too read before he went to sleep.
There was a new edition.
It was hard to hold because it was so big.
I rested it on a pillow and I rested my head on a pillow
and I turned the pages looking for the singing.
I couldn’t find the singing.
After I started reading Brecht,
I began sorting through my books. I had too many.
As I pulled them off the shelves, blew off the dust,
I asked myself would I need it if there was a revolution.
It turned out that I thought I would for sure need
five translations of the Odyssey
and all the books of Susan Howe.
I kept all the plant books too.
The comfort of the Jespen Manual of Vascular Plants of California.
It’s an open question if the revolution will still need poetry,
its tradition and its resistance to that tradition.
But it will for sure need the Vascular Plants of California.

It’s always been a terrible moment.
But now I understand it as even more terrible.
The nation is for sure not my boyfriend.
But the land it claims,
though I don’t claim it,
I hold my love for this land on my underside,
in a small pocket that eventually bursts to release my love spores.
I mean it is not a casual love.
It is though a difficult one. Threatened. Invaded.
A friend is dying
as the scotch broom is putting out its nitrogen fixing roots
but our friendship died years before
the seed pods open explosively
another friend has cancer
and last for eighty years
and yet another friend now in the world in some new way
but they are hard and survive rough transport through water
and mainly it was all the information
fleshy and full of proteins in a way that interests ants
we suddenly knew about everything
as the ants carry the seeds back to their nests creating dense infestations.
A mixture of hell. A metaphor of resilience.
The scotch broom has so many tricks.
Grows in patches and as scattered individuals
with a total cover of about 15 percent and 35 percent, respectively.
As does the Tree of Heaven.
There is no space too polluted for it.
It absorbs sulfur dioxide in its leaves.
It can withstand cement dust and fumes from coal tar operations,
as well as resist ozone exposure relatively well.
Even mercury.
It grows fast, and even faster in California.
And once it starts, it shows up everywhere,
impossible to destroy.
Loves the fires.
Everything. Never ending.
Everything. Yet to come.
And yet the world and the leaves continue to exist.
Yellow veins. Flowers.
Large, compound leaves.
Arranged. Alternately on the stem.
11-33 leaflets. Occasionally up to 41.
One to three teeth on each side. Close to the base.
Everything. Small.
Yellow-green to reddish. Flowers.
Everything. Panicles up to 30 cm long.
Everything.

The things you desire give no more satisfaction than drinking sea water, therefore practice contentment.
– Atīśa Dīpa kara Śrījñāna

Wings are freedom only when they are wide open in flight. On one’s back they are a heavy weight.
– Marina Tsvetaeva

Health is impossible when living in systems of oppression. We must simultaneously address the individual and upstream systems causing disease. We must reintegrate with the earth, with each other and with ourselves — DECOLONIZE.
– Rupa Marya

What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.
– Mahatma Gandhi

We must distinguish between spirituality
in general terms, which aims
to make us better people, and religion. Adopting a religion remains optional,
but becoming a better human being is essential
– Mattieu Ricard, The Quantum and the Lotus, translated by Ian Monk

Every structure in every society is upheld by the active and passive assistance of other human beings.
– Sonya Renee Taylor

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.

The Interplay of Egolessness and Compassion
The mahayana is based on friendliness
and compassion. Such compassion
is not goal oriented and it is not based
on striving. You are not looking for feedback
or confirmation. Compassion is without reference point.
In order for friendliness and compassion
to take place, we work with the notion
that others are more important than ourselves. We begin to realize the notion of egolessness. Accordingly, we begin to manifest
generosity, discipline, patience, exertion, meditation, and prajna (knowledge).
With egolessness, there is both space
and a great sense of celebration.
Because of that, we can be kind to others.
Our original problem is that “I” exists;
therefore, “am” exists; and therefore,
there is no room to help anybody else.
But if we have no “I” and no “am,”
there is room to help others constantly.
So egolessness is the basis of compassion.
Compassion occurs because there is room
to help others, not because
you have been made to feel guilty.
Compassion is not based on guilt,
but on having mahayana vision.
Because you have mahayana vision,
you can afford to be compassionate.
Even if you become completely steeped
in vajrayana practices, you should always reflect on mahayana vision.
Other-wise, you will find yourself
becoming completely ego-centered,
without compassionate action of any kind.
The point of dharma is not to produce egomaniacs, but good people.
The connection between compassion
and egolessness goes both ways.
When we let go of the self,
we are more inspired to work with others;
and when we are generous to others,
we realize that the self is lost.
We begin to lose our ego fixation.
So when we are generous to that,
we begin to lose this;
and when we have lost this,
we become more capable of dealing with that. At that point, the shedding of ego
is a mutual situation.

THE EGO IS A BRUSSELS SPROUT
The key point of the mahayana approach
is the commitment to dedicate yourself
to helping other sentient beings.
Building yourself up or perpetuating
your own existence is regarded as neurosis. Instead of building yourself up,
you should continue with your pursuit
of helping others. Instead of being selfish,
you should empty yourself.
The basic definition of ego
is holding on to one’s existence—
and paramita practices are techniques
that allow you not to grasp onto
or propagate the notion of me-ness, or “I am.” Experiencing egolessness
is a process of letting go.
But you do not regard the ego
as an enemy or obstacle,
you regard it as a brussels sprout
that you cook and eat.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg:
Fewer inspirational stories of people persisting and succeeding despite structural barriers, please,

and more work actually dismantling those barriers so that it’s not only the outliers or the very lucky who are able to persist and succeed.

Lauren Groff:
Bowing in awe to anyone who can work for more than an hour right now or read more than a page before sense wriggles away. Solidarity to anyone who can’t. Fight or flight is real and we are tethered to these blunt animal bodies, dammit.

To go down to the underworld when you’re dead is one thing. To go there when you’re alive, prepared and knowingly, and then learn from the experience–that’s another thing entirely.
– Peter Kingsley, In the Dark Places of Wisdom

Andrew Zaffina:
Clear communication is super attractive.

Edgar McGregor:
We don’t need better climate activists.

We need more climate activists. We’re short handed around here. The more people we have commited to this cause, the more political power our movement will yield.

We need a billion activists to preserve the Earth.

Love is simple and abundant, but it is not always in the places we look for it.
– Sharon Salzberg

Ethan Nichtern:
Your view of how to practice your spiritual principles in a democracy should never be based on quotes from ancient spiritual masters who did not live in one.

Everyone is dying, everything is dying, and the earth is dying also. I don’t know where I get the courage to keep on living in the midst of these ruins.

Let us love each other to the end.
– George Sand

We have a dark, brooding cloud all around the world, but if we enliven this field of peace within, it’ll turn that cloud from a dark, brooding cloud to a beautiful, golden cloud.
– David Lynch

Jess Bergman:
pivoting to illiterate, in terms of the psychic benefits it seems significantly more lucrative

Jung would say that a synchronicity is a marker that indicates that the conscious mind is being given the opportunity to deal with some deep unconscious material.
– Laurence Hillman

No one knows anything for certain
And if in the morning he built for himself shining houses
To live in them in the evening
He does not know
– Bertolt Brecht

Ari Ne’eman:
On the one hand, I hate word limits. On the other hand, I might never finish anything without them.

In this world of constant connection, train yourself to be able to disconnect.
– Forge of Man

Keep trusting the true colors you see in others. They are divine wake-up calls.
– Inner Practicioner

Before building generational wealth

Build generational health.
– Dan Go

Metaphor is perhaps one of man’s most fruitful potentialities. Its efficacy verges on magic, and it seems a tool for creation which God left inside His creatures when He made them.
– José Ortega y Gasset

Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.
– Steve Jobs

The way you break toxic ancestral patterns is not by running away from them. It’s by walking back in their direction. Not because you want to keep repeating them, but because you recognize that the only way to truly shift them is to see them up close and heal them at their roots. It’s okay to run from them for a time, but not for all time. Because the flight from what lives inside of you, merely delays your arrival. You think you are on the way to somewhere else, but the plane keeps circling your childhood home. It can’t navigate a new flight path, until you return back to where you came from, and heal its broken wings.
– Jeff Brown

An old Zen master once said, “The last half of my life has been spent untying knots and removing barriers.”
Removing strongholds of lies that settle into our sub-conscious and cripple our lives, takes revelation, truth, and tenacity to untie the knots and remove the barriers to living an abundant life.
– Bob Holmes

Oh comforting solitude, how favorable thou art to original thought!
– Santiago Ramón y Cajal

Very few beings really seek knowledge in this world…On the contrary, they try to wring from the unknown the answers they have already shaped in their own minds — justifications, confirmations, forms of consolation without which they can’t go on. To really ask is to open the door to the whirlwind. The answer may annihilate the question and the questioner.
– Anne Rice

If you cannot feel my pain, then you’re not going to help me disrupt the systems that perpetuate the pain.
– Lama Rod Owens

Imbalanced systems, whether internal or external, will tend to polarize.
– Richard Schwartz

Perhaps the changes that we are having to live have a meaning beyond what we see, perhaps the recommendations have a second face, an additional objective in our life.
We have been asked to take care of eyes, nose and mouth. To protect the eyes, we can simply wear glasses, but perhaps what we really need those glasses for, is to SEE life differently and value what we have.
Perhaps protecting our nose indicates that we must take care of what we breathe as smell is connected to memory, perhaps we need to reset that memory connected to smell a bit, to empty those which no longer serve us or those around us and/or cause us pain.
It could be that the use of the mask protects others from what we speak, from those moments when we offend with our words, when we curse. And it protects us from what we eat.
It may be that the request to “stay at home” does not only refer to our home, but to the fact of BEING INSIDE OURSELVES, of being calm, reflecting a little, enjoying what we rarely have time to enjoy … those who live with us.
It occurs to me that the idea of ​​washing hands or cleaning them with alcohol tells us that when we touch… we leave a mark, that it would be better to TOUCH people’s lives with respect, hygiene, and love.
That the intention of “cleaning everything” goes beyond “disinfecting any surface as obsessed” but It tells us that it is a good time to clean ourselves and clean our environment of things that no longer serve a good purpose, clean our lives of people who do not contribute anything positive to it. To cleanse our mind and heart.
Cleaning the soles of the shoes, I relate it more to evaluating where we have been, what we have stepped on and we need to leave behind.
That life is not necessarily about hugging and kissing whoever we meet along the way … how many times do we forget or stop kissing and hugging our children, our partner, our parents. That at this moment if they are with us, it is prudent and I would even recommend doing so.
Perhaps the quarantine forced us to put our being and our resources in ENERGY SAVING mode and that in turn brought us closer to the simplicity of a sunrise, of a coffee taken without haste, of the blessing that is to breathe and open our eyes every morning .
Maybe it’s time to instead of rejecting reality, to learn to harness it.
– Lea Seren

I’ll never find out now
What A. thought of me.
If B. ever forgave me in the end.
Why C. pretended everything was fine.
What part D. played in E.’s silence.
What F. had been expecting, if anything.
Why G. forgot when she knew perfectly well.
What H. had to hide.
What I. wanted to add.
If my being around
meant anything
to J. and K. and the rest of the alphabet.
– Wisława Szymborska

With your supreme intelligence,
you realized the intention
Of the unsurpassable vehicle,
the tradition of Padmakara.
Guru of unequalled kindness,
I remember you from my heart.
I supplicate you—
bless me with your compassion.

I, Pema Trinley Palzang,
a performer of three activities,
From now on, will take control of my own discipline in thought and deed.
I make a firm commitment, as follows,
To avoid thoughtlessness and senselessness.

In physical conduct, I will not allow myself to be rootless and hurried,
Incapable of being still,
carelessly following my every whim.
I will always hold my own space
And be adorned by the trainingin pure discipline.

In speech, whether spiritual or secular,
I will choose meaningful words
And shun unconnected talk of past events or boring discussions
concerning any of the three times.
I will always exert myself in dharmic recitations, proclamations, and readings.

In mind, I will not flutter back and forth
like a young bird on a branch.
Not getting absorbed in discursive thoughts
of good and bad,
I will meditate, cultivating forbearance
and relying on my own perceptions,
not those of others. I will reflect on how best
to benefit the teachings and beings.

In particular, the vital essence
of the thought of all victorious ones
Is the true nature—
the uncontrived, innate dharmakaya.
Without ever lapsing, I will sustain it
with one taste in equipoise
and post-meditation.

In sum, I will hold myself to the sublime, dharmic conduct of the three gates,
Not falling under the influence of others.
Arrogance, haughtiness, or thoughts of self-aggrandizement—
whatever of these arises,
I will not let them move me in the slightest.
I will remain firm, dignified,
and fearless, like a mountain.

Until this collection of elements
has rotted away,
I will not waver from this way of being.
Of this way I will be a fearless warrior—
that will be my quality.
This is my vow, like an image carved in stone. May it be virtuous!
Gods and protectors,
work to help this come to pass!
May the virtuous signs of auspiciousness excellently blaze!
– 16th Karmapa

Myth must be kept alive. The people who can keep it alive are the artists of one kind or another. The function of the artist is the mythologization of the environment and the world.
– Joseph Campbell

Fred LaMotte:
Sometimes the ones who can’t speak
say it all.

I once overheard someone say “The fact that you don’t have any money shouldn’t stand in the way of your healing. Just do it.” I was mortified. In the heart of basic needs challenges, it is all most of humanity can do to endure and survive until things improve. Quite apart from the obvious fact that those living under economic duress cannot afford some of the healing services they need, their consciousness is often so overwhelmed with root chakra anxiety that the last thing they are thinking about is transformation. Food on the table trumps those considerations. For many of us, healing services are an unaffordable luxury. May we not forget that, and may we not shame those who are simply trying to stay alive from moment to moment. Rather than shame them, let us lift them up with emotional and economic support. You want to invite the healing of humanity? Give wherever possible.
– Jeff Brown

I could not help feeling that they were evil things– mountains of madness whose farther slopes looked out over some accursed ultimate abyss. That seething , half-luminous cloud-background held ineffable suggestions of a vague, ethereal beyondness far more than terrestrially spatial; and gave appalling reminders of the utter remoteness, separateness, desolation, and aeon-long death of this untrodden and unfathomed austral world.
– H.P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness

None of us understand what we’re doing,
but we do beautiful things anyway.
– Allen Ginsberg

Do not look for my heart anymore;
The beasts have eaten it.
– Charles Baudelaire

Happiness runs in a circular motion.
Thought is like a little boat upon the sea.
Everybody is a part of everything anyway.
You can have everything if you let yourself be.
– Donovan

The language we use to reflect upon and respond to the living world has its own ecology.
– Douglas Christie

ROBERT BONAZZI ON WHY HE WRITES

Hubris or Humility?

First and last, I am a perpetual reader who desires textual challenges and pleasures, approaching writing as a lover of literature and language, fascinated by knowledge and experiment. Not posing as an established poet or critic, I remain an amateur. My professionalism amounts to being truthful without pretending to know the truth. While I have read my poetry in the lively, marginal spaces left within our withering civilization, most of my attention lives in solitude, searching for the scribbling cure that heals obscure wounds into a meaningful scar.

I make no attempt to explicate these
poems, being unable to fathom their critical contexts or what readers might smuggle into them. I follow lines that beget a new poem, believing that images sequester subtexts and secrets. I continue to be immersed in words that lead to others—revising , revising—and trusting that I will become a subtler reader and a more self-critical poet in the process.

Yet what about the self-consciousness nature of this text—hubris or humility? I
leave that for the reader to decide.

– Robert Bonazzi, 2012

Poetry is the only ambition that can be realized by doing nothing.
– Lieke Marsman

Desires come by the thousands and each one eats up a whole life.
– Ghalib

He Thanks His Woodpile

The wood of the Madrone burns with a flame at once
lavender and mossy green, a color you sometimes find in a sari.

Oak burns with a peppery smell.

For a really hot fire, use bark.
You can crack your stove with bark.

All winter long I made wood stews:

Poem to stove to woodpile to stove to
Typewriter. woodpile. stove.

and can’t stop peeking at it!
can’t stop opening up the door!
can’t stop giggling at it.

“Shack Simple”

crazy as Han Shan as
Wittgenstein in his German hut, as
all the others ever were and are

Ancient Order of the Fire Gigglers

who walked away from it, finally,
kicked the habit, finally, of Self, of
man-hooked Man

(which is not, at last, estrangement)

– Lew Welch

There can be too much emphasis
on the heroism of sitting practice
and on the idea
that there is nothing to do but meditate.

There is a greater world
than your little meditation world,
your little meditation hall,
and your little meditation cushion.

There are other seats — there are saddles
and chairs and green grass you can sit on. Everywhere you sit does not have to be
a meditation cushion.
– Chögyam Trungpa

Well enough for old folks to rise early, because they have done so many mean things all their lives they can’t sleep anyhow.
– Mark Twain, Notebook, 1866

I see decency out there. I see kindness, and activism, and determination. I see grit, and a willingness to look at this nation’s faults with a clear-eyed resoluteness to build and rebuild better.. I see all the ingredients needed for resetting this nation’s course towards a horizon of hope.
– Dan Rather

Edible
by Danusha Laméris

We want it all: potatoes pulled up
from under their poison foliage,
the artichoke’s heart, scraped clean,
the tender bodies of crustaceans, broken
from their calcified shells, saffron stamens,
plucked from the crocus’s center. Bark
of cinnamon trees, slow sugar tapped
from the maple. The golden vomit of bees,
pried from its waxen vaults. Even,
for some, the delicate crunch of crickets,
or hind legs of lamb, still tinged with blood.
The world is such an unexpected feast.
I think of my friend, Christopher,
who, when he found himself dying,
early one spring, kept telling us
how this was the best part—
the letting go. As if, in his hunger,
he’d somehow broken into death’s core,
torn off the husk, the brittle shell,
found, inside, the succulent heart,
and savored it.

Every one of us is losing something
precious to us.
Lost opportunities, lost possibilities,
feelings we can never get back again.
That’s part of what it means to be alive.
– Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

All life is just a progression toward,
and then a recession from,
one phrase—I love you.
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Offshore Pirate

Don’t fight with anything in creation…nothing is wrong with emotion, only don’t tie yourself to good or bad.

Don’t cling to anything.

There is no commandment: ‘Thou shalt not feel.’

Feelings belong to the totality, like everything else in manifestation, they have their place, leave them there.

Even if you could embrace the entire universe, it would not add up to your Self…Nothing does.

Be very clear about this…

– Mooji

Understanding that people are always a worse version of who they want to be is a way of loving them.
– Spencer Madsen

The human psyche evolved
in order to defend itself against seeing the truth.
To prevent us from catching sight
of the mechanism.
The psyche is our defense system—
it makes sure we’ll never understand
what’s going on around us.
Its main task is to filter information,
even though the capabilities of our brains
are enormous.
For it would be impossible for us to carry
the weight of this knowledge.
Because every tiny particle of the world
is made of suffering.
– Olga Tokarczuk

I have, for my own projected works and ideas, only the silliest and dewiest of hopes; no matter what, I am romantic enough or sentimental enough to wish to contribute something to life’s fabric, to the world’s beauty…. [S]imply to live does not justify existence, for life is a mere gesture on the surface of the earth, and death a return to that from which we had never been wholly separated; but oh to leave a trace, no matter how faint, of that brief gesture! For someone, some day, may find it beautiful!
– Frank O’Hara

In the mirror of your mind all kinds of pictures appear and disappear. Knowing that they are entirely your own creations, watch them silently come and go. Be alert, but not perturbed. This attitude of silent observation is the very foundation of yoga. You see the picture, but you are no the picture.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

You must read, you must persevere, you must sit up nights, you must inquire, and exert the utmost power of your mind. If one way does not lead to the desired meaning, take another… if your strength holds out, you will find that clear which at first looked dark.
– Boccaccio

I must let this pain flow through me and pass on.
If I resist or try to stop it, it will detonate inside
me, shatter me, splatter my pieces against every
wall and person that I touch.
— Audre Lorde

“oh no thanks” i said to every and nothing all at once
– Kristen Arnett

Where to Go

The soul
becomes a goose, flies away—
the north is a cold country—
to leave and not return

Namu Amida Butsu
Namu Amida Butsu

I’m human too
The heart bubbles
Dark night wintry night
the body shudders in it
– translated from the Japanese by Kenji C. Liu

Perhaps, somewhere, some day, at a less miserable time, we may see each other again.
– Vladimir Nabokov

No one can find inner peace
except by working,
not in a self-centered way,
but for the whole human family.
– Peace Pilgrim

An archetype, he said, is not ‘an inherited idea’ but rather ‘an inherited mode of functioning, corresponding to the inborn way in which the chick emerges from the egg, the bird builds its nest…In other words, it is a “pattern of behaviour”.
– Anthony Stevens, Jung

For some reason, I want to say this again. Until this week, I always thought my degrees in literature and creative writing were not as impressive as degrees in the sciences or engineering. I had great regret over changing my major from Biology to English. It was in part a lack of confidence that got me to change my major, but it was also that I had fallen in love with literature. I realize now that reading and writing are integral parts of a functioning society. We place humanity in jeopardy by placing more emphasis on science and technology than the arts. Because of this election, I have come to appreciate my education. The best thing I can do is to read again and write again. I admire scientists and doctors in large part because I am educated.
– Sheryl Luna

I believe in fiction and the power of [poetry]
because that way we speak in tongues.
We are not silenced.
All of us, when in deep trauma,
find we hesitate, we stammer,
there are long pauses in our speech.
The thing is stuck.
We get our language back
through the language of others.
We can turn to the poem.
We can open the book.
Someday has been there for us
and deep-dived the world.
– Jeanette Winterson, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

You might meet with many obstacles in your life. But if you are a true practitioner, you will use them as training grounds of the path.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

We struggle and suffer to reconquer our solitude.
– Albert Camus, Notebooks 1935-1951; written in September 1937

When a great moment knocks on the door of your life, it is often no louder than the beating of your heart, and it is very easy to miss it.
– Boris Pasternak

A Living Ark
I.
All alone with the ghost of me
I plant my wit and brood
The fires that dance in the galaxy
Explain my distant mood
Proud by the way a man can feel
Strong in his dying hour
Sharp by the way a heart can keel
Over before a flower
Such is this age that we adore
Even as we conspire
To bring her down to the threshing floor
And feed her form to the fire
Soul of earth, old and wan
Take this plaited plea
By motion soft and pliant bond
This ghost of a ghost to thee
Show yourself in the crux of time
Where the darkness glimmers yet
Till every gesture reclaims its shine
Even the stones forget
II.
Once more they gather ’round us
Not with superstitions this time
Not with the mortar of our own fears
Do we house them
Not with dark forebodings
When we are flush with thunders
And not with wilting promises
When spring’s our neighborhood
Are we this time won
But with the swiftness of doves
With the suppleness of snakes
And with the thousand amities of song
From every field and passion of the senses
And every ingenuity of mind
They come
And we are ofthem
No more the bitter altar
No more the scattered blood
No more the restitution
For a debt that never was
We are of them
And they…
They are the visions of what comes
The tug, the flood of desire
The flower of touch
The spiral of hearing
The immanent probe of tongue
Every curl, wisp, waver of perceivable form
Steeps, widenesses, rings, halls
And always what comes
We are of all weathers
Let the songs be sung
We are of all weathers
Let the spells be spun
Let the die be thrown
Let the laughter ring
Take the dragon down
From the pious tree
Let the holy ground
Have a word with thee
III.
We are of all that lives
Of ‘possum, squirrel and coon
Of bats that hang in caves
And swarm out in a gyre
Of pigs that swim so well
They found a dolphin’s smile.
We are of antelopes
Who leap in ecstasies
Of things that thrive in holes
Of brooding buffalos
Of those that hunt in packs
Of those all on their own
And not just furry things
We are of turtle dreams
Of snakes and newts and frogs
Who know their chemistry
Of the fish who dance
In liquid hemispheres
Also of the keen
And gaily feathered tribe
Of dazzling hummingbird
Grave old pelican
And of those birds of song
Who teach of more than flight
Of those that creep and buzz
The stepped upon and cursed
Those insect pioneers
Whose powers of the small
First learned to live on land
Metamorphically
Even smaller yet
We’re of microbe engineers
Who, even as we try
To bend them to our will
Assist invisibly
And let us not forget
We are of all that greens
On hillsides and in ponds
We think the ways they grow
Our flowers bloom inside
Our roots spread out in time
We are a living ark
We are a precious seed
We are of all that lives
Or not at all
IV.
A feather away from flying
A fin away from the sea
A buzz away from scrying
The dance of a honeybee
A spark away from shining
A trickle away from flood
I, in my silver living
Dark as a folded bud
Totter and turn in terror
At the verge of humankind
A part of all in the marrow
A part of none in the mind
Strung on a twist of reason
Pinned as donkey’s tale
I wait for a tardy season
To billow a listless sail
Seed of the shoot that spirals
Out of the grave’s caress
Eye of the storm that files
The scimitars of stress
Gut of the stone’s insatiate
Hunger for all that moves
Heart of the light’s expatriot
Thrust into quietude
These are the timeless shepherds
Our instruments of art
With which we splice the seconds
And keep eons apart
A scream away from madness
A whisper away from god
I honor an ancient sadness
Soothe this trembling clod
V.
Let the gods be brave, for the world must grow away
From all that is parenting, all that is wise and safe
Must walk away from the cottages of conviction
Out of the well-groomed farms and fields of prediction
Away from the country of customary standards
And the wail of children taught to fear the night
Let the gods forswear to pluck us free
From the true chaos of time
For now we tread the perimeters of fire
Where time and space give way to the arc of desire
Where life and death are twinned
Let the gods forsake us quickly now
And wholly, before we cower
Too long at the last ditch. This timely hour
Winds down, as the thunder hangs
On the bolt of what we choose

If something inside of you is real,
we will probably find it interesting,
and it will probably be universal.
So you must risk placing real emotion
at the center of your work. Write
straight into the emotional center
of things. Write toward vulnerability.
Risk being unliked. Tell the truth
as you understand it. If you’re a writer
you have a moral obligation to do this.
And it is a revolutionary act—
truth is always subversive.
– Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

SASQUATCH HAIKU
(not my usual style, but just for fun)

We trample this world
and yet we call him Bigfoot—
what hypocrisy!

In the land of dreams
was I Bigfoot…or Bigfoot
dreaming he was me?

Wind off the tundra
blow-drying Sasquatch’s hair
after a rainstorm

Sasquatch lookout post:
the smell of disappointment
and empty beer cans

Bigfoot in a bar:
what happens in Alaska
stays in Alaska

Removing the sign
“No shoes, no shirt, no service”
when Bigfoot arrives

In honor of Oct. 20: National Sasquatch Awareness Day

I am glad that I paid so little attention to good advice; had I abided by it I might have been saved from some of my most valuable mistakes.
– Edna St. Vincent Millay

There is not intelligence but intelligences.
– Michael McClure

… you only die once and when it happens,
If it’s not irreversible, you learn to live..
– unknown

Men must live and create.
Live to the point of tears.
– Albert Camus

We have a tendency to think in terms
of doing and not in terms of being.
We think that when we are not doing
anything, we are wasting our time.
But that is not true. Our time is first
of all for us to be. To be what? To be
alive, to be peaceful, to be joyful,
to be loving. And that is what
the world needs most.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Words are events, they do things,
change things. They transform
both speaker and hearer; they feed
energy back and forth and amplify it.
They feed understanding or emotion
back and forth and amplify it.
– Ursula K. Le Guin, Telling is Listening

Of course wonder is required for transformation. I mean, without a capacity to wonder about a life—animal or plant—besides your own, how much has been lost?
– Aimee Nezhukumatathil, in her interview with Ross Gay for Poets & Writers

Looking and waiting, it’s what I do
Scanning the skies for a beacon from you
Shapes on the curtain, but no clear view of you
Looking and waiting, it’s what I do
– Bruce Cockburn

The highest benchmark of love, courtesy, generosity and beauty that is put into the world will never vanish from the world. And when it’s time, it will restore itself instantly.
– Cynthia Bourgeault

A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears.
– seekflight

Tomorrow will be better if you let your heart rule today.
– Leo Christopher

How does one say NO in thunder?
– Christopher Okigbo

The human being dies in all those that keep silent.
– Wole Soyinka

Zen is not a religion. There is no room for a cult. There is no dependence on a teacher. There is only learning how to use your own mind and making it strong.
– Frederick Lenz

The universe favors people who own their bullshit.
– Inner Practicioner

You are here on this planet with leaping dolphins and croaking ravens and waterfalls and orchids.
– Dr. Elizabeth Sawin

It was my conviction and determination that the church would be a resource for activists… To me it was important that the individual who was in the thick of the struggle for social change would be able to find renewal and fresh courage…
– Howard Thurman

The size of the place that one becomes a member of is limited only by the size of one’s heart.
– Gary Snyder

We talk about the play within the play: there is also a play without the play.
– Archibald MacLeish

Have confidence in your ability to make the best of anything.
– Ryan Holiday

Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

But what is a map, any map, however subtle its scale, to the song of the skylark? .. What is a smooth sheet of paper to the centuries of evensong sung in peninsular churches, to the thousands of cockleshells embedded in their walls?
– Julian Hoffman, Irreplaceable

Nature decrees that we do not exceed the speed of light. All other impossibilities are optional.
– Robert Brault

I persevere, as any poet must, in the face of obstacles.
– Henri Cole

Every day is an opportunity for a new life.
– Rhonda Byrne

The more you choose to do things that uplift yourself and others, the more your spirit can shine, can heal you, can lead your life. What can you do today to uplift yourself? To uplift others?”
– Sonia Choquette

—That evening, . . . —you return to the bright cafés,
You ask for beer or lemonade . . .
—We’re not serious when we are seventeen
And when we have green linden trees in the park.
– Arthur Rimbaud

Disability justice is abolition and abolition is disability justice.
– mia mingus

Your tongue is in a wet place, take care it doesn’t slip.
– Teri Nutton

These are the seasons of emotion,
and like the winds, they rise and fall.
– Led Zeppelin

Basho, 17th century monk-poet
Monk: What is the essence of your practice?
Basho: Whatever is needed…

Refusing to see what’s in you means a mismatched vibration with who you are.
– Inner Practicioner

You have startled those who stole your bricks and didn’t expect you to rebuild your life.

Now look at you. Amazing.
– Dr . Thema

Most of us are unclear about what to do to protect and strengthen caring bonds when our self-centered needs are not being met.
– bell hooks

Don’t seek, don’t search, don’t ask, don’t knock, don’t demand – relax.
– Osho

A single unexpected email from a former student is all it takes to know you are exactly where and who you need to be and, despite this world aflame, you are water.
– Airea D. Matthews

Think higher, feel deeper.
– Elie Wiesel

What are the ways that empire wants to flatten me into a legible narrative that it’s comfortable with? What are the ways in which I can subvert that?
– Kaveh Akbar

Many things I do not want to know. Wisdom sets limits to knowledge.
– seekflight

all that you ever have to make peace with is the present moment.
– Nico Luce

People have good hearts whether or not they live like Dharma Bums.
– Jack Kerouac

Mia Mingus:
I’m that friend who, when we’re in conflict, will jump in and exclaim with glee “omg i’m so excited we get to practice being in conflict with each other i love you so much and i’m so grateful to get to practice generative conflict with you! what a gift!” LOL

Be who you said you’d become.
– Joel Leon

African American contemplatives turned the “inward journey” into a communal experience. In this ethnic context, the word contemplation includes but does not require silence or solitude.
– Dr. Barbara A. Holmes, Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church

Think about it. Aren’t all acts of self-sabotage really misguided attempts at self-protection? Though very few see it that way.
– Barbara Huson

Who has dislocated the world?
And why are birds circling in our stomachs?
– Garous Abdolmalekian

Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
– Musashi

Doc Hubbard:
Sometimes do you feel like no one, no one at all, gets you?

aria aber:
yes, elizabeth bishop was right, there is nothing more embarrassing in this world than “being a poet”

Bruce Cockburn:
False river, dark flow
How far do we have to go?
Torrent tumbles to the sea
This ain’t the way it’s supposed to be

Gal Shapira:

Here’s a quote I really dislike:

“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

It’s low IQ thinking.

You know how it really works?

Belief + the right information + the ability to apply the information well -> can beat anything.
Every thinker, if he lives long enough, must strive to unravel what appear as the results of his thoughts, and he does this simply by rethinking them.
– Hannah Arendt

I shall never be ashamed to go to a bad author for a good quotation.
– Seneca

Peter Himmelman:
Here’s a slightly vexing truth; even when you know you’ve absolutely made the right decision, you may still feel the pain of the choice you left behind.

we exist because we exchange.
– Susan Griffin

India spilled out her terrible secrets for all.
What lies ahead?
Re-imagining the world. Only that.
– Arundhati Roy, April 6, 2020

I can have no advice or criticism for a person so sincere; but, if I give my impression of him, I will say, ‘He says too constantly of Nature, she is mine.’ She is not yours till you have been more hers.
– Margaret Fuller

I don’t care how spiritual you are. How long you can melt in the sweat lodge. How many peyote or ayahuasca journeys that have blown your mind, how many master plant dietas you’ve done or how well you can hold crow pose. I don’t care what planets fall in what houses on your birth chart, or how “silent” your meditation is. I don’t care how many crystals you have or how long you’ve gone without sugar, salt, spices or sex or how vegan your diet is.
I want to know how human you are. Can you sit at the feet of the dying despite the discomfort? Can you be with your grief, or mine, without trying to advise, fix or maintain it? I want to know that you can show up at the table no matter how shiny, chakra- aligned or complete you are- or not. Can you hold loving space for your beloveds in the depths of your own healing without trying to be big?
It doesn’t flatter me how many online healing trainings you have, that you live in the desert, forest or in a log cabin, or that you’ve mastered the art of tantra.
What turns me on is busy hands. Planting roots. That despite how tired you are, you make that phone call, you board that plane, you love your children, you feed your family.
I have no interest in how well you can ascend to 5D, astral travel or have out of body sex. I want to see how beautifully you integrate into ordinary reality with your unique magic, how you find beauty and gratitude in what’s surrounding you, and how present you can be in your relationships. How do you hold the ones you love in the midst of conflict? How do you take responsibility for your part? How do you make amends?
I want to know that you can show up and do the hard and holy things on this gorgeously messy Earth. I want to see that you can be sincere, grounded and compassionate as equally as you are empowered, fiery and magnetic. I want to know that even during your achievements, you can step back and be humble enough to still be a student.
What’s beautiful and sexy and authentic is how well you can continue to celebrate others no matter how advanced you’ve become. What’s truly flattering is how much you can give despite how full you’ve made yourself. What’s honestly valuable is how f***ing better of a human you can be, in a world that is high off of spiritual materialism and jumping the next escape goat for “freedom.”
At the end of the day I don’t care how brave you are. How productive, how popular, how enlightened you are. At the end of the day, I want to know that you were kind. That you were real. I want to know that you can step down from the pedestal from time to time to kiss the earth and let your hair get dirty and your feet get muddy, and join the dance with us all.
– Oriah Mountain Dreamer

A novel begins with the thought: What if? A work of creative nonfiction begins with words: What is.
– Aminatta Forna

The dharma never encourages us to be weak or passive. A bodhisattva is not a doormat. But what we hope to achieve through anger can always be better accomplished through nonviolence and communication. This requires genuine strength, not weakness.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, From Peaceful Heart

Those with no sense
of honor and dignity
are best avoided.
Those who change
colors constantly
are best forgotten.
The best way to be
with those bereft
of the Beloved’s qualities,
is to forget them
…. in the joy of silence
in one’s corner of solitude.
– Sheikh Abu Saeed Abil Kheir

What we KNOW is A DROP;
what we DON’T KNOW
…. is an OCEAN!
– Isaac Newton

You can’t write poems about trees
when the woods are full of policemen.
– Bertolt Brecht

Friends: don’t be silent unless your silence improves your words. gather words of love and tell her you love her. tell your kids you love them. tell your neighbors and tell your friends too. but know this! say the words and do the deeds your words are saying, for words without deeds are deceptions. we had infinite silence before our birth, and we will have infinite silence after we die. but today we are alive. today you can gather live-words and tell her all about the full moon and the lotus in the pond. and tell them too. and everyone else. do this: write your poetry with your words and with the deeds of you life. today you are alive. it makes sense.
– hune margulies

I saw you, and poems came back to me.
– Yannis Ritsos

The Wildest Kind of Love
(Even in a year like this)
Maybe you’re lost
far from home
unsure if home even exists
afraid that home is no longer there.
Many are disoriented.
Routes are long and hard.
Uncertainty abounds.
What felt stable & safe can vanish
in a blink of an eye
as a stiff wind gusts from the west
in a year that is already
beating you down.
Sorrow and fear are real
in a year like this.
Anxiety and anger are real
in a year like this.
It’s normal to long to return
to what feels like home
especially when what you knew as home
might not be where you left it.
It’s not easy to remember home
is with you always—a wildness
etched in your bones,
coursing through your viens,
an ancient agreement of shadow
& light, a raw embodiment of love
capable of weathering
any firestorm.
But it is.
Even in a year like this.
– Heidi Barr

Composing poems and writing stories is a meditative, spiritual act of resistance.
– Carolyn Forché

Concerning matter, we have all been wrong. What we have called matter is energy whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses.
There is no matter.
– Albert Einstein

It is a curious psychological fact that the man who seems to be “egotistic” is not suffering from too much ego, but from too little. When the ego is strong and well developed, there is no nagging need to impress others – by money, by rudeness, or by any other show of false strength.
– Sydney J. Harris

Oh what a catastrophe, what a maiming of love when it was made a personal, merely personal feeling, taken away from the rising and the setting of the sun, and cut off from the magic connection of the solstice and the equinox!

This is what is the matter with us. We are bleeding at the roots, because we are cut off from the earth and sun and stars, and love is a grinning mockery, because, poor blossom, we plucked it from its stem on the tree of Life, and expected it to keep on blooming in our civilized vase on the table.
– D.H. Lawrence

The result of a consistent and total substitution of lies for factual truth is not that the lie will now be accepted as truth and truth be defamed as a lie, but that the sense by which we take our bearings in the real world – and the category of truth versus falsehood is among the mental means to this end – is being destroyed.
– Hannah Arendt

The fundamental experience of the writer is helplessness.

It is a life dignified, I think, by yearning…

– Louise Glück

When our “existence is filled with horror and suffering, we tend to see the world as a tangle of dark, indifferent forces. And yet human greatness and goodness and virtue have always been intervening.
– Words to remember from Nobel laureate Czesław Miłosz:

Words are events, they do things, change things. They transform both speaker and hearer; they feed energy back and forth and amplify it. They feed understanding or emotion back and forth and amplify it.
AND
There are no right answers to wrong questions.
AND
Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.
AND
People who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by dragons. From within.
AND
We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

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

Compassion is an unstable emotion.
It needs to be translated into action,
or it withers.
– Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others

it is a blessing
to be the color of the earth
do you know how often
flowers confuse me for home
– rupi kaur

There are basically two kinds of people: those who have empathy and care about others and those who don’t. The ones who don’t are creating most of the problems in the world.
– Lawrence Overmire

The purpose of our spiritual practice is to work out what God has worked within us. It is a divine discovery and recovery process whereby we integrate the sacred into our everyday common life.
– Bob Holmes

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche:
By and large, human beings tend to prefer to fit in to society by following accepted rules of etiquette and being gentle, polite, and respectful. The irony is that this is also how most people imagine a spiritual person should behave. When a so-called dharma practitioner is seen to behave badly, we shake our heads over her audacity at presenting herself as a follower of the Buddha. Yet such judgments are better avoided, because to “fit in” is not what a genuine dharma practitioner strives for.

Think of Tilopa, for example. He looked so outlandish that if he turned up on your doorstep today, odds are you would refuse to let him in. And you would have a point. He would most likely be almost completely naked; if you were lucky, he might be sporting some kind of G-string; his hair would never have been introduced to shampoo; and protruding from his mouth would quiver the tail of a live fish. What would your moral judgment be of such a being? “Him! A Buddhist?” This is how our theistic, moralistic, and judgmental minds work. Of course, there is nothing wrong with morality, but the point of spiritual practice, according to the vajrayana teachings, is to go beyond all our concepts, including those of morality.
– Not for Happiness: A Guide to the So-Called Preliminary Practices

Do you practise meditation because you want to feel good? Or to help you relax and be “happy”? Then frankly, according to Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, you are far better off having a full-body massage than trying to practise the Dharma. Genuine spiritual practice, not least the Ngöndro preliminaries, will not bring the kind of comfort and ease most worldly people crave. Quite the opposite, in fact. But if your ultimate goal is enlightenment, Ngöndro practice is a must, and Not for Happiness your perfect guide, as it contains everything an aspiring practitioner needs to get started, including advice about:

devloping “renunciation mind”
discipline, meditation and wisdom
using your imagination in visualization practice
why you need a guru”

If you are looking for “comfort food” do not buy this book! The author say in his introduction: if you want to feel happy go get a massage! This book is for buddhists that know how dangerous it is to be happy with yourself, to be satisfied with your life and with your religious path. This is not a good for one that wishes to feel good. On the other hand, if you want to enter the path of ego taming this is the right book for you. Taming the mind is a huge challenge and it is wonderful to have Dzongsar Rinpoche as a guide. It is a real blessing! Great book, not recommended for sissies! It is a book for the bold ones that have the courage to search their true nature, cut all illusions and be rewarded with real happiness – enlightenment!
– Carmen Adorno, Amateur review

A jot & a tittle, a lot is more than a little.
– JKM

Chief Sitting Bull:
If a man loses anything
and goes back and looks carefully for it
he will find it, and that is what the Indians
are doing now when they ask you to give them the things that were promised them in the past. And I do not consider that they should be treated like beasts, and that is the reason
I have grown up with the feelings I have.

Because we are members of one species, all of whom are interconnected and interdependent, our every thought, word and deed affect everyone else in the human family instantaneously, regardless of space and time.
– Thomas Keating, Reflections on the Unknowable

What I want to say is that a Buddhist monk shows his courage by severing all the attachments to family that are so difficult to sever, renouncing wealth and profit that are so difficult to renounce, forsaking fame and reputation that are so difficult to forsake, forgetting old customs and practices that are so difficult to forget. He throws aside his myriad connections with worldly life and devotes himself single-mindedly to negotiating the Way. He strives to bore through the old stories in the koan barriers that are so difficult to bore through, penetrate the patriarchs’ barriers that are so difficult to penetrate, enduring privations that are so difficult to endure, contenting himself until his death with a life of spartan simplicity. Maturing into a great Dharma vessel, he proceeds to help others by constantly imparting the Dharma teaching to them, raising the auspicious sun of the Buddha Dharma up so it will shine brightly amid the eternal darkness, and he never waivers or falls back from this mission. Such is the courage of Zen monks who negotiate the hidden depths.
– Hakuin Zenji

Han is a stone inside you that hardens. To release Han is to let it go. Let it be a softer, unhardened thing.
– E J Koh

Leave your front door and your back door open. Allow your thoughts to come and go. Just don’t serve them tea.
– Shunryu Suzuki

I’m spending hours waiting for the next hour.
– Etel Adnan

The Love held between us
is a magic luminous thing,
like a healing energy Loveball from heaven.
A Loveball is made of trust, truth,
listening and sharing, confession, compassion, commitment and forgiveness.
The choice to trust and love another
is sacred medicine.
As chemist Albert Hofmann said,
Love is the highest refinement of Sunlight.
– Alex Grey

The internet is just like real life, but with all the forgiveness vacuumed out of it.
– David Zahl

We are not meant to shove new souls into our old bodies, and we are not meant to put our old soul into our new bodies.
– Julie Strittmatter

Men fear thought more than they fear anything else on earth. Fear lest their cherished beliefs should prove delusions, fear lest the institutions by which they live should prove harmful.
– Bertrand Russell

It will most certainly be a painful season when your worldview crashes. But if you are able to just go with it, it most likely will turn out to be the most beneficial season to visit your life.

I do not believe that sheer suffering
teaches. If suffering alone taught,
all the world would be wise,
since everyone suffers. To suffering
must be added mourning,
understanding, patience, love,
openness, and the willingness
to remain vulnerable.
– Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

consider the art of coffee
for the laws of peaceful co-existence rely on it;
knowing mind as is
with dedicated one pointed practice,
the coffee is brewed
neither too weak
nor too strong
balancing the forces of bean, water and heat;
direct and honest like the midnight moon,
the gods of caffeine
calm the heart
rest the mind,
…yep, all is well
– Shinzen

They’re Made out of Meat
Terry Bisson, 1991
Someone did a radio play of this…
“They’re made out of meat.”
“Meat?”
“Meat. They’re made out of meat.”
“Meat?”
“There’s no doubt about it. We picked several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, probed them all the way through. They’re completely meat.”
“That’s impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars.”
“They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don’t come from them. The signals come from machines.”
“So who made the machines? That’s who we want to contact.”
“They made the machines. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. Meat made the machines.”
“That’s ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You’re asking me to believe in sentient meat.”
“I’m not asking you, I’m telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in the sector and they’re made out of meat.”
“Maybe they’re like the Orfolei. You know, a carbon-based intelligence that goes through a meat stage.”
“Nope. They’re born meat and they die meat. We studied them for several of their life spans, which didn’t take too long. Do you have any idea the life span of meat?”
“Spare me. Okay, maybe they’re only part meat. You know, like the Weddilei. A meat head with an electron plasma brain inside.”
“Nope. We thought of that, since they do have meat heads like the Weddilei. But I told you, we probed them. They’re meat all the way through.”
“No brain?”
“Oh, there is a brain all right. It’s just that the brain is made out of meat!”
“So… what does the thinking?”
“You’re not understanding, are you? The brain does the thinking. The meat.”
“Thinking meat! You’re asking me to believe in thinking meat!”
“Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you getting the picture?”
“Omigod. You’re serious then. They’re made out of meat.”
“Finally, Yes. They are indeed made out meat. And they’ve been trying to get in touch with us for almost a hundred of their years.”
“So what does the meat have in mind.”
“First it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the universe, contact other sentients, swap ideas and information. The usual.”
“We’re supposed to talk to meat?”
“That’s the idea. That’s the message they’re sending out by radio. ‘Hello. Anyone out there? Anyone home?’ That sort of thing.”
“They actually do talk, then. They use words, ideas, concepts?”
“Oh, yes. Except they do it with meat.”
“I thought you just told me they used radio.”
“They do, but what do you think is on the radio? Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat.”
“Omigod. Singing meat. This is altogether too much. So what do you advise?”
“Officially or unofficially?”
“Both.”
“Officially, we are required to contact, welcome, and log in any and all sentient races or multibeings in the quadrant, without prejudice, fear, or favor. Unofficially, I advise that we erase the records and forget the whole thing.”
“I was hoping you would say that.”
“It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with meat?”
“I agree one hundred percent. What’s there to say?” `Hello, meat. How’s it going?’ But will this work? How many planets are we dealing with here?”
“Just one. They can travel to other planets in special meat containers, but they can’t live on them. And being meat, they only travel through C space. Which limits them to the speed of light and makes the possibility of their ever making contact pretty slim. Infinitesimal, in fact.”
“So we just pretend there’s no one home in the universe.”
“That’s it.”
“Cruel. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet meat? And the ones who have been aboard our vessels, the ones you have probed? You’re sure they won’t remember?”
“They’ll be considered crackpots if they do. We went into their heads and smoothed out their meat so that we’re just a dream to them.”
“A dream to meat! How strangely appropriate, that we should be meat’s dream.”
“And we can marked this sector unoccupied.”
“Good. Agreed, officially and unofficially. Case closed. Any others? Anyone interesting on that side of the galaxy?”
“Yes, a rather shy but sweet hydrogen core cluster intelligence in a class nine star in G445 zone. Was in contact two galactic rotation ago, wants to be friendly again.”
“They always come around.”
“And why not? Imagine how unbearably, how unutterably cold the universe would be if one were all alone.”

Be submissive to everything. Open, listening.
– Jack Kerouac

Chasing after words, pursuing phrases, when will you ever be done?
You run yourself ragged amassing knowledge, becoming widely informed.
Self-nature is empty and illuminating, so let things take care of themselves.
There’s nothing else I have to pass on.
– Zen Master Bankei

Govind Das & Radha:
Pretty simple life equation:
The more mindfulness I practice
the less stupid shit I do.

A dear friend was talking to me recently about their ‘attachment’ and I was thinking about the way Buddha talks about these things: you accept you like the thing and begin to truly see it as the thing it really is– which then makes it impossible for the thing to have any power. You ask the thing consuming you ‘what are you?’, and when it answers you see how you are basing your life on such a very temporary object or idea. This comes from the idea of Dependent Origination, Pratītyasamutpāda (Sanskrit: प्रतीत्यसमुत्पाद; Pali: पटिच्चसमुप्पाद paṭiccasamuppāda), which states that all dharmas (“things”) arise in dependence upon other dharmas: “if this exists, that exists; if this ceases to exist, that also ceases to exist.”
My friend and I were talking about things in our faith [not Buddhism] yet I feel like this is very useful, to everyone, and is very powerful when thinking about addictions, which we all have,whether we realize it or not.

The Buddha says we have addictions because we have ignorance, that we are addicted because we do not see them clearly, and if we saw them for what they actually are, we would not want them.

I like this idea very much. It’s not about judgement or controlling things, it’s about the choice we make to not see something for what it is. So the question is no longer why we are addicted or want certain things, but why we don’t want to see a thing for what it is. We believe we are getting something out of not seeing it as it is, and the thing we are getting we mistakenly believe has more benefit to us. Craving is clinging to something which is not intrinsically beneficial .. the liking of a thing is different than the thing. They are not the same. That’s a revolutionary idea for many.

Motivations, seeing, what we each see, why we want, our human condition: these things are interesting, to me, as a writer, observing people and writing them into characters, and even observing and writing myself.

I hope you don’t mind I share this.
– Amy Gigi Alexander

Hawk of the Pines:
Ecopsychology Public Service Announcement: Dear Friends, please beware (be-aware) of a highly concerning condition that is developing with some regularity for some Facebook and Instagram users. It affects both body and mind. In extreme cases, it can twist both the physical posture and the mental states. It’s called “Faciemexsorbeo” (“Facesuck”). So far, the only known treatment involves putting one’s electronic device away and going for three solid hours into the mountains, desert, forest, meadow, or park, with a full canister of Eden Foods Kukicha or Hojicha tea. You have been warned. #disconnect #nature #ecopsychology #sanity #mindfulness #natureheals #boundaries #socialmedia #zen

Do not suppress it – that would hurt you inside. Do not express it – this would not only hurt you inside, it would cause ripples in your surroundings. What you do is transform it.
– Simdha Getul Rinpoche

Dalai Lama:
Even more important
than the warmth and affection we receive,
is the warmth and affection we give.
It is by giving warmth and affection,
by having a genuine sense
of concern for others,
in other words through compassion,
that we gain the conditions
for genuine happiness.
More important than being loved,
therefore, is to love.

Deep within the heart there is a place that has no knowledge of duality or separation.
– Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Always have something to look forward to.
A trip, a meal, creating or completing a new project, the arrival of funds, a motorcycle ride, a nap. A survival tactic and coping mechanism rooted in purpose for me.
This practice has developed over a lifetime where Black trauma is as pervasive as the air we breathe. Never too long can one go without the awareness of the murder and attempted of unarmed Black people, often in or near a vehicle. Maybe found burned in a car or hanging from a tree and reported as a suicide. One is ever aware of the assaults on and assassinations of protesters against police violence and State corruption here and abroad. One can anticipate the logic of ignorance, ignoring the fact that those murdered and attacked were not a threat to the safety of those armed but a threat to the rule of the elite for whom the assassins work. One will anticipate the ignorance of the historic phrase, “The Sun Never Sets On The British Empire” and the fact that Nigeria was a colony in the British Empire as was this country and that the fact that we speak English as a first language is a product of a history of violence. One might ignore the fact that the colonial project of empire was and is a laboratory and an extractive factory that devises, produces and uses terror as a means to maintain control and operate. It doesn’t matter if it’s Waukegan, Illinois in the US or Lagos, Nigeria in Africa. If one is clear, one can see that the cumulative casualties of state violence against Black and Indigenous lives in this part of the empire are not separate in impact or quantity than those in that part of empire, neo colonial though it may be.

Again, keep something you can look forward to, keep being guided by purpose and make sure that your activities, your thoughts, your actions, your moments of rest and joy are seeded with the determination to be liberated. Every fucking step of the way. Every step.
– Michael Crenshaw

Humanity’s legacy of stories and storytelling is the most precious we have.
– Doris Lessing

Like she said, “Things need to be verified.” I don’t think this means boingo website or some meme.
– Sheryl Luna

WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO READ A COURSE IN MIRACLES?

Imagine an endless loop of Stuart Smalley quotes read by Laurence Olivier.

Imagine an all-day Sunday school lesson with a germaphobe nun who used to teach elocution.

Imagine an upscale prequel to The Secret.

Imagine Kraft caramel squares melted down and poured into your ears.

Imagine nodding off for hours to clichéd affirmations aimed at your inner dissociative.

Imagine Margaret Thatcher in the robe of Unitarian priest, reading Ayn Rand.

Imagine the most annoying theatre kids reading the clunkiest iambic pentameter you’ve ever heard.

Imagine He-Man defeating Skeletor constantly, on every page.

Imagine a rosary made from sleeping pills.

BALANCE
you may fall in love with
this or that –
you may want to
hold onto ten thousand
and one things –
but it is only your love
for the divine, only
your service for truth
that can bring balance and
sanity to your life –
Only your love for the
eternal can take
way your fear
and awaken laughter
in your heart
– Guthema Roba

I can tell you there are no chosen ones. Don’t go looking for them. The perfume of the higher intelligence is equally distributed and put in every heart.
– Guthema Roba

We cannot say that any one action is good for everybody. For example, what if you were to say that actualizing the wisdom of right view shunyata is the only way to reach perfect liberation? It is; this is true. But you should not communicate that kind of information to a person who isn’t ready for it. Instead of being beneficial it becomes totally negative, even though the information is completely correct. That’s why we say that what is right and what is wrong depends on the individual mind.

So you see, with narrow-mindedness, when you ask anyone, any samsaric sentient being if something is good, if it is something outside their experience, they will often say it is bad. That’s how you can understand the human mind. You see, the small mind is always complaining; it blames other people. Because it has little understanding, it is always judging. It will always judge another person who behaves differently from you as wrong. That causes great problems. This is a kind of discrimination. This is similar to how samsaric society thinks that everything should be uniform: everybody should sit the same, act the same, think the same. If you believe that way, then when someone acts differently, that person is criticized. He or she is seen as wrong. But there is no way that we can make samsaric life completely uniform in this way. We cannot; it is impossible. Why? Because every individual’s mind is different. Even you try for such uniformity, it is wrong. You are hopeless.
– Lama Yeshe

This is the urgency: live!
And have your blooming in the noise of the whirlwind!
– Gwendolyn Brooks

As you read a book word by word and page by page, you participate in its creation, just as a cellist playing a Bach suite participates, note by note, in the creation, the coming-to-be, the existence, of the music. And, as you read and re-read, the book of course participates in the creation of you, your thoughts and feelings, the size and temper of your soul.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

For a politician, obfuscation is a weapon—confusion, a sanctuary—indifference, security—rhetoric, an opiate—gullibility, an unlocked door—corruption, a seduction—applause, an orgasm—

For a politician, promises are cut flowers—loyalty, liquid currency—virtue, a contrived disguise—honesty, a mortal sin—blame, a dirty mirror—compassion, a stratagem—patriotism, a coward’s cloak—

For a politician, apathy, is POWER —

– Elijah Morton

I am irritated by my own writing.
I am like a violinist whose ear is true,
but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely
the sound he hears within..
– Gustave Flaubert

We do not walk alone. Great Being walks beside us. Know this and be grateful.
– Polingaysi Q“yawayma, HOPI

Listen for the ring
Of tomorrow’s bell
Be the first to sing
From beyond the wishing well
Know what’s behind
But change your mind
– Bruce Cockburn

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.
– Sun Tzu

What I want is a revelation. That something or someone opens, magically, and I can, at last, understand the meaning of my waiting.
– Alejandra Pizarnik

Let it be under a bridge
like water
this olive branch I extend

Let us laugh again
together
While this fence we mend.
– Blunted Buddha

It’s so hard to part with poems! I won’t even remove the ones I’m considering cutting, from the floor where the ms. is laid out—I put blank pieces of paper over them, like a reverse advent calendar.
– Dana Levin

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

What any true painting touches is an absence—an absence of which without the painting, we might be unaware. And that would be our loss.
– John Berger

Charmeuse:
I can’t remember the last time I didn’t love you

Brimming. That’s what it is, I want to get to a place where my sentences enact brimming.
– Li-Young Lee

You are not the work you do; you are the person you are.
– Toni Morrison

No person was ever honored for what they received. Honor has been the reward for what they gave
– Calvin Coolidge

Change begets change. Nothing propagates so fast
– Charles Dickens

May all beings everywhere, without discrimination or exclusion, live with ease–free from suffering and the roots of suffering.
– Vincent Horn

evening star—
fold upon fold
the quiet blue hills
– Mary Lee McClure

No man will ever make a great leader who wants to do it all by himself or to get all the credit for doing it
– Andrew Carnegie

Eusebeia Philos:
we are in the age
of small miracles
in faraway places
and trying to find
our way there

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic
– Arthur C. Clarke

I believe humanity is interconnected. This means, I have a responsibility to the world to agitate for justice; I also have a responsibility not to lose my love for the human soul and human dignity in the midst of that work.
– Pamela Lightsey

I’ve made enough
of your beauty
out of my own shame.
– tommy e blount

Forty years in the wilderness getting to know the beasts
Projected and reflected on the greatest and the least
Forty years of days and nights, angels hovering near
Kept me moving forward though the way was far from clear
– Bruce Cockburn

Only in the silence can the seeker come to know an unknown deity.
– Joy R. Bostic, African American Female Mysticism

Control your ego, for it is a ravenous beast that will devour you and every relationship you hold dear if you do not.
– Forge of Man

Think with your whole body.
– Taisen Deshimaru

Dear Georges:
I do nothing but look at the sea, but I really ought to do more…

Roland Barthes to Georges Perros, Sept 22, 1957

The universe looks after you when you look after you. Keep doing the inner work.
– Unknown

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.
– George Orwell

The loudest voice usually attracts the most attention.

Do not let this fool you, for in the long run, humility and silent determination outweigh the fake bravado and abrasive attitudes that are running rampant.
– Forge of Man

We’ve always had change, sometimes major, but there was, I believed, an underlying existential continuity. I don’t feel sure of that now.
– Sven Birkets

Consider the abyss of time past, the infinite future. Three days of life or three generations: what’s the difference?
– Marcus Aurelius

Education means emancipation. It means light and liberty. It means the uplifting of the soul of man into the glorious light of truth, the light by which men can only be made free.
– Frederick Douglass

New thoughts and hopes were whirling through my mind, and all the colours of my life were changing.
– Charles Dickens

As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.
– Nelson Mandela

It’s easy to complain, and harder to hope. You become wise the day you choose to do the hard things.
– Maxime Lagacé

Talk to me

Not your image of me
– Mind Tendancies

Not engaging in ignorance is wisdom.
– Bodhidharma

You are responsible for:

Your diet.
Your health.
Your thinking.
Your reactions.
Your education.
Your investments.
Your relationships.
– WISE CONNECTOR

Language is the first site of loss and our first defense against it.
– Paisley Rekdal

Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.
– Shunryu Suzuki

But how can one not be sad looking at the world around us at present?
– Marguerite Yourcenar

Forge of Man:
Seek mentors, not idols.

Micro and macro optimism: People can be fit, happy, and successful. The world is fine and getting better.
– Naval Ravikant

If an egg is broken by an outside force, life ends. If broken by an inside force, life begins. Great things always begin from the inside.
– Jim Kwik

Ineffable
a place and where
words cannot go

I do my best to describe it
but in the end it can only be known.
– Blunted Buddha

Once or twice in his life, a man
is peeled like apples.

What’s left is a voice
that splits his being


down to the center.
We see: obscenity, fright, mud

but there is joy of shape, there is
always
more than one silence.

– Ilya Kaminsky

That’s the way things come clear -all of a sudden. Then you realize how obvious they’ve been all along.
– M. L’Engle

Now and then one enjoys a little moonwalk, some little departure from tradition.
– James Merrill

Is your anxiety bad brain chemistry or is it the reasonable feeling of existential overwhelm at all the ways empire materializes in and intrudes upon your life? (yes)
– Zoé Tsamudzi

We give physical exercise to the body, but neglect the heart. The exercise for the heart is uplifting the destitute and the suffering.
– Mata Amritanandamayi

Charmeuse:
I’ve forgiven enough to earn me a small piece of heaven somewhere beautiful away from everyone

I was going home in October. Everybody goes home in October
– Jack Kerouac

October afternoon—the late honey light ebbing from the garden wall as dusk just as slowly gathers from the ground up.
– Sven Birkets

you held me in your own understanding exhaustion.
– Jean Valentine, fSelf-Portrait, Rembrandt

Except for a few guitar chords, everything I’ve learned in my life that is of any value I’ve learned from women.
– Glenn Frey

The wiser you get the less you get distracted by trivial things.
– Maxime Lagacé

Matt Haig:
One day we will go out to a buzzing cafe and then sit in a packed cinema or crowded theatre and what would have once felt totally mundane afternoon will now be the most wonderful experience.

The simplest and most basic meaning of the symbol of Goddess is the acknowledgment of the legitimacy of female power as a beneficient and independent power.
– Carol P. Christ, Why Women Need The Goddess

Americans… are forever searching for love in forms it never takes, in places it can never be. It must have something to do with the vanished frontier.
– Kurt Vonnegut

Tell a wise person, or else keep silent, because the mass man will mock it right away.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The dharma never encourages us to be weak or passive. A bodhisattva is not a doormat. But what we hope to achieve through anger can always be better accomplished through nonviolence and communication. This requires genuine strength, not weakness.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, From Peaceful Heart

Settler: “we should have a powwow to discuss this”

Me: “why do we gotta have a powwow, why can’t we have a folkmoot?”

Settler: “what’s a folkmoot? “

Me: “aren’t you of German descendent ? “

Settler: “yeah”

Me: “so sad, you poor lost soul, an ambiguity in the sands of time”
– Mylan Murdo

Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.
– Jodi Picoult

Stephen Mitchell & Byron Katie:
Enlightened?
I don’t know about that,
~ just the difference between what hurts
and what doesn’t.

I believe in the poetry of primal melody and the revelation of the mysteries of cosmic being.
– Philip Lamantia

After this, however,
my humanity approached me and said:

What solitude, what coldness of desolation you lay upon me when you speak such?
Reflect on the destruction of being
and the streams of blood
from the terrible sacrifice
that the depths demand.

But the spirit of the depths said:

No one can or should halt sacrifice.
Sacrifice is not destruction.
Sacrifice is the foundation stone
of what is to come.
Have you not had monasteries?
Have not countless thousands
gone into the desert?
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 would break all chains. Truly, I prepare you for solitude.

After this, my humanity remained silent. Something happened to my spirit, however, which I must call mercy.
My speech is imperfect.
Not because I want to shine with words,
but out of the impossibility
of finding those words, I speak in images.
With nothing else can I express
the words from the depths.
The mercy which happened to me
gave me belief, hope, and sufficient daring,
not to resist further the spirit of the depths,
but to utter his word. But before I could pull myself together to really do it,
I needed a visible sign that would show me
that the spirit of the depths in me
was at the same time the ruler
of the depths of world affairs.

– Carl Jung, The Red Book

Apocalypse does not point to a fiery Armageddon but to the fact that our ignorance and our complacency are coming to an end. Our divided, schizophrenic worldview, with no mythology adequate to coordinate our conscious and unconscious — that is what is coming to an end. The exclusivism of there being only one way in which we can be saved, the idea that there is a single religious group that is in sole possession of the truth — that is the world as we know it that must pass away. What is the kingdom? It lies in our realization of the ubiquity of the divine presence in our neighbors, in our enemies, in all of us.
– Joseph Campbell, Thou Art That.

I am always pleased when somebody sings a song of mine, in fact I never get over that initial rush of happiness when someone says they are going to sing a song of mine, I always like it.
– Leonard Cohen

Q.
One of the four Royal Stars is watching over me. Yeah, I’m blessed in these times of nervous weather. The leaves chill in a bundle then scatter like police, off to the next doorstep. They don’t step, they don’t faze me. These jeans could hold three men. But it’s just one of me, girl. Only Son. Only Sound. Only Seer. All this green to gold to red to orange is just theater. I’m the Real. Keep your eyes on the Navigator of Snow and Infinite Gray. I rock these boots all year. What a storm got to do with me? Who knows the number of strolls to heaven? Not that I’m thinking on it. The Heavens know my real name. But you can call me Q. Quicker than Q. But, anyway. Certain things a man keeps to himself. Jesus wept. So I don’t. The past is for people who like to play things over and over. Me, I’m on to the next song. Listen to my own Head Symphony, to the Royal Stars. The colors, they thrill me, they fuel these legs.
– Yona Harvey, You Don’t Have to Go to Mars for Love

True belonging is hospitable to difference for it knows that genuine identity can only emerge from the real conversation between self and otherness. There can be no true self without the embrace of the other.
– John O’Donohue

Every age, every society has its set of myths forming an ocean in which we swim. Enveloped in this ocean, we are almost completely unaware of it and how it distorts our view of “reality.” Growing up, I swam in the three-century-old myths based on the scientific theories of the Newtonian age: the Universe is completely explainable by mathematical formulas that describe an objective reality, totally independent of life…

… post-Newtonian physics has taught us that our “scientific” observations are not, in fact cannot be, independent of the observer. Even the nature of Time itself, even the existence of matter, is affected by the observer.

A myth that fulfills its proper role is a paradox: It is more true than reality, and thereby helps us to live in reality. And yet, at the same time, it is not true at all; certainly it is not itself reality, nor is it subject to proof or disproof in the manner of a scientific theory. In the opening words of a Native American creation story, “Now, I don’t know if it happened this way or not, but I know this story is true.”

[…]

In this dynamic dance of creation, everything in the Universe must inevitably change as the elements in it change, as they dance back and forth between potentiality and actualization. There is nothing, even God, which is fixed, nothing unchanging- except perhaps the continuation of the Dance itself.
We begin then to perceive the outlines of a myth in which God is co-creator of the Universe together with the Universe itself and everything in it, and the Universe exists and is sustained by the mutual consciousness and attention of God and Universe toward each other. This is such a radically different concept of a Creator that even use of the word “God” to describe it carries great danger of misunderstanding.

In such a Universe, what does it mean to turn my attention to “God,” this Creative Essence? Here I can speak only from my own experience. For each of us, it is our deepest perceptions of the world around us that ultimately provide the only evidence on which we can rely. All our intellectual reasoning and logic must start from our sensed experience, no matter how hard we pretend otherwise.
– Tom Rothschild, A Finger Pointing At The Moon

Emotions come from frustration. The meaning of emotion is frustration in the sense that we are or might be unable to fulfill what we want. We discover our possible failure as something pathetic, so we develop our tentacles or sharpen our claws to the extreme. The emotion is a way of competing with the projection. That is the mechanism of emotion. The whole point is that the projections have been our manifestations all along.
– Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Real change doesn’t happen by screaming from rooftops
…but by opening doors.
– Shinzen

Unpopular opinion: the problem in our country is not “division.”

Akin to misdiagnosing the problem of a bully and friends terrorizing other students in a classroom as simply “division” instead of bullying, saying that the problem in the United States is “division” instead of bullying—in the form of systemic oppression, discrimination, inequality, abuse of power, and abject state violence perpetrated by the powerful over the powerless for their own self-interest and advancement based on an immoral, shameful, insecure, fear-based and capitalistic mindset—is also a misdiagnosis that makes a false equivalence between two vastly unequal sides in terms of power and responsibility.

As a chaplain, this analysis of power is important to me because it shines a light on two different kinds of spiritual courage. The first is only appropriate for situations of division and the second is only appropriate for situations of bullying—yet when we conflate these situations we end up misapplying our spiritual energies.

The first type of spiritual courage is the ability to hold multiple ideas and viewpoints at the same time, to handle the discomfort of complexity, and to lean into tension. This is aptly applied in situations of division where there is disagreement within a context of equal power and responsibility, e.g. different approaches to fundraising by co-workers, different opinions on the best way to achieve a goal amongst friends, disagreement on personal values between partners.

The second type of spiritual courage is basically the opposite: it is refusing to remain neutral, making a mutually exclusive value judgment, and choosing a side. This is aptly applied in situations of bullying where unequal power and responsibility are resulting in harm, e.g. an abusive boss, a teacher crossing professional boundaries, police brutality.

Now, I’m more forcefully than gently positing that the problem in our current social and political context is that people are attempting to apply the first kind of spiritual courage, meant for situations of divisions, to the national situation of bullying. They are attempting to take the moral high ground by saying things like “I have friends whom I respect on both sides of the political spectrum,” and “don’t let people demonize you, your voice and opinion are just as important,” and “I can’t stand people who can’t make space for multiple political viewpoints.”

But after everything Trump has caused, destroyed, and corrupted the past four years, the only moral choice is fierce and loud condemnation of him, his administration, the hate and discrimination he has enabled and emboldened, and the mass deaths and violence he is directly responsible for.

Don’t tow the line. Choose a side.

– Abby Batya

She who reconciles the ill-matched threads
of her life, and weaves then gratefully
into a single cloth –
it’s she who drives the loudmouths from the hall
and clears it for a different celebration

where the one guest is you.
In the softness of evening
it’s you she receives.

You are the partner of her loneliness,
the unspeaking centre of her monologues.
With each disclosure you encompass more
and she stretches beyond what limits her,
to hold you.

– Rilke 1, 17

Invisible in the dominant media are any indicators that we might be evolving toward dignity for all creatures; toward celebrating diversity (in human people and in other-than-human people); or toward regeneration and healing for the planetary body that is our home. Intimations that we’re unfolding toward a human presence that honors Earth’s life support systems, or toward the generative possibilities of the human imagination, or toward following the waters of soul are hard to find. We have to look off the beaten trail for a different story, for hints of the many individuals and organizations who engage their potent work at the wilder edges of the dominant culture, who devote themselves to deepening the relationship between human beings and the wild Earth, or to living in partnership with mystery, or committed to the exploration and evolution of human consciousness.
– Geneen Marie Haugen

A creator is someone who creates
their own impossibilities,
and thereby creates possibilities.
– Gilles Deleuze

If we could return to the days when we could forget that the White House even existed, for days at a time, that in itself would be worth waiting in line for hours to vote.
– Bill McKibben

The mountain is purple in the dawn
as passionately near, and as far as can be,
as is the sea.
Yet these two
cannot wear each other’s guise
since they are as loyal as loving thieves.

The living and dead together reflect
the twilight.
They are also both known
for elegant impersonations.

The woods are the perfect cover
for a life to hide in its own integuments,
while the naked sky is wild
with the masks of light it sheds.

And what of the colors of love we have known?
The blue-black forests of alive,
the dusky purple peaks death,
and the shivering silvers in which the living
are only listening to the gone.

Hidden well enough,
they grow.
– George Gorman

Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.
– Reinhold Niebuhr

A lot of American writing is crap. And a lot of American writers are professionals. Writing is not a profession. It’s a calling. It’s almost holy.
– Jamaica Kincaid

Looking back, I think my real motives in joining the resistance were what I would call human rather than political.
– Elias Khoury

The note of hope is the only note that can keep us from falling to the bottom of the heap of evolution. Because, largely, about all a human being is, anyway, is just a hoping machine.
– Woody Guthrie

The force behind the ego’s wanting creates “enemies,” that is to say, reaction in the form of an opposing force equal in intensity. The stronger the ego, the stronger the sense of separateness between people. The only actions that do not cause opposing reactions are those that are aimed at the good of all. They are inclusive, not exclusive. They join; they don’t separate. They are not for “my” country but for all of humanity, not for “my” religion but the emergence of consciousness in all human beings, not for “my” species but for all sentient beings and all of nature.
We are also learning that action, although necessary, is only a secondary factor in manifesting our external reality. The primary factor in creation is consciousness. No matter how active we are, how much effort we make, our state of consciousness creates our world, and if there is no change on that inner level, no amount of action will make any difference.
– Eckhart Tolle

A Far Country
by Leslie Pinckney Hill

Beyond the cities I have seen,
Beyond the wrack and din,
There is a wide and fair demesne
Where I have never been.

Away from desert wastes of greed,
Over the peaks of pride,
Across the seas of mortal need
Its citizens abide.

And through the distance though I see
How stern must be the fare,
My feet are ever fain to be
Upon the journey there.

In that far land the only school
The dwellers all attend
Is built upon the Golden Rule,
And man to man is friend.

No war is there nor war’s distress,
But truth and love increase—
It is a realm of pleasantness,
And all her paths are peace.

In Jungian theory, the transcendent function requires a build-up of tension between the opposites, especially for unconscious material to rise to conscious awareness and be worked with and understood. The soma can be an essential pathway for unconscious material to present itself. In the world of trauma recovery, we often assume that this activation or tension all circles back to our trauma histories. And, we are far more than our trauma histories and what happened to us, aren’t we? This build-up of psychic tension and somatic energy is where adaptation and a new psychological state can eventually present itself. If we are always withdrawing energy in an attempt to stay in a low affect, low activation, and parasympathetic state because we assume all tension and discomfort is a trauma trigger or ‘dysregulation’, we are in effect possibly ‘depressing’ our life force, libido, suppressing instinct and intuition. When this unconscious material is habitually shut down, we might develop even more somatic symptoms as the conflict between the conscious and unconscious psyche increases. So in short, if we are habitually and reflexively down regulating without being curious, we might actually be withdrawing the life force and libido necessary for the transcendent function.
The tendencies of the conscious and the unconscious are the two factors that together make up the transcendent function. It is called “transcendent” because it makes the transition from one attitude to another organically possible.
– Carl Jung, The Transcendent Function

…Then there is only the sky tying the universe together … Where we live in the world is never one place …You and I on a roof at sunset, our two languages adrift, heart saying, ‘Take this home with you … and only memory making us rich.’
– Naomi Shihab Nye

I’ve put aside holy books
full of words casually confused
with wisdom.
The Way is in endless practice —
no shortcuts exist
…none.
– Shinzen

Tell a wise person, or else keep silent, because the mass man will mock it right away.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

There are so many things about
our society that we accept and tolerate,
things we’ve been handed that we’ve
never considered criticizing. It might
never have occurred to us to go further
back than ourselves, than our immediate
ancestors, and even further back, to the
beginning, into the depths of history to
find out why society . . . imposes on us
certain rhythms, codes, modes that we
accept . . . that we should have the
fundamental obligation to analyze and,
in some cases, to criticize, and, if really
necessary, to destroy.
– Julio Cortázar

Less than a week before he dies from selfimposed hunger, Gogol burns the manuscript of the second volume of Dead Souls, sits down &cries: “What an unkind thing I have done”

He dies at 43.

I wonder: if plot of this second book was set in USA today, what would it be like?

