Journal XII

Though weary with your worldly belongings
In the subway car of your heart
Give priority seating
To the Beloved
– Honor Finnegan

Every day I write a poem titled ‘Tomorrow.’ It is a handwritten list of the people I know who love me. I make sure to put my own name at the top.
– Kevin Kantor

Man starts over again everyday,
in spite of all he knows, against all he knows.
– Emil Cioran

Tread softly! all the earth is holy ground.
– Christina Rossetti

Forgive these words, they are not birds.
– Cora Brooks

Interviewer: And an advice for younger poets?

Adam Zagajewski: Try to know as much as possible but don’t sell your soul to any doctrine.

I would like a simple life / yet all night I am laying / poems away in a long box.
– Anne Sexton

Which is to say, midwinter
and poems are as difficult as flowers.
– Sylvia Legris

Even alienation can be functional if we can see that the heart of our biological identity is not dominion over life or even enlightened stewardship but a kind of eccentric cooperation in which the different kinds of life are like different organs in a single body, each with its specialized functions, none paramount.
– George Gorman

I am not what you think I am.
You are what you think I am.

Nobody was mean to you. Somebody was mean to what he or she thought was you, but not to you. Nobody ever rejects you; they’re only rejecting what they think you are. But that cuts both ways. Nobody ever accepts you either. Until people come awake, they are simply accepting or rejecting their image of you. See how devastating it is to go deeply into that. It’s a bit too liberating. But how easy it is to love people when you understand this. How easy it is to love everyone when you don’t identify with what they imagine you are or they are. It becomes easy to love them, to love everybody.
– Anthony De Mello

We must leave the entire collection of conditioned thought behind and let ourselves be led by the inner thread of silence into the unknown, beyond where all paths end, to that place where we go innocently or not at all, not once but continually.
– Adyashanti

In life we see differences; in spirituality we see the oneness of everything; in Time and Space we are the oneness. The oneness of everything exists only in a particular form which expresses the nothingness of everything. It is the tube that carries energy to all plants and animals. This flow of creation comes into each plant and bush, tree and vegetable. We can pick hundreds of tomatoes off a plant and the life flow coming through the stem will endlessly give creation. The type of vegetable has only to do with the seed; that which feeds it and allows it to become is the same energy that flows into all matter.
– Rudi

He was reaching that age, he was at the edge of it, when the world becomes suddenly more beautiful, when it reveals itself in a special way, in every detail, roof and wall, in the leaves of trees fluttering faintly before the rain. The world was opening itself, as if to allow, now that life was shortening, one long, passionate look, and all that had been withheld would finally be given.
– James Salter

Are we doomed to be just the beginnings of truth?
– René Char

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

I think I’m constantly in a state of adjustment.

– Patti Smith

Chelan Harkin:
We’ve been taught
to think of God
as being supremely disciplined,
a master of morality,
and keeping commitments–
the truth is
she’ll throw it all out
again and again
anytime she finds a quicker route
to get to your heart!

Be steadfast, brothers and do little things!

– St. David of Whales

Depth is what the word God means, the source of your being, of your ultimate concern, of what you take seriously without any reservation. ‘Life has no depth. Life is shallow. Being itself is surface only.’ If you could say this in complete seriousness, you would be an atheist; but otherwise you are not. He who knows the depth knows about God.
– Paul Tillich

Please do not waste your precious human rebirth by following your old habits that bind you to samsara. You have a choice in life.

Generosity will destroy your miserliness.
Discipline will destroy your harmfulness.
Patience will destroy your intolerance.
Perseverance will destroy your laziness.
Concentration will destroy your distraction.
Wisdom will destroy your ignorance.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

do we really need
social reform?
individuals
have to ripe first,
Wake up so that
the individual
will melt into
a vast space of
consciousness.
let life work on you
until you are
polished and
refined.
society will
transform on
its own.
– Guthema Roba

the moment when you stop believing something that makes you miserable….i love that moment….that is peace.
– S Delzell

When i dream of you i wake
in a field so blue i drown.
– Danez Smith, Don’t Call Us Dead

Guess Who I’m Imitating?

Poems are dancing thoughts.
Love engenders time.
Every finding is a loss.
Each denial leans in mind.

Thoughts would rather do a jig.
than look for loves expired.
Lives are lived in analog.
Digital’s too wired.