– Ilya Kaminksy

If love is under siege, it is because it threatens the very essence of commercial civilisation. Everything is designed to make us forget that love is our most vivid manifestation and the most common power of life that is in us. Shouldn’t we wonder how the lights that glimmer in the eye can blow a fuse for a time, even as barriers of oppression break and jam our passions?… Although the heart’s music fails to overwhelm the cacophony of profit efficiency, bit by bit it composes our destinies, according to tones, chords, and dissonances which render us happy if only we learn to harmonise the scattered notes that string emotions together.
– Raoul Vaneigem

You will always be fond of me.
I represent to you all the sins
you never had the courage to commit.
– Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
– Jesus

It is certainly a finer and more wonderful thing to change the mind of enemies to another way of thinking than to kill them…. The mystery [of the Eucharist] requires that we should be innocent not only of violence but of all enmity, however slight, for it is the mystery of peace.
– St. John Chrysostom

When an oil lamp burns and fills the room with light, darkness will eventually come if no more oil is added. Likewise, enjoying the ripening of positive karma will come to an end if no more is accumulated.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

Since positive karma is based on altruism and negative karma is based on self-centered mind, we have a simple formula for how to go from year to year and from life to life with increasing joy, peace, and confidence.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, From Peaceful Heart

God is in the food, in the way you cultivate it. The highest dharma is growing and giving good food. It’s part of spirituality. Food is the sacred currency of life.
– Vandana Shiva

PLACE TO BE
Days the weather sits
in the endless sky,
the clouds drifting by

The winter’s snow,
summer’s heat,
same street.

Nothing changes
but the faces, the people,
all the things they do

‘spite of heaven and hell
or city hall –
Nothing’s wiser than a moment.

No one’s chance
is simply changed by wishing,
right or wrong.

What you do is how you get along.
What you did is all it ever means.
– Robert Creeley

To believe you are magnificent. And gradually to discover that you are not magnificent. Enough labor for one human life.
– Czeslaw Milosz

My God, It’s Full of Stars
BY TRACY K. SMITH
1.


We like to think of it as parallel to what we know,
Only bigger. One man against the authorities.
Or one man against a city of zombies. One man


Who is not, in fact, a man, sent to understand
The caravan of men now chasing him like red ants
Let loose down the pants of America. Man on the run.


Man with a ship to catch, a payload to drop,
This message going out to all of space. . . . Though
Maybe it’s more like life below the sea: silent,


Buoyant, bizarrely benign. Relics
Of an outmoded design. Some like to imagine
A cosmic mother watching through a spray of stars,


Mouthing yes, yes as we toddle toward the light,
Biting her lip if we teeter at some ledge. Longing
To sweep us to her breast, she hopes for the best


While the father storms through adjacent rooms
Ranting with the force of Kingdom Come,
Not caring anymore what might snap us in its jaw.


Sometimes, what I see is a library in a rural community.
All the tall shelves in the big open room. And the pencils
In a cup at Circulation, gnawed on by the entire population.


The books have lived here all along, belonging
For weeks at a time to one or another in the brief sequence
Of family names, speaking (at night mostly) to a face,


A pair of eyes. The most remarkable lies.


2.


Charlton Heston is waiting to be let in. He asked once politely.
A second time with force from the diaphragm. The third time,
He did it like Moses: arms raised high, face an apocryphal white.


Shirt crisp, suit trim, he stoops a little coming in,
Then grows tall. He scans the room. He stands until I gesture,
Then he sits. Birds commence their evening chatter. Someone fires


Charcoals out below. He’ll take a whiskey if I have it. Water if I don’t.
I ask him to start from the beginning, but he goes only halfway back.
That was the future once, he says. Before the world went upside down.


Hero, survivor, God’s right hand man, I know he sees the blank
Surface of the moon where I see a language built from brick and bone.
He sits straight in his seat, takes a long, slow high-thespian breath,


Then lets it go. For all I know, I was the last true man on this earth. And:
May I smoke? The voices outside soften. Planes jet past heading off or back.
Someone cries that she does not want to go to bed. Footsteps overhead.


A fountain in the neighbor’s yard babbles to itself, and the night air
Lifts the sound indoors. It was another time, he says, picking up again.
We were pioneers. Will you fight to stay alive here, riding the earth


Toward God-knows-where? I think of Atlantis buried under ice, gone
One day from sight, the shore from which it rose now glacial and stark.
Our eyes adjust to the dark.
3.


Perhaps the great error is believing we’re alone,


That the others have come and gone—a momentary blip—


When all along, space might be choc-full of traffic,


Bursting at the seams with energy we neither feel


Nor see, flush against us, living, dying, deciding,


Setting solid feet down on planets everywhere,


Bowing to the great stars that command, pitching stones


At whatever are their moons. They live wondering


If they are the only ones, knowing only the wish to know,


And the great black distance they—we—flicker in.


Maybe the dead know, their eyes widening at last,


Seeing the high beams of a million galaxies flick on


At twilight. Hearing the engines flare, the horns


Not letting up, the frenzy of being. I want to be


One notch below bedlam, like a radio without a dial.


Wide open, so everything floods in at once.


And sealed tight, so nothing escapes. Not even time,


Which should curl in on itself and loop around like smoke.


So that I might be sitting now beside my father


As he raises a lit match to the bowl of his pipe


For the first time in the winter of 1959.
4.


In those last scenes of Kubrick’s 2001
When Dave is whisked into the center of space,
Which unfurls in an aurora of orgasmic light
Before opening wide, like a jungle orchid
For a love-struck bee, then goes liquid,
Paint-in-water, and then gauze wafting out and off,
Before, finally, the night tide, luminescent
And vague, swirls in, and on and on. . . .


In those last scenes, as he floats
Above Jupiter’s vast canyons and seas,
Over the lava strewn plains and mountains
Packed in ice, that whole time, he doesn’t blink.
In his little ship, blind to what he rides, whisked
Across the wide-screen of unparcelled time,
Who knows what blazes through his mind?
Is it still his life he moves through, or does
That end at the end of what he can name?


On set, it’s shot after shot till Kubrick is happy,
Then the costumes go back on their racks
And the great gleaming set goes black.
5.


When my father worked on the Hubble Telescope, he said
They operated like surgeons: scrubbed and sheathed
In papery green, the room a clean cold, a bright white.

He’d read Larry Niven at home, and drink scotch on the rocks,
His eyes exhausted and pink. These were the Reagan years,
When we lived with our finger on The Button and struggled


To view our enemies as children. My father spent whole seasons
Bowing before the oracle-eye, hungry for what it would find.
His face lit-up whenever anyone asked, and his arms would rise


As if he were weightless, perfectly at ease in the never-ending
Night of space. On the ground, we tied postcards to balloons
For peace. Prince Charles married Lady Di. Rock Hudson died.


We learned new words for things. The decade changed.


The first few pictures came back blurred, and I felt ashamed
For all the cheerful engineers, my father and his tribe. The second time,
The optics jibed. We saw to the edge of all there is—


So brutal and alive it seemed to comprehend us back.

City Lights 1961
by Diane di Prima

Going there for the first time
it was so much smaller then
that crowded downstairs full of poetry
racks of tattered little mags against the wall
those rickety white tables where folks sat reading/writing
Vesuvio’s was like an adjunct office

Arriving again a year later, two kids in tow
Lawrence gave me a huge stack of his publications
“I’ve got books” he said “like other people have mice”

And North Beach never stopped being mysterious
when I moved out here in 1968
that publishing office on Filbert & Grant was a mecca
a place to meet up with my kids if we got separated
during one of those innumerable demonstrations
(tho Lawrence worried, told me I shd keep them
out of harm’s way, at home) I thought they shd learn
whatever it was we were learning—
Office right around the corner from the bead store
where I found myself daily, picking up supplies

How many late nights did we haunt the Store
buying scads of new poems from all corners of the earth
then head to the all-night Tower Records full of drag queens
& revolutionaries, to get a few songs

And dig it, City Lights still here, like some old lighthouse
though all the rest is gone,
the poetry’s moved upstairs, the publishing office
right there now too & crowds of people
one third my age or less still haunt the stacks
seeking out voices from all quarters
of the globe

You know that I am the moon of the skies
But, to my disgrace, you have preferred a dark planet.
– Wallada bint al-Mustakfi

Art hurts. Art urges voyages – and it is easier to stay at home.
– Gwendolyn Brooks

UNGODLY
You want to flee, but flee where? The urban concrete elsewhere
does not seethe, does not breathe the scent of carob trees.
Flee, you hear it everywhere, the taxi driver, the farmer at the laiki
tell you, Go! and are puzzled that you are still here,
you who could actually leave with your American passport.
Pack your clothes, leave behind the ruined lives, translate home into
longing, elsewhere you might lift your chin, live unburdened.

The government, the Americans . . . no one cares, the taxi driver complains,
and the farmer at the laiki selling you the sweetest pears, advises
to keep them fresh, Eat them cold, nearly frozen.
He shakes his head, murmurs Ellada . . . . this ancient land of rock cliffs,
seas that bleed their myths, Greece with its tales of flight
and light, returns and rebirths, keeps teaching the stubborn human lesson
still: the gods won’t save you, neither will you stop wishing it of them.
After all, you are human and they are not.
– Adrianne Kalfopoulou

The Delight Song of Tsoai-talee

I am a feather on the bright sky
I am the blue horse that runs in the plain
I am the fish that rolls, shining, in the water
I am the shadow that follows a child
I am the evening light, the lustre of meadows
I am an eagle playing with the wind
I am a cluster of bright beads
I am the farthest star
I am the cold of dawn
I am the roaring of the rain
I am the glitter on the crust of the snow
I am the long track of the moon in a lake
I am a flame of four colors
I am a deer standing away in the dusk
I am a field of sumac and the pomme blanche
I am an angle of geese in the winter sky
I am the hunger of a young wolf
I am the whole dream of these things

You see, I am alive, I am alive
I stand in good relation to the earth
I stand in good relation to the gods
I stand in good relation to all that is beautiful
I stand in good relation to the daughter of Tsen-tainte
You see, I am alive, I am alive

– N. Scott Momday

My dear,
Why do you choose
to find mistakes
everywhere
you look?
You want to edit and
fix everything
you come in contact with.
the ego has
alway a comment
on how things go,
Have you been in
the presence of
bees lately?
have you noticed
how they make
honey our of pure
nothingness?
how they weave
magic out
of a mundane
experience.
– Guthema Roba

Month by month things are losing their hardness;
even my body now lets the light through;
my spine is soft like wax
near the flame of the candle.
I dream; I dream.
– Virginia Woolf, The Waves

Self-consciousness is the enemy
of all art, be it acting, writing, painting,
or living itself, which is the greatest
art of all.
– Ray Bradbury

Karen Maezen Miller:

Beware of teachers
who say they are self – taught.
They have mythologized themselves.
Just continue to meditate on the thought:
who is my teacher?
— and let yourself be guided.
When I met Maezumi Roshi
I lived three states away.
I attended a retreat not to meet a teacher
(Lord, no!) but just to get instruction
in how to sit. So imagine my surprise
and deep recognition
when I saw him standing in front of me.
Right in front of you
is the only place you’ll ever find your teacher.

There were formerly horizons within which people lived and thought and mythologized. There are now no more horizons. And with the dissolution of horizons we have experienced and are experiencing collisions, terrific collisions, not only of peoples but also of their mythologies.
It is as when dividing panels are withdrawn from between chambers of very hot and very cold airs: there is a rush of these forces together.
And so we are right now in an extremely perilous age of thunder, lightning, and hurricanes all around … It is an inevitable, altogether natural thing that when energies that have never met before come into collision—each bearing its own pride—there should be turbulence.
That is just what we are experiencing; and we are riding it: riding it to a new age, a new birth, a totally new condition of mankind—to which no one anywhere alive today can say that he has the key, the answer, the prophecy, to its dawn. Nor is there anyone to condemn here (”Judge not, that you may not be judged!”). What is occurring is completely natural, as are its pains, confusions, and mistakes.
– Joseph Campbell

This planet should be sent
to a lunatic asylum
But it’s not poetry’s fault
For being so concerned
With love beauty sex and ideas.
– Bernadette Mayer

All the time the good is god and
the god is the good the time god
ain’t good is the time god ain’t
god ain’t on time all the time
god ain’t good all the time.
– Porsha Olayiwola

I desire the things that will destroy me in the end.
– Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals

It is easier to produce ten volumes
of philosophical writings than to
put one principle into practice.
– Leo Tolstoy

Most reckless things are beautiful
in some way, and recklessness
is what makes experimental art beautiful,
just as religions are beautiful
because of the strong possibility
that they are founded on nothing.
– John Ashbery

Rationalism is the suburbia of the universe.
– Cecil Collins

You misinterpret everything,
even the silence.
– Franz Kafka, The Castle

How odd I can have all this
inside me
and to you it’s just words.
– David Foster Wallace

Listen, can you hear it?
His bamboo flute speaks
the pure language of love.
– Tagore

When you think of
the Buddha, don’t
think of someone
outside of you.
It is not a person.
Buddha means
the awakened one.
it is your authentic
nature, your nature
before conditioning.
– Guthema Roba

I feel so intensely
the delights of shutting oneself up
in a little world of one’s own,
with pictures and music
and everything beautiful.
– Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out

Like a fresh tree, bloom
and spread all the blessings
right from inside.
– Rumi

It seems like the height of human chutzpah to give God a name. The word God might be better understood as a placeholder for everything we can’t name: the unknown in all its kingdoms and manifestations. Yet we never stop naming God. There are said to be seventy-two names of God in the Jewish tradition, and even that figure is limiting. The Torah itself has been described as one long name of God. And perhaps each utterance, spoken truthfully, is itself a name of God, reflecting the ancient longing to pray without cessation, to never stop calling God’s Name.

The one who prays is like the poet who chooses language knowing that language is not ultimately representative. And yet, the poet figures, at least it brings us to the table…
– Joshua Boettiger, Naming the Unnameable

In America we have only the present tense. I am in danger. You are in danger.
– Adrienne Rich

You must not cling to the words
of the old sages either; they, too,
may not be right. Even if you believe them,
you should be alert so that,
in the event that something superior
comes along, you may follow that.
– Dogen

I couldn’t seem to find a way / that didn’t lead straight to the heart of the trouble / and involve me forever in their grief.
– Denis Johnson

It was raining
And I was treading water with bare feet.
It was raining
And in me was the night, black as ebony.
It was raining
And I was white as water
It was raining
And with the rainwater I felt baptized

– Anna Rebeca Almer

I think the poet is the last person who is still speaking the truth when no one else dares to. I think the poet is the first person to begin the shaping and visioning of the new forms and the new consciousness when no one else has begun to sense it; I think these are two of the most essential human functions.
– Diane di Prima

I assess whether my poems have what is necessary, what is proper. I follow my need for rhythm and order, and my struggle against chaos and nothingness to translate as many aspects of reality as possible into a form.
– Czeslaw Milosz

Visit to Katagiri

A pleasure.
We talk of here & there
gossip about the folks in San Francisco laugh a lot. I try
to tell him (to tell someone)
what my life is like:
the hungry people, the trying
to sit zazen in motels;
the need in America like a sponge
sucking up
whatever prana & courage
“Pray to the Bodhisattvas” sez
Katagiri Roshi.

I tell him
that sometimes, traveling, I am
too restless to sit still, wiggle &
itch. “Sit
only ten minutes, five minutes
at a time” he sez-first time
it has occurred to me that this
wd be OK.

As I talk, it becomes OK
there becomes some continuity
in my life; I even understand
(or remember) why I’m on the road.

As we talk a continuity, a
transfer of energy takes place.
It is darshan, a blessing,
transmission of some basic joy
some way of seeing.
LIKE A TANGIBLE GIFT IN THE HAND
In the heart.
It stays with me.
– Diane di Prima

These fights are hard, and they can feel hopeless. But remember that hope isn’t given to us—it’s created by us.

So we can’t give in, we can’t back down. That’s what they want.

Tonight I urge you to dig a little deeper, to stay in the fight. Because our democracy depends on it.
– Elizabeth Warren

What tyranny could exceed a tyranny that dictates to the human heart?
– June Jordan

How long will you keep pounding
on an open door
begging for someone to open it?
– Rabia of Basra

My mom was fearless. She taught us to question authority and believe in the power of our creativity. She was truly a pioneer.
– Dominique DiPrima

When everyone is trying to be something,
be nothing. Range with emptiness.
Human should be like a pot.
As the pot is hold by its emptiness inside,
human is hold by the awareness
of his nothingness.
– Shams Tabrizi

When it is not locked the mouth may gape open and let out unspeakable things.

I wonder if there might not be another idea of human order than repression, another notion of human virtue than self-control, another kind of human self…
– Anne Carson, The Gender of Sound

It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.
– Vincent Van Gogh

I began to understand that suffering
and disappointments and melancholy
are there not to vex us or cheapen us
or deprive us of our dignity
but to mature and transfigure us.
– Hermann Hesse, Peter Camenzind

I have met a great many people,
nearly all friendly,
many of whom I was fairly intimate with
in one way of another,
but nobody has seemed as close to me
in spirit
as you are.
That was why I thought only of you
at those times when my life seemed in danger
of falling to pieces.
– Tennessee Williams

All your Western theologies,
the whole mythology of them,
are based on the concept of God
as a senile delinquent.
– Tennessee Williams

DI PRIMA / MCCLURE
as she aged
she lost the
lost child look
became
a proper, brilliant matron
brooklyn forever in her speech
*
chubby, awkward child at bat
“swing NOW, Michael.
haw haw you missed”
movie star handsome
hip, brilliant poet
ever the outsider
– Jack Foley

The poet is an embodiment of resistance: resistance against universal apathy, mediocrity, conformity, against institutional pressures to make everything look and become alike. This is why he is so involved with contraries.
– Stanley Kunitz

UNION OF DIFFERENT KINDS
For all the small people, and the tall people
For the dispossesed and the observers
For all the brokenhearted, and the recently departed
And the unwashed and the unheard.
•Mother Nature don’t draw straight lines
Broken molds in a grand design
We look a mess but we’re doing fine
We’re card carrying lifelong members
Of the union of different kinds.
-For all the lonely faces in those empty spaces
For the unloved and the denied
For the little wheel, turning bigger deal
For all dreams that bloom and those that die.
•Mother Nature don’t draw straight lines
Broken molds in a grand design
We look a mess but we’re doing fine
We’re card carrying lifelong members
Of the union of different kinds.
-It’s why the oak tree bends in the wind that blows my friend
And the river finds its end in the sea ‘yes it does.
•Mother Nature don’t draw staight lines
Broken molds in a grand design
We look a mess but we’re doing fine
We’re card carrying lifelong members
Of the union of different kinds
– Fisherman Friends

A poem is this: / A nuance of sound / delicately operating / upon a cataract of sense /…the particulars / of a song waking / upon a bed of sound.
– William Carlos Williams

So many people get judged when they refuse to put
their pain away. They get judged for showing it, for
speaking it, for insisting on sharing their memories of
abuse with those they know. I am not talking about
those overwhelming strangers with their stuff—I am
talking about legitimate sharings with those they are
connected with in daily life. All too often, they are fed
one repressive message or another: “Don’t look back,”
“What’s done is done,” “Don’t be a victim,” “Your
feelings are an illusion,” “Be strong.” What is ironic
about this is that those who insist on embodying and
expressing their feelings are actually the courageous
ones—unwilling and unable to live a false life. Their
stuff is breaking through their defenses because they
are tired of carrying the weight of buried truths.
They want a healthier and more authentic life. Those
who seek to shame their revealings are actually less
courageous, turning to repressive mantras in an effort
to bypass their own unresolved feelings and memories.
If they can shut others down, they can remain shut
down themselves. But shut down doesn’t take us
anywhere good. If we don’t deal with our stuff, it deals
with us. May we all speak our truths, before our buried
truths destroy us. Out with the old, in with the true…
– Jeff Brown

Our lives happen between
the memorable. I have lost two thousand habitual
breakfasts with Michiko. What I miss most about
her is that commonplace I can no longer remember.
– Jack Gilbert, Highlights and Interstices

Influence is a multifarious thing.
You might be resisting a certain poetry
intellectually and emotionally
while absorbing it at some more intuitive level, taking what you can use.
I’m fairly omnivorous.
Poetries of many kinds and periods
have taught me things I needed—
so have films, histories, political philosophies,
song lyrics, visual art, pamphlets, etc.
– Adrienne Rich

The body is a vehicle. How do you perceive this physical form as part of the artistry that expresses the sacredness of life?
– Orland Bishop

…we are not merely human beings learning to evolve spiritually, we are spiritual beings waking up in human form, learning to become fully human.
– Daaji, Be Inspired, Heartfulness Magazine

No matter how large the ocean is, wherever you taste it, it will taste of salt. Likewise, no matter how many dharma teachings there are, whichever one you listen to, it will taste of freedom.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

We all want to do something to mitigate the pain of loss or to turn grief into something positive, to find a silver lining in the clouds. But I believe there is real value in just standing there, being still, being sad.
– John Green

Art hurts. Art urges voyages—
and it is easier to stay at home.
– Gwendolyn Brooks

Not allowing people to go through their pain, and protecting them from it, may turn out to be a kind of over-protection, which in turn implies a certain lack of respect for the integrity and the intrinsic nature and the future development of the individual.
– Abraham H. Maslow

I still can’t believe this motherfucking bullshit.
– A Buddhist meditation teacher.

There are two competing wills in human psyche; the will of the ego and the will of the divine.

The ego is always seeking, grasping and always wants more. Divine will is whole and complete. It does things to express love and creativity.
– Blunted Buddha

Heard the rooster crowing
Couldn’t see no dawn
But I know it won’t be long
To keep the fire burning
Ain’t no easy game
But we’ll do it just the same
– Bruce Cockburn

When it is not locked the mouth may gape open and let out unspeakable things.

I wonder if there might not be another idea of human order than repression, another notion of human virtue than self-control, another kind of human self…

– Anne Carson, The Gender of Sound

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

Most neuroses involved, along with other complex determinants, ungratified wishes for safety, for belongingness and identification, for close love relationships and for respect and prestige.
– Abraham H. Maslow, Toward a Psychology of Being

There’s earth under his old feet & clay on his fingers, wisdom in his bones, and both his eyes are open. If more of us valued food & cheer above hoarded gold, it would be a much merrier world. It’s a dangerous business going out your front door. The Road goes ever on & on.
– Tolkien

Put none on a pedestal.

All are human.

All have strengths and all have flaws.

All have triumphs and all have failures.

All have good and all have bad.

Learn to recognize this.

– Forge of Man

The psyche is a self-regulating system that maintains its equilibrium just as the body does. Every process that goes too far immediately and inevitably calls forth compensations, and without these there would be neither a normal metabolism nor a normal psyche.
– CG Jung

Detachment is necessary for peace, and peace is necessary for happiness.
– Naval Ravikant

My mom was fearless. She taught us to question authority and believe in the power of our creativity. She was truly a pioneer.
– Dominique DiPrima

We all want to do something to mitigate the pain of loss or to turn grief into something positive, to find a silver lining in the clouds. But I believe there is real value in just standing there, being still, being sad.
– John Green

Earth: isn’t this what you want,
an invisible re-arising within us?
– Rainer Maria Rilke

i am the throat
of the sandia mountains
a night wind woman
who burns
with every breath
she takes
– Joy Harjo

Each moment made the preceding moment a lie, but I could
no longer look into the sun, it had already left black moons in my eyes.
– Jane Hollister Wheelwright

Recovery is based on the empowerment of the survivor and the creation of new connections.
– Judith Herman

every tree
a brother
every hill
a pyramid
a holy spot
– Franciso Alarcón

When I reached the trailhead and started walking through the harmonious association of huge ponderosa pines, incense cedars, and white firs with its apparently endless diversity of wildflowers, shrubs, grasses, songbirds, and insects, I experienced a novel sense of rightness. Growing up in the suburbs had been an experience of fragmentation as roads and buildings dissected the landscape. The thought that this harmony would continue for dozens of miles without interruption was like relief from a headache so habitual I hadn’t known I had it.
– David Rains Wallace

You create your own reality.
– New Age edict

New Age world in an Old World cage.
– John Trudell

How much of the great poetry
of solitude in the woods is one
long cadenza of the sadness

of civilization

– William Matthews

After becoming President, I asked some of my bodyguard members to go for a walk in town. After the walk, we went for lunch at a restaurant. We sat in one of the most central ones, and each of us asked what we wanted. After a bit of waiting, the waiter who brought our menus appeared, at that moment I realized that at the table that was right in front of ours there was a single man waiting to be served.
When he was served, I told one of my soldiers: go ask that man to join us. The soldier went and transmitted my invitation. The man stood up, took the plate and sat next to me. While eating, his hands were constantly shaking and he didn’t lift his head from the food. When we finished, he waved at me without even looking at me, I shook his hand and walked away!
Soldier said to me:
– Madiba, that man must be very sick as his hands wouldn’t stop shaking while he was eating.
Not at all! The reason for his tremor is another – I replied. They looked at me weird and said to them:
– That man was the guardian of the jail I was locked up in. Often, after the torture I was subjected to, I screamed and cried for water and he came to humiliate me, he laughed at me and instead of giving me water he urinated on my head.
He wasn’t sick, he was scared and shook maybe fearing that I, now that I’m president of South Africa, would send him to jail and do the same thing he did with me, torturing and humiliating him. But that’s not me, that behavior is not part of my character nor my ethics. Minds that seek revenge destroy states, while those that seek reconciliation build Nations.
– Nelson Mandela

For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support.
– Audre Lorde

I’m a firm believer that language
and how we use language
determines how we act,
and how we act then determines our lives
and other people’s lives.
– Ntozake Shange

Regret
is a time machine
to the past.
Worry
is a time machine
to the future.
Gratitude
is a time machine
to the present.
No one books
my travel for me.
I decide where
I want to go.
– Andrea Gibson

American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.
– James Baldwin

The human race tends to remember
the abuses to which it has been subjected
rather than the endearments. What’s left
of kisses? Wounds, however, leave scars.
– Bertolt Brecht

It has frequently been noticed that the surest long-term result of brainwashing is a peculiar kind of cynicism—an absolute refusal to believe in the truth of anything, no matter how well this truth may be established.
– Hannah Arendt

The best cure for the body is a quiet mind.
– Napoleon Bonaparte

Behind all this, some great happiness is hiding.
– Yehuda Amichai

Look well to the growing edge. All around us worlds are dying and new worlds are being born; all around us life is dying and life is being born. The fruit ripens on the tree, the roots are silently at work in the darkness of the earth against a time when there shall be new lives, fresh blossoms, green fruit. Such is the growing edge! It is the extra breath from the exhausted lung, the one more thing to try when all else has failed, the upward reach of life when weariness closes in upon all endeavor. This is the basis of hope in moments of despair, the incentive to carry on when times are out of joint and men have lost their reason, the source of confidence when worlds crash and dreams whiten into ash. Such is the growing edge incarnate. Look well to the growing edge.

As long as we hold a dream in the heart, we cannot lose the significance of living.
– Howard Thurman

There is a cosmic costume department for spiritual guides. They appear in forms we can perceive and receive.
– Robert Moss

The idea is not to confront bad ideas but to come up with good ones. Otherwise, your enemies define the game and you are the loyal opposition.
– Terence McKenna

Let go of people who aren’t ready to love you yet.
This is the hardest thing you’ll have to do in your life and it will also be the most important thing.
Stop giving your love to those who aren’t ready to love or appreciate you yet.
Stop conversations with people who don’t want to change.
Stop showing up for, and showing care for people who are indifferent to your presence; who display temperamental emotions; who show disrespect or block you out and keep you at bay, despite your best efforts.
Those people have narrow perspectives and small hearts.
I know your instincts attempt everything to win the good mercy of those around you, but it’s also this impulse that will steal your time, energy and mental, physical and spiritual health.
When you start manifesting yourself in your life, completely, with joy, interest and commitment, not everyone will be ready to find you in this place of pure sincerity.
That doesn’t mean that you have to change who you are; or play yourself down to suit the judgements projected onto you by those who do not care .
It just means you have to stop bothering with people who don’t want to love you yet.
When you are excluded, subtly offended, forgotten or easily ignored by people you give time to, you don’t do yourself any favour by allowing them your energy and your life.
The truth is that you’re not for everyone…
And that not everyone is for you…
That makes this world so special is, when you find the few people you have friendship, love or a true relationship with – you will know how valuable that is. Because you have experienced what isn’t…
There are billions of people on this planet, and many of them will end up with you, on their level, with their vibration, from where they stand.
And many will love and care for you unconditionally.
But the smaller you stay, involved in the privacy of people who use you as background option, the more time you stay out of the community you deserve and which deserves you.
If you stop showing up, you might be less wanted…
If you stop trying, the relationship might stop…
If you stop texting, your phone may stay quiet because there will be no initiating from those you try to maintain closeness with.
Maybe if you stop showing love towards someone, the connection between you may dissolve…
That doesn’t mean you ruined a relationship..
That means that all that this relationship had was the energy that ‘only you’ hire – to keep it in the air.
That is wanting to give a chance to those who don’t want it…or who don’t value it, due to their own hidden agendas or disconnection from their core compassion.
The most valuable and most important thing you have in your life is your energy.
Its not just your time because it’s limited…It’s your energy.
What you give every day is what will become more and more in your life.
It’s the ones you give time and energy (who respond to you in like fashion) that will define your existence.
When you realize this, you start to understand why you are become impatient when you spend your time with people who don’t suit you, and in activities, places, situations which don’t suit you.
You’re starting to realize that the most important thing you can do for your life, for yourself and for everyone you know, is to protect your energy stronger than anything.
Turn your life into a safe sanctuary where only ” compatible ” people with you are allowed.
It’s not your job to exist for people and give them your life, little by little, moment after moment.
Decide you deserve a true friendship.
Wait then… just a minute…and look how everything is starting to change…
– Anthony Hopkins

Nothing divides one so much as thought.
– R.H. Blyth

The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.
– Okakura Kakuzo

Copernicus: There may be babblers, wholly ignorant of mathematics, who dare to condemn my hypothesis, upon the authority of some part of the Bible twisted to suit their purpose. I value them not, and scorn their unfounded judgment.

A very good book tells me news, tells me things I didn’t know, or didn’t know I knew, yet I recognize them—yes, I see, yes, this is how the world is.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

Societies never know it, but the war of an artist with his society is a lover’s war, and he does, at his best, what lovers do, which is to reveal the beloved to himself and, with that revelation, to make freedom real.
– James Baldwin

COLD, CRAZY, BROKEN
BY TRACI BRIMHALL
At the end of it all he accused: You always had good
self-preservation instincts. Oh my selfish survival. I don’t
regret it, though I’m sorry I held his breath between
my horns until he explained me to myself, said cold
said crazy said broken, like an owl donating a mouse’s
bones to the barn floor, an archaeology of gray.
The end was a table set for twelve, a daisy sharpening
each glass of milk. Before the end, it was like the story
of a woman who woke to her pet constrictor stretched
out against her in bed, tail hooked to toe, split tongue
tasting the salt of her dream, each vein hot with her sleep,
and her veterinarian warned the beloved serpent was
measuring to see if she’d fit. I’ve woken like that, needed
a doctor to say: Let it go. You did everything you could.

At the end, he looked at me, eyes brown and delicate
as a fossil in limestone and said my love was too weak
to keep him alive. God, I am tired of fetishizing resilience.
I’m ready for a breviary of arrows nocked and aimed
at the blood-dam between rib and rib, tongue lapping
at the garden’s gold riot, the sorority of coneflowers
posing for finches suspicious of a synonym that close
to God’s heart. I’m ready for a love with hope in it—
plausible, living, holy in its listening, like my pothos
perking when I sing to its vines, or the raven I brush
the wrong way to reveal behind the dark of its feathers
the deeper dark of its hearing. Listen, I become the story
of me—cold as mint, crazy as holding my shadow’s hand,
broken as night when the new moon rises through it.

PRAYER AGAINST DIAGNOSIS
BY TRACI BRIMHALL

Lord, loosen your belt of light. Hold your fists as open
as an unread psalm, extinct as kings. I gave myself naked
to your swans, crowned and bloodied, and sank like belief.

Darling Mountain Fire, swear my mother and I are different
enough. Her heart, a babel of magpies. My heart hived
to the white funeral of hours. I grieve quietly, like a parent

after crafting a knife of snow. Oh now voices, the voices.
My fantasies of faith are not like hers. Dead rabbits
don’t cry when vultures discover them. They’re dahlias.

Beware the religion
that turns you against another one.
It’s unlikely that it’s really religion at all.
– Sister Joan D. Chittister, O.S.B.

Thus while the days flew by, and years passed on,
From Nature and her overflowing soul,
I had received so much, that all my thoughts
Were steeped in feeling; I was only then
Contented, when with bliss ineffable
I felt the sentiment of Being spread
O’er all that moves and all that seemeth still;
O’er all that, lost beyond the reach of thought
And human knowledge, to the human eye
Invisible, yet liveth to the heart;
O’er all that leaps and runs, and shouts and sings,
Or beats the gladsome air; o’er all that glides
Beneath the wave, yea, in the wave itself,
And mighty depth of waters. Wonder not
If high the transport, great the joy I felt,
Communing in this sort through earth and heaven
With every form of creature, as it looked
Towards the Uncreated with a countenance
Of adoration, with an eye of love.
One song they sang, and it was audible,
Most audible, then, when the fleshly ear,
O’ercome by humblest prelude of that strain
Forgot her functions, and slept undisturbed.
– William Wordsworth

If only we could give ourselves
to the blows of the carver’s hands,
the lines in our faces would be the trace lines of rivers
feeding the sea
where voices meet, praising the features
of the mountain and the cloud and the sky.
– David Whyte, excerpt from Faces of Braga

Science is inevitable; art is fragile. Without Einstein it may have taken many, many years, and many people working on it, but we still would have come up with his theories. Had Beethoven died at age 5, we would not have the sonatas; art is not repeatable.
– CERN theorist Luis Alvarez-Gaume

I can’t take warlocks so seriously, […] it is we witches who count. We have more need of you. Women have such vivid imaginations, and lead such dull lives. Their pleasure in life is so soon over; they are so dependent upon others, and their dependence so soon becomes a nuisance. Do you understand?

[The Devil] was silent. She continued, slowly, knitting her brows in the effort to make clear to herself and him the thought that was in her mind:

It’s like this. When I think of witches, I seem to see all over England, all over Europe, women living and growing old, as common as blackberries, and as unregarded. I see them, wives and sisters of respectable men, […] in places like Bedfordshire, the sort of country one sees from the train. You know. There they were, there they are, child-rearing, house-keeping, and for diversion, listening to men talking together in the way that men talk and women listen. […] You never die, do you? No doubt that’s far worse, but there’s a dreadful kind of dreary immortality about being settled down by one day after another. [These women] are like trees towards the end of summer, heavy and dusty, and nobody finds their leaves surprising, or notices them till they fall off. If they could be passive and unnoticed, it wouldn’t matter. But they must be active, and still not noticed. Doing, doing, doing […]. One doesn’t become a witch to run round being harmful, or to run round being helpful either, a district visitor on a broomstick. It’s to escape all that—to have a life of one’s own, not an existence doled out to you by others […].”

The Devil was silent, and looked thoughtfully at the ground. He seemed to be rather touched by all this.

– Sylvia Townsend Warner

Poetry seeks out the melody of nature amid the tumult of the dictionary.
– Boris Pasternak

The role of the poet is to stay abnormal.
– Brenda Hillman

If we listen from the mind of silence, every birdsong and every whispering of the pine branches in the wind will speak to us.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

What passes for identity in America is a series of myths about one’s heroic ancestors. It’s astounding to me, for example, that so many people really appear to believe that the country was founded by a band of heroes who wanted to be free. That happens not to be true. What happened was that some people left Europe because they couldn’t stay there any longer and had to go someplace else to make it. That’s all. They were hungry, they were poor, they were convicts. Those who were making it in England, for example, did not get on the Mayflower. That’s how the country was settled. Not by Gary Cooper. Yet we have a whole race of people, a whole republic, who believe the myths to the point where even today they select political representatives, as far as I can tell, by how closely they resemble Gary Cooper. Now this is dangerously infantile, and it shows in every level of national life.
– James Baldwin

Know your own happiness.
You want nothing but patience;
or give it a more fascinating name:
call it hope.
– Jane Austen

The trouble with our times is that the future is not what it used to be.
– Paul Valery

I would like you to show me, if you can, where the line can be drawn between an organism and it’s environment. The environment is in you. It’s passing through you. You’re breathing it in and out. You and every other creature.
– Wendell Berry

What doesn’t hurt—is not life;
what doesn’t pass—is not happiness.
– Ivo Andric

…Please cheer up. Even in the darkest
of the dark age, there is always light.
That light comes with a smile,
the smile of Shambhala,
the smile of fearlessness,
the smile of realizing the best
of the best of human potential.
All of the teachings, the very heart’s blood
of Shambhala, are yours.
We are all part of the same human family.
Let us smile and cry together.
– Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin:
Oh opinionated men, please go have your opinions somewhere else. Also Elon Musk, I don’t agree with you setting the rules for how things go on Mars. In fact I declare that Mars will be a place of collaboration and mutuality. Let’s decolonize planetary colonization yeah? Good.

Unless it grows out of yourself no knowledge is really yours, it is only borrowed plumage.
– D.T. Suzuki

The great accomplishments of man have resulted from the transmission of ideas and enthusiasm.
– Thomas J. Watson

Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?
– John Keats, Letters of John Keats

Joyful to have such a human birth. Difficult to find. Free, and well-favored.
– Tibetan Buddhist contemplation of gratitude and privilege.

The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.
– Okakura Kakuzo

Want to know who to trust? It’s pretty simple…

Notice who nailed something that you didn’t see. Weight their opinions higher, and pay more attention to what they have to say in the future.

The people who keep nailing it, time and again, those are your trustworthy mentors.
– Vincent Horn

I want to live longer.
I want to love you longer, say it again,
I want to love you longer
& sing that song
– Aracelis Girmay, I Am Not Ready to Die Yet (after Joy Harjo)

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

the condition of the ethical life: that it is based on a trust in the uncertain and on a willingness to be exposed; it’s based on being more like a plant than like a jewel, something rather fragile, but whose very particular beauty is inseparable from that fragility.
– M Nussbaum

Normalize seeing closed doors as mismatched vibrations.
– Inner Practitioner

Someday, I wish to wake up in a nation that keeps everyone alive and safe and, from time to time, randomly blasts “Gloria”
– D.A. Powell

A poem is a terrible hiding place.
– Erin Belieu

There are religions which project our fears of change, of strangers or even our fear of shadows onto a demon haunted shadow play.

There are religions where the clergy point to our desires with one hand and pick our pocket with the other.

There are religions that encourage us to bully others by convincing us we are part of God’s righteous juggernaut.

There are even religions of oblivion where we can escape reality altogether and live in a perpetual stupor.

But there are also religions where the spark of life within us reverberates with recognition at the spark of life in someone else, and we recognize every being as the expressions of some deeper cosmic pattern. These are the religions of compassion.
– Jim Rigby

Ultimately, we turn things around by turning within and turning to the things worth risking the rest of our lives for. This is the greater risk of life; not simply surviving, but learning to grow the inner life that harbors our deepest sense of self and soul. When the outer world rattles and slips into chaos, the inner world can help us become more rooted and centered and be more able to help sustain life.
– Michael Meade

If the perception of the basis of life is- “what’s in it for me?” –it should come as no surprise that even do-gooders step over one another to get ahead.

If the perception is-“pay attention to 2nd & 3rd order relationships” –even the most eager will compost ambition to make new soil of possibility.

Integrity in this moment is not about following the rules. It’s about the flexible rigor of paying attention with affection for life– in multiple contexts simultaneously.
– Nora Bateson

To become a philosopher,
start by walking very slowly.
– Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Life is a traveling to the edge of knowledge, then a leap taken.
– D.H. Lawrence

Whoever isn’t happy with what they have, won’t be happy with what they’d like to have.
– Socrates

If you have reasons to love someone, you don’t love them.
– Slavoj Žižek

The distinction between
the past, present and future
is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.
– Albert Einstein

Suffering does make us more sensitive
until it crushes us completely.
– Edmund White, The Beautiful Room Is Empty

As we pass through this portal into another kind of world, we will have to ask ourselves what we want to take with us and what we will leave behind…
– Arundhati Roy

My Distant Country

How many bedrooms do I need
to get a bit of sleep?
How many chairs
to sit myself down?
How many roads
to walk back to you,
my distant country?
This time I’ve gone
and I’m not coming back.
Your job, now, is to slip out,
lovesick and afraid,
and come in search of me.

– Najwan Darwish
Tr. Kareem James Abu-Zeid

Never has our future been more unpredictable, never have we depended so much on political forces that cannot be trusted to follow the rules of common sense and self-interest—forces that look like sheer insanity.
– Hannah Arendt

A Verse for Our Time
We must eradicate from the soul
All fear and terror of what comes towards man out of the future.
We must acquire serenity
In all feelings and sensations about the future.
We must look forward with absolute equanimity
To everything that may come.
And we must think only that whatever comes
Is given to us by a world-directive full of wisdom.
It is part of what we must learn in this age,
namely, to live out of pure trust,
Without any security in existence.
Trust in the ever-present help
Of the spiritual world.
Truly, nothing else will do
If our courage is not to fail us.
And let us seek the awakening from within ourselves
Every morning and every evening.
– Rudolf Steiner

Making something in the kitchen, sewing, working in a company, whatever we do is really the practice of giving… all beings that exist in this world manifest themselves as the practice of giving just by being whoever they are.
– Katagiri Roshi

The truth hurts less
when it is not parading
around in front of us.
– Sabrina Benaim

Welcome the view that the things which you think are wrecking your life – like your thoughts and emotions, or illness and death – are actually gifts for your transformation… Whether life presents us with a pleasant sound or an unpleasant sound, a pleasant smell or an unpleasant smell, a pleasant thought or an unpleasant thought, it’s sheer delight because instead of identifying with the experience, we simply touch it and let it go.
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

We must teach our children to dream with their eyes open.
– Harry Edwards

I, too, overflow; my desires have invented new desires, my body knows unheard-of songs.Time and again I, too, have felt so full of luminous torrents that I could burst.
– Hélène Cixous

I respect my limitations, but I don’t use them as an excuse.
– Stephen R. Donaldson

Will There Be Singing
By the end of the year, I was used to
things I hadn’t seen before,
like a series of street brawls between fa and antifa
that often absurdly tumbled
into the Berkeley all organic full-of-strollers farmer’s market.
Used to hearing about friends’ emails caught up in various FOIAs.
Used to the social media posts about how someone somewhere
was getting a gun and planned to show up where we worked.
I should add that the DMs and the @s were rarely realized.
The gun never arrived.
And if the threat was made good on it was just that moment when
someone called up my boss and she hung up on them, confused.
If there was anything new about this moment
it was that there was no making sense of what was left and
right in the way I had previously understood it,
which was as a convention.
The DMs came in from all different directions.
One day an anonymous white nationalist,
the next a well-known comrade angry in love
and wanting to take it out on someone proximate,
and then perhaps a blog post from someone
who had been perfectly nice when last seen at a poetry reading
but now was very upset about something I had implied.
It was hard to decipher who was hating what on what day.
By the time the state was burning from both ends
and one end was called Paradise,
we didn’t bother with the metaphor.
Instead we just looked out the window, noticed the smoke,
shut the window, stayed indoors, and kept on typing.
Later we joked,
now we know what we will be doing when the world burns.
We will be shutting the windows and catching up on email
finally.

I’m concerned about these other things.
Or that is what I thought when they said
they were worried I was losing my relationship to poetry.
It was still summer.
Still mid-afternoon.
There was a nice breeze.
We had half a day of this beauty before us and we knew it.
Unhurried. Pleasure.
We drank a beer that was fresh on the tongue
in a new way. Light. Almost carbonated.
They said they were concerned
about me and my relationship to poetry.
In the afternoon sun, as the breeze blew softly,
I first protested to them not about poetry,
but about poets. Their nationalism, their acquiescence
but also their facebook and twitter accounts.
Their brags and their minor attacks, their politics.
Their prizes and their publications.
Their democratic party affiliations.
So I said to them I’m not concerned
about my relationship to poetry
which regularly felt to me like that moment
when you open your app and there are a bunch
of mentions and you haven’t posted anything a while
and all you can do is say today is so FML and start to work through them.
This is not the same as the oh no way of the Berkeley farmer’s market brawl,
not the state burning and burning again,
but still, how to write an epiphanic possibility in this sociality?
I had written for so long about being together,
about how we were together like it or not.
I had used a metaphor of breath and of space.
I had embraced the epiphanic
not just at the end of the poem, as was the lyric convention,
but sometimes I even made the whole poem epiphanic.
And that I couldn’t do anymore.
Lately there wasn’t any singing that I could hear.
Just attempts. Dark times.
Nothing about this terrible moment was new though.
It has always been a terrible moment.
And there have always been poets too.
And always poets writing the terrible nation into existence.
This is one reason I will never get a tramp stamp that says
poetry is my boyfriend.


I thought for a while there were two sorts of poets.
Poets who write the terrible nation into existence
and poets screwing around doing something else.
For years I was on team poets screwing around doing something else.
For years I had used poetry to slip away,
elude the hold of the family, the coupleform, the policing of tradition,
to pry open time into an endless stretch of possibility.
In that room where we try to pry open possibility.
When I first heard the avant garde
I heard it as an opening. A door. A window,
Maybe a garage door.
A hole in the wall I could shimmy through.
I heard it as an opening. All sorts of openings.
I could make the hole.
Or my pink crowbar could.
I would be writing and I would fall into the singing,
That whoosh. The singing whoosh.
And because at first I saw myself as someone who wanted
an opening in the tradition,
I split this whoosh up all the time.
I fragmented it into words or took away its deictics.
Another friend, a poet, who no longer talks to me
once gave me the image of the pink crowbar
as a way of thinking about writing.
Losing her was a loss all around.
But to compensate for that loss
I think often about pulling something open.
Although I’m fairly convinced she would grab
the pink crowbar out of my hand if she saw me wielding it.
For years, there was that perfect moment after the reading
where we had to leave the bar because
the couples were coming to buy their cocktails
and we couldn’t figure out where to go.
Maybe it was Friday or Saturday night and all the bars
were full of people who were not talking about poetry
so we kept walking, looking in each bar and each one wrong.
Eventually the streets opened up and we were at the bridge
and there was a river and we walked across the open space to it
and climbed down its sides and sat there.
We had bought some beers and a small glass flask of whiskey from a bodega.
We carried the cans and the flask in brown bags as a convention.
But we did not need this convention.
If there was law, the law drove by, didn’t stop.
Other things were. Night. Maybe moon. Water. Rats.
Sometimes drugs were involved.
We walked through Wall Street at 3 am and
we rattled the locked doors of all the buildings, laughing
at their absurdity because we knew where it was at
and at was rattling the doors.

During these days,
I would wake up and my head would hurt
and then I would realize that in my dream
I had said to myself that I should write some poetry.
But my dreams never explained to me why.
Or how.
How to sing in these dark times?
It is true that I have been with poetry for a long time.
Since I was a teenager.
Those loves of many years and our bodies changing together.
And yet also the deepening of this love. Despite.
That day with the breeze in the bar
And we said together, there needs to be some pleasure in the world.
And next, poetry is the what is left of life.
And we pledged, more singing.
And we referenced by saying,
In the dark times. Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing. About the dark times.

At night I thought if I just read all of Brecht,
I would maybe find the singing.
So I began to read Brecht that night,
in bed with my son while he too read before he went to sleep.
There was a new edition.
It was hard to hold because it was so big.
I rested it on a pillow and I rested my head on a pillow
and I turned the pages looking for the singing.
I couldn’t find the singing.
After I started reading Brecht,
I began sorting through my books. I had too many.
As I pulled them off the shelves, blew off the dust,
I asked myself would I need it if there was a revolution.
It turned out that I thought I would for sure need
five translations of the Odyssey
and all the books of Susan Howe.
I kept all the plant books too.
The comfort of the Jespen Manual of Vascular Plants of California.
It’s an open question if the revolution will still need poetry,
its tradition and its resistance to that tradition.
But it will for sure need the Vascular Plants of California.

It’s always been a terrible moment.
But now I understand it as even more terrible.
The nation is for sure not my boyfriend.
But the land it claims,
though I don’t claim it,
I hold my love for this land on my underside,
in a small pocket that eventually bursts to release my love spores.
I mean it is not a casual love.
It is though a difficult one. Threatened. Invaded.
A friend is dying
as the scotch broom is putting out its nitrogen fixing roots
but our friendship died years before
the seed pods open explosively
another friend has cancer
and last for eighty years
and yet another friend now in the world in some new way
but they are hard and survive rough transport through water
and mainly it was all the information
fleshy and full of proteins in a way that interests ants
we suddenly knew about everything
as the ants carry the seeds back to their nests creating dense infestations.
A mixture of hell. A metaphor of resilience.
The scotch broom has so many tricks.
Grows in patches and as scattered individuals
with a total cover of about 15 percent and 35 percent, respectively.
As does the Tree of Heaven.
There is no space too polluted for it.
It absorbs sulfur dioxide in its leaves.
It can withstand cement dust and fumes from coal tar operations,
as well as resist ozone exposure relatively well.
Even mercury.
It grows fast, and even faster in California.
And once it starts, it shows up everywhere,
impossible to destroy.
Loves the fires.
Everything. Never ending.
Everything. Yet to come.
And yet the world and the leaves continue to exist.
Yellow veins. Flowers.
Large, compound leaves.
Arranged. Alternately on the stem.
11-33 leaflets. Occasionally up to 41.
One to three teeth on each side. Close to the base.
Everything. Small.
Yellow-green to reddish. Flowers.
Everything. Panicles up to 30 cm long.
Everything.
– Juliana Spahr

It gets exhausting, trying to escape this moment, trying to avoid what is, trying to push away the waves of life, waves that are already deeply accepted in the vast ocean of present experience. And it gets exhausting, too, trying not to try. It’s truly exhausting, trying to avoid feeling exhausted. But the exhaustion is not a mistake, for it contains a great invitation, as everything does – the invitation to stop pretending to be ‘the exhausted one’, and admit that even exhaustion, yes, even that, is deeply allowed – already allowed – in what you are. You’re vast enough. So feel exhausted, feel more exhausted than you’ve ever felt! – and discover the Beloved right there. Even in the midst of exhaustion – which never belonged to you in the first place – who you are is truly inexhaustible.
– Jeff Foster

Saying Goodbye

I stood there in the thick, milky dusk,
my boots bedded in rotting straw and the withered
bodies of plants that I had dug into this place.

We tended each other for a season.

I knew them by touch and smell,
and how slight variations in color or a pucker
of leaf were words wanting understanding.

I came here to learn to listen.

The tomato hornworm caterpillars visited,
and the cabbage butterflies,
and we shared,
time and other things.

Wings. I’ve always wanted a pair, or two.

When I was on my knees,
I wondered who had stripped this land raw,
and why so much of this practice
was new to me at this age,
and what the earthworms thought
about while navigating
the valleys and ridges of my rough palms.

Could they tell how much I adored them?

Oh, yes, these were the musings of summer,
thoughts freed while the mind
had the luxury of abundance.

This though was autumn. It was autumn waning:

As I looked into the night to come,
I saw a cricket lying down,
frost crystals colonizing his legs.

Goodbyes needed to be said.

A garden can teach us to be earnest with this word,

Goodbye.

At the interface of starvation
and nourishment is where to harvest
the roots of deep gratitude.

And so, I began to offer this word to the yet-living,
letting the growing sense of emptiness
be my understanding.

“Goodbye.”

“Goodbye.”

And again,

“Goodbye.”

Inside,

the woodstove was awaiting me.

– Jamie K. Reaser

The Divine mind wants dialogue & man emerges to answer. The deity is straining for Self-knowledge & noblest representatives of mankind have burden imposed on them. A few incorporate fruits of their divine encounter in mighty works of religion, art & human knowledge.
– Edward Edinger

Life may unfold chronologically for the body & for bureaucracies that keep track of such things as births, marriages, deaths, visas, tax returns, expulsions, & identity cards, but memory does not play this game in quite the same way, always manages to confound the desire for tidiness.
– Ariel Dorfman

The task today is to switch from literal to metaphorical thinking, and not fall into the gap between them.
– David Tacey

As you begin to stay centered in your solar plexus and extend it outward, you create a space where more and more can come into your life not bound by space or time. All spiritual traditions speak to this. The problem is that we westerners in our arrogance are so alienated from this living stream of sustenance and have compounded the problem with artificially induced loneliness. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t feel real going down. But it’s not the whole story. When you have the courage and the support to dig deeper in your Self, you discover it’s not the whole story. To try and explore what lives within me, what it’s connected to, is the beginning of a triumphant journey. Lean into your emptiness. You’ll discover vast reservoirs of strength and connectedness.
– Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault

even we atheists call on God before we call the police.
– Eduardo Galeano (trans. by Mark Fried)

We cannot create what we can’t imagine.
– Lucille Clifton

We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over. So in a series of acts of kindness there is, at last, one which makes the heart run over.
– James Boswell

I’ll tell you how we’re wrong enough to be forgiven.
– Ocean Vuong

If you’re not hopeful and optimistic, then you just give up. You have to take the long hard look and just believe that if you’re consistent, you will succeed.
– John Lewis

Deeper truth resides in what we dismiss as illusion, fantasy, myth. This may be reason why, in an age governed by science and logic, our entertainment world is saturated with fantasy, mythic stories and legends: a compensatory process has arisen in popular culture.
– David Tacey

It is hard / to understand how we could be brought here by love.
– JACK GILBERT

We live at the level of our language.
– Ellen Gilchrist

No matter how seemingly enlightening knowledge can be… If it becomes an object of awareness that you identify with, that knowledge itself will be the very thing that makes you suffer.
– Matthew Donnelly

ELECTION by Alfred K. LaMotte
I voted.
I voted for the rainbow.
I voted for the cry of a loon.
I voted for my grandfather’s bones
that feed beetles now.
I voted for a singing brook that sparkles
under a North Dakota bean field.
I voted for salty air through which the whimbrel flies
South along the shores of two continents.
I voted for melting snow that returns to the wellspring
of darkness, where the sky is born from the earth.
I voted for daemonic mushrooms in the loam,
and the old democracy of worms.
I voted for the wordless treaty that cannot be broken
by white men or brown, because it is made of star semen,
thistle sap, hieroglyphs of the weevil in prairie oak.
I voted for the local, the small, the brim
that does not spill over, the abolition of waste,
the luxury of enough.
I voted for the commonwealth of the ancient forest,
a larva for every beak, a wing-tinted flower
for every moth’s disguise, a well-fed mammal’s corpse
for every colony of maggots.
I voted for open borders between death and birth.
I voted on the ballot of a fallen leaf of sycamore
that cannot be erased, for it becomes the dust and rain,
and then a tree again.
I voted for more fallow time to cultivate wild flowers,
more recess in schools to cultivate play,
more leisure, tax free, more space between days.
I voted to increase the profit of evening silence
and the price of a thrush song.
I voted for ten million stars in your next inhalation.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source… of all art and science.
– Albert Einstein

My page was too white
My ink was too thin
The day wouldn’t write
What the night pencilled in
– Leonard Cohen, Book of Longing

Don’t believe your beliefs,
even when they come in handy
to help orient daily living.
– Adyashanti

For one with compassion,
even his enemies will turn into friends,
Without compassion,
even his friends turn into enemies.
With compassion, one has all Dharmas,
Without compassion,
one has no Dharma at all.
– Shabkar Tsogdruk Rangdrol

There’s a low-lying depression and anxiety plaguing modern life– a symptom of an undiagnosed homesickness to feel a belonging to the greater ecosystem and know ourselves in relations rather that isolation.
– Boyd Varty

That we live in a post-truth society today, and that we don’t care, that we have lost empathy. We have stopped thinking long-term and sustainable. And that’s something that goes much deeper than just climate crisis deniers.
– Greta Thunberg

Businessmen became politicians and were acclaimed as statesmen, while statesmen were taken seriously only if they talked the language of successful businessmen…
– Hannah Arendt

Well, that’s how it is, can you tell what goes on within by looking at what happens without? There may be a great fire in our soul, but no one ever comes to warm himself by it, all that passers-by can see is a little smoke coming out of the chimney, and they walk on.
– Van Gogh

Depression is not necessarily pathological. It often foreshadows a renewal of the personality or a burst of creative activity. There are moments in human life when a new page is turned.
– CG Jung

Here upon a hillside in the October wind I know the end of every summer, and the feel of that approaching silence is to me a story told a million times.
– John Haines, Lineage

A story must be judged according to whether it makes sense. And ‘making sense’ must be here understood in its most direct meaning: to make sense is to enliven the senses. A story that makes sense is one that stirs the senses from their slumber, one that opens the eyes and the ears to their real surroundings, tuning the tongue to the actual tastes in the air and sending chills of recognition along the surface of the skin. To make sense is to release the body from the constraints imposed by outworn ways of speaking, and hence to renew and rejuvenate one’s felt awareness of the world.
– David Abram

The lanterns know the value of night
and they are more patient
than the stars.
They stay until morning.
– Dunya Mikhail

I’d rather be alone than around chaos and confusion. Silence beats drama any day.
– Kelly’s Treehouse

Your hand found mine. Life rushed to my fingers like a blood clot.
– Anne Sexton

dear one,
I want to remind you this –
the love in your heart
is so big and so deep that
It can create the world
that is free from punishment –
The world that is free from attack.
The world that is free from guilt –
The world that is free from fear –
– Guthema Roba

Huike said to Bodhidharma, “My mind is anxious. Please pacify it.”
Bodhidharma replied, “Bring me your mind, and I will pacify it.”
Huike said, “Although I’ve sought it, I cannot find it.”
“There,” Bodhidharma replied, “I have pacified your mind.”

The clouds
are giving these moon-watchers
a little break.
– Matsuo Bashō, trans. Robert Hass

What I cannot live with may not bother another man’s conscience. The result is that conscience will stand against conscience.
– Hannah Arendt

Call the world, if you please, the vale of soul-making. Then you will find out the use of the world.
– Keats

(…) Starvation of the imagination is the malady that underlies our fracked, logged, and strip-mined Western wasteland. Without free-ranging imagination, we have no access to soul, to the wild depths, to the anima mundi, to the ethnosphere, to possibilities that diverge from what we already know, to the terra mysterium where songbirds fly from the mouths of children and bards. Advertisers and social media fight to occupy what is left of our captive imaginations — to colonize the degraded collective human imagination — with trinkets and manipulated images that quite frankly program us, tell us what to want, what to buy, what to be ashamed of, how to conform — always in search of more “likes.” Diane di Prima would shudder (and almost certainly did).

there is no way out of the spiritual battle
the war is the war against the imagination
you can’t sign up as a conscientious objector. . . .

– Geneen Marie Haugen

and starvation of such wise words in our culture too ~

Knowing is placemaking. When knowing is enacted as a form of cognitive extractivism, you get the Anthropocene. When knowing is a struggle-with, a wrestling-with, a listening-with that does not privilege the one (the human) as a fixed subject and the other (the more-than-human) as a fixed object of the human gaze, other lifedeath worlds become possible.
– Bayo Akomolafe

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

– Max Ehrmann, 1927

The gods love to travel in disguise.
– Greek saying

Is it just me, or are the most opinionated people who constantly post their opinions, the most touchy sensitive ones? I mean, I posted mostly flowers and when I finally post a few things to consider that may differ from the way they think, they get all mad huffing and puffing away. Also, if fun colloquial honesty offends you, you need to get outside your academic cloister.

Also, I am tired of academic “activists” who are extremely judgmental but will have nothing to do with someone with little money or disability. I do not take your “activism” seriously when you can’t be nice to someone with real lived experience with poverty, disability or marginalization. And yes, I am considering unfriending. I find this to be very true of some “activists” who teach in academia and claim concern for suffering people on the border. I am not buying your facade. You don’t care about people. You aren’t real. Go read “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” one more time and feel all self-righteous, or go protest the border policies, but as long as you are rude and dismissive of people outside your social strata, I’m not buying into your concern for the poor and disinfranchised, and yes, this goes especially for academics in their bubble. I don’t care if you go to prisons and pontificate. How you treat poor people in your midst as a fellow writer shows you are fake, obfuscate and repress any true felt emotion about humans in a different social strata. I’m not buying your facade. Keep your money, your arrogance and your false morality.
– Sheryl Luna

The heresy of individualism: thinking oneself a completely self-sufficient unit and asserting this imaginary ‘unity’ against all others.
– Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

Only through compassion can we pacify our own aggression and understand the aggression of others. We can regard others as the same as ourselves because we know how painful it is to be angry, how painful it is to be human. We can feel compassion without expecting others to change overnight, because we know we have not changed overnight. If others sense our compassion, and see that it is not self-righteous or judgmental, then they will be touched; their anger will be pacified and their wisdom will blossom. Even the most inflamed egos will be moved through compassion.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

The surest way to work up a crusade in favour of some good cause is to promise people they will have a chance of maltreating someone. To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behaviour ‘righteous indignation’ — this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats.
– Aldous Huxley

…Perhaps the wilderness we fear is the pause between our own heartbeats, the silent space that says we live only by grace.
– Terry Tempest Williams

When you begin to project further into mindfulness, and beyond that into awareness, you can relate with the simplicity of your lifestyle: you eat when you eat, you sit when you sit, you walk when you walk. So your life becomes much simpler. Of course, there could be complications, but I don’t think they are worth mentioning. Simplicity is the point. Simplicity brings with it a kind of purity. You are fundamentally clean, and you don’t hold a grudge against anybody. When you eat, you eat mindfully and with awareness. When you sit on your meditation cushion, you sit properly. When you walk, you walk simply. You live in a total atmosphere of awareness. Your world becomes so simple that you don’t need to reflect and you don’t need feedback. When there is no need for feedback, this “I” has become invalid, out of order. It has been dismissed. You have sacked yourself. Therefore, “want” is no longer workable—it too is obsolete. So “this” and “that” become obsolete. That is a basic understanding of egolessness. Rather than discuss it philosophically, I think the best way to understand egolessness is from the point of view of practice, for then you can see that it is possible. In letting go of “this” and “that,” you are not just reducing yourself into nothing. By means of great discipline, you have a way of letting go, and because of that, strength and energy arise—but not from “me,” not from “want.” In fact, because it is not from “me” and not from “want,” there is tremendous room and the possibility of tremendous freedom. You could be a really free person—completely, fundamentally free. You could feel tremendous fresh air and freedom as a result of the mindfulness and the awareness you have developed through shamatha and vipashyana practice. So prajna is closely connected with freedom and with the practice of awareness and watchfulness.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Forgiveness is not a concept. It’s a process. And, if you choose not to forgive at the end of that process, it doesn’t mean that you are unhealed. It doesn’t mean that you are a lesser human. It doesn’t mean you are not spiritual or evolved. It doesn’t mean you will come back in the next lifetime to live it out again. It may just mean that forgiveness is not actually in your integrity. The assumption that forgiving the abuser is the benchmark of a completed emotional and karmic process is the mistake. The real benchmark of resolution is whether you have gone through your emotional process authentically and have arrived at a place where the negative charge around the experience has dissipated. Perhaps you will learn some lessons, or perhaps you will eventually be legitimately liberated from the memories. Perhaps you will work it through so completely that you have very little energetic charge around the events. Or perhaps you will actually realize that forgiveness is not essential to your healing, and not your responsibility. The point is that focusing on our responsibility to forgive a wrongdoer sidetracks the whole process. Your sole responsibility is to arrive at whatever destination is true to you.
– Jeff Brown

Joyful to have such a human birth. Difficult to find. Free, and well-favored.
– Tibetan Buddhist contemplation of gratitude and privilege.

10 percent of any population is cruel, no matter what, and 10 percent is merciful, no matter what, and the remaining 80 percent can be moved in either direction.
– Susan Sontag

Beginners, who don’t possess much inner knowledge, definitely need a physical guru.
– Lama Thubten Yeshe

I Go Among Trees
by Wendell Berry

I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
where I left them, asleep like cattle.

Then what is afraid of me comes
and lives a while in my sight.
What it fears in me leaves me,
and the fear of me leaves it.
It sings, and I hear its song.

Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
and the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.

After days of labor,
mute in my consternations,
I hear my song at last,
and I sing it. As we sing,
the day turns, the trees move.

Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency. Hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal… To hope is to give yourself to the future – and that commitment to the future is what makes the present inhabitable.
– Rebecca Solnit

We must constantly encourage ourselves and each other to attempt the heretical actions that our dreams imply, and so many of our old ideas disparage. In the forefront of our move toward change, there is only poetry to hint at possibility made real.
– Audre Lorde

If you are trying to transform a brutalized society into one where people can live in dignity and hope, you begin with the empowering of the most powerless. You build from the ground up.
– Adrienne Rich

Shantideva:
Unruly beings are as unlimited as space
They cannot possibly all be overcome,
But if I overcome thoughts of anger alone
This will be equivalent to vanquishing all foes.

Where would I possibly find enough leather
With which to cover the surface of the earth?
But (wearing) leather just on the soles of my shoes
Is equivalent to covering the earth with it.

Likewise it is not possible for me
To restrain the external course of things;
But should I restrain this mind of mine
What would be the need to restrain all else?

It took me a long time to realize there are two kinds of writing; the one you write and the one that writes you. The one that writes you is dangerous. You go where you don’t want to go. You look where you don’t want to look.
– Jeanette Winterson

When along the pavement,
Palpitating flames of life,
People flicker around me,
I forget my bereavement,
The gap in the great constellation,
The place where a star used to be.
– D. H. Lawrence

I’m just a simple Buddhist monk but I’m trying to help others lead a happy life, to learn to appreciate what a difference it makes to find peace of mind. That’s my dream. One of my main practices is the cultivation of altruism, it’s what I think about the moment I wake up. Therefore, until my last breath, I will try to help other people find peace of mind.
– Dalai Lama

It’s this language, the language of poetry, through which we’re recognizably human.
– Mark Strand

If one just intellectually understands the view it will not help! One must actually experience it! There are many people who understand the view but don’t experience it. If the view were experienced, they wouldn’t act the way they do!
– Padampa Sangye

The gift of the Dharma:
There are innumerable beings wandering in saṃsāra, completely lost and all in desperate need of your help. Since they have all been your loving parents at one time or another in the past, you must help them. But how? Even if you could provide all of them with money and comfort, that would only bring them an incomplete and short-lived respite from their suffering. Reflect deeply; of all the possible ways to help them, there could be no gift more beneficial than the gift of the Dharma, for that is something that will not only help them in this life but also free them from future rebirths in the lower realms and finally lead them to enlightenment.
– Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

I’m thinking of travel.
Cities to get lost in,
Faces to dream on.
– Darden Smith

Prayer for All Life
Help to bring my people
back into the sacred hoop,
that they might again walk the red road
in a sacred manner
pleasing to the powers of the universe
that are one power.

Hear me, four quarters of the world–
a relative I am!
Give me the strength to walk the soft earth,
a relative to all that is!
Give me the eyes to see and the strength
to understand, that I may be like you.
With your power only can I face the winds.

Great Spirit, Great Spirit, my Grandfather,
all over the earth
the faces of living things are all alike.
With tenderness have these
come up out of the ground.
Look upon these faces of children
without number and with children in their arms, that they may face the wind
and walk the good road to the day of quiet.
This is my prayer; hear me now!
– Black Elk

If you are attached to this life,
you are not a person of Dharma.
If you are attached to cyclic existence,
you do not have renunciation.
If you are attached to your own purpose,
you do not have bodhichitta,
the thought of enlightenment.
If grasping fixation arises,
you do not have the view.
– Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche

When you are a truly happy Christian,
you are also a Buddhist. And vice versa.
– Thich Nhat Hanh, Living Buddha Living Christ

How we interpret information
and our experiences of the world
depends entirely on how much merit
we have accumulated. For example,
what does the word impermanent mean?
On the grossest possible level,
those who have very little merit believe that
impermanent’ means decay and death,
or the changing seasons.

Once we start to accumulate merit, though,
our understanding becomes more subtle. Imagine you are experiencing
a moment of happiness.
If you have a little merit you will be able,
to a certain degree, to interpret and understand ‘impermanence’ and watch your mood change from unhappiness to happiness
and back again, making any disappointment
or hope you might feel less intense.
– Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Not for Happiness: A Guide to the So-Called Preliminary Practices

The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.
– Lao Tzu

Realization is a matter of becoming conscious of that which is already realized.
– Wei Wu Wei

…to learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know.
– Stephen Covey

But opinions, judgments, memories, dreaming about the future—ninety percent of the thoughts spinning around in our heads have no essential reality.
– Joko Beck

I think one can only teach the love of something I have taught, not English literature, but the love of that literature. Or rather, since literature is virtually infinite, the love of certain books, certain pages, perhaps certain verses. I dictated this chair for twenty years. Fifty to forty students, four months. The least important were dates and names, but I managed to teach them the love of some authors and some books. I mean, what a teacher does is look for friends for students. The fact that they are contemporary, that they have died centuries ago, that they belong to one or more region, that is the least. The important thing is to reveal beauty and you can only reveal beauty that one has felt.
– Jorge Luis Borges

Mystics and dreamers we have always had; but not enough of them.
We have never tried to create them,
we have in­deed placed every impediment
in their way. When they have tried to come out and do something, we have cruci­fied them, starved them, ignored them.
And so we have ignored and forgotten
and defiled and defamed that which was
the most necessary thing in the world,
the empire of our dreamers.
We have had no time for those
who could see ahead into tomorrow,
who could re­cognize values beyond the dollars and nonsense values of our day.
– Manly P. Hall, Horizon Magazine

The best cure for the body is a quiet mind.
– Napoleon Bonaparte

The arts (painting, poetry, etc.) are not just these. Eating, drinking, walking are also arts; every act is an art.
– César Vallejo

When the world realizes it can make a buck cleaning up the environment, it will be done!
– Dennis Weaver, actor and environmental activist

Go within, go beyond. Cease being fascinated by the content of your consciousness.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

In each thing there is an insinuation of death. Stillness, silence, serenity are all apprenticeships.
– Federico Garcia Lorca

The mind is by nature radiant.
It is shining.

It is because of visiting forces
that we suffer.

– The Buddha

I Dwell in Possibility

I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –

Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –

Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –

– Emily Dickenson

If I prayed, which I don’t,
then we could say that I asked
god to open every door that I
had shut, every door I did not
know was there.
Why I asked this, well,
this will make sense to you
or it won’t, but every closed
door I was aware of
had became a point of suffering.
And with every open door,
I could feel congruence,
the world rushing in to create
more space in me.
And god said to me, though
we could not say that it was a voice,
god said, Open even the door with people jeering
on the other side, their faces twisted
in hate? Even the door to an entire
forest of sorrow? And because
this conversation was not really
happening, we could not say that
I said yes to the questions, but
we could say, perhaps, that
the yes began to root in me
and it was not so much a matter
of someone opening the doors
but that the doors more or less
dissolved. And what I had thought
could separate me from anything else
was shown to be nothing at all.
I would like to tell you that I felt grace
in the opening, but the truth
is I felt such terrible ache.
And god did not come put a hand
on my cheek and tell me
everything would be okay.
In fact, if anything, the voice
I did not hear told me
there are no promises.
But I felt it, the invitation
to keep opening doors,
to not close my eyes,
to not turn away.
And though I do not pray,
I said thank you, thank you.
– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

When it comes down to it, I don’t have much in the way of advice to offer you, but here it is: Read to children. Vote. And never buy anything from a man who’s selling fear.
– Mary Doria Russell, Dreamers of the Day

When it comes down to it, I don’t have much in the way of advice to offer you, but here it is: Read to children. Vote. And never buy anything from a man who’s selling fear.
– Mary Doria Russell, Dreamers of the Day

It seems to me that romanticising the past, in our culture at this point in time, is less common than romanticising the future. The only difference is that romanticising the future is socially acceptable.

But if [projecting our emotional needs onto the past] is foolish, is it any more so than indulging in fantasies about Moon bases and salvation by silicon chip? What is the difference between those who project their needs onto the past, and those who project them onto the future? […] It may not be realistic to look to the past for inspiration, but at least we know, more or less, what the past was like. We have no idea what the future will bring. […] The kind of people who are disgusted by an idealised past can often barely contain their enthusiasm for an idealised future.

[…] The Romantic movement, which flourished during the first half of the 19th century, responded to the dehumanising impact of mass industry, the rationalisation of nature and the increasing emphasis on human reason, with a defence of an emotional, intuitive reaction to the natural world […]. It was at the time deeply entwined with radical politics and an assault on the dogmas of materialism and scientism. If it sometimes idealised the past, that was probably an inevitable reaction to the bombastic championing of the future that was going on all around. […]

There is no way to prevent this society from romanticising progress and technology. Our space age delusions comfort us on a civilisational level. […] What we can do, when presented with a vision that projects an ideal onto either the future or the past, is examine our own personal need to be deluded.

– Paul Kingsnorth, Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist

I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.
– E. B. White

It is thanks to my evening reading alone that I am still more or less sane.
– W.G. Sebald

While others are asking for beauty or fame,
Or praying to know that for which they should pray,
Or courting Queen Venus, that affable dame,
Or chasing the Muses the weary and grey,
The sage has found out a more excellent way –
To Pan and to Pallas his incense he showers,
And his humble petition puts up day by day,
For a house full of books, and a garden of flowers.

[…] Oh! grant me a life without pleasure or blame
(As mortals count pleasure who rush through their day
With a speed to which that of the tempest is tame)!
O grant me a house by the beach of a bay,
Where the waves can be surly in winter, and play
With the sea-weed in summer, ye bountiful powers!
And I’d leave all the hurry, the noise, and the fray,
For a house full of books, and a garden of flowers.
– Andrew Lang, Ballade of True Wisdom

It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious.
– Alfred North Whitehead

Under a Samhain Blue Moon
If you stopped believing in magic,
now would be a good time
to start again. This world is going
to need your bold imagination.
You won’t be able to rest on
what has been known. You’re
going to need to trust in the
voices that your ancestors dismissed
so that you might one day be
born into this world that vanquished
all of their dreams but one.
– Jamie K. Reaser

Nothing perhaps illustrates the general disintegration of political life better than this vague, pervasive hatred of everybody and everything.
– Hannah Arendt

There’s no delight in owning anything unshared.
– Seneca

Friends are as companions on a journey, who ought to aid each other to persevere in the road to a happier life.
– Pythagoras

Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself.
– Desiderius Erasmus

Something changed in the world. Not too long ago, it changed, and we know it. We don’t know how to explain it yet, but I think we all can feel it, somewhere deep in our gut or in our brain circuits. We feel time differently. No one has quite been able to capture what is happening or say why. Perhaps it’s just that we sense an absence of future, because the present has become too overwhelming, so the future has become unimaginable. And without future, time feels like only an accumulation. An accumulation of months, days, natural disasters, television series, terrorist attacks, divorces, mass migrations, birthdays, photographs, sunrises. […] Perhaps if we found a new way to document [the world], we might begin to understand this new way we experience space and time.
– Lost Children Archive, Valeria Luiselli

The puer aeternus very often has this mature, detached attitude toward life, which is normal for old people but which he acquires prematurely—the idea that life is not everything, that the other side is valid too, that life is only part of the whole of existence.
– Marie- Louise von Franz

[U]nconscious contents, as a rule, cannot stand to be observed. They react violently to being known because this destroys or relativizes the autonomy (omnipotence) they enjoy while operating unconsciously.
– Edward Edinger

I am singing a song that can only be born after losing a country.
– Joy Harjo

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
– WH Auden

There’s nothing to do about what people think, except to pay as little attention as possible.
– Philip Roth

People are to be taken in very small doses.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Deep down, nature is inherently peaceful, calm and beautiful. The universe as a whole is perfect.
– Amit Ray

Let the day grow on you upward
through your feet,
the vegetal knuckles,
….
the swifts thicken your hair,
the new moon rising out of your forehead,
and the moonlit veins of silver
running from your armpits
like rivulets under white leaves.
Sleep, as ants
cross over your eyelids.
You have never possessed anything
as deeply as this.
This is all you have owned
from the first outcry
through forever;
you can never be dispossessed.
– Derek Walcott

How to Write a Poem in a Time of War
by Joy Harjo
You can’t begin just anywhere. It’s a wreck.
Shrapnel and the eye
Of a house, a row of houses. There’s a rat scrambling
From light with fleshy trash in its mouth. A baby strapped
to its mother’s back, cut loose.
Soldiers crawl the city,
the river, the town, the village,
the bedroom, our kitchen. They eat everything.
Or burn it.
They kill what they cannot take. They rape. What they cannot kill
they take.
Rumors fall like rain.
Like bombs.
Like mother and father tears
swallowed for restless peace.
Like sunset slanting toward a moonless midnight.
Like a train blown free of its destination.
Like a seed
fallen where
there is no chance of trees
or anyplace
for birds to live.
No, start here.
Deer peer from the edge of the woods.
We used to see woodpeckers
The size of the sun, and were greeted
by chickadees with their good morning songs.
We’d started to cook outside, slippery with dew and laughter,
ah those smoky sweet sunrises.
We tried to pretend war wasn’t going to happen.
Though they began building their houses all around us
and demanding 
more.
They started teaching our children their god’s story,
A story in which we’d always be slaves.
No. Not here.
You can’t begin here.
This is memory shredded because it is impossible to hold with words,
even poetry.
These memories were left here with the trees:
The torn pocket of your daughter’s hand-sewn dress,
the sash, the lace.
The baby’s delicately beaded moccasin still connected to the foot,
A young man’s note of promise to his beloved—
No! This is not the best place to begin.
Everyone was asleep, despite the distant bombs.
Terror had become the familiar stranger.
Our beloved twin girls curled up in their nightgowns,
next to their father and me.
If we begin here, none of us will make it to the end
Of the poem.
Someone has to make it out alive, sang a grandfather
to his grandson, his granddaughter,
as he blew his most powerful song into the hearts of the children.
There it would be hidden from the soldiers,
Who would take them miles, rivers, mountains
from the navel cord place of the origin story.
He knew one day, far day, the grandchildren would return,
generations later over slick highways, constructed over old trails
Through walls of laws meant to hamper or destroy, over stones
bearing libraries of the winds.
He sang us back
to our home place from which we were stolen
in these smoky green hills.
Yes, begin here.