– George Gorman

People love to hate themselves, avoiding the necessary recalibrations. Shame comes from vanity.
Shame means you’re guilty, like the rest of us,
but you think you’re better than we are.
– Richard Siken

I know nothing which life has to offer so satisfying as the profound good understanding which can subsist after much exchange of good offices, between two virtuous men, each of whom is sure of himself and sure of his friend. It is a happiness which postpones all other gratifications, and makes politics, and commerce, and churches, cheap. For when men shall meet as they ought, each a benefactor, a shower of stars, clothed with thoughts, with deeds, with accomplishments, it should be the festival of nature which all things announce. Of such friendship, love in the sexes is the first symbol, as all other things are symbols of love. Those relations to the best men, which, at one time, we reckoned the romances of youth, become, in the progress of the character, the most solid enjoyment.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Character

Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.
– Cyril Connelly

So many start by saying it’s about empowerment & connection but then build their own edifice up so high that there’s no room for the principles upon which it’s supposed to be based. That part can only be earned by dropping the veneer of your own supposed expertise & listening.
– @crys_tom

Nations reel and stagger on their way; they make hideous mistakes; they commit frightful wrongs; they do great and beautiful things. And shall we not best guide humanity by telling the truth about all this, so far as the truth is ascertainable?
– W.E.B. Du Bois

Dear heart
when you release your pain
which is so deeply knitted
with small, untrue ways
you’ve thought about yourself
you find guidance inside of you!
Wisdom is in there—it’s nothing we have to work
too hard for
there is no performance necessary.
To be given the wondrous gifts
inside of ourselves
there is nothing we first have to prove.
Our light is not something
God only bestows upon
the well behaved
or those who toe the line.
We are made of divine whispers,
we are made of golden knowing,
we are made of singing, vibrant rivers
of joy and love
that become an ocean of arrival
through our entrance—
we simply need to dip in!
Dear heart, cry!
Fling open the arms in your chest
and release the old worlds living in there
let old systems collapse
out of your heaving chest
and watch how a kingdom of light
assembles itself anew in you
and watch a rose garden
grow out of your old woes
right before your beautiful
cleansed eyes.
Darling, the rise is uncovered
so elegantly
in the collapse
– Chelan Harkin

Humans just get stuck in really small spaces in their head….illusions…delusions…false narratives that shut out everything other….and a human can remain there for an entire life….never aware of what has happened to them.
– Kent Burgess

Walls
by C.P. Cavafy
With no consideration, no pity, no shame
They’ve built walls all around me, thick and high
And now I sit here feeling hopeless
I can’t think of anything else
This fate gnaws my mind
Because I had so much to do outside
When they were building the walls
How could I have not noticed
But I never heard the builders, not a sound
Imperceptibly they’ve closed me off from the outside world.

I want to remember my grandfather as making
heads of cabbage shriek when he approached
with a blade. He was that good.
I’d like to think that it was okay for Pepe,
his last-born son to work the fields,
carrying a tin pail loaded with cucumbers
because with each step the weight
plays his spine like an accordion,
and his music inspires the braceros
to hoe faster for a higher yield
of commissions. I’d like to think
that my mother—a young girl of 7
with micro lacerations on her knuckles
left by the okra she’s picking—
could unspool the collective cuts
& hand the thread over to her amá
to stitch together a First Communion dress.
I want to think of my grandfather
as resourceful, turning a diamondback’s
molt into a pair of argyle socks
for bautismos, bodas, y entierros.
I’d like to think that tufts of mint
sprouted from his boot prints overnight,
his thumb allayed both tooth & heartache,
that he could make the Salton Sea
swimmable again, that the calla lilies
he nursed radiated clean light for him
y Josie y Salva y Lola y Pepe y Güerita
as they trekked back to camp after dusk.
I want to believe there was a day
while tilling soil he unearthed a rare coin
stamped with the portrait of Porfirio Díaz,
whose stoic gaze—matched only
by my grandfather’s—shattered
the confidence of an emperor
& had he kept it, the coin would be worth
the payout to the salt miner’s widow.
What I don’t want to know is how
my grandfather kicked my mother out
to look for work or how she returned
to find the pages of her textbooks folded
into a knot of toads. This was not
the grandfather who spoiled me with comics,
helados, and five-dollar bills, unsupervised
time with a knife shaving sticks,
their gold bark curling like a scorpion’s tail.
I want to believe that he traded that coin
at Lopez Hardware for a canteen to displace
the town’s only oasis to mollify his thirst.
I say from experience
thirst is a devil’s fork on the tongue
of the desperate so I know it tempted
my grandfather to drink the bottled oasis.
I want to believe that he thought
of every throat in the valley as a cup
as he listened to the hum of the horizon.
– John Olivares Espinoza, Portrait of a Bracero, José Olivares (his grandfather)