Alllight Saving Time
Turn your clocks
sideways
to the hour
where
no- body
can get a good clean
shot at you.
– Kenneth Patchen

For me it was important to be alone;
solitude was a prerequisite to being openly
and joyfully susceptible and responsive
to the world of leaves, light,
birdsong, flowers, flowing water.
– Mary Oliver

We have an economic system that thinks like a drug addict.
– Naomi Klein

Let the day grow on you upward
through your feet,
the vegetal knuckles,

….

the swifts thicken your hair,
the new moon rising out of your forehead,
and the moonlit veins of silver

running from your armpits
like rivulets under white leaves.
Sleep, as ants

cross over your eyelids.
You have never possessed anything
as deeply as this.

This is all you have owned
from the first outcry
through forever;

you can never be dispossessed.

– Derek Walcott

People who are not interested in the truth will not have questions. Without questioning, they will habitually identify with and distort reality. After identification, they will pursue continuous satisfaction. If they are not satisfied, they will produce continuous dissatisfaction. If the psychological reaction of dissatisfaction or satisfaction is not realized, it will be painful. If the psychological pain is not realized, it will lead to brain atrophy and numbness.
– Lena Hu

Experience, however sublime, is not the real thing. By its very nature it comes and goes. Self-realization is not an acquisition. It is more of the nature of understanding. Once arrived at, it cannot be lost. On the other hand, consciousness is changeful, flowing, undergoing transformation from moment to moment. Do not hold on to consciousness and its contents. Consciousness held, ceases. To try to perpetuate a flash of insight, or a burst of happiness is destructive of what it wants to preserve. What comes must go. The permanent is beyond all comings and goings. Go to the root of all experience, to the sense of being. Beyond being and not-being lies the immensity of the real.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

What the world needs most is education in tsewa. We need more people to learn how to look into their own hearts and see the vast difference in their well-being when their hearts are open and when they are closed. We need more people to see for themselves how tsewa is the source of all happiness and goodness in the world. In particular, people in positions of power, influence, or responsibility—such as people in government, the military, and law enforcement—need to fill their hearts with tenderness.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

Look at everyone around you and see what we have done about ourselves and what is considered our daily victory. We have not loved above all things. We have not accepted what is not understood because we do not want to be fools. We have accumulated things and assurances for not having each other. We have no joy that has not been cataloged. We have built cathedrals and we have stayed on the outside, because the cathedrals that we ourselves build fear that they are traps. We have not given ourselves, because that would be the beginning of a long life and we fear it. We have avoided falling on our knees in front of the first of us who out of love says: you are afraid. We have organized associations and smiling clubs where it is served with or without soda. We have tried to save ourselves, but without using the word salvation so as not to be ashamed of being innocent. We have not used the word love to avoid having to recognize its context of hatred, love, jealousy and so many other opposites. We have kept our death a secret to make our life possible. Many of us make art because we do not know what the other thing is like. We have disguised our indifference with false love, knowing that our indifference is anguish in disguise. We have disguised the great fear with the little fear and that’s why we never talk about what really matters. Talking about what really matters is considered an indiscretion. We have not adored for having the sensible stinginess of remembering the false gods in time. We have not been pure and naive not to laugh at ourselves and so that at the end of the day we can say “at least I was not stupid” and so we were not perplexed before turning off the light. We have smiled in public about what we would not smile when we were left alone. We have called weakness to our candor. We have feared each other, above all. And all this we consider our victory every day.
– Clarice Lispector, An Apprenticeship, Or, The Book of Delights

ave any clear, common and simple relation to reality and to ourselves. That is the big problem of the Western world.
– Martin Heidegger

There is no doubt that solitude is a challenge and to maintain balance within it a precarious business. But I must not forget that, for me, being with people or even with one beloved person for any length of time without solitude is even worse. I lose my center. I feel dispersed, scattered, in pieces. I must have time alone in which to mull over my encounter, and to extract its juice, its essence, to understand what has really happened to me as a consequence of it.
– May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude

Don’t live with a lover or roommate who doesn’t respect your work.
– Grace Paley

We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn’t, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.
But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell’s dark vision, there was another – slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.
“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.
This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.
– Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

I don’t know which side
is anybody on any more.
I don’t really care.
There is a moment
when we have to transcend the side we’re on
and understand
that we are creatures of a higher order.
– Leonard Cohen

There is some good in the worst of us
and some evil in the best of us.
When we discover this,
we are less prone to hate our enemies.”
“Now there is a final reason I think
that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.”
It is this:
that love has within it a redemptive power.
And there is a power there
that eventually transforms individuals.
Just keep being friendly to that person.
Just keep loving them,
and they can’t stand it too long.
Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings,
and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more
at that transition period,
but just keep loving them.
And by the power of your love
they will break down under the load.
That’s love, you see.
It is redemptive,
and this is why Jesus says love.
There’s something about love
that builds up and is creative.
There is something about hate
that tears down and is destructive.
So love your enemies.
– Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

What is the World You Want to Wake Up To?
What is the world that you want to wake up to?
I want mine to be colorful and rich in texture.
I want to hear children laughing in the woods
as leaves crackle under the scamper of bare feet.
I want to sit in awe of the faces of people
who have grown old enough and wise enough
to wear their storylines.
I want to be able to sit on park benches with
my friends in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran
and so many other places
and hold them close,
to cry on their shoulders,
and to wipe their tears.
I want to hold food to my mouth and know that
it is nourishment for this, my body.
It is the only body that I have.
And it is my body. Of this I am certain.
And it is a most sacred temple, not a commodity
to be traded in the market places or
put to work in order to carry out
deeds that indefinitely burden the soul.
I want to be awakened at dawn by the voices of
tiny birds that traverse continents
and be wooed to sleep by streams and owls
and coyotes who are telling me that
they have nothing to fear of my kind.
I want to have faith that the young ones who
will be making decisions when I am weary and
wrinkled are well educated in the school of
worldly experience, and dearly love
this planet that is their inheritance.
I want to call you my Brother,
and you my Sister,
and have no doubt that you see me
as family irrespective of our
differences.
I want us to live together in wonderment
of this heart-cracking world,
not in terror of the skies or the oceans
or the earth beneath our feet because
we collectively betrayed our own Mother.
Sigh.
This is all I want.
This, and to wake up knowing that you
too have your eyes open enough
to go place your vote for the world
that you want to wake up to.
– Jamie K. Reaser, Author

Of our hurts we make monuments of survival. If we survive.
– Joyce Carol Oates

It’s a myth that spiritual people are not attached, that they’re somehow above the trials and tribulations of ordinary life. Not only are they affected by things, they’re tremendously affected by them. For rather than living in the realm of ideas and feelings about suffering, they live in the realm of action.
How do they know what action to take? How do they know how to heal?
When we bear witness, when we become the situation — homelessness, poverty, illness, violence, death — the right action arises by itself. We don’t have to worry about what to do. We don’t have to figure out solutions ahead of time. Peacemaking is the functioning of bearing witness. Once we listen with our entire body and mind, loving action arises.
Loving action is right action. It’s as simple as giving a hand to someone who stumbles or picking up a child who has fallen on the floor. We take such direct, natural actions every day of our lives without considering them special. And they’re not special. Each is simply the best possible response to that situation in that moment.
In the Zen Peacemaker Order we commit ourselves to healing others at the same time that we heal ourselves. We don’t wait to be peaceful before we begin to make peace. In fact, when we see the world as one body, it’s obvious that we heal everyone at the same time that we heal ourselves, for there are no ‘others.’
– Bearing Witness: A Zen Master’s Lessons in Making Peace

American poetry has been part of a culture in conflict….We are a people tending toward democracy at the level of hope; at another level, the economy of the nation, the empire of business within the republic, both include in their basic premise the idea of perpetual warfare.
– Muriel Rukeyser, The Life of Poetry

The Way is everything…
a circle with no outside and no inside…
the pulsating of life everywhere.
It excludes nothing.
– Bernie Glassman

We are agains war and the
sources of war
We are for poetry and the sources
of poetry.
– Muriel Rukeyser, The Life of Poetry

still feel that poetry is not medicine — it’s an X-ray. It helps you see the wound and understand it. We all feel alienated because of this continuous violence in the world. We feel alone, but we feel also together. So we resort to poetry as a possibility for survival. However, to say I survived is not so final as to say, for example, I’m alive. We wake up to find that the war survived with us.
– Dunya Mikhail

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche:
The real problem
is the state of mind of an ordinary person, which is always changing
from one thing to another.
Sentient beings are totally unstable,
but someone who has truly recognized
mind essence and stays in retreat
in the mountains is completely free
of suffering. Even in this lifetime
one can be totally free of pain
and progress further and further
on the path of happiness.
There is great benefit from this practice.
It’s never pleasant to maintain
the state of mind of an ordinary person,
which is always changing.
When unhappy, one is totally overcome
by that feeling.
Better to recognize
wide-awake empty cognizance
and remain like that.

“In order to be happy,” said Winston Churchill, “you need to find a task that requires perfection, is impossible to achieve, and spend the rest of your life trying to achieve it.”

Because the machine will try to grind you into dust anyway, whether or not we speak.
– Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

Wait
by Galway Kinnell

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. 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 our loves again.
Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,
most of all to hear your whole existence,
rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.

Each generation doubtless feels called upon
to reform the world.
Mine knows that it will not reform it,
but its task is perhaps even greater.
It consists in preventing the world
from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus

So when people say that poetry is a luxury, or an option, or for the educated middle classes, or that it shouldn’t be read in school because it is irrelevant, or any of the strange and stupid things that are said about poetry and its place in our lives, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy. A tough life needs a tough language – and that is what poetry is. That is what literature offers – a language powerful enough to to say how it is. It isn’t a hiding place. It is a finding place.
– Jeanette Winterson

Ozaagi’aan One Open to an Other
Gizaagi’in apii zaagi’idizoyan
I love you when you love yourself

gaye gaawiin zaagi’idizosiiyan
and when you do not

apii zaagijiba’iweyang
when we escape together

gaye zaagijinizhikawangwaa
and when we chase together

wiindigoog wiindamoonangwaa
the demons who tell us

gaawiin zaagiginzinog ozaagiing
nothing sprouts at the inlet

aanawi gikendamang jiigi-zaaga’igan
when we know at the edge of the lake

gii-zaagida’aawangweyang ingoding
where ashes were poured

zaagaakominagaanzh zaagaagoneg
the bearberry stands in the snow

zaagidikwanaaging ezhi-nisidotamang
branches reaching and tracing

zaagijiwebinamang gaye ishkonamang
what we have tossed and what we have saved

ezhi-naagadawaabandamang
as we examine

gizaagi’in, gizaagi miidash ozaagi’aan.
love.
– Margaret Noodin

Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world.
– Roald Dahl

Anything can happen in life,
especially nothing.
– Michel Houellebecq

And yet there are the Australia wildfires, the California wildfires, severe climate events — all there for us to see. Is it that even more individuals have to experience cataclysmic events in order for them to take the climate crisis more seriously? Many people say that. They say it’s not until it’s burning in our own backyard that we will start to act. But that’s not true. If you look at Australia, did they change? No. Look at California. Did they change? No. We have lost contact with nature so much that even when it’s burning right in front of us, we don’t care. We care more about this social system, this political system that we’ve built up.
– Greta Thunberg in the NY times magazine today

They’re talking about things of which they don’t have the slightest understanding, anyway. It’s only because of their stupidity that they’re able to be so sure of themselves.
– Franz Kafka

Every once in a while God takes
away my poetry.
I look at the stone, I see a stone.
– Adélia Prado

Writing and reading is to me
synonymous with existing.
– Gertrude Stein

I was in love with everything—I wanted to look with love at the angry people so that their eyes would be forced to respond; and I wanted to bring gifts to the envious and tell them that I am worthless.
– Egon Schiele

I long for one last Blue democracy,

Which has broke my heart a while.

– Lucie Brock-Broido

Some do the work of co-creating a better world, while others do the work of repairing the old.
Some do the work of grieving – sitting with all the loss, while others do the work of hoping – holding on to their vision.
Some do the work of observing and watching – staying close to the election results as they unfold, while others do the work of turning away, tending to their bodies, stress and trauma.
Personally, I find a touch of grace in feeling the fragility of the American hope and experiment; I find some Earth in knowing that we are already broken.
I’m currently sitting with Paula Gunn Allen, a Native American poet, whose words deepen me – connect me with Spirit and the love found in rock, tree, river and Earth.
She writes:
I am not stone but shell
blue and fragile. dropped,
I splatter. spill the light
all over the stone
nothing that can be mended.
A circle that was not to be broken
shattered anyway.
– David Bedrick

Insight or incite?
– Mark Seiler

…Y’all, I don’t believe in the godliness of steeples, but I believe in the stain glass
and every key on every organ that is desperate for light ‘cause we are desperate for life –
for the sight of a captivated audience refusing to be held captive in the thought that they can only listen and watch.

Picasso said he would paint with his own wet tongue on the dusty floor of a jail cell if he had to.
We have to create;
it is the only thing louder than destruction;
it is the only chance the bars are gonna break.
Our hands full of colour
reaching towards the sky – a brush stroke in the dark
It is not too late
That starry night – it is not yet dry.
– Andrea Gibson

Even if the whole Universe is nothing but a bunch of jerks doing all kinds of jerk-type things, there is still liberation in simply not being a jerk.
– Dogen Zenji as paraphrased by Brad Warner

Even if wrong upon wrong pervade the whole Universe, and even if wrongs have swallowed the whole Dharma again and again, there is still salvation and liberation in not committing.
– Dogen Zenji as translated by Nishijima/Cross

Even if unwholesome action fills worlds upon worlds, and swallows up all things, refrain from is emancipation.
– Dogen Zenji as translated by Kazuaki Takahashi

Even if evils completely filled however many worlds or completely swallowed however many dharmas, there is liberation in not doing.
– Dogen Zenji as translated by the Soto Zen Text Project

Even if spheres were to be totally engulfed by evil or all dharmas entirely swallowed up, refraining remains the liberating factor.
– Dogen Zenji as translated by Daitsu Tom Wright

Sanity, may be the most painful state of mind of all.
– Elijah Morton

Don’t fake it baby, lay the real thing on me
The church of man, love, is such a holy place to be.
– David Bowie

It’ll all go back to normal if we put our nation first
But the trouble with normal is it always gets worse…
– Bruce Cockburn

Alas, day, you brought light,
You trailed splendour
You showed us god:
I salute you, most precious one,
But I go to a new place,
Another life.
– H.D.

Our job, as writers and artists, is to make work that changes the world, that make it better by shifting people from a lack of awareness to a newfound one, whether that be through an altered world view or a new selfhood or just a break with beauty.
I send you peace, which is my primary job today. Peacekeeping and peacemaking.
– Amy Gigi Alexander

Real adventure is defined best as a journey from which you may not come back alive, and certainly not as the same person.
– Yvon Chouinard

Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.
– Gerard Manley Hopkins

The vote is precious. It is almost sacred. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democracy.
– John Lewis

Queen of Compassion,
I see your footprint everywhere now.
Your presence is fire,
the roaring flame of justice,
where those who have no voice
cry out in silence and are heard.
You wipe away the tears of the forsaken.
You rise from the mists of the holy mystery,
limpid and radiant,
crowned with the authority of the Holy One.
You carry the Prince of Peace.
In your wake the living waters rise and flow
over the parched wilderness of our souls
and we are revivified.
Blessed Mother,
let me walk lightly on this earth.
Let my footsteps leave no trace of harm.
May your loving touch be my guide.
– Mirabai Starr (Our Lady of Pochaev)

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
– Lucille Clifton

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

Go for broke. Always try and do too much. Dispense with safety nets. Aim for the stars. And never forget that writing is as close as we get to keeping a hold on the thousand and one things–childhood, certainties, cities, doubts, dreams, instants, phrases, parents, loves–that go on slipping , like sand, through our fingers.
– Salman Rushdie

Oppressors always expect the oppressed to extend to them the understanding so lacking in themselves.
– Audre Lorde

America when will you be angelic?
– Allen Ginsberg

The surest way to work up a crusade in favour of some good cause is to promise people they will have a chance of maltreating someone. To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behaviour ‘righteous indignation’ — this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats.
– Aldous Huxley

Let it be ok that nothing is happening.
Let the show be over, let the movie,
the story of ‘I’ as an individual person, be over. And see what happens.

Truth will reveal itself,
absolute clarity of how this matrix works,
will show itself to be no more than a matrix. And somehow, a capacity to enjoy
what ever is unfolding is always there.
– Jac O’Keeffe

You exist only in what you do.
– Federico Fellini

Art’s whatever you choose to frame.
– Fleur Adcock

You can’t show proof of the truest thing
of all, all you can do is believe.
– Clarice Lispector, The Hour of the Star

I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.
– Richard Feynman

Just assume
the answer to every question
is compassion.
– Father Gregory Boyle

Happiness feeds but doesn’t nourish.
– Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies

An artist is somebody who enters into competition with God.
– Patti Smith

quaker thoughts.. “it is a bold and colossal claim that we put forward – that the whole of life is sacramental, that there are innumerable ‘means of grace’ by which god is revealed and communicated – through nature and through human fellowship and through a thousand things that may become the ‘outward and visible sign’ of ‘an inward and spiritual grace’.
– a. barratt brown (1932)

I feel like people accept the first thing I show them
and that’s all I ever am to them.
– Mary Gaitskill, Don’t Cry: Stories

What good is a writer
if he can’t destroy literature?
– Julio Cortázar

Again and again it has been shown that society’s attachment to its familiar and long-since-forfeited life is so rigid as to nullify the genuinely human application of intellect, forethought, even in dire peril.
– Walter Benjamin, One Way Street

We do not have the ideal world, such as we would like, where morality is easy because cognition is easy. Where one can do right with no effort because he can detect the obvious.
– Philip K Dick

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear.
– lucille clifton

The days will be arduous […] so you need an arsenal of laughter behind you for various heartbreaks that are on the way. You know, that does not mean that we won’t win, whatever winning looks like, but all victories come with heartbreaks along the way.
– Jericho Brown

David Bedrick:
Trump has a super power, but so do we.

His Super Power: He stands for, represents, and provides a projection screen for a fundamental root of the U.S.

This root does not get healed; this root does not get transformed. It is who we are as a country (the U.S.).

We are blinded by thinking we can vote it out, march it out, petition it out, shadow-work it out.

We easily misplace our precious hope if we tie it to an election.

Why do I call it a superpower? First, because he represents that root so damn well. Second, because the denial system of those who stand against him keeps us just innocent enough, or naive enough, to think this is not really the United States of America.

Given that, how do we proceed? If we can’t change it, vote it out, heal it away, then what?

We must commit to making more love. This is our superpower.

That love could be made with:

– Our bodies
– A subgroup of people
– A musical instrument
– Our voices that sing or ring out (whether they change the world or not)
– The words that we write
– A rock, a river, a tree… the Earth
– An animal, be it 4 legged, 6 legged, winged, or gilled
– Another human
– A craft or something we dream of mastering
– And any other thing that your heart imagines and dreams of.

In short, we must make love to our callings.

And in that love, there is more than hope, more than any outcome.

In that love we find what we were always looking for – OURSELVES.

Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light.
– John Milton, Paradise Lost

When all that holds us has failed us,
And we stand on the chaotic brink,
As the ground underneath us crumbles,
Gasping for air as we sink.

There in unknowing, you have found us,
Like stars in the deepest of night.
We lift up our eyes to behold you,
Enfolding in love’s layered light.

Your eyes sink into us with healing,
Belonging, the welcoming home,
For we were never forgotten,
Just lost on the long journey home.
– Bob Holmes

We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kinder and more open to what scares us. We always have this choice.
– Pema Chödrön

Don’t find fault. Find a remedy.
– Henry Ford

Literature begins at the moment
when literature becomes a question.
– Maurice Blanchot

We can look at history and see that [political turmoil is] fertile ground for art.
– Morgan Parker, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé

If you don’t find a teacher soon, you’ll live this life in vain. It’s true you have buddha-nature. But without the help of a teacher, you’ll never know it. Only one person in a million becomes enlightened without a teacher’s help.
– Bodhidharma

The modern imagination postpones the new to an elusive future. It displaces the new from the immediacy of the thick now by compelling the researcher to keep his eyes trained on the horizons, on the spectacular, on big bangs and photogenic finishes. Making sanctuary is the refusal of smooth continuity. It is in many senses the impossibility of continuity. We are humbled; the drama and vaunted interiority of the human self is interrupted. The demand for a feeling fix alchemized into inquiry. We turn to obstacles, to road blocks, to world ends, to fierce monsters, because only in our diffractive encounter with them are differences made. We sit at the edges, at cracks, at broken highways, and in circles of rekindled wonder – along with the bones of those that are absent and yet forcefully present. There, in the vortex of prophecy, new worlds flash forth.
– Bayo Akomolafe

done with the designs and narratives of all the old priests, colonizers and power-sick patriarchs.

their narrative is tedious, sadistic. dishonest.

regressive.

let them destroy themselves, but unsubscribe yourself.

those narratives didn’t come from your first peoples. their ultimate designs don’t fit yours.

unenroll. we know what those stories result in, the harm caused.

there is no deep connection in their narratives, because their whole experiment hinges on relational incoherence.
– Lauren Worsh

People can’t, unhappily, invent their mooring posts, their lovers and their friends, any more than they can invent their parents. Life gives these and also takes them away and the great difficulty is to say ‘Yes’ to life.
– James Baldwin

Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.
– Saint Augustine

Withdraw now from the invisible pounding and weaving of your ingrained ideas. If you want to be rid of this invisible turmoil, you must just sit through it and let go of everything. Attain fulfillment and illuminate thoroughly. Light and shadow altogether forgotten. Drop off your own skin, and the sense-dusts will be fully purified. The eye then readily discerns the brightness.
– Hongzhi Zhengjue

Think diligently about the images that the ancients have left behind. They show the way of what is to come. Look back at the collapse of empires, of growth and death, of the desert and monasteries, they are the images of what is to come.
– CG Jung, The Red Book

To reach a buddha-land, purify your mind.
– Bodhidharma

Friends aren’t made, they’re recognized.
– Joni Mitchell

I had found my religion:
nothing seemed more important
to me
than a book.
I saw the library as a temple.
– Jean Paul Sartre, The Words

There has been so much positive constructive human energy that has been dammed up by the power-mad, sociopathic Republican party for four years. So many good projects that were terminated or never got off the ground. Once we get the pandemic sorted, let the renaissance begin!
– Steve Silberman

I never violate an inner rhythm.
I loathe to force anything.
I listen to it and I stay with it.
I have always been this way.
I have regards for the inner voice.
– Lee Krasner

The absurdity of life should not prevent you
from celebrating it.
– Albert Camus

BALANCED VICTORY

DOES NOT JEER NOR CHEER,
DOES NOT GLOAT
NOR GO FOR THE THROAT,

RATHER, BENDS TO THE LOOM
GENTLY SETTING INTO PLACE,

ONE MORE BEAUTIFUL ROW
OF GOOD, STRONG THREAD . . .

THAT WILL WARM, PROTECT, BEAUTIFY,

THAT WILL HOLD FOR LONG AND LONG

– Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I am an old scholar, better-looking now than when I was young. That’s what sitting on your ass does to your face.
– Leonard Cohen

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.
– Naomi Shihab Nye

To heal will require real effort, and a change of heart, from all of us. To heal means that we will begin to look upon one another with respect and tolerance instead of prejudice, distrust and hatred.

We will have to teach our children — as well as ourselves — to love the diversity of humanity…. We can do it. Yes, you and I and all of us together. Now is the time. Now is the only possible time. Let the Great Healing begin.
– Leonard Peltier

Whatever may be meant by moral landscape,
it is for me increasingly a terrain
seen in cross-section: igneous, sedimentary,
conglomerate, metamorphic rock-
strata, in which particular grace,
individual love, decency, endurance,
are traceable across the faults.
– Geoffrey Hill, The Triumph of Love

Writing is, after all, a gesture towards other people, giving something to others. And so it’s not a completely hermetic exercise. It’s really an opening up.
– Paul Auster

Tibet is a lost country, at this point.
The Chinese have occupied my country,
and they are torturing my people.
It is quite horrific. . . .
We Tibetans were unable to avoid
that situation. Nonetheless, the Tibetan wisdom has escaped. It has been brought
out of Tibet. It has something to say, something to offer. It gives us dignity
as Tibetans.
– Chogyam Trungpa

Without freedom of speech, there is no modern world. Just a barbaric one.
– Ai Weiwei

Michael Meade:

The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus suggested that “in changing we find purpose.” That is to say that the first step involves the willingness and the desire to make a change. Then, in the process of altering the course of life, the genuine purpose of the change becomes more evident. Yesterday was an important day, as the desire of a majority of people in the United States to make a change became clear. The election of the new president marks both a symbolic and a literal change. Electing a woman of color to be vice president is a historic change. And having the highest vote count of all time indicates a change at the level of public engagement precisely at a time of great public danger.

The election has been decided and a shift in the course of life becomes more possible, even if the outgoing president persists in denying reality and threatening the process. Change is underway, even as the country remains largely divided and the challenges appear enormous in size and complex in nature. The issue becomes change in what way, to what aim, for what purpose? At such a critical time for life on earth, the point cannot simply be a shift from one form of politics to another. The kind of change being called for at this time is a genuine transformation, a true change in the form and the shape and the imagination of life on earth.

The old Greek word for a thorough and purposeful change in life was metanoia. More than a change of attitude or shift in politics an experience of metanoia calls for an about-face or complete change in the direction of life. Meta means “beyond” as in metamorphosis or metaphysical and that seems to be the level of transformation of human life required by the crisis of radical climate change. The term noia carries the sense of a “true understanding,” thus a change that moves us beyond our current understanding of both ourselves and the world in which we live. Metanoia involves a genuine awakening, not just a change of mind; but also a change of heart that leads to a greater understanding of life and the role of humanity.

Human nature is secretly connected to great Nature which is the source of constant transformation in life. The human soul is capable of such a radical sense of change that we can reach a place of understanding that had previously been beyond our comprehension. Such a transformation involves a thorough change of mind, but it also moves the heart. A genuine change moves the mind closer to the heart, just as it moves people closer to each other and brings human culture closer to the heart of nature. That is the hidden aim and true purpose of the great crises in life. Because all things are ultimately interconnected, the challenges we face and the changes underway signal a genuine transformation of the world.

This ancient sense of transformation assumes that there is something essential within us that we can turn to and learn from; that we can draw upon repeatedly and grow from continuously. Although in this moment the need for change is presented in political terms, something deep in the human soul is trying to awaken and become more conscious.

Besides involving a change in consciousness, such a deep inner change also includes a process of healing. To heal something means “to make it whole” even if it is just for a moment. In times of great crisis there can be moments of wholeness that remind us of the underlying unity of life.

As the counting of votes and the accounting for all that happened on the way to a change in the country comes to a close, it is important to remember that the great moments in life challenge all aspects of society and all levels of human awareness. We have entered such an extended moment of radical change, one that is life-defining as well as life-changing.

Because such moments of healing and of genuine transformation have a timeless quality, when it comes to waking up and turning things around, it is never too late. And ancient wisdom tells us that in times of great uncertainty a small change can lead to a greater transformation.

Literature becomes the living memory of a nation.
– Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

There is nothing wrong with standing back
and thinking.
To paraphrase several sages:
Nobody can think
and hit someone at the same time.
– Susan Sontag

When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes
– Do You Hear the People Sing?, Les Miserables

The lyricism of marginality may find inspiration in the image of the “outlaw,” the great social nomad, who prowls on the confines of a docile, frightened order.
– Michel Foucault

Buddhism is saying:
you don’t need any gizmos to be ‘in the know.’ You don’t need a religion.
You don’t need any buddha statues.
You don’t need temples.
You don’t need any Buddhist bondieuserie, rosaries, and all that jazz.
But, when you get to the point that you know you don’t need any of those things—that you don’t need a religion at all—then it’s fun to have one.
Then—as it were—you can be trusted to use rosaries, and ring bells, and clappers, and chant sutras, you see?
But those things won’t help you a bit… they’ll just tie you up in knots… if you use them as methods of catching hold of something. So, every teacher of Buddhism is a debunker. But, he does it not to be a smart aleck and show how clever he is, but out of compassion. Just as, when a surgeon chops off a bad growth, or a dentist pulls out a rotten tooth, so the Buddhist surgeon (or guru) is getting rid of your crazy ideas for you, which you use to cling on to life and make it dead.
– Alan Watts, Religion of No Religion

The mandate of civility for grieving communities is unbearable.
– Joy James

Anything can happen,
any time.
– Joseph Goldstein

Like cold water to a weary soul,
So is good news from a distant land.
– Proverbs 25:25

Laughter is to the soul, what rain is to the earth.
– G. Hopman

Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.
– Leonardo da Vinci

One way to find food for thought is to use the fork in the road, the bifurcation that marks the place of emergence in which a new line of development begins to branch off.
– William Irwin Thompson

When I think of mystery,
I don’t think of myself,
I think of the universe,
like why does the moon rise
when the sun falls?
[Why do] caterpillars turn into butterflies?

Here’s the thing with me and the religious thing. This is the flat-out truth: I find the religiosity and philosophy in the music. I don’t find it anywhere else. Songs like “Let Me Rest on a Peaceful Mountain” or “I Saw the Light”—that’s my religion. I don’t adhere to rabbis, preachers, evangelists, all of that. I’ve learned more from the songs than I’ve learned from any of this kind of entity. The songs are my lexicon. I believe the songs.
– Bob Dylan

I know you are reading this poem listening
for something,
torn between bitterness and hope
turning back once again to the task
you cannot refuse.
I know you are reading this poem
because there is nothing else left to read
there where you have landed,
stripped as you are.
– Adrienne Rich

Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.
– Abigail Adams

Why are we so hyperarticulate about our adversaries and so excruciatingly tongue-tied about our loves?
– Rita Felski

It is our duty to motivate and inspire our fellow human beings. How can we be successful if even one segment of humanity fails?
– Daaji

Strive hard and do it now.
Don’t wait until you’ve grown old and find tears running down your withered cheeks.
Then it will be too late!
It is my sincerest hope that you will succeed!
– Hakuin Zenji

Reduce intellectual and emotional noise
until you arrive at the silence of yourself,
and listen to it.
– Richard Brautigan

Don’t quit before all the miracles happen…
– Joanna Harcourt Smith

I wanted to linger, sit on the top of the front door steps feeling the warmth against my arms and legs with my coffee forever.
– Linda Cue

We are now experiencing a moment of significance far beyond what any one of us can imagine. What can be said is that the foundations of a new historical period, the Ecozoic Era, have been established in every realm of human affairs. The mythic vision has been set into place. The distorted dream of an industrial technological paradise is being replaced by the more viable dream of a mutually enhancing human presence within an ever-renewing organic-based Earth community. The dream drives the action. In the larger cultural context, the dream becomes the myth that both guides and drives the action.
– Thomas Berry

Every time we are faced with the possibility of getting angry but valiantly choose the option of tolerance, our mind becomes stronger, clearer, and more confident, and we take another step toward overcoming aggression as a whole.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, The Peaceful Heart

People don’t notice whether it’s winter
or summer when they’re happy.
– Anton Chekhov

All too often our so-called strength comes from fear not love; instead of having a strong back, many of us have a defended front shielding a weak spine. In other words, we walk around brittle and defensive, trying to conceal our lack of confidence.

If we strengthen our backs, metaphorically speaking, and develop a spine that’s flexible but sturdy, then we can risk having a front that’s soft and open, representing choiceless compassion.

The place in your body where these two meet – strong back and soft front – is the brave, tender ground in which to root our caring deeply.

– Joan Halifax

I Am Alive in Los Angeles!
by Mike Sonksen

I am alive in Los Angeles!
I am alive in Los Angeles!
Here in the wild, wild west..
The warm wind hits my face,
I walk across stained concrete,
I cry tears of joy on Flower Street..
I watch families dancing
on their porches on Christmas Eve.
I smile widely.
I move thru the city,
my heart beating swiftly
as sirens speed by me.
I revel in the sadness—my soul is deep
I take full responsibility.
Give me everything!
It hurts—it’s so beautiful!
The universal
Soulful multicultural
Emerging worldwide
tribe people
I am alive in Los Angeles!

I am alive in Los Angeles!
Where the angles change like isosceles.
Citywide topographies
undulate across massive landscape
moving from chain-link to palatial gates into
separate economic states with rising birth rates
below hilltops in the streetscapes.
One can barely even equivocate
the fluctuations in rent so evident
all across from block to block to block.
Extravagance and adversity interlock:
palatial spots, crosswalks, burrito shops,
housekeepers are hanging out at bus stops,
the Country Club’s all walled off.
The city’s blowing up like a molotov
even when I’m in the shower
I hear the horns honk.
I am alive in Los Angeles!
Whether I’m listening to Miles Davis
or electronic music
I move thru traffic
loving the inner-city dynamics
the midcity magic moves
from happiness to tragic,
adversity to extravagance
like seeing Korean grandparents moving slowly
Catholic school children crossing fearlessly
I saw a stray dog that looked like Spuds Mackenzie
by the Belmont Tunnel on 2nd Street
live and direct in the Rampart District.
I am alive in Los Angeles!

All the people stopped stifled up in gridlock.
Everywhere roadblocks cause charged reactions.
Waves of chaos are collapsing
keeping people bottled up.
Tempers are rising up,
desperate drivers look for shortcuts.
There’s no way around it.
Congested walls keep surrounding,
surrounding coming down around us.
Claustrophobic intensity
stuck in the web of density,
people have a propensity to have anxiety.
It’s daily with so many people in one place.
Interacting face to face to face
with different destinations.
Everybody keeps racing
in this fast-paced nation.
I AM ALIVE IN Los Angeles!

The neon crowns glow
above the City of Angels,
haze hovers after another
nuclear sunset, I love it all.

I AM ALIVE IN Los Angeles!

The common good is best served when each community has a chance to make its unique contribution.
– Eboo Patel

Lost a bunch of followers bc swearing. Listen, I may like lovely twigs, bluetits and Lucy Maud Montgomery but I’m not bleeding Pollyanna. America’s dictator makes me livid.
– Emma Mitchell

Inner Practitioner:
You cannot ascend without letting go of your old vibration.

Let us make our future now, and let us make our dreams tomorrow’s reality.
– Malala Yousafzai

Baker Street Journal:
‘You come at a crisis, Watson,’ said he. ‘If this paper remains blue, all is well. If it turns red, it means a man’s life.’ (‘The Naval Treaty’)

For once I want to walk
into a theater and see my
reflection, not a row of
funhouse mirrors.
– Cassidy Foust

Evo Morales on the U.S. Election:
It does not matter who wins. The North American people vote, but do not rule.
Transnational corporations rule.

The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.
– Nat King Cole

I cannot know what this landscape means to others,
my homeland, this small country embraced by fire,
the world of my childhood that rocks in the distance.
– Miklós Radnóti

To write about the monstrous sense of alienation the poet feels in this culture of polarized hatreds is a way of staying sane. With the poem, I reach out to an audience equally at odds with official policy, and I celebrate our mutual humanness in an inhuman world.
– Maxine Kumin

To build a day
where grief need not be
the midwife who pulls truth
into the light.
– Andrea Gibson

When I met Jung, he told me to be true to myself, and true to my type. And that is what I wish for you. If you go against your typological makeup, you go against your grain, and you will get splinters. Go with it, and your life will have ease, flow, and purpose.
– Robert A Johnson

Bruce Cockburn:
Lashed to the wheel
Whipping into the storm
Get up, Jonah
It’s your time to be born

Questions show the mind’s range, and answers, its subtlety.
– Joseph Joubert

Narrow, one-sided formulations kill the life of the psyche, whose mobile, dual face, seamed with paradoxes, refuses to such endeavors its secret, which can never be captured by strict conceptual methods.
– Jolande Jacobi

Audre Lorde: there are so many silences to be broken.

. . . So what if . . . we had multiple . . . Inaugural Poets?

I know what I have given you. I do not know what you have received.
– Antonio Porchia, Voces Completas

Because your heart is so beautiful, everything looks beautiful to you.
– Japanese proverb

Writers serve as the memory of a people. They chew over our public past.
– Annie Dillard

Many things are true at once.
– Elizabeth Alexander

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg:
Let victims of harm and/or oppression manage their feelings on their own schedule.

Dr. Thema:
Reclaim your sleep, joy, peace, and identity. In your next season, breathe and blossom.

I am not done with my changes.
– Stanley Kunitz

Under adversity, under oppression, the words begin to fail. The easy words begin to fail. In order to convey things accurately, the human being is almost forced to find the most precise words possible, which is a precondition for literature.
– Rita Dove

Women are half the society. You cannot have a revolution without women. You cannot have democracy without women. You cannot have equality without women. You can’t have anything without women.
– Nawal El Saadawi

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin:
So many happy people are making me happy.
So many determined people are making me more determined.
So many clear-sighted people are helping me see more clearly.
So many who worked so hard inspire me to work harder.
I think this feeling is possibility.

We are not about to turn around. Yes, we are on the move, and no wave of racism can stop us.
– Dr. Martin Luther King

Bruce Cockburn:
Today I dream of how it used to be
Things were different before
The picture shifts to how it’s going to be
Balance restored

No one way works it will take all of us shoving at the thing from all sides to bring it down.
– Diane diPrima

You don’t have to move mountains. You will change the world just by being a warm, kind-hearted human being.
– Anita Krizzan

Bruce Cockburn:
In this cold commodity culture
Where you lay your money down
It’s hard to even notice
That all this earth is hallowed ground
Harder still to feel it
Basic as a breath
Love is stronger than darkness
Love is stronger than death

Until the deeper matrix, the reflexive protection system that lies below conscious thought, can be identified and struggled with, the patterning process retains its autonomy, rooted as it is in our core perceptions and survival mechanisms.
– James Hollis

To heal will require real effort, and a change of heart, from all of us. To heal means that we will begin to look upon one another with respect and tolerance instead of prejudice, distrust and hatred.
We will have to teach our children — as well as ourselves — to love the diversity of humanity…. We can do it. Yes, you and I and all of us together. Now is the time. Now is the only possible time. Let the Great Healing begin.
– Leonard Peltier

When I run after what I think I want, my days are a furnace of stress and anxiety; if I sit in my own place of patience, what I need flows to me, and without pain. From this I understand that what I want also wants me, is looking for me and attracting me. There is a great secret here for anyone who can grasp it.
– Rumi

Nine-tenths of wisdom is appreciation. Go find somebody’s hand and squeeze it, while there’s time.
– Dauten

Mark Nepo:
Meaningful art, enduring art—and the transformative process it reveals—keeps us alive

Our neurosis and our wisdom are made out of the same material.
– Pema Chodron

To love people as they are is impossible.
And yet one must.
And therefore do good to them,
clenching your feelings, holding your nose,
and shutting your eyes (this last is necessary).
Endure evil from them,
not getting angry with them if possible,
‘remembering that you, too, are a human being’.
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Questions are the keys that cause the secret doors of the psyche to swing open.
– Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Today we are all doing penance every day. We’re working hard, trying to make money to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table, trying to maintain a good relationship or marriage, trying to keep our children safe and happy and educated, trying to keep the world from blowing itself up. We don’t need any more penance. We need some joy, an ideal, encouragement, a philosophy worthy of us, a real community, neighbors to keep us from having to go it alone. We need our own religion: our sources of inspiration, hope, and healing.
– Thomas Moore

I blame myself for not often enough
seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary.
Somewhere in his journals,
Dostoyevsky remarks
that a writer can begin anywhere,
at the most commonplace thing,
scratch around in it long enough,
pry and dig away long enough, and lo!,
soon he will hit upon the marvelous.
– Saul Bellow

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo:

Everything which we see
and everyone we relate to,
we relate to from this tight box
of our very limited judgements,
prejudices, ideas, conceptions.
It’s like we’re in a very small prison cell, dungeon really.
And so we begin
to start a new kind of direction in our lives…

but the important thing is not to end up
going from one prison cell
into another prison cell.
Even if the new prison cell
has nice decoration on the wall
and burns incense.
It’s still a prison cell.
And always the question is
how to go beyond the prison,
how to get out, how to be liberated.

Unspoken feelings are unforgettable.
– Andrei Tarkovsky

What the public wants is the image
of passion, not passion itself.
– Roland Barthes

The Fool is interested in love and its manifestation in that harmony and wholeness which we call beauty. He is therefore in a state of creative vulnerability and openness and he is easily destroyed by the world.
– Cecil Collins

Under adversity, under oppression, the words begin to fail. The easy words begin to fail. In order to convey things accurately, the human being is almost forced to find the most precise words possible, which is a precondition for literature.
– Rita Dove

Behind the storm of daily conflict and crisis, the dramatic confrontations, the tumult of political struggle, the poet, the artist, the musician, continue the quiet work of centuries, building bridges of experience between peoples, reminding us of the universality of our feelings and desires, and despairs, and reminding us that the forces that unite are deeper than those that divide.
– John F. Kennedy, 1962

One of the oldest human needs is having someone wonder where you are when you don’t come home at night.
– Margaret Meade

Reach out, some say (fingers full of frostbite).
Heal, others say (fascism, heal thyself).
Unify (a unified field theory
of grievance, graves). Is forgiveness simply
a luxury no one can afford? Is it?
– Gregory Crosby

I would like to be inside
an insanity that works
– Etel Adnan

The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.
– Winston Churchill

Happiness doesn’t help you to grow; only unhappiness does that. So I’m grateful that my bed of roses was made up equally of blossoms and thorns. I’ve had a creative, exciting life, and the parts that were less joyous were preparing me, testing me, strengthening me.
– Lana Turner

Education makes people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.
– Henry Peter Brougham

Witness, then, is neither martyrdom nor the saying of a juridical truth, but the owning of one’s infinite responsibility for the other one.
– Carolyn Forché

Dalai Lama:
Modern science doesn’t include
a deep understanding of the workings
of mind and emotions,
but some scientists are now showing
an interest in finding out.
I point out to them that at the same time
that physical hygiene is important
for our health, we also need to cultivate
mental or emotional hygiene —
learning how to cope with and reduce anger, anxiety and fear. The key is learning
how to cultivate peace of mind.

We cannot live our lives in the folds of old wounds.
– Rev. Dr. Emilie Townes

We literally could not make it a decade after the passing of the generation who fought fascism before half of the damn country embraced it — again!
– Kaitlin Byrd

I wanted to ask you about your vision of perfection in an imperfect world, or what side of the earth calls out to you when you touch a physical globe, or maybe about your greatest heartache and how you still go on as your world continues turning, or what you do with a memory once lodged inside your bones that’s still breathing, and burning. But you’re still a stranger, and I’m overly polite, so I’ll ask all about your day when I’d rather know about your life.
– Victoria Erickson

If your mind is pure, everyone is a buddha.
If your mind is impure, everyone is ordinary.
– Trulshik Rinpoche

To sum up: First, a vivid state of mental tranquility and a sustaining energy together with a discerning intellect are indispensable requirements for attaining perfect insight. They are like the first steps of a staircase. Second, all meditation, with or without form, must begin from deeply aroused compassion and love. Whatever one does must emerge from a loving attitude for the benefit of others. Third, through perfect seeing, all discrimination is dissolved into a non-conceptual state. Finally, with an awareness of the void, one sincerely dedicates the results for the benefit of others. I have understood this to be the best of ways.
– The Life of Milarepa, trans. by Lobsang P. Lhalunga

You keep worrying
you’re taking up
too much space.

I wish you’d
let yourself be
the Milky Way.

– Andrea Gibson

The mass extinctions of long ago were dramatic periods of destabilization that resulted in widespread reorganization—exactly what we are starting to experience today. At the end of a mass extinction, the tree of life has lost several branches—and yet, afterward, life does go on. Plants regreen the earth and animals repopulate the oceans; different species take over and different landscapes result; and time resumes its relentless forward march. There will be life on planet Earth after the sixth mass extinction, but we are not able to imagine it any better than the dinosaurs could have imagined a world dominated by mammals walking on two legs, driving bulldozers, and flying airplanes.
– Hope Jahren, The Story of More

“Here they come!” someone whispers. Overhead, a long, wavering chevron of beating wings is inked across the darkening sky. […] Every autumn more than a hundred thousand of [Eurasian cranes] stop to spend a few weeks in north-eastern Hungary, feeding…
“Here they come!” someone whispers. Overhead, a long, wavering chevron of beating wings is inked across the darkening sky. […] Every autumn more than a hundred thousand of [Eurasian cranes] stop to spend a few weeks in north-eastern Hungary, feeding on maize left in the fields after harvest. […] In Nebraska, more than half a million sandhill cranes fatten up in cornfield before continuing their spring migration; in Québec, watchers are awed by blizzards of snow geese blotting out the sky. […]

Language fails in the face of immense flocks of beating wings. But our brains are built to wrest familiar meaning from the confusions of the world, and watching the cranes at dusk I see them first turn into strings of musical notation, then mathematical patterns. Part of the allure of flocking birds is their ability to create bewildering optical effects. I remember my amazement as a child watching thousands of wading birds, knots, flying against a cool grey sky, vanish and reappear in an instant as the birds turned their counter-shaded bodies in the air.

Perhaps the best-known example is the hosts of European starlings that assemble in the sky before they roost. We call them murmurations, but the Danish term, sort sol, is better: black sun. It captures their almost celestial strangeness. Standing on the Suffolk coast a few years ago, I saw a far-flung mist of starlings turn in a split second into an ominous sphere like a dark planet hanging over the marshes. Everyone around me gasped audibly before it exploded in a maelstrom of wings.

– Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights

Public education does not serve a public. It creates a public. […] The question is, What kind of public does it create? A conglomerate of self-indulgent consumers? Angry, soulless, directionless masses? Indifferent, confused citizens? Or a public imbued with confidence, a sense of purpose, a respect for learning, and tolerance?

The answer to this question has nothing whatever to do with computers, with testing, with teacher accountability, with class size, and with the other details of managing schools. The right answer depends on two things, and two things alone: the existence of shared narratives and the capacity of such narratives to provide an inspired reason for schooling. […] There was a time when educators became famous for providing reasons for learning; now they become famous for inventing a method. [… But] without meaning, learning has no purpose. Without a purpose, schools are houses of detention, not attention. »

– Neil Postman, The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School

Far from being the smartest possible biological species, we are probably better thought of as the stupidest possible biological species capable of starting a technological civilization—a niche we filled because we got there first, not because we are in any sense optimally adapted to it.
– Nick Bostrom, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies

Specialization may be all well very well if you happen to have skills particularly suited to these jobs, or if you are passionate about a niche area of work, and of course there is also the benefit of feeling pride in being considered an expert. But there is equally the danger of becoming dissatisfied by the repetition inherent in many specialist professions. […] Moreover, our culture of specialization conflicts with something most of us intuitively recognize, but which career advisers are only beginning to understand: we each have multiple selves. […] We have complex, multi-faceted experiences, interests, values and talents, which might mean that we could also find fulfillment as a web designer, or a community police officer, or running an organic cafe.

This is a potentially liberating idea with radical implications. It raises the possibility that we might discover career fulfillment by escaping the confines of specialization and cultivating ourselves as wide achievers […], allowing the various petals of our identity to fully unfold.

— Roman Krznaric, How To Find Fulfilling Work

To praise oneself is considered improper, immodest; to praise one’s own sect, one’s own philosophy, is considered the highest duty.
— Lev Shestov, All Things Are Possible And Penultimate Words And Other Essays

To praise oneself is considered improper, immodest; to praise one’s own sect, one’s own philosophy, is considered the highest duty.
– Lev Shestov, All Things Are Possible And Penultimate Words And Other Essays

The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant, “What good is it?” If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.
– Aldo Leopold, Round River: From the Journals of Aldo Leopold

You think it will never happen to you, that it cannot happen to you, that you are the only person in the world to whom none of these things will ever happen, and then, one by one, they all begin to happen to you, in the same way they happen to everyone else.
– Paul Auster, Winter Journal

Suffering “buys” something, and this something possesses a certain value for all of us, for common consciousness; by suffering we buy the right to judge.
– Lev Shestov, In Job’s Balances: On the Sources of the Eternal Truths

Awakening is the ego’s ultimate disappointment.
– Chogyam Trungpa

The intelligence of the body attunes to wholeness. It resonates to the world around it. That is its true nature.

Just as it is our true nature. Our longing for embodiment, then, is a longing to grow into our fullest reality: to put to rest our divisions and liberate our stifled energies and to finally feel the self and the world in the wholeness of the moment.


What we long for is a homecoming – coming home to the self, coming home to the present. And it’s crucial in our head-centric culture to understand that you can’t achieve that homecoming by grasping any idea; it is a tangible, physical journey that drops your thinking out of the head and lets it come to rest deep in your body.

When that happens, the energy of your being achieves coherence and attunes to the life of the present. You feel yourself embedded in an intelligence that guides and informs and clarifies – an intelligence that sings through your body not in a language of words, but in a language of sensational, borderless awareness.
– Philip Shepherd

You don’t need a guru.
You do need a community.
– Shawna Cason

Zazen is simply reconnecting with the mothership —
before embarking on yet another adventure
…into the unknown.
– Shinzen

Jeannie McGillivray:

I read something this evening that really put fire in my belly, it said:

The political realm is not for the mystic.

Oh my. What a gift it is for me to read that this evening.

Let me tell you something.

There is an unspeakable vastness and peace to be discovered within our interior world. This vastness exposes the mystic to the reality of an unfathomable infinity within which she becomes rooted.

That, however, is not the end of the story.

To end there is a crime against humanity.

The vastness must become the ever-present context from which the mystic operates in the world.

It is with a rootedness in the Absolute that the mystic serves THE WORLD.

The political realm is EXACTLY the place for the mystic right now. It is precisely what the mystic has been readied for.

What use is it to be Graced with the immense gift of mysticism if it is not to bring sanity to the world?

If a mystics house were on fire, would the mystic pay no mind to the fire saying “The fire is no place for the mystic” and let the house burn? No! The mystic would act to put the fire out without a thought.

Let me tell you… The house is on fire!

The political realm is not only the place for the mystic, it is the RESPONSIBILITY of the mystic, of each and every one of us, to operate within the political realm right now and put the fire out!

It is the OBLIGATION of each and every one of us to shape the political realm into that which brings forth the highest outcome for all of existence. To work for a world not only without walls but without borders. To bring humanity into the light.

2.5 million women and the men and children who support them, marched in solidarity for equality and freedom across 60 countries today in a sacred political act. Never before has humanity been so clear, so motivated and so moved with such energy.

History was not made yesterday. History was made today. And it will be made tomorrow and the next day and the day after that and all the days until our nations are united and our people liberated.

Make sacred activism your mission in every moment.

Poetry is perhaps what teaches us to nurture the charming illusion: how to be reborn out of ourselves over and over again, and use words to construct a better world, a fictitious world that enables us to sign a pact for a permanent and comprehensive peace … with life.
– Mahmoud Darwish

I still have faith in the future…
I will not join anyone who will say
that we still can’t develop
a coalition of conscience.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

We’re all writing out of a wound, and that’s where our song comes from. The wound is singing. We’re singing back to those who’ve been wounded.
– Dorianne Laux

Rich men are wretched creatures
with their money,
Poor men are wretched creatures
without money.
Alas, with, or without money,
both are miserable!
Happiness will come, dear children,
If you can practice the Dharma.
Remember then, my words,
and practice with perseverance.

Alas, is not saṃsāra like the sea?
Drawing as much water as one pleases,
It remains the same without abating.
Are not the Three Precious Ones
like Mount Sumeru,
That never can be shaken by anyone?

Are there Mongol bandits invading yogis’ cells?
Why, then, do great yogis
stay in towns and villages?
Are not people craving for rebirth and Bardo?
Why, then, do they cling
so much to their disciples?
Are woollen clothes
in the next life more expensive?
Why, then, do women
make so much of them here?
Do people fear that saṃsāra may be emptied?
Why, then, do priests and laymen
hanker after children?
Are you reserving food and drink
for your next life?
Why, then, do men and women
not give to charity?
Is there any misery in Heaven above?
Why, then, do so few plan to go there?
Is there any joy below in Hell?

Why, then, do so many prepare to visit there?
Do you not know that all sufferings
And Lower Realms are the result of sins?
Surely you know that if you now practise virtue,
When death comes
you will have peace of mind
and no regrets.

– Excerpts from The 60 Songs of Milarepa
translated by Garma C.C. Chang

Blessings are contagious, so to speak,
and are transmitted in a fashion
that is rather like catching a cold.
If somebody has a cold and you are too close, you catch a cold too. Likewise, if you get close to a master who has blessings,
they can be transmitted to you.

Blessings here mean the sense of some power of realization or power of samadhi,
some kind of atmosphere of realization
that is naturally present. You move close
to him, in the sense of opening yourself up through devotion and making sincere,
heartfelt supplications. In other words,
you lower your defenses, whatever doubts
and suspicions that prevent you
from being ‘infected’ with blessings.
The moment you do that,
you catch a cold as well.
– Drubwang Tsoknyi Rinpoche

Unity

The fundamental
delusion of humanity
is to suppose that
I am here and
you are there.

– Hakuun Yasutani Roshi

A German officer visited Picasso
in his Paris studio during the Second World War.
There he saw Guernica
and, shocked at the modernist ‘chaos’
of the painting,
asked Picasso: Did you do this?
Picasso calmly replied: No, you did this!
– Slavoj Žižek

How frequently has melancholy
and even misanthropy taken
possession of me, when the world
has disgusted me, and friends
have proven unkind.
I have then considered myself
as a particle broken off
from the grand mass of mankind.
– Mary Wollstonecraft

It’s all opinion.
Everything you hear
is nothing but opinions.
– Roshi Bernie Glassman

Love means giving something
you don’t have to someone
who doesn’t want it.
– Jacques Lacan

Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid.
– Mark Twain, Following the Equator

Let me remember you, soon will the winter be on us,
Snow-hushed and heartless.
– Sara Teasdale, Rivers to the Sea

I don’t want a new lover to show-off to
But to help me to learn together again
How beautiful we are
When love is why
– George Gorman

If you have a sister I am not she
nor your mother nor you my daughter
nor are we lovers or any kind of couple
  except in the intensive care
      of poetry
– Adrienne Rich

If it were true that superior people refuse
to be treated as inferiors, it would follow
that those low in the social order are truly inferior, since, if they were superior, they’d protest;
since they accept an inferior position,
they are inferior.
This is the comfortably tautological argument
of the slave owner, the social reactionary,
the racist, and the misogynist.
– Ursula LeGuin, A War Without End

To give up harsh speech

Harsh words disturb the minds of others
And spoil our own bodhisattva practice.
Therefore, to give up rough speech,
Which others find unpleasant,
is the practice of a bodhisattva.

Now you have given rise to the idea of attaining enlightenment for the sake of others. From now on, therefore, you should never say things that hurt others-words that upset their feelings and are bound to lead to anger. Instead, you should only say kind and gender words that will encourage them.

Most of the wars that devastate the world are started by harsh words. Quarrels, rancorous resentment, and endlessly perpetuated feuds all arise because tolerance and patience are lacking.

As Nagarjuna says in his Letter to a Friend, the words people speak are of three kinds, which the Buddha described as being like honey, like flowers, and like excrement. Words that help and please are like honey. Words that are honest and true are like flowers. But violent, harmful words and falsehoods are like excrement, and must be abandoned.

Karak Gomchung says:

Stop shooting
the poisoned arrows of harsh speech,
And give up your ill-natured aggression.

If you allow unkind words to spew out of your mouth, you will not only upset other people’s minds, but your own mind, too. At such moments, the bodhisattva’s way is lost. Those who divulge other people’s failings, loudly proclaiming them everywhere, or disparage teachers and other spiritual lineages, are only building themselves a mountain of negativity.

The way a bodhisattva uses speech, in contrast, is to bring people on to the path of liberation. He or she would start by saying things and telling stories that open people’s minds by making them happy, and then gradually and skillfully introduce to them the meaning of Dharma. The Buddha taught beings in ways that matched their differing capacities and degree of receptivity. Those with lesser capacity he instructed in the teachings of the Basic Vehicle, stressing the need to give up all ordinary activities focused on this life, to go forth from home to homelessness, and to live in secluded places. Those with greater capacity he instructed in the vast and profound teachings of the Greater Vehicle, explaining how to be generous, keep discipline, and be patient; how to start by renouncing all worldly affairs, entrust oneself to the guidance of a teacher, and practice his instructions one-pointedly in solitary retreat. He taught them how to sustain their determination by reflecting on the futility of the eight ordinary preoccupations, 102 and how to permeate their practice ‘with bodhicitta by giving rise to a truly altruistic attitude and directing to the benefit of others everything they think and do.

llI. Training in how to be rid
of the negative emotions

When emotions become habitual
they are hard to get rid of with antidotes.
Therefore, with mindfulness and vigUance,
to seize the weapon of the antidote
And crush attachment
and other negative emotions
The moment they arise
is the practice of a bodhisattva.

Whatever practice you are doing,
it has to work as an effective antidote
to your negative ,emotions and to your belief
in substantial existence.

Now, any emotion can only begin as a tiny thought or feeling, which then grows stronger and stronger. If you can recognize that thought the very moment it first arises, it will be easy to let it subside again. An emotion recognized at that stage is like a small wisp of cloud in a clear and empty sky, which is not going to produce any rain.

If, on the other hand, you remain unaware of such thoughts and let them expand and multiply, there will soon be such a rapid succession of thoughts and feelings, each one adding to the one before, that you will find it increasingly hard not only to break the build-up of that emotion, but also to hold back from the negative actions it is liable to induce. As 1he Ornament to the Mahayana Sutras warns:

The emotions destroy oneself, destroy others, and destroy discipline.

At the end of the chapter on carefulness in The Way of the Bodhisattva, Shantideva likens the negative emotions to enemies who must be repulsed and routed. But, he points out, unlike ordinary, human enemies, they do not have anywhere to retreat to. You get rid of them simply by recognizing them for what they are:

Miserable afflictions,
scattered by the eye of wisdom!

In the struggle against the emotions, if you lose your vigilance even for a moment you have to revive it at once-in the same way that a swordsman in battle who lets slip his sword must pick it up again immediately. The very instant an emotion arises, the thought of using the antidote should occur to you. What else is the Dharma for, if it is not to stop you giving full vent to your negative emotions? As Drom Tonpa said,

Whatever works
to counteract emotions, it is Dharma;
Whatever does not work is not Dharma.

Indeed, there is no time to waste. If you had been shot at with a poisoned arrow, would you just wait with it sticking in your flesh, or would you immediately set about extracting it and making the wound bleed? As Shantideva also said:

Wandering where it will, the elephant of mind,
Will bring us down to pains of deepest hell,
No worldly beast, however wild and crazed,
Could bring upon us such calamities.
But if, with mindfulness’s rope,
The elephant of the mind is tied on every side,
All fears will come to nothing,
And every virtue drop into our hands.

When Yeshe Tsogyal asked Guru Rinpoche, “Who is the worst enemy?” he said,
“Obscuring emotions.”
Gyalse Thogme concludes:

Train yourself to control the three
poisonous thoughts between sessions.
Until all thoughts and appearances
arise as the dharmakaya,
There is no way to do without that training. Remember whenever you need it,
And never give deluded thoughts free rein,
you Mani-reciters.

Always stay alert, therefore, and watch what your mind is doing. Think about it. Over countless lifetimes, have you not been deluded, fallen under the power of your negative emotions, and as a result had to undergo-time and time again-the sufferings of birth, sickness, old age, and death? Yet still you cling to samsara as if it were a happy place. You take things that are impermanent to be permanent. You work frantically to amass possessions you will never be able to keep, without ever being satisfied. Surely now it is high time to start observing your mind.

Be aware of everything that arises in your mind immediately, as though watching your face in a mirror. IdentifY your emotions as the enemies that have spoiled your past lives, and will spoil your future lives, too, if you fail to cut them at the root as soon as they appear. There is no emotion that you cannot be rid of, because emotions are simply thoughts, and thoughts are just like the wind moving through the empty sky. There is nothing to them.

However, in just the same way that someone who attains a high position may find that his worries and difficulties increase, so too, when you set yourself the ambitious goal of getting free from samsara, you may find that your thoughts and habitual tendencies seem even stronger and more numerous than before. If you fall immediately under their power, your practice will be interrupted. It may stagnate, to the point that you end up as an old hermit only interested in making money. Or you could stray into an intellectual approach, endlessly acquiring more and more knowledge. But if you can manage to overcome your wild emotions by concentrating on sustained calm and profound insight, you are sure to make steady progress on the path.

When your mind is distracted, you can be bitten by a mosquito without your even noticing it. But when your mind is quiet, you will feel a mosquito bite straight away. In the same way, the mind needs to be relaxed and quietened if it is to become aware of its empty nature. The practice of shamatha is done for this reason, and through such practice even a person with strong emotions will gradually acquire selfcontrol and inner calm. When the mind comes to a stable state of relaxed concentration, your habitual tendencies fade away by themselves, while altruism and compassion naturally develop and expand. Eventually, you will come to a state of ease in the unceasing flow of the absolute nature.

Why are all of us beings
wandering in samsara? As Chandrakirti said:

Beings think ‘I’ at first, and cling to self;
They think of ‘mine’ and are attached to things.
They thus turn helplessly
as buckets on a waterwheel,
And to compassion for such beings
I bow down.

The buddha nature, tathagatagarbha, is present in all of us, but we fail to recognize it, instead mistakenly taking what arises through its natural power of manifestation-the universe and its six realms (place), the various physical forms of the beings in those realms (body), and the eight consciousnesses (mind)-to be things outside and separate from ourselves. This dualistic perception is responsible for the split between self and others, from which arises the tendency we all have to cherish ourselves, and to consider others much less important than we are. The root of all this is ignorance, the false belief in an “1.” If your mistaken belief in a self disappeared, so too would the whole idea of other. You would realize the essential sameness of self and other.

The separation of everything into yourself and others is how the entire play of attachment and aversion begins. “Others” can only be conceived in relation to yourself Without the idea that there is an “I,” how could the notion of”other” arise? When you recognize the empty nature of”l,” you simultaneously recognize the empty nature of “other.” When ignorance disappears, so too does the distinction between self and-other. You stop treating people as adversaries to be overcome, and perceive friends and relatives as dream-like magical illusions.

Be aware of whatever negative tendency may be contained in your thoughts as they arise, and apply the appropriate antidote. For instance, if you are thinking of someone and the idea of this being an “enemy” arises, do not let any hatred develop. Instead, generate great love for that person as though he or she were your dearest friend. If attachment arises, view the person as an illusion, and remember that whatever comes together is bound to separate. When you let attachment subside, there will be no habitual tendencies or karmic seeds to accumulate for future lives. By trying to classify the infinitude of living beings into friends and enemies, you will only overload your mind. Instead, simplify everything and see everyone as your kind parents.

Only an omniscient buddha could know how long ago it was that you fell into the delusion of samsara, in which you have spent an incalculable number of lives. All beings must have been your parents in one life or another. Realizing this, feel a deep, impartial love for them all.

– DILGO KHYENTSE RINPOCHE

Wouldn’t it be great if we never ‘blew it?’ If we always said or did the right thing at the right time, in the right tone of voice? Then no one would ever be upset, we’d never hurt anyone’s feelings, and our partners would never respond angrily to being disrespected. Well, that may work in a fantasy relationship, but real partnerships are messy — especially if we’re trying to have them be extraordinary. I’d rather know how to heal my partners than live cautiously so as to never injure them. And, I’d rather they knew how to heal me, so they can risk being playful and truthful.
– Alison Armstrong

Beware
At war
Or at peace,
More people die
Of unenlightened self-interest
Than of any other disease.
– Octavia Butler

Some Big Rumi =

Cry Out in Your Weakness

A dragon was pulling a bear into its terrible mouth.
A courageous man went and rescued the bear.
There are such helpers in the world, who rush to save
anyone who cries out. Like Mercy itself,
they run toward the screaming.
And they can’t be bought off.
If you were to ask one of those, “Why did you come
so quickly?” He or she would say, “Because I heard
your helplessness.”
Where lowland is,
that’s where water goes. All medicine wants
is pain to cure.
And don’t just ask for one mercy.
Let them flood in. Let the sky open under your feet.
Take the cotton out of your ears, the cotton
of consolations, so you can hear the sphere-music. . . .
Give your weakness
to One Who Helps.
Crying out loud and weeping are great resources.
A nursing mother, all she does
is wait to hear her child.
Just a little beginning-whimper,
and she’s there.
God created the child, that is, your wanting,
so that it might cry out, so that milk might come.
Cry out! Don’t be stolid and silent
with your pain. Lament! And let the milk
of Loving flow into you.
The hard rain and wind
are ways the cloud has
to take care of us.
Be patient.
Respond to every call
that excites your spirit.
Ignore those that make you fearful
and sad, that degrade you
back toward disease and death.

Translation by Coleman Barks

The opposite of holding on isn’t letting go. It’s digestion.
– Sarah Trelease

A CONTEMPORARY FABLE: UPSTREAM/DOWNSTREAM
It was many years ago that the villagers of Downstream recall spotting the first body in the river. Some old timers remember how spartan were the facilities and procedures for managing that sort of thing. Sometimes, they say, it would take hours to pull 10 people from the river, and even then only a few would survive.

Though the number of victims in the river has increased greatly in recent years, the good folks of Downstream have responded admirably to the challenge. Their rescue system is clearly second to none: most people discovered in the swirling waters are reached within 20 minutes – many less than 10. Only a small number drown each day before help arrives – a big improvement from the way it used to be.

Talk to the people of Downstream and they’ll speak with pride about the new hospital by the edge of the water, the flotilla of rescue boats ready for service at a moments notice, the comprehensive health plans for coordinating all the manpower involved, and the large numbers of highly trained and dedicated swimmers always ready to risk their lives to save victims from the raging currents. Sure it costs a lot but, say the Downstreamers, what else can decent people do except to provide whatever is necessary when human lives are at stake.

Oh, a few people in Downstream have raised the question now and again, but most folks show little interest in what’s happening Upstream. It seems there’s so much to do to help those in the river that nobody’s got time to check how all those bodies are getting there in the first place. That’s the way things are, sometimes.
– Donald Ardell
High Level Wellness

For the crust presented by the life of lies is made of strange stuff. As long as it seals off hermetically the entire society, it appears to be made of stone. But the moment someone breaks through in one place, when one person cries out, “The emperor is naked!” – when a single person breaks the rules of the game, thus exposing it as a game – everything suddenly appears in another light and the whole crust seems then to be made of a tissue on the point of tearing and disintegrating uncontrollably.
– Václav Havel

On our earth, before writing was invented,
before the printing press was invented,
poetry flourished. That is why we know
that poetry is like bread; it should be shared
by all, by scholars and by peasants, by all
our vast, incredible, extraordinary family
of humanity.
– Pablo Neruda

I would like to be the air that inhabits you
for a moment only.
I would like to be that unnoticed
and that necessary.
– Margaret Atwood

A buddha is someone who is enlightened, capable of loving and forgiving. You know that at times you’re like that. So enjoy being a buddha. When you sit, allow the buddha in you to sit. When you walk, allow the buddha in you to walk. Enjoy your practice. If you don’t become a buddha, who will?
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.
– Naomi Shihab Nye

You will never realize that an incident which filled but a degree in the circle of your thoughts covered the whole circumference of mine. No person can see exactly what and where another’s horizon is.
– Thomas Hardy

We are programmed to see ourselves everywhere—we see a face in the light socket, we yell at the car for breaking down, we apply complex psychological motivations to our cat. What is God but the attempt to make the universe more like us—to make it living, breathing, thinking, moral, creative, thoughtful, emotional, and answerable?
– J.G. Keely

This is all too common:

Shame enters the psyche of a person, hypnotizing them with its powerful and incessant voice – “Something is wrong with you.”

The person then makes heroic efforts to overcome, get over, eliminate, bypass, or otherwise “heal” that which shame has targeted – your body, your personality, your style, your sensitivity, your feelings, the way you think, or even the way you love.

Making shame’s lethal mindset even more deadly, the dominant cultural messages reinforce shame’s view of you – “You do need to change your body, your feelings, the way you love….”

Programs, coaches, therapists, workshops, books…. whole industries rise up, banking on shame’s message, which becomes a deeply embedded conviction in the person’s psyche.

This is shame’s tragic impact: instead of seeking to rid ourselves of shame and freeing the gifts now hidden in the shamed site, we work to get rid of precious parts of ourselves.

In the words of the songstress, Nicolette Larson “It’s gonna take a lotta love to change the way things are.”
– David Bedrick

Every disease is a musical problem. Its cure a musical solution. The more rapid and complete the solution, the greater the musical talent of the doctor.
– Novalis

From.. depth psychology, we have learned that we seldom are truly choosing consciously; instead, we are often under influence of historic forces that we have internalized or are responding to environmental pressures we little suspect have such
influence over us.
– James Hollis

The whole point and joy of human life is to integrate the spiritual with the material, the mystical with the sensuous, and the altruistic with a kind of proper self-love.
– Alan Watts

Dalai Lama:

Religion, any religion,
no matter what sort of wonderful religion,
never be universal.
So now education is universal,
so we have to sort of find ways and means
through education system, from kindergarten
up to university level, to make awareness
these good things, the values, inner values.

My main hope is eventually,
in modern education field,
introduce education about warm-heartedness,
not based on religion,
but based on common experience
and a common sort of sense,
and then scientific finding.

Shedding Skin
Pulling out of the old scarred skin
(old rough thing I don’t need now
I strip off
slip out of
leave behind)

I slough off deadscales
flick skinflakes to the ground

Shedding toughness
peeling layers down
to vulnerable stuff

And I’m blinking off old eyelids
for a new way of seeing

By the rock I rub against
I’m going to be tender again
– Harryette Mullen

A recovery will not be green unless green is a design consideration. A green recovery will not be equitable unless equity is a design consideration. And there’s is not time enough or money enough to tackle these separately.
– Dr. Elizabeth Sawin

Teachers become illegitimate at the moment they begin to think of themselves primarily as Zen teachers rather than Zen practitioners… And we should hold in mind the simple point that bears endless repeating: a Zen teacher who is not tirelessly continuing to practice, or who has forgotten that one’s attainment—no matter how advanced—is never sufficient, has ceased to be a legitimate teacher at all.
– Meido Moore, Hidden Zen

The true realization
is to achieve a kind heart.
Other than that, there is nothing
really that is useful.
– Khadro-la

I found that there are only two psychological states, insight and no insight, there is no other state between the two. Therefore, some people say that they are not sensitive enough. This kind of judgment is actually a trick of desire. Sensitive people do not need to judge whether they are aware enougH.
– Lena Hu

It’s almost as if poets are offering a religion of noticing things.
– Ada Limón

There are people everywhere who form a Fourth World, or a diaspora of their own. They are the lordly ones! They come in all colours. They can be Christians or Hindus or Muslims or Jews or pagans or atheists. They can be young or old, men or women, soldiers or pacifists, rich or poor. They may be patriots, but they are never chauvinists. They share with each other, across all the nations, common values of humour and understanding. When you are among them you know you will not be mocked or resented, because they will not care about your race, your faith, your sex or your nationality, and they suffer fools if not gladly, at least sympathetically. They laugh easily. They are easily grateful. They are never mean. They are not inhibited by fashion, public opinion or political correctness. They are exiles in their own communities, because they are always in a minority, but they form a mighty nation, if they only knew it. It is the nation of nowhere, and I have come to think that its natural capital is Trieste.
– Jan Morris, Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere

But there are other people, people who choose to be crazy in order to cope with what they regard as a crazy world. They have adopted craziness as a lifestyle. I’ve found that there is nothing I can do for these people because the only way you can get them to give up their craziness is to convince them that the world is actually sane. I must confess that I have found such a conviction almost impossible to support.
– Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

REALITY IS ALWAYS FRESHLY BORN
The more successful a technique, the more it is guaranteed to produce certain results.
But reality can never be known in advance.
Creativity is not a matter of just applying know how in order to achieve ends that have been figured out in advance.
Indeed, we may say that if you know what to do in any situation, it’s the wrong thing.
Living truth has to be created in the act of living and even the means have to be created in the act of giving ourselves to the task.
If you know what to say, it’s a lie.
If you know how to teach, you’re a propagandist.
If you know how to compose a verse, you’re not a poet.
If you know how to get along with your husband or wife, you’re not really married, you’re simply applying psychology.
(If you know how to heal your client, you’re not a real therapist)
Reality is not gained by know how.
Reality is always freshly born.
Whenever a relationship or action is real, it is being created and re-created from moment to moment.
The real question is not what to do, but
How can I give myself more completely to the situation, to the task, to the person at hand?
As one learns how to give oneself more and more unreservedly, one is led step by step and
Discovers what to do
– Bernard Phillips, One Planet Thriving

Bristlecone Pine
If wind were wood it might resemble this
fragility and strength, old bark bleeding amber.
Its living parts grow on away from the dead
as we do in our lesser lives. Endurance,
yes, but also a scarred and twisted beauty
we know the way we know our own carved hearts.
– David Mason

… What is the way to the woods, how do you go there?
By climbing up through the six days’ field,
kept in all the body’s years, the body’s
sorrow, weariness, and joy. By passing through
the narrow gate on the far side of that field
where the pasture grass of the body’s life gives way
to the high, original standing of the trees.
By coming into the shadow, the shadow
of the grace of the strait way’s ending,
the shadow of the mercy of light.
Why must the gate be narrow?
Because you cannot pass beyond it burdened.
To come into the woods you must leave behind
the six days’ world, all of it, all of its plans and hopes.
You must come without weapon or tool, alone,
expecting nothing, remembering nothing,
into the ease of sight, the brotherhood of eye and leaf.
– Wendell Berry (A Timbered Choir)

meaningful, lasting change only happens when the pain of the status quo finally outstrips the pain or the anticipated fear of the change we seek.
– david taylor-klaus

Discard all ideas and concepts,
They are fragile like snowflakes carried by the wind.
– Doka Sensei

Solidarity is not the same as support. To experience solidarity, we must have a community of interests, shared beliefs and goals around which to unite, to build Sisterhood. Support can be occasional. It can be given and just as easily withdrawn. Solidarity requires sustained, ongoing commitment.
– bell hooks

In Brueghel’s Icarus, for instance, how everything turns away/Quite leisurely from the disaster…and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen/Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky/Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
– W.H. Auden

I am pretty sure we’re just supposed to hang out, eat fresh food, write poetry, have sex, create art, practice alchemy, manifest our dreams, and go on spontaneous adventures.
– Pyramid Realm

My father called me a “dreamer,” believing I was unrealistic.
My mother consistently told me to stop trying to change the world.
Subsequently, I became a dream analyst and activist.
Still they “saw” me, through their critical eye, and their words found their proper place in me.
– David Bedrick

If you follow the process, the outcome will manifest;

Fantasizing the result doesn’t give you anything.