It is not that bodies precede movement, stationary at one time and then mobile in the next. It is that movement is embodied. Movement becomes thingness. Prioritising movement relieves us of the burden of thinking ourselves as fundamental units of being, ontologically resolved and laden with inherent qualities, instead of distributed becomings in their open-ended migrancies. Everything moves; everymove ‘things’.
– Bayo Akomolafe

A wise man, the wonder of his age, taught his disciples from a seemingly inexhaustible store of wisdom. He attributed all his knowledge to a thick tome which was kept in a place of honour in his room. The sage would allow nobody to open the volume. When he died, those who had surrounded him, regarding themselves as his heirs, ran to open the book, anxious to possess what it contained. They were surprised, confused and disappointed when they found that there was writing on only one page. They became even more bewildered and then annoyed when they tried to penetrate the meaning of the phrase which met their eyes. It was: “When you realize the difference between the container and the content, you will have knowledge.”
– Idries Shah

Plants have no language; very well; […] therefore, also, plants have no art. But stay! That does not follow from the basic axiom. What if art is not communicative? Or, what if some art is communicative, and some art is not?

Ourselves animals, active, predators, we look (naturally enough) for an active, predatory, communicative art; and when we find it, we recognise it. […] But I submit that […] we are only at the beginning of our age of discovery. We must not become slaves to our own axioms. We have not yet lifted our eyes to the vaster horizons before us. We have not faced the almost terrifying challenge of the Plant.

If a non-communicative, vegetative art exists, we must rethink the very elements of our science, and learn a whole new set of techniques. […] It is possible that Time, the essential element, matrix, and measure of all known animal art, does not enter into vegetable art at all. The plants may use the meter of eternity.

We do not know. All we can guess is that the putative Art of the Plant is entirely different from the Art of the Animal. What it is, we cannot say; we have not yet discovered it. Yet I predict with some certainty that it exists, and that when it is found it will prove to be, not an action, but a reaction: not a communication, but a reception. It will be exactly the opposite of the art we know and recognise. It will be the first passive art known to us.

Can we in fact know it? Can we ever understand it?

It will be immensely difficult. That is clear. But we should not despair. […] Let another century pass, and […] “Do you realise,” the phytolinguist will say to the aesthetic critic, “that they couldn’t even read Eggplant?” And they will smile at our ignorance, as they pick up their rucksacks and hike on up to read the newly deciphered lyrics of the lichen on the north face of Pike’s Peak.

And with them, or after them, may there not come that even bolder adventurer—the first geolinguist, who, ignoring the delicate, transient lyrics of the lichen, will read beneath it the still less communicative, still more passive, wholly atemporal, cold, volcanic poetry of the rocks: each one a word spoken, how long ago, by the earth itself, in the immense solitude, the immenser community, of space.

– Ursula Le Guin

Just look at us, all of us, quietly doing our thing and trying to matter. The earnestness is inspiring and heartbreaking at the same time.
– Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Textbook

It happens surprisingly fast,
the way your shadow leaves you.

All day you’ve been linked by
the light, but now that darkness

gathers the world in a great black tide,
your shadow joins

the sea of all other shadows.
If you stand here long enough,

you, too, will forget your lines
and merge with the tall grass and

old trees, with the crows and the
flooding river—all these pieces

of the world that daylight has broken
into objects of singular loneliness.

It happens surprisingly fast, the drawing in
of your shadow, and standing

in the field, you become the field,
and standing in the night, you

are gathered by night, Invisible
birds sing to the memory of light

but then even those separate songs fade,
tiny drops of ink in an infinite spilling.

– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

I know no better definition of life than Jung’s, that ‘life is a luminous pause between two great mysteries which yet are one.’
The mystery which can be known by the narrow band of being we call consciousness is not the whole mystery. We never arrive at the day when we know finally and for sure what the journey has been about. We are only called to live it as consciously as we can.
– James Hollis

Eternal Friend,
grant us an ease
to breathe deeply of this moment,
this light,
this miracle of now.
Beneath the din and fury
of great movements
and harsh news
and urgent crises,
make us attentive still
to good news,
to small occasions,
and the grace of what is possible
for us to be,
to do,
to give,
to receive,
that we may miss neither our neighbor’s gift
nor our enemy’s need.
– Ted Loder

Dying
Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.
I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I’ve a call
[…]
Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.
– Sylvia Plath

We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it, that the only way to detect it is to be free to enquire. We know that the wages of secrecy are corruption. We know that in secrecy error, undetected, will flourish and subvert.
– Julius Robert Oppenheimer

Often true: The plain fact is that education is itself a form of propaganda – a deliberate scheme to outfit the pupil, not with the capacity to weigh ideas, but with a simple appetite for gulping ideas ready-made. The aim is to make ‘good’ citizens, which is to say, docile and uninquisitive citizens.
– H. L. Mencken

The words are very often there—you just have to get them to land right…
– Sven Birkerts

It is the duty of the human understanding
to understand that there are things
which it cannot understand,
and what those things are.
Human understanding has vulgarly occupied itself
with nothing but understanding,
but if it would only take the trouble
to understand itself at the same time
it would simply have to posit the paradox.
– Soren Kierkegaard

There’s a good reason why nobody studies history, it just teaches you too much.
– Noam Chomsky

Nature is not our enemy, to be raped and conquered. Nature is ourselves, to be cherished and explored.
– Terence McKenna

An integrated person is not a person
who has simply eliminated the sense of guilt
or the sense of anxiety from his life,
or who is fearless and wooden
and a kind of sage of stone.
He is a person who feels all these things
but has no recrimination against himself
for feeling them.
– Alan Watts

The sense of unhappiness
is so much easier
to convey than that of happiness.
In misery we seem aware of our own existence,
even though it may be in the form
of a monstrous egotism:
this pain of mine is individual,
this nerve that winces belongs to me
and to no other.
But happiness annihilates us:
we lose our identity.
– Graham Greene, The End of the Affair

There is a great deal
that either has to be given up
or be taken away from you
if you are going to succeed
in writing a body of work.
– Susan Sontag

My grandmother once gave me a tip:
In difficult times, you move forward in small steps.
Do what you have to do, but little by little.
Don’t think about the future, or what may happen tomorrow.
Wash the dishes.
Remove the dust.
Write a letter.
Make a soup.
You see?
You are advancing step by step.
Take a step and stop.
Rest a little.
Praise yourself.
Take another step.
Then another.
You won’t notice, but your steps will grow more and more.
And the time will come when you can think about the future without crying.
– Elena Mikhalkova

The End of Science Fiction
This is not fantasy, this is our life.
We are the characters
who have invaded the moon,
who cannot stop their computers.
We are the gods who can unmake
the world in seven days.
Both hands are stopped at noon.
We are beginning to live forever,
in lightweight, aluminum bodies
with numbers stamped on our backs.
We dial our words like Muzak.
We hear each other through water.
The genre is dead. Invent something new.
Invent a man and a woman
naked in a garden,
invent a child that will save the world,
a man who carries his father
out of a burning city.
Invent a spool of thread
that leads a hero to safety,
invent an island on which he abandons
the woman who saved his life
with no loss of sleep over his betrayal.
Invent us as we were
before our bodies glittered
and we stopped bleeding:
invent a shepherd who kills a giant,
a girl who grows into a tree,
a woman who refuses to turn
her back on the past and is changed to salt,
a boy who steals his brother’s birthright
and becomes the head of a nation.
Invent real tears, hard love,
slow-spoken, ancient words,
difficult as a child’s
first steps across a room.
– Lisel Muelle

Life is a poem most people never read.
– Laurence Overmire

Writing is how I understand everything that happens. Writing is the only way I know to move on.
– Delia Ephron

The oppressor is as ultimately as much a victim of racism as is the oppressed…The savage, beastly lengths to which they will go to suppress you. I went into it an objective scientist and came out of it a broken human being.
– John Howard Griffin, Black Like Me