By fantasizing about the outcome, your mind thinks that something is missing from your life right now.

It adds a sense of incompleteness; it doesn’t add any real progress

– Crazy Polymath

Jung calls the female aspect of man the anima. [T]he anima plays an important role in a man’s creative life. (The animus, on the other hand, is important for the creativity of a woman.)
– Marie-Louise von Franz, Creation Myths

Projection occurs when consciousness refuses to acknowledge some symbolic expression which is trying to emerge from unconscious.
– Robin Robertson

I am not interested in most conversations about equality. To whom would you like to be equal, given a broken & morally bankrupt system? Do you want to be equal to the persons, forces, and systems which generate the very terms of your oppression?…
– Dr. Yolanda Pierce @HowardU

From.. depth psychology, we have learned that we seldom are truly choosing consciously; instead, we are often under influence of historic forces that we have internalized or are responding to environmental pressures we little suspect have such
influence over us.
– James Hollis

Angel Nafis:
i’m so fucking tired of people not having what they need to be well on this earth.

Nancy Reddy:
One way patriarchy harms (white) men is that they can settle so deep into their own unquestioned correctness that they never learn a new thing or have a new idea past, like, 25.

Since no one really knows anything about God,
those who think they do are just
troublemakers.
– Rabia of Basra

Don’t feel guilty [about the state of the world]. If you start to care for the environment because you feel guilt, your care for it will be unsustainable. If you’re going to save it, save it because you love it.
– Gary Snyder

Isn’t everyday itself an admirable and modest manifestation in the absurd? and doesn’t cutting our logical moorings involve the true possibility of adventure?
– Oliverio Girondo

A person can only be born in one place. However, he may die several times elsewhere: in the exiles and prisons, and in a homeland transformed by the occupation and oppression into a nightmare.
– Mahmoud Darwish

Writing To Riches:
The fastest way to make someone hate you:

Criticize their most treasured addiction.

Jung asserted: Every individual needs revolution, inner division, dissolution of the prevailing and renewal. This would be achieved through self-reflection and a return of the individual to the ground of the human essence.
– Sonu Shamdasani quoting C.G. Jung

Janel Cubbage:

We are not minorities, we have been minoritized.

We are not underrepresented, we have been historically excluded.

Language matters.

Stay private.

Stay lowkey.

Stay humble.

– Wise Connector

Thinking again about how we have lost so many things this year while going to extraordinary lengths to preserve work and work alone.
– Kristin Grogan

I think one hill I will die on (from being a high school teacher) that is maybe too complex to articulate on this platform is that adults often need the same level of guidance, communication, & support that we attempt to offer students, children, & kids.
– Devin Gael Kelly

Bruce Cockburn:
You’re like the leaves that come down from the trees
A suggestion of a springtime to be
Crunching underfoot outlined in frost
Full of promise for the return of something lost

You show your level of maturity in how you disagree with another person.
– Dan Go

Bruce Cockburn:
I feel these serpents of desire
Ripple my skin like ropes of fire
All I ever wanted, all along,
Was to be the “you” in somebody’s song

Nothing enters our lives that is not in some way connected with our individual journey. This does not imply blame or causality, but it does imply a deeper meaning which may be transformative for the individual who is prepared to seek that meaning.
– Liz Greene

The hardest thing is not talking to someone you used to talk to everyday.
– @Training Mindful

Holiest are those who eat alone.
– Cathy Park Hong

I don’t speak to anyone for a week. I just sit on a stone by the sea.
– Anna Akhmatova

Every poem is a chronicle of an individual’s imagination, and I think imagination is more true to life than we are.
– Jericho Brown

Jess asked me today if I’d ever had a mentor, and I said I wasn’t sure anyone in my life would call themselves that. But what I did have were a few older writers who took me as seriously as I took myself, and that turned out to mean more than any one thing anyone ever taught me.
– Matt Bell

And some had already given till exhausted / for the sake of their children / and the future they’d never enjoy.
– Wanda Coleman

A neurosis or an addiction will not allow a person to go on living an empty non-life. Unless the person chooses to be blindly unconscious, eventually he or she asks, What is this compulsion that is destroying me? and, even more important, Who am I?
– Marion Woodman

LIGHT is divided into
light of itself and in itself
and light of itself …. but in another.
You know that accidental light
is light in another.
Thus, it is not a light in itself
although it is a light of itself.
– al- Suhrawardi

SELF-RESTRAINT
So many of our social interactions depend on self-restraint. We learn how not to throw temper tantrums, how to be polite, how to show respect, and how to wait our turn. We all know this. Without it, our daily lives would be chaos and daily encounters would be untrustworthy and violent.
Spiritual practice takes this a step further. We don’t merely try to act according to convention, we try to transform ourselves so that there’s no conflict between how we behave and how we feel.
The important consideration is to be compassionate. Then it isn’t a matter of choosing between “what we want” and “what we ought to do.”
Being compassionate is the opposite of so much of our tendencies today: lying, cheating, deception, hidden profit, anger, hatred, blame, and untrammeled self-gratification. You see, to be compassionate is always to ask about greater considerations. It’s to ask how you can relieve suffering. It’s to ask about improving the lot of everyone.
What begins with self-restraint evolves into universal love.
– Arhat (Luohan)

All of us are working with the ever-increasing speed of the world. Green Tara meets that speed. She is green, representing the air element, and one of her qualities is swiftness. She can work with this speed and transform it into the quality of All-Accomplishing Wisdom.
– Lama Tsultrim Allione

Seamus Heaney:
So, her hands scuffled
over the bakeboard,
the reddening stove. . .
the scone rising
to the tick of two clocks.
And here is love

To be whole is to be part; true voyage is return.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

To be whole instead of perfect is perhaps Jung’s greatest idea.
– Barbara Hannah

The truth is not always beauty, but the hunger for it is.
– Nadine Gordimer

Ethan Nichtern:

Don’t know how it will get solved, but here is the deep spiritual problem of our economic system that we must solve:

If your #1 skill in life is making money, you will—almost by definition—lack the ethical maturity to handle the massive power that comes from making it.

For a man who no longer has a homeland, writing becomes a place to live.
– Theodor Adorno

Love liberates. It doesn’t just hold––that’s ego. Love liberates.
– Maya Angelou

Nature, who has played so many queer tricks upon us, making us so unequally of clay and diamonds, of rainbow and granite, and stuffed them into a case, often of the most incongruous, for the poet has a butcher’s face and the butcher a poet’s; nature, who delights in muddle and mystery, so that even now (the first of November, 1927) we know not why we go upstairs, or why we come down again, our most daily movements are like the passage of a ship on an unknown sea, and the sailors at the mast-head ask, pointing their glasses to the horizon: Is there land or is there none? to which, if we are prophets, we make answer “Yes”; if we are truthful we say “No”; nature, who has so much to answer for besides the perhaps unwieldy length of this sentence, has further complicated her task and added to our confusion by providing not only a perfect ragbag of odds and ends within us—a piece of a policeman’s trousers lying cheek by jowl with Queen Alexandra’s wedding veil—but has contrived that the whole assortment shall be lightly stitched together by a single thread. Memory is the seamstress, and a capricious one at that. Memory runs her needle in and out, up and down, hither and thither. We know not what comes next, or what follows after. Thus, the most ordinary movement in the world, such as sitting down at a table and pulling the inkstand towards one, may agitate a thousand odd, disconnected fragments, now bright, now dim, hanging and bobbing and dipping and flaunting, like the underlinen of a family of fourteen on a line in a gale of wind. Instead of being a single, downright, bluff piece of work of which no man need feel ashamed, our commonest deeds are set about with a fluttering and flickering of wings, a rising and falling of lights.
– Virginia Woolf, Orlando

My poetry became more powerful
when I stopped being afraid of my hips
when I found the courage and surrender
to enter that sacred basin,
that gourd of creation
where it’s all going down.
I found rage there, first
then terror,
grief
and despair
then the most aching, sacred longing
that exquisite string
almost played
that would complete the melody of my own soul.
Power was there too
and pleasure.
Really, everything relegated to the shadows
was found in the sway
of my sexy, playful, audacious, beautiful hips,
deep happiness and hunger, those juicy gifts
greatly deprived
of returning to our wholeness,
the storehouse of my great grandmothers’ shames,
every holy but denigrated taboo,
all the tender, human
stuffed down secrets
beseeching from the dark,
“BRING ME HOME AND AT LAST
AND LET ME BE SEEN AND HONORED!”
And at last the flame
of my own wild song
God sung into me when I was first
conjured up.
The recipe is simple:
shake these holy hips and make this world
a sacred conflagration.
– Chelan Harkin

Man ‘possesses’ many things which he has never acquired but has inherited from his ancestors. He is not born as a tabula rasa, he is merely born unconscious.
– C.G. Jung

The word “socialism” is being used to demonize people who care about others. That’s absurd.
Please stop.
– Laurence Overmire

Why do you so earnestly seek
the truth in distant places?
Look for delusion and truth in the
bottom of your own heart.
– Ryokan

So Many Constellations
translated by Pierre Joris
So many constellations, dis-
played to us. I was,
when I looked at you—when?—
outside with
the other worlds.

O, these paths, galactic,
O this hour that billowed
the nights over to us into
the burden of our names. It is,
I know, not true,
that we lived, a mere
breath blindly moved between
there and not-there and sometimes,
comet-like an eye whizzed
toward extinguished matter, in the canyons,
there where it burned out, stood
tit-gorgeous time, along
which grew up and down
& away what
is or was or will be—,

I know,
I know and you know, we knew,
we didn’t know, for we
were there and not there,
and sometimes, when
only Nothingness stood between us, we
found truly together.

Soviel Gestirne

Soviel Gestirne, die
man uns hinhält. Ich war,
als ich dich ansah – wann? –,
draußen bei
den andern Welten.

O diese Wege, galaktisch,
o diese Stunde, die uns
die Nächte herüberwog in
die Last unsrer Namen. Es ist,
ich weiß es, nicht wahr,
daß wir lebten, es ging
blind nur ein Atem zwischen
Dort und Nicht-da und Zuweilen,
kometenhaft schwirrte ein Aug
auf Erloschenes zu, in den Schluchten,
da, wo’s verglühte, stand
zitzenprächtig die Zeit,
an der schon empor- und hinab-
und hinwegwuchs, was
ist oder war oder sein wird –,

ich weiß,
ich weiß und du weißt, wir wußten,
wir wußten nicht, wir
waren ja da und nicht dort,
und zuweilen, wenn
nur das Nichts zwischen uns stand, fanden
wir ganz zueinander.

– Paul Celan

Clarity is of no importance
because nobody listens
and nobody knows what you mean
no matter what you mean,
nor how clearly you mean what you mean.
But if you have vitality enough of knowing enough
of what you mean,
somebody and sometime and sometimes
a great many will have to realize
that you know what you mean
and so they will agree that you mean
what you know, what you know you mean,
which is as near as anybody can come
to understanding any one.
– Gertrude Stein, Laying It All Down

The only limit to your impact is your imagination and commitment.
– Tony Robbins

This is one moment,
But know that another
Shall pierce you with a sudden painful joy.
– T.S. Eliot

Did the sky flutter & flower like bridal
shrouds? Did a dog rise in the East in it?
Did a wolf set in the West?
– Carolina Ebeid

Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans. It is lovely to be silly at the right moment.
– Horace

Don’t bother me.
I’ve just
been born.
The butterfly’s loping flight
carries it through the country of the leaves…
for long delicious moments it is perfect
lazy, riding motionless in the breeze on the soft stalk
of some ordinary flower.
The god of dirt
came up to me many times and said
so many wise and delectable things, I lay
on the grass listening
to his dog voice,
crow voice,
frog voice: now,
he said, and now.
and never once mentioned forever,
which has nevertheless always been,
like a sharp iron hoof,
at the center of my mind.
One or two things are all you need
to travel over the blue pond…
some deep
memory of pleasure, some cutting
knowledge of pain.
But to lift the hoof!
For that you need an idea.
For years and years I struggled
just to love my life. And then
the butterfly
rose, weightless, in the wind.
“don’t love your life
too much,” it said,
and vanished into the world.
– Mary Oliver

Anthropos: Original or primordial man, an archetypal image of wholeness in alchemy, religion and Gnostic philosophy. There is in the unconscious an already existing wholeness, the “homo totus” of the Western and the Chên-yên (true man) of Chinese alchemy, the round primordial being who represents the greater man within, the Anthropos, who is akin to God.
– Carl Jung

The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but rather the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.
– Glenn Gould

My words fly up, my thoughts remain below; Words without thoughts never to heaven go.
– William Shakespeare

How not to trauma-bond is pretty much everything and also the only thing.
– Tada Hozumi

Soon we will be strangers. No, we can never be that. Hurting someone is an act of reluctant intimacy. We will be dangerous acquaintances with a history.
– Hanif Kureishi

The one sees no boundaries –
The one who forgot the distinctions
between him/her and everyone else –
the one who loves without
conditions –
Where you live and what you do
does not matter to me –
the language you speak
does not matter to me –
your gender does not
matter to me –
I bow to you.
– Guthema Roba

I have perceiv’d that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly round his or her neck for a moment, what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea.

There is something in staying close to men and women and looking on them, and in the contact and odor of them, that pleases the soul well,
All things please the soul, but these please the soul well.

– Walt Whitman, I Sing the Body Electric

We scream
when we
are in pain
because screaming
actually lessens
the pain.

Remember this
when anyone
tells you to be quiet.

– Andrea Gibson

The poet’s first obligation is survival. No bolder challenge confronts the modern artist than to stay healthy in a sick world.
– Stanley Kunitz

The union of the spiritual, masculine principle with the feminine, psychic principle is far from being just a fantasy of the Gnostics: it has found an echo in the Assumption of the Virgin, in the union of Tifereth and Malchuth, and in Goethe’s “the Eternal Feminine leads us upward and on.
– Carl Jung

evening light |

I want to sleep for half a second,
a second, a minute, a century,
but I want everyone to know that I’m still alive…
– Federico García Lorca

My Hermitage
Between me and the noise of strife
Are walls of mountains set with pine;
The dusty, care-strewn paths of life
Lead not to this retreat of mine.

I hear the morning wind awake
Beyond the purple height,
And, in the growing light,
The lap of lilies on the lake.

I live with Echo and with Song,
And Beauty leads me forth to see
Her temple’s colonnades, and long
Together do we love to be.

The mountains wall me in, complete,
And leave me but a bit blue
Above. All year, the days are sweet—
How sweet! And all the long nights thro’

I hear the river flowing by
Along its sandy bars;
Behold, far in the midnight sky,
An infinite of stars!

‘Tis sweet, when all is still,
When darkness gathers round,
To hear, from hill to hill,
The far, the wandering sound.

The cedar and the pine
Have pitched their tents with me.
What freedom vast is mine!
What room! What mystery!

Upon the dreamy southern breeze,
That steals in like a laden bee
And sighs for rest among the trees,
Are far-blown bits of melody.

What afterglows the twilight hold,
The darkening skies along!
And O, what rose-like dawns unfold,
That smite the hills to song!

High in the solitude of air,
The gray hawk circles on and on,
Till, like a spirit soaring there,
His image pales and he is gone!
– Alexander Posey

By learning you will teach, by teaching you will learn.
– Latin Proverb

I do not hate myself for
falling in love with a drought
dressed like a girl. But I do
hate myself for falling in
love with feeling loved.
– Blythe Baird

REVERSE TRUTH SONG

I’m so tired
of dirty water
the rich on their boats
old magic
when I get my money
like a corpse
I clasp myself
beneath the surface
where there are no rules
when I was younger
sometimes shaded
or bright with sun
I walked down streets
named after presidents
named after trees
I was eleven
I fell asleep in the library
saw her face
and never woke
since then she
has sometimes
appeared in people
I meet her
in their faces shining
like one who just
married another
each day my mouth
looks more like
a mouth about
to say something
that matters
like it’s never good
to come home
not yet and you can’t
see the planet
or leave your body
you can go to the lake
but no one cares
except the ones
who love you
they don’t want
to harm you
but you always
need a name
or how will they find you
– Matthew Zapruder

Yes, you can lose
friends –
your can lose your job –
your can lose your mind
at times –
you can lose things –
Please dear one,
don’t lose your
friendship
with your
own heart.
– Guthema Roba

Yes, your ever-present virile mouth
that upsets me with its burning magic
pointing tonight to sadness.

I love your high apple mouth
that prepares the wound that I lack.
I love your mouth that begins to hurt.

– Carilda Oliver Labra

I would like to believe that love is the only energy I’ve ever used as a writer.
– Athol Fugard

All schools, all colleges, have two great functions: to confer, and to conceal, valuable knowledge. The theological knowledge which they conceal cannot justly be regarded as less valuable than that which they reveal. That is, when a man is buying a basket of strawberries it can profit him to know that the bottom half of it is rotten.
– Mark Twain, Notebook 1908

There are blows in life, so strong … I don’t know!
Blows like the hatred of God; as if, before them,
the aftermath of everything suffered
had pooled in the soul … I don’t know!
– César Vallejo

We have just got to stop treating lies as if they are one of two valid sides in a well-meaning argument.
– A.R. Moxon

Violet Zenelle:
You might want to keep a safe distance from people who like to show off all the things they’re manifesting or “all the blessings they’re grateful for…. It’s only a matter of time before everything hiding in their closet starts to seep out.

The free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery.
– Socrates

I have clawed my way
to ‘okay’ and it will just
have to do for now.
– Rachel Wiley

Bless the poets, the workers for justice, the dancers of ceremony, the singers of heartache, the visionaries, all makers and carriers of fresh meaning – We will all make it through, despite politics and wars, despite failures and misunderstandings. There is only love.
– Joy Harjo

A Portable Paradise
And if I speak of Paradise,
then I’m speaking of my grandmother
who told me to carry it always
on my person, concealed, so
no one else would know but me.
That way they can’t steal it, she’d say.
And if life puts you under pressure,
trace its ridges in your pocket,
smell its piney scent on your handkerchief,
hum its anthem under your breath.
And if your stresses are sustained and daily,
get yourself to an empty room – be it hotel,
hostel or hovel – find a lamp
and empty your paradise onto a desk:
your white sands, green hills and fresh fish.
Shine the lamp on it like the fresh hope
of morning, and keep staring at it till you sleep.
– Roger Robinson

Values aren’t a birthright: you need to keep caring about them. […] The values European humanists like to espouse belong just as easily to an African or an Asian who takes them up with enthusiasm as to a European. By that very logic, of course, they do not belong to a European who has not taken the trouble to understand and absorb them. The same, of course, is true in the other direction. The story […] suggests that we cannot help caring about the traditions of “the west” because they are ours: in fact, the opposite is true. They are only ours if we care about them. A culture of liberty, tolerance, and rational inquiry: that would be a good idea. But these values represent choices to make, not tracks laid down by a western destiny.
– Kwame Anthony Appiah

Relationships, rather than positions.

The key understanding of identity/place is coherence. In one writer, A Antonovsky (1987), a Sense of Coherence (SOC) is a general feeling of confidence that ones environment is predictable. In Aboriginal terms one’s environment must be predictable and/or must be made predictable in order for coherence to be achieved. That is, coherence has to be worked at or constructed – confidence emerges in one’s own social, spiritual and cultural life and this comes out of relationships, rather than positions.
– Dr Mary Graham, Aboriginal Notions of Relationality and Positionalism

Here is to the folks that weave; who seek not to elevate their own place and state but who find themselves through finding others, where they are
Here is to the folks that embed; who find ways to bring into the fold others who may be out of the fold, founding a place both to be and not to be
Here is to the folks who nourish; who make it all about food or maybe idea food
Here is to the folks who entangle; who create intricate plots for us others to wittingly and unwittingly take part
Here is to the folks that soften; that are a quiet harbour in a noisy world
Here is to the folks that enable; not in co-dependency nor thoughtless deference, but for the sheer joy of supporting someone else making it, in what they do, who they are.
– Trish Nowland

It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.
– Madeleine Albright

How can one believe in our idealistic future when we do nothing about our troubling present?
– Evgenii Shvartz

Read! Read all the time, the understanding will come by itself.
– Paul Celan

Roy G. Guzmán:
MFA programs should require courses on how to construct public apologies. Because the way some of you offer apologies needs some major constructive feedback.

Looking forward to having a president who uses the government to solve our nation’s problems, not create more.
– Nate Lerner

Every hope carries within itself a fear, and every fear cures itself by turning to the corresponding hope.
– Hannah Arendt

To establish a really mature attitude, he has to see the subjective value of all these images which seem to create trouble for him.
– C.G. Jung

We are a society living in denial of death and so we are a society that denies life.
– Boyd Varty

Your lungs, and mine, contain a thin membrane between you and the world. The atmosphere is a thin membrane between the earth and space. Both membranes are precious. Both are delicate. Both are utterly damaged by fossil fuel pollution.
– Dr. Elizabeth Sawin

Families are organisms, and the psychic life of an enmeshed family is a closed circle within which ancient and often violent emotional dramas are enacted in the secret darkness of the unconscious.
– Liz Greene

Individuation is a means of orienting oneself to the plurality of the psyche, of coming into a dynamic living relationship with the “gods” within. It is a process that leads one towards a state of being far beyond a mere adaptation to the demands of social world.
– Le Grice

Airea D. Matthews:
In community, you can lovingly critique one another. The key is to discuss what you observed & what you mis-/understood from that observation. And, if possible, to ask your community what’s true for them. To turn critique into dialogue is where the magic happens in my humble opnion.

The sunlight came into the room with the peacefulness one remembers from rooms in one’s early childhood — a sunlight encountered later only in one’s dreams.
– James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

What a morning!
Frost-feathers on windscreens, cold blue-porcelain skies––& sunlight falling hot on the face…
A good day for my yearly commendation of the word “apricity”, coined in 1623 by Henry Cockeram to mean “the warmeness of the Sunne in Winter” (Latin aprīcāri, to bask).
– Robert Macfarlane

Struggle for a dollar, scuffle for a dime
Step out from the past and try to hold the line
So how come history takes such a long, long time
When you’re waiting for a miracle
– Bruce Cockburn

Matt Haig:
When people feel the need to continually say they live in the greatest country on earth, I think two things: a) why are you so insecure and b) you should really visit Iceland.

Only truthful hands write true poems. I cannot see any basic difference between a handshake and a poem.
– Paul Celan

Matt Haig:
Even after Covid can we all agree introverts don’t ever have to go to work-related parties again?

Ethan Nichtern:

In any lineage, if the elders find themselves arguing with young and talented successors, rather than mentoring and helping empower them, it’s a failure.

And the failure is with the elders, not the successors.

This is true in Buddhism, in politics, and everything else.

The more that critical reason dominates, the more impoverished life becomes; but the more of the unconscious and the more of myth we are capable of making conscious, the more of life we integrate.
– CG Jung

We live on the brink of disaster because we do not know how to let life alone. We do not respect the living and fruitful contradictions and paradoxes of which true life is full.
– Thomas Merton

Here’s how they raised millennial kids:
go to college
go to college
go to college
go to college
go to college
go to college
go to college
uuuh why’d you go to college if you wanted electricity AND a roof?? you kids are overeducated and over-gay.

Having the right mindset and attitude can literally change your life.
– @TrainingMindful

Being relaxed, at peace with yourself, confident, emotionally neutral loose, and free-floating – these are the keys to successful performance in almost everything.
– Wayne Dyer

Publication and literature are a contradiction.
– Enrique Vila-Matas

What’s breaking down around us is often obvious. What is emerging (either new or very old and rising again to centrality) is more subtle, I think. What do you see emerging meet needs, to heal, to tend, to innovate, to transform?
– Dr. Elizabeth Sawin

How can you complain when the rain falls down
When the sweet, lackadaisical, chatterbox rain
Dances all day on the roofs of the town
Rolls in the gutter, sings in the drain
And flounces her scandalous mud-spattered gown?
How can you grieve when a glad rain falls
All day with a lisp and a laugh and a sigh
While the amorous swell of a river god calls
And a mountain snug in a quivering sky
Secretly, blissfully throbs and lolls?
Oh, how can you harbor a grudge, nurse pain
Or fashion a face of inanimate gloom
As long as the lust of earth and sky constrain
Them to tryst and tussle in flash and flume
And make sweet love in the lullaby rain?
– George Gorman

Realise that your world is only a reflection of yourself and stop finding fault with the reflection. Attend to yourself, set yourself right; mentally and emotionally. The physical self will follow automatically.
– Nisargadatta

Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.
– John Barrymore

The opposite of the gaze of love is not the gaze of hate, but that of envy, passive, unliving in itself, vampirically attracted to the life in others.
– Hakim Bey

I devoted a good deal of time trying to be completely unliterary.
– Grace Paley

Are you following the rules because you believe in them or because you’re too chicken shit to fight it?
That’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately and I have a feeling I’ll be asking myself that question even more often in the near future.
– Brooke Hampton

The true measure of a man isn’t how he behaves in moments of comfort &convenience but how he stands at times of controversy &challenges.
– Martin Luther King

If you think you can grasp me, think again…
– Adrienne Rich

Solitude, an intoxicating sense of freedom
– Colette

Some years among many,
leave much more to remember
– Paul Siebel

To think critically is always to be hostile.
– Hannah Arendt

Ego is always trying to achieve spirituality. It is rather like wanting to witness your own funeral.
– Chogyam Trungpa

The first dharma is the ground, where our mind becomes dharmic so that we and the dharma are no longer separate entities. We develop true renunciation and have a sense of revulsion towards samsara. The second dharma is the path. When our mind goes along with the dharma, the dharma becomes path, and any obstacles, whether extreme or ordinary, become a part of our journey. The third dharma is the fruition. As the journey is taking place, the process of the journey liberates us from confusion and anxiety. We are delighted by our journey and we feel it is good. The fourth dharma is the total vision. When we are able to overcome confusion and anxiety, even our anxiety is not regarded as antidharma or antipath. Cosmic wakefulness takes place.
– Chokyi Gyatso, Diana J. Mukpo

From moment to moment you are renewing your dream. Now, stop and wake-up! But no, you can’t. You are too attached, so attached that you can’t even tell you’re dreaming. But the day may come when you are finally willing to pay the price to get out. The price is simply to give it up. You enquire and investigate who you are until you see that the whole business of becoming something in a dream is ludicrous; its a dream! Finally, with clarity and conviction you are free to roam or just sit on a park bench. It no longer matters.
– Nisargadatta

Home is where one starts from.
– T.S. Eliot

That’s the place to get to – nowhere. One wants to wander away from the world’s somewheres, into our own nowhere.
– D.H. Lawrence, Women in Love

Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.
– Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Doubt is uncomfortable,
but certainty is ridiculous.
– Voltaire

“IDIOT: from Greek idiōtēs ‘private person, layperson, ignorant person’, from idios ‘own, private’.”

The word “idiot” is now a meaningless insult, but once upon a time, in ancient Greece, the word didn’t refer to having low intelligence, but to being foolishly selfish.

The word “idios” did not begin as an insult, it just meant “concerning oneself.” Later, the word began to change meaning. One definition of interest was when the word was applied to the selfishness that ignores one’s civic duty. The word may have begun as an adjective not a noun. If so it referred to words and behaviors, not for specific individuals.

Being “idiotic” in this sense referred to the attitudes of individuals who might be smart in every other way, but did not recognize the tie that binds living beings together. Someone can be very smart as an individual and yet be “idiotic” when it comes to recognizing that, in the ecological nature of things, we all share a common destiny for good or ill.

So being “idiotic” could refer to the short sighted attitudes of those who in a pandemic insist on a personal right to infect others. We ALL hate COVID. We ALL hate social distancing and wearing masks, but there needs to be a word for turning that natural frustration we all feel into hatred of our neighbors and conspiracy theories about the medical establishment.

Being “idiotic” could refer to resentment at having to pay taxes for public education. We ALL hate paying taxes but we need to remember, in a just land, children born to the poor deserve the same opportunity as those born to the rich. We miss the point if we only think individually. Our entire nation suffers when the population is poorly educated. As the bumper sticker says, “If you think education is expensive, you should try ignorance.”

I have no interest in words that label and insult individuals, but I also believe we are in dire need of a vocabulary expressing the “idiocy” of pretending that in nature there is such a place as “somewhere else.” We need a word expressing the “idiocy” of believing in the web of life there is any such group as “they.”
– Jim Rigby

Abandon the pursuit of heaven and avoidance of hell —
you will see the foundation of life as nothing but impermanence.
With all things empty, there is nothing to seek, nothing to avoid.
Let arise whatever arises, whatever falls away
…let it fall away.
– Shinzen

The world is its own magic.
– Shunryu Suzuki

The “matrix” of our civilization and culture has cut reality into pieces. We compartmentalize, and so do not see the unity, the beauty, the wholeness that surrounds us, the living works of poetry that we are…

We’ve commercialized art, we commodify, destroy and divide Nature into pieces, to sell off for profit. It’s a kind of slavery mentality, really. Our hearts and minds have been colonized by someone else’s thinking. Blocking us from seeing the sacred beauty of everything.

If you look deep, one can experience science as an exploration of the sacred, a journey into the art and poetry of our Cosmos evolving. People forget how this world is a gift, of God, Tao, Nature, Mystery.

There’s a whole Universe that surrounds us, and lives within us, that connects us to each other. The atoms and energy that dance within you (and as you) have billions of years of history.

Life is more precious and rare than diamonds or gold. Yet our values are so warped that billions of humans don’t see this.

Most people are so caught up in delusions and dramas of politics, economics, technology and money that they fail to see the mystery and beauty, the sacredness of everything.

We have forgotten that we are all living miracles, living a miracle. That everyone and everything is a child of the Universe, a sacred and precious gift of mystery.
– Christopher Chase

See simplicity in the complicated.
– Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

Teach me
to catch myself
in the lies
other people tell.

Teach me to ask
if I’m being
a safe place
for the truth.
– Andrea Gibson

Either way, change will come.
It could be bloody, or it could be beautiful.
It depends on us.
– Arundhati Roy

We circled each other, wary, abandoned,
full of longing.
– Jeanette Winterson, Why Be Happy
When You Could Be Normal?

Very gently and quietly,
almost as if it were the blood singing in her veins,
or the water of the stream running over stones,
she became conscious of a new feeling within her.
She wondered for a moment what it was,
and then said to herself,
with a little surprise at recognizing
in her own person
so famous a thing: ‘This is happiness, I suppose.’
– Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out

Maybe on a planet characterized by circular causality, interconnection and nonlinearity, domination is not actually a leadership skill.
– Dr. Elizabeth Sawin

I am a product of long corridors, empty sunlit rooms, upstairs indoor silences, attics explored in solitude, distant noises of gurgling cisterns and pipes, and the noise of wind under the tiles. Also, of endless books.
– C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life

The more times I’m hurled around our star while crawling over the low surfaces of this thin-skinned planet (with all the other thinking creatures), the more I come to realize how promiscuous we are in misattributing volitional agency to things and situations that are bereft of conscious agency.
So much of our attributions are about creating functional fictions to cooperate and live by or just get by.
I call ‘em “useful fictions” despite the fact so many end up keeping us naïve or intellectually dishonest.
Circumstances usually let us act as if – and ‘fake it ’till we make it’ (fake believe with plausible affirmability)
– Andrew Hagel

There are writers who ask questions and writers who have answers. Mostly, my favorite writers are question-makers.
– Stuart Dybek

Sometimes, I feel the past and the future
pressing so hard on either side
that there’s no room for the present at all.
– Evelyn Waugh

I will not adjust myself to the world.
I am adjusted to myself.
– The Diary of Anaïs Nin

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.
– Dr. Seuss

Thinking of you is pretty, hopeful,
It is like listening to the most beautiful song
From the most beautiful voice on earth…
But hope is not enough for me any more,
I don’t want to listen to songs any more,
I want to sing.
– Nâzım Hikmet

As a doctor, let me tell you what self-love does: It improves your hearing, your eyesight, lowers your blood pressure, increases pulmonary function, cardiac output, and helps wiring the musculature. So, if we had a rampant epidemic of self-love then our healthcare costs would go down dramatically. So, this isn’t just some little frou-frou new age notion, oh love yourself honey. This is hardcore science.
– Christiane Northrup

The Layers
I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.
– Stanley Kunitz

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 flame
and make 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 a country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

Within you lies a medicine that is so true, so powerful, so precisely and alchemically crafted that it not only can heal you, but it is also the medicine you are designed to bring forth into the world.

More wonderful and disturbing still is the fact that this medicine often grows in our darkest hour, most unwanted recess, and most hidden self.

However, we are often taken from our own laboratory, our own solemn task, being sold fixes and a slippery kind of hope – the hope that we can be taken off of our own cross.

Dear friends, please be patient with your suffering; we need, I need, the heart and soul medicine you are cooking there.
– David Bedrick

It’s dark because you are trying too hard.
Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly.
Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.
Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.
Lightly, lightly
It’s the best advice ever given me.
When it comes to dying even. Nothing ponderous,
or portentous, or emphatic.
No rhetoric, no tremolos,
no self conscious persona
putting on its celebrated imitation of Christ or Little Nell.
And of course, no theology, no metaphysics.
Just the fact of dying and the fact of the clear light.
So throw away your baggage and go forward.
There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet,
trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair.
That’s why you must walk so lightly.
Lightly my darling,
on tiptoes and no luggage,
not even a sponge bag,
completely unencumbered.
– Aldous Huxley

It is true that in some sense, Buddhism can be described as a do-it-yourself process. The Buddha himself said, ‘Work out your own salvation with diligence.’ So it seems clear that, to a certain extent, salvation is up to us and we cannot really get help from outside. There is no magical gimmick that can solve our problems for us without pain. But while there is no possibility that such external magic or divine powers will save us, a spiritual friend is still necessary. Such a friend might only tell us that doing it ourselves is the only way, but we have to have someone to encourage us to do that and to show us that it can be done. Our friend has done it himself, and his predecessors in his spiritual lineage have done it as well. We have this proof that the spiritual path is not a giant hoax, but a real thing, and that there is someone who can pass on the message, the understanding, the techniques. And it is necessary that this friend be a human being, not an abstract figure that can be manipulated by our wishful thinking; he is someone who shared the human condition with us and who work with us on that level. He must have a direct and very concrete undrstanding of us personally in order for there to be a proper condition. Without that, we are unable to receive any real teachings, any real benefit.
– Chögyam Trungpa, Heart of the Buddha

There is no limit to what this cracked and broken and achingly beautiful world can offer, and there is equally no limit to our ability to meet it.

Each day, the sun rises and we get out of bed. Another day has begun and bravely, almost recklessly, we stagger into it not knowing what it will bring to us. How will we meet this unpredictable, untamable human life? How will we answer its many questions and challenges and delights? What will we do when we find ourselves, stumble over ourselves, encounter ourselves, once again, in the kitchen?
– Dana Velden

There are a lot of words meaning thanks.
Some you can only whisper.
Others you can only sing.
– Mary Oliver

Thanksgiving
More than these greens tossed with toasted pecans,
I want to serve you the hymn I sang into the wooden bowl
as I blended the oil and white vinegar. More than honey ice cream
beside the warm pie, I want to serve you the bliss in the apples’ flesh,
how it gathered the sun and carried its luminousness to this table.
More than the popovers, the risen ecstasy of wheat, milk and eggs,
I want to serve you the warmth that urged the tranformation to bread.
Blessings, I want to serve you full choruses of hallelujah, oh so wholly
here in this moment. Oh so holy here in this world.
– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Humility before the gods is an antique virtue, promoted not only by the Bible but by the Greeks..Nothing in excess—not even self-perfection — was carved in door to Apollo’s temple at Delphi, along w/ Know thyself. These were the chief requirements the gods asked of men.
– Liz Greene

Don’t brood. Get on with living and loving. You don’t have forever.
– Leo Buscaglia

I am in the middle of it: chaos and poetry; poetry and love and again, complete chaos. Pain, disorder, occasional clarity; and at the bottom of it all: only love; poetry. Sheer enchantment, fear, humiliation. It all comes with love.
– Anna Akhmatova

Plants are all chemists, tirelessly assembling the molecules of the world.
– Gary Snyder

The country exists because of its poets. They are the only silent heroes of language, sensibility, culture. As long as a land does not have them, the nation is a piece of meat that rots in the open air of politicians and massacres. Let’s look at history.
– Reynaldo Pérez Só

Thinking, thinking…I don’t think in all my years of watching TV I’ve ever seen a commercial that makes me feel like I belong in America.
– sven birkerts

But don’t allow yourself to be dispersed into people and opinions and discussions.
– C.G. Jung

Through the holes and fissures of consciousness, through one’s uncontrollable emotional eruptions and anxieties and compulsive fantasies and phobias where the ego is swamped by something ‘other’, one tumbles down, increasingly denuded of pretences at each gate.
– Liz Greene

What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.
– Gabriel García Márquez

There are new myths:-comic books, science fiction, movies. You would think that metaphor was obsolete in the culture until you begin to see it slipping in the back door in so many areas. If you take away food of the soul (metaphor), it’ll come slipping in someplace else.
– Marion Woodman

When a society has no mythological anchor, no soul-affirming rites-of-passage, a society doesn’t know which story it’s in. When you lose the metaphor, a hand moves briskly to a rusty blade. We are adrift in an epidemic of the literal.
– Dr. Martin Shaw

Inner Practitioner:
Detach from people’s image of you, because everyone has a different version of you in their heads.

You either live a life of love, or a life of fear. The life of fear is the easiest one because you don’t risk anything. You simply protect. The toughest one is the life of love because you risk more. You give all you’ve got. The choice is yours.
– Maxime Lagacé

I don’t pay much attention to the poetry world anymore, but I see there was a nuclear war between two prominent poets about (drum roll) the definition of metaphor. And I am reminded why no one outside of that bubble cares about poetry — it’s academic jazz hands 24/7.
– Joseph Massey

i mean yes focusing on the interpersonal doesn’t dismantle the systemic, but that doesn’t mean don’t also work on the interpersonal!!
– Chen Chen

It’s not possible to ameliorate the toxic elements that make up the shadow of a culture or an individual until they are made conscious.
– Murray Stein

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin:
Maybe on a planet characterized by circular causality, interconnection and nonlinearity, domination is not actually a leadership skill.

Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.
– Michelangelo

It is one image, but it is all humanity that mirrors that image. No one is left out.
– Marjorie H. Suchocki on the image of God in Divinity & Diversity

This is a good world.
The war has failed.
God shall not forget us.
Who made the snow waits where love is
– Kenneth Patchen

W. H. Auden: Does God ever judge us by appearances? I suspect that he does.

Hannah Arendt: Up to a point we can choose how to appear to others.

Oscar Wilde: It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.

If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness, and fears.
– Clark

You never know what or how your daily encounters are going to materialize
With Every interaction you are in
is relationship with the other person
Make sure that you give more than you take
We always have to keep replenishing our good karma
It is always nice to drop your agenda momentarily,
and show some love.
– Lama Ani Pelma

People signal what they don’t understand.
The person who signals they are wealthy, doesn’t understand wealth.
The person who signals how busy they are, doesn’t get anything done.
The stronger the signal the weaker the understanding.
– Farnam Street

rumi was a beautiful poet. he strove to live the life he sang in his poems. but we need to understand that when rumi speaks of love (as is hafiz, or st. francis, or the bratzlaver, etc.) it is not romantic love he is speaking of. nor the love of a parent for a child, or the love of a sibling or a friend. it is the love of god he speaks of, ineffable and transcendent. it is ex-tasis. but as the biblical song of songs recites, romantic love is always love of god. one can pretend to love god and still be indifferent to their fellow beings, but loving our fellow beings is always the loving of god. rumi says: “i don’t exist… i’m only breath”. this form of disembodied love is not one i can fully recognize. we can say that rumi’s poems can be read with our eyes closed, as it were, for they show everything, but nothing one can see or hug. they are neither the finger that points to the moon, nor the moon itself. rumi chose to live the life of the mystic, and for that, in a most profound way, and in a wonderful way too, we can say that rumi is one of the gentle cast of the holy useless.
– hune margulies

Be careful. The moment you start talking you create a verbal universe, a universe of words, ideas, concepts and abstractions, interwoven and inter-dependent, most wonderfully generating, supporting and explaining each other and yet all without essence or substance, mere creations of the mind. Words create words, reality is silent.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Learn to be quiet enough to hear the genuine within yourself so that you can hear it in others.
– Marian Wright Edelman

MISSED TIME
BY HA JIN

My notebook has remained blank for months
thanks to the light you shower
around me. I have no use
for my pen, which lies
languorously without grief.

Nothing is better than to live
a storyless life that needs
no writing for meaning—
when I am gone, let others say
they lost a happy man,
though no one can tell how happy I was.

An awe so quiet
I don’t know when it began.

A gratitude
had begun
to sing in me.

*

– Denise Levertov

Stay still, if suddenly
the Angel chooses your table:
softly smooth the wrinkles
in the cloth beneath your bread.

Offer up your own few bites,
so it can have its taste,
and can lift to its pure lips
a simple glass of all your days.

**************

Poem from Vergers (Orchards)
Translated from French by Marilyn McCabe.

Rest easy, so suddenly
The Angel at his table is decided:
Slowly delete the few wrinkles
who makes the tablecloth under your bread.

You will offer your rough food,
so that he can taste it in turn,
and may he lift to the pure lip
a simple everyday drink.

Good metaphors, in the end, come from writers who are committed to looking beyond what is already there, towards another possibility. This calls that you see your life and your work as inexhaustible sites of discovery, and that you tend to them with care.
– Ocean Vuong

A man who couldn’t make things right could at least go. He could quit trying to get out of the way of life. Chuck routine. Live the real jeopardy of circumstance. It was a question of dignity.
– William Least Heat-Moon

We cannot deal with the oppressors on their own terms, by voting for change or even taking to the streets to demand it. In order to retake the land we must first honor it and our natural relationship to it. We need to develop our loyalties to the planet.
– John Trudell

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

To every natural form, rock, fruit or flower,
Even the loose stones that cover the high-way,
I gave a moral life, I saw them feel,
Or link’d them to some feeling: the great mass
Lay bedded in a quickening soul, and all
That I beheld respired with inward meaning.
– William Wordsworth

Writers matter in a society to the extent that we can help that society hear its unvoiced longing, encounter its erased and disregarded selves, break with complacency, numbness, despair.
– Adrienne Rich

One cannot live any longer on refrigerators,
on politics, on balance-sheets
and cross-word puzzles.
One cannot live any longer without poetry,
colour and love.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand and Stars

At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree

Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
– T. S. Eliot

A Toast
To your voice, a mysterious virtue,
to the 53 bones of one foot, the four dimensions of breathing,

to pine, redwood, sworn-fern, peppermint,
to hyacinth and bluebell lily,

to the train conductor’s donkey on a rope,
to smells of lemons, a boy pissing splendidly against the trees.

Bless each thing on earth until it sickens,
until each ungovernable heart admits: “I confused myself

and yet I loved—and what I loved
I forgot, what I forgot brought glory to my travels,

to you I traveled as close as I dared, Lord.
– Ilya Kaminsky

The role of the artist is to not look away.
– Akira Kurosawa

Lay ups. Fast breaks. / …Our bodies spun / On swivels of bone & faith, /…& we knew we were / Beautiful & dangerous.
– Yusef Komunyakaa, Slamdunk

The thrill and toss while remaining sitting (in meditation) can be called as the “Soul – Dance”. If you go deep and see it in a natural way, you can find many other meanings in it. “Soul – Dance” is just like the reflection of the “Kshob” (Stir caused by the Will of God) at the time of creation .
– Babuji Maharaj

On this journey,
I found the problem
to be myself.

When I went beyond
…. myself
the pathway finally opened.

– Mahsati Ganjavi

Be as simple as you can be; you will be astonished to see how uncomplicated and happy your life can become.
– Paramahansa Yogananda

I was grateful for this
stranger who understood
me, who asked of me nothing.
– Sabrina Benaim

The most important thing you can do is give people an unvarnished past that illuminates all the dark corners–that is painful, but through that pain there is growth, and through that growth there’s the possibility of change.
– John Hope Franklin

Heaven is not a place you die into, it’s a place you are born into.
– Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault

The Way It Is
by Lynn Ungar

One morning you might wake up
to realize that the knot in your stomach
had loosened itself and slipped away,
and that the pit of unfilled longing in your heart
had gradually, and without your really noticing,
been filled in — patched like a pothole, not quite
the same as it was, but good enough.

And in that moment it might occur to you
that your life, though not the way
you planned it, and maybe not even entirely
the way you wanted it, is nonetheless —
persistently, abundantly, miraculously —
exactly what it is.

You have been trained since infancy to direct your attention to what is temporary. Had anyone before revealed the Permanent to you, there would be no need to sit with Wu Hsin. Most people don’t sit because they are afraid of what is revealed. The individuals fear that they will lose their individuality, their identity. One could say that the love of Being is not yet greater than the love of being somebody…………… or it could be said that the fear of the not yet known is far greater than the distaste for the known. Either way, “I’ll pay any price” is suddenly shown to be a hollow offer.” “When you become clear that you are not this body, but that it is your instrument, then worries about death dissolve. In essence, death dies.
– Wu Hsin

The Old World and the New are not two regions marked reliably on maps. The Old World is wherever Indigenous traditions are permitted to exist and acknowledge to have meaning. The New World is wherever such traditions are denied and a vision of human triumph is allowed to take their place. The Old World is the self-sustaining world – worldwide – to which we all owe our existence. The New World is the synthetic self-absorbed and unsustainable one – now also worldwide – that we create.
– Robert Bringhurst

I love life—that’s my real weakness.
I love it so much that I am incapable
of imagining what is not life.
– Albert Camus

Thoughts come and go.
Feelings come and go.
Find out what it is that remains.
– Sri Ramana Maharshi

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
– Max Ehrmann

I wish for you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime.
– Ray Bradbury

Most often, the things we face require more than one person’s insight or talent to fully comprehend and resolve.
– Mark Nepo

Behind all seen things lies something vaster;
everything is but a path, a portal or a window
opening on something other than itself.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand and Stars

Fantasy and Reality

If we are to plant the complete
Buddhist teachings in American soil
we must first understand
the fundamental principles of Buddhism and work through its basic meditation practices.
Many people respond to Buddhism
as if it were a new cult which might save them, which might enable them to deal with the world in the manner of picking flowers
in a beautiful garden. But if we wish to pick flowers from a tree, we must first cultivate
the roots and trunk, which means
that we must work with our fears,
frustrations, disappointments, and irritations,
the painful aspects of life.

People complain that Buddhism
is an extremely gloomy religion
because it emphasizes suffering and misery. Usually religions speak of beauty,
song, ecstasy, bliss. But according to Buddha, we must begin by seeing
the experience of life as it is.
We must see the truth of suffering,
the reality of dissatisfaction.
We cannot ignore it and attempt
to examine only the glorious,
pleasurable aspects of life.
If one searches for a promised land,
a Treasure Island, then the search
only leads to more pain.
We cannot reach such islands,
we cannot attain enlightenment
in such a manner. So all sects
and schools of Buddhism agree
that we must begin by facing
the reality of our living situations.
We cannot begin by dreaming.
That would be only a temporary escape;
real escape is impossible.

In Buddhism, we express
our willingness to be realistic
through the practice of meditation.
Meditation is not a matter of trying
to achieve ecstasy, spiritual bliss, or tranquillity, nor is it attempting to become a better person. It is simply the creation of a space
in which we are able to expose
and undo our neurotic games,
our self-deceptions, our hidden fears
and hopes. We provide space
through the simple discipline of doing nothing. Actually, doing nothing is very difficult.
At first, we must begin
by approximating doing nothing,
and gradually our practice will develop.
So meditation is a way of churning out
the neuroses of mind
and using them as part of our practice.
Like manure, we do not
throw our neuroses away,
but we spread them on our garden;
they become part of our richness.

In meditation practice, we neither hold
the mind very tightly nor let it go completely.
If we try to control the mind,
then its energy will rebound back on us.
If we let the mind go completely,
then it will become very wild and chaotic.
So we let the mind go, but at the same time there is some discipline involved.
The techniques used in the Buddhist tradition are extremely simple. Awareness of bodily movement, breath, and one’s physical situation are techniques common to all traditions.
The basic practice is to be present, right here. The goal is also the technique.
Precisely being in this moment,
neither suppressing nor wildly letting go,
but being precisely aware of what you are. Breath, like bodily existence,
is a neutral process which has no “spiritual” connotations. We simply become mindful
of its natural functioning.
This is called shamatha practice.
With this practice we begin to tread
the hinayana, or narrow, path.
This is not to say that the hinayana approach
is simplistic or narrow-minded.
Rather, because the mind is so complicated,
so exotic, craving all sorts
of entertainment constantly,
the only way to deal with it
is to channel it into a disciplined path
without sidetracks.
The hinayana is a vehicle
which does not speed,
one which is right on the point,
a vehicle which does not get sidetracked.
We have no opportunity to run away;
we are right here and cannot step out.
It is a vehicle without a reverse gear.
And the simplicity of narrowness
also brings an open attitude
toward life situations, because we realize
that there is no escape of any kind
and give in to being right on the spot.

So we acknowledge what we are
rather than try to hide
from our problems and irritations.
Meditation should not help you
forget your commitment at the office.
In fact, in the practice of sitting meditation
you relate to your daily life all the time. Meditation practice brings our neuroses
to the surface rather than hiding them
at the bottom of our minds.
It enables us to relate to our lives
as something workable.
I think people have the idea that,
if only they could get away
from the hustle and bustle of life,
then they could really get into
some sort of contemplative practice
up in the mountains or at the seashore.
But escaping the mundanity of our lives
is to neglect the food, the actual nourishment which exists between two layers of bread. When you order a sandwich,
you do not order two layers of bread.
You have something in the middle
which is chunky, eatable, delicious,
and the bread comes along with it.

Then becoming more clearly aware
of emotions and life situations
and the space in which they occur
might open us
to a still more panoramic awareness.
A compassionate attitude,
a warmth, develops at this point.
It is an attitude of fundamental acceptance
of oneself while still retaining
critical intelligence. We appreciate
the joyful aspect of life
along with the painful aspect.
Relating to emotions ceases to be a big deal. Emotions are as they are,
neither suppressed nor indulged
but simply acknowledged.
So the precise awareness of details
leads into an openness
to the complex totality of situations.
Like a great river that runs
down toward the ocean,
the narrowness of discipline leads
into the openness of panoramic awareness. Meditation is not purely sitting alone
in a particular posture
attending to simple processes,
but is also an openness to the environment
in which these processes take place.
The environment becomes a reminder to us, continually giving us messages,
teachings, insights.

So before we indulge in any exotic techniques, playing with energies,
playing with sense perceptions,
playing with visions in terms
of religious symbolism,
we must sort out our minds fundamentally.
We must begin our practice
by walking the narrow path of simplicity,
the hinayana path,
before we can walk upon
the open highway of compassionate action,
the mahayana path.
And only after our highway journey
is well on its way need we concern ourselves about how to dance in the fields—
the vajrayana, or tantric, teachings.
The simplicity of the hinayana
is the foundation for appreciating
the splendor of the mahayana
and the tremendous color of tantra.
So before we relate with heaven
we must relate to earth
and work on our basic neuroses.
The whole approach of Buddhism
is to develop transcendental common sense, seeing things as they are,
without magnifying what is
or dreaming about what we would like to be.

****

As long as we follow a spiritual approach promising salvation, miracles,
liberation, then we are bound by
the “golden chain of spirituality.”
Such a chain might be beautiful to wear,
with its inlaid jewels and intricate carvings,
but nevertheless, it imprisons us.
People think they can wear the golden chain
for decoration without being imprisoned by it, but they are deceiving themselves.
As long as one’s approach to spirituality
is based upon enriching ego,
then it is spiritual materialism,
a suicidal process rather than a creative one.

All the promises we have heard
are pure seduction. We expect the teachings
to solve all our problems;
we expect to be provided with magical means to deal with our depressions,
our aggressions, our sexual hangups.
But to our surprise we begin to realize
that this is not going to happen.
It is very disappointing to realize
that we must work on ourselves
and our suffering rather than depend
upon a savior or the magical power
of yogic techniques. It is disappointing
to realize that we have to give up
our expectations rather than build
on the basis of our preconceptions.

We must allow ourselves to be disappointed, which means the surrendering of me-ness,
my achievement. We would like to watch ourselves attain enlightenment,
watch our disciples celebrating,
worshiping, throwing flowers at us,
with miracles and earthquakes occurring
and gods and angels singing and so forth.

This never happens.
The attainment of enlightenment
from ego’s point of view
is extreme death, the death of self,
the death of me and mine,
the death of the watcher.
It is the ultimate and final disappointment. Treading the spiritual path is painful.
It is a constant unmasking,
peeling off of layer after layer of masks.
It involves insult after insult.

Such a series of disappointments
inspires us to give up ambition.
We fall down and down and down,
until we touch the ground,
until we relate with the basic sanity of earth.
We become the lowest of the low,
the smallest of the small, a grain of sand, perfectly simple, no expectations.
When we are grounded,
there is no room for dreaming
or frivolous impulse, so our practice
at last becomes workable.
We begin to learn how to
make a proper cup of tea,
how to walk straight without tripping.
Our whole approach to life
becomes more simple and direct,
and any teachings we might hear
or books we might read become workable. They become confirmations,
encouragements to work as a grain of sand,
as we are, without expectations,
without dreams.

We have heard so many promises,
have listened to so many
alluring descriptions
of exotic places of all kinds,
have seen so many dreams,
but from the point of view of a grain of sand,
we could not care less.
We are just a speck of dust
in the midst of the universe.
At the same time our situation
is very spacious, very beautiful and workable. In fact, it is very inviting, inspiring.
If you are a grain of sand,
the rest of the universe,
all the space, all the room is yours,
because you obstruct nothing,
overcrowd nothing, possess nothing.
There is tremendous openness.
You are the emperor of the universe
because you are a grain of sand.
The world is very simple
and at the same time very dignified and open, because your inspiration
is based upon disappointment,
which is without the ambition of the ego.
– Chögyam Trungpa, Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation

People who are unconscious always create unconsciousness, and in this way they influence others; they can get them into an unconscious condition so that they will behave exactly according to their intention. That is the real essence of witchcraft.
– CG Jung

In a world of possibility for us all, our personal visions help lay the groundwork for political action.
– Audre Lorde, The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House

A true piece of writing is a dangerous thing.
It can change your life.
– Tobias Wolff

James Taylor:
There ain’t no doubt in no one’s mind that love’s the finest thing around.

There are only so many stories to be told, but every single person brings something unique to their telling…
– Nina Sadowsky

Neighbors
by James Crews

Where I’m from, people still wave
to each other, and if someone doesn’t,
you might say of her, She wouldn’t
wave at you to save her life—

but you try anyway, give her a smile.
This is just one of the many ways
we take care of one another, say: I see you,
I feel you, I know you are real. I wave

to Rick who picks up litter while walking
his black labs, Olive and Basil—
hauling donut boxes, cigarette packs
and countless beer cans out of the brush

beside the road. And I say hello
to Christy, who leaves almond croissants
in our mailbox and mason jars of fresh-
pressed apple cider on our side porch.

I stop to check in on my mother-in-law—
more like a second mother—who buys us
toothpaste when it’s on sale, and calls
if an unfamiliar car is parked at our house.

We are going to have to return to this
way of life, this giving without expectation,
this loving without conditions. We need
to stand eye to eye again, and keep asking—

no matter how busy—How are you,
how’s your wife, how’s your knee?, making
this talk we insist on calling small,
though kindness is what keeps us alive.

You have set sail on another ocean
without star or compass
going where the argument leads
shattering the certainties of centuries.
– Janet Kalven, Respectable Outlaw

Again, traveler, you have come a long way led by that star.
But the kingdom of the wish is at the other end of the night.
May you fare well, companero; let us journey together joyfully,
Living on catastrophe, eating the pure light.
– Thomas McGrath, Epitaph

Whether the moorings are invisible
or gone; we said we could not tell.
But argument held one thing sure
That none of us that night could well endure:
The ship is locked with fog, no man aboard
Can see what he’s moving toward,
There’s little food’ less love’ no sleep,
The sea is dark and we are told it’s deep.

Where is an officer who knows this coast? …
Who knows how,
With what fidelity his voice heard now
Could shout directions from the ocean’s floor?
Traditional characters no more
Their learned simple parts rehearse,
But bed them down at last from time’s curse.
– John Berryman, Conversation from The Dispossessed

At the end of the day, it is up to you.
It is also “up to you” at the beginning of the day, and in the middle of the day, and really any time of day.
What is up to you?
Your inner orientation and how you tend to your state of being.
– Tami Simon

There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in the proportion.
– Edgar Allan Poe

I don’t feel that poetry occupies a place in my life,
rather that it is a place where life happens.
– Fina Garcia Marruz

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche:
It is not enough to strive
for the higher teachings and ignore
the real substance of the Dharma,
which is a change in attitude.
Unless we can change our hearts
at a deep and profound level,
the samsaric traits of our personality
will all remain and we will still
be seduced by appearances.
As long as our mind is fickle,
it is easy to become carried away
in the chase for power and wealth
or the pursuit of beautiful objects,
in concerns of business and politics,
in intrigues and deceit.
It is easy to become
an insensitive practitioner
who cannot be ‘cured’
or changed by the Dharma.

All a poet can do today is warn.
– Wilfred Owen

Silence is an ocean. Speech is a river. When the ocean is searching for you, don’t walk into the river. Listen to the ocean.
– Rumi

My life is about ups and downs, great joys and great losses.
– Isabel Allende

There’s an east wind coming…
– Sherlock Holmes

We’ve arranged a global civilization in which the most crucial elements — transportation, communications, and all other industries; agriculture, medicine, education, entertainment, protecting the environment; and even the key democratic institution of voting — 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

Our words misunderstand us.
– Adrienne Rich, Like This Together

Time is the big, precious, unrenewable resource.
– Brene Brown

not everything in existence is a wound
where blood gushes out.
– JOSÉ ASUNCIÓN SILVA

Maybe the most important teaching
is to lighten up and relax.
– Pema Chödrön

I hear they are shouting about patriotism. Clearly, they are about to steal something from us.
– Saltykov-Tschedrin

If I fall asleep and wake up in a hundred years & they ask me: what is happening to the government officials around here?

I will look and tell honestly: they are stealing from us.

– Saltykov-Tschedrin

There is an alley which my heart has stolen from the streets of my childhood.
– Forough Farrokhzad

All I know is how to get along with books.
– Elena Ferrante, The Story of a New Name

If what has happened in the one person were communicated directly to the other, all art would collapse, all the effects of art would disappear.
– Paul Valery

IT IS ABOUT YOU

The buddha-dharma is nothing for spectators. It’s about you.

“Empty theories” is what we call it when bystanders play around with terminology. Playing around like that is good for nothing. Dive in with body and soul!

You’ve got to die completely in order to be able to reflect on the buddha-dharma. It isn’t enough to torture yourself and only die halfway.

– Kodo Sawaki, To You

One has either to take people as they are,
or leave them as they are.
One cannot change them,
one can merely disturb their balance.
A human being, after all, is not made up
of single pieces,
from which a single piece can be taken out
and replaced by something else.
– Franz Kafka, Letters to Felice‎

In English Lit., they told me
Kafka was good
because he created
the best nightmares ever—
I think I should
go find that professor
& ask why
we didn’t study
the S.F. Police Dept.
– Pat Parker

Gratitude is not a practice.
Love cannot be made.
“Non-Duality” is a poor substitute
for bewilderment.

See this holly berry in its
crystal snow nest.
What is it made of?
Your seeing.

Threaded on a rosary of miracles,
the tiniest atom
is an irrevocable protest
against the tyranny of One.

The sun and moon are whirling
because your love makes them crazy.
Just fall into the sea of not wanting.
Don’t mistake your mind for the world.

Nothing is what you believe.
Why behold the poppy clustered hillside
through a shroud of words
when you could rend the veil of thought
and gaze into the sanctuary
of this green earth,
which is so lovely and wild
when your ideas about it
dissolve in a breath
of wonder.

Rocks and trees,
the undulating heron in a stream,
a brown body bathing
in her tub of foamy pearls –
all flames of ineffable silence.
They’ve broken their shells.
Each stands free of its name.

Just look.
What Fire God are they made of?
Your looking.
Now, with no expectation,
let a stream of thanksgiving,
a waterfall of uncreated stars,
spill down your vertebrae
and drown your heart
in the grace of the Christ
who is no-thing at all.
– Fred LaMotte

A poet is someone who stands outside
in the rain hoping to be struck by lightning.
– James Dickey

An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.
– Buddha Mind

Writing is something you do alone.
It’s a profession for introverts
who want to tell you a story
but don’t want to make eye contact
while doing it.
– John Green

Jesus often went to the wilderness to pray.
– Luke 5:16

An ongoing effort to divest [oneself] of ego … is like shoveling the sidewalk while it is still snowing.
– Lolita Jardeleza

Inside us there is something that has no name
and that’s what we really are.
– José Saramago

I am my silence. I am not the busyness of my thoughts or the daily rhythm of my actions. I am not the stuff that constitutes my world. I am not my talk. I am not my actions. I am my silence. I am the consciousness that perceives all these things. When I go to my consciousness, to that great pool of silence that observes the intricacies of my life, I am aware that I am me. I take a little time each day to sit in silence so that I can move outward in balance into the great clamour of living.
– Richard Wagamese

It is a strange and wonderful fact to be here, walking around in a body, to have a whole world within you and a world at your fingertips outside you. It is an immense privilege, and it is incredible that humans manage to forget the miracle of being here. Rilke said, ‘Being here is so much,’ and it is uncanny how social reality can deaden and numb us so that the mystical wonder of our lives goes totally unnoticed. We are here. We are wildly and dangerously free.
– John O’Donohue

The fact is the human race is not only slow about borrowing valuable ideas–it sometimes persists in not borrowing them at all.
– Mark Twain, Some National Stupidities

Every Night & every Morn
Some to Misery are Born
Every Morn and every Night
Some are Born to sweet delight
Some are Born to sweet delight
Some are Born to Endless Night
– William Blake

Funeral Blues
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
– W H Auden

You should be conscious of your impact in real life.
– Primo Levi

Paradox and contrast
Variety and change
History repeats
But it’s never the same
We’ve got this time
We’ve got this rhythm
Till the whole thing comes apart
Like light through a prism
– Bruce Cockburn

It is interesting to try figure out how to situate one’s offerings somewhere on the middle path between hyper-capitalism, on the one hand, and fear that your time and experience have real value, on the other hand.

This is the middle path where, for me, right livelihood lies.
– Ethan Nichtern

I God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.
Amen.
– Samuel F. Pugh

Moral concepts
practiced without understanding
can be the greatest obstacles
to uncompromising compassion.
– Ghaṇṭāpa

When I get through this year,
no matter how badly,
it will be the biggest victory I’ve ever done.
– Sylvia Plath

You might dine on the finest meal
of delicious meat and alcohol,
But it all turns into something impure
the very next morning,
And there is nothing more to it all than that.

So be content with life-sustaining provisions and simple clothes, And be a loser
when it comes to food,
clothing and conversation.
– Kyabjé Chatral Rinpoche, Sangye Dorje

Besides [personality No. 1’s] world there existed another realm, like a temple in which anyone who entered was transformed and suddenly overpowered by a vision of the whole cosmos, so that he could only marvel and admire, forgetful of himself. . . . Here nothing separated man from God; indeed, it was as though the human mind looked down upon Creation simultaneously with God.
– Carl Jung

Before our white brothers came to civilize us we had no jails. Therefore we had no criminals. You can’t have criminals without a jail. We had no locks or keys, and so we had no thieves. If a man was so poor that he had no horse, tipi or blanket, someone gave him these things. We were to uncivilized to set much value on personal belongings. We wanted to have things only in order to give them away. We had no money, and therefore a man’s worth couldn’t be measured by it. We had no written law, no attorneys or politicians, therefore we couldn’t cheat. We really were in a bad way before the white men came, and I don’t know how we managed to get along without these basic things which, we are told, are absolutely necessary to make a civilized society.
– RedHawk, Seeker Of Visions

There is a true Buddha in family life; there is a real Tao in every day activities. If people can be sincere and harmonious, promoting communication with a cheerful demeanor and friendly words, that is even better than formal meditation practice.
– Huanchu Daoren

We are born of dust and silence
We are made of ancient songs
And there are ones who’ll keep us sleeping
And there are ones who bring the dawn
Put your back to the birch and your
mind to the matter of a
Listening kind of way
We are born of dust and silence
We are made of ancient Songs
– Ayla Nereo

Chögyam Trungpa – MIND THE GAP
There are second thoughts happening each time you act. There is hesitation, and from that hesitation or gap, you can go backward or forward. Changing the flow of karma happens in that gap. So the gap is very useful. It is in the gap that you give birth to a new life.

Through-Ways

Not overly categorizing
one’s understandings,
learning ensues
through not fully knowing.

It’s especially sad
when lovability
is disallowed
through a category.

“Through” is a weird word –
innately processing
something through time.
Using more through-ways
resists categories.

Instead of seizing up
through classifying,
through-ways bypass naming
for the better.

But it’s so tempting
to know anything.
Love shakes its head,
allowing differences to multiply.
– George Gorman

The only people I would care to be with now are artists and people who have suffered: those who know what Beauty is, and those who know what Sorrow is: nobody else interests me.
– Oscar Wilde

Dead Butterfly
by Ellen Bass

For months my daughter carried
a dead monarch in a quart mason jar.
To and from school in her backpack,
to her only friend’s house. At the dinner table
it sat like a guest alongside the pot roast.
She took it to bed, propped by her pillow.

Was it the year her brother was born?
Was this her own too-fragile baby
that had lived—so briefly—in its glassed world?
Or the year she refused to go to her father’s house?
Was this the holding-her-breath girl she became there?

This plump child in her rolled-down socks
I sometimes wanted to haul back inside me
and carry safe again. What was her fierce
commitment? I never understood.
We just lived with the dead winged thing
as part of her, as part of us,
weightless in its heavy jar.

The body has its urges and mind its pains and pleasures. Awareness is unattached and unshaken. It is lucid, silent, peaceful and unafraid, without desire and fear. Meditate on it as your true being and try to be in it in your daily life and you shall realise its fullness.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

If you can plant your feet in a larger picture, we can begin to feel what’s rising beneath us.
– Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault

Why don’t you think of him as the one who is coming, who has been approaching from all eternity, the one who will someday arrive, the ultimate fruit of a tree whose leaves we are? What keeps you from projecting his birth into the ages that are coming into existence, and living your life as a painful and lovely day in the history of a great pregnancy?
. . .
As bees gather honey, so we collect what is sweetest out of all things and build Him. Even with the trivial, with the insignificant (as long as it is done out of love) we begin, with work and with the repose that comes afterward, with a silence or with a small solitary joy, with everything that we do alone, without anyone to join or help us, we start Him whom we will not live to see, just as our ancestors could not live to see us. And yet they, who passed away long ago, still exist in us, as predisposition, as burden upon our fate, as murmuring blood, and as gesture that rises up from the depths of time.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

The Buddhists say there are 121 states
of consciousness.
Of these, only three involve misery or suffering.
Most of us spend our time moving back
and forth between these three.
– Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation

There is the view that poetry
should improve your life. I
think people confuse it with
the Salvation Army.
– John Ashbery

You will write if you will write
without thinking of the result
in terms of a result,
but think of the writing in terms of discovery,
which is to say that creation must take place
between the pen and the paper,
not before in a thought
or afterwards in a recasting.
It will come if it is there and if you will let it come.
– Gertrude Stein

I live not in dreams but in contemplation of a reality that is perhaps the future.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

The natural life knows that if the spiritual life gets hold of it, all its self-centredness is going to be killed.
– CS Lewis

The hands that help are holier than the lips that pray.
– R.G. Ingersoll

Nature, the things we move among and use, are provisional and perishable, but they are in Being. For as long as we are here, our possession and our friendship, sharers in our trouble and our happiness, just as they were once the confidants of our ancestors. Therefore it is crucial not only that we not corrupt and degrade what constitutes the here and now, but precisely because of this provisionality it shares with us, that these appearances and objects be comprehended by us in a most fervent understanding and transformed. Transformed? Yes, for our task is to stamp this provisional, perishing earth into ourselves so deeply, so painfully and passionately, that its being may rise again, “invisibly,” in us. We are the bees of the Invisible. Nous buttinons éperdument le miel du visible, pour l’accumuler dans la grande ruche d’or de l’Invisible [We wildly gather the honey of the invisible, in order to store in the great golden hive of the Invisible.] The Elegies show us at this work, this work of the continual conversion of the dear visible and tangible into the invisible vibration and agitation of our nature, which introduces new vibration-numbers into the vibration-spheres of the universe. (For since the various material in the cosmos are only different vibration-rates, we are preparing in this way, not only intensities of a spiritual kind, but –who knows?—new bodies, metals, nebulae, and constellations)
. . .
On us rests the responsibility of preserving, not merely their memory (that would be little and unreliable), but their human and laral worth. (“Laral”, in the sense of household-gods.) The Earth has no other refuge except to become invisible: IN US, who through one part of our nature, have a share in the Invisible, or. at least. share-certificates, and can increase our holding in invisibility during our being here, – only IN US can this intimate and enduring transformation of the visible into an invisible no longer be dependent on visibility and tangibility be accomplished, since our own destiny is continually growing at once MORE ACTUAL AND INVISIBLE within us.
. . .
The Angel of the Elegies is the creature in whom the transformation of the visible into the invisible we are performing already appears complete. . .The Angel of the Elegies is the being who vouches for the recognition of a higher degree of reality in the invisible. Therefore “terrible” to us, because we, its lovers and transformers, still depend on the visible. All the worlds of the universe are plunging into the invisible as into their next-deepest reality; some stars have an immediate waxing and waning in the infinite consciousness of the Angel, – others are dependent on beings that slowly and laboriously transform them, in whose terrors and raptures they attain their next invisible realization. We, let it be once more insisted, we in the meaning of the Elegies, are these transformers of the Earth, our whole existence, the flights and plunges of our love, all fit us for this task. (in comparison with which there is, essentially, no other).
– Rainer Maria Rilke, The Task of Transformation
(Notes from Duino Elegies)

The Something that Nobody Knows

A flag may ask the wind which way to wave.
A cloud may tell the sun where not to shine.
A heart may seek an answer in the world.
A word may find a reason in the mind.
But who will tell a soul where to invest
its dividend of sentience and care?
Tradition is a carpetbagger’s tool.
Religion is a lovely silken snare.

Romance is a promissory note.
Business is a patronizing ploy.
Science is a wonderful bead game.
Art, though strange and fair, is still a toy.
While self, the greatest looking glass of all
is just another flag upon the wind.
We wave our precious scraps of self and die,
while what moved them escapes all bounds again.

So let the many flags of fashion wave,
and let the clouds obscure what they can.
The soul’s own compass points beyond the grave
and love still leads where no one understands.
– George Gorman

There was a time I would reject those
who were not of my faith.
But now, my heart has grown capable
of taking on all forms.

It is a pasture for gazelles,
an abbey for monks.
a table for the Torah,
kaaba for the pilgrim.

My religion is love.
Whichever the route love’s caravan shall take,
that shall be the path of my faith.
– Ibn Arabi

If you really knew who was in charge, you would wipe out your ego from your heart!
– Rumi

Money has been propelling ecological destruction… Why were the trees being cut? Very simply because cutting a tree makes money. Leaving a tree in place gives you stable ecosystems, gives you basic needs, avoids poverty. But cutting a tree leads to huge profits…
– Vandana Shiva

I sell mirrors in the city of the blind.
– Kabir

Create no images of God. Accept the images of – accept the images that god has provided. They are everywhere, in everything. God is change – Seed to tree, tree to forest; Rain to river, river to sea; Grubs to bees, bees to swarm. From one, many; from many, one; Forever uniting, growing, dissolving – forever Changing. The universe is God’s self-portrait.
– Octavia Butler

Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell
by Marty McConnell

leaving is not enough; you must
stay gone. train your heart
like a dog. change the locks
even on the house he’s never
visited. you lucky, lucky girl.
you have an apartment
just your size. a bathtub
full of tea. a heart the size
of Arizona, but not nearly
so arid. don’t wish away
your cracked past, your
crooked toes, your problems
are papier mache puppets
you made or bought because the vendor
at the market was so compelling you just
had to have them. you had to have him.
and you did. and now you pull down
the bridge between your houses.
you make him call before
he visits. you take a lover
for granted, you take
a lover who looks at you
like maybe you are magic. make
the first bottle you consume
in this place a relic. place it
on whatever altar you fashion
with a knife and five cranberries.
don’t lose too much weight.
stupid girls are always trying
to disappear as revenge. and you
are not stupid. you loved a man
with more hands than a parade
of beggars, and here you stand. heart
like a four-poster bed. heart like a canvas.
heart leaking something so strong
they can smell it in the street.

A life without love is of no account. Don’t ask yourself what kind of love you should seek, spiritual or material, divine or mundane, eastern or western…divisions only lead to more divisions. Love has no labels, no definitions. It is what it is, pure and simple. Love is the water of life. And a lover is a soul of fire! The universe turns differently when fire loves water.
– Shams Of Tabriz

The winds are coming in all directions
gathering here by the force of light.

What is the difference between shining and singing?
Together, they bloom.
The shining singing is sent down from green hills.
The foliage convulses in a hail of wind.
Turbulence blooms and breathes
before the watchful hills,
beneath sky translucently blue,
though if you look into it deeply enough
crystalline traces appear then blend back into veil.

A light, vaporous surge
shakes off the density of memory,
bears evanescent freedom.

There is no feeling to what is happening, rather,
the birth of a gleaming field,
the coming stirring of primordial elements,
though one does not understand such a moment
but is left, only, to linger,
to love the strange music
of its stirring shining.

– Matthew Fishler, Shining

Alan Watts tells us “If I am asked to define my personal tastes in religion, I must say that they lie between Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism, with a certain leaning toward Vedanta and Catholicism, or rather the Orthodox Church of Eastern Europe.” I find profound resonances with his view. For me it would be slightly different. Zen Buddhism, with sympathies going to Taoism and Western (writ large) Christian mystical traditions, particularly aspects of Eastern Orthodoxy, but mostly Anglicanism, all washed through a profoundly rationalist and naturalist sensibility. Anyone else feeling like sharing their perspective on the great engagement?
– James Ford

Capitalism is not just an economic system for many. For many, capitalism has become a metaphysic. By demanding a foundation of free markets, capitalism turns the people against their own political agency by destroying the only collective leverage they have against exploitation. By luring people to believe in the market as a self-directing system, capitalism plucks out the eyes to see that hoarding wealth while others starve is the very essence of violence. Capitalism scars the heart so it cannot feel that protecting economic injustice in the name of law and order is the ultimate terrorism. Capitalism lobotomizes the mind that would realize no mansion is worth a damn without a habitable planet beneath it.
– Jim Rigby

ego is the greatest barrier between you and god, the only barrier
– Osho

Words are a pretext. It is the inner bond that draws one person to another, not words.
– Rumi

‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say.
– Alice Walker

When you no longer perceive
the world as hostile,
there is no more fear,
and when there is no more fear,
you think, speak and act differently.
– Eckhart Tolle

We suffer from the condition of being addressable…
– Judith Butler

I am not here to prove
anything to you –
I have no intention
of changing you into
something you
are not.
I am here simply
because I am
in awe with
the mystery
of life.
I have tasted
the wine of
existence and
I am drunk.
– Guthema Roba

— and I — too late —
Should reach the Heart that wanted me
– Emily Dickinson

Anybody can learn to think, or believe, or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel… the moment you feel, you’re nobody ― but-yourself ― in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else.
– E.E. Cummings

Words: with them you can do and undo
as you please.
– Elena Ferrante, The Story of a New Name

The Traveling Onion
It is believed that the onion originally came from India. In Egypt it was an
object of worship —why I haven’t been able to find out. From Egypt the onion
entered Greece and on to Italy, thence into all of Europe.
– Better Living Cookbook

When I think how far the onion has traveled
just to enter my stew today, I could kneel and praise
all small forgotten miracles,
crackly paper peeling on the drainboard,
pearly layers in smooth agreement,
the way the knife enters onion
and onion falls apart on the chopping block,
a history revealed.
And I would never scold the onion
for causing tears.
It is right that tears fall
for something small and forgotten.
How at meal, we sit to eat,
commenting on texture of meat or herbal aroma
but never on the translucence of onion,
now limp, now divided,
or its traditionally honorable career:
For the sake of others,
disappear.
– Naomi Shihab Nye

Only love is infinite.
– Rumi

The language of cranes
we once were told
is the wind. The wind
is their method,
their current, the translated story of life they write across the sky…
– Linda Hogan

A sloop of amber slips away
Upon an ether sea,
And wrecks in peace a purple tar,
The son of ecstasy.
– Emily Dickinson

God is not in money, God is not in politics, God is not in ambition. But God is every where.
– Osho

Nietzsche’s “God is dead” also means that we are dead to this crucial archetype; we are not alive to its capacity to shape our psychological lives.
– David Tacey

There is a story about a monk
who had an extremely ugly body
but a beautiful voice.
People loved to hear him chant
but recoiled when they saw him.
Someone who had clairvoyant powers
saw that in a previous lifetime,
while constructing a stupa —
a monument representing the Buddha’s mind — he continually complained
and showed an ugly face.
When the stupa was completed,
he had a change of heart
and offered a bell with a charming
and elegant sound to the stupa.
His ugly body was a result of his anger
while making the stupa,
and his beautiful voice
was the result of having later offered
the lovely-sounding bell to the stupa.
– Thubten Chodron, Good Karma: How to Create the Causes of Happiness and Avoid the Causes of Suffering

Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.
– Frank Herbert, Dune

It’s hard to explain my persistent/sadness when I keep so many//blueberries frozen in the freezer.
– Kayleb Rae Candrilli, Water I Won’t Touch

I said to God: I will not die before I know you, God replied, He who knows me never dies.
– Rumi

Much that you need has been lost. The poems that we know are merely fragments.
– Adrienne Rich

I keep looking for poems with intelligence rather than wisdom. With passion rather than emotion. A poem “like as an aspen leafe the Winde makes quake.
– David Baker

Errors and mistakes are the necessary steps in the learning process; once they have served their purpose, they should be forgotten.
– Vince Lombardi

Bohemian middle way treader.
– Blunted Buddha

Starfish and Coffee

And that’s how
you feel after tumbling
like sea stars on the
ocean floor over each other

A night where it doesn’t matter
which are arms or which are legs
or what radiates and how

Only your centers stuck together

– Aimee Nezhukumatathil

No person has the power to have everything they want, but it is in their power not to want what they don’t have, and to cheerfully put to good use what they do have.
– Seneca

Don’t lose people who feel like home. They are so rare.
– Inner Practitioner

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.
– Paulo Coelho

The highest reward for a man’s toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it.
– John Ruskin

Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free– and worth a fortune.
– Sam Walton

Art is the community’s medicine for the worst disease of the mind, the corruption of consciousness.
– R. G. Collingwood, The Principles of Art

Problems sustain us — maybe that’s why they don’t go away. What would a life be without them? Completely tranquilized and loveless. There is a secret love hiding in each problem.
– James Hillman

It takes courage to do what you want. Other people have a lot of plans for you. Nobody wants you to do what you want to do. They want you to go on their trip, but you can do what you want. I went into the woods and read for five years.
– Joseph Campbell, A Joseph Campbell Companion

These days I do nothing but attempt to interpret those enigmatic wheels, those churning shadows, those cries beyond cries; the story beneath all stories: my own.
– Rikki Ducornet, The Fountains of Neptune

When
Snow melts back
from the trees
Bare branches knobbed pine twigs
hot sun on wet flowers
Green shoots of huckleberry
Breaking through snow.

– Gary Snyder

Sometimes we are blessed with being able to choose
the time, and the arena, and the manner of our revolution,
but more usually
we must do battle where we are standing.
– Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

The heaviest burdens we carry are the thoughts in our head.
– @TrainingMindful

Addicts do not live in the here & now. They are always running, or dreaming about the past or future. So they are never in the body. The body lives in the present. The body exists right now. But an addict is not in the body, so the body suffers.
– Marion Woodman

Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant with the weak and wrong. Sometime in your life, you will have been all of these.
– Buddha

I want people to be excited about poetry. I want to awaken the poets, in young people especially, so they will be lifelong readers of poets, and potentially poets themselves.
– Angela Jackson

I hear they are shouting about patriotism. Clearly, they are about to steal something from us.
– Saltykov-Tschedrin

All a poet can do today is warn.
– Wilfred Owen

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin:
An economy that cannot slow down without crashing needs a redesign.

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin:
An economy that claims you you need it more than you need a biosphere is not trustworthy.

I don’t believe in a tame poetry.

Poetry busts guts.

– Frank Stanford

Jason Hickel:
If your economy generates perpetual crises of extreme inequality and ecological breakdown, then you need a different economy.

Capitalism is destroying the planet. The two old tricks that dug it out of past crises―War and Shopping―simply will not work.
– Arundhati Roy, Capitalism: A Ghost Story

Writers matter in a society to the extent that we can help that society hear its unvoiced longing, encounter its erased and disregarded selves, break with complacency, numbness, despair.
– Adrienne Rich

Ascension? Enlightenment? Lighten your load and ascension occurs naturally through wakeful embodiment.
– Darion Gracen

Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you; to ignore what the world owes you, and to think what you owe the world; to put your rights in the background, and your duties in the middle distance, and your chances to do a little more than your duty in the foreground; to see that men and women are just as real as you are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy; to own up to the fact that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give to life; to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe, and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness. Are you willing to do these things even for a day?
– Henry van Dyke

I wanted nothing more
than to be in the moment—but which moment?
Not that one, or that one, or that one,
– Billy Collins, The Trouble With Poetry

Matisse never hoped to save lives. But he repeatedly said that he wanted to make paintings so serenely beautiful that when one came upon them suddenly all problems would subside.
– Elaine Scarry, On Beauty and Being Just

We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation.
– Voltaire

You meet people in your family
you’d never run into otherwise.
– Deborah Eisenberg

Skater
She was all in black but for a yellow pony tail
that trailed from her cap, and bright blue gloves
that she held out wide, the feathery fingers spread,
as surely she stepped, click-clack, onto the frozen
top of the world. And there, with a clatter of blades,
she began to braid a loose path that broadened
into a meadow of curls. Across the ice she swooped
and then turned back and, halfway, bent her legs
and leapt into the air the way a crane leaps, blue gloves
lifting her lightly, and turned a snappy half-turn
there in the wind before coming down, arms wide,
skating backward right out of that moment, smiling back
at the woman she’d been just an instant before.
– Ted Kooser

The wild – often dismissed as savage and chaotic by “civilized” thinkers, is actually impartially, relentlessly, and beautifully formal and free.
– Gary Snyder

The evil that is in the world almost always comes
of ignorance,
and good intentions may do as much harm
as malevolence if they lack understanding.
– Albert Camus

Nothing you do will change you, for you need no change. You may change your mind or your body, but it is always something external to you that has changed, not yourself. Why bother at all to change? Realize once for all that neither your body nor your mind, nor even your consciousness is yourself and stand alone in your true nature beyond consciousness and unconsciousness. No effort can take you there, only the clarity of understanding.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

For us the sun is up above in the light, doesn’t have anything to do with darkness or death. But this isn’t because we’re any wiser or because we’ve managed to leave the world of myth behind: that would be about as easy as leaving our own death behind. The reason why to us it sounds strange is because we’ve lost any contact with the underworld.
The underworld isn’t just a place of darkness and death. It only seems like that from a distance. In reality it’s the supreme place of paradox where all the opposites meet. Right at the roots of western as well as eastern mythology there’s the idea that the sun comes out of the underworld and goes back to the underworld every night. It belongs in the underworld. That’s where it has its home; where its children come from. The source of light is at home in the darkness.
This was well understood in southern Italy. A whole Italian mythology grew up around the figure of the sun god as he’s driven in his chariot by the horses that carry him out of the underworld before they take him down again. That was true in Parmenides’ home town, called Velia. And for certain men and women known as Pythagoreans—people who had gathered around Pythagoras when he came out to southern Italy from the east—these same ideas were a basic tradition.
Pythagoreans tended to live close to volcanic regions. For them that was something very meaningful. They saw volcanic fire as the light in the depths of darkness: it was the fire of hell, but also the fire that all the light we know and see derives from. For them the light of the sun and of the moon and stars were just reflections, offshoots of the invisible fire inside the underworld. And they understood that there’s no going up without going down, no heaven without going through hell. To them the fire in the underworld was purifying, transforming, immortalizing. Everything was part of a process and there were no short- cuts. Everything had to be experienced, included; and to find clarity meant facing utter darkness.
This is much more than just a matter of mythology. In theory we think we know that each dawn brings a new day, but in practice we never see what that means. Deep down we’ve all agreed to look for light in the light and avoid everything else: reject the darkness, the depths. Those people realized there’s something very important hidden in the depths. For them it wasn’t only a question of confronting a little bit of darkness inside themselves. It was a question of going right through the darkness to what lies at the other end.
There were early Christians, too, who talked about the ‘depths’ of the divine. Most of them were soon silenced. And there were Jewish mystics who spoke of ‘descending’ to the divine; they were silenced too. It’s far simpler to keep the divine somewhere up above, at a safe distance. The trouble is that when the divine is removed from the depths we lose our depth, start viewing the depths with fear and end up struggling, running from ourselves, trying to lift ourselves up by our bootstraps into the beyond.
It’s impossible to reach the light at the cost of rejecting darkness. The darkness haunts us; we’re chased by our own depths. But the knowledge of the other way was soon left only for a few heretics, and writers of oracles, and for the alchemists.
In that knowledge there’s no dogma. It’s too subtle for that. It’s not even a matter of attitude but simply a question of perception—the perception that light belongs in darkness, clarity in obscurity, that darkness can’t be rejected for the sake of light because everything contains its opposite.
– Peter Kingsley, In the Dark Places of Wisdom

Time ~ Greek To Me
Chronos is clocks, deadlines, watches, calendars, agendas, planners, schedules, beepers. Chronos is time at her worst. Chronos keeps track. …Chronos is the world’s time. Kairos is transcendence, infinity, reverence, joy, passion, love, the Sacred. Kairos is intimacy with the Real. Kairos is time at her best. …Kairos is Spirit’s time. We exist in chronos. We long for kairos. That’s our duality. Chronos requires speed so that it won’t be wasted. Kairos requires space so that it might be savored. We do in chronos. In kairos we’re allowed to be … It takes only a moment to cross over from chronos into kairos, but it does take a moment. All that kairos asks is our willingness to stop running long enough to hear the music of the spheres.
– Sarah Ban Breathnach

My day passes between logic, whistling, going for walks and being depressed…
– Wittgenstein, self-isolating

Remember that very little is needed to make a happy life.
– Marcus Aurelius

But I don’t think of the future, or the past, I feast on the moment. This is the secret of happiness, but only reached now in middle age.
– Virginia Woolf

Clinging to strong feelings of ‘us’ and ‘them’ creates problems because such divisions lead to conflict and violence. It’s basic human nature to be compassionate. We have a natural sense of ‘we’ and ‘us’. As social animals we can’t survive alone. We depend on the community we live in. We essentially belong to the same family and we must not sacrifice our basic compassionate nature because of superficial differences.
– Dalai Lama

When you’re unhinged, things make their way out of you that should be kept inside, and other things get in that ought to be shut out. The locks lose their powers. The guards go to sleep. The passwords fail.
– Margaret Atwood

In art, economy is always beauty.
– Henry James

A bigger house, a faster car, a luxury holiday, the latest fashion, the most recent phone… at what point in your life will you realise that the lasting happiness that you seek can only be found inside?
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

Stacey Patton:
Children are often taught to respect adults who don’t respect them.

I Long For the Rhyme of Health

I long for the rhyme of health
a small fresh syllable
a poultice of words
to put the soul right
and make the body strong.

I long for a rhyme
to put the soul right.

– Caitlín Maude
tr. by Pearse Hutchinson

The boon of language is not tenderness. All that it holds, it holds with exactitude and without pity, even a term of endearment; the word is impartial: the usage is all. The boon of language is that potentially it is complete, it has the potentiality of holding with words the totality of human experience—everything that has occurred and everything that may occur. It even allows space for the unspeakable. In this sense one can say of language that it is potentially the only human home […].
– John Berger

Your therapist asks what
you’re feeling and you say
you’re sick of talking about
the symptoms.
– Andrea Gibson

Wisdom isn’t knowing more,
it’s knowing with more of you.

In the end all god talk is metaphor,
and we have to find the metaphor
which best opens up our heart to god.
– Cynthia Bourgeault

Holy Rascals

Holy Rascals are spiritual culture jammers who playfully pull back the curtain on the great and terrible wizards of parochial piety and shallow spirituality to free religion from hucksterism and pious pabulum.

God is real. Everything we say about God is made up. Holy Rascals is a rousing call to anyone ready to go beyond “isms” and ideologies, and live in the world as a liberating force of justice, compassion, and joy.

Holy rascals use humor, play, creativity, and critical thinking to reveal the human origins of religions—and how religions mask their true origins behind the conceit of divine origins.

The making of a holy rascal and the great task of “freeing religion from the parochial and for the perennial”

The art of “hacking the holy,” or pulling back the curtain on religion’s fear-based mechanisms of control

The provocative tools and one-of-a-kind practices of the holy rascal, with guidance for creating your very own “rascally” ways

Holy rascality is about rekindling spiritual creativity and critical thinking,” explains Rabbi Rami. “It is about freeing the human capacity for religiosity—the capacity for making meaning—from the confines of brand-name religion. Holy rascals are playful and lighthearted. While our task is serious—the liberation of humanity from the madness of unhealthy and harmful religions and religious beliefs—our attitude is not.” Holy Rascals brings you Rabbi Rami’s one-of-a-kind inspiration, humor, and practical insight to help you on your mission.
– Rabbi Rami Shapiro

The thankful heart sweeps through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!
– Henry Ward Beecher

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
– Psalms 100:4-5 KJV

How else but through a broken heart
May Lord Christ enter in?
– Oscar Wilde, De Profundis (1897)

1. Have a good bullshit detector.

2. Fear nothing and no one.

3. Be tender

– Marina Abromović

In a world of quick fixes, instant gratification, on-demand entertainment and pain relief, it takes courage to stay with our discomfort, our boredom and our uncertainty, even for a moment.

Meditation is a brave act, then, an insurrection against dehumanising forces of mindless pleasure-seeking. It takes courage to turn from easy “fixes” for the human condition and meet ourselves in all our outrageous, messy glory!

In our pain, inside the very wound we tried to run from, we may end up finding the very thing we were seeking. Our authentic selves.

THE LONGING THAT CALLS YOU HOME

You don’t need to go ‘beyond’ suffering.
Suffering has no interest in ‘beyond’.

It needs a lot more heart than that.
(Only the mind dreams of a ‘beyond’).

Suffering longs for your curiosity.
Your kind attention.
Your breath. Your tears and your trembling.

It wants a mother, a father.
It is an orphan.

It wants all of you, not half.
It wants you to come closer.
It wants you to enter.

And be curious. And step out of conclusions.
And touch a moment. Touch a moment without bias.

Touch into anger. Touch into sorrow.
Touch into terror. Touch into your
unwillingness to touch into
your suffering.

Touch the untouchable parts.
Not all at once. Not all today.
Just a moment at a time.
A moment. And then, survive it.
And breathe. And a moment.
And, survive it. And breathe.

Even the most painful feelings.
The most profound despair.
The sharpest grief.
The deepest feelings of unworthiness.

The parts that cry, “We are bad”.

Survivable. Tolerable.
Bearable. For a moment.
And then, maybe acceptable.
And then, maybe embraceable.
And then, maybe, even loveable.

Not parts of you to destroy.
But parts of you to care for.

Parts longing to be included.
Disowned parts, seeking the Light.
Orphans of the Light.
Refugees for the Light.

You don’t need to go ‘beyond’ suffering.
There is no ‘beyond’ for the heart.

For the heart is pure Presence.
And the way through suffering
is through suffering,
through and only through.

And the ‘beyond’
is really the immanent in disguise,
and the sacredness is in the ache itself,
and the transcendent is in
the f**king mud and the dirt and the blood.

And you are whole
even when you do not feel whole.

And your suffering is your nostalgia,
the powerful longing that calls you home.
– Jeff Foster

The Wanderer

The chameleon who wistfully
thought it could not suffer
nostalgia

now on a vast sheet of clear glass
cowers, and prays for vision
Of russet bark and trembling foliage

– Denise Levertov

In the twilight of life,
God will not judge us
on our earthly… successes,
but on how well we have loved.
– Juan de la Cruz

White and black actions
depend on good and bad thoughts:
If you have good thoughts,
even the paths and grounds are good;
If you have bad thoughts,
even the paths and grounds are bad.
Everything depends on your attitude.
– Lama Tsongkhapa

There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them.
– Anthony de Mello

As Goethe once said, “It makes a wonderful difference if you find in the body an ally or an adversary.”

Distance has the same effect on the mind as on the eye.
– Samuel Johnson

I want to build connections, not attachments
– @turtlebreeze

Every problem cries in its own language.
– Tomas Tranströmer

Real philosophy is to learn to see the world again.
– Merleau-Ponty

Body, teach my mind to age.
Rage has taught me nothing.
Pain has taught me only to rage
at pain. Blame has taught me
nothing. But I still blame.
– Mario Chard

If your mind is expansive and unfettered, you will find yourself in a more accommodating world, a place that’s endlessly interesting and alive. That quality isn’t inherent in the place but in your state of mind.
– Pema Chodron

Choose to speak your truth instead of fucking up your throat chakra.
– Inner Practitioner

Doesn’t it feel so good to be faced head on with old shit that used to really burn you, but you’re unfazed about it now? Your inner work paid off. Keep that inner work going throughout your life and watch yourself rise even higher. You deserve to feel on top of the world.
– @IAmMyBestToday

We all grow up and inherit a certain vocabulary. We then have got to examine this vocabulary.
– Hannah Arendt

Our century has been littered with demonic or negative fathers, whether we refer to corrupt politicians, Fuhrers, false messiahs, crooks passing as entrepreneurs. In the death-phase of the ruling senex, the “rotten” aspect of the power-hungry senex comes to the fore.
– David Tacey

Yet I go from day to day, betraying
the core of light, the depth of darkness –
my speech inexact, the note not right
never quite sure what I am saying –
on the periphery of truth.
– Judith Wright – Precision

You read something which you thought only happened to you, and you discover that it happened 100 years ago to Dostoyevsky. This is a very great liberation for the suffering, struggling person, who always thinks that he is alone. This is why art is important.
– James Baldwin

If it doesn’t involve vibing higher, laughing louder and loving harder…
– hard pass

The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money.
– Thomas Jefferson

When the heart is right, “for” and “against” are forgotten.
– Zhuangzi

The wild hawk to the wind-swept sky,
The deer to the wholesome wold,
And the heart of a man to the heart of a maid,
As it was in the days of old.

The heart of a man to the heart of a maid –
Light of my tents, be fleet.
Morning waits at the end of the world,
And the world is all at our feet!
– Rudyard Kipling

Unworthiness, invisibility, loss of intimacy, isolation, neglected intuition, lack of love, intense fear, overwhelming distrust, and a loss of voice—all life-threatening symptoms of the disease of systemic oppression…
– Sensei Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

Shakti will take on any number of forms to usher seekers through her gate from the finite to the infinite. She can become the masculine form of gods, feminine forms of goddesses, forms of mantras, yantras, guardians, paths, traditions, and more. All forms issue from Her. Some people wonder why, with their Kundalini awakening, they primarily have visions of Shiva or Krishna, Hanuman or Ram, Buddha or Jesus, or other male forms of the Divine, or why they don’t perceive forms at all, but rather clouds of Light suffused with Loving Consciousness. The list of Shakti’s possible creations is endless! She will appear in ways that will help the seeker move forward. It’s important to let go of any preconceptions of how the Goddess should appear, let go of how we would like Her to appear, and receive Her as She chooses to appear, even if in the moment that is simply as a thought. Everything arising in the mind, including the mind itself, is Shakti.
. . .
The wise seek to approach Her through reverence, love and devotion, and then they gain the good graces of this power. Devotees that approach Kundalini as the Great Goddess with their loving devotion have an entirely different experience. They gain her boons, her gifts of enlightenment, without having to fear what may be provoked by some forceful, domineering practice. That attitude is key to understanding how we receive the gifts that this extraordinary innate power of Consciousness has to offer. It doesn’t mean that our experiences of our karmas going up in flames may not be intense. But there’s no need to exacerbate things with a willful egotistical attitude.
We’re living at a time of the return of the Goddess. We need her wisdom to inform and inspire humanity to live cooperatively again if life on this earth is going to survive. We need her clarity of vision, her deep compassion, and her unwavering patience to live in harmony with each other and the environment. We need the awakened state of selflessness that Kundalini Shakti bestows, empowering people to recreate society, social structures, businesses, and economic systems on a cooperative model instead of the dominator mode that breeds destruction and war. The more She awakens people, the more individuals there will be transforming the collective consciousness of families, groups, towns, businesses, and countries. We are her organs of perception and action. Empowered by Her, we can see clearly and act wisely.
– Lawrence Edwards, Awakening Kundalini

Science is how we solve problems.
Art is how we cope with them.
– David Zinn

MAPLE
The lake scarlets
the same instant as the maple.
Let others try to say this is not passion.
– Jane Hirshfield

Every now and again take a good look at something not made with hands — a mountain, a star, the turn of a stream. There will come to you wisdom and patience and solace and, above all, the assurance that you are not alone in the world.
– Sidney Lovett

There are griefs too sacred to be babbled to the world.
– Eloisa Amezcua

Whatever may be meant by moral landscape,
it is for me increasingly a terrain
seen in cross-section: igneous, sedimentary,
conglomerate, metamorphic rock-
strata, in which particular grace,
individual love, decency, endurance,
are traceable across the faults.
– Sir Geoffrey Hill, The Triumph of Love

All is water, and the world is full of gods.
– Thales (fl. 600 bce)

Do not break anyone’s heart, do not look down on weaker than you.
– Shams Tabrizi

I dream of an art so transparent that you can look through and see the world.
– Stanley Kunitz

loving men too in love with their
revolutions
to really love
– @RafeefZiadah

Sometimes dreams are wiser then waking.
– Black Elk (Hehaka Sapa), OGLALA

Poems not only demand patience, they demand a kind of surrender. You must give yourself up to them.
– Mark Strand

Trying to become something is the first mistake you make. Trying to overcome your problems is the second mistake you make. Even trying to understand reality is a mistake. The only thing left to do is to let go of everything else you’ve got — your fears, your frustrations, your concepts, your ideas, your ego. Everything must be given up. There is absolutely nothing to gain. There is absolutely nothing to gain due to the fact that you are that already. Yet you may ask, and rightly so “You mean I shouldn’t care about my job, my family, my love for flowers or for mountains or for rivers? I shouldn’t care for any of these things?” Mentally, you shouldn’t. Your body will continue to do what it does, and will feel better doing it. Everything is given up mentally. When everything is given up mentally, your vasanas, your habits, the things that have held onto you for so long, will automatically break loose, and you will find freedom.
– Robert Adams

Writing these poems is how I survived.
– Frank Bidart

Flame-Heart
So much have I forgotten in ten years,
So much in ten brief years; I have forgot
What time the purple apples come to juice
And what month brings the shy forget-me-not;
Forgotten is the special, startling season
Of some beloved tree’s flowering and fruiting,
What time of year the ground doves brown the fields
And fill the noonday with their curious fluting:
I have forgotten much, but still remember
The poinsettia’s red, blood-red in warm December.

I still recall the honey-fever grass,
But I cannot bring back to mind just when
We rooted them out of the ping-wing path
To stop the mad bees in the rabbit pen.
I often try to think in what sweet month
The languid painted ladies used to dapple
The yellow bye road mazing from the main,
Sweet with the golden threads of the rose-apple:
I have forgotten, strange, but quite remember
The poinsettia’s red, blood-red in warm December.

What weeks, what months, what time o’ the mild year
We cheated school to have our fling at tops?
What days our wine-thrilled bodies pulsed with joy
Feasting upon blackberries in the copse?
Oh, some I know! I have embalmed the days,
Even the sacred moments, when we played,
All innocent of passion uncorrupt.
At noon and evening in the flame-heart’s shade:
We were so happy, happy,—I remember
Beneath the poinsettia’s red in warm December.
– Claude McKay

If only we arrange our life in accordance with the principle which tells us that we must always trust in the difficult, then what now appears to us as the most alien will become our most intimate and trusted experience. How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage.
– Rilke

Whenever you are alone, remind yourself that God has sent everyone else away so that there is only you and Him.
– Rumi

Every church should be able to get a letter of recommendation from the poor in their community.
– Bishop Desmond Tutu

The path to paradise begins in hell.
– Dante Alighieri

You shouldn’t let poets lie to you.
– Björk, 1988

Think not forever of yourselves, O chiefs, nor of your own generation. Think of continuing generations of our families, think of our grandchildren and of those yet unborn, whose faces are coming from beneath the ground.
– Peacemaker, Founder of the Iroquois Confederacy circa 1000 AD.
(May we all be good Ancestors starting now.)

Who wants to waste their breath arguing about whether the Divine should be called Brahman, Allah, Yahweh, the Void or Consciousness? Let’s leave that to those who thrive on divisiveness.
– Lawrence Edwards, The Soul’s Journey

Those who have suffered much become very bitter or very gentle.
– Will Durant

We are desperate and we are strong, eternity strong. We are the fragility of exploding galaxies, and the continuity of everlasting creative love.
– Joanna Harcourt-Smith

We are sitting here on this jewel of a planet with mountain mists and nighthawks and persimmons and toddlers learning to walk and all of it makes me believe our communities and economies and jobs and food systems and energy systems could be just beautifully humbly spectacular.
– Dr. Elizabeth Sawin

I mean I guess Amazon dot com is impressive but have you ever really watched a hummingbird? Or stayed up late laughing and doing good work for others? Or slurped up cold water from a deep spring?
– Dr. Elizabeth Sawin

Dante & Suhrawardi’s accounts are similar because both journeyed to the same place, to the “inner worlds and states of the poet himself.” That is, into the human mind or, as we have already called it, the Imaginal World that resides within and without all of us.
– Gary Lachman

I must wait and listen for the sound of the genuine in you. I must wait. For if I cannot hear it, then in my scheme of things, you are not even present. And everybody wants to feel that everybody else knows that she is there.
– Howard Thurman

Three things differentiate living from the soul versus living from ego only. They are: the ability to sense and learn new ways, the tenacity to ride a rough road, and the patience to learn deep love over time.
– Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves

Some of us live and some of us die
Someday God’s going to tell us why
Open your heart and grow with what life sends
That’s your ticket to the festival of friends
– Bruce Cockburn

So I will write my poem, but I will leave room for the world. / I will write my poem tenderly and simply, but / I will leave room for the wind combing the grass.
– Mary Oliver, Work

One loses joy and happiness in the attempt to possess them.
– Masanobu Fukuoka

You have seen bubbles in your coffee. There may be two which dance around & repel each other, & cannot combine; but then in a flash they rush & melt together & make one big bubble. To me this is an illustrative simile of what happens with unconscious & conscious contents.
– v Franz

Tears are often the telescope by which men see far into heaven.
– Henry Ward Beecher

It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger after them.
– George Eliot

You don’t look out there for God, something in the sky, you look in you.
– Alan Watts

How to find your mentor 101:

Do they load you with work (that never works)?

Or do they liberate and inspire you?

– Violet Zen

Finding home, feeling home, and being at home are complex, multilayered, spiritual and cultural experiences independent of the place we live. Where is home? What is my true nature, and what does it mean to be at home with it?…
– Sensei Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Sanctuary

I bless you in the endless past, I bless you in the endless present, I bless you in the endless future, amen.
– Kerouac

You cannot be a master of
something without first being
a student.
– Awakened Minds

So the world is one whole system, indivisible, complex, with stability deriving from constant flux. It has limits. And hidden tipping points. Oh and also, it’s the only one we’ve got. Carry on accordingly please.
– Dr. Elizabeth Sawin

The unknowing keeps me in conversation in life, on the page, with you.
– Claudia Rankine

Wise men don’t judge – they seek to understand.
– Wei Wu Wei

He that respects himself is safe from others; he wears a coat of mail that none can pierce.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“working hard” is not an inherent good. really wish the u.s. would get over this already!
– Chen Chen

Do not misunderstand terms such as “middle way”, “turning inward”, “external influences”, “eastern or western spirit”. In reality, there is nothing like “left or right”, “east or west”, “inside or outside” and not even “middle”.
– Doka Sensei

If you are content with being nobody in particular, content not to stand out, you align yourself with the power of the universe. What looks like weakness to the ego is in fact the only true strength.
– Eckhart Tolle

People are so focused on critiquing the “Defund the Police” part and not paying attention to the “and invest in/fund the community” part.
– Melanin Mvskoke

…to help claim the existence of a different world, one where violence that ought not to have happened could be unimaginable again.
– Aisha Ariella

Kiss me with rain on your eyelashes,
come on, let us sway together,
under the trees, and to hell with thunder.
– Edwin Morgan

I never did think that my own conundrum was a matter either of science or of social convention… What was important was the liberty of us all to live as we wished to live, to love however we wanted to love… and to know ourselves at one with the gods and angels.
– Jan Morris

A poem is a way of speaking into silence to see what speaks back. Often what speaks back is contradictory & even stupefying. But a true poem won’t flinch at that. A true poem gives up its knowingness at the end of each line, inhales, listens, & then starts again.
– Alice Oswald

I know what I think when I see what I say.

– Gertrude Stein

Time is too precious. A life is a moment in season. A life is one snowfall. A life is one autumn day. A life is the delicate, rapid edge of a closing door’s shadow. A life is a brief movement of arms and of legs.
– Alan Lightman, Einstein’s Dreams

we have come to a line end and we are now inside the pause
– Alice Oswald

On the most scintillant of the rays, which have green & golden barbs… transparency consists in letting the colour of one plume through that of the other, so that with mystery through mystery, the one glows & flushes through the other, like cloud seen through cloud.
– John Ruskin

Our country right now very much has the feel of having an adult table and children’s table.

History won’t forget where you sat when this is over.
– Amy Siskind

I’m not attached to enough
people,
animals,
plants,
valleys,
rivers,
mountains.
More, more relations,
and deeper, wider, higher.
Bound to everything:
Free.
– JL Soler

Water, is taught by thirst.
Land – by the Oceans passed.
Transport – by throe –
Peace, by its battles told –
Love, by memorial mold –
Birds, by the snow.
– Emily Dickinson

Dear Life
by Maya C. Popa

I can’t undo all I have done unto myself,
what I have let an appetite for love do to me.

I have wanted all the world, its beauties
and its injuries; some days,
I think that is punishment enough.

Often, I received more than I’d asked,

which is how this works—you fish in open water
ready to be wounded on what you reel in.

Throwing it back was a nightmare.
Throwing it back and seeing my own face

as it disappeared into the dark water.

Catching my tongue suddenly on metal,
spitting the hook into my open palm.

Dear life: I feel that hook today most keenly.

Would you loosen the line—you’ll listen

if   I ask you,

if   you are the sort of  life I think you are.

Who does not expect the poem, will not recognise it either.
– Paul Celan

Tonight as it gets cold
tell yourself
what you know which is nothing
but the tune your bones play
as you keep going.
– Mark Strand

That the race to modernity be not measured by the coming of subways or skyscrapers, but by the speed with which the sprightly grasses push up from under the city’s stones.
– Stephen Watts

I wonder if perhaps now we are in fact in a nameless time. One that it is our task to find words for.
– Kerri ní Dochartaigh

Rain was once so rare in Greenland that the language has a word for the sense of surprise when it falls – ‘sialliliuppaa’.
– Nancy Campbell

Pianos will teach your own intervention.
– John Cage

People talk about the sound of language but the real thing is its taste, in the mouth, harsh crisp sweet pungent, produced by the movement of sound.
– Kenneth Cox

I mean any island even Manhattan has a way of staying on a tune much longer than anyone else until that tune is the tune of the place itself.
– Eileen Myles, The Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays in Art

what will happen to language now, now you are not here
and who is left and how many remain of the anarchists
on the ice-floes of speech
– Stephen Watts, a beautiful elegy for WG Sebald

Siberia had become the rosiest of our hopes.
– Christoph Ransmayr

Iceland feels like my perfect girlfriend.
– Eileen Myles

It’s often assumed that the role of poetry is to comfort, but for me, poetry is the great unsettler. It questions the established order of the mind.
– Alice Oswald.

Not everything that is crumbling needs to be saved. Support people and soils and oceans and hedgerows and libraries and kindergartens and clinics and kitchens and water sources not institutions and ossifications. Bailout life.
– Dr. Elizabeth Sawin

If there is any deity to me, it’s language.
– Joseph Brodsky

Repatterning the future regeneratively requires the transformation of the whole playing field, the redesign of our economic system and our monetary system, and — ultimately — the collective redesign of the human presence and impact on Earth.
– Dr DC Wahl

Do the poet and scientist not work analogously? Both are willing to waste effort. To be hard on himself is one of the main strengths of each. Each is attentive to clues, each must narrow the choice, must strive for precision.
– Marianne Moore

These tears I’ve cried.
I’ve cried a thousand oceans.

And if it seems I’m floating
In the darkness . . .

So I will cry a thousand more
If that’s what it takes metta to
Sail you home,
Sail you home,
Sail you home.
– Tori Amos

Either peace or happiness,
let it enfold you
– Charles Bukowski

Your greatest challenge and your greatest reward is to let it all go and simply be.

This is the state of consciousness where all things become clear and you discover your real love.
– Violet Zen

Relax. Nothing’s missing.
– Maxime Lagacé

If only words, pledges and setting distant hypothetical targets actually lowered our emissions then we wouldn’t still be in this mess.
The longer we pretend we can “fix this” without treating the crisis like a crisis, the more invaluable time we’ll loose.
– Greta Thunberg

Peace of mind is that mental condition in which you have accepted the worst.
– Lin Yutang

Joy is like pure clear water; wherever it flows, wondrous blossoms grow.
Sorrow is like a black flood; wherever it flows it wilts the blossoms.
– Shams Tabrizi

Whether we call Her Shakti Kundalini, the Great Goddess, Kali, Bhagavati Prajnaparamita, Tara, Holy Mother, or some other name, She bestows the awareness that our body is the body of the Universe. Our body is her body. Our awareness encompasses everything from the core of an atom to the grand expanse of the dance of galaxies moving through billions of light-years of space–all of that is within the infinite expanse of consciousness. The consciousness is our being.
– Lawrence Edwards, Awakening Kundalini

Gwendolyn Brooks:
In writing your poem, tell the truth as you know it. Tell your truth. Don’t try to sugar it up. Don’t force your poem to be nice or proper or normal or happy if it does not want to be. Remember that poetry is life distilled and that life is not always nice or proper or normal or happy or smooth or even-edged.

Any imbalance
you experience
in your life is caused
by a poor relationships
with your own heart.
– Guthema Roba

We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.
– G.K. Chesterton

Oh the art of practicing that which you have been taught.
– K McClendon

When you were raised to be a peace keeper, your roar may be muted. Give yourself permission to reclaim your voice. Silence and smiles are not your only options in the face of disrespect.
– Dr. Thema

Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.
– Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Art is the passing of feelings from one human heart to another.
– Leo Tolstoy

…all this, though exiled, I’ll see in my mind’s eye: it’s entitled to go where I cannot, can freewheel over enormous distances…
– Ovid, Tristia. Book 4.2, 57-59, Peter Green, translator. Written in exile in Tomis (Constanța, Romania) circa 10 CE.

We believe that God
sees us from above
But He actually sees us
from the inside.
– Shams Tabrizi

You can only go into the unknown
when you have made friends with yourself.
– Pema Chödrön

There was a time, when I blamed my companion if his religion did not resemble mine. Now, however, my heart accepts every form….Love alone is my religion.
– Ibn Arabi

When solving problems, dig at the roots instead of just hacking at the leaves.
– Anthony J. D’Angelo, The College Blue Book

I’m hearing more people, including fellow liberals and progressives, saying “I’m ready for Jesus to return!” These are expressions of anguish, frustration, and despair about how bad things have become lately. My response is simply that Jesus returns through us. “Jesus returns every time we forgive ourselves and others, love unconditionally, extend mercy, offer compassion, act with loving-kindness, feed the hungry, protect the oppressed, heal the sick, visit the prisoner, speak truth to power, make peace, seek reconciliation, and pursue restorative justice.
– Roger Wolsey

It’s easy, after all, not to be a writer.
Most people aren’t writers
and very little harm comes to them.
– Julian Barnes

Cultivating a sense of wonder is not a distraction or an indulgence in troubling times. It is a balancing factor, a necessary resource. even a refuge.
– Frank Ostaseski

The fact that a man who goes his own way ends in ruin means nothing ~ He must obey his own law, as if it were a daemon whispering to him of new and wonderful paths ~ There are not a few who are called awake by the summons of the voice, whereupon they are at once set apart from the others, feeling themselves confronted with a problem about which the others know nothing. In most cases it is impossible to explain to the others what has happened, for any understanding is walled off by impenetrable prejudices. “You are no different from anybody else,” they will chorus or, “there’s no such thing,” and even if there is such a thing, it is immediately branded as “morbid”~ He is at once set apart and isolated, as he has resolved to obey the law that commands him from within. “His own law!” everybody will cry. But he knows better: it is the law ~The only meaningful life is a life that strives for the individual realization — absolute and unconditional— of its own particular law ~ To the extent that a man is untrue to the law of his being ~ he has failed to realize his own life’s meaning.
– C.G. Jung

Indigenous people are very scientific—it’s just that our science includes the heart.
– Jonathan Ferrier

Howl
a refrigerator
makes a lot
of sound
so does a bird
people are
always talking
full of love
& pain
we started
a fund
and the dogs
are needing
some money &
I don’t know
how to do
it & I’ll
learn from
one of them
Tom’s blue
shirt & glasses
are perfect.
My teeshirt
is good
my pen
works
I breath.
– Eileen Myles

Find a way to keep alive and write. If you are going to be a writer there is nothing I can say to stop you; if you’re not going to be a writer nothing I can say will help you. What you really need at the beginning is somebody to let you know that the effort is real.
– James Baldwin

When I was nine years old, the world, too, was nine years old. There was no difference between us, no opposition. We just tumbled around from sunrise to sunset, body and earth, as alike as two pennies.
– Inger Christensen

Dr. Thema:
When you were raised to be a peace keeper, your roar may be muted. Give yourself permission to reclaim your voice. Silence and smiles are not your only options in the face of disrespect.

Even on the darkest day,
a treasured companion
can brighten our way.
– Fa Hsing

How does one go
about dying?
Who on earth
is going to teach me –
The world
is filled with people
who have never died
– Franz Wright

My subjective reality is mine entirely and follows all my whims. “Objective” reality is less whimsical: it is the reality experienced by all men. It limits and restricts your and my subjective reality to that upon which all others agree. Subjective reality is anchored in us and is as real as our bodies. Objective reality is the measure of our sanity. But Reality has never as yet been perceived in its entirety. Our belief that we know Reality is an illusion, a maya; it is a measure of our ignorance.
– Moshé Feldenkrais

We can live any way we want. People take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience – even of silence – by choice. The thing is to stalk your calling in a certain skilled and supple way, to locate the most tender and live spot and plug into that pulse. This is yielding, not fighting.
– Annie Dillard

Sooner or later we are going to have to acknowledge the uncomfortable fact that this amoral commercial culture has proved potent because human beings love things. In fact, to a considerable degree, we live for things. In all cultures we buy things, steal things, exchange things, and hoard things. Often these objects have no observable use. We live through things. We create ourselves through things. And we change ourselves by changing our things. We often depend on such material for meaning. This sounds simplistic but it is crucial to understand the powerful allure of materialism, consumption, and all that it carries with it.
– James B. Twitchell

Here’s the thing about power: it cannot be owned, fully captured, reined in, or controlled. Perhaps no other moment presses this close to my ears and bones like the insurgency of the Yoruba trickster god, Esu, who was said to have travelled with the slaves and their captors across the Atlantic. Stealing past the steely gaze of empire, slipping past the books and the numbers, beneath the grip of bureaucratic exactitude, an unaccounted passenger boarded the ships and undid oppression’s claims to totality. A cosmological stowaway. Esu’s antics are liberatory: they teach us that what power means is still yet-to-come, that victory is a poor measure of might, that the terms of defeat are not fully articulated in the troubling encounter of bodies (that is if more-than-human forces have anything to say about it – and they do!), that what the modern articulates as power is a shallow fixation which occludes more than it in apprehends, and that our work in these days is to sniff out the scandalous sites of surplus where the embarrassing excessiveness of things is right now alchemizing its next daring cross-oceanic adventure into the impossible.
– Bayo Akomolafe

There was a time when our planet was not suitable for mankind […]; a time will come when it will cease to be suitable […]. The last inhabitants of earth […] will have forgotten all the arts and all the sciences. They will huddle wretchedly in caves alongside the glaciers that will then roll their transparent masses over the half-obliterated ruins of the cities where now men think and love, suffer and hope. The last desperate survivors of humankind will know nothing of us, nothing of our genius, nothing of our love; yet will they be our latest-born children and the blood of our blood.

[…] Women, children, old men, crowded pell-mell in their noisome caves, will peep through fissures in the rock and watch a sombre sun mount the sky above their heads; dull yellow gleams will flit across his disk, like flames playing about a dying torch, while a dazzling snow of stars will shine on all the day long in the black heavens, through the icy air. This is what they will see […]. One day the last survivor, void of hatred as of love, will exhale to the unfriendly sky the last human breath. And the globe will go rolling on, bearing with it through silent space the ashes of humanity, the poems of Homer and the august remnants of Greek marbles, frozen to its icy surface.

From the bosom of this dead world, where the human soul has dared to do so much, no thought will ever rise again towards the infinite — at least no human thought. For who can tell if another thought will not grow into consciousness of itself, and whether the Earth, grave of humanity, might not be the crib of a new soul? What soul, I cannot tell. The insect’s, perhaps. Side by side with mankind, and in spite of him, [they] have already wrought marvels. Who can foretell the future reserved for their activity and patience? […] Who knows if they may not one day develop consciousness of themselves and the world they live in? Who knows if, in their time and season, they too may not praise God?
– Anatole France, The Garden of Epicurus

A young man, hearing me read some of my poems, said that I seemed to be trying to weave together a lot of different things. My answer was that they are already woven, I’m just trying to uncover the weave.
– Jay Wright

Blue
Let’s call that patch of blue sky
a sunny day, and that flash
of a blue jay’s wing
a stray bit of heaven.
But why stop there?
Isn’t that blue recycling bin
some sort of hint at redemption–
all the ways we might be made anew?
And surely the boy in his blue hoodie
at play in the field is a promise
that the world goes on.
Look around. It could be
that the world is awash in blue
and you have simply neglected to notice.
– Lynn Ungar

You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.
– Michael Jordan

You live several lives while reading.
– William Styron

poems wil not return
you, here—but
they keep you alive, here
– Henneh Kyereh Kwaku

Homo homini lupus [Man is a wolf to man] The existence of this inclination to aggression, which we can detect in ourselves and justly assume to be present in others, is the factor which disturbs our relations with our neighbour…
– Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents

Praise

Every war and every conflict
between human beings has happened
because of some disagreement about names.

It is such an unnecessary foolishness,
because just beyond the arguing
there is a long table of companionship
set and waiting for us to sit down.

What is praised is one, so the praise is one too,
many jugs being poured into a huge basin.
All religions, all this singing, one song.

The differences are just illusion and vanity.
Sunlight looks a little different
on this wall than it does on that wall
and a lot different on this other one,
but it is still the same light.

We have borrowed these clothes,
these time-and-space personalities,
from a light, and when we praise,
we are pouring them back in.

– Rumi

I am what is around me.
– Wallace Stevens, Theory

And, of course, that is what all of this is – all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs – that song, endlessly reincarnated – born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terra-plane, that mystery train, that Rocket ‘88’, that Buick 6 – same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness.
– Nick Tosches

Much on earth is hidden from us; but to make up for that we have been given a precious mystic sense of our living bond with the other world, with the higher heavenly world, and the roots of our thoughts and feelings are not here but in other worlds. That is why the philosophers say that we cannot understand the reality of things on earth. God took seeds from different worlds and sowed them on this earth, and His garden grew up and everything came up that could come up. But what grows lives and is alive only through the feeling of its contact with other mysterious worlds. If that feeling grows weak or is destroyed in you, the heavenly growth will die away in you. Then you will be indifferent to life and even grow to hate it. That’s what I think.”
– Father Zossima

By embarking on the spiritual path, an aspirant is attempting to encounter silence firsthand. This is the quintessential journey in life–the inner sojourn. It is returning to a source long ago forgotten but often glimpsed at moment unawares. Recapturing that which flitters on the periphery of awareness is the goal of the mystic. …The mystic consciously dives into silence, at first unfelt. With repeated practice it becomes a living, palpable Presence filled with immeasurable vitality and boundless, nondual continuity. But what causes this gradual revelation?

First we need to discover why we do not experience silence. The simplest answer is that we are habituated to noise. We are addicted to novelty, sensation, to ourselves. Fuss and commotion, mental chattering, and outer stimulation occupy our minds from dawn to dusk. The twentieth-century Japanese Zen master Nan-in rightly noted that we are overflowing with our own ideas and opinions; to learn Zen we must first empty our minds. But there is no room for such emptiness. When one is clattering away on a keyboard sixteen hours every day, the capacious pockets of silence are kept well at bay. We thereby deafen ourselves to the underlying silence we would otherwise clearly hear.
– John Roger Barrie, The Deepest Science

As longing becomes love
As night turns to day
Everything changes
Joy will find a way
– Bruce Cockburn

Forget to feed her (the wild woman) and she turns savage, turns to the forest and starts making a cottage of gingerbread within our psyche. What we ignore regresses.
– Martin Shaw

Long Years apart – can make no
Breach a second cannot fill –
The absence of the Witch does not
Invalidate the spell –

The embers of a Thousand Years
Uncovered by the Hand
That fondled them when they were Fire
Will stir and understand –

– Emily Dickinson

Evading the fishnet
and evading the fishing ropes
the moon on the water
– Yosa Buson

That which is always already open and clear, graceful and overflowing with bliss, is not a ‘teaching.’ It is transmitted in silence. Or by licking your face.
– Finn Baba

Life’s Love Poem to Us All
In truth, there are no free agents in the web of life. Life does not consist of monads, but ecologies.
You are not a free floating protozoa, but a vital cell in the common web of life.
Stop piling up possessions that could be shared with your whole human family.
Stop climbing ladders that will mean nothing to you once arriving at the top.
Come back to the common body of life. Come dance with us, come play.
The tears in your eyes connect you to us.
The red blood that runs through your veins connects you to us.
The oxygen in your lungs murmurs in intimate intercourse with every plant and animal on the planet.
The mathematics in your head does not belong to you alone, but to the cosmos.
The DNA in your cells makes you a bridge between primordial ancestors and radiant beings yet to be.
By yourself you are but a vapor, it is love that makes you immortal.
– Jim Rigby

You have worked too hard to let anyone take you back to a lower vibrational version of you.
– Inner Practitioner

The exercise of imagination is dangerous to those who profit from the way things are because it has the power to show that the way things are is not permanent, not universal, not necessary… We will not be free if we do not imagine freedom.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

After a cruel childhood, one must reinvent oneself. Then reimagine the world.
– Mary Oliver

Solitude is good for a man.
Part from society, go into yourself
& you’ll soon drop off lenses
which perverted everything,
grasp your own view on things
& be amazed you couldn’t see it before,
Unleash your thinking,
and it’ll point out to your purpose and rules
with which you can confidently re-enter
the society.
– Lev Tolstoy, Diaries

But the things we have outgrown are only the word-ghosts, not the psychic facts which were responsible for the birth of the gods.
– CG Jung

Delight my heart with sound; speak yet again.
– W.B. Yeats

Not creating delusions is enlightenment.
– Bodhidharma

A nodding acquaintance with the theory and pathology of neurosis is totally inadequate, because medical knowledge of this kind is merely information about an illness, but not knowledge of the soul that is ill.
– CG Jung

Whoever you are: in the evening step out
of your room, where you know everything;
yours is the last house before the far-off:
whoever you are.
With your eyes, which in their weariness
barely free themselves from the worn-out threshold,
you lift very slowly one black tree
and place it against the sky: slender, alone.
And you have made the world. And it is huge
and like a word which grows ripe in silence.
And as your will seizes on its meaning,
tenderly your eyes let it go…
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Though our practice is simple, it is never simplistic.
We are plummeting the depths of God within us.
– Bob Holmes

Life itself is an exile. The way home is not the way back.
– Colin Wilson

Honor your father … his blessing may come upon you. For a father’s blessing strengthens the houses of the children.
– Sirach

Choose carefully, so that your hours are holy.
– Thomas Merton

Then tell me, what is the Material World, and is it dead?
He, laughing, answer’d: I will write a book on leaves of flowers,
If you will feed me on love-thoughts, and give me now and then
A cup of sparkling poetic fancies; so, when I am tipsy,
I’ll sing to you to this soft lute, and show you all alive
The World, when every particle of dust breathes forth its joy.
– William Blake, Europe: A Prophecy

Science is not a boy’s game, it’s not a girl’s game. It’s everyone’s game. It’s about where we are and where we’re going.
– Nichelle Nichols

The vision of the Earth as a single sacred organism floating in the graceful embrace of the cosmos is the supreme ethical event of our times.
– Drew Dellinger

Prayer is like a walking cane
for the blind;
without it, beneficiaries would
never get a scent of the divine.
– Shams Tabrizi

We may not doubt that society in heaven consists mainly of undesirable persons.
– Mark Twain

The capacity to be happy is very precious.
Someone who is able to be happy
even when confronted with difficulties,
has the capacity to offer light
and a sense of joy to herself
and to those around her.

When we are near someone like this,
we feel happy, also.
Even when she enters hell,
she will lighten up hell
with the sound of her laughter.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

The practice of Zen is forgetting the self in the act of uniting with something.
– Koun Yamada

To me, literature is a calling, even a kind of salvation. It connects me with an enterprise that is over 2,000 years old. What do we have from the past? Art & thought. That’s what lasts. That’s what continues to feed people & give them an idea of something better.
– Susan Sontag

There is a place where art and healing come together, where creation and transformation meet. It’s called Art Medicine.
– Alexis Cohen

The inability to receive support from others
is a trauma response.

Your “I don’t need anyone, I’ll just do it all myself” conditioning is a survival tactic. And you needed it to shield your heart from abuse, neglect, betrayal, and disappointment from those who could not or would not be there for you.

From the parent who was absent and abandoned you by choice or the parent who was never home from working three jobs to feed and house you.

From the lovers who offered sexual intimacy but never offered a safe haven that honored your heart.

From the friendships and family who ALWAYS took more than they ever gave.

From all the situations when someone told you “we’re in this together” or “I got you” then abandoned you, leaving you to pick up the pieces when shit got real, leaving you to handle your part and their part, too.

From all the lies and all the betrayals.

You learned along the way that you just couldn’t really trust people. Or that you could trust people, but only up to a certain point.

Extreme-independence IS. A. TRUST. ISSUE.

You learnt: if I don’t put myself in a situation where I rely on someone, I won’t have to be disappointed when they don’t show up for me, or when they drop the ball… because they will ALWAYS drop the ball EVENTUALLY right?

You may even have been intentionally taught this protection strategy by generations of hurt ancestors who came before you.

Extreme-independence is a preemptive strike against heartbreak.

So, you don’t trust anyone.

And you don’t trust yourself, either, to choose people.

To trust is to hope, to trust is to be vulnerable.

“Never again,” you vow.

But no matter how you dress it up and display it proudly to make it seem like this level of independence is what you always wanted to be, in truth it’s your wounded, scarred, broken heart behind a protective brick wall.

Impenetrable. Nothing gets in. No hurt gets in. But no love gets in either.

Fortresses and armor are for those in battle, or who believe the battle is coming.

It’s a trauma response.

The good news is trauma that is acknowledged is trauma that can be healed.

You are worthy of having support.
You are worthy of having true partnership.
You are worthy of love.
You are worthy of having your heart held.
You are worthy to be adored.
You are worthy to be cherished.
You are worthy to have someone say, “You rest. I got this.” And actually deliver on that promise.
You are worthy to receive.
You are worthy to receive.
You are worthy.

You don’t have to earn it.
You don’t have to prove it.
You don’t have to bargain for it.
You don’t have to beg for it.

You are worthy.
WORTHY.
Simply because you exist.

– Jamila White

The moment you become aware of the ego in you, it is strictly speaking no longer the ego, but just an old, conditioned mind-pattern. Ego implies unawareness. Awareness and ego cannot coexist.
– Eckhart Tolle

The situation in America, the most highly monetized society the world has ever known, is this: some of our needs are vastly overfulfilled while others go tragically unmet. We in the richest societies have too many calories even as we starve for beautiful, fresh food; we have overlarge houses but lack spaces that truly embody our individuality and connectedness; media surround us everywhere while we starve for authentic communication. We are offered entertainment every second of the day but lack the chance to play. In the ubiquitous realm of money, we hunger for all that is intimate, personal, and unique. We know more about the lives of Michael Jackson, Princess Diana, and Lindsay Lohan than we do about our own neighbors, with the result that we really don’t know anyone, and are barely known by anyone either.

The things we need the most are the things we have become most afraid of, such as adventure, intimacy, and authentic communication. We avert our eyes and stick to comfortable topics. . . . We are uncomfortable with intimacy and connection, which are among the greatest of our unmet needs today. To be truly seen and heard, to be truly known, is a deep human need. Our hunger for it is so omnipresent, so much a part of our experience of life, that we no more know what it is we are missing than a fish knows it is wet. We need way more intimacy than nearly anyone considers normal. Always hungry for it, we seek solace and sustenance in the closest available substitutes: television, shopping, pornography, conspicuous consumption — anything to ease the hurt, to feel connected, or to project an image by which we might be seen and known, or at least see and know ourselves.
– Charles Eisenstein

“New Arrivals”

You don’t need a Hindu to tell you:
“Stretch Your Body!”

You don’t need a Buddhist to tell you:
Strength Is Gained From Sitting in Silence.

You don’t need to be a shaman (or…a “shaman” or a “shamanist”)
to receive lessons from the Invisible World.

You don’t need a Druid or a Shinto priest
to help you learn how to Love the Trees.

You don’t need a curandero or a medicine man
to teach you reverence, or how to pay homage to mountains.

You don’t need a church,
a mosque,
or a synagogue
to ‘Find God’.

You and I,
in this *very* moment,
were just *now* dropped here on *this* earth.

Things may look the same…
but they aren’t.

All that came before
makes for very interesting reading
(and some truly gorgeous art and songs).

But, as Thoroughgoing Travelers Through Time,
we are cosmic émigré —
new arrivals

…and we all
must learn
to
start
anew,
now.
– Frank LaRue Owen

The biggest threat to the establishment is a revolution led by emotional intelligence.
– Pyramid Realm

There are two kinds of vulnerability.

1. Sharing a non-threatening emotion in private which is taboo to express in public, for an issue you largely have under control. For instance crying for a few seconds about a loss you have already mostly successful grieved.

2. Sharing a chronic, intractable problem or deep character flaw, which you do not have under control and might never. For instance sharing how have treatment-resistant depression and often want to die.

When people say they want someone to be more vulnerable, they *always* mean the first thing.

If you do the second, even people you love will lose respect for you and even outright attack you with that information later.

It’s not personal, it’s just how human beings are, in general. People can’t handle that level of truth.

The only safe context to share that information is in therapy, certainly not on social media, but often not even in your closest relationships.

Confusing these two things can be a source of great suffering, adding needless misery to your existing pain. I learned this the hard way myself.

Don’t overshare. If people ask you to share a weakness, always share a lesser one. Requests for authenticity are almost never inclusive of that second type of vulnerability.
– Andrew Duff McDuffee

Tread softly! all the earth is holy ground.
– Christina Rossetti

With no debt there is no danger.
– Japanese proverb

Canceling student loan debt would put money back in people’s pockets. That’s money they can spend to support local small businesses, or even start their own. That’s money they can use to save up for a home. That’s money that can boost our whole economy.
– Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Fuck Your Lecture on Craft, My People Are Dying
by Noor Hindi
Colonizers write about flowers.
I tell you about children throwing rocks at Israeli tanks
seconds before becoming daisies.
I want to be like those poets who care about the moon.
Palestinians don’t see the moon from jail cells and prisons.
It’s so beautiful, the moon.
They’re so beautiful, the flowers.
I pick flowers for my dead father when I’m sad.
He watches Al Jazeera all day.
I wish Jessica would stop texting me Happy Ramadan.
I know I’m American because when I walk into a room something dies.
Metaphors about death are for poets who think ghosts care about sound.
When I die, I promise to haunt you forever.
One day, I’ll write about the flowers like we own them.

Buddhist texts do not exaggerate
when they say that our greatest enemy
is clinging to a self. Why?
We are caught in a situation
where mind is incapable
of directly experiencing
its own essential emptiness,
and instead posits a self
that must be sustained.
We thus develop all the needs and wants
that must be gratified
in order to maintain such a self.
Suffering comes from the endless search
to satisfy what cannot be satisfied.
“I” leads to “I am” which leads to “I want”
and so on.
– Kalu Rinpoche

Instead of wishing harm on those who’ve wronged you, send them peace and healing and watch how much better you’ll begin to feel. Never underestimate the power of goodwill.
– Turtle Breeze

What if all art really promises is a deadly, deathly, endlessly rewarding equilibrium, wherein we sustain ourselves in the (perpetual reform and decoration of the) unsustainable?
– Fred Moten

There are no allies, only actions.
What we believe matters, but only
as far as it impacts what we do. And
the good news here is that we can do
something. We must do something.
And we will do something.
– Guante

poet is a professor of five senses
– Lorca

After a while you begin to
notice how some people
will never understand
where you’re coming
from.

That’s okay too, that’s not
your fault. Their consciousness
just won’t ever comprehend.
– Awakened Minds

Desire is no light thing.
– Anne Carson

Don’t find fault. Find a remedy.
– Henry Ford

No longer shall I paint interiors
with men reading and women knitting.
I will paint living people who breathe
and feel and suffer and love.
– Edvard Munch

If our words are circles, theirs are bubbles.
– The Invisibles, Grant Morrison

Don’t be afraid to just sit and watch.
– Anthony Bourdain

I think many political poems don’t outlive the events that inspired them.
– Mark Strand

I can’t think of a case where poems changed the world, but what they do is they change people’s understanding of what’s going on in the world.
– Seamus Heaney

It is our task to imprint this temporary, perishable earth into ourselves so deeply, so painfully and passionately, that its essence can rise again “invisibly,” inside us. We are the bees of the invisible.
– Rilke

What is There Beyond Knowing?
by Mary Oliver

What is there beyond knowing that keeps
calling to me? I can’t

turn in any direction
but it’s there. I don’t mean

the leaves’ grip and shine or even the thrush’s
silk song, but the far-off

fires, for example,
of the stars, heaven’s slowly turning

theater of light, or the wind
playful with its breath;

or time that’s always rushing forward,
or standing still

in the same — what shall I say —
moment.

What I know
I could put into a pack

as if it were bread and cheese, and carry it
on one shoulder,

important and honorable, but so small!
While everything else continues, unexplained

and unexplainable. How wonderful it is
to follow a thought quietly

to its logical end.
I have done this a few times.

But mostly I just stand in the dark field,
in the middle of the world, breathing

in and out. Life so far doesn’t have any other name
but breath and light, wind and rain.

If there’s a temple, I haven’t found it yet.
I simply go on drifting, in the heaven of the grass
and the weeds.

I know, in a visionary way, that I will die of poetry. This I do not understand perfectly, it is vague, it is distant, but I know it and I am assured of it.
– Alejandra Pizarnik

Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.
– Ella Fitzgerald

Never give in, never give in, never, never, never.
– Sir Winston Churchill

Those who are possessed by nothing possess everything.
– Morihei Ueshiba

If you decide to search and look for an object outside yourself, you’ll, of course, never find it. But there are moments when you stop searching. Those are moments without doubt or questions. And if you practice Zen, there are many such moments.
– Leonard Cohen

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

We are strange creatures, hope reminds me: again and again we are made by what would break us.
– Krista Tippett

Urgency

Again the urge

to bring gauze

to the broken world—

and medicine

and a plaster cast.

Again the urge

to fix things,

to heal them,

to make them right.

Again the chance

to do the work,

which is to look in,

to touch the pain

but not become it,

to see the world

exactly as it is

and still write it

a love letter,

to meet what is cracked

with clarity,

to mirror and grow

whatever beauty

we find.

– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Even as a poem is a record of time, it is also a record of possible time.
– Dionne Brand

Try to be like the turtle – at ease in your own shell.
– Bill Copeland

I love people who get triggered easily. I love people who are just a mess…. These are the ones closest to enlightenment.
– Violet Zen

Listening, she leans / into what she knows.
– Natasha Trethewey

Thoughts and mind
…not the same.

Thoughts grow from mind
…can be observed by mind

…but are not mind.
Learn to quiet mind —

keep it stable
…be less reactive.

Thoughts will settle naturally
…into the quiet of mind.
– Shinzen

We saw to the edge of all there is—
So brutal and alive it seemed to comprehend us back.
– Tracy K. Smith

You’ll come to me
with your voice scarcely coloured
by an accent evoking an open door,

the shadow of a beautifully named bird,
the remnant of that shadow in my memory

– Alejandra Pizarnik

He says ‘poetry should terrify politicians,
– George Abraham

I’ve been on the hunt for how to have and keep a beautiful mind in the midst of old and new catastrophe ever since I realized a beautiful mind was possible to have.
– Nikky Finney

Well, we’re driving this car and the sun is coming up over the Rockies…
– Sam Shepard, Bob Dylan. Good morning. Courage.

The undertaking of a new action brings new strength.
– Richard L. Evans

An answer that was right the first time may not be right again the second.
– Italo Calvino

Timely communication is essential in all forms of relationship. It is also fundamental to the conscious relationship path. If you have an issue with someone’s way of relating, express it at the time, or soon thereafter. Give them the benefit of your feelings at a time when they can remember the context and speak to their actions. If you do, there is a very real possibility that they will make apology and learn how to relate to you in a way that is healthier. If you don’t, there is a very real possibility that your unexpressed feelings will congeal into resentment, ultimately coming out in a way that undermines the connection altogether. Bottom line- you have a right to be upset with someone. But they have a right to hear it. The only path home is clear and timely communication.
– Jeff Brown

ON FAITH

Yesterday, during an interview I quite enjoyed, the host asked me if I considered myself a man of faith. “Of course, I am a man of faith!” I responded. And then I proceeded to offer a reframed and embodied notion of faith that wasn’t necessarily tethered to bearded divinities and religious monocultures. What might faith look like if humans weren’t the unit of analysis? If it didn’t terminate at belief systems or cognitive leaps? A posthumanist faith?

Faith is the fidelity of entanglements. Faith exceeds the doctrines and the human-centric ways we – forced by the imperatives of institutions – have come to see them. It is how bodies come to meet other bodies, how bodies use or borrow other bodies and senses to respond to the creative challenges of a multidimensional reality that is never still – or how those bodies in excess of each other create new edges and experiment with new questions.

You might even think of faith as symbiosis or sympoiesis: faith is the relationship between the Egyptian plover bird and the crocodile, the wasp and the orchid, microbial civilizations in our guts and the memories we process. The water buffalo is the kasaya of the oxpecker; the ostrich is the yarmulke of the zebra. Faith means that bodies need bodies in order to thrive and in order to die well. It is coalitional, alliance-making, world-shaping, co-creative work. One does not have faith as such: we live and breathe and die in faith.

Faith does not terminate at binary truth statements or axioms. To make faith a subject of an ultimate truth, by which its value can be estimated, is to occlude the reality-forming work of faith. The question isn’t whether my faith is “true” or not – or whether the strangers outside are temples have the “right” faith. What’s more urgent invites us into a consideration of what an ecosystem of faith is doing – what specific species of yearning are producing, what imaginal possibilities are proliferated and from what soil, what archetypes are being played with, and how bodies are assuming and losing shape. Faith is a fragile network of doings-together, a strategy of co-inquiry, experiments of approach where arrival is impossible.

In this sense, no “one” is reducible to the discernible contents of their faith practices or expressed beliefs and rituals. There’s always something more, something excessive, something molecularly transgressive that upsets the firm rhetoric of faith-as-declaration. It is like removing a clean cobblestone and finding beneath it slimy worlds and critters unmentionable, doing their own business.

Faith is therefore revolutionary and has counter-imperial potentials. When we come to touch our faith, we come into an adventurous/expansive relationship with the bodies that are assembled in excess of ours. We touch the limbs of faith by listening to the materials, the memories, the furniture, the textures that are the condition of our becoming-with-the-world. In touching, we attune ourselves to how strange and alien we are, how composite our bodies are, how indebted we are, and how fugitive we are from systems of neat classification.

Faith is making sanctuary.

“But if you were asked about believing in God?”

“God”, I responded, “is always yet-to-come.”

– Bayo Akomolafe

Try to focus on what could happen in your life, not on some idea of what should happen. “Should” is heavy with obligations and expectations while “could” is light and nimble with possibility. Lean always toward lightness. Keep moving.
– Maggie Smith

A day, if a day could feel, must feel like a bowl.
Wars, loves, trucks, betrayals, kindness,
it eats them.
– Jane Hirshfield, The Bowl

…arguments get you nowhere, and being ‘right’ is
rarely helpful.


What works when there is a disagreement is love. That
may sound simplistic, but it is true — and very sound.
Ask yourself, What do I want here?
What is really important?

Look to see if there is a difference between being ‘right’
and being ‘accurate.’ Accuracy can be very helpful, and
therefore welcome. Righteousness rarely is either.
– ND Walsch

We can only escape from the world by outgrowing the world. Death may take man out of the world but only wisdom can take the world out of the man. As long as the human being is obsessed by worldliness, he will suffer from the Karmic consequences of false allegiances. When however, worldliness is transmuted into Spiritual Integrity he is free, even though he still dwells physically among worldly things.
– Manly P. Hall

The sage dose not treasure what is difficult to attain.
He does not collect precious things;
he learns not to hold on to ideas.
He helps the 10,000 things find their own nature
but does not venture to lead them by the nose.
– Tao Te Ching

Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count.
– Psalm 40:5

Anna Lisa McClelland:
People are quick to vilify those who ask questions. Why? You can believe in science and also question safety. In fact, questioning and verifying safety is a scientific principle. Yes, much of science has benefited humanity, but not all of science. There is medicine that heals and medicine that takes away life. To give an example, the Nazis during WWII were very fond of science, but the science they practiced was not intended to benefit all of humanity. Alas it is vital to ensure that science serves the well-being of all and that our science is founded in a care for humanity and a value for human life. Ignoring the role of eugenics in science is a mistake. Those who do not value life should not be allowed to serve mankind in the area of medicine. But that is not the current reality. In the meantime, it is important to be discerning and thoughtful, and practice kindness towards others — especially to those brave enough to ask tough questions.

Of ceaseless loneliness and high regret
Sings the young wistful spirit of a star
Enfolden in the shadows of the East…
– W. B. Yeats

In the Buddhist view, I depend on you for my existence. All things depend on each other, equally. Welcome to the doctrine of dependent origination. It’s teeter-totter metaphysics – I arise, you arise; you arise, I arise. Forget about our presumed Maker, the divine machinist in the sky. Take a look at this moment right now. You are you because you are not something else; therefore, what you are not – the chair beneath you, the air in your lungs, these words – births you through an infinity of opposites. It’s like the ultimate Dr. Seuss riddle: Without all the things that are not you, who would you be you to? There’s no Higher Power in this system to grab on to for support; we are all already supporting each other. Pull a person or people the wrong way and you immediately redefine yourself in light of what you’ve done to your neighbor.
– Shozan Jack Haubner

Love Breath
There is a way of breathing
that’s a shame and a suffocation.
And there’s another way:
a breath of love
that takes you
all the way to infinity.
– Rumi

Life is inexplicable, and those masterful people who base their lives on confidence and explanation deserve our sympathy
– Stafford

When we switch our emphasis from, “why does this world cause me so much trouble,” so much trouble to this identity to which we cling, over to an understanding that just as the world is impermanent so too is our identity, then we blame the world much less for our struggles. The world becomes so much less of an inconvenience to us.
– Dungse Jampal Norbu

If you really want to be free,
you’ve got to be prepared to lose your world — your whole world.

If you’re trying to prove your worldview is right, you might as well pack your bags,
and go home.
If you want to wake up and find,
“Hallelujah! I was right about it all,”
just go on vacation or back to work,
and don’t drive yourself crazy
on spiritual matters.

But if it’s slightly appealing
to think about waking up and realizing,
“Oh I was totally wrong, I was totally wrong about myself and about everybody else.
I was totally wrong about the world,”
you might be in the right place.
– Adyashanti, Emptiness Dancing

…come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the disheveled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.
– William Butler Yeats

A poem is done when it stops bothering me.
That is my definition of doneness.
– Mary Ruefle

every wisp
just. remember.
there is only one air.
no here, nor there
when it comes to our breath
in december it catches our chest
in may, it might pass without notice
the first, and the last
the sick heave it fast
the grass breathes incredibly slow
just so

7 seas, 7 lands
we know, but our hands
couldn’t carve up the skies
or the wind that’s inside

it’s all the same breath
cuz there’s only one air
neither here, nor there
since hashem swept the face
of the waters with spirit
on the darkness and cleared it
y’hi or, va’yi’hi
sit and breath
fly or scream
in your lungs it’s the same
so much so, to keep separate
we must cover our face
there’s so much me inside you
that pandemics have spread
hopped seas like they’re nothing
over land, as in dreams, late in bed
like sheep jumping
how connected could we be
through the air that we breath
a whole world’s gotten sick
the fastest movers slowed their pace
mighty empires in their tracks
like frozen dragonflies in sap

we rend our clothing and remember
weep and wail at the truth
that every wisp of air inside of me will one day be in you

but, too,

that means
that every wisp of air inside of me will one day be in you

the same that god commanded water with to split its blue in two
and ‘cross that sky and ‘cross that ocean
there’s a mama peek-a-boo
there’s a lover making swoon
there’s a breath across the soup inside a spoon to leave it cool
there’s a dove-bird-momma cooing as her first one finds its swoosh in its maiden past the coop
and the wind under her wings is the same inside of you
and the words hop off my tongue on the same inside of me

and every single human being needs to open every second
to keep walking on this planet, that is hell of a connection

we’re not reliant on the wireless, don’t believe it’s just a screen
that on this shabbes eve draws chords between the soul inside of me
and the one inside of you
the truth’s ‘kadosh, kadosh, kadosh’
will match to each one of our pulse
and the lungs that stretch and hold
all the clear and tasteless ocean
that we cannot live without
have the same breath,
in and out,
since the first one,
until now
– Binya Kóatz

What for poetry is often couched in the language of ecstasy, of standing outside oneself, in phenomenology is spoken of more soberly as a negating of the natural standpoint, a new lucidity…even if all clarity is actually a form of delirium…
– Leonard Schwartz

Ode for the Phoenix
And I came from the desert,
came out of the ashes of the earth,
looking for a way to love and live again
and you entered the landscape of light
with wings born of fire and passion,
those sacred ashes, those perilous bones,
and the wings that are drying
and I spark the fire and it takes time, it takes time,
to rebuild, to take the darkness and make light,
to start a new life is not easy work,
when all seems lost in this dangerous land,
but what gives me the most pleasure
is to memorize all the elements that revolve around me
and still they doubt me,
but look at the top of the tree
and it is a tree of fire– and like a great hawk I perch there
when I was supposed to be dead
– James Eret

We can look at history and see that [political turmoil is] fertile ground for art.
– Morgan Parker

Don’t tell me your religion, just tell me how many people you save from hunger.
– Amirah Al Wassif

All nouns are very lonely. They are like crystals, each enclosing it’s own piece of our knowledge about the world. But examine their transparency—and sooner or later it reveals its knowledge.
– Inger Christensen

Twas grief enough to think mankind
All hollow, servile, insincere;
But worse to trust to my own mind
And find the same corruption there
– Emily Brönte

We as humans have a tendency to dwell on worst case scenarios as though they are the only possible outcome to a situation.

Do yourself a favour:

Get out of your own head.