Everything depends on our ability to sustainably inhabit this earth, and true sustainability will require us all to change our way of thinking on how we take from the earth and how we give back.
– Deb Haaland

Golden orioles flit across the beams,
Purple doves descend from lattice screens.
Myself, I think I’ve found a place that suits,
I walk by flowers at my own slow pace.
Tangxiu lifts me from my sickly state,
And smiling, asks me to write a poem.
– Du Fu

There is no intensity of love or feeling
that does not involve the risk of crippling hurt.
It is a duty to take this risk,
to love and feel without defense or reserve.
– William S. Burroughs

The truest and most horrible claim made for modern transport is that it “annihilates space.” It does. It annihilates one of the most glorious gifts we have been given. It is a vile inflation which lowers the value of distance, so that a modern boy travels a hundred miles with less sense of liberation and pilgrimage and adventure than his grandfather got from traveling ten. Of course if a man hates space and wants it to be annihilated, that is another matter. Why not creep into his coffin at once? There is little enough space there.
– C.S. Lewis

Sound was always part of perfect meaning.
– Susan Howe

Are you willing to be sponged out, erased, canceled, made nothing dipped in oblivion? If not, you will never really change.
– D.H. Lawrence

I use the words you taught me. If they don’t mean anything any more, teach me others. Or let me be silent.
– Samuel Beckett

From a Tree of Tomorrows

Don’t shut it I said We lack for nothing

Indissolubly connected

Across the lines of our lives

The once the now the then and again

– C. D. Wright

A great book is endless nourishment for future spirits.
– Lawrence Ferlinghetti

When one is willing and eager,
the gods join in.
– Aeschylus

For now she need not think about anybody. She could be herself, by herself. And that was what now she often felt the need of—to think; well, not even to think. To be silent; to be alone. All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others. Although she continued to knit, and sat upright, it was thus that she felt herself; and this self having shed its attachments was free for the strangest adventures. When life sank down for a moment, the range of experience seemed limitless…. Beneath it is all dark, it is all spreading, it is unfathomably deep; but now and again we rise to the surface and that is what you see us by. Her horizon seemed to her limitless.
– Virginia Woolf

Passion is never enough; neither is skill.
– Toni Morrison, 1993 Nobel Lecture

Playing and fun are not the same thing, though when we grow up we may forget that and find ourselves mixing up playing with happiness. There can be a kind of amnesia about the seriousness of playing, especially when we played by ourselves or looked like we were playing by ourselves.

I believe a kid who is playing is not alone. There is something brought alive during play, and this something, when played, seems to play back.

If playing isn’t happiness or fun, if it is something which may lead to those things or to something else entirely, not being able to play is misery. No one stopped me from playing when I was alone, but there were times when I wasn’t able to, though I wanted to – there were times when nothing played back. Writers call it ‘writer’s block’. For kids there are other names for that feeling, though kids don’t usually know them.
– Lynda Barry

the poet-philosopher kierkegaard said that anxiety is the dizziness of freedom. true: having options is not easy to sustain emotionally. but for those of us who are not amongst the privileged ones, anxiety resembles more what the great howlin’ wolf said: “having the blues is when you ain’t got no money for food or to pay your rent.” i believe he’s right. the poet hemingway said that an intelligent person who is also happy is a rare occurrence. true too, although spinoza was a happy man in his love of nature-god. in my view, hemingway’s statement connects to the buddha’s definition of anxiety. the buddha seems to have said that anxiety results from our refusal to accept the impermanence of all that lives. intelligent people do recognize that fact, but whether this recognition necessarily results in anxiety is a question we ask, not a conclusion we reach. but this is always true: food and rent are permanent needs. and it is the recognition of that fact that necessarily causes anxiety. the great majority of humanity is intelligent, and yet, it enjoys no freedoms, for it still needs to struggle for food and rent. food, housing, healthcare and education are human rights, not entitlements. may the social and economic systems that prevent our right to happiness be replaced soon. as the prophets of the bible said: social justice and deeds of compassion are all we need. urgently so.
– hune margulies