– Forge of Man

Above all, keep a close watch on this‚ that you are never so tied to your former acquaintances and friends that you are pulled down to their level. If you don’t, you’ll be ruined. . . .
– Epictetus

In the painful process of my self-discovery I want now to go deeper. No one can help me. Only I can do this.
– Anne Carson

HIGH NOON AT THE REMOTE CORRAL
by Diane Thiel

A scream from the back room, which usually means the internet died,
and I come running with a hotspot, hoping to bring it back to life,
all the late risers in town now online too, maybe working, but likely
just turning on Netflix, bank-robbing our bandwidth, but this time
it’s a forty-five question test, completed on time only to be erased
by a keyboard shortcut, a lethal combination of Ctrl-P and Cancel,
while across the house, the bari sax making it clear that this homestead
is not big enough for dueling instruments, though we never realized
how far even the little flute carries in these competing classes,
and now another blue screen of death, the crashing websites not scalable
enough for this scale of new users, as the noon hour looms,
and trumpet starts having a showdown with Spanish, the parents always
asking—Are you muted?—as nearly appropriate expletives erupt,
forgetting the day of the accidental unmuting of This is so boring,
accidentally evaluating the poor teachers who are trying their best,
class chats rolling in out of sync, the whole rhythm of learning out of sync,
the house a machine for many months now, whirring in all corners,
and worrying about the system giving an F until an item is graded
(as if we needed more stress), and now the youngest moving to the porch
for P.E. and maybe some stress relief, doing line dances with no line,
it only dawning on him yesterday that this dance is usually done
with others, hence the meaning of line dance, while back inside,
another child left behind in the tunnel (or is it a collapsing mineshaft)
between the meet and the breakout room, while I try to appear
on my own screen at noon, looking calm and having it all under control,
trying to arrange as much asynchronous as possible, which thankfully
works well for these classes, since when I do unmute, there is usually
a trumpet, sax, clarinet, flute, piano, or one nearly appropriate curse
or another in the background, waving in meetings, smiling at
some heads that I am sure don’t understand—and I don’t complain
anywhere except maybe in this poem, having learned to be thankful,
always thankful that things aren’t worse, however worse they get,
in this new world where what worked yesterday might not necessarily
work tomorrow, and then one I haven’t heard before, but it seems
about right, a holler from the kitchen table announcing—I can’t see
anyone else on screen anymore, but now there are hundreds of me.

In solitude a dialogue always arises, because even in solitude there are always two.

– Hannah Arendt

I would venture to say that the baroque is the final stage in all art, when art flaunts and squanders its resources. The baroque is inherently intellectual, and Bernard Shaw has said that all intellectual labour is inherently humorous.
– Jorge Luis Borges

My dog doesn’t worry about the meaning of life. She may worry if she doesn’t get her breakfast, but she doesn’t sit around worrying whether she will get fulfilled or liberated or enlightened. As long as she gets some food and a little affection, her life is fine. But we human beings are not like dogs. We have self-centered minds which get us into plenty of trouble. If we do not come to understand the error in the way we think, our self-awareness, which is our greatest blessing, is also our downfall.
– Charlotte Joko Beck

Create a personal private library of poetic devices and metaphors that broke your heart.
– Ilya Kaminsky

…Enter each day
as upon a stage
lighted and waiting
for your step
Crave upward as flame
have keenness in the nostril
Give your eyes
to agony or rapture

Train your hands
as birds to be
brooding or nimble
Move your body
as the horses
sweeping on slender hooves
over crag and prairie
with fleeing manes
and aloofness of their limbs

Take earth for your own large room
and the floor of earth
carpeted with sunlight
and hung round with silver wind
for your dancing place

– May Swenson

Language is never innocent.
– Roland Barthes

They agreed that it was neither possible nor necessary to educate people who never questioned anything.
– Joseph Heller

Most people fail in life because they major in minor things.
-,Anthony Robbins

A great poet is one who makes me small when I write, and great when I read.
– Mahmoud Darwish

Unexpected intrusions of beauty.
This is what life is.
– Saul Bellow, Herzog

Car broke down. Road still there. Left car behind. Walked.
– Jack Kerouac

Pursue not the outer entanglements; dwell not in the inner void; be serene in the oneness of things; and dualism vanishes by itself.
– Sengcan

Religion means living your own life, completely fresh and new, without being taken in by anyone.
– Kodo Sawaki

The brain is the center of all the senses,
the center of remembrance, the past,
the storehouse of experience and knowledge –
tradition.
So the brain is limited, conditioned.
It’s activities are planned, thought out, reasoned,
but it functions in limitation, in space-time.
So the brain cannot formulate or understand
that which is the Total, the Whole, the Complete.
The Whole is the mind: it is empty.
Totally empty, and through this emptiness,
the brain exists in space-time.
Only when the brain has cleansed itself
of its conditioning, greed, envy, ambition,
then only can it comprehend that which is complete.
Love is the completeness.
– J. Krishnamurti, Krishnamurti’s Notebook

I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.
– Virginia Woolf

The more we give our best, the more we are able to receive other people’s worst. Isn’t that great?
– Chogyam Trungpa

My dear
I don’t have a breaking
news for you –
in fact I don’t have
anything that strengthens
your ego and makes
your soul starve for itself –
I have only love and
healing presence
to share with you –
a rainbow of joy
surging inside my
vein and singing of your
eternal beauty –
a waterfall of love
throbbing inside
my chest for all humanity,
pointing beyond your
limitations, beyond
everything that
is temporary.
– Guthema Roba

The mainstream of American society has, from its inception, been built on silencing and strategic exclusion, on not hearing who and what mounts up to the majority of us. At its most intimate it’s this learned non-empathy that says that what happens to you doesn’t affect me, that we are not connected, that you don’t matter. At its most systematic it does this categorically: dictating that these people are not to be believed, not to be admitted as equals or participants; that they are to be laughed at or mocked or roughed up or erased.
– Rebecca Solnit

If anyone doubted that the essence of the individual is thoroughly interwoven with the collective fibers of society, our continued state of social distancing and isolation is further proof of the case. Robbed of our participation in the collective, we feel robbed of part of ourselves.
– Norland Tellez

I am a child with an old soul. I see magic in everything, but at the same time, everything tires me because I feel everything so very deeply.
– Juansen Dizon

If death erases any possibility of speaking directly with his father about these unearthed tensions and feelings, and if it leaves the poet arguing both sides of the conversation in his dreams, in Between Lakes it also offers the possibility of disruption, of shaking the poet out of his habitual knee-jerk relationship with his father, “stuck / in a rudimentary pattern of / defining ourselves as opposites” (“Higher Education”).
– Jeffrey Harrison

I don’t care how spiritual you are. How long you can melt in the sweat lodge. How many peyote or ayahuasca journeys that have blown your mind, how many master plant dietas you’ve done or how well you can hold crow pose. I don’t care what planets fall in what houses on your birth chart, or how “silent” your meditation is. I don’t care how many crystals you have or how long you’ve gone without sugar, salt, spices or sex or how vegan your diet is.

I want to know how human you are. Can you sit at the feet of the dying despite the discomfort? Can you be with your grief, or mine, without trying to advise, fix or maintain it? I want to know that you can show up at the table no matter how shiny, chakra- aligned or complete you are- or not. Can you hold loving space for your beloveds in the depths of your own healing without trying to be big?

It doesn’t flatter me how many online healing trainings you have, that you live in the desert, forest or in a log cabin, or that you’ve mastered the art of tantra.

What turns me on is busy hands. Planting roots. That despite how tired you are, you make that phone call, you board that plane, you love your children, you feed your family.

I have no interest in how well you can ascend to 5D, astral travel or have out of body sex. I want to see how beautifully you integrate into ordinary reality with your unique magic, how you find beauty and gratitude in what’s surrounding you, and how present you can be in your relationships. How do you hold the ones you love in the midst of conflict? How do you take responsibility for your part? How do you make amends?

I want to know that you can show up and do the hard and holy things on this gorgeously messy Earth. I want to see that you can be sincere, grounded and compassionate as equally as you are empowered, fiery and magnetic. I want to know that even during your achievements, you can step back and be humble enough to still be a student.

What’s beautiful and sexy and authentic is how well you can continue to celebrate others no matter how advanced you’ve become. What’s truly flattering is how much you can give despite how full you’ve made yourself. What’s honestly valuable is how f***ing better of a human you can be, in a world that is high off of spiritual materialism and jumping the next escape goat for “freedom.”

At the end of the day I don’t care how brave you are. How productive, how popular, how enlightened you are. At the end of the day, I want to know that you were kind. That you were real. I want to know that you can step down from the pedestal from time to time to kiss the earth and let your hair get dirty and your feet get muddy, and join the dance with us all.
– Taylor Rose Godfrey

When the models of the parents are caution, fear, prejudice, codependency, narcissism and powerlessness, the first adulthood is contaminated by their domination or desperate over compensation for them. Differentiating one’s own knowing from the messages of the parents is the necessary prelude to the second half of life.
– James Hollis Ph.D.

Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.
– Albert Einstein

To desert the Truth in the hour of need
is to prove that we do know the Truth.
When things look the worst,
that is the supreme moment to demonstrate
to ourselves that there are no obstructions
to the operation of Truth.
When things look the worst is the best time
to work, the most satisfying time.
The person who can throw themselves
with a complete abandon into the Limitless sea of receptivity, is the one who will always receive the greatest benefit.
– Dr. Ernest Shurtleff Holmes

Most people feel cozy enough in samsara. They do not really have the genuine aspiration to go beyond samsara; they just want samsara to be a little bit better. It is quite interesting
that “samsara” became the name of a perfume. And it is like that. It seduces us into thinking that it is okay: samsara is not so bad;
it smells nice!

The underlying motivation
to go beyond samsara is very rare,
even for people who go to Dharma centers.
There are many people who learn to meditate and so forth, but with the underlying motive that they hope to make themselves feel better. And if it ends up making them feel worse, instead of realizing that this
may be a good sign, they think there is something wrong with Dharma.

We are always looking to make ourselves comfortable in the prison house.
We might think that if we get the cell wall painted a pretty shade of pale green,
and put in a few pictures,
it won’t be a prison any more.
– Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

From generation to generation
Lights are extinguished
And darkness threatens
Until some one stoops
To bear the torch.
– Laurence Overmire

LONGCHENPA:

Those receiving teachings should avoid six mistakes:

Listening too soon, like a clay pot that has not been fired;

Not paying attention to what is said, like a cup turned upside down;

Not memorizing what is heard, like a leaky vessel;

Tainting the teachings with negative emotional bias, like a pot lined with poison;

Not following the spiritual path, like a contaminated container;

And taking pride in knowing just the words, like a broken vase.

Avoid any mistakes like these and listen to the teachings carefully, with undivided attention.

Not having anything around to read is dangerous:
you have to content yourself with life itself,
and that can lead you to take risks.
– Michel Houellebecq, Platform

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

LOOK EM IN THE EYE

Mama says “You better watch your step… cause you beside yo’self!
Mama says “ You better shut that mouth, before you lose your health!
You say they hurt your feelings?
They just might take you out before they’re through!”

Mama says. “That’s crazy talk! Who died and made YOU, King?
There’s people who ain’t here no more said that self same thing!
You got to know when to quit it!
Be careful where you stick your point of view!”

If you listen closely, you will recognize the lies
They say that if you fight you cannot win! But when that train rolls up and hits you right between the eyes
You better know who is and ain’t your friend!

Chorus: You got to…
Do what you’re doin’ /Try to set the spark / Say what you’re sayin’
Shout it from your heart!
You gotta make a change
Stand your ground!
You gotta look em in the eye!

You may just wanna back right down when they call your name
So many have been here before pushin’ through the pain
We all stand on their shoulders
Now it’s up to us to see it through!

It don’t take no genius to bring tyrants to their knees.
Passion makes you swim against the tide.
You may not win the battle / you may sail stormy seas
But ignorance won’t have a place to hide! Chorus

Do what you’re doin’ / Try to set the spark
Say what you’re sayin’ / shout it from your heart
You gotta make a change / stand your ground! You gotta look em in the eye!

– Reggie Harris

The glory of poverty is that rich people can’t experience it. Their possessions get in the way.
– Dany Laferrière

May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy. Those who go out weeping … shall come home with shouts of joy
– Psalms 126:5-6

If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.
– Peace Pilgrim

Memory was transmitted not only through the stories but through the ways of walking, sitting, talking, laughing, eating, hailing someone, grabbing hold of objects. It passed body to body, over the years, from the remotest countrysides
– Annie Ernaux

Like most poets, I was born with my thumb attached to my nose in that ancient gesture of disrespect toward all authorities, establishments & shitfaces. It has taken arduous operations to disattach it. In certain weather it jerks back to its original position.
– Eugene Walter

Zen is nothing to get excited about.
– Shunryu Suzuki

What is it called when the moment you leave something behind (i.e. an object, an experience, a relationship, a feeling, a place, a part of yourself, and so on), it is instantly erased and/or eaten?

And what is the name of the thing that erases and/or eats it?
– @brandonshimoda

Last Scraps of Color in Missouri
by Karen Craigo
Today I passed a stand
of trees: tall, closely packed,
bare and almost black
from rain. But underneath,
I saw smaller trees, just
getting started on their slow
snatch-and-grab of sky,
and I saw these were golden
still, and they glowed
like campfires in the dark.
Lately I’d been wanting
a little light — and there it was,
and all I had to do was turn
my gaze a few degrees
from center. Some blessings
find us when we move to them —
they’re waiting only to be seen.
Near the end of a difficult year,
may we spot the light,
as we breathe in prayer
or supplication: Show me,
show me, show me.

MORNING RIFF
Out this window, angles of light
and miles of chain link, blue sky
bearing down on it all—heavy
with high desert snow. It fades
quickly in the morning mist, and
there is little the muse can do.
Still, there’s a grip of ideas
beyond everything. And amber lights
like saucers circle the land,
as I am reminded of fiction
from another day, a dark age
before the penitent could sing
dirges of regret. This life,
the walls say, is far too gray
– Christopher Presfield

To know your history is to carry all your pieces, whole and shattered, through the wilderness. And feel their weight.
– Sabrina Orah Mark

True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.
– Arthur Ashe

I knew I didn’t want to go to grad school. I’d had James Baldwin as a writing teacher!
– Suzan-Lori Parks

Anand Giridharadas:
If you like kind people, you’re going to love kind systems.

If you like humane politicians, you’re going to love humane policies.

If you like personal decency, you’re going to love structural decency.

To show compassion for an individual without showing concern for the structures of society that make him an object of compassion is to be sentimental rather than loving.
– William Sloane Coffin Jr.

To be a poet is to have a soul in which knowledge passes instantaneously into feeling, and feeling flashes back as a new organ of knowledge.
– George Eliot, Middlemarch

If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.
– Thomas A. Edison

When I was in my twenties, I thought depth was all about grandeur, drama, emotional intensity and thunder and lightning – the stronger the feelings you were having, the more real everything was. As I’ve got older, I’ve learned that depth can be about quietness, gentleness, attentiveness.
– Martin Shaw

Finnegans Wake:
Then Nuvoletta reflected for the last time in her little long life and she made up all her myriads of drifting minds in one. She cancelled all her engauzements. She climbed over the bannistars; she gave a childy cloudy cry: Nuée! Nuée! A lightdress fluttered. She was gone. And into the river that had been a stream (for a thousand tears had gone eon her and come on her and she was stout and struck on dancing and her muddied name was Missisliffi) there fell a tear, a singult tear, the loveliest of all tears (I mean for those crylove fables fans who are ‘keen’ on the prettypretty commonface sort of thing you meet by hopeharrods) for it was a leaptear. But the river tripped on her by and by, lapping as though her heart was brook: Why, why, why! Weh, O weh! I’se so silly to be flowing but I no canna stay!

Nevertheless, sometimes, at four A.M., when one feels that one has probably become simply incapable of supporting this miracle, with all one’s wounds awake and throbbing, and all one’s ghastly inadequacy staring and shouting from the walls and the floor – the entire universe having shrunk to the prison of the self – death glows like the only light on a high, dark, mountain road, where one has, forever and forever! lost one’s way. – And many of us perish then.

But if one can reach back, reach down – into oneself, into one’s life – and find there some witness, however unexpected or ambivalent, to one’s reality, one will be enabled, though perhaps not very spiritedly, to face another day. What one must be enabled to recognize, at four o’clock in the morning, is that one has no right, at least not for reasons of private anguish, to take one’s life. All lives are connected to other lives and when one man goes, much more goes than the man goes with him. One has to look on oneself as the custodian of a quantity and a quality – oneself – which is absolutely unique in the world because it has never been here before and will never be here again.
– James Baldwin

Suddenly, sun. Over my shoulder
in the middle of gray November
what I hoped to do comes back,
asking.


Across the street the fiery trees
hold onto their leaves,
red and gold in the final months
of this unfinished year,
they offer blazing riddles.

In the frozen fields of my life
there are no shortcuts to spring,
but stories of great birds in migration
carrying small ones on their backs,
predators flying next to warblers
they would, in a different season, eat.

Stunned by the astonishing mix in this uneasy world
that plunges in a single day from despair
to hope and back again, I commend my life
to Ruskin’s most difficult duty of delight,
and to that most beautiful form of courage,
to be happy.
– Jeanne Lohmann

When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.
– The Mark Twain

there are people who used to care about things and now all they are is work, rest, compacted and jammed against each other
– Lorene Bouboushian

I don’t think any other art can get at how we move back and forth between fear and faith in the way poetry does.
– Jericho Brown

Healing begins with restoring those parts of ourselves that have been scattered, hidden, suppressed, denied, distorted, and forbidden. It begins, especially, with restoring our ability to cultivate our emotions and our willingness to ask life for things for ourselves.
– B & M Harris

Advice is like snow – the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind.
– Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Michael Paik:
Whenever someone accuses me of being a drug dealer or living off my parents’ money

I take it as the highest compliment

I’m doing so well at my age that they cannot fathom in their small minds how it’s possible

Laugh and move on

Mackenzie Smith:
Imagine if instead of giving out medications left and right…

We taught proper nutrition and exercise.

The body is mind made manifest. To work on the body is to probe the mind.
– Daniel Goldman

Self is only an idea, a mortal idea.
– Kerouac

It is possible to move through the drama of our lives without believing so earnestly in the character that we play. That we take ourselves so seriously, that we are so absurdly important in our own minds, is a problem for us.
– Pema Chodron

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

Dealing with the shadow is not the primary goal here; rather, it is the finding of the genuine inner goal through which the fight between good and evil no longer holds center stage.
– Marie-Louise von Franz

Even in dreams be kind…
– Kerouac

Most people fail in life because they major in minor things.
– Anthony Robbins

They agreed that it was neither possible nor necessary to educate people who never questioned anything.
– Joseph Heller

What lay beyond the shadows of the yard was an endless view of the world that you wouldn’t be able to see till dawn.
– Kerouac

Anand Giridharadas:
If you like kind people, you’re going to love kind systems.

If you like humane politicians, you’re going to love humane policies.


If you like personal decency, you’re going to love structural decency.

To show compassion for an individual without showing concern for the structures of society that make him an object of compassion is to be sentimental rather than loving.
– William Sloane Coffin Jr.

My bowel is Shamanist. My heart is Buddhist. My right brain, which defines my mood, is Confucian and Taoist. My left brain, which defines my public language, is Protestant Christian, and, overall, my aura is ecofeminist…My body is like a religious pantheon.
– Chung Hyun Kyung

Neoliberalism may remain the dominant elite mantra, but it is visibly tottering. The new has not yet been born, but it is emerging in many intricate ways.
– Noam Chomsky

And if that ain’t a magic trick –
for the sun to die with us daily
and come back to watch again.
– Ajanae Dawkins

[Tomaž Šalamun] treated everything with such reverence and intensity, his faith was contagious. When Tomaž writes (in “Pisanje”)…“Writing poetry is the most serious act in the world”.., I believe him.
– Brian Henry

Roots to reveal the implicit order, as if in a bathysphere we plunge deeper and deeper and hit the inky bottom.
– Matt Morse

Let go of the story — and return to the only place of power — the present moment.
– Eckhart Tolle

I don’t believe in killing, whatever the reason!
– John Lennon

for my eighth hour i will be the dancing light that slips through the living room blinds and ripples on the floor or across the walls
– Kristin Vining

Each moment is a leap forwards from the brink of an invisible cliff, where time’s keen edges are constantly renewed. We lift our foot from the solid ground of all our life lived thus far, and take that perilous step out into the empty air. Not because we can claim any particular courage, but because there is no other way.
– Han Kang, The White Book

1. Remember to never split an infinitive.
2. The passive voice should never be used.
3. “Avoid overuse of ‘quotation “marks.”’“
4. Avoid run-on sentences they are hard to read.
5. Don’t use no double negatives.
6. Use the semicolon properly, always use it where it is appropriate; and never where it isn’t.
7. Reserve the apostrophe for it’s proper use and omit it when its not needed.
8. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
9. No sentence fragments.
10. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
11. Avoid commas, that are not necessary.
12. Don’t string too many prepositional phrases together unless you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death.
13. If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
14. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
15. Write all adverbial forms correct.
16. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
17. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
18. Steer clear of incorrect forms of verbs that have snuck in the language.
19. Also, avoid awkward or affected alliteration.
– William Safire, Fumblerules: A Lighthearted Guide to Grammar and Good Usage

Here is the power, the seductiveness of the act [of reading]: When we read, we create and then occupy a hitherto nonexistent interior locale. […] No less exalting is the sensation of inner and outer worlds coinciding, going on simultaneously, or very nearly so. The awareness is enforced regularly. I am reading, caught up in my book, when the phone rings. I am shocked back into the room, forced to contend with some piece of business. Then, a moment later, I am back. I have jumped from one circuit to another. The book is there, waiting, like one of those rare dreams that I half-awaken from and then reenter. Knowing that I have the option of return, this figurative space within the literal space I occupy, changes my relation to that literal space. I am still contained in the world, but I don’t feel trapped in it.
– Sven Birkerts, The Gutenberg Elegies

A nation’s language, so we are often told, reflects its culture, psyche, and modes of thought. People in tropical climes are so laid-back it’s no wonder they let most of their consonants fall by the wayside. […] The grammar of some languages is simply not logical enough to express complex ideas; German, on the other hand, is an ideal vehicle for formulating the most precise philosophical profundities, as it is a particularly orderly language, which is why the Germans have such orderly minds. […]

Should these lofty observations be carried away from the conviviality of the dining room to the chill of the study, they would quickly collapse like a soufflé of airy anecdote—at best amusing and meaningless, at worst bigoted and absurd. […] The industrious protestant Danes have dropped more consonants onto their icy windswept soil than any indolent tropical tribe. And if Germans do have systematic minds, this is just as likely to be because their exceedingly erratic mother tongue has exhausted their brains’ capacity to cope with any further irregularity.
– Guy Deutscher, Through the Language Glass

But I’ve learned from my therapist that memory is linked to emotion; emotion segregates what to remember from what is by the way.
– Arthur Russell

street band plays reggae
under a sun leaning down
where no one listens

saxophone buildings echo the blues

patio tables
empty in a cold wind
discussing rain

early frost–
me with two cats on the couch
just fine, just fine

an airplane banner
taking politics skyward–
that’s superman

breathing whiskey
the last of autumn color
stripped from the oak

scent of someone new
on the pillow next to mine–
indian summer

through the bare branches
the hospital now in full view–
coronavirus
– Brian, Five Branch Tree

Eric Holthaus:

There is no climate justice without racial justice.

There is no climate policy without Indigenous leadership.

There is no future without abolishing extractive capitalism.

We are absolutely not all in this together

Memory, is anything / this cruel?
– Jake Adam York

Nothing composes the mind like composing composition.
– Robert Frost

Remember, visioning might be done in poetry, but government work must be done in prose.
– Sanjeev Sanyal

It’ll never cease to amaze me how people have turned Christianity, a religion of love toward our neighbor, into something so selfish; about *my purity, *my family, *my relationship with God.
Running outta ways to express the madness of turning Christianity into its exact opposite.
– Melinda Ribnek

Wait until we all meet Jesus and realize none of us really understood, and just how finite our minds are in the face of the infinite.
The soul understands what the mind does not. I suspect the souls of so many disabled people are more capable than some of the smartest theologians.
– Melinda Ribnek

The Well and the Tree
‘THE MAN that I praise,’
Cries out the empty well,
‘Lives all his days
Where a hand on the bell
Can call the milch-cows
To the comfortable door of his house.
Who but an idiot would praise
Dry stones in a well?’
‘The Man that I praise,’
Cries out the leafless tree,
‘Has married and stays
By an old hearth, and he
On naught has set store
But children and dogs on the floor.
Who but an idiot would praise
A withered tree?’
– W B Yeats

Sometimes a gift is given and neither giver nor recipient knows what its true dimensions are, and what it appears to be at first is not what it will be in the end.
– Rebecca Solnit

Climate change is the simple consequence of forgetting the holiness of this mysterium in which we’re bodily immersed.
– David Abram

One can live in the shadow of an idea without grasping it.
– Elizabeth Bowen

POETRY IS
THE STUDY of psychologies! sociologies! music! where words & wordlessness are the VISUAL in visual art.
– Marian Haddad

Love isn’t something natural.
Rather it requires discipline,
concentration, patience, faith,
and the overcoming of narcissism.
It isn’t a feeling, it is a practice.
– Erich Fromm

I love returning home in the dark, to see the lights of my house shining. Like astronauts feel returning from the moon, travelling through space towards a waiting world. Soon I will be home, part once more of the indoor world of light and warmth.
– C.R.Milne

If pain brings you wisdom, imagine what healing will bring
– @turtlebreeze

Imagination is the prerequisite of understanding.
– Hannah Arendt

Mindfulness may seem like a difficult practice that takes special training and abilities to practice, but in many ways we are naturally mindful, whether we practice mindfulness or not. Everybody has awareness. That is how we know that we are suffering. We know we’re anxious. Whether we practice mindfulness or not, we notice our breathing. We notice that we have a body. We notice the taste of our food, the smells in the air. We notice that we feel good when we are generous. We notice that we like it when people are nice to us. We notice that we feel wonderful when we feel loved. We don’t need a special practice to notice these things. That is what we do because we are alive.
– Peter Taylor

Meadowthis, and —that, until
Windswept. All this:—what is,
if it can be, expected—love,
the loss of it (or more the realization
that what was thought
to be wasn’t); heat, betrayal, sweat;
what was forgotten until it is remembered
again; regret: if I had known; thirst,
more sweat; the not-so-cute-discovery
about butterflies; the ignored buzz on the phone
about Beirut; a leaf drifting; a door opening,
then closing; the crack of the neck; the distinction
between pleasure and emotion, between hopping

and leaping (unconsidered: how much destination
matters); trash or rather what is considered
trash; a bridge that’s not a bridge but more
something to mark the presence of what appears
to be, though no water is visible, a creek canopied
by cut grasses; the raised palm that remains
red; a woman walking a black dog, a man
in an orange shirt running, another walking; an ant
crawling up my arm and, of course, the wind
claiming whatever it can…
—it all accounts for, all amounts to, what?
So easy to confuse a day for a lifetime.
– Ayokunle Falomo

Ask yourself, Do I want to live in a world where “X Poem” isn’t considered poetry?, and if the answer is no, don’t cut the poem, keep working on it, no matter what.
– Eleanor Boudreau

Spiritual exercises: lowering the ideas into the body. Making it part of one’s instincts. Can’t be a Buddhist or Hindu without changing one’s physiology.
– Susan Sontag

Kaitlyn Greenidge:
To recognize that those books were incapable of grappling with that giant historical moment breaks the myth of mastery, that those authors are “masters’ and so we say it is irrelevant

my hands, I deem, ne’er come so clean,
as when they make clean other things,
so it may be with hearts that serve ·
that live to give and work unseen
– Elijah Morton

What the Thrush Said
by John Keats
O Thou whose face hath felt the Winter’s wind,
Whose eye has seen the snow-clouds hung in mist,
And the black elm tops ’mong the freezing stars,
To thee the spring will be a harvest-time.
O thou, whose only book has been the light
Of supreme darkness which thou feddest on
Night after night when Phœbus was away,
To thee the Spring shall be a triple morn.
O fret not after knowledge—I have none,
And yet my song comes native with the warmth.
O fret not after knowledge—I have none,
And yet the Evening listens. He who saddens
At the thought of idleness cannot be idle,
And he’s awake who thinks himself asleep.

John Lennon was one of the architects of a futuristic peaceful world, unfortunately before he had a chance to breath its air, there was a shot from a terrorist’s gun, killing the dreamer and leaving us to imagine it… but ideas don’t die.
– Yusuf / Cat Stevens

David Bedrick:
Beyond taking things personally when I am the target, I also take it personally when offenses target those I love.

The Ruins of Nostalgia 59
We felt nostalgic for libraries, even though we were sitting in a library. We looked around the library lined with books and thought of other libraries we had sat in lined with books and then of all the libraries we would never sit in lined with books, some of which contained scenes set in libraries. * We felt nostalgic for post offices, even though we were standing in a post office. We studied the rows of stamps under glass and thought about how their tiny castles, poets, cars, and flowers would soon be sent off to all cardinal points. We rarely got paper letters anymore, so our visits to the post office were formal, pro forma. * We felt nostalgic for city parks, even though we were walking through a city park, in a city full of city parks in a country full of cities full of city parks, with their green benches, bedraggled bushes, and shabby pansies, cut into the city. (Were the city parks bits of nature showing through cutouts in the concrete, or was the concrete showing through cutouts in nature?) * We sat in a café drinking too much coffee and checking our feeds, wondering why we were more anxious about the future than anxiously awaiting it. Was the future showing through cutouts in the present, or were bits of the present showing through cutouts in a future we already found ourselves in, arrived in our café chairs like fizzled jetpacks? The café was in a former apothecary lined with dark wood shelves and glowing white porcelain jars labeled in gilded Latin, which for many years had sat empty. Had a person with an illness coming to fetch her weekly dose of meds from one of the jars once said to the city surrounding the shop, which was no longer this city, Stay, thou art so fair? Weren’t these the words that had sealed the bargainer’s doom? Sitting in our presumptive futures, must we let everything run through our hands—which were engineered to grab—into the past? In the library, in the post office, in the city park, in the café, in the apothecary… o give us the medicine, even if it is a pharmakon—which, as the pharmacist knows, either poisons or heals—just like nostalgia. Just like the ruins of nostalgia.
– Donna Stonecipher

I would never compare men to God, but let me start
by saying—names or not—they all respond, or don’t respond, to you.

The vacuum sucks a desert from the carpet—varoom, room. You enter
and say words to me, words I do not hear until you tear the cord-head out,

“—nothing,” you say, “happens in a vacuum.” An argument
proceeds from here, and you tell me to go to hell. I think I would like hell—

Hell, at least, is just,
its plain intelligible—unlike this world so full
of double standards and double talk and the double question,

So this is or is not about my faithlessness?

– Eleanor Boudreau

It takes your enemy and your friend, working together, to hurt you to the heart; the one to slander you and the other to get the news to you.
– Mark Twain, Following the Equator

Poetry is the lifeblood of rebellion, revolution, and the raising of consciousness.
– Alice Walker

I’m hoping to be astonished tomorrow by I don’t know what.
– Jim Harrison

The Shape of Things
There is a trough in waves,
a low spot
where horizon disappears
and only sky
and water
are our company.

And there we lose our way
unless
we rest, knowing the wave will bring us
to its crest again.

There we may drown
if we let fear
hold us within its grip and shake us
side to side,
and leave us flailing, torn, disoriented.

But if we rest there
in the trough,
are silent,
being with
the low part of the wave,
keeping
our energy and
noticing the shape of things,
the flow,
then time alone
will bring us to another
place
where we can see
horizon, see the land again,
regain our sense
of where
we are,
and where we need to swim.
– Judy Brown

But we have only begun
To love the earth.
We have only begun
To imagine the fullness of life.
How could we tire of hope?
— so much is in bud.
How can desire fail?
— we have only begun
…Surely our river
cannot already be hastening
into the sea of nonbeing?
Surely it cannot
drag, in the silt,
all that is innocent?
Not yet, not yet—
there is too much broken
that must be mended,
too much hurt we have done to each other
that cannot yet be forgiven.
We have only begun to know
the power that is in us if we would join
our solitudes in the communion of struggle.
So much is unfolding that must
complete its gesture,
so much is in bud.
– Denise Levertov

Detachment is necessary for peace, and peace is necessary for happiness.
– Naval Ravikant

Reflect that there is no one who is less pleased by your grief than he to whom it seems to be offered; for he either does not wish you to suffer, or does not know that you do.
– Seneca

Ego can’t be more important than art. Ever.
– Kiese Laymon

If you want to work on your art,
work on your life.
– Anton Chekhov

Often, people begin to meditate because they want to exclude everything that appears to cause them stress, from the noise around them to the noise within themselves. Meditation, however, is not a path of exclusion, but a path of inclusion of all that exists. It does not serve to build better protective walls, but to break the existing ones.
– Doka Sensei

You can’t fact-check somebody who says they’ve had an “Awakening”. They’re telling you they live in a different world.
– Matthew Remski

The greatest opportunity for self-improvement is a moment of adversity followed by the willingness to absorb the lesson.
– unknown

Imagine if our negative feelings, or at least lots of them, turned out to be illusions, and we could dispel them by just contemplating them from a particular vantage point.
– Robert Wright

Without translation, we would be living in provinces bordering on silence.
– George Steiner

The possession of a secret cuts a person off from his fellow human beings.
– C. G. Jung

I became a climate warrior when someone threw down the gauntlet for me; challenged me to think bigger…and to take on a grand personal mission.
– Margaret Klein Salamon

Our goal must be crystal clear,
straight and balanced.
Once the arrow has gone, it will not come back
– The Archer, Coelho

Sentient beings are primarily all Buddhas. It is like ice and water. Apart from water, no ice can exist; apart from sentient beings, no Buddhas can be found.
– Hakuin Ekaku Zenji, The Song of Zazen

It is not possible to live long amid infantile surroundings, or in the bosom of the family, w/out endangering 1’s psychic health. Life calls us forth to independence & anyone who does not heed this call because of childish laziness or timidity is threatened with neurosis.
– CG Jung

there comes a time when one must take a position
that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular
but one must take it because
conscience tells – it is right…
– Martin Luther King Jr.

i just learned that the distribution of structures of galaxies, clusters, filaments, and voids in our local Universe appears to be fractal and I’m totally loooosing my mind at how utterly INCREDIBLE and beautiful our Universe is.
– Sarafina Nance

Historically Black people have had to be ahead of time & outside it.
– Dionne Brand

By invoking the drala principle, we can reawaken that intimate connection to reality.
– Chögyam Trungpa

Wisdom is finding the path that is best for all – considering the options, the positives and the negatives – and having the courage to change what must be changed for the sake of the entire world.
– Laurence Overmire, The Ghost of Rabbie Burns: An American Poet’s Journey Through Scotland

You have read thousands of books of knowledge, have you ever tried to read your own self.
– Baba Bulleh Shah

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
25 Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
creeping things innumerable are there,
living things both small and great.
26 There go the ships,
and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.

27 These all look to you
to give them their food in due season;

– Psalm 104 NRSV

I came to this earth so that
I can find the way to back to my Beloved.
– Maulana Rumi

Be silent and listen:
have you recognized your madness
and do you admit it?
Have you noticed that all your foundations
are completely mired in madness?
Do you not want to recognize your madness and welcome it in a friendly manner?
You wanted to accept everything.
So accept madness too.
Let the light of your madness shine
and it will suddenly dawn on you.

Madness is not to be despised
and not to be feared,
but instead you should give it life…

If you want to find paths,
you should also not spurn madness,
since it makes up such a great part
of your nature…
Be glad that you can recognize it,
for you will thus avoid becoming its victim.

Madness is a special form of the spirit
and clings to all teachings and philosophies, but even more to daily life,
since life itself is full of craziness
and at bottom utterly illogical.
– Carl Gustav Jung

My ideas aren’t afraid of height.
– L. A. Almashat

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
– Erich Fromm

Listen, you have to stop getting
out of bed like an oil spill. You’re
not a flat tire at 2 am. Stop acting
like an accident. You are not an
accident. You’re an apple on a
pine tree in a room full of lemons.
– Rudy Francisco

Tayve Neese: I believe in chakras
spinning over hearts,
genitals,

I believe bee dances
make them diminutive

cartographers,


our dead appear as scent
to attend their funerals,

tankas and sonnets
are a species of orchid,

trauma lodged in DNA
will become an echo,

mercy is a snake’s skin
left for us to borrow.

Poetic erasure means the striking out of text. Poetic erasure has yet to advance historically. Historically, the striking out of text is the root of obliterating peoples.
– Solmaz Sharif

I never feel elated after writing a page of prose. When the deep channels are open, poetry comes as a gift from powers beyond my will. When I am really inspired I can put a poem through a hundred drafts and keep my excitement. Perhaps because the poem is primarily a dialogue with the self and the novel a dialogue with others.
– May Sarton

Anyone with a little spiritual awareness understands populism (people power), regardless of whether they are red rural conservative or blue urban liberal.
– Ted Cohen

The power of energy is way more potent than behaviors or words!
– Lori Ladd

Have regrets.
They are fuel.
On the page they flare into desire.
– Geoff Dyer

But someday you’ll reach them all, for what you learn today, for no reason at all, will help you discover all the wonderful secrets of tomorrow.
– Norton Juster, Phantom Tollbooth

….ruins are beautiful to us; blues make us feel good; it is through the wound that we perceive the body alive–o.
– C. D. Wright

Literature is where we free ourselves.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

Our inner world is rich.
It is vast and profound.
It is always there,
never closed on holidays or weekends.
There is no login required. No monthly fees. And it is totally secure and private.
Why not hang out there?!
Give yourself a treat, go inside, go deep inside.
Discover realities you never knew existed. Become friends with your mind,
with your inner world. Hang out.
Get to know your inner patterns
that govern your speech and behavior.
Become intimate.
You have the power and authority
to change what you don’t like.
It takes guts. It takes patience.
It takes diligence.
But it is worth it, deeply worth it.
Sit quietly every day
and allow your mind to settle.
Mornings are usually best.
You don’t need to do anything.
Just be. Just be still without judgment,
without expectation. Just observe.
Relax and be happy.
– Dr. Barry Kerzin

catastrophism has failed to bring about [a] global political breakthrough… we have reached diminishing returns on dread.
– Oliver Burkeman, Apocaloptimism

There are good teachers
and there are great teachers.
They enter this world
through your body.
They come from some eternity
beyond night and day,
beyond Winter and Spring.
The good teacher brings light
and speaks of light.
The great teacher says,
Do not fear, do not resist
the darkness.
The great teacher says,
Become the darkness
so that you may give birth
to what is radiant.
O Mother, O Child,
teach us to breathe in
world sorrow,
and breathe out
fierce joy.
This is how it must be.
Teach us how Christ is born
again in the breath
of humanity,
again in the womb
of my chest.
This mystery, this recreation
of the sun
on the darkest night.
– Fred LaMotte

Once you have recognized that there are other realities, other than the one you have been familiar with, your life starts to change.
– Ram Dass

With enough heat, ice will turn into steam. Likewise, with the heat of practice, conceptually understanding the nature of reality will turn into the non-conceptual and non-dual experience of it.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

The Red Thread of Loss and The Weaving of Something Worthy
By Tad Hargrave

When we lose something important or when someone we love dies, the urge of this culture is to fix it and to get us back to ‘normal’ as soon as possible, to help us get ‘over’ the pain, or muscle ‘through’ it. Every manner of preposition is employed in relationship to our pain. But what’s clear is that the pain doesn’t belong. The pain is placated with New Age aphorisms and axioms. And sometimes this is worse because the message can be that there is no pain to even feel since ‘everything is energy and they’re in a better place now.’ The core message?

The pain shouldn’t be there.


Either, it was a mistake (the random cruelty of an uncaring universe, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune) requiring an orientation towards loss of gritting our teeth and enduring it.

Or it was divine perfection. It was a part of some perfect plan we agreed to before being born and so there’s really nothing to even be sad about.

In either case, the end result is the same, when life comes along and remorselessly tears apart the blanket we’ve spent our whole life weaving, we are supposed to reweave it just as it was. But, what many of us discover is that, we can’t. We can never seem to get it quite back to where it was. And we lack the motivation to do so.

I remember once, in university, typing up an essay that I was so proud of and then, somehow, it vanished. Some capricious punishment meted out by the computer gods. I had loved writing the essay. I hated rewriting it.

And we seem to hate trying to reweave the blanket of our life. I think we hate it because we think we should love it. But I think that our disdain for redoing something comes from a real and worthy realization that, with any loss of significance, even if we knuckle down to it and manage to get even close to some approximation of the old patterns they just don’t seem to fit anymore. They’re not satisfying. They no longer fit the times we’re in.

This is just as true of the large scale losses we face in the world of climate destabilization, massive extinction of languages, creatures, plants and cultures, the acidification of the oceans and the widening chasm between the rich and the poor. Our corporate business suits are becoming unraveled and it’s becoming increasingly clear that trying to reweave them as they were finds us deeply out of fashion with the times in which we find ourselves.

And, were we to succeed, no one would know by looking at it that it had ever unraveled at all.

This is seen as a high accomplishment by many in our society.

No one would see our loss. Our newly woven shawl would cover our broken heart so well. And there is no lonelier feeling. And perhaps no sadder feeling to have to suffer our losses alone. To remember the one who died and know that everyone else is doing their best to forget them (as we know that even those closest to us will do to us when we die).

It’s little wonder that we are scared to die. How quickly the shawl of life will be rewoven without us – as if we had never even been there.

And this, I suppose, is the highest praise or measure of accomplishment to which our culture knows to aspire, “I would never have known you’d gone through that!” Why? Because we hid it so well and never let it show. We made it back to ‘normal’. We made it through life ‘intact’ (a word that means ‘untouched’).

And it’s that story that I want to mercilessly unravel here.

As Martha Nussbaum put it so beautifully, “To be a good human being is to have a kind of openness to the world, an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control, that can lead you to be shattered in very extreme circumstances for which you were not to blame. That says something very important about the human condition of the ethical life: that it is based on a trust in the uncertain and on a willingness to be exposed; it’s based on being more like a plant than like a jewel, something rather fragile, but whose very particular beauty is inseparable from its fragility.

In a recent conversation my friend Mary Ellen Oxby reflected that, before the loss, it was as if you’d only had yellow and blue thread for your weaving, and so, all of your weavings were some shade of yellow, blue or green but that the losses and traumas of life gives you a new thread. A red thread. If the loss is small, perhaps it is a short piece of faint red thread. If the loss is deep, then a longer, thicker, deep blood red thread.

In the old story of loss and death, we do our best to bury this thread – how could it be a gift from life?

It doesn’t fit in the colour scheme of any of our previous weavings (or anyone else we know). It doesn’t fit in our ideas of how the future was supposed to be. And we did not ask for that thread.

It can feel like a very satisfying ‘fuck you’ to life to take that red thread, dig a whole in the ground and bury it deep where we will never need to see it again. But we will always know it’s there. And we will continue with our life, or try to, a little more empty, having lost some of the other threads in the reweaving. The attempt to reweave the normal in the face of catastrophe (a word whose roots speak to a downwards and inwards motion) is to end up a little more threadbare and cold that we were. Life is a little less beautiful.

Conversations about whether or not our losses and pains should or should not change us miss the reality that they do. That our opinion about it is fruitless. A big loss, deeply felt, changes you forever. You will never, ever be the same. And we’re not supposed to be.

I believe pain breeds wolves
and joys give rise to moons.
We grow forests in our bones
so our memories can’t find us.
I believe we hide and haunt ourselves.
– Pavana

There is an old story about an old woman who lives in a cave in a mountain. She knows all the secrets of the world. But no one can find her, search as they might. She sits there all day weaving together the fabric of life in the most incredible designs. You’ve never seen anything so beautiful. In the corner, over a fire (and this fire is the oldest thing this old woman knows of) is sitting a pot with every seed, root and plant in the world. Occasionally, she needs to get up and go over to it to stir it so that it doesn’t burn, because who knows what might happen then to the world. But, when she gets up to stir it for a bit, her back is to the weavings she’s left on the floor and she doesn’t see the black dog get up from the shadows, go up to the weavings and undo them all with his mouth. The dog was there the whole time. By the time she turns around, she sees all of her work utterly undone. She walks back over and stares at them for a long time. She doesn’t panic. She just looks at it intently until visions for a new, even more beautiful design come into her mind. And then she picks it up and begins again in weaving something new.

And, in this story, we are offered a possibility, and it is a terrible one, to begin again in our weavings and to weave something new – weaving in this new red thread of loss. And to weave it in extravagantly so that no one can miss it. To weave something new that fits with and gives voice to the times we find ourselves in now.


When the end seems near, ancient and lasting things are also close and waiting to be discovered… What we find at the end are both last things and things that last. The meaning of the word “end” might seem obvious and conclusive; yet root meanings reveal “tailings” and “remnants” and “that which is left over”… [it] carries the sense that the current state cannot continue and that it is too late for things to simply be repaired. As archetype of radical change, [it] presents a pattern in which a shattering of forms occurs before the world as we know it can be reconstituted. When the end seems near, ancient and lasting things are also close and waiting to be discovered… What we find at the end are both last things and things that last…
– Michael Meade, Why The World Doesn’t End


When the black dog of life comes to visit and tears apart all of our best laid plans, as we tended to what mattered in life, we are invited to see that our losses aren’t to be buried but to be fashioned into things of lavish beauty as our gift to the community. Our offering to the altar of daily community life. Imagine that, your heartbreak has a place on the altar of life. As Kahlil Gibran wrote in The Prophet, “The deeper that sorrow carves out the well of your soul, the more joy you can contain.”

In our expression of grieving what we have lost and those who have died, we are actually praising it. We are affirming that it mattered. And we are affirming to everyone else who sees it that their losses matter too. When we experience a deep loss, I don’t think we’re supposed to find beauty in life. When the hardness of loss enters our days, something is being asked of us – to create something beautiful (even if we feel we will never know beauty again). Perhaps, our grief can be the fuel to create beauty that will not only heal us, but inspire others. We’re not supposed to get back to feeling normal, we’re supposed to feel more. We’re not supposed to get over our broken heart, we’re supposed to get better at being broken hearted. Grief is a skill. It’s something we do. And, as Martin Prechtel puts it, ‘for the lack of grief, we go to war.’

“Praise the world with you. Curse the world without you.”

It’s not only okay to be sad, it’s important. As Stephen Jenkinson puts it,

Forget the ‘okay’ part. Better to say it’s mandatory to be sad. It’s expected of you. It’s required of you that you be sad. We ask this of you. We demand this of you. Our sanity depends on your ability to be sad in a sad time… What I’m trying to say is that grief is supposed to mess with your life. So that your opportunity to learn about life is not fugitive. But as soon as you get over grief to use the magic phrase ‘to get on with your life’ when someone has died, the question I always ask is ‘what life?’. To get back to what? Haven’t you realized yet that that life you’re trying to get back to… it doesn’t exist. It’s not waiting for you somewhere. Grief is not a passport to your normal existence. It doesn’t reconstitute the deal minus the hangnail problem of missing somebody, you see? That’s what grief allows you to know. That your life as you knew it went in the ground with that person. It doesn’t mean you have no life. It means you have no idea what is yet.


And as my friend Elin Agla puts it, “Praise the world with you. Curse the world without you.”

“Implicit in poetry is the notion that we are deepened by heartbreaks, that we are not so much diminished as enlarged by grief, by our refusal to vanish—to let others vanish—without leaving a verbal record. Poetry is a stubborn art.”
– Edward Hirsch

We’re supposed to not let our heartbreak take our voice away forever (though it may be fugitive for a time) but to find a way to give eloquence to it that can feed this spiritually starved culture. I think of the keening women in Ireland and other cultures who, when someone died would give voice to a sound worthy of the loss. I think we’re supposed to become magnificent at being broken hearted to let ourselves feel and express the depth of the grief and to make something worthy of it to remind the world how beautiful it is to still be alive and have what we have.

We’re supposed to dive down and in and come back out with something beautiful for the community that affirms and celebrates the depth of the loss we experienced. Something that tells the one who died, ‘you are still right here’ and celebrates their life, keeping them woven in the fabric of the village so that they are never lost. What an incredible gift to the one who died to sit and look at the utterly tattered and unraveled threads of our life and take the time needed to wait for some new design to come to us that might give proof to what their life meant to us. Perhaps it is why sometimes the most beautiful gift we can give to others is to write a song or poem in memory of someone they have lost, to paint something or write a story. To make something that says, “I remember them. They matter.”

As Winnie The Pooh put it, “How lucky I am to having something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

We don’t do this for ourselves alone but for the community. We do it as a reminder to all those who will one day die as a reminder that we will never lose them but weave even their dying into the community in a way that makes the community even more beautiful than it ever was. That is the job of those left behind – to do this for those who have died.

Have you lost something? Build something beautiful to honour it.

Did someone die? Don’t ever let someone convince you to let them go.

All of the beauty that we create with our hands and words is food for our memory and the Holy. Every time we feed it, it’s like putting a stick in the central hearth fire of our community which keeps everyone warm and out of the cold of loneliness.

And, every once in a whole, you’ll see someone walking around in the most beautiful, wild, meticulously woven, weathered and well storied cloak soaked in reddish hues. And their face will be beaming. And you’ll know that this person knows – that their well worn, royal cloak isn’t there to cover up their broken heart. It’s there to express it.

May we all one day become such a beautiful person.

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
– Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Live the life in front of you, be the life you are, and see what you find out for yourself.
– Karen Maezen Miller

Dana Levin:
You can’t see into anyone’s heart, really, on this infernal platform.

every day is another opportunity to live differently… think differently.
– Dionne Brand

People who like to learn, rarely argue.

People who like to argue, rarely learn.
– Wise Connector

Many times my own life has been enhanced or even saved by other people who have shown their sorrow in a beautiful and digestible way.
– Jenny Slate

This constant search for depths and understanding is an experiment which, if many people had given themselves to it, might truly change the world far more effectively than a devotion to politics.
– Anais Nïn

let’s unpack why teenage girls ask the same questions academics do in more accessible terms and get dragged through the mud
– evelyn

We must, I believe, muddle away at getting both perspectives in our minds at the one time. Men’s pain and men’s power, spirituality and politics, feeling and reason: the claims of both sides must always be examined, balanced, and placed against each other.
– David Tacey

Eric Nakagawa:
Website idea: you input the year you graduated high school and the website generates a list of outdated “facts” and concepts you were taught in school that have since been disproven.

Gary Snyder:
I never find words right away. Poems for me always begin with images and rhythms, shapes, feelings, forms, dances in the back of my mind.

Put down the pen someone else gave you. No one ever drafted a life worth living on borrowed ink.
– Kerouac

There is nothing more seductive — and dangerous — than being listened to.
– Donald Antrim

People try spiritually to achieve realization. The true realization is to achieve a kind heart … The things that we can completely trust, that will never betray us or fail us, are kindheartedness and bodhicitta.
– Khadro Tsering La

She was the candle by which he wrote. His genius meant nothing without her glow.
– Adrian Ernesto Cepeda

The most difficult thing in the world is to reveal yourself, to express what you have to… As an artist, we must try many things – but above all, we must dare to fail. You must have the courage- to be willing to risk everything to really express it all.”
– John Cassavetes

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

Somebody asked me if I was looking for something. I am looking for everything.
– Sam Sheridan

Be with someone that requires you to grow, makes you forget your problems, holds your hand, likes to kiss, appreciates art, and adores you.
– Mama Zara

Half the time
I am filled with terror. Half the time I am full of myself.
– Camille T. Dungy

America, you are grand
in theory, poor in practice.
– Maggie Smith

There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming.
– Shauna Niequist

FIsh, oh Fish,
So little matters!…

Aqueous, subaqueous,
Submerged
And wave-thrilled…

Your life a sluice of sensation along your sides,
A flush at the flails of your fins, down the whorl of your tail.
And water wetly on fire in the grates of your gills…

You and the naked element,
Sway-wave.
Curvetting bits of tin in the evening light…

Alone with the element;
To sink, and rise, and go to sleep with the waters;
To speak endless inaudible wavelets into the wave;
To breathe from the flood at the gills,
To have the element under one, like a lover;
And to spring away with a curvetting click in the air,
Provocative.
Dropping back with a slap on the face of the flood.
And merging oneself!
To be a fish!…

I stand at the pale of my being
And look beyond, and see
Fish, in the outerwards,
Thinking: I am not the measure of creation.
This is beyond me, this fish.
His God stands outside my God.

And I, a many-fingered horror of daylight to him…

– D.H. Lawrence, Fish

Awareness is the home of the mind
so we must stay at home.
– Sayadaw U Tejaniya

Home-Coming
by Léonie Adams

When I stepped homeward to my hill,
Dusk went before with quiet tread;
The bare laced branches of the trees
Were as a mist about its head.

Upon its leaf-brown breast the rocks
Like great grey sheep lay silentwise,
Between the birch trees’ gleaming arms,
The faint stars trembled in the skies.

The white brook met me half-way up,
And laughed as one that knew me well,
To whose more clear than crystal voice
The frost had joined a crystal spell.

The skies lay like pale-watered deep,
Dusk ran before me to its strand
And cloudily leaned forth to touch
The moon’s slow wonder with her hand.

The world gets meaner and wilder and coarser and dumber. This is true. This is the warning, the plea, for us to step up and do more. The roof of a house is repaired before it crashes; the child is fed before it dies of hunger. We have been lax for too long. Too interior. Uncaring. We now have the world we deserve. How else will we learn? A revolution of kindness will erupt when we have enough carnage and loss. Or we’ll disappear entirely.
– Marlon Brando

Zeeshan Pathan:
If you only read one set of poets, then that could very well become your whole image / understanding of poetry. And poetry is much bigger than any grouping of poets or books. Read widely, cross-culturally & globally. As much as you can. This is why translation is so critical to the development of a healthy, thriving literary culture and exchange.

The friend’s a mirror for the suffering soul, don’t breathe on it, but practise self-control. You must control your breath continually so it won’t cloud its face immediately.
– Masnavi II, 30-35

In the same way, we have attempted to separate the spiritual and the erotic, thereby reducing the spiritual to a world of flattened affect, a world of the ascetic who aspires to feel nothing. But nothing is farther from the truth.
– Audre Lorde, Uses of the Erotic

Greta Thunberg:
Popular debate has often pitted ‘behaviour change’ and ‘system change’ against each other, presented as a trade-off between two choices. As this chapter illustrates, however, system change and behaviour change are two sides of the same coin.”
– United Nations emissions Gap Report

love the american south. love the global south. love southern europe and my south-facing window, and the plants that grow in that direction. love what is south of my mind. and i even love when everything goes south, because it is ruin and earth, which is where we belong.
– aria arber

I was eating my mulberries then,
For the silence and beauty,
I was turning into a nightingale
Offering a pen by its wing…
– Nilgün Marmara

Privileged classes never give up their privileges without strong resistance…. If we wait for it to work itself out, it will *never* be worked out! Freedom only comes through persistent revolt, through persistent agitation, through persistently rising up against the system of evil.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

I have no advice for anybody;
except to, you know, be awake
enough to see where you are at any given time,
and how that is beautiful, and has poetry inside. Even places you hate.
– Jeff Buckley

I reread books to measure my degree of difference from myself.
– Heidi Julavits

In mystical traditions, it is one’s own readiness that makes experiences exoteric or esoteric. The secret isn’t that you’re not being told. The secret is that you’re not able to hear.
– Ram Dass

Listen to your inner consciousness, not the reflective consciousness that incessantly chatters judgments, but the silent consciousness that is prior to judging. The more you do this, the less you are impacted by negativity.
– Eckhart Tolle

And in the book I read:
God is love. But lifting
my head, I do not find it
so. Shall I return

to my book and, between
print, wander an air
heavy with the scent
of this one world? Or not trust

language, only the blows that
life gives me, wearing them
like those red tokens with which
an agreement is sealed?
– R.S. Thomas

A tyrant institutionalises stupidity, but he is the first servant of his own system and the first to be installed within it.
– Gilles Deleuze

Braveen Kumar:

If we’re calling people “diversity hires” then I would like to also coin the term “homogeneity hire”:

A person who is hired, not because they were the best, but because they were the same.

Used in a sentence: “Mike hired another Mike – he’s probably a homogeneity hire

ADVENT ON SOUTH HILL
When I can’t tell if the sun
is technically up or gone,
I walk the loop of my neighborhood,
embracing it with footprints.
We dread the dark here, though
there’s light from some lampposts
and maple leaves reminiscing
how brilliant they were before
they dried and thickened in our gutters.
I miss what is lit from within.
I wish I could say there are
goldfinches here even in winter
and maybe there are—
I haven’t seen one but the bird book
says they nest in Washington
year-round, molting from gilded
to woolly grey suits at the end of summer.
I wish I could find something weightless
or buoyant to hold. When it gets cold,
finches ditch what dazzles us
in favor of feathers grown solely
to keep them alive, a coat
the color of waiting, of slush,
of sleeping and waking and pacing.
My neighbors say little and close
their blinds so they don’t have to watch
the day end with me on the sidewalk,
nobody they know or want to see,
my hands empty, my face not quite
like one they’d remember.
Mornings, we glance at each other
the way I squint at sparrows,
as if to check the difference between
what I have and what I need to see,
something drab as getting by
or a gift in disguise, a song
about to burst from trampled weeds,
just one note brighter than yellow.
– Abby E. Murray

Václav Havel:
But there are other people, people who choose to be crazy in order to cope with what they regard as a crazy world. They have adopted craziness as a lifestyle. I’ve found that there is nothing I can do for these people because the only way you can get them to give up their craziness is to convince them that the world is actually sane. I must confess that I have found such a conviction almost impossible to support.

Remember
That to have the eyes of an artist,
That can be enough,
The ear of a poet,
That can be enough.
The soul of a human
just pointed
in the direction of the divine,
that can be more than enough.
I tell you this to remind myself.
Every gesture is an act of creation.
Even empty spaces and silence
can be the wings and voices of angels.
– Michele Linfante

If an opinion contrary to your own makes you angry, that is a sign that you are subconsciously aware of having no good reason for thinking as you do.
Bertrand Russell

The word of 2020 should surely be “asynchronous.”
– Alicia E. Stallings

Gary Burton: It took me the whole first half of my career to learn how to play less.

The hard choices — what we most fear doing, asking, saying — these are very often
exactly what we most need to do.
– Tim Ferris

I believe that our communities are better off when the wisdom of the elders informs the energy of the younger.
– Raymond Jetson

And then learn to be more compassionate
company,
as if you were somebody you are fond of
and wish to encourage.
– Anne Lamott

Arnold Mindell:
Have a problem or need more creativity? Try “mu shin” or empty mind. Relax, and wait until you are moved (carefully). Then note the resulting fantasy or image from that movement. That image is the answer you need. You may have forgotten you are brilliant.

“Patriarchal Spirituality”: Those ungrounded and inhumane “spiritual” models that have been fostered by emotionally armored, self-avoidant men.
These models share some or all of the following beliefs:
* the ego is the enemy of a spiritual life
* the “monkey mind” is the cause of suffering
* your feelings are an illusion
* your personal identifications and stories are necessarily false
* witnessing your pain transforms it
* your body is a spiritually bankrupt toxic quagmire
* the only real consciousness is an “absolute” and “transcendent” one
* stillness and silence are THE path
* isolation is the best way to access “higher states”
* there is no “self”
* meditation is THE royal road to enlightenment
* enlightenment actually exists
* formlessness over form
* the ultimate path is upward and vertical
* real spirituality exists independent of our humanness
+
In fact, most of the above is a blatant lie.
Here are more accurate hypotheses about the nature of human life:
* A healthy ego is beautifully essential to healthy functioning
* The monkey mind is fed by the monkey heart (the unresolved emotional body)
* Many of our identities and stories are fundamental to who we are, where we have been, why we are here
* Healing your pain transforms it; watching it is only a preliminary step
* Our bodies are our spiritual temples
* The only “real” consciousness is one that integrates all that we are and all that this is
* Stillness and silence are only one path; many people prefer movement and sound
* There is no “higher” state (we aren’t birds). But connection may be the best way to access deepened states
* There is a magnificent self; the work is to align it with your sacred purpose, not to deny it altogether
* Meditation is not THE royal road; it’s one road, and it is not any more effective than embodied movement and emotional release as a clarification and transformation tool
* Enlightenment does not exist; enrealment does. (Be real now.) And it’s a relative experience, changing form as we and this changes form
* We are form, and we are here to in-form our humanness
* If there is an “ultimate path,” it’s downward (rooted) and horizontal
* There is no distinction between our spirituality and our humanness
+
The wool has been pulled over our eyes. Men who were too unhealthily egoically to admit that they couldn’t deal with their humanness, their feelings, their trauma, had to find a system that smokescreened their avoidance. They found it. It’s called “Enlightenment.” It’s also called “Spiritual Mastery.”
And it usually involves leaving the world, in one form or another. This way, they can convince themselves and others that they have mastered the one true path.
In fact, Enlightenment is just a construct that is intended to avoid the multi-aspected nature of reality.
In fact, they are mastering nothing. They are merely fleeing their fragmentation, their confusion, and the fact that they don’t know how to find their center in the heart of the world.
Don’t be fooled. They know less about reality than day to day people. They know less about reality than those who live from their hearts.
What we need now are models that lead us back into our hearts, into relatedness, into a deep and reverential regard for the self. Those models may invite us to detach in an effort to see ourselves through a different lens, but they will not leave us out there, floating into the eternal emptiness and calling that a life.
Detachment is a tool; it’s NOT a life.
The models we need will then invite us back into our bodies, back into our hearts, and back into relatedness with each other. (No more “new cage” teachers claiming that they are liberating us from the world. They aren’t- they are just offering up a more perilous prison cell. No more “enlightened” masters sitting in caves while the women of the village bring them food. If you can’t find your transformation in the village, you haven’t found shit).
They will invite us to integrate what we find “out there” with who we are “in here.” They will invite us to embody the now, rather than to pretend we have found it in the heart of our dissociation.
It’s time to co-create spiritual models that begin, and end, within our wondrous humanness.
It’s not “out there,” dear friends. It’s right here, inside these aging body temples. On Mother Earth.
– Jeff Brown

Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after an experience with you becomes your trademark.
– Jay Danzie

You’ve really got to love yourself in order to get anything done in this world.
– Lucille Ball

Anyone who is interested in hearing the truth… anyone who is interested in finding out about himself or herself… is basically a warrior.
– Chögyam Trungpa

I have witnessed the essence of anger used in service of greater intimacy, authenticity, freedom, safety, and justice.
– David Bedrick

I must fight with all my strength so that the little positive things that my health allows me to do might be pointed toward helping the revolution. The only real reason for living.
– Frida Kahlo

We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it.
– Wendell Berry

Pay attention to poetry. Pay attention to music. Pay attention to paintings and sculptures and photo exhibits and ballets and plays. Why? Because art is God’s way of saying hello. Your world is shouting out to you, revealing something intrinsically glorious about itself. Listen carefully. Love art, the way art loves life. Don’t let all this go unnoticed.
– Neale Donald Walsh

…Don’t let them pour me into the mold
of a crucifix or a wedding ring—
– J. Macke

In total reality, Jesus comes in the form of the beggar, of the dissolute human child in ragged clothes, asking for help. He confronts you in every person that you meet.
As long as there are people, Christ will walk the earth as your neighbor, as the one through whom God calls you, speaks to you, and makes demands on you.
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Things are not what they
appear to be,
nor are they otherwise
– Surangama Sutra

There are truths I haven’t even told God. And not even
myself. I am a secret under the lock of seven keys.
– Clarice Lispector

What I Must Tell Myself

I know this house
so well,
and this horizon,
and this world
I have made.
from my thoughts.

I know this quiet
and the particular
treasures
and terrors
of my own
silence

but I do not
know the world
to which
I am going.

I have only
this breath
and this presence
for my wings
and they carry me
in my body
whatever I do
from one
hushed moment
to another.

I know
my innocence
and I know
my unknowing
but for all my successes
I go through life
like a blind child
who cannot see,
arms outstretched
trying to put together
a world.

And the world
seems to work
on my behalf
catching me
in its arms
when I go too far.

I don’t know what
I could have done
to have earned
such faith.

Watching
the geese
go south
I find
that even
in silence
and even
in stillness
and even
in my home
alone
without a thought
or a movement
I am forever part
of a great migration
that will take me
to another place.

And though all
the things I love
may pass away
and all the great family
of things and people
I have made
around me
will see me go,

I feel they will always
live in me
like a great gathering
ready to reach
a greater home.

When one thing dies
all things
die together,
and must learn
to live again
in a different way,

when one thing
is missing
everything is missing,
and must be
found again
in a new whole

and everything
wants to be complete,
everything wants
to go home
and the geese
traveling south
are like the shadow
of my breath
flying into darkness
on great heart-beats
to an unknown land
where I belong.

This morning they have
found me,
full of faith,
like a blind child,
nestled in their feathers,
following the great coast
to a home I cannot see.
– David Whyte

Narcissists: I used to not notice them but then I had to experience them directly a few times and ever since, I am on alert for signs. Narccissists are not just the ‘way to many selfies look at me’ kind; there are many varieties. The Trump kind is garden variety, where it is all out in the open and obvious, but there are covert kinds that slide under the door, too. The disease of our time, a crisis. Keep a far berth, no matter their charm, influence, or compliments, for they are destructive. Lots in the arts and literary world.

I share space with them but do not interact deeply. Be wise. If you do good and are good with humility and grace, you will attract them, because you have the one thing they cannot pretend: true empathy.

I wish I had learned about them before 45. I could have saved myself a lot of suffering. Now that I know about them, I am relentless about not letting them step into the beautiful world I am making.
– Amy Gigi Alexander

A poem is a detour we willingly subject ourselves to, a trick surprising us into the deepened vulnerability we both desire and fear. Its strategies of beauty, delay, and deception smuggle us past the border of our own hesitation.
– Jane Hirshfield

Revolutions appear to us not as an abstraction, an idea, a concept, a ‘structure,’ but as an action taken by living human beings, men and women, rising up against an order that has become unbearable.
– Michael Löwy

All the Raucous Birds of Summer

All the raucous birds of summer:
faithless, transitory, fly-by-nights-
finally gone. Sky quiet, ear empty.

Chickadee, companion through
the cold and dark, little friend
at the dooryard feeder again.

Now those of us who stay,
we quiet ones,
settle into the winter.
– David Budbill, Moment to Moment

We are up to our necks in challenges and the suffering they bring. What can a little kindness do now except express solidarity with one another? And yet, and yet I believe when kindness is embraced as a way of life we give to the present and also to the future that will not be our own. It matters.
– Gunilla Norris

The river taught us how to listen with a silent heart, with a waiting open soul…
– Hermann Hesse

You are at once both the quiet and the confusion of my heart; imagine my heartbeat when you are in this state.
– Franz Kafka

It is impossible to live in this world without affecting the environment and others around you. Whatever arises from your body, speech and mind will affect things. And you alone are in charge of what kind of effect that you would like it to be.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

Descend with the view
while ascending with the conduct.
It is most essential to practice
these two as a unity.
– Padmasambava & Lady Tsogyal

What art seeks to disturb is monotony of type, slavery of custom, tyranny of habit, and the reduction of man to the level of a machine.
– Oscar Wilde

The Feast of Lights
Kindle the taper like the steadfast star
Ablaze on evening’s forehead o’er the earth,
And add each night a lustre till afar
An eightfold splendor shine above thy hearth.
Clash, Israel, the cymbals, touch the lyre,
Blow the brass trumpet and the harsh-tongued horn;
Chant psalms of victory till the heart takes fire,
The Maccabean spirit leap new-born.

Remember how from wintry dawn till night,
Such songs were sung in Zion, when again
On the high altar flamed the sacred light,
And, purified from every Syrian stain,
The foam-white walls with golden shields were hung,
With crowns and silken spoils, and at the shrine,
Stood, midst their conqueror-tribe, five chieftains sprung
From one heroic stock, one seed divine.

Five branches grown from Mattathias’ stem,
The Blessed John, the Keen-Eyed Jonathan,
Simon the fair, the Burst-of Spring, the Gem,
Eleazar, Help of-God; o’er all his clan
Judas the Lion-Prince, the Avenging Rod,
Towered in warrior-beauty, uncrowned king,
Armed with the breastplate and the sword of God,
Whose praise is: “He received the perishing.”

They who had camped within the mountain-pass,
Couched on the rock, and tented neath the sky,
Who saw from Mizpah’s heights the tangled grass
Choke the wide Temple-courts, the altar lie
Disfigured and polluted–who had flung
Their faces on the stones, and mourned aloud
And rent their garments, wailing with one tongue,
Crushed as a wind-swept bed of reeds is bowed,

Even they by one voice fired, one heart of flame,
Though broken reeds, had risen, and were men,
They rushed upon the spoiler and o’ercame,
Each arm for freedom had the strength of ten.
Now is their mourning into dancing turned,
Their sackcloth doffed for garments of delight,
Week-long the festive torches shall be burned,
Music and revelry wed day with night.

Still ours the dance, the feast, the glorious Psalm,
The mystic lights of emblem, and the Word.
Where is our Judas? Where our five-branched palm?
Where are the lion-warriors of the Lord?
Clash, Israel, the cymbals, touch the lyre,
Sound the brass trumpet and the harsh-tongued horn,
Chant hymns of victory till the heart take fire,
The Maccabean spirit leap new-born!
– Emma Lazarus

O Small Sad Ecstasy of Love
I like being with you all night with closed eyes.
What luck—here you are
coming
along the stars!
I did a road trip
all over my mind and heart
and
there you were
kneeling by the roadside
with your little toolkit
fixing something.

Give me a world, you have taken the world I was.

– Anne Carson

For one has the right to shout.
So, I am shouting.
– Clarice Lispector

Everything in the world began with a yes.
– Claire Lispector

Let’s start by agreeing that what human beings believe about God and about life is important.
Some people say that our ideas about all of this are nothing but mental exercises, at best, and that we need to get on with what really matters. That may sound all well and good, except that what really matters arises out of what we believe.
Looking deeply at this reveals the following: beliefs create behaviors, behaviors create experience, experience creates reality. And the realities we’ve created out of our belief about God and about life do not paint a pretty picture.
We’re talking about a species that permits 1.7 billion of its members to go their entire lives without a drop of clean water; that seems not to be bothered by the fact that 1.6 billion still do not have electricity; that looks the other way as 2.6 billion exist without indoor toilets; that allows over 650 of its children to die of starvation every hour.
There has been armed conflict somewhere on this planet for 92 percent of recorded history. One member of our species commits suicide every 40 seconds. In 2017, just under 465,000 of us were murdered. Add the numbers in these statistics and you get a pretty good idea of how well our species is doing as a civilization.
And if you think our ideas about God have little to do with all of this, think again. Eighty percent of civil law in most of the countries of Europe and the West is based on Canon Law. In other words, the teachings of a religion.
Then there are our day-to-day cultural behaviors, the decisions and the choices we make. These, too, are based on our most sacred beliefs about who we are in relation to each other, and about how life should work.
The result: even the people who are not part of the statistics I’ve presented here are too often unhappy. Folks are struggling. Many are feeling unsettled and are experiencing turmoil in their day-to-day lives. Too many, in fact, for a society that tells itself it is an Advanced Civilization.
– Neale Donald Walsh

One’s own best self. For centuries, this was the key concept behind any essential definition of friendship: that one’s friend is a virtuous being who speaks to the virtue in oneself. How foreign such a concept to the children of the therapeutic culture! Today we do not look to see, much less affirm, our best selves in one another. To the contrary, it is the openness with which we admit to our emotional incapacities – the fear, the anger, the humiliation – that excites contemporary bonds of friendship. Nothing draws us closer to one another than the degree to which we face our deepest shame openly in one another’s company… What we want is to feel known, warts and all: the more warts the better. It is the great illusion of our culture that what we confess to is who we are.
– Vivian Gornick

Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach […]
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle.
– Whitman

Even this late it happens:
the coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows
– Mark Strand

The midwife knows that when there is no pain, the way for the baby can’t open and mother can’t give birth,
Likewise, for a new sufi to be born, hardship is necessary.
Just as Clay needs to go through intense heat to become strong, love can only be perfected in pain.
– Shams Tabriz

Drunk on being called a sage, master, or wisdom warrior
many lose sight of the way, never realizing the emptiness of appearances.
Oh, if they were to be free from perfection of attainment,
title and rank, and see it’s all complete as-it-is —
whether with sword or without, they could join me teaching the dharma
…gray-haired-wild.
– Shinzen

We experience life as a continuity,
and only after it falls away,
after it becomes the past,
do we see its discontinuities.
The past, if there is such a thing,
is mostly empty space,
great expanses of nothing,
in which significant persons and events float.
– Teju Cole

When it comes to investments never skimp on mentorship.
– Dan Go

There’s always that peculiar smell when you first enter the Co-op that reminds me of visiting that one weird kid in grade school whose mom served yogurt and sunflower seeds for dinner.
– Tiffany Midge

If you’re hanging on to your guru, your mantra, your meditation, to avoid your life that’s not gonna work. That’s not what they’re for.
– Krishna Das

אחרי שהבנת שאת/ה לא יכול/ה להשפיע על התוצאות, צריך להפסיק מלתת תשומת לב לרצונות ולפחדים שלך. שיבואו וילכו. אל תזינו אותם בעניין ותשומת לב. ” – ניסרגדאטה מהרג’י
Having realised that you cannot influence the results, pay no attention to your desires and fears. Let them come and go. Don’t give them the nourishment of interest and attention.
– Nisargadatta Maharaj

An old horse does not forget his path.
– Japanese proverb

For revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.
– Frederick Douglass

You know what’s dumb? Metaphors. Metaphors mislead. Metaphors blow.
– Emily Dickinson

We also ascend dazzling and tremendous as the sun, / We found our own my soul in the calm and cool of the daybreak. / My voice goes after what my eyes cannot reach, / With the twirl of my tongue I encompass worlds and volumes of worlds.
– Walt Whitman

Out on the pale criss-crossed sand, high stepping, fringed, gauntletted, stalked some fantastic leviathan.
– To the Lighthouse, Woolf

Sit down. Be yourself. Be prepared. Be attentive. Be the thing you want to be. Write. Be playful. Be reckless. Remember that you are uniquely designed for the idea that is moving toward you. You are good enough. The idea is about to arrive.
– Nick Cave’s advice to all writers

For each ecstatic instant
We must an anguish pay
In keen and quivering ratio
To the ecstasy.


For each beloved hour
Sharp pittances of years,
Bitter contested farthings
And coffers heaped with tears.
– Emily

Oak Galk Wasp

Something like a wooden pearl, what gall
forms here, irritation’s
gemstone on the oak-
leaf-underneath I thought was a berry, seed-
case, or oak-faced
scrotum-like excrescence

the oak tree seemed to make of itself
in extremis involved
with power. For no
reason when we were girls plucking these woodland
BBs from the
branch to flick at the back

fence, about so much unsuspecting
I was mistaken by
dissemination
meticulously more single-minded than
the mere widest
distribution of seed

over the furthest expanse; as I
follow American
history, small and
solitary, intravenously driven
living syringe
mainlined into the green

vein of oakleaf to position with
the earthly pulse of her
otherworldly self-
sufficient piercing ovipositor her
shimmering eggs,
the oak gall wasp is un-

American mother of the year.
Patriotism, meet
parasitism;
a biochemical je ne sais quoi charms the
redirection
of the oakleaf’s force to

form a cradle for each minuscule
egg something like the way
our human flesh scabs
over. And not just any oak—oak gall wasps
overtaking
an oak known as your own

are implicit in every acorn,
including the sprouting
one you carried home
rolling slowly around the base of a wet
Dixie Cup your
first grade teacher told you

would, with patience, be as tall as you
one day, and capable
in time of crushing
you in bed, unsentimental consequence
of gravity
which is a consequence

of the curvature of spacetime, but
what isn’t? I sold the
house behind which my
son and I once planted such an acorn and
even enclosed
it in a pathetic

ring of prefabricated fencing
I fought counter-clockwise
against the coil to
unspool off a metal roll like a robot
fabric bolt to
shield it from the orphan

fawns. If that oak rises still, witness
to the sleep of someone
else’s child now through
an underestimated August storm, I
do not know, or
in what health, but if rise

it does, safe in her hyperbaric
chamber, as athlete gods
sleep between stages
on the tour de France, there the gall wasp grows in
my divestment.
Such a fundamental

hunger stirs in the oak gall dark, if
you listen you might hear
her chew her way out
of oakleaf where she incubates encrypted
in her first meal.
Unless—and this is life

on earth, as much a miracle of
drudgery and lust as
you or me or the
gall wasp— another even more strategic
parasitic-
to-the-second power

brood parasite wasp oak-injects with
finer, more exacting
ovipositor,
a second egg. The two sister together
in the waspworld
prenatal ritual

juices, downloading the vital re-
directed principles
of oak into their
maturing, crackling bodies. You’ve been to sleep-
overs; girls grow
strong touching each other’s

bodies with stories of mutual
incrimination. What
confidence betrayed
then when duplicitous behind her back. To
emerge, as we
learned, wasps chew their exit

through the gall; but in the case of a
hosting wasp, she’s compelled
to stop by something
that most entomologists don’t read enough
Victorian
novels to understand.