This life wants you
to be its walking advertisement
for joy.
To blare this message
loud and proud
and also with nuance
filled with the fine print
of peace and inner delight,
the subliminal messaging
of acceptance and wholeness
written into every movement–
the lift of your smile,
the way your glance
falls upon things,
whatever your heart
rushes towards,
your bravery at finally
taking up those things
that have always called you,
the wink in your soul.
Oh, let life use you this way
to be its finest marketing rep
to sway masses
towards their hearts.
It doesn’t promise to pay
but I promise
this job was made
for you.
– Chelan Harkin

Today I am proud to say that I am inhuman, that
I belong not to men and governments, that I have
nothing to do with creeds and principles. I have
nothing to do with the creaking machinery of
humanity-I belong to the earth!
– Henry Miller

Like human societies, the biological world is coordinated not only through physical causes and effects but also through living minds using possibilities perceived or imagined to satisfy needs while successfully coexisting in common fields of interaction. Our sentient affairs do not rely only on deterministic instincts (or genetic memories) which find predictable results in time and space. Though we have not explained the physical/psychological complementarity we use in daily experience, this mind/body polarity is a structural reality of experience which is not undermined without serious consequences. Forgive me a little deeper philosophy:

Awareness is the result of an unlimited potency whose activity is limitation. If something which can be anything at all tries to actually become one of its potentialities, then it needs time, space and all sorts of different contexts of awareness to make room for its experience. The unlimited potency realizes or becomes aware of itself through contexts that both limit and reveal.

Everything that exists is form. The fact that it is experienced is awareness. By understanding the agency by which awareness is translated into form and form into awareness, we will be perfecting the instrument of both individual and world harmony, namely, the potency of awareness to organize form into harmonious patterns of experience.

So the subjectivity of awareness is the pole of freedom or indeterminacy. Objectivity or form is the pole of necessity or determinacy. And feeling is what relates awareness to form and form to awareness. (More in Chapter 4.) Awareness is related to form freely through creation: form is related to awareness necessarily through perception. Perception is the necessary reflection of a free creation, while feelings work both ways, channeling both creation and perception.
– George Gorman

You who’ve pierced my eyes to my heart, awakening my sleeping mind, look at my anguished life, sighing, destroyed by Love.
– Guido Cavalcanti (Dante’s mentor)

[Cirigliano, trans.]

One cannot be anti-racist without being an ecologist today, and vice versa.
– Ghassan Hage

No feeding on wisteria. No pitch-burner traipsing
In the nettled woods. No milk in metal cylinders, no
Buttering. No making small contusions on the page
But saying nothing no one has not said before.
No milkweed blown across your pony-coat, no burrs.
– Lucie Brock-Broido

Insight meant discovering where I was attached and making it conscious, thereby giving me some measure of choice in the matter.
– Mark Epstein, Going on Being

Nature rarer uses Yellow
Than another Hue.
Saves she all of that for Sunsets
Prodigal of Blue

Spending Scarlet, like a Woman
Yellow she affords
Only scantly and selectly
Like a Lover’s Words.

– Emily Dickinson

Astonishment is essential to change […] And astonishment is thinking.
– Witgenstein

The truth is that it’s all temporary. Loss in everything that we love is very ephemeral, very true. I just lost a very, very dear friend a month or so ago. He was a Buddhist, and an incredible photographer, filmmaker, flamenco aficionado, and all all-around creative person. And he would always say, ‘Impermanence.’ You know, he just relegated to his own life, to our own lives. As much loss as we experience loving and being alive, we’re doomed, fucking doomed. It all has to come to an end.
– Jackson Browne

Sleepless, I hollered across the hills
her name, the name I chose for the music
of its two simple syllables. The birds
in the trees have memorized my call.
They repeat her name, return it to me in song.
– Ansel Elkins, Ghost at My Door

The reason we go to poetry is not for wisdom, but for the dismantling of wisdom.
– Jacques Lacan

Bruce Cockburn:
Through thinning ozone
Waves fall on wrinkled earth
Gravity, light, ancient refuse of stars
Speak of a drowning
But this, this is something other
Busy monster eats dark holes in the spirit world
Where wild things have to go
To disappear
Forever

Saeed Jones:
I feel like the day I stopped being stunned is the day I’ve given up altogether.

Ilya Kaminsky:
How admiring we poets are of our heroes from the distant past, and how hard we are on each living other.