Whether social dynamics are more
or less legible to
an outsider, I’m
too far inside the gall to tell, since it was
I who dug the
hole, placed the acorn, shooed

the beast, and waited for the oak to
leaf that the gall wasp could
deposit there her
egg inspiring thus the oak to cradle it
that a second
wasp could parasitize

the parasite wasp—as is drawn out
over several seasons
of elaborate
out-maneuverings in parish, parlor, and
palace on the
BBC. But this is

an American transition of
power. Don’t look away.
I don’t want to end
this poem bleeding but the wasp does eat the
wasp, and up through
the top of her head like

the goddess she is, enters the hell-
scape. It’s happening now;
it happened. Unless,
that is, through the bedroom window where sleeps the
child of someone
else now, the beautiful

oak I tenderly tended already-
y crashed.

– Robyn Schiff

Essay writing and reading is our resistance to the pygmy-fication of the language animal; our shrinkage into the brand, the sound bite, the business platitude; the solipsistic tweet.
– Simon Schama

You do not have to experience death
or destruction or agony to write.
You simply have to care about something.
Perhaps what you care about is joyful.
– Kurt Vonnegut

I am a victim of introspection
– Sylvia Plath

Time exists in order that everything
doesn’t happen all at once
and space exists
so that it doesn’t all happen to you.
– Susan Sontag

We don’t really learn anything properly
until there is a problem, until we are in pain,
until something fails to go as we had hoped.

We suffer, therefore we think.

– Alain de Botton, How Proust Can Change Your Life

Be a good steward of your gifts.
Protect your time. Feed your inner life.
Avoid too much noise. Read good books,
have good sentences in your ears.
Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk.
Take the phone off the hook.
Work regular hours.
– Jane Kenyon

The goal of individuation is wholeness, as much as we can accomplish, not the triumph of the ego.
– James Hollis

All profound distraction opens certain doors. You have to allow yourself to be distracted when you are unable to concentrate.
– Julio Cortazar

I knew there was no god,
there were only people.
– Sharon Olds

Got a woman I love and she loves me
And we live on a piece of land
I never know quite how to measure these things
But I guess I’m a happy man
– Bruce Cockburn

Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of things.
– Epictetus

The measure of our personal development will hinge on our willingness to accept responsibility for finding our own myth, and our ability to sustain the ambiguity that always precedes a new experience of meaning.
– James Hollis

I am not at all interested in immortality, only in the taste of tea.
– Lu Tong

Caitie Hannan:
As a therapist I can say confidently, that while therapy is helpful, what most people really need is money

An angry man opens his mouth and shuts his eyes.
– Cato The Elder

A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes.
– Wade Boggs

If you’re hanging on to your guru, your mantra, your meditation, to avoid your life that’s not gonna work. That’s not what they’re for.
– Krishna Das

Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

One chance is all you need.
– Jesse Owens

Being attached to someone is not about the other person. It is about your own sense of inadequacy.
– Jaggi Vasudev

Be proud of every scar on your heart, each one holds a lifetimes worth of lessons.
– Wallace Stegner

sven birkerts:
A strange feeling—when you realize you are no longer bracing for whatever it is you’d been for so long bracing for…

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin:
The old normal can be gone without there being any such thing as a new normal.

In the end, it’s better to say too much than never to say what you need to say.
– John Mayer

Maryam Hasnaa:
Somewhere there’s someone upset with you because you chose waking up over staying asleep in a false reality in order to be with them.

Jung rediscovered method of experiencing the imaginal realms, but it is an ancient one known to both the Sufis & the alchemists. Active imagination consists of quieting the mind & allowing images to arise. Once these images have arisen, the ego interacts with them.
– Jeffrey Raff

The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.
– Fred Astaire

Cheering someone up should never be confused with saying something cheerful. …it is far better to say extreme and grim things that will lead to the redrawing of expectations, and thereby occasion gratitude for small mercies.
– Alain de Botton

[I]t is important that cultures, religions and the arts provide a rich and diverse array of images, symbols, myths and imaginative options – otherwise it would be impossible to know how to read the interior life.
– David Tacey

I believe the greatest artists they’re out there, plugging in, letting go of ego just shifting all the weaknesses & 7 deadly sins, let them slide to the left & get into a space that’s almost meditative & there you go, the magic will flow through.
– Mike Garson on David Bowie

Who’s my ‘master? Whoever controls what you desire or dislike.
– Epictetus

…and of course distance made no difference, he was at his best in letters anyway.
– anne carson

The Coming of Light
Even this late it happens:
the coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows,
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine
and tomorrow’s dust flares into breath.
– Mark Strand

Dear one,
for how long
are going to be a stranger
living in the neighborhood
of your own heart?
when are you going
to move in and be one
with the source of
life?
when are you going
to know yourself
deeply?
– Guthema Roba

It’s a transformative experience to simply pause instead of immediately fill up the space. By waiting, we begin to connect with fundamental restlessness as well as fundamental spaciousness.
– Pema Chodron

As long as you are not conscious
of your self you can live;
but if you become conscious of your self
you fall from one grave into another.
All your rebirths could ultimately
make you sick. The Buddha therefore finally gave up on rebirth, for he had had enough
of crawling through all human and animal forms.
After all the rebirths you still remain
the lion crawling on the earth, the Chameleon,
a caricature, one prone to changing colors,
a crawling shimmering lizard,
but precisely not a lion,
whose nature is related to the sun,
who draws his power from within himself
who does not crawl around
in the protective colors of the environment,
and who does not defend himself
by going into hiding.
I recognized the chameleon
and no longer want to crawl on the earth
and change colors and be reborn;
instead I want to exist from my own force,
like the sun which gives light
and does not suck light.
That belongs to the earth. I recall
my solar nature and would like
to rush to my rising.
But ruins stand in my way.
They say:
‘With regard to men you should be this or that.’ My chameleonesque skin shudders.
They obtrude upon me and want to color me. But that should no longer be.
Neither good nor evil shall be my masters.
I push them aside, the laughable survivors,
and go on my way again, which leads me
to the East. The quarreling powers
that for so long stood between me and myself lie behind me.
– Carl Gustav Jung, The Red Book: Liber Novus

As we are a doomed race, chained to a sinking ship, as the whole thing is a bad joke, let us, at any rate, do our part; mitigate the suffering of our fellow-prisoners; decorate the dungeon with flowers and air-cushions; be as decent as we possibly can.
– Virginia Woolf

What I want is the other world in this world. What I want is the way up and the way down, the way in and the way out. What I want is the poem that rears up like a mythic creature from the dark place of origins, only to transform into the holy, unrepeatable faces of the living. What I want is the mythic wings still thrumming inside them.
– Joseph Fasano

I’m too alone in the world, yet not alone enough to make each hour holy.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Between the end of that strange summer and the approach of winter, my life went on without change. Each day would dawn without incident and end as it had begun. It rained a lot in September. October had several warm, sweaty days. Aside from the weather, there was hardly anything to distinguish one day from the next. I worked at concentrating my attention on the real and useful.
– Haruki Murakami

And if I say it’s a dream, / it will have no power. And if I say it’s real, / no one will ever believe me. But can’t it / be both?”
– Keetje Kuipers, With Garbo in Palm Springs

Carmen Simmons:
Doctors were in TRASH BAGS and police were outfitted for WW3 and I will absolutely never forget that

It is the loss of our containing myth that is root cause of our individual and social distress and nothing less than the discovery of a new central myth will solve the problem. Indeed, a new myth is in the making and C.G. Jung was aware of that fact.
– Edward Edinger

She was doing the job all clouds do: reminding us we’re on a planet.
– Maggies Smith Poet

Cassie Marketos:
I need to start a Jobs Academy for Artists. All my cool weird wonderful art friends are so smart & good, but also think they’re totally unemployable. I spend so much time coaching them abt how & where all their natural intelligence & ability is 100% a fit for all kindsa jobs.

The kindness of one human being to another in times of mass hatred and violence deserves more respect than the preaching of all the churches since the beginning of time.
– Charles Simic

The flakes tumble as slow as prophecy,


occasionally buoyant on an invisible breath.

– Didi Jackson

Fall
by Didi Jackson

Do you know what I was, how I lived?
– Louise Glück

It is a goldfinch
one of the two

small girls,
both daughters

of a friend,
sees hit the window

and fall into the fern.
No one hears

the small thump but she,
the youngest, sees

the flash of gold
against the mica sky

as the limp feathered envelope
crumples into the green.

How many times
in a life will we witness

the very moment of death?
She wants a box

and a small towel
some kind of comfort

for this soft body
that barely fits

in her palm. Its head
rolling side to side,

neck broke, eyes still wet
and black as seed.

Her sister, now at her side,
wears a dress too thin

for the season,
white as the winter

only weeks away.
She wants me to help,

wants a miracle.
Whatever I say now

I know weighs more
than the late fall’s

layered sky,
the jeweled leaves

of the maple and elm.
I know, too,

it is the darkest days
I’ve learned to praise —

the calendar packages up time,
the days shrink and fold away

until the new season.
We clothe, burn,

then bury our dead.
I know this;

they do not.
So we cover the bird,

story its flight,
imagine his beak

singing.
They pick the song

and sing it
over and over again.

Peace of mind produces right values; right values produce right thoughts. Right thoughts produce right actions.
– Mark Richardson

Anything made from fear cannot be beautiful
– Osho

For even though the shadow may precede the man, it is derived from him.
– Rumi

The inferior function and the sore spot are absolutely connected. If he had not had inferior sensation, he would not have been so touchy.
– Marie-Louise von Franz

The one unchangeable certainty is that nothing is certain or unchangeable.
– John F. Kennedy

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg:
In the World to Come, all writers of popular music and film, television, etc. will have an at least average level emotional grasp and a basic understanding of what a healthy relationship looks like.

We shall all be as good as dead one day, but in the interests of life we should postpone this moment as long as possible, and this we can only do by never allowing our picture of the world to become rigid.
– CG Jung

Health is not simply the absence of illness…Simply put, the essence of real health is the constant renewal and rejuvenation of life.
– Daisaku Ikeda

All I have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all I have not seen.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of things.
– Epictetus

The past offered the charm of the unrecoverable. The lost becomes something precious, something just interviewed, evoked almost at will, in the purest essence of the present.
– Mexican writer, Elena Garro

That person that even when nothing is funny, as soon as you see the look on their face you don’t know why but you just can’t hold it together. Keep that person in your life.
– Maryam Hasnaa

Has anyone ever made a lunchmeat sculpture of a mysterious, beautiful woman and called it the bologna lisa?
– D.A. Powell

Wave a flag, wave the bible, wave your sex or your business degree
Whatever you want but don’t wave that thing at me
The tide of love can leave your prizes scattered
But when you get to the bottom it’s the only thing that matters
– Bruce Cockburn

The straightforward and good person should be like a smelly goat‚ you know when they are in the room with you.
– Marcus Aurelius

A wrongly functioning consciousness receives the dark side of God.
– Marie-Louise von Franz

When the planet earth swallows all the maps,
The love affection will spread everywhere
I will hang out in your precious land
And you will spend your night
Pacing my room back and forth.
When the maps disappear,
We will replace our fingers with flowers
You will not call me negro
And I will not laugh at your grandfather’s roots.
When the planet earth
Swallows all the maps
We will write our history
By an honest ink
If this happened
People in Madagascar
Will not eat dirt
To escape hunger
When the maps disappear,
I will give you my tongue
To speak my language
And the humanity
Will be the native one
For all of us.
– Amirah Al wassif

sounds of burning water lilies
detach my future shadows
– Alejandra Pizarnik, Reminiscences,
The Most Foreign Country, translated by Yvette Siegert

We can, and will, explore all avenues,
from the intricacies of atoms and genes
to the amplitudes of outer space,
but we can no longer naively claim
powers once the property of the “gods”
without also taking on their burdens.
– James Hollis, Tracking the Gods

In most countries, what people call “history” is actually mythology.
– Yuval Harari

Everyone must know that within them burns a candle–& no one’s candle is identical with another’s, & there is no person without a candle…One needs to ignite one’s candle & make of it a great torch to enlighten the whole world.
– Rav Kook

Devotion is overrated, what am I supposed to do / with something so temporary? I guess I wouldn’t know.
– Phoebe Stuckes

When you start investing in your health the whole game changes.
– Mindful Xpansion

Does it matter if I talk
to myself
(only myself)?

You never cared before.

– Mary Crockett Hill, 1976: A Lyric, A Memory, A Lie, The Absolute Truth

I love you far too much to
let what we have be ruined
by the failings of our species.
So instead I’m going to leave
you now while I still
remember you fondly.
– Jared Singer

An underrated expression:

“Lord, have mercy”.

– Doc Hubbard

The mind is the root from which all things grow. If you can understand the mind, everything else is included.
– Bodhidharma

The healing of a neurosis comes not from a removal of the conflicts that were its cause, but precisely by a realization of the reality of these conflicts and by a full and free acceptance of the suffering they bring.
– Helen Luke, The Way of Woman

One aim of analysis is to get consciousness to function again according to nature.
– Marie-Louise von Franz, Ph.D.

The social police is trying to build a meritocracy based on tribalism and evil inclinations, rather than upon the virtues of peace, freedom, democracy, objectivity, transparency and integrity.
– Ted Cohen

The things I carry are my thoughts. That’s it. They are the only weight. My thoughts determine whether I am free and light, or burdened.
– Kamal Ravikant

Wake up, cease the tendency to unkindness towards others, unkindness is the murderer of the life of wisdom.
– Kerouac

Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.
– Stephen Hawking

The earth, that is sufficient,
I do not want the constellations any nearer,
I know they are very well where they are,
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.
– Walt Whitman

Just before twenty-first March, 1953,
seven days before,
I stopped working on myself.
A moment comes when you see
the whole futility of effort.
You have done all that you can do
and nothing is happening.
You have done all that is humanly possible. Then what else can you do?
In sheer helplessness one drops all search. And the day the search stopped,
the day I was not seeking for something,
the day I was not expecting
something to happen, it started happening.
A new energy arose — out of nowhere.
It was not coming from any source.
It was coming from nowhere and everywhere.
It was in the trees and in the rocks
and the sky and the sun and the air —
it was everywhere. And I was seeking so hard, and I was thinking it is very far away.
And it was so near and so close.
– Osho, The Discipline Of Transcendence

Here is the solitude from which you are absent.
It is raining. The sea wind is hunting stray gulls.
– Neruda

Master Padma said: When you take the Dharma to heart, there will be ten signs.

The lady asked: What are these ten signs?

The master said: When your grasping decreases, that is the sign of having expelled the evil spirit of fixation on concrete reality.

When your attachment grows less, that is the sign of being free from ambitious craving.

When your disturbing emotions decrease, that is the sign of the five poisons being pacified from within.

When your selfishness decreases, that is the sign of having expelled the evil spirit of ego-clinging.

When you are free from embarrassment and hold no reference point whatsoever that is the sign that your deluded perception has collapsed.

When you are free from the concepts of meditator and meditation object and never lose sight of your innate nature that is the sign that you have met the mother of Dharmata.

When any perception arises as unbiased individual experience, that is the sign of having reached the core of view and meditation.

When you have resolved samsãra and nirvana as being indivisible, that is the sign that full realization has arisen within.

In short, when you have no clinging to even your own body, that is the sign of being totally free from attachment.

When you remain unharmed by suffering and difficulties, that is the sign of understanding appearances to be illusion.

When you have only a minor degree of the eight worldly concerns, that is the sign of having recognized the nature of mind.

In any case, when your inner signs show outwardly it is like a tree that has sprouted leaves. When the outer signs arc noticed by other people it is like fruit of the tree that has ripened and can be eaten.

There are many Dharma practitioners without even a single virtuous quality. People with realization are extremely rare, so it is essential to exert yourself in meditation practice.
– Simdha Getul Rinpoche, Dakini Teachings

There is a mental model known as inversion.
It’s one of the most powerful thinking tools you can incorporate into your daily life.
The trick to inversion is simple: figure out what you don’t want and avoid it.
Charlie Munger, the legendary partner of Warren Buffett summarized inversion when he said, “All I want to know is where I’m going to die, so I’ll never go there.”
Problems get easier when you turn them around. Rather than ask what you can do to be happy, avoid all the things that make you miserable.
Here are three lessons:
1. Luck often comes from knowing what to avoid rather than trying to be incredibly intelligent. Avoiding stupidity is easier than seeking brilliance.
2. Inversion provides clarity. Even when you don’t know what you want, you can determine what you don’t want and avoid that.
3. Inversion helps remove friction. Instead of applying more force to get the outcome you want, ask what’s getting in the way.
Here are some ways to apply the concept in the conduct of work and life:
+ To be a good manager, avoid being a bad manager. What makes a bad manager? Thinking you have all the answers, being inconsistent, being unreliable, etc.
+ To be a good partner, avoid being a bad partner. What kills relationships? Losing trust, not spending time together, not communicating your needs, etc.
+ To save money, avoid spending more than you earn. Avoid complicated investments where you don’t have unique insights.
+ To be more productive, eliminate what makes unproductive. Leave your phone in another room. Keep only one-tab open on the computer. Block social media.
We are rarely beaten by others. Instead, we beat ourselves all the time. The vast majority of the time we can pick up easy points by avoiding mistakes rather than trying to score a point.
This quote by Charlie Munger sums it up nicely:
“It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent.
– farnam street

If you’re not triggering someone, you’re not bringing the next paradigm. The transformation of consciousness ain’t no walk in the park. It’s a deep plunge into an ocean of icy resistance. Prepare yourself…
– Jeff Brown

We are in need of a lot of renegotiating of things.
We need to renegotiate our contract with nature. Ecology is a unifying force that can diminish intolerance and expand our empathy towards others—both human and animal.
– Gregory Colbert

Note to Myself
Never be deliberately obscure.
Life is difficult enough!
Don’t add to the confusion.
– David Budbill

Joseph Brodsky’s Six Rules for Playing the Game of Life Like a Winner

1. Now and in the time to be, I think it will pay for you to zero in on being precise with your language. Try to build and treat your vocabulary the way you are to treat your checking account. Pay every attention to it and try to increase your earnings. The purpose here is not to boost your bedroom eloquence or your professional success — although those, too, can be consequences — nor is it to turn you into parlor sophisticates. The purpose is to enable you to articulate yourselves as fully and precisely as possible; in a word, the purpose is your balance. For the accumulation of things not spelled out, not properly articulated, may result in neurosis. On a daily basis, a lot is happening to one’s psyche; the mode of one’s expression, however, often remains the same. Articulation lags behind experience. That doesn’t go well with the psyche. Sentiments, nuances, thoughts, perceptions that remain nameless, unable to be voiced and dissatisfied with approximations, get pent up within an individual and may lead to a psychological explosion or implosion. To avoid that, one needn’t turn into a bookworm. One should simply acquire a dictionary and read it on the same daily basis — and, on and off, with books of poetry. Dictionaries, however, are of primary importance. There are a lot of them around; some of them even come with a magnifying glass. They are reasonably cheap, but even the most expensive among them (those equipped with a magnifying glass) cost far less than a single visit to a psychiatrist. If you are going to visit one nevertheless, go with the symptoms of a dictionary junkie.

2. Now and in the time to be, try to be kind to your parents. If this sounds too close to “Honor thy mother and father” for your comfort, so be it. All I am trying to say is try not to rebel against them, for, in all likelihood, they will die before you do, so you can spare yourselves at least this source of guilt if not of grief. If you must rebel, rebel against those who are not so easily hurt. Parents are too close a target (so, by the way, are sisters, brothers, wives or husbands); the range is such that you can’t miss. Rebellion against one’s parents, for all its I-won’t-take-a-single-penny-from-you, is essentially an extremely bourgeois sort of thing, because it provides the rebel with the ultimate in comfort, in this case, mental comfort: the comfort of one’s convictions. The later you hit this pattern, the later you become a mental bourgeois, i.e., the longer you stay skeptical, doubtful, intellectually uncomfortable, the better it is for you. On the other hand, of course, this not-a-single-penny business makes practical sense, because your parents, in all likelihood, will bequeath all they’ve got to you, and the successful rebel will end up with the entire fortune intact — in other words, rebellion is a very efficient form of savings. The interest, though, is crippling; I’d say, bankrupting.

3. Try not to set too much store by politicians — not so much because they are dumb or dishonest, which is more often than not the case, but because of the size of their job, which is too big even for the best among them, by this or that political party, doctrine, system or a blueprint thereof. All they or those can do, at best, is to diminish a social evil, not eradicate it. No matter how substantial an improvement may be, ethically speaking it will always be negligible, because there will always be those — say, just one person — who won’t profit from this improvement. The world is not perfect; the Golden Age never was or will be. The only thing that’s going to happen to the world is that it will get bigger, i.e., more populated while not growing in size. No matter how fairly the man you’ve elected will promise to cut the pie, it won’t grow in size; as a matter of fact, the portions are bound to get smaller. In light of that, or, rather, in dark of that — you ought to rely on your own home cooking, that is, on managing the world yourselves — at least that part of it that lies within your reach, within your radius. Yet in doing this, you must also prepare yourselves for the heart-rending realization that even that pie of yours won’t suffice; you must prepare yourselves that you’re likely to dine as much in disappointment as in gratitude. The most difficult lesson to learn here is to be steady in the kitchen, since by serving this pie just once you create quite a lot of expectations. Ask yourself whether you can afford a steady supply of those pies, or would you rather bargain on a politician? Whatever the outcome of this soul-searching may be — however much you think the world can bet on your baking — you might start right away by insisting that those corporations, banks, schools, labs and whatnot where you’ll be working, and whose premises are heated and policed round the clock anyway, permit the homeless in for the night, now that it’s winter.

4. Try not to stand out, try to be modest. There are too many of us as it is, and there are going to be many more, very soon. Thus climbing into the limelight is bound to be one at the expense of the others who won’t be climbing. That you must step on somebody’s toes doesn’t mean you should stand on their shoulders. Besides, all you will see from that vantage point is the human sea, plus those who, like you, have assumed a similarly conspicuous — and precarious at that — position: those who are called rich and famous. On the whole, there is always something faintly unpalatable about being better off than one’s likes, and when those likes come in billions, it is more so. To this it should be added that the rich and famous these days, too, come in throngs, that up there on the top it’s very crowded. So if you want to get rich or famous or both, by all means go ahead, but don’t make a meal of it. To covet what somebody else has is to forfeit your uniqueness; on the other hand, of course, it stimulates mass production. But as you are running through life only once, it is only sensible to try to avoid the most obvious cliches, limited editions included. The notion of exclusivity, mind you, also forfeits your uniqueness, not to mention that it shrinks your sense of reality to the already-achieved. Far better than belonging to any club is to be jostled by the multitudes of those who, given their income and their appearance, represent — at least theoretically — unlimited potential. Try to be more like them than like those who are not like them; try to wear gray. Mimicry is the defense of individuality, not its surrender. I would advise you to lower your voice, too, but I am afraid you will think I am going too far. Still, keep in mind that there is always somebody next to you, a neighbor. Nobody asks you to love him, but try not to hurt or discomfort him much; try to tread on his toes carefully; and should you come to covet his wife, remember at least that this testifies to the failure of your imagination, to your disbelief in — or ignorance of — reality’s unlimited potential. Worse comes to worst, try to remember how far away — from the stars, from the depths of the universe, perhaps from its opposite end — came this request not to do it, as well as this idea of loving your neighbor no less than yourself. Maybe the stars know more about gravity, as well as about loneliness, than you do; coveting eyes that they are.

5. At all costs try to avoid granting yourself the status of the victim. Of all the parts of your body, be most vigilant over your index finger, for it is blame-thirsty. A pointed finger is a victim’s logo — the opposite of the V-sign and a synonym for surrender. No matter how abominable your condition may be, try not to blame anything or anybody: history, the state, superiors, race, parents, the phase of the moon, childhood, toilet training, etc. The menu is vast and tedious, and this vastness and tedium alone should be offensive enough to set one’s intelligence against choosing from it. The moment that you place blame somewhere, you undermine your resolve to change anything; it could be argued even that that blame-thirsty finger oscillates as wildly as it does because the resolve was never great enough in the first place. After all, a victim status is not without its sweetness. It commands compassion, confers distinction, and whole nations and continents bask in the murk of mental discounts advertised as the victim’s conscience. There is an entire victim-culture, ranging from private counselors to international loans. The professed goal of this network notwithstanding, its net result is that of lowering one’s expectations from the threshold, so that a measly advantage could be perceived or billed as a major breakthrough. Of course, this is therapeutic and, given the scarcity of the world’s resources, perhaps even hygienic, so for want of a better identity, one may embrace it — but try to resist it. However abundant and irrefutable is the evidence that you are on the losing side, negate it as long as you have your wits about you, as long as your lips can utter “No.” On the whole, try to respect life not only for its amenities but for its hardships, too. They are a part of the game, and what’s good about a hardship is that it is not a deception. Whenever you are in trouble, in some scrape, on the verge of despair or in despair, remember: that’s life speaking to you in the only language it knows well. In other words, try to be a little masochistic: without a touch of masochism, the meaning of life is not complete. If this is of any help, try to remember that human dignity is an absolute, not a piecemeal notion, that it is inconsistent with special pleading, that it derives its poise from denying the obvious. Should you find this argument a bit on the heady side, think at least that by considering yourself a victim you but enlarge the vacuum of irresponsibility that demons or demagogues love so much to fill, since a paralyzed will is no dainty for angels.

6. The world you are about to enter and exist in doesn’t have a good reputation. It’s been better geographically than historically; it’s still far more attractive visually than socially. It’s not a nice place, as you are soon to find out, and I rather doubt that it will get much nicer by the time you leave it. Still, it’s the only world available; no alternative exists, and if one did, there is no guarantee that it would be much better than this one. It is a jungle out there, as well as a desert, a slippery slope, a swamp, etc. — literally — but, what’s worse, metaphorically, too. Yet, as Robert Frost has said, “The best way out is always through.” He also said, in a different poem, though, that “to be social is to be forgiving.” It’s with a few remarks about this business of getting through that I would like to close. Try not to pay attention to those who will try to make life miserable for you. There will be a lot of those — in the official capacity as well as the self-appointed. Suffer them if you can’t escape them, but once you have steered clear of them, give them the shortest shrift possible. Above all, try to avoid telling stories about the unjust treatment you received at their hands; avoid it no matter how receptive your audience may be. Tales of this sort extend the existence of your antagonists; most likely they are counting on your being talkative and relating your experience to others. By himself, no individual is worth an exercise in injustice (or for that matter, in justice). The ratio of one-to-one doesn’t justify the effort: it’s the echo that counts. That’s the main principle of any oppressor, whether state-sponsored or autodidact. Therefore, steal, or still, the echo, so that you don’t allow an event, however unpleasant or momentous, to claim any more time than it took for it to occur.
What your foes do derives its significance or consequence from the way you react. Therefore, rush through or past them as though they were yellow and not red lights. Don’t linger on them mentally or verbally; don’t pride yourself on forgiving or forgetting them — worse come to worse, do the forgetting first. This way you’ll spare your brain cells a lot of useless agitation; this way, perhaps, you may even save those pigheads from themselves, since the prospect of being forgotten is shorter than that of being forgiven. So flip the channel: you can’t put this network out of circulation, but at least you can reduce its ratings. Now, this solution is not likely to please angels, but, then again, it’s bound to hurt demons, and for the moment that’s all that really matters.

He concludes by putting things — the things we so readily and habitually take for granted — in perspective:

I can’t divine your future, but it’s pretty obvious to any naked eye that you have a lot going for you. To say the least, you were born, which is in itself half the battle, and you live in a democracy — this halfway house between nightmare and utopia — which throws fewer obstacles in the way of an individual than its alternatives.

It is as if a lynx coexists with a housecat
when you kiss the knots in my fate
like that. Give me winter for constancy
and looking back: most silent because
most decided. Teach me
how to shed this cold devotion
by which memory
is exchanged for alertness.

Come and go
with me
like the sickle of a black tail
through a transparent net of birdsong.
– Tess Gallagher

Coming out of me living is always thinking,
Thinking changing and changing living,
– W. H. Auden

Every day passes whether you participate or not.
– Ming Dao Deng

Perhaps it is only an institution such as the library, one that is rigorously literate and public, that can imagine how to treat a Black child like a child to be poured into and not a social problem to be solved or disappeared.
– Nate Marshall

Bruce Cockburn:
Tomorrow may come, it usually does
Don’t know what it will bring to the two of us
I just want you to know what I’m ready to do
Anything, anytime, anywhere

You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.
– Elizabeth Gilbert

Wendy S. Walters:
Artists are also workers, taxpayers, union members, community members. They are skilled trades persons, debt holders, educators, and professionals. It’s a vocation, one usually underpaid. It is decent and honorable work. Let’s not forget that.

Only experience can teach one what a terrifying enterprise it is to turn away from the familiar affairs of our conscious world and face the entirely unknown in the inner, unconscious world.
– Barbara Hannah

And so the Jesus that we are thinking about this morning is the language of eternity translated into the words of time.
– Martin Luther King Jr. (December 1965)

[God is] like a cosmic librarian. And He looks at the stacks of books stacked all over the library, and He sees them in general, but somehow, He has an eternal catalogue in his mind and He knows where each book is placed. Each individual is significant to Him.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

Bravery is the courage to be—to live in the world without any deception and with tremendous kindness and caring for others.
– Chogyam Trungpa

You ask about the effect my work has on others. If I may speak ironically, that’s a masculine question. Men always want to be influential. I see that somewhat as an onlooker. Do I see myself as influential? No. I want to understand.
– Hannah Arendt

There ain’t no rules around here. We’re trying to accomplish something.
– Thomas Edison

Ryan Knight:
Our entire system is corrupt and liberals think they saved America by changing our president. We have to change our corrupt system to save America.

As you heal and grow, remember not everyone will be ready for your new spiritual vibration.
– Inner Practiconer

Mountain Language
by Öykü Tekten

the day after the mulberry tree fell on its belly, the army bombed a truck
full of black umbrellas sent from russia against the tyranny of rain. they
said, the black umbrellas are no longer allowed in the mountains. hats
are. guns are. gods are. the trees are offensive to the sky. then
they called our language mountain, then they pronounced it dead.

we are in a dream, you said. undo the pain before you speak
against the gods with mouths full of rain. a tongue cut in half
becomes sharper, you said. date your wound.

Sometimes growth looks like letting people live out whatever timeline their soul needs to learn and evolve from. That’s between them & their higher self.
– Pyramid Realm

you can reset your brain to factory settings by staring at the ocean for 45 mins
– @coolemma69

I had a mentor change the narrative on me that I’m not experiencing impostor syndrome, I’m existing in a system that wants me to feel like an impostor – an impostor system.
– @MarkAFlorido

Dr. Sarah E. Myhre:
I have no ability to care about these little men anymore. What I care about is every women and queer/nb person getting the respect, accolades, power, and attention that they deserve.

Emily Nussbaum:
I knew a woman who delivered her own baby, so I consider her a double doctorate.

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.
– Rebecca Solnit

The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.
– John Green

The loss of prayer, through the loss of belief in God, is a great loss. However, a general answer is a practice of meditation: a withdrawal, through some disciplined quietness, into the great chamber of the soul. Just sitting quietly will help.
– Iris Murdoch, Metaphysics as a Guide To Morals

RÉSUMÉ
by Rob Ingraham
In French, it simply means a summary,
which limits what it can and can’t convey
despite my padding and hyperbole.
No room to cite the winter night I lay
inside an ambulance (my friend was dead),
they strapped me down, the flares lit up the snow.
No place to say how luckily I wed,
or itemize what took me years to know.
The format’s not designed to mention awe;
transcendence can’t be summarized at all.
And nowhere on the page to say I saw
a plane explode, I saw a building fall.
But these are skills not easily assessed;
all references provided on request.

You don’t want to say the same thing twice in one book.
– T. S. Eliot

Bola Opaleke:
Intellectual inconsistency is when you say a result is ok where it favors you but not ok where it doesn’t.

Skeleton Of A Ruined Song
by Bola Opaleke

You will find out too late
That words come before language.
You will fear the red sea even
Before knowing what the blue sea
Can do to your body.

I was once spiritually ill.
we all pass through that –
but one day the intelligence
in my soul cured me.
– Meister Eckhart

We cannot be fully human alone. We are made for interdependence, we are made for family. When you have ubuntu, you embrace others. You are generous, compassionate. If the world had more ubuntu, we would not have war. We would not have this huge gap between the rich and the poor..
– Bishop Tutu

Don’t follow a star.
Find your sap in hollow places.
Roots will lead you down.
What are a thousand golden petals
compared to the yearning
of the shadow for its cause?
Feel the December moon
in your chest.
Will you try to hold
your final breath
or offer it in gratitude?
The answer is how
you do it now.
Rehearse that moment
which is always this one.
Dying and living are not two.
Breathe out Winter.
Breathe in Spring.
At the still point between,
abide in your Solstice.
Give darkness back
to what has never been created.
Even That is you.
When in doubt,
listen to birthless seeds
singing to the sun
all through the long
good night.
– Fred LaMotte

The curse which lies upon marriage is that too often the individuals are joined in their weakness rather than in their strength, each asking from the other instead of finding pleasure in giving.
– Simone de Beauvoir

I am of the order whose purpose is not to teach the world a lesson but to explain that school is over.
– Henry Miller

For some reason or other man looks for the miracle, and to accomplish it he will wade through blood. He will debauch himself with ideas, he will reduce himself to a shadow if for only one second of his life he can close his eyes to the hideousness of reality. Everything is endured – disgrace, humiliation, poverty, war, crime, ennui – in the belief that overnight something will occur, a miracle, which will render life tolerable. And all the while a meter is running inside and there is no hand that can reach in there and shut it off.
– Henry Miller

The goal of life is not to possess power but to radiate it.
– Henry Miller

Under human conditions, which are determined by the fact that not man, but men live on earth, freedom & sovereignty are so little identical that they can they cannot even exist simultaneously…

If men wish to be free, it is precisely sovereignty they must renounce
– Hannah Arendt

Literature is a mirror with the capacity, like some clocks, to run ahead of time.
– Enrique Vila-Matas

This floating world of thought, reacting
and overthinking to windswept dreams.
It must be exhausting.
May all beings find peace.
– Shinzen

God does not listen to the language of the tongue and its japs, mantras, devotional songs, and so on.
He does not listen to the language of the mind and its routine meditations, concentrations and thoughts about God.
He listens only to the language of the heart and its message of love, which needs no ceremony or show, only silent devotion for the Beloved.
– Meher Baba

Lovers alone wear sunlight.
– e. e. cummings

When you are overthinking, write.

When you are underthinking, read.

– @wiseconnector

Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, we enter the warrior’s world.
– Pema Chodron

Cling to truth and it turns into falsehood; understand falsehood and it turns into truth. Truth and falsehood are two sides of the same coin: neither accept one nor reject the other.
– Ryokan

The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity.
– Seneca, 48 C.E.

You’ll discover that real love is millions of miles past falling in love with anyone or anything. When you make that one effort to feel compassion instead of blame or self-blame, the heart opens again and continues opening.
– S. Paddison

March 2012. A thief or thieves have stolen the heart of Saint Laurence O’Toole, which had been kept, since the 13th century, in a preserved state, in Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin.

They’ve stolen it, my heart,
a burglar or burglars
have made off with it—

taken what remained
through the centuries
preserved, a relic,
to show the endurance
of the True Faith
through persecution—

now this great limb of the Church
(Christ Church Cathedral!)
is on the lam
handled by the criminal element
for what dark purpose I cannot
say, my heart, my heart implores the Lamb:

may my moving heart
cause as much good in the world as when it beat
warm in my bosom;

may whoever performed the foul deed
embrace the Faith
and goodness—

for the thief has stolen my heart

and I must love

the taker.
– Jack Foley

Letter Spoken in Wind
Today we walked the inlet Nybøl Nor
remembering how to tread on frozen snow.
Ate cold sloeberries

that tasted of wind—a white pucker—
spat their sour pits in snow. Along
the horizon, a line of windmills dissolved

into a white field. Your voice
on the phone, a gesund auf dein keppele
you blessed my head. Six months now

since I’ve seen you. There are
traces of you here, your curls still dark
and long, your woven dove,

the room you stayed in: send your syllables,
I am swimming below the tidemark.
Words shed overcoats, come

to me undressed, slender-limbed, they have no
letters yet. It is the festival
of lights, I have no

candles. I light one for each night,
pray on a row
of nine lighthouses.

– Rachel Galvin

Though freighted with ruin and it’s sure return
yet we are awake and not dreaming.
Finding here what we never could there –
something more than beautiful mirrors –
because souls play all roles, and communion is given.
This is no dream.
This is the wing-beating storm,
the rock and the rapids,
the space between question and answer
where, in spite of the wrecks we must swim among
there is sometimes the hoped-for, the heart-touch,
and the keen attending to what’s so not me
that it asks me to wake and to live.
– George Gorman

Nobody today is normal, everybody is a little bit crazy or unbalanced, people’s minds are running all the time. Their perceptions of the world are partial, incomplete. They are eaten alive by their egos. They think they see, but they are mistaken; all they do is project their madness, their world, upon the world. There is no clarity, no wisdom in that!

Hoy nadie es normal, todo el mundo está un poco loco o desequilibrado, la mente de la gente está funcionando todo el tiempo. Sus percepciones del mundo son parciales, incompletas. Son devorados vivos por sus egos. Creen que ven, pero se equivocan; todo lo que hacen es proyectar su locura, su mundo, sobre el mundo. ¡No hay claridad, no hay sabiduría en eso!

– Taisen Deshimaru

The great remedy for anger is delay.
– Seneca

The desire to be loved is the last illusion
Give it up and you will be free.
– Margaret Atwood, A Sunday Drive

Borders are helpless against angels, radiation, and migrant geese, ridiculed by winds and thwarted by what the winds can blow over them.
– Anne Boyer

It is like the keening sound
the moon makes sometimes,
rising.
– Robert Hass

Everything Is Enlightenment

At the very heart of Buddhism is the promise of enlightenment. It’s the bright flame illuminating the dharma, and the rich variety of practices developed in the traditions that make up Buddhism are all in some essential way in the service of that promise. For millennia, in response to the struggles and sorrows of life on this planet, and in honor of the breathtaking beauty of life on this planet, people have passed this flame from hand to hand, encouraging one another to take part in the agonizingly slow but impossibly tender awakening of our world as a whole.

In the West the idea of enlightenment has gotten a little bruised, in part because the intensity of our longings has made us so vulnerable to disappointment, and in part because we have reason to feel disappointed by the actions of some claiming to be enlightened. Some of us don’t believe in it anymore or think it’s the province of only a few special people. Some of us have misunderstood it as a self-actualization project, and so have missed its power not just to improve but to transform. What happens when we let our projections about enlightenment fall away? Can we find the place where wisdom born of generations of experience meets us where we, each of us, actually live? Is it possible to take on a day-to-day practice of enlightenment?

Having an enlightening revelation isn’t the same thing as being enlightened. The revelation has to stain and dye us completely.
Here is the story passed on with the flame: enlightenment is our true nature and our home, but the complexities of human life cause us to forget. That forgetting feels like exile, and we make elaborate structures of habit, conviction, and strategy to defend against its desolation. But this condition isn’t hopeless; it’s possible to dismantle those structures so we can return from an exile that was always illusory to a home that was always right under our feet.

For many of us, there’s something pushing us and something pulling us toward homecoming. We’re pushed by our own pain and the pain we see in the world around us; we’re pulled by intimations of something larger and truer than our ordinary self-oriented ways of experiencing life. Here’s a tradition that says, yes, we understand that, and there are ways to make those intimations not simply a matter of random chance but readily and consistently present. It’s possible to make ourselves available, in all the hours of our days, to the grace we so long to be touched by, and to spread that grace to the world around us.

So we should pause to talk a little about what we’re talking about. The term “enlightenment” is used to translate a variety of words in various Asian languages that, while closely related, aren’t exactly identical. Most fundamentally, enlightenment refers to the Pali and Sanskrit word bodhi, which is more literally “awakening.”

“Enlightenment” has an absolute quality about it, as though it describes a steady state, something not subject to time and space or the vagaries of human life. We imagine that once over that threshold, there’s no going back. But it’s far from static. In Buddhist terms, the way things really are is enlightenment, and our experience of the way things really are is also (the same) enlightenment. It is the vast and awe-inspiring nature of the universe itself, and it is the way each of us thinks, feels, and acts when we’re aware of and participating in that vast enlightenment manifesting as us. It’s not transcendent of our ordinary way of being; it’s more like we’ve been living in two dimensions, and now there are three. Strawberries still taste like strawberries and harsh words are still harsh, but now we’re aware of how everything interpermeates everything else, and that even the most difficult things are lit from within by the same undivided light.

For one woman, this revelation began with what she called the dark side of the moon, when she saw the light in the most broken places inside us, the places from which we’re capable of causing great harm; as someone in a helping profession dealing with the effects of that harm, she found this painful to accept. Then the bright side of the moon appeared, illuminating the great joys of her life. Finally, she saw that it was “all moon,” with nothing left out, a realization both shattering and healing.

A thousand years ago, a Japanese woman wrote:

Watching the moon
at dawn,
solitary, mid-sky,
I knew myself completely:
no part left out.
– Izumi Shikibu, translated by Jane Hirshfield and Mariko Aratani

How large is the self softly illuminated by the moon of enlightenment? Tolstoy and Chekhov were on a walk in the spring woods when they encountered a horse. Tolstoy began to describe how the horse would experience the clouds, trees, smell of wet earth, flowers, sun. Chekhov exclaimed that Tolstoy must have been a horse in a previous life to know in such detail what the horse would feel. Tolstoy laughed and said, “No, but the day I came across my own inside, I came across everybody’s inside.”

There is something else to discover. Great Ancestor Ma of China assured his students that “for countless aeons not a single being has fallen out of the deep meditation of the universe.” No matter what happens, even in the times that feel like irredeemable exile, we and everything we encounter are the inhale and exhale of the universe’s meditation. Each of us is all of us, and all of us are one vast thing.

The revelations of enlightenment are part of the process of awakening, the times when the path we’re walking seems to fall out from under our feet. Awakening is that path unfurling around us over time, a path we’re walking from first breath to last, and probably before and after that, too. It has stages and aspects, sudden leaps forward and devastating stumbles. Because it’s so dynamic, our ways of referring to it have differentiated and proliferated: liberation, seeing one’s true nature, being purified and perfected, attaining the Way, opening the wisdom eye, undergoing the Great Death, and becoming intimate, to name just a few. While what we awaken to is the same for all of us, how we awaken and express that awakening in our lives is endlessly idiosyncratic and gives the world its texture and delight.

Which isn’t to say that enlightenment and awakening are different things; they’re just different aspects of the same thing. The poet Anna Akhmatova spoke of the wave that rises in us to meet the great wave of fate coming toward us. Perhaps enlightenment is that which comes toward us, a previously unimaginable grace, while awakening is that which arises inside us, to prepare for and meet the grace, and to hold it once it’s come. In that moment of meeting, we know the two waves as rising from the same ocean.

Awakening is something different from the projects of self-improvement and self-actualization many Westerners are used to; it’s not about being a better self but about discovering our true self, which is another thing entirely. One of the puzzlements of the Way is that some people can seem to have substantial, even operatic, openings and still behave like jerks. This speaks to the nature of awakening: having an enlightening revelation isn’t the same thing as being enlightened. It’s possible to retreat into the revelation, a condition referred to as inhabiting a ghost cave or being frozen in ice, because it stops the process of awakening. The revelation has to stain and dye us completely, in the midst of our everyday lives. We let life teach us how to embody the revelation.

Post-revelation, some people may believe that enlightenment is about them, when in fact it’s the least about-you thing that’s ever happened. And it’s simultaneously the truest thing about you that’s ever happened. Discovering how both could be so is what the paths of awakening are for, and those paths lead away from ghost caves and back into the heart of our lives.

Awakening isn’t something that can be obtained, like the ultimate killer app. Neither can it be attained, like a skill or an understanding to be harnessed to the purposes of the self. In some Buddhist traditions, it’s seen as a fundamental property of the universe, a unifying principle that appears as the almost infinite variety of forms that make up the universe. Awakening is autonomous, existing before there were humans, or anything else, to experience it.

Nagarjuna, the great Indian philosopher of the second and third centuries, expressed it this way:

When buddhas don’t appear
And their followers are gone,
The wisdom of awakening
Bursts forth by itself.

—From Verses from the Center, translated by Stephen Batchelor

This is personified in Prajnaparamita, mother of buddhas, who holds the universe’s awakening, regardless of whether there are buddhas or Buddhist teachings in a particular era. We might play with the thought that this has some relationship to the contemporary theory that consciousness, or its ancestor, proto-consciousness, was from the beginning a fundamental feature of the universe, existing at the subatomic level and eventually emerging into matter as the universe became more complex.

From this perspective, the process of awakening is less a matter of actualization and more a matter of “truing,” of becoming aware of the way things already are. Rather than developing an enhanced and therefore more solidified self, we become aware of the permeability of the self and the way we are continuous with awakening, and the universe itself.

This has been called our original face, what we “look” like when we step back into the moment before the world of our thoughts and feelings comes into existence. While Westerners generally speak of having a dream, in some South Asian cultures you’re seen by a dream. It’s a bit like that: we become aware that the universe has always perceived us in our truest form, and now we’re aware of what that is.

Trying to describe all this is pretty much a fool’s errand, which is why people have offered poems and paintings and cups of tea as invitations to see the original face of something, anything, before our judgments and opinions about it kick in. To see the original face of one something is to see the original face of all somethings.

Rilke once said with appreciation that Cezanne painted not “I like this” but “Here it is.” The enlightening revelation is “Here it is” writ large and complete, but it happens by way of the most commonplace moments. In the old stories it was the tok of a stone hitting bamboo or the sudden appearance of cherry blossoms across a ravine; today it might be hearing an ad on the radio or seeing a crumpled beer can on a forest path. “There is another world,” Paul Eluard said, “and it is inside this one.” The key to seeing that other world seems to be letting something, anything, speak to us without interrupting it with our habits of exile.

Awakening is an arc made up of path, revelation, and embodiment. Things tend to go generally in that progression, but these are all aspects of one thing, and they weave in and out of each other. Though enlightenment isn’t an absolute threshold, some changes do tend to stay changed. For one thing, we can’t quite believe in our delusions as we once did. They still arise, because it’s part of the nature of the human heart–mind to generate them, but we more easily recognize them for what they are, and can more often let them rise and fall or explore them without becoming hopelessly tangled in them.

Awakening isn’t a waiver from the shared circumstances of human life. But it can transform how we take part in them.
The teachings speak of a single enlightened thought as being the whole of enlightenment, and a single deluded thought as the whole of delusion. This acknowledges that we’re capable of both, but however seductive the desire to sort our thoughts into separate piles of enlightenment and delusion and then choose one over the other, that isn’t the offer. Instead, it’s to get underneath the self-oriented, operational realm of sorting and choosing and to sink back into the place from which all thoughts arise—sometimes appearing as distorted thoughts, sometimes as clarifying ones. It’s a truer place to rest, and a humbler one.

We still have bodies that break down in all sorts of amazing ways. We still face injustice and conflict. Awakening isn’t a waiver from the shared circumstances of human life. But it can transform how we take part in them. We are no longer beleaguered exiles but people who can find home even in difficult times, people who are aware of the unlikely presence of awakening even in difficult moments, people who are willing to feel our way in the dark to help bring it forth.

A lot has been said about walking the path of awakening, so I’ll mention just one thing that relates to taking on a day-to-day practice of enlightenment. Especially early on, most of us still have a lot of self-centeredness, by which I mean belief in the absolute reality of the self and the primacy of its concerns and reactions. One of the bemusing results is that here we are, hoping for an event that by its nature is unprecedented in our lives, and we think we know best about how to make it happen. We try to exert control over the process, believing we can find our way to enlightenment through acts of will.

There is mad discipline and insane persistence on this path, but they’re in the service of something more fruitful than certainty, control, and will. They’re in the service of availability. Just keep showing up. Sit the meditation, attend the retreat, absorb the teachings, face the fear, feel the sorrow, endure the boredom, explore the doubt, stay open to the disturbing and also the knee-bucklingly beautiful in your life.

That being said, if resistance rises in you, sit with it until you can tell whether it’s a habit of exile or a warning that something really isn’t right. The path of awakening involves a lot of deconstruction of the self, which can be difficult, even shattering at times. But it should not involve harm. We awaken together, and the greatest gift we give to each other’s awakening is to make a field where it is safe to take risks.

When revelation begins to walk toward you, have the courtesy to walk out to meet it. You know the tricks of distraction you play on yourself, so stay alert to them, but don’t allow the practice of hyper-vigilance to cause you to miss the moments when the world comes to call you home. There’s an old story about a man who vowed to meditate until Krishna appeared to him. Moved by his commitment, Krishna walked up behind the man and put his hand on his shoulder. Without turning around, the man cried, “Go away! I’m waiting for Krishna!”

Expect that awakening will come in unexpected ways. Make yourself available, and trust that enlightenment will find you.

The metaphors we use can powerfully shape what we imagine awakening to be. My own Zen tradition has lots of descriptions, like wielding the sword and penetrating the mystery, that we’d be forgiven for confusing with exercises of will. Enlightenment is likened to a lightning bolt or a sudden flash of sparks, something instantaneous and bright. But what happens when we listen to other voices speaking in different images? Here is Qiyuan Xinggang, a seventeenth-century Chinese nun:

When Qiyuan Xinggang awakened,
her teacher asked her,
“What was it like as you
gestated the spiritual embryo?”
She replied, “It solidified, deep and solitary.”
“When you gave birth, what was that like?”
“Being stripped completely naked.”
“What about when you met the Ancestor?”
“I met the Ancestor face to face.”

In these spare, quiet words is a sense of enlightenment growing in the dark, both autonomous and contained within us—something not in our control but asking our full attention. And then we’re stripped of everything we’ve depended on, including self-will, so we can meet the real with nothing intervening. This evocation of awakening as a kind of pregnancy that allows us to “become intimate” is something many people, women and men alike, recognize in their own experience.

Still, the language of light and illumination is everywhere. “Mind is not mind,” the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra says. “The nature of mind is clear light.” In moments of revelation, what are the qualities of light that are so powerful? There’s the sense that everything is unified and equal in this radiance. At the same time, each thing is so particular and alive in the way it shines with its own light; we feel the almost overwhelming sentience of things. And we become aware of what begins to pour out of us like light from an opened window: awe, gratitude, humility, and a suddenly bottomless love.

This light is a way we experience the empty aspect of reality, which is all-pervasive, without conditions, eternal, and undivided. Once, during a retreat, a woman lay down for a nap in a cottage at the end of a remote road. She awoke to a life-changing awareness of the light reaching everywhere, never blinking and never failing to hold even the smallest particle of existence. This was her way of experiencing Ma’s promise that no one had ever fallen out of the deep meditation of the universe.

Buddhism is nondualistic, so this isn’t light as opposed to darkness but something that includes both. It goes both ways; the Daoist idea of the Great Mysterious as the dark source of everything was incorporated into the dharma. The Chinese teacher Shitou wrote of branches of light streaming from the dark, where the dark is the undifferentiated unity and the light is the manifest world. Without these balancing images, we run into the atom bomb problem, in which the purely bright can tip into something blinding and annihilating. The Japanese koan genius Hakuin offered an image of radiance that contains both the light and the dark: the purple-golden light illuminating the landscape at twilight.

After the Buddha’s own revelation in the dark of night, he had a time of doubt, when he wondered how he’d ever be able to communicate what he’d come to understand. He only stepped out from under the tree when his companions requested that he teach them. This is the question of embodiment each of us faces: if the nature of the revelation is universal, the way each individual expresses it is particular. In our family, community, work, and creative lives we learn to live our enlightenment, each in our own way. But it’s not as though our enlightenment ends with revelation and then we figure out what to do with it; it’s actually through embodiment that enlightenment completes itself in us.

This is one of the great mysteries of the Way—that enlightenment not only illuminates ordinary life but submits to its discipline. We give ourselves to the daylit world to learn how to turn revelation into matter—and in this way our awakening continues. As with practice, this can’t be accomplished by an act of self-will, which is why the Mahayana tradition offers the bodhisattva vow instead. The vow is usually described as an intention toward awakening, for ourselves and for all. This is what has to happen for enlightenment to complete itself. We don’t see the world as it is and then withdraw from it; we see the world as it is so we can most truly live as part of it. Our freedom isn’t from the world; it’s in the world.

In some Mahayana traditions, the luminous totality of the universe, called the dharmakaya, is fulfilling a vow that all things should come into existence and grow toward awakening. The bodhisattva vow harmonizes in microcosm with the dharmakaya’s macrocosmic vow: we welcome our embodiment and dedicate ourselves to awakening so that we might help everything that exists awaken, too. To take this vow is to allow ourselves to be pulled to that place where our enlightenment is continuous with the universe’s—our vow continuous with the dharmakaya’s vow—so that there is no rub between our intention and its.

And so we enter a phase of awakening that includes, perhaps surprisingly, endarkenment as well as enlightenment. Awakening is a marriage of wisdom and compassion, and both wisdom and compassion are made up of enlightening and endarkening. The enlightening aspect of wisdom is a growing clarity of insight that puts doubts to rest and creates confidence. It’s about what we come to understand. The endarkening aspect of wisdom is our profound acceptance of the great mystery at the heart of things, which we can never understand in our ordinary ways but can come to rest in. This is about knowing what we can’t know, and it’s sometimes called “not-knowing mind.”

The enlightening aspect of compassion includes our shining commitment to everyone’s freedom from suffering. The endarkening aspect of compassion is our willingness to have our hearts broken by the world, so our hearts remain open and not defensive. As we endarken, we see that we are not only continuous with the luminous nature of the universe but also continuous with the great broken heart of the world; we and the world share a tenderness that is both poignant beauty and wound.

It’s as though revelation happens at the speed of electrical impulses in the brain, while embodiment happens at the speed of the heart, which is a slow-beating muscle. The Sutra that Vimalakirti Speaks contains a long dialogue between Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom, and Vimalakirti, a greatly awakened householder. In some ways, Manjushri speaks for the mind and Vimalakirti for the heart. Vimalakirti is ill, and he says that he’s sick because the whole world is sick. The Chinese term for nonduality is “not two,” and Vimalakirti rests on his couch in deep not-twoness with the world. Manjushri, wielding his sword of insight and clarity, asks Vimalakirti how the illness can be extinguished; from Manjushri’s perspective, this is a problem to be fixed as quickly as possible. Vimalakirti responds with a long and detailed talk on how the human heart can be healed with time. His is a perspective from deep within embodied life, valuing its greatest challenges as exactly what the bodhisattva needs to give birth to herself.

The Sutra that Vimalakirti Speaks also contains a lovely passage naming the individual bodhisattvas in a large assembly. There’s Unblinking Bodhisattva, Wonderful Arm Bodhisattva, Jewel Hand Bodhisattva, Lion Mind Bodhisattva, Root of Joy Bodhisattva, Delights in the Real Bodhisattva, and, one of my favorites, Universal Maintenance Bodhisattva. The deep meaning of this list is that each of us discovers the particular bodhisattva we are; there isn’t a monolithic template for our lives.

In the day-to-day practice of enlightenment, sometimes we’re going to be the Pretty Close Bodhisattva, Fingers Crossed Bodhisattva, Flying by the Seat of My Pants Bodhisattva, and a hundred others, too. After all, if awakening is the way things really are, it’s already here, in large ways and small. We can see it in our companions in this amazing shared project of awakening, as the particular enlightenment of each person becomes apparent: insightful, heartfelt, or brave; wise about people or about working with material objects; brilliant in language or paint or song; unaware of how much she already understands, growing in confidence, resting in not knowing; becoming a person he never could have imagined. Even if, in that most poignantly human way, someone isn’t completely aware of their own enlightenment yet. How wonderful when we can hold up the mirror so they can see themselves for themselves. And all of it in service to our common awakening—paying greater care to the challenges of human life, being more encouraging of its kindnesses, each of us in our turn helping pass the bright flame from warm hand to warm hand.
– Joan Sutherland Roshi

What is really important is not what we believe to be true in our heads, but what we know to be true in our hearts: love. In other words, if a person is loving and kind, that ought to be enough to connect with one another and work together for the sake of all of our children. We need to care about all human beings, all life on the planet, and the planet itself. That’s where we have to agree.
– Laurence Overmire, The One Idea That Saves The World: A Message of Hope in a Time of Crisis

What twisted people we are.
How simple we seem,
or at least pretend to be in front of others,
and how twisted we are deep down.
How paltry we are and how spectacularly
we contort ourselves before our own eyes,
and the eyes of others.
And all for what? To hide what?
To make people believe what?
– Roberto Bolano

The farther away you are from the truth, the more the hateful and pleasurable states will arise.
– Bodhidharma

Science-driven decisions versus cult-behavior make a huge difference…
– Larry Schweiger

Honestly, if you were any slower, you’d be going backward.
– J.K. Rowling

10 Haiku (for Max Roach)
by Sonia Sanchez
10 haiku
(for Max Roach)

1.
Nothing ends
every blade of grass
remembering your sound

2.
your sounds exploding
in the universe return
to earth in prayer

3.
as you drummed
your hands kept
reaching for God

4.
the morning sky
so lovely imitates
your laughter

5.
you came warrior
clear your music
kissing our spines

6.
feet tapping
singing, impeach
our blood

7.
you came drumming
sweet life on
sails of flesh

8.
your fast beat
riding the air settles
in our bones

9.
your drums
soloing our breaths into
the beat…unbeat

10.
your hands
shimmering on the
legs of rain.

We need a thousand prophets
so that we can prove that on earth
there is some kindness
but we need only one dictator
to prove that the earth,
the whole earth is hell.
– Ali Al Shalah

The ultimate Truth is beyond words. Doctrines are words. They’re not the Way.
– Bodhidharma

I see you everywhere, in the stars, in the river, to me you’re everything that exists; the reality of everything.

– Virginia Woolf, Night and Day

The next message you need is always right where you are.
– Ram Dass

Authority corrupts both leader and follower

Self-awareness is arduous,
and since most of us prefer an easy,
illusory way, we bring into being the authority that gives shape and pattern to our life.
This authority may be the collective,
the State; or it may be the personal,
the Master, the savior, the guru.

Authority of any kind is blinding,
it breeds thoughtlessness;
and as most of us find
that to be thoughtful is to have pain,
we give ourselves over to authority.
Authority engenders power,
and power always becomes centralized
and therefore utterly corrupting;
it corrupts not only the wielder of power,
but also him who follows it.
The authority of knowledge and experience
is perverting, whether it be vested
in the Master, his representative or the priest.
It is your own life, this seemingly endless conflict, that is significant,
and not the pattern or the leader.
The authority of the Master and the priest takes you away from the central issue,
which is the conflict within yourself.

– Jiddu Krishnamurti

Are you still taking notes
The Holy Ghost could get inside you
And do whatever you put your mind to
Will you read me what you wrote
– Jason Isabel and Amanda Shires

Ultimately, literature is nothing but carpentry.
– Gabriel García Márquez

Get rid of heaven and hell

In the way we practice, we don’t say,
“Hell is bad and heaven is good”
or “Get rid of hell and just seek heaven,”
but we encourage ourselves
to develop an open heart and an open mind
to heaven, to hell, to everything. Why?
Because only then can we realize
that no matter what comes along,
we’re always standing at the center
of the world in the middle of sacred space,
and everything that comes into that circle
and exists with us there
has come to teach us what we need to know.
– Pema Chödron

You must react everyday to what is happening. But that is no way to write a book or a sentence.
– James Baldwin

Towards the end of his life, Alan Watts divided his time between a houseboat in Sausalito and a cabin on Mount Tamalpais. According to the critic Erik Davis, his “writings and recorded talks still shimmer with a profound and galvanizing lucidity.”

As David Chadwick recounted in his biography of Suzuki, Crooked Cucumber: the Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki, when a student of Suzuki’s disparaged Watts by saying “we used to think he was profound until we found the real thing”, Suzuki fumed with a sudden intensity, saying,

“You completely miss the point about Alan Watts! You should notice what he has done.
He is a great bodhisattva.”

– Mark Watts, Why Not Now

Reality has no inside, outside, or middle part.
– Bodhidharma

Adyashanti:

Jesus stories are not history lessons—
they are meant to act on you like poetry.

Wild how there are so many men who respond to vocal dissent and forceful pushback regarding their poor decisions and substandard or outright offensive conduct with farcical attempts at recasting their mediocrity as being provocative or cutting edge.

If it wasn’t for the harm they cause, the only fitting description is boring. They have little to say in the way of new or thought-provoking commentary and confuse the decent response of disproval with the notion they are just ahead of everyone else when they’ve stayed behind.
– Heather Bryant

Did God make time to keep it from all happening at once?
– Mickey Newbury

We, as scientists, will continue to put our whole weight behind the climate, ecological and sociological truth until proportionate action is taken.
– Scientist Rebellion

I need these women talking alongside and on top of each other, at once, as if we are in a cave together…
– Maria Tumarkin

People call us naïve for it. It’s not fashionable to be wild-eyed & think big. But really what is the alternative? Just accept that the massive crises we face will never be solved? Lower our expectations? Be “realistic”?

That’s just playing their game. When we do that, they win.
– Even Weber

All flows. Nothing lasts. Nothing is saved, and this is our glory and our agony. That the people we love and the people we hate are swept away by time. Empires, dynasties, continents are swept away by time. And yet our search for security is cast in the dominator culture as a search for permanence. So what you do when you do that is you set yourself at war against the cosmos.
– Terence McKenna

Recuerda que tu eres todas las personas y que todas las personas son tú.
Remember that you are all people and that all people are you.
– Joy Harjo

Everyone sucks at visualizing at first.
A stabilized visualized object reflects a balanced, peaceful body and mind. At first, as we try to visualize an object, we will find that it jumps around, constantly changes size, and appears at awkward angles, if it appears at all. If the inside of one’s mind is chaotic and turbulent, the object of observation will reflect that.
…As the mind gradually settles down, the visualized object will become more stable…you must develop meditative stabilization gradually through prolonged practice.
– Andrew Duff McDuffey

A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
– Margaret Mead

Nothing
The wind dies in my wound.
The night begs for my blood.
– Alejandra Pizarnik

Marian Haddad: I’m going to be Leonarding tonight… just a warning

Jeremy Elbert: I assume you mean listening to Leonard Cohen?

Marian Haddad: Oh you know I should have been doing something like that, I do love Leonard Cohen, no I’m talking about Kawhi Leonard
He was a Spur and we loved him and then… the fan base turned on him because he didn’t get well as quickly as they wanted him to after a terrible injury and things got worse and they were demeaning him all over the Internet is a gross way that is a horrible mark on a great history…. then he went to Toronto and he worked so hard at getting it done but the team there had them on load management so he wouldn’t overdo and man oh man I really believed God wanted him to have it for Justice’s sake he went through hell here because he was demeaned for not being able to play due to his injury was a horrible turn of events but he gave it his all and Toronto and he made them better and he gave them a championship and he’s welcomed tonight with a rousing round of MVP shouts and Applause see San Antonio wouldn’t do that they would just boo him when he shows up and that’s horrible because we used to be the ones that were the classy fans but they turned on him and showed their true colors and I am a huge fan of kawaii eyes and I will always be a fan of the former Spurs but not of the Spurs fans…
I’m very glad for Kawhi it was poetic justice that he won
And Toronto is being so classy

At the end of the day—
—I’ll be able to look my children in the eyes and tell them I tried. I’ll have failed, fumbled, flailed; but I’ll have lived out my values.
At the end of the day—
—we’ll know that we stood on the right side of history, that we added our voices to a global chorus of dissent. We will have faltered, but we will have never stopped. Churning. Grinding. Pressing onward.
At the end of the day—
—I’ll know that I shared myself with the world, that I lived out loud, that I offered my imperfect efforts in service of collective values; in solidarity with the impoverished, the subjugated, the brokenhearted.
At the end of the day—
—we’ll stand in front of our mirrors, flawed and fractured, but unblinking and resolute; because we got back up. Again. And that’s all any of us can do.
At the end of my last day—
—hopefully several decades from now, in the waning hours of my life, I’ll look back with fondness and affection. At the valleys and the mountain tops; at the tragedies and the triumphs. I’ll undoubtedly see wasted moments and unmet potential, but I’ll know that my efforts and my life mattered. To someone. And that will be enough.
At the end of our days. . .
– The Subversive Lens

You Have No Obligation To Conform To A Wildly Sick Society:

You have no obligation to conform to a society which brands you a Russian propagandist for criticizing the most powerful and destructive institutions on earth.

You have no obligation to conform to a society which brands you a Chinese propagandist for advocating peace and detente instead of loyalty to the continual unipolar domination of a sociopathic global empire at all cost.

You have no obligation to conform to a society which brands you a dictator apologist any time you oppose murderous interventionism and the lies which are universally used to manufacture support for it.

You have no obligation to conform to a society which brands you a crazy conspiracy theorist for believing the plutocratic media distorts the truth to protect the interests of the plutocratic class.
You have no obligation to conform to a society which brands you a deranged extremist for saying the system which has marched our species to the brink of extinction is not working.

You have no obligation to conform to a society which brands you a freak and an outcast for saying everyone should be given what they need in a world of plenty instead of letting people die while elite predators hoard far more than they need.

You have no obligation to conform to a society where you are branded a dangerous radical for saying that Black and Indigenous lives matter and that police funding should be re-routed to programs which actually work.

You have no obligation to conform to a society where you are branded a misandrist bitch for saying rape culture is a problem and more consciousness needs to be brought to the power dynamics of gender.

You have no obligation to conform to a society where you are branded a loser for choosing to heal your psychological wounds and bring consciousness to your inner processes instead of spreading your mental demons around the world in search of conquest and domination.

You have no obligation to conform to a society which turns its back on gentleness, on kindness, on understanding, on deep listening, and stands with greed, violence, oppression, exploitation, and a rat race wherein you must step on your neighbor’s head to keep your own above water.

You have no obligation to conform to a society which rejects collaboration and harmony in favor of competition and obedience at the expense of the very ecosystem we depend on for survival.

– Caitlin Johnstone

The Spear of Mindfulness
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 and Patrul Rinpoche, The Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones

You know what? You’re imperfect and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.
– Brené Brown

religion without socialism is disembodied spirit, and hence not authentic spirit; socialism without religion is body emptied of spirit, hence also not genuine body.
– martin buber, paths in utopia

The difficult part in an argument is not to defend one’s opinion, but rather to know it.
– Andre Maurois

Dr Samuel Johnson:
A generous and elevated mind
is distinguished by nothing more certainly
than an eminent degree of curiosity.

Even the swinging together of sleeves is preordained by destiny.
– Japanese proverb

A mind full of preconceived ideas, subjective intentions, or habits is not open to things as they are.
– Shunryu Suzuki

On the rough wet grass of the back yard my father and mother have spread quilts.
We all lie there, my mother, my father, my uncle, my aunt, and I too am lying there….
They are not talking much, and the talk is quiet, of nothing in partic…ular, of nothing at all.
The stars are wide and alive, they seem each like a smile of great sweetness, and they seem very near.
All my people are larger bodies than mine,…with voices gentle and meaningless like the voice of sleeping birds. One is an artist, he is living at home. One is a musician, she is living at home. One is my mother who is good to me. One is my father who is good to me.
By some chance, here they are, all on this earth; and who shall ever tell the sorrow of being on this earth, lying, on quilts, on the grass, in a summer evening, among the sounds of the night.
May God bless my people, my uncle, my aunt, my mother, my good father, oh, remember them kindly in their time of trouble; and in the hour of their taking away.
After a little I am taken in and put to bed.
Sleep, soft smiling, draws me unto her:
and those receive me, who quietly treat me,
as one familiar and well-beloved in that home:
but will not, oh, will not, not now, not ever; but will not ever tell me who I am.
– from the prologue to A Death In The Family by James Agee

No one to kiss tonight but the winter wind.

A demanding lover –
cold and jealous, bright and beautiful –
she pulls me from my blankets
into the sky.

When, at last,
my lips are chapped and cracked,
she rewards my fidelity
by blowing shooting stars west
after the sun, who, long ago,
vanished. Then, she leaves.

And, I am left to ponder whether
the stars I wish upon
do, in turn, wish upon me.

– Will Falk

I like writing that is unsummarizable, a kernel that cannot be condensed, that must be uttered exactly as it is.
– Sarah Manguso

Poetry is not an expression of the party line.
It’s that time of night, lying in bed,
thinking what you really think,
making the private world public,
that’s what the poet does.
– Allen Ginsberg

This society might not treat this collective threshold moment in a worthy manner and crossover to some new way of being, a healthier, more compassionate, more inclusive, more nurturing way of being. It will require a leaving behind of some
dangerous baggage that has been picked up along the way that doesn’t belong. But we can as individuals. And we’ll be healthier for doing it. And who knows what kind of influence that might have on society.
– Kent Burgess

One Morning

One morning
we will wake up
and forget to build
that wall we’ve been building,
the one between us
the one we’ve been building
for years, perhaps
out of some sense
of right and boundary,
perhaps out of habit.

One morning
we will wake up
and let our empty hands
hang empty at our sides.
Perhaps they will rise,
as empty things
sometimes do
when blown
by the wind.
Perhaps they simply
will not remember
how to grasp, how to rage.

We will wake up
that morning
and we will have
misplaced all our theories
about why and how
and who did what
to whom, we will have mislaid
all our timelines
of when and plans of what
and we will not scramble
to write the plans and theories anew.

On that morning,
not much else
will have changed.
Whatever is blooming
will still be in bloom.
Whatever is wilting
will wilt. There will be fields
to plow and trains
to load and children
to feed and work to do.
And in every moment,
in every action, we will
feel the urge to say thank you,
we will follow the urge to bow.

– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

When people are toxic, it is always a conspiracy against aliveness, including their own. Somebody acts toxically when he or she sees me not as I am, or as I attempt to be, but instead sees me filtered through his or her own fears and expectations. People are toxic when they consider themselves deeply inferior and therefore wish to control everything simply so that alleged truths about themselves do not come to light. People are toxic when they are not only afraid but also allow themselves to be led by the nose by these fears, and then unconsciously blame others in order to cover up their panic.
– Andreas Weber, Matter and Desire

Breath-cloud.
On cold mornings, that first white cloud of escaping breath is proof that we are living. Proof of our bodies’ warmth. Cold air rushes into dark lungs, soaks up the heat of our body and is exhaled as perceptible form, white flecked with grey. Our lives’ miraculous diffusion, out into the empty air.
– Han Kang, The White Book

How sad that my life has not come to mean for you what your life came to mean for me.
– Joseph Brodsky

The world is like a mirror. Knowingly or unknowingly, we bring out the best or worst in each other. Every word, look and action is reflected in others. Usually, we project our own attitude onto others. A wrong word is enough to make a good friend our worst enemy, whereas, a kind word at the right time, can melt the heart of a cruel person. So we should always try to awaken the goodness in ourselves and others.
– Amma

Luring me to a past that never was.
This is the treachery of nostalgia.
– Natasha Trethewey, Mythology

We can only die in the future, I thought;
right now we are always alive.
– Amy Hempel

I owe my solitude to other people.
– Alan Watts

There are some places on this Earth that seem to hum just below what our ears can hear— but, our hearts perceive it, likely because we know that we come from that same original wild hum.
– Trevien Stanger

Once I’ve discovered who I am, I will be free.
– Ralph Ellison

I don’t take myself seriously but I take my work seriously.
– Cate Blanchett

Asking the proper question is the central action of transformation…Questions are the keys that cause the secret doors of the psyche to swing open.
– Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves

Mind, through focused attention, can alter the probabilities of future histories that coexist in potential.
– @conscire

I walk in and out of Several Worlds Every Day..
– Joy Harjo

We are weaving a wreath
some have thunder-bolts of violets
I have only a blade of grass
full of the mute language
that makes the air here tremble
– Nelly Sachs in letter to Paul Celan from Stockholm

We may ignore, but [not] evade,
the presence of God.
The world is crowded with Him.
He walks everywhere incognito.
– C. S. Lewis

I don’t care if you believe in God or not, if you’re religious or not.

If you’re trying to be useful to a world in need of healing,

if you’re working to bring more love, safety, justice, caring, connection, light in places where it’s needed,

you’re doing the work.

Thank you.

– Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

There may not be visible signs telling us, “I am home” or “I have arrived,” but if there are tears, breathing, and a heartbeat that signal, “I am alive,” that is the door to enter.
– Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

I understand there’s quite
an alignment coming!
But if you don’t align
your breath, bones, and soul,
what use is a horoscope?
Weave the dream
into your handiwork.
The new moon is your forehead,
the sun your chest,
the total eclipse a trough
between two heartbeats.
Your mind is space itself,
black and shining
with the color of silence.
And the portal to the coming age
is your body.
Ascend to higher worlds
by hugging your atoms
with this inhalation
while practicing the asana
of a smile.
To be joyful for no reason
is to master all
the planets and stars.
– Fred LaMotte

Sipping wine with angels in this torch-lit tavern by the sea
What does it take for what’s locked up inside to be free?
Fold me into you, you know where I’m dying to be
When my ship sets sail on that ocean of deep mystery
– Bruce Cockburn

In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.
– Rumi

If anyone didn’t know it before, they know it now. What beats deep in the hearts of the American people is this: Democracy.
– President-Elect Joe Biden

Do you remember the happiest day of your life? What about the saddest? Do you ever wonder if sadness and happiness can be combined, to make a deep purple feeling, not good, not bad, but remarkable simply because you didn’t have to live on one side or the other?
– Ocean Voung

It didn’t have to be this red. So red it hurts.
– Kyle Brosnihan

A kind of sanity explains
itself as being from the past.
A kind of elegance refrains
from being something that must last.

A bird, for instance, or a word,
a glimpse of something in the sky,
of these and all the dear, obscure
anomalous regions of my life

I sing, because I, too, must grieve.
Will not forget the art of tears.
As how a dog, surprised by love,
cuts through the husk of all the years

and pierces my first spirit core
through eyes that shine with simple grace.
So like a song, but so much more
well-principled – right in your face.

My heart can ache, though I don’t 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,
and so I sing with grief’s old rain.
For there are gods who still heed verse.
– George Gorman

The art of living is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past and the known on the other. It consists in being completely sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.
– Alan Watts

If one completes the journey to one’s own heart, one will find oneself in the heart of everyone else.
– Fr. Thomas Keating

Art is not thinking something up. It is about the opposite–getting something down.
– Julia Cameron

It’s our duty as women and men to proceeds as though the limits of our abilities do not exist.
– Pierree Teilhard de Chardin

Creative, consistent decolonized [or liberated] thinking shapes and empowers the brain.
– Waziyatawin & Yellow Bird

Any semantic system, i.e. any language and cultural universe, constitutes a way of shaping the world.
– Umberto Eco

Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
– Dalai Lama

Remind me with every passing day that appearance is not Reality.
– Evelyn Underhill

Only childish people imagine that the world is what we think it is.
– CG Jung

Poetry, rather than being a phenomenology of the mind, is a phenomenology of the soul.
– Gaston Bachelard

A modest garden contains, for those who know how to look and to wait, more instruction than a library.
– Henri-Frédéric Amiel

In Silence we are visible to ourselves.
– Christine Feldman

When I consider others I can easily believe that their bodies express their personalities and that the two are inseparable. But it is impossible for me not to feel that my body is other than I, that I inhabit it like a house, and that my face is a mask which, with or without my consent, conceals my real nature from others.
– W.H. Auden

Tom Cox:
“Tree hugger” is never an insult. Hugging trees is great. Even better is waking up the next day in a tree’s arms and telling it your dreams.

People – even more than things –
have to be restored, renewed, revived,
reclaimed, and redeemed;
never throw out anyone.
– Audrey Hepburn

Funny, how the things you have the hardest time parting with are the things you need the least
– Bob Dylan

And now, our teacher’s eyes suddenly brightened, “it is time to learn the art and science of Rescuing Yourself.
– @wordwhispers

Be patient, complain not
about your works
‘Tis the patience that things
are easened it
‘Tis the patience that things
foes are befriended by it
‘Tis patience that waylayers
…. become guide by it.
– Ibrahim Haqqi

Winter Apple
Let the apple ripen
on the branch
beyond your need
to take it down.
Let the coolness of autumn
and the breathing,
blowing wind
test its adherence
to endurance,
let the others fall.
Wait longer
than you would,
go against yourself,
find the pale nobility
of quiet that ripening
demands;
watch with patience
as the silhouette emerges
and the leaves fall;
see it become
a solitary roundness
against a greying sky,
let winter come
and the first
frost threaten,
and then wake
one morning
to see the breath
of winter
has haloed
its redness
with light.
So that a full
two months
after you
should have
taken the apple
down
you hold it in
your closed hand
at last and bite
into the cool
sweetness
spread evenly
through every
single atom
of a pale
and yielding
structure.
So that you taste
on that cold,
grey day,
not only
the after reward
of a patience
remembered,
not only
the summer
sunlight
of a postponed
perfection,
but the sweet
inward stillness
of the wait itself.
– David Whyte

We are weaving a wreath
some have thunder-bolts of violets
I have only a blade of grass
full of the mute language
that makes the air here tremble

– Nelly Sachs in letter to Paul Celan from Stockholm

We may ignore, but [not] evade,
the presence of God.
The world is crowded with Him.
He walks everywhere incognito.
– C. S. Lewis

I don’t care if you believe in God or not, if you’re religious or not.

If you’re trying to be useful to a world in need of healing,

if you’re working to bring more love, safety, justice, caring, connection, light in places where it’s needed,

you’re doing the work.

Thank you.

– Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

There may not be visible signs telling us, “I am home” or “I have arrived,” but if there are tears, breathing, and a heartbeat that signal, “I am alive,” that is the door to enter.
– Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

I understand there’s quite
an alignment coming!
But if you don’t align
your breath, bones, and soul,
what use is a horoscope?
Weave the dream
into your handiwork.
The new moon is your forehead,
the sun your chest,
the total eclipse a trough
between two heartbeats.
Your mind is space itself,
black and shining
with the color of silence.
And the portal to the coming age
is your body.
Ascend to higher worlds
by hugging your atoms
with this inhalation
while practicing the asana
of a smile.
To be joyful for no reason
is to master all
the planets and stars.
– Fred LaMotte

Sipping wine with angels in this torch-lit tavern by the sea
What does it take for what’s locked up inside to be free?
Fold me into you, you know where I’m dying to be
When my ship sets sail on that ocean of deep mystery
– Bruce Cockburn

In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.
– Rumi

If anyone didn’t know it before, they know it now. What beats deep in the hearts of the American people is this: Democracy.
– President-Elect Joe Biden

Do you remember the happiest day of your life? What about the saddest? Do you ever wonder if sadness and happiness can be combined, to make a deep purple feeling, not good, not bad, but remarkable simply because you didn’t have to live on one side or the other?
– Ocean Voung

It didn’t have to be this red. So red it hurts.
– Kyle Brosnihan

A kind of sanity explains
itself as being from the past.
A kind of elegance refrains
from being something that must last.

A bird, for instance, or a word,
a glimpse of something in the sky,
of these and all the dear, obscure
anomalous regions of my life

I sing, because I, too, must grieve.
Will not forget the art of tears.
As how a dog, surprised by love,
cuts through the husk of all the years

and pierces my first spirit core
through eyes that shine with simple grace.
So like a song, but so much more
well-principled – right in your face.

My heart can ache, though I don’t 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,
and so I sing with grief’s old rain.
For there are gods who still heed verse.
– George Gorman

Trying to Be Who I Already Am

People tell me I am arrogant and pigheaded,
narrow-minded and vain
because I won’t follow this week’s guru into his
seventeen steps for improving my life.

Well, I’m over here in a different place–
with T’ao Ch’ien who says,
“My nature comes of itself. It isn’t something
you can force into line.”

So, please, leave me alone.
I don’t want your advice.
I’m just trying to be
who I already am.
– David Budbill

A life spent entirely in public, in the presence of others, becomes, as we would say, shallow.
– Hannah Arendt

The path to unshakable well-being lies in being completely present and open to all sights, all sounds, all thoughts—never withdrawing, never hiding, never needing to jazz them up or tone them down.
– Pema Chodron, Living Beautifully

Learn to be indifferent to what makes no difference.
– Marcus Aurelius

Mere fact has no chance of being formally perfect. It will get in the way, it will be all elbows.
– Martin Amis

Sparrows swiveling the feeder
so the seed whorls
so the dove can come from its fix
in the waver of cedars.
Some one makes a husk note
that a pair can flare into as if
built from that scutch
of the undergrowth—
– Emily Wilson

‘Negative energy’ is an invention. There is no ‘negative energy.’
– Hafizullah Sufi

For most of us, success in life means obtaining the four desirable objects [wealth, reputation, praise, and pleasure]. But actually, this is only success in achieving suffering, because desire by its very nature disturbs our mental continuum.
– Lama Zopa Rinpoche, How to Practice Dharma

I would make a distinction between preference and desire. Preference is wanting + being OK with not getting. Desire is wanting + a belief “I MUST get what I want in order to be happy.” Then his claim is true. Wanting by itself does not cause suffering, it is attachment to outcome (“tanha” in Pali, literally “thirst” or craving/clinging/attachment).
– Andrew Duff McDuffee

The first duty of the poetry critic is not to write bad poems himself. At least, not to print them.
– Marina Tsvetaeva

The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has been before.
– Albert Einstein

My heart is a thousand years old. I am not like other people.
– Charles Bukowski

I’m partial to coffee shops, brain work, and poems on the page. I write after midnight. Sometimes, twisty syntax happens, and I surrender.
– Marvin Bell

If we need a term for Scotland leaving the UK, I’m proposing Sco-daddle.
– Drew Dillinger

More important than talent, strength, or knowledge is the ability to laugh at yourself and enjoy the pursuit of your dreams.
– Amy Grant

A Love Song in Three Parts

The Computer Tech
You think about his crooked little grin first. Mostly, you retrace that day you sat in bed, your foot propped up, wrapped with blood and bandages. He took the rocking chair next to your bed. Phone in one hand while the other rested by his knee. Every now and then, he shot you a shy smile.
You only wanted innocent things from him. Sweet kisses, light touches. A chin to tuck your head under.
He was both the man you wanted and the man you feared. With him, you could have shaped the rest of your days, watched them play out in sequence.
Now, you wonder if he would even kiss you back.

The Snake Charmer
You think about his voice first: the accent, each pleasing note it hit, the way you couldn’t identify where he was from. You wonder if it was circumstance or the supple leather of time that shaped the boy into the slim-hipped, long-fingered man.
There were always salmon pants and big belt buckles. Every day, he was just a few inches over five foot, with scruff on his cheeks and eyes sharp enough to cut, blue enough to make you stare. Every day he was thin.
You imagined yourself on your knees, looking up at his blue eyes, feeling heat slice through your gut. He was not your type—he had never been your type—but it took all your control not to constantly think about the taste of his skin.
You liked that he didn’t play with words. And yet, you could never tell if he meant what he said.
He was clever that way, your snake charmer.

The Storm Chaser
You no longer think about stories you once told. You chase rhythm in the thunder of your steps, the snap of your heels against aging cement. You are polished in your cubicle and a sparkling vibration in your nightly ritual.
At the clubs, you laugh and drink and scream. You do not falter. For the first time, you understand the burden of shedding skin, the blood that comes with the cut.
Your performance is seamless until night burns to day. In the transition, you stumble, puncture fingers on glass. A man tends to your image.
When he peels back the cotton ball, you stare at blood beaded on papery skin, looking like Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.
You think that spot is more of a storm.
– Alyssa Jordan

I cannot find any patience
for those people who believe
that you start writing
when you sit down at your desk
and pick up your pen
and finish writing
when you put down your pen again;
a writer is always writing,
seeing everything
through a thin mist of words,
fitting swift little descriptions
to everything he sees, always noticing.
– Shirley Jackson

The word humility, like the human, comes from “humus”, or earth. We are most human when we do no great things. We are not so important, we are simple dust and spirit–at best, loving midwives, participants in a process much larger than we. If we are quiet and listen and feel how things move, perhaps we will be wise enough to put our hands on what waits to be born, and bless it with kindness and care.
– Wayne Muller, Sabbath

…Let us pray dangerously.
Let us throw ourselves from the top of the tower,
let us risk a descent to the darkest region of the abyss,
let us put our head in the lion’s mouth and,
direct our feet to the entrance of the dragon’s cave.
Let us ask for nothing less than the Infinite to ravage us.
Let us ask for nothing less than annihilation in the Fires of Love…
– Regina Sara Ryan, Dangerous Prayers

i’ve been praying,
and these are what my prayers look like;
dear god
i come from two countries
one is thirsty
the other is on fire
both need water.

later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered
everywhere
everywhere
everywhere.
– Warsan Shire, What They Did Yesterday Afternoon

ASK ME
Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.

– William Stafford

The Snow Storm
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o’er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farmhouse at the garden’s end.
The sled and traveler stopped, the courier’s feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

Come see the north wind’s masonry.
Out of an unseen quarry evermore
Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer
Curves his white bastions with projected roof
Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.
Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work
So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he
For number or proportion. Mockingly,
On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;
A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn;
Fills up the farmer’s lane from wall to wall,
Maugre the farmer’s sighs; and, at the gate,
A tapering turret overtops the work.
And when his hours are numbered, and the world
Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,
Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art
To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,
Built in an age, the mad wind’s night-work,
The frolic architecture of the snow.

It’s not about the illness, but, rather, about the conditions of survival, not only my own but anyone’s. We’re all survivors of one thing or another (grief, fear, illness, the loss of loved ones). The individual details may be different, but we’re all survivors, and we’re not alone.
– Adele Kenny

The spiritual journey does not consist of arriving at a new destination where a person gains what he did not have, or becomes what he is not. It consists in the dissipation of one’s own ignorance concerning oneself and life, and the gradual growth of that understanding which begins the spiritual awakening.
– Aldous Huxley

What we like to call a community is often a network – like-minded people singing the same hymn sheets. A real community holds village idiots, scoundrels, and folks rubbing up against each other with entirely different views. It’s often tense. But lack of tension rarely makes great art or truly rousing conversation. When you focus entirely on harmony you create an invitation for the darkside to come visit. Harmony is not the same thing as love. Harmony is not exactly our natural state. To be clear: moments of harmony in accordance and confirmation are wonderful; pseudo-harmony of tyranny is not.
– Dr. Martin Shaw

…and this is one of those sweet powerful holy things about writing that we do not talk enough about, I think; writing is a time machine, writing resurrects, writing gives death the finger. And so amen.
– Brian Doyle

Look closely at the present you are constructing…
it should look like the future you are dreaming.
– Alice Walker

If you can manage to see yourself from the outside and accept yourself as a vulnerable organism within the biosphere, rather than focusing on the narrowness of your own needs and considering yourself the center of reality, you will be amazed at how the world positively overflows with suffering beings, each with needs and appetites of their own. Something odd occurs when one has that experience: Suddenly, the soul is filled with deep compassion for the world.

This is the only attitude adequate to the task of scaling the dark mountain of the ecological catastrophe we face: without any illusion that it is possible to change human beings based on the strength of better insights. But with full-fledged empathy for this creation, among which things are so hard precisely because it is creation. And with equally strong gratitude for this creation beneath a graciously warm sun and its affirmative light: where we have already been given everything we need to live, before we ever thought to desire it
– Andreas Weber, Matter and Desire

The acts of love and poetry
Are incompatible
With reading the newspaper aloud

The embrace of poetry like that of the flesh
As long as it lasts
Shuts out any glimpse of misery of the world

– André Breton, On the Road to San Romano

Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.
– Vesta M. Kelly

Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be unlocked from the inside.
– Marilyn Ferguson

As long as I am breathing, in my eyes, I am just beginning.
– Criss Jami

Only the free-wheeling artist-explorer, non-academic, scientist-philosopher, mechanic, economist-poet who has never waited for patron-starting and accrediting of his co-ordinate capabilities holds the prime initiative today.
– Buckminster Fuller

In heavenly love abiding,
no change my heart shall fear;
and safe is such confiding,
for nothing changes here:
the storm may roar without me,
my heart may low be laid;
but God is round about me,
and can I be dismayed?
Wherever he may guide me,
no want shall turn me back;
my Shepherd is beside me,
and nothing can I lack:
his wisdom ever waketh,
his sight is never dim,
he knows the way he taketh,
and I will walk with him.
Green pastures are before me,
which yet I have not seen;
bright skies will soon be o’er me,
where darkest clouds have been;
my hope I cannot measure,
my path to life is free;
my Saviour has my treasure,
and he will walk with me.
– Anna Letitia Waring

Measure yourself against the various stages of the path; see if you can bear sufferings such as illness, being undermined, and despised. To be unable to do so is to be ordinary, a sign you have not completed the path.
– Khenpo Gangshar, A Way of Settling into the Realization of Mind’s Essence

Two people who were once very close
can without blame
or grand betrayal
become strangers.
perhaps this is the saddest thing in the world.
– Warsan Shire

NAGARJUNA
Like an artist frightened
By the devil he paints,
The sufferer in Samsara
Is terrified by his own imagination.
Like a man caught in quicksands
Thrashing and struggling about,
So beings drown
In the mess of their own thoughts.
Mistaking fantasy for reality
Causes an experience of suffering;
Mind is poisoned by interpretation
Of consciousness of form.
Dissolving figment and fantasy
With a mind of compassionate insight,
Remain in perfect awareness
In order to help all beings.
So acquiring conventional virtue
Freed from the web of interpretive thought,
Insurpassable understanding is gained
As Buddha, friend to the world.
– Thubten Kway

In this tempestuous, havoc-ridden world of ours, all real communication comes from the heart. Outwardly we are being torn apart, and the paths to each other lie buried under so much debris that we often fail to find the person we seek. We can only continue to live together in our hearts, and hope that one day we may walk hand in hand again.
– Etty Hillesum

Do you recall the coda, the night
evaporating inward from the edge of itself,
leaving only me (always the last to leave)
to clean it up, to clean it up the way a mime does?
– Ben Doyle, Re: Animation, Radio, Radio: Poems

If you love me,
say so.
Snow piles; bridges burn
behind me; I
imagine
that I am alone
and have not
turned toward you so
before. I forget
openings I had not thought of
turning toward,
to tell you, and to tell you
to tell me.
The surroundings affect us;
it is a cause
for love
that you call it
something logical,
taking pleasure in
our finding
ourselves here.
Tell me landscapes
are frames of mind.
I believe words have meaning.
No gift will do.
Tell me what it means
to you.
– Marvin Bell, The Admission

THE SILENCE OF THE STARS
When Laurens van der Post one night
In the Kalahari Desert told the Bushmen
He couldn’t hear the stars
Singing, they didn’t believe him. They looked at him,
half-smiling. They examined his face
To see whether he was joking
Or deceiving them. Then two of those small men
Who plant nothing, who have almost
Nothing to hunt, who live
On almost nothing, and with no one
But themselves, led him away
From the crackling thorn-scrub fire
And stood with him under the night sky
And listened. One of them whispered,
Do you not hear them now?
And van der Post listened, not wanting
To disbelieve, but had to answer,
No. They walked him slowly
Like a sick man to the small dim
Circle of firelight and told him
They were terribly sorry,
And he felt even sorrier
For himself and blamed his ancestors
For their strange loss of hearing,
Which was his loss now. On some clear night
When nearby houses have turned off their visions,
When the traffic dwindles, when through streets
Are between sirens and the jets overhead
Are between crossings, when the wind
Is hanging fire in the fir trees,
And the long-eared owl in the neighboring grove
Between calls is regarding his own darkness,
I look at the stars again as I first did
To school myself in the names of constellations
And remember my first sense of their terrible distance,
I can still hear what I thought
At the edge of silence where the inside jokes
Of my heartbeat, my arterial traffic,
The C above high C of my inner ear, myself
Tunelessly humming, but now I know what they are:
My fair share of the music of the spheres
And clusters of ripening stars,
Of the songs from the throats of the old gods
Still tending ever tone-deaf creatures
Through their exiles in the desert.
– David Wagoner

Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.
– Aristotle

Tonight, tiredness is my ally, my messenger, my teacher.

“Remember to dream,” my tiredness implores me.

“It’s beyond rest,” it says, “It’s the need to visit the ‘other world’ – where the one who walks along side you, silently waiting, not only determines the next steps, but more importantly, their rhythm, their poetry, and the way they feel as you place each foot on the Earth.”
– David Bedrick

If It Were Up to Me
by Cheryl Wheeler

Maybe it’s the movies, maybe it’s the books
Maybe it’s the bullets, maybe it’s the real crooks
Maybe it’s the drugs, maybe it’s the parents
Maybe it’s the colors everybody’s wearin
Maybe it’s the President, maybe it’s the last one
Maybe it’s the one before that, what he done
Maybe it’s the high schools, maybe it’s the teachers
Maybe it’s the tattooed children in the bleachers
Maybe it’s the Bible, maybe it’s the lack
Maybe it’s the music, maybe it’s the crack
Maybe it’s the hairdos, maybe it’s the TV
Maybe it’s the cigarettes, maybe it’s the family
Maybe it’s the fast food, maybe it’s the news
Maybe it’s divorce, maybe it’s abuse
Maybe it’s the lawyers, maybe it’s the prisons
Maybe it’s the Senators, maybe it’s the system
Maybe it’s the fathers, maybe it’s the sons
Maybe it’s the sisters, maybe it’s the moms
Maybe it’s the radio, maybe it’s road rage
Maybe El Nino, or UV rays
Maybe it’s the army, maybe it’s the liquor
Maybe it’s the papers, maybe the militia
Maybe it’s the athletes, maybe it’s the ads
Maybe it’s the sports fans, maybe it’s a fad
Maybe it’s the magazines, maybe it’s the internet
Maybe it’s the lottery, maybe it’s the immigrants
Maybe it’s taxes, big business
Maybe it’s the KKK and the skinheads
Maybe it’s the communists, maybe it’s the Catholics
Maybe it’s the hippies, maybe it’s the addicts
Maybe it’s the art, maybe it’s the sex
Maybe it’s the homeless, maybe it’s the banks
Maybe it’s the clearcut, maybe it’s the ozone
Maybe it’s the chemicals, maybe it’s the car phones
Maybe it’s the fertilizer, maybe it’s the nose rings
Maybe it’s the end, but I know one thing.
If it were up to me, I’d take away the guns.

My father stands in the warm evening
on the porch of my first house.
I am four years old and growing tired.
I see his head among the stars,
the glow of his cigarette, redder
than the summer moon riding
low over the old neighborhood. We
are alone, and he asks me if I am happy.
“Are you happy?” I cannot answer
I do not really understand the word,
and the voice, my father’s voice, is not
his voice, but somehow thick and choked,
a voice I have not heard before, but
heard often since. He bends and passes
a thumb beneath each of my eyes.

The cigarette is gone, but I can smell
the tiredness that hangs on his breath.
He has found nothing, and he smiles
and holds my head with both his hands.

Then he lifts me to his shoulder,
and now I too am there among the stars,
as tall as he. Are you happy? I say.
He nods in answer, Yes! oh yes! oh yes!
And in that new voice he says nothing,
holding my head tight against his head,
his eyes closed up against the starlight,
as though those tiny blinking eyes
of light might find a tall, gaunt child
holding his child against the promises
of autumn, until the boy slept
never to waken in that world again.

– Philip Levine, Starlight

Pedal
by Jenny Johnson

I have a friend who measures desire

by stillness, who is most turned on

by the person in the room who meditates

without flinching. The librarian, too,

in the Manuscripts Division, handling

the patron who can’t seem to stay seated

warns: I will serve you the smallest items first

as a knit sweater slides off a chair’s back

into a loose knot. All day we could have

watched clusters of blue bottle gentians

flexing their umbrellas open and shut

as bumblebees submerged head-first

into one bloom after another,

dizzy subspaces, partially open

paper dressing rooms, trying on things

till they’d wrapped themselves

in a good dusting of pollen. Everywhere

intimate containers seem to be in motion.

The raised bed full of squash flowers.

The black latex glove masking

the bare hand ladling bowls

of wedding soup for the lunch crowd.

My quick pedal revved by the world.

“Mental hearth” is my new favorite typo.
– Julia Cohen

In the life of the Indian, every new day, every encounter with bird or beast, and everything he owned or wore related to his religious belief that all creatures were the creation of the same great power, and therefore were brothers. Because of the special reverence that Indians have for the eagle, I was particularly happy to find that hopeful message in the snow.
– Bev Doolittle.

I promise you
that if I can’t hear
my voice when it is
not apologizing, then
I will turn sorry into
profanity. Into grace.
Fearless downpour.
– Topaz Winters

Everything is lost except words. This is a child’s experience: words are our doors to all other worlds. At a certain moment for the person who has lost everything, whether that is, moreover, a being or country, language becomes the country.
– Helene Cixous

It is such a mistake to assume
that practising dharma will help us calm down and lead an untroubled life;
nothing could be farther from the truth.
Dharma is not a therapy.
Quite the opposite, in fact,
dharma is tailored specifically
to turn your life upside down—
it’s what you sign up for.
– Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Not for Happiness: A Guide to the So-Called Preliminary Practices

Plenty of people forget about how soft curiosity can be used as an antidote for aggression. Retraining one’s mind to be curious towards whatever is arising versus reflecting aggression back, allows for things to just melt.
– Aric Parker

When your soul is wobbly with vertigo,
drunk on the reality of nothing left to do,
step into the blizzard and listen to the snow.

Each flake is a whisper,
each drift a direction,
each pawprint someone who came before.

It will get cold.
There’s no way to avoid it.
But, even the sun falls,
frozen wood eventually burns,
and the scent of smoke on the wind,
leads you somewhere.

If all these fail,
winter will numb you,
until you’ll feel
only what she needs you to.

You might collapse onto snowbanks, then,
but you’ll learn – yes, you’ll learn
that snow is softer than bare stone.
– Will Falk

out of poverty to begin
– George Oppen

Thanks, with Northern Lights
by Joyce Sutphen

In Minnesota, from Main Street
to Highway 61, from Paisley Park
to Park Rapids, we’re thankful for
snow that comes down from Canada
covering the leaves we didn’t rake
and how sometimes after that, we
get a heat wave and a second chance
to put things right in the world
so we can meet our friends in a park
and savor being together (safely
apart). We feel so lucky that we smile
our biggest smiles behind our masks,
making our eyes crinkle and shine
like the elusive Northern Lights.
– Joyce Sutphen, poet laureate of Minnesota

Poems have a different music from ordinary language, and every poem has a different kind of music of necessity, and that’s, in a way, the hardest thing about writing poetry is waiting for that music, and sometimes you never know if it’s going to come.
– C. K. Williams

When I have nothing in my pocket
I have poetry
When I have nothing in my fridge
I have poetry
When I have nothing in my heart
I have nothing.
– Abbas Kiarostami

Life smiles at you when you are happy, but life salutes you when you make others happy.
– Charlie Chaplin

Literature takes a habit of mind that has disappeared. It requires silence, some form of isolation, and sustained concentration in the presence of an enigmatic thing.
– Philip Roth

Are you looking for a quiet place?
Friend, you are already here.
Your blood’s repose between pulsations.
Secret chamber in your chest
where you have no enemies,
no one to blame,
and the endless journey has not begun.
The place where prayers for peace
need no speaking.
Simply disperse
into the finer element you are
before you breathe.
Be the sparkling sky
in the lungs of a hummingbird,
smoke of sage in desert air,
aureole in emptiness
where the flame just blew out.
Burn away and remember
that your body is made of vanished stars.
Stumble and fall
into your own rhythm, which feels
like you are not moving at all
because your mind is at rest
in flesh that needs
no discipline of stillness.
You are a nest inside the egg,
a mother’s womb that carries
her own savior.
You are the seed of what you
have always been seeking.
Now flower on a Winter night.
– Fred LaMotte

For a poet, the one invaluable thing about a Catholic upbringing is the sense of the universe you’re given…a light-filled Dantesque, shimmering order of being. You conceive of yourself…as a sort of dewdrop, in the big web of things…the very stuff of lyric poetry.
– Seamus Heaney

Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school. And the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool.
– Plato

Phase One

For leaving the fridge open
last night, I forgive you.
For conjuring white curtains
instead of living your life.

For the seedlings that wilt, now,
in tiny pots, I forgive you.
For saying no first
but yes as an afterthought.

I forgive you for hideous visions
after childbirth, brought on by loss
of sleep. And when the baby woke
repeatedly, for your silent rebuke

in the dark, “What’s your beef?”
I forgive your letting vines
overtake the garden. For fearing
your own propensity to love.

For losing, again, your bag
en route from San Francisco;
for the equally heedless drive back
on the caffeine-fueled return.

I forgive you for leaving
windows open in rain
and soaking library books
again. For putting forth

only revisions of yourself,
with punctuation worked over,
instead of the disordered truth,
I forgive you. For singing mostly

when the shower drowns
your voice. For so admiring
the drummer you failed to hear
the drum. In forgotten tin cans,

may forgiveness gather. Pooling
in gutters. Gushing from pipes.
A great steady rain of olives
from branches, relieved

of cruelty and petty meanness.
With it, a flurry of wings, thirteen
gray pigeons. Ointment reserved
for healers and prophets. I forgive you.

I forgive you. For feeling awkward
and nervous without reason.
For bearing Keats’s empty vessel
with such calm you worried

you had, perhaps, no moral
center at all. For treating your mother
with contempt when she deserved
compassion. I forgive you. I forgive

you. I forgive you. For growing
a capacity for love that is great
but matched only, perhaps,
by your loneliness. For being unable

to forgive yourself first so you
could then forgive others and
at last find a way to become
the love that you want in this world.

– Dilruba Ahmed

Across the fields of yesterday
He sometimes comes to me,
A little lad just back from play—
The lad I used to be.

And yet he smiles so wistfully
Once he has crept within,
I wonder if he hopes to see
The man I might have been.

– Sometimes, by Thomas Jones

Everything is a gift. The degree to which we are awake to this truth is a measure of our gratefullness. Day and night, gifts keep pelting down on us. If we were aware of this, gratefulness would overwhelm us. But we go through life in a daze.

A power failure makes us aware of what a gift electricity is; a sprained ankle lets us appreciate walking as a gift, a sleepless night, sleep. How much we are missing in life by noticing gifts only when we are suddenly deprived of them.

Eyes see only light, ears hear only sound, but a listening heart perceives meaning. Everything is a gift. Grateful living is a celebration of the universal give-and-take of life, a limitless yes to belonging. A lifetime may not be long enough to attune ourselves fully to the harmony of the universe. But just to become aware that we can resonate with it — that alone can be like waking up from a dream.

Gratefulness is the key to a happy life, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy — because we will always want to have something else or something more.

– Brother David Steindl-Rast

Extroverts talk in order to think; Introverts think in order to talk. This typological truism, simple and self-evident, can open many doors.
– Sally V. Keil and Robert A. Johnson, To Live in the World as Ourselves

Beware those who push only a “recovery” narrative. It doesn’t just exclude & “stigmatize” people with chronic conditions but also results in unacceptably discriminatory policy choices. It’s the danger of lionizing only the stories that “inspire” through tales of “overcoming”..

I’m not saying those voices aren’t important but we’ve been prioritizing those narratives so much as to create a horrible lack of balance. We need to not be willing to hear only from those who’ve “recovered” & “overcome.” It’s not just a cosmetic issue but a tool of exclusion
– Crys Tom

I can’t believe we will forget our sorrows altogether. That would mean forgetting that we had lived, humanly speaking. Sorrow seems to me to be a great part of the substance of human life.
– Marilynne Robinson

Live and be happy, and make others so.
– Mary Shelley

Death is nature’s way
of telling you to be quiet.
– Franz Wright

Sake for the body, haiku for the heart; sake is the haiku of the body, haiku is the sake of the heart.
– Santōka Taneda, Mountain Tasting

If you are not careful, spirituality can quite easily allow you to bypass the human dilemma, because spirituality can be anything you want it to be, whereas faith will challenge you. It’s not so comfortable. It carries with it the undeniable tension between your search for security and the limits of your ability to know. Faith keeps your spiritual quest relevant and connected to the heart of the human predicament.
– Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

Wounds
are rarely
straight lines.

Unhealed,
they are webs
that catch
what will continue
to bite us.
– Andrea Gibson

I spend an inordinate amount of time doing nothing.
– Joyce Carol Oates

When you’ve arrived, can you still be said to be fleeing? And when you’re fleeing, can you ever arrive?
– Jenny Erpenbeck, Visitation

Do not complain. Work harder.
Spend more time alone.
– Joan Didion

All generalizations are dangerous, even this one.
– Alexandre Dumas

Those who appear loving can be the most vicious; those who appear cruel can be the most kind…. The socially conditioned mind cannot grasp reality.
– Violet Zen

I am sick to death of cleverness.
Everybody is clever nowadays.
– Oscar Wilde

You must note the way the soap dish enables you, or the window latch grants you courage. Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity. Put down the weight of your aloneness, and ease into the conversation.
– David Whyte

Maybe the hardest thing in writing is simply to tell the truth about things as we see them.
– John Steinbeck

The poet makes himself a voyant through a long, immense reasoned deranging of all his senses. All the forms of love, of suffering, of madness; he tries to find himself, he exhausts in himself all the poisons, to keep only their quintessences.
– Arthur Rimbaud

I

(Fay) received a love letter: she didn’t know who had sent it.
This love letter wasn’t much like a love letter.

This morning, like every other morning,
I don’t expect any letters.
No use running to the mailbox,
there won’t be any letters,
no love letters,
not even one love letter,
one anonymous love letter.
No one writes me letters,
no one these days writes letters,
not even anonymous letters,
especially not a love letter.
I stay in front of my computer.
I’m leaning over my computer screen,

I press a key: the emails scroll by,
from bottom to top.
That’s all emails do, scroll from bottom to top,
scroll endlessly,
nothing can stop them.
A love email,
a billet-doux,
a declaration of passionate love,
the pain of love, mad love,
impossible over email,
it will immediately wind up in the spam folder,
in spam hell
mixed in with the horrific spam,
pornographic,
pedophilic,
evangelical,
satanist
nudist
conspiracy-theorist
Islamist
love spams burn in the deepest circle of spam hell.

I’m overtaken with sudden rage. Brusquely I shut the computer. The eye of light goes out. I am completely alone without emails.

I’ll open the drawer of the old writing desk. There’s still—who left it here?—a stack of notepaper. I pull out a sheet. It’s yellow, it has a nice thickness. I caress the grain. I search for a pen. Is there still a pen? Yes, in this drawer that I haven’t opened in years, there’s a Bic, a vestige from the time of writing, and I taunt the dark screen. I write from top to bottom and from left to right across the entire page:

I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU

It’s dangerous to stray from one’s computer for too long, that’s the implacable law of remote work. I return as quickly as possible to the abandoned screen.

Tomorrow, I’ll find an envelope somewhere. I’ll fold it carefully, end to end, my anonymous love letter. I’ll find the courage to leave my attic. I’ll descend the never-ending staircase (the elevator is, of course, out of commission). I’ll go to the end of the street. I’ll choose a mailbox, if mailboxes still exist, with a nice first name: Charles, Robert, Edouard, Yvon, Jean-Luc … I’ll throw my letter in the box. I won’t expect a response.

II

Don’t belittle this ants’ nest. Underneath it is a large amusement park.

Carrying my travel authorization form, I venture to the skylight of my studio on the top floor. The raised window carves out a rectangle of sky. The sky is empty. It’s been a long time since the city pigeons vanished and the last gulls, rumor has it, found refuge on a few guano islands. The sky is empty. The long-haul airplanes don’t emit their cottony trails anymore. And even today, the sky has no clouds. The clouds that the wind pushes where it likes. Where are the clouds, stranger, your marvelous clouds?

The world is confined to the rectangle of the skylight, which carves out a rectangle of impeccably blue sky, without birds, without planes, without clouds.

Perhaps by leaning out of it, one might see the street below. And at the bus stop, a little girl who might be waiting for the bus. Who in the old days would wait for the bus. Who when the bus stops buys a ticket to the terminal. The last stop before the depot. The last stop, it’s already basically the countryside. The bus is full of children like me. It’s a public holiday. I know where they’re going. They’re going, like me, to Insect Park, they say with a laugh, the Entomological Institute for Adults. The school teacher planned a lesson on the animals from before. When there were animals like we see today on the TV. Lions, elephants, cows … The teacher said that there were also little animals that were called insects. There were loads of them, millions of species, said the teacher, who always exaggerates when he talks about things from before. Apparently they’ve been preserved in this park. So that the visitors, especially the children, can better see these bugs that are often quite tiny, the scientists who are capable of everything have enlarged a few specimens.

It’s true that the park insects, if we compare them to the ones they first showed us pinned in display cases, are much fatter and much bigger, big enough to scare you. But, said the teacher, there’s no need to fear these engorged bugs: they’re beneath large domes of unbreakable plastic, they can crash into the walls as much as they like, they won’t break the barrier.

“Let’s enter,” says the teacher, “we have passes to cut the line, stamped, validated, I bought the tickets.”

All the children let out cries of horror when they discovered the spectacle on display beneath the immense transparent domes.

In a discordant concert of buzzes, screeches, and drones flutter swarms of mosquitos with bloody trunks, wasps with tiger fur, hairy bumblebees with shaggy mustaches. Asian hornets chase dragonflies whose wings look like fine enamel and cloisonné jewelry, like queens in savage times used to wear, says the teacher. An eruption of multicolored butterflies falls into the nets held by spider acrobats. On the ground, in a landscape of dunes and reddish rocks, spiky stag beetles with jaws in the form of spears, spades, halberds, scythes, and javelins with barbed points all fight in perpetually recommencing jousts. Columns of black and red ants rush to transport the cadavers to the labyrinths of their underground cities. They cross the comings and goings of the dung beetles who, like Sisyphus, push their balls of carefully molded fecal matter up a steep hill of short grass.

The teacher was eager to show us what he called “the showstopper,” the park’s most spectacular and most popular attraction: the meal of the cannibal praying mantis who devours her husband. The mantis is like a very long blade of grass, neon green, reared on spindly legs that end in hooked pincers. Her little head resembles a grandmother’s bonnet with two fat bulging eyes that look like pompoms. She holds her tiny husband in her clutches. Diligently she butchers him, dismembers him, dislocates him. She ingests him little by little. “Perhaps he is hard to swallow, the dear husband,” the teacher jokes, “especially because the loving wife has no teeth.”

The children are frightened, the young ones fight to hold back their tears, they mustn’t cry in front of the adults.

“But,” interrupts a little girl, “my grandmother told me that before, there were bees that made honey. She even tasted it when she was little. She told me it was good.”

“Don’t listen to your grandmother. Our synthetic honey is much better, it lowers your cholesterol.”

“But,” worries a boy, “if one day those insects escaped from the amusement park … ”

“Have no fear, my little one, don’t tell anyone, but these are not exactly insects like before, they have a little chip inside them, they’re being controlled, and if there’s a glitch, boom! They explode.”

My computer screen shakes. I have to get back to the remote work that’s been assigned to me, as to every good citizen. The doctors and psychologists specializing in remote work strongly recommend against letting ourselves be carried off by memories. Besides, the insect amusement park hasn’t existed for a long time. Those neo-insects became too dangerous. And boom! It all exploded.

I close the skylight. It’s not good to breathe in the outside air for too long. I resume my place before the computer. And boom! Back to real life.

III

Wolves won’t come out in the daylight.

The wolves have entered the town.

That’s what they said tonight on the news. It didn’t come as a great surprise. We’ve been waiting for the announcement. For a year the alerts have multiplied. We hadn’t paid attention at first. Who still cares about wolves? They live in fairy tales. And that’s where they’ll stay. Leave the wolves to our grandmothers. But then the alerts multiplied. One a month, one a week, one a day, one every hour.

WOLF ALERT! WOLF ALERT!

The last wolves had been confined at the very tops of the mountains. Surveilled, surrounded. Prohibited from procreating above quota. Only enough to maintain a vestige of the species. A telltale pair. So how had they multiplied to this extent? Had the wolf hunters been negligent? Had they turned a blind eye to illegal couplings? A successful documentary had denounced the strange mores of certain peoples of the Altai: the mothers gave their firstborns to the she-wolves to be nursed and turned into fierce warriors, leaders of unsparing and cruel clans. But the children played for too long with the cubs. It turned them into wolf children. There was perhaps something true in those stories of werewolves. They were, confirmed certain politicians, the wolf-men who had become leaders of the pack.

Countless packs of wolves descended from the mountains, from the Urals, the Carpathians, the Abruzzos … First comes winter. The wolves are the children of winter. A glacial wind announces the arrival of their gray ranks. Then, little by little, the howls of wolves blend into the whistling of gales in the blizzard. The snow buries the countrysides and the towns. The trees gleam with frost sequins. Here come the wolves.

The wolves wait for night. Night is the domain of wolves. During the day, the wolves hide in their dens. The police search for their lairs, the army patrols the terrain, the drones fly over the suspected areas. The wolves are invisible in the light of day.

The wolves come out at night. It renders them invincible. The weapons of men turn on those who wish to use them. The drones refuse to obey. The war against the wolves is useless. Better to negotiate. The wolves are reasonable beings. An agreement can be reached. The negotiations are successful. The accords are signed. An equitable division is found. The wolves will have total sovereignty over the night. The day will be left for men.

Night has fallen on the town. All the lights must be extinguished. An order from the municipality. It is forbidden to go out once the sun has set. The curfew must be strictly obeyed. We are even encouraged to close the blinds and draw the curtains. We must resist the temptation to glance out the window.

But the temptation is too strong. Many succumb to it. They go out in the streets. The wolves entice them. The eyes of the wolves shine in the darkness. The beauty of wolves is fatal. The reckless ones vanish. Some say they’re devoured by the wolves, others that they become wolves. In the end, maybe it’s the same thing.

– Translated from the French by Emma Ramadan

Scholastique Mukasonga was born in Rwanda in 1956 and experienced from childhood the violence and humiliation of the ethnic conflicts that shook her country. In 1960, her family was displaced to the polluted and underdeveloped Bugesera district of Rwanda. Mukasonga was later forced to flee to Burundi. She settled in France in 1992, only two years before the brutal genocide of the Tutsi swept through Rwanda. In the aftermath, Mukasonga learned that thirty-seven of her family members had been massacred. Her first novel, Our Lady of the Nile, won the 2014 French Voices Award and was short-listed for the 2016 International Dublin Literary Award. In 2017, her memoir Cockroaches was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times’s Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose. In 2019, her memoir The Barefoot Woman was a finalist for the National Book Award for Translated Literature. Her latest work to be translated into English is Igifu, which was published by Archipelago in September.

Emma Ramadan is a literary translator based in Providence, Rhode Island, where she co-owns Riffraff, a bookstore and bar. She is the recipient of an NEA fellowship, a PEN/Heim grant, and a Fulbright for her translation work. Her translations include Anne Garréta’s Sphinx and Not One Day, Virginie Despentes’s Pretty Things, Ahmed Bouanani’s The Shutters, Marcus Malte’s The Boy, and, with Olivia Baes, Marguerite Duras’s Me, and Other Writing.

– From the foreword to Purple Perilla, by Can Xue.

The only barrier is, you are
trying to be spiritual.
you are already spiritual
with a human experience-
human experience is need
to live in the world.
don’t think spirituality
is something new to learn.
It is actually the ancient
field within you around which
all experiences circle.
– Guthema Roba

Dharma practice
means forgetting your problems
through helping others.
– Jakusho Kwong Roshi, No Beginning, No End

what is the imbalance
in your body telling you?
what is the noisy in your
mind telling you?
they are telling you this –
dear one, go within –
go within and look
from there.
whatever needs to be
fixed, is fixed from within
– Guthema Roba

The science of climate change is NOT:

– leftist
– socialist
– marxist
– communist
– fascist
– globalist
– anticapitalist

It is just ordinary science

– Gerald Kutney

My soul walks with me, form of forms. So in the moon’s midwatches I pace the path above the rocks, in sable silvered, hearing Elsinore’s tempting flood.
– Joyce, Ulysses

Vestibule
BY CHASE TWICHELL
What etiquette holds us back
from more intimate speech,
especially now, at the end of the world?
Can’t we begin a conversation
here in the vestibule,
then gradually move it inside?
What holds us back
from saying things outright?
We’ve killed the earth.
Yet we speak of other things.
Our words should cauterize
all wounds to the truth.

I am quite agoraphobic. I don’t travel easily. If I can get into a library—public libraries or even a bookstore—I feel safe.
– Susan Howe

Civilization ended when the whiteboard replaced the blackboard.
– Nicholas Pierotti

Before we are consumed too greatly by our man-centered arrogance, let us take a broader look at the universe.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

SHUNRYU SUZUKI
You may foolishly try to ignore karma, but this will never work, and if you fight it too much, you will invite destruction that is worse than war. We are actually creating war through our everyday activities. You talk about peace in some angry mood, when actually you are creating war with that angry mood. Ughhh! That is war! We should know. We should open our dharma eyes, and together we should help each other forever.
Encouraged by trumpets, guns, and war cries, it is quite easy to die. That kind of practice is not our practice.

Write beautifully
what people don’t want
to hear.
– Frederick Seidel

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
– Viktor E. Frankl

To oppose something is to maintain it.

You must go somewhere else;
you must have another goal;
then you walk a different road.

– Ursula K. Le Guin

Rational thinking does not suffice to solve the problems of our social life. The intellect has a sharp eye for methods and tools, but is blind to ends and values. It cannot lead, it can only serve.
We must begin with the heart.
– Albert Einstein

i want to show you all the poems i wrote as a kid
i want you to like me
i want to play you voicemails from my grandmother
i want to give you a tour of my pastel omer art
my found records
if i am brave i will show you the garbage in my closet
ashamed to throw away and ashamed to keep
i want you to like me
i want to play with you
will you tell me i did a good job?
will you tell me you like me?
and maybe that i don’t have to be good at art
or poetry
that i don’t have to throw away the garbage
that if i don’t
i’m not bad
that if i did
i’m not bad
that if it turns out one day i do need a glass bottle
or bubblewrap
i can find more of it
that plastic is not my fault
that i don’t have to fix everything
that i don’t have to eat every crumb
there will be more food
more time
that you will lie down with me and stay
that you’re not going anywhere
that there’s time
i’m safe now
we’re safe now.
– Rena Qnp

I wonder if the way the world gets worse will barely outpace the rate at which we get used to it.
– Elisa Gabbert

Somehow the forces of justice stand on the side of the universe, so that you can’t ultimately trample over God’s children and profit by it.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

Racism and colonialism must go in this world…. Somebody must have sense in this world.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

To understand where you are in life,

look at your friends.

– Wise Connector

It didn’t make much sense for me to start writing. My financial circumstances weren’t such that I could afford to be a writer. I didn’t even have a pen.
– Imre Kertész

Look, we don’t love like flowers with only one season behind us; when we love, a sap older than memory rises in our arms.
– Rilke

Lucie Britsch:
The problem with being a writer is you don’t actually ever get a holiday because your brain never shuts up

Seek contribution, not validation
– JumpStartGuy

I’m living so far beyond my means that we may almost be said to be living apart.
– The Unbearable Bassington by Saki

The higher order of logic and understanding that is capable of meaningfully reflecting the soul comes from the heart.
– Gary Zukav

All insights are renunciations.
– Ayya Dhammadipa

A well-rounded person should be open to both science and spirituality. We can learn from both. One without the other, it seems to me, is insufficient to appreciating and understanding our place in the Universe.
– Laurence Overmire

A very great vision is needed and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky.
– Crazy Horse

When you ask me to write about a learning
experience, this is what comes to mind: the blue,

blue silence of the sky.

– Chloe Martinez

There’s a famous story that Robert Bly tells about Carl Jung who, whenever a friend reported enthusiastically, “I have just been promoted!” Jung would say, “I’m very sorry to hear that; but if we all stick together, I think we will get through it.” On the other hand, if a friend arrived depressed and ashamed, saying, “I’ve just been fired,” Jung would say, “Let’s open a bottle of wine; this is wonderful news; something good will happen now.”

Now this may seem like backwards thinking to the rational mind, but to the soul it makes wonderful sense. These kinds of promotions set the ego into inflation, believing itself to have finally been recognized as the supreme ruler it was meant to be! The ego thrives on the belief that it is in control and it doesn’t like to think that it might lose its ascendancy. But in those moments of trembling loss, it is forced to face its smallness.

Jung wrote, “… the experience of the Self is always a defeat for the ego.” Indeed, in those initiations by illness, loss or depression, when we are dragged into the underworld to pass through the gates of intensifying vulnerability, we are being stripped of our outer world clothing, prepared for to meet the Divine.

We’ve all had those dreams of losing our wallet or purse, which contains our “identity” and money – a symbolic “self worth” – and this is where the ego panics; it says, “Who am I without these things?” And it is right to be struck with fear, because there is a greater Self who finally has a chance at being encountered now with the ego demoted, but it will require your willingness to be wholly disoriented for a while.

Just as there are times on a winding walk when you can not the see the road ahead, so too will you lose visibility on your soul’s unfolding.

If you can find solace in your surrendering to that groundlessness, there is a pleasure possible in this depth of not-knowing, where creativity can use you as a vessel and, for a moment, you can know real freedom in your acquiescence to the numinous.
– Toko-pa Turner

The facts in favor of the theory of evolution are so conclusive that to deny them would mean standing in the face of the most obvious evidence.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

I need the sea because it teaches me…
– Neruda

You asked me if I would be sad when it happened

and I am sad. But the iris I moved from your house
now hold in the dusty dry fists of their roots
green knives and forks as if waiting for dinner,
as if spring were a feast. I thank you for that.
Were it not for the way you taught me to look
at the world, to see the life at play in everything,
I would have to be lonely forever.
– Ted Kooser, Mother

One of life’s best coping mechanisms is to know the difference between an inconvenience and a problem. If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire – then you’ve got a problem. Everything else is an inconvenience. Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. A lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat and a lump in the breast are not the same kind of lump. One needs to learn the difference.
– Robert Fulghum

At a certain point, it seems more polite to just become the person people assume you to be.
– Heidi Julavits

What is a book ? A series of little printed signs—essentially only that. It is for the reader to supply the forms and colours and sentiments to which these signs correspond. […] Or, if you prefer it put otherwise, each word in a book is a mysterious finger that sets a fibre of our brain vibrating like a harp-string, and so evokes a note from the sounding-board of our soul. No matter how skilful, how inspired, the artist’s hand; the sound it awakes depends on the quality of the strings within ourselves.
– Anatole France

It is often said that a person can only read about five thousand books in a lifetime. It is a small range of books given the accelerating quantity available to us. This limitation might lead some readers to rush their reading, thereby increasing the number of books. This response turns a reader into a tourist, jumping from experience to experience, noting only the highlights, being able to say he or she has done it, though not entirely sure what was done. Another response is to simply and happily acknowledge that life is indeed short, and that our smaller selection of books represents a unique expression of our character. This second choice removes the needless pressure from reading, and restores it as a great pleasure.
– John Miedema, Slow Reading

It isn’t possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.
– E. M. Forster, A Room with a View

Her loneliness was as big as the landscape.
– Jim Harrison, The Farmer’s Daughter

I hadn’t noticed the green of summer enough and now the colors were gray and white and black.
– Jim Harrison, Returning to Earth

What river’s this
through which the Ganges flows?
What river’s this whose source is unimaginable?
– Jorge Luis Borges

The river bears me on and I am the river.
I was made of a changing substance, of mysterious time.
Maybe the source is in me.
Maybe out of my shadow
the days arise, relentless and unreal.
– Jorge Luis Borges

The day’s second twilight.
Night that sinks into sleep.
Purification and oblivion.
The day’s first twilight.
Morning that was once dawn.
Day that was once morning.
– Jorge Luis Borges

The crowded day that will become the weary evening.
The day’s second twilight.
That other habit of time, night.
Purification and oblivion.
The day’s first twilight . . .
– Jorge Luis Borges

Here alone in a stone city
I sing the rock, the sea-squill,
Over Greece the one punctual star.

To be a king of islands,
Share a bed with a star,
Be a subject of sails.
– Lawrence Durrell, Exile in Athens

WHAT THE DEAD MAN TAUGHT ME

for Marvin

The dead man is dead. And yet,
these are his tracks in the snow. Fresh.
He’s gone through your garbage again.
Your trash is more important
than your car. Without it, you wouldn’t
be able to get where you’re going.
Wait. I might be wrong here.
The dead man called me favorite.
He never called me best. And yet.
This coffee is mine because I say so.
Every letter on this page is mine too.
I am in touch with my inner seagull.
You can write about the moon
all you want. It will keep being moon.
It is too busy dying to explain itself.
There is nothing more toxic
to the human poem than a poet
with an agenda. Avoid committees.
Academia is overrated. If you insist
on joining it, protect your urge to write
poems. In this only, be ferocious.
If you need to giggle, you should.
If you need to sing, you should.
If you don’t, you should.
Whatever you see in the clouds
is yours to see. Same with darkness.
Only close your eyes when you must.
No teacher or soldier can make you
know anything. Know how to love
anyway, and how to say so.
Where you’re standing now will burn.
The dead man hates to see you sad.
Everything you do makes him smile.
Remember, words have meaning.
We think we have meaning,
though we lose track of it constantly—
we throw the meaning of us out
with the eggshells and newspapers
so often it thinks it lives outdoors.
The dead man isn’t home now.
He heard music down the street
and went to see about it. Come back
later. All his stuff is here, see?
In a thousand years, somebody will say
you just missed him, and it will be true.
– Abby E. Murray

This American Solstice
Light, made stronger by the dark,
flows from the half moon,
and makes the long journey down
to dance with her bright kin, the flames
leaping from a thousand bonfires.
Druid whispers are almost audible
as they scatter from groves of ancient, murdered oak.
The whispers ride coffin ships and railroad cars
to diasporize across oceans and a continent
seeking the children of those
they once taught to understand.
Now, only the shadows comprehend.
And, where the shadows flicker,
stag heads shift into wolves
singing to the stars.
Stars gather into flapping eagle wings
descending into salmon tails
churning cold, emerald streams.
Streams swirl around strong trees
rooted in the land that creates all of this.
But, it’s a different darkness, here,
on this American solstice.
The stories are difficult to recognize.
We are generations
and too many forgotten languages from home.
– Will Falk

Approaching the Ground
By Ange Mlinko
With a dolly and a zoom, the airbus
entire Everglades shows us:
blotchy cloud-shadows thrown
on seepage algae’s overgrown.

Observe—the air we freely breathe
from this height seems to sheath
earth in miasma. The clouds look
like dross. The Everglades look

like dross. Biomass is, essentially, dross.
In Miami, all the gold that could enclose
a woman’s finger, wrist, or neck
was on display, as if  to deflect

knowledge of  her own mossiness.
Pretend not to know what this says
about our aspirations to the high life.
Up in the airbus, I see as if

for the first time how a cloverleaf
turns a highway into a motif
on the margins of a manuscript
illuminated with a wing that tipped

itself in asphalt. The story it tells
wants unstapling into angels,
heavenly bodies drawn raptly in
on tail winds, touched with halogen.

The literature of America should reflect the children of America.
– Lucille Clifton

Trust your heart if the seas catch fire, live by love though the stars walk backward.
– E.E. Cummings

Write in order not simply to destroy, in order not simply to conserve, in order not to transit; write in the thrall of the impossible real, that share of disaster wherein every reality, safe and sound, sinks.
– Maurice Blanchot (trans. by Ann Smock)

Only in beauty created by others is there a consolation.
– Adam Zagajewski (tr. Renata Gorczynski)

It should be one of the most important aims of education to free the growing child from his unconscious attachment to the influences of his early environment, in such a way that he may keep what is valuable in it and reject whatever is not.
– C.G. Jung

Ethan Nichtern:
You don’t need to be a professional economist to know that giving more money to people who already have more than they could spend in their wildest dreams won’t stimulate a damn thing.

Bruce Cockburn:
All the days we’ve been together
All the days we’ve been apart
Add up to a bunch of nothing
If I’m not still in your heart
I never want you to be
Just a page in my history
Someone I used to love

Something I keep hearing myself say to people this year is that music therapists can be leaders, within the healthcare and education communities, but also within the broader society. Our profession could be a profession that leads our communities towards a less oppressive world.
– Yessica

We often don’t connect the dots between what’s on our plate and our mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
– Mark Hyman, M.D.

Maturity is the ability to live fully and equally in multiple contexts; most especially, the ability, despite our grief and losses, to courageously inhabit the past the present and the future all at once.
– David Whyte

We are what we are taught, / yes, but also what we / hope for.
– Aria Aber

[Jung] is writing for those for whom God is dead and yet some new mystery rises up in the heart of humanity. In this sense Jung strangely anticipated the rise of the mystical in postmodern culture.
– David Tacey

We don’t need smarter solutions. We need different questions.
– Charles Eisenstein

Philosophy’s theme would consist of the qualities it downgrades as contingent, as a quantité négligeable. A matter of urgency to the concept would be what it fails to cover, what its abstractionist mechanism eliminates, what is not already a case of the concept.
– Adorno

sven birkerts:
Sometimes it seems that the surfaces of the world are just vehicles for light…

Lucie Britsch:
The problem with being a writer is you don’t actually ever get a holiday because your brain never shuts up.

Bruce Cockburn:
From the lying mirror to the movement of stars
Everybody’s looking for who they are
Those who know don’t have the words to tell
And the ones with the words don’t know too well

Look within and life, it seems, is very far from being “like this.” Examine for a moment an ordinary mind on an ordinary day. The mind receives a myriad impressions – trivial, fantastic, evanescent, or engraved with the sharpness of steel. From all sides they come, an incessant shower of innumerable atoms; and as they fall, as they shape themselves into the life of Monday or Tuesday (…)
– Virginia Woolf

Every now and then a man’s mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., physician and writer

The dark half of the year has hatched, J. K.
In time, we fall back to refuge, reminded
That black friday comes in so many colors.
– J.K. McDowell , Night, Mystery & Light

We are what we are taught, / yes, but also what we / hope for.
– Aria Aber

Even three times a day to offer
Three hundred cooking pots of food
Does not match a portion of the merit
In one instant of love.

Though [through love] you are not liberated
You will attain the eight good qualities of love— Gods and humans will be friendly,
Even [non-humans] will protect you,

You will have mental pleasures
and many [physical] pleasures,
Poison and weapons will not harm you,
Without striving you will attain your aims,
And be reborn in the world of Brahma.
– Nagarjuna

Maturity is the ability to live fully and equally in multiple contexts; most especially, the ability, despite our grief and losses, to courageously inhabit the past the present and the future all at once.
– David Whyte

We often don’t connect the dots between what’s on our plate and our mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
– Mark Hyman, M.D.

What is needed is the creation of a shamanic class. A lot of psychoanalysts will probably going to ride the coattails of this thing but it needn’t come from them. A shamanic class whose task is what the task of shamans has always been, to go into the hidden dimension and return with numinous, culture constellating material.
– Terence McKenna

The family meal is the nursery of democracy. It’s where we learn to share; it’s where we learn to argue without offending.
– Michael Pollan

My favorite quote for today:

A billion broken bottles mark the places where we’ve been, and the fog is getting thicker where the future should begin.
– Harry Chapin, Barefoot Boy

A fine day under the blue sky!
Don’t foolishly look here and there.
If you still ask “What is Buddha?”
It is like pleading your innocence while clutching stolen goods.
– Mumonkan, Mind is Buddha

The internet is an audience of one, a million times over.
– Peter Guber

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
– Ira Glass

I don’t express myself in my paintings. I express my not-self.
– Mark Rothko

My daily affairs are quite ordinary; but I’m in total harmony with them.. Who cares about wealth and honor? Even the poorest thing shines. My miraculous power and spiritual activity: drawing water and carrying wood.
– Layman Pang

New Vibrations
When the sun goes down
On your limitations,
And the ends not in sight,
Think of me as new vibrations
And let me be your light,
When the stars are out
On a foggy evening,
And the moon doesn’t smile,
Think of me as new vibrations,
And walk with me awhile,
When the midnight calls,
To your lonely wolf,
And your room starts to cry,
Think of me as new vibrations,
And let me be your light.
– David Nielsen

Wanting to understand is wisdom;
wanting a result is greed.
– Sayadaw U Tejaniya

Now is the shortest day.
I am human indeed.
Tonight I must dwell
in deepest poverty.
Who knows if I will inherit
the gold that is on fire
in the ore of my chest?
Who knows if I will taste
the wealth overflowing
from a single breath?
Tonight I shall blossom
on a broken stem,
precarious and thirsting
for a sweetness
rooted in the dark.
Who knows if I will drink
from my own seed
the milk of emptiness?
Let this be my vow.
I shall not close my wound,
but let it open
even wider,
for it is the eye of wisdom.
Who knows if, tonight,
I may finally embrace
the fierce beauty of my own
beaten heart?
– Fred LaMotte

Left alone in time, memories harden into summaries. The originals become almost irretrievable.
– Sarah Manguso

The shortest poem is a name.
– Anne Michaels

God has made you
a multi-media prayer!
The sensory gates
of God’s prismatic heart
are wide open to all
your expressive ways.
Do you think he desires
only flat, obligatory words?
Why song then
when words are given wings?
Why dancing
that transcendence of movement?
Why poetry
that unlocker of hearts?
Why love
when the string is pulled
on that otherwise dead
dusty lamp
of the heart
clicking on everything
to illuminate
and enliven every small deed!
Has prayer not worked for you?
If not
are you open
to trying it another way?
You are God’s temple
and God’s dance floor!
Are you willing
to get creative
and assume that whatever
you deeply enjoy
that sweet, sweet God must, too?
– Chelan Harkin

The worst thing we ever did
was put God in the sky
out of reach

pulling the divinity
from the leaf,
sifting out the holy from our bones,
insisting God isn’t bursting dazzlement
through everything we’ve made
a hard commitment to see as ordinary,
stripping the sacred from everywhere
to put in a cloud man elsewhere,
prying closeness from your heart.

The worst thing we ever did
was take the dance and the song
out of prayer
made it sit up straight
and cross its legs
removed it of rejoicing
wiped clean its hip sway,
its questions,
its ecstatic yowl,
its tears.

The worst thing we ever did is pretend
God isn’t the easiest thing
in this Universe
available to every soul
in every breath.
– Chelan Harkin

Make a burn pile
of your life–
God will light it.
All the tinder of your old ideas
is highly flammable!
We go about our lives
thinking we can’t possibly
let go
of this dry, crinkled up paper
to become
a wild conflagration
and darling, this is precisely why
your life has become
so terribly drab!
– Chelan Harkin

The image of myself which I try to create in my own mind in order that I may love myself is very different from the image which I try to create in the minds of others in order that they may love me.
– W.H. Auden

Sometimes I don’t think any of us really believes anything we say; we are just defending our kind.
– Heidi Julavits

In the Northern Hemisphere, the switch to daylight savings time in March results in most people losing an hour of sleep opportunity. Should you tabulate millions of daily hospital records, as researchers have done, you discover that this seemingly trivial sleep reduction comes with a frightening spike in heart attacks the following day.

Impressively, it works both ways. In the autumn within the Northern Hemisphere, when the clocks move forward and we gain an hour of sleep opportunity time, rates of heart attacks plummet the day after. A similar rise-and-fall relationship can be seen with the number of traffic accidents, proving that the brain, by way of attention lapses and microsleeps, is just as sensitive as the heart to very small perturbations of sleep. Most people think nothing of losing an hour of sleep for a single night, believing it to be trivial and inconsequential. It is anything but. »
– Matthew Walker, Why We Sleep

What else do you need to know
relevant to my buying insurance,
opening a bank account
Yes, I speak English
Yes, I carry explosives
They’re called words
And if you don’t get up
Off your assumptions,
They’re going to blow you away
– Mohja Kahf

There are people who actually believe that politicians are more powerful than artists, what a bizarre lie.
– Amiri Baraka

On every world, wherever people are, in the deepest part of the winter, at the exact mid-point, everybody stops and turns and hugs. As if to say, ‘Well done. Well done, everyone. We’re halfway out of the dark.’
– Kazran Sardick (on Doctor Who)

every day people are straying away from the church and going back to god.
– lenny bruce

the church says the earth is flat, but i know that it is round, for i have seen the shadow on the moon, and i have more faith in a shadow than in the church.
– ferdinand magellan

This is a miracle that men can love God, yet fail to love humanity. With whom are they in love then?

– Sri Aurobindo

There is no such thing as failure for an artist, unless failure is the refusal to attempt, the unwillingness to dream.
– Laurence Overmire

One wakes up with a river of car traffic
The newspapers tell you something hardly new
You could die in disgust, if you didn’t have the birds
That sooner or later, they will fly to my rescue.
They are here to rescue me.
I betted for adventure, seven lives I have to retrieve.
I just knew how to live one
There are six remaining to be thought about.
Voyager to the moon, my destiny is to be a rolling stone.
I take care, I walk slowly.
I dress conventional, I look “normal”.
My head is overflowing with birds, and from time to time
I let them fly.
I let them fly, I betted for adventure
Seven lives I have to retrieve
I just knew how to live one
There are six remaning to be tought about.
Voyager to the moon, my destiny is to be a rolling stone.
Weathering the downpour of hard rain
A dream needs to be woven,
With my feet on the ground,
Dressed in humility,
if I want to get lost, I invoke my birds.
– Germán Coppini, Birds

As soon as you look at the world through an ideology you are finished. No reality fits an ideology. Life is beyond that. That is why people are always searching for a meaning to life. But life has no meaning; it cannot have meaning because meaning is a formula; meaning is something that makes sense to the mind. Every time you make sense out of reality, you bump into something that destroys the sense you made.

Meaning is only found when you go beyond meaning.

– Anthony de Mello

Christmas is forever,
not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving
are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel
in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others
is good, you do yourself.
– Norman Wesley Brooks

Some people say “What’s the point of speaking up to someone if it won’t have any impact or make any difference?”

Please consider two additional reasons:

First, hearing the beautiful sound and power of your own truth telling voice can be healing to you, in and of itself.

Second, when the voice of a warioress vibrates the air and the bones in the ears of others, the world changes just a little bit.

I can testify to the fact that animals, plants, water, rocks, trees, and spirits will record the power and beauty of your voice and celebrate a silence broken in truth.

(Caveat: Yes, there are also times when silence is just right.)

– David Bedrick

It might seem to you that living in the woods on a riverbank would remove you from the modern world. But not if the river is navigable, as ours is. On pretty weekends in the summer, this riverbank is the very verge of the modern world. It is a seat in the front row, you might say. On those weekends, the river is disquieted from morning to night by people resting from their work.

This resting involves traveling at great speed, first on the road and then on the river. The people are in an emergency to relax. They long for the peace and quiet of the great outdoors. Their eyes are hungry for the scenes of nature. They go very fast in their boats. They stir the river like a spoon in a cup of coffee. They play their radios loud enough to hear above the noise of their motors. They look neither left nor right. They don’t slow down for – or maybe even see – an old man in a rowboat raising his lines…

I watch and I wonder and I think. I think of the old slavery, and of the way The Economy has now improved upon it. The new slavery has improved upon the old by giving the new slaves the illusion that they are free. The Economy does not take people’s freedom by force, which would be against its principles, for it is very humane. It buys their freedom, pays for it, and then persuades its money back again with shoddy goods and the promise of freedom.
– Wendell Berry

Government literally subsidized the “greatest generation” and they saved the world from fascism and built a great and prosperous nation from the ashes, the hunger, and the dust left behind by the failures of capitalistic greed that led to the Great Depression.
Those failures became the standard once again in the Reagan years and here we are again. The lessons of failure should have led us to a better way, but we keep making the same mistakes under newer, shinier labels and when we achieve the same and devastating results? We wonder why.
Forgive student loans.
Medicare for all.
Defund the police.
Build new and better institutions.
Serve the common welfare of all Americans and stop creating and serving an autocratic class of wealthy and privileged predators. Either every man and woman in America is equal, or they are not. End the hypocrisy. If our institutions do not reflect our values, then they are doomed to fail.
– James Loyd Davis

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.

We wanderers, ever seeking the lonelier way, begin no day where we have ended another day; and no sunrise finds us where sunset left us. Even while the earth sleeps we travel. We are the seeds of the tenacious plant, and it is in our ripeness and our fullness of heart that we are given to the wind and are scattered.
– Kahlil Gibran

Being funny is like being tall. That is surely a thing that can’t be taught or learned.
– Fran Lebowitz

Everything in the world has a hidden meaning.
Men, animals, trees, stars, they are all hieroglyphics.
When you see them you do not understand them.
You think they are really men, animals, trees, stars.
It is only years later that you understand.
– Nikos Kazantzakis

Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.
– Eddie Cantor

In silence. In music. In a poem.
We sought justice, confusing it with beauty.
– Adam Zagajewski, Lightning

For those who would not change, time is infidelity.
– Wendell Berry, The Dance

However much you feed a wolf,
It always looks to the forest. We are all wolves of the dense forest of Eternity.
– Tsvetaeva

The internet is an audience of one, a million times over.
– Peter Guber

Ignorance is not bliss – it’s oblivion.
– Philip Wilie

Stewart Danté:
James Baldwin just might be the greatest writer in American history. This brother mastered essays, non-fiction, fiction, plays, and more. He gave us theology, political theory, history, literary criticism, and more. He did this through deep pain and trauma. He really loved us.

Create explosive confidence.
– Robin Sharma

“You like communism because it would benefit you.”

Yes. I am guilty of being a part of this exclusive group called “everyone”.

David Roberts:
As I contemplate my intellectual development over the course of my adult life, it’s become clear that my inevitable destination is the Curmudgeon Singularity, in which I conclude that literally everyone, including me, is wrong about literally everything.

When there was such a thing as correspondence, landscape was a verb, honor was a verb.
– Jennifer Chang

“Overheat the economy” = People being able to pay their heat bills.
– Ethan Nichtern

Strange times

Time will remain strange
even after it’s over.
It has no refuge.

It can’t run away
only round and round. Its hands
extend after twelve.

Where is it again?
I can’t see that far into
the distance. Come home.

The hours are waiting.

– George Szirtes

Thinking oceanically is to think generously. Oceanic thinking connects disparate cultures. It connects, as I feel is important, the facts of the world with our feelings about those facts, our use of those facts.
– Elizabeth Bradfield, The Poem’s Country

A mouse,
a hawk.

The calligraphy of lights on the night
freeways of Los Angeles

will long be remembered.

Owl
calls;
late-rising moon.
– Gary Snyder

As with stomachs, we should pity minds that do not eat.
– Victor Hugo

Whatever I am, you did it.
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Offshore Pirate

May poetry and God’s name have mercy on us!
– Mahmoud Darwish

I will admit that there are other people who are primarily interested in doing something. I am not. I can very well live without doing anything. But I cannot live without at least trying to understand whatever happens.
– Hannah Arendt

That millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make these people sane.
– Erich Fromm

Given the great gulf between being and knowing, a human has no choice but to make and believe in some fictions.
– Chinua Achebe

Forget myself, myself. Become a vehicle of the world, a voice.
– Sylvia Plath

What I had learned from Buddhism was that I did not have to know myself analytically as much as I had to tolerate not knowing.
– Mark Epstein

Odd, I have now a mania for shortness. Whenever I read my own or other people’s works it all seems to me not short enough.
– Chekhov

Poetics, like voice, can hold multiple registers & experiences & interests; poetics, like a voice, is more than a reflection of identity – a word that lacks both the fluidity of sensibility & the intimacy of personality. Poetics is a reflection of a being *being*.
– Terrance Hayes

Ohio Green Party:
You do not “slip” or “fall” into poverty. You are shoved forcefully by reckless capitalism.

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin:
Stop saying that people are falling into poverty. Or if you must, also describe billionaires levitating into new levels of wealth.

I didn’t marry. I didn’t have children. I followed the food supply for jobs. I kept writing at night. And that kept me moving. It kept my life disruptive. It broke up many relationships. Was it worth it? Yes.
– Sandra Cisneros

I mean, of course, that happiness itself is a forest in which we are bewildered, turn wild, or dwell like Robin Hood, outlawed and at home.
– Robert Duncan quoted by George Open

Lindsay Hunter:
When all this is over I’m straight walking into people’s homes like this is a sitcom from the 80s

To want substance in cognition is to want a utopia.
Erkenntnis, die den Inhalt will, will die Utopie.
– Adorno – Negative Dialectics

Peter Kalmus:
The only thing “exceptional” about America is its near complete lack of a social safety net. That’s not rugged individualism it’s bullshit.

W. B. Yeats:
Take, if you must, this little bag of dreams;
Unloose the cord, and they will wrap you round.

Pyramid_Realm:
The war on drugs is a war on consciousness.

Sometimes a gift is given and neither giver nor recipient knows what its true dimensions are, and what it appears to be at first is not what it will be in the end. Like beginnings, endings have endless recessions, layers atop the layers, consequences that ripple outward.
– Rebecca Solnit

The original symbolism of the Tree of Life involved a mythical sense of a world axis, the “axis mundi” around which creation was created, the unified center where all dualities and oppositions come together. As center point, the tree remains eternally still; yet as the living, breathing Tree of Life, it presents a core image of constant change. It grows repeatedly from the same unseen roots, for it is rooted in the imagination of life and in the living Soul of the World. It is also rooted in the old mind and old soul of humankind, where it must be watered by dreams and longings and be nourished by songs and dances that make things whole if only for a moment. Each return to the tree at the center becomes a return to the origins of life and thus a renewal of the world.

The relationship between trees and people is an ancient one. Thus, things could start up again if that ancient and mysterious relationship were to become renewed and revitalized. The Tree of Life appears in almost all cultural heritages; it takes shape as the luminous Christmas tree that glows in the long nights of the darkest time of the year and it is the naked cross on which the Christian savior hangs. It is also the sacred tree to which Native American braves tie themselves during the Sundance ritual. It is the hollow center of the Navaho Reed of Life and the White Tree of Peace of the Northern tribes.

It appears as the Tree of Ascent and Descent where the shamans seek the heights of spirit and the depths of soul. It is the Tree of Sacrifice and the Tree of Death, appearing at times as the “hanging tree.” In the form of a bodhi tree it protects the Buddha and becomes the Tree of Enlightenment. It is the long-forgotten tree rooted at the center of paradise where it stands as the Tree of Unity. In that mythic sense, it is the original tree, the mother of all trees, the essence and source and sense of being rooted in life and central to existence.
– Michael Meade

This body is the whole universe.
If you don’t have that kind of faith in yourself, you’ll have a weak point you won’t be able to hide. As soon as you get jealous or moody, you’ll show it.
Just forget everything you’ve picked up since you were born.
– Kodo Sawaki

The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.
– Matthew Walker, Why We Sleep

Hope, Faith, Love

Nothing that is worth doing
can be achieved in our lifetime;
therefore we must be saved by hope.

Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes
complete sense in any immediate context of history;
therefore we must be saved by faith.

Nothing we do, however virtuous,
can be accomplished alone;
therefore we must be saved by love.

– Reinhold Niebuhr

A Clown in the Moon
by Dylan Thomas

My tears are like the quiet drift
Of petals from some magic rose;
And all my grief flows from the rift
Of unremembered skies and snows.

I think, that if I touched the earth,
It would crumble;
It is so sad and beautiful,
So tremulously like a dream.

In the Beginning
by Dylan Thomas

In the beginning was the three-pointed star,
One smile of light across the empty face,
One bough of bone across the rooting air,
The substance forked that marrowed the first sun,
And, burning ciphers on the round of space,
Heaven and hell mixed as they spun.

In the beginning was the pale signature,
Three-syllabled and starry as the smile,
And after came the imprints on the water,
Stamp of the minted face upon the moon;
The blood that touched the crosstree and the grail
Touched the first cloud and left a sign.

In the beginning was the mounting fire
That set alight the weathers from a spark,
A three-eyed, red-eyed spark, blunt as a flower,
Life rose and spouted from the rolling seas,
Burst in the roots, pumped from the earth and rock
The secret oils that drive the grass.

In the beginning was the word, the word
That from the solid bases of the light
Abstracted all the letters of the void;
And from the cloudy bases of the breath
The word flowed up, translating to the heart
First characters of birth and death.

In the beginning was the secret brain.
The brain was celled and soldered in the thought
Before the pitch was forking to a sun;
Before the veins were shaking in their sieve,
Blood shot and scattered to the winds of light
The ribbed original of love.

He did not need presents /
beneath a tree, her presence— /
a gift all seasons.
– Greg Sellers

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.
– Linda Pastan

at times i’m the god i carry in myself. and then i’m the god, the believer and the prayer. and the ivory image in which this god is forgotten…better than all this is to listen in the foliage, to the soft and certain breeze blowing through the leaves
– fernando pessoa

The library will endure; it is the universe. As for us, everything has not been written; we are not turning into phantoms. We walk the corridors, searching the shelves and rearranging them, looking for lines of meaning
– Borges

Housewarming
In my dream I was the first to arrive
at the old home from church. Wind
and night had forced through the cracks.
I pushed inside, turned on lamps,
lit a fire in the stove. Frozen oak
logs stung my fingers; it was good
pain, my hands reddening on the icy
broom-handle as I swept away snow.
On Christmas Eve, I prepared a warm
place for my mother and father, sister
and brothers, grandparents, all my relatives,
none dead, none missing, none angry
with another, all coming through the woods.
– The Dark Indigo Current by Thomas R. Smith

Kafka understood that travel, sex, and books
are paths that lead nowhere except to the loss
of the self, and yet they must be followed
and the self must be lost, in order to find it again,
or to find something, whatever it may be—
a book, an expression, a misplaced object—
in order to find anything at all,
a method, perhaps, and, with a bit of luck,
the ‘new,’ which has been there all along.
– Roberto Bolano, The Insufferable Gaucho

Meditation does not create anything at all. Meditation reveals. What does it reveal? That which is real, that which is authentic, that which is true.
– Daaji

You were every airplane I
mist