When the mind opens through spiritual practice, so too do new dimensions in the environment.
– Chadral Sangye Dorje

So many voices
So many distractions
Living in our heads
Mind dribble
We have forgotten the ground upon which we stand
The water we drink
The air we breathe
…to love without boundaries.
– Shinzen

It is better to be unhappy and know the worst, than to be happy in a fool’s paradise.
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky

You could be in perfect health, without any worldly problems, and find yourself in a retreat hut in the most conducive environment, surrounded by blessed objects and inspiring practitioners, and have access to a great master with the purest dharma, but you still are the one who has to push yourself, as none of these things can practice for you.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

Run fast, stand still. This, the lesson from lizards. For all writers. Observe almost any survival creature, you see the same. Jump, run, freeze. In the ability to flick like an eyelash, crack like a whip, vanish like steam, here this instant, gone the next – life teems the earth. And when that life is not rushing to escape, it is playing statues to do the same. See the hummingbird, there, not there. As thought arises and blinks off, so this thing of summer vapor; the clearing of a cosmic throat, the fall of a leaf. And where it was – a whisper.
What can we writers learn from lizards, lift from birds? In quickness is truth. The faster you blurt, the more swiftly you write, the more honest you are. In hesitation is thought. In delay comes the effort for a style, instead of leaping upon truth which is the only style worth dead falling or tiger-trapping.
In between the scurries and flights, what? Be a chameleon, ink-blend, chromosome change with the landscape. Be a pet rock, lie with the dust, rest in the rainwater in the filled barrel by the drainspot outside your grandparents’ window long ago.
– Ray Bradbury

We are the collective creator of our own agony. It is time for a re-awakening of consciousness when we recognize the best in ourselves and overcome the worst.
– Laurence Overmire

As a woman I have no country.
As a woman I want no country.
As a woman, my country is the whole world.
– Virginia Woolf

I am a collector of rare and fine ideas.
– Andrew Duff McDuffee

After I learned I would become a father, I stopped believing in coincidence.
– Ira Sukrungruang

When my son was born I became mortal.
– Carolyn Forche

The word for father is worry.
– Li-Young Lee

Everybody is looking for their angel guides these days, and I really believe they show up when you make the move toward doing something to change the world around you. That’s when they show up. They don’t show up for the lighting of a candle or the repetition of a few words. They show up when you head to the bedside of a sick and frightened person. They show up when you demand justice for a person wronged. They show up when you feed someone. They show up when you rescue someone from a despair you know so well. The angels are out there: They are not in your head or your heart or your meditation room. They are on the road, which is where we all should be.
– Elizabeth Taylor

It is wrong to claim respect towards
your creator as long as you have
no respect whatsoever for his creation.
– Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (RA)

To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavouring to convert an atheist by scripture.
– Thomas Paine

Everyone responds to Kindness.
– Richard Gere

It’s good for poetry to keep human beings in mind.
– Edward Hirsch

If anyone asks, say it was forgotten
Long and long ago,
As a flower, as a fire, as a hushed footfall
In a long forgotten snow.
– Sara Teasdale

Zona
My work piles up,
I falter with disease.
Time rushes toward me –
it has no brakes. Still,
the radishes are good this year.
Run them through butter,
add a little salt.
– Jim Harrison

I was never aware of any other option
but to question everything.
– Noam Chomsky

Reading an essay is not a feat of information-gathering; it is not like running down to the corner store for a quart of milk. It is following the motions and paces of another mind, alert and open to whatever they reveal.
– Lydia Fakundiny

Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.
– Kurt Vonnegut

To remember love after long sleep; to turn again to poetry after a year in the market place, or to youth after resignation to drowsy and stiffening age; to remember what once you thought life could hold, after telling over with muddied and calculating fingers what it has offered; this is music, made after long silence. The soul flexes its wings, and, clumsy as any fledgling, tries the air again.
– Mary Stewart

The quality of your life
does not depend on
what kind of job you have
or what school you went to.
the quality of your life
depends on how you
approach this moment.
– Guthema Roba

Everything you can imagine is real.
– Pablo Picasso

Of all the fighting in the world, ignorance is the most dangerous enemy, and anger is the most lethal weapon. Only a warrior of wisdom who holds the spear of compassion can defeat them.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

The basis of all actions is to follow through to the end. If your mind is absent even just for a moment, you’re no different from a corpse.

Even in the case of putting down a teacup, it makes a big difference if you simply let it fall or if you lower it carefully with your hand.

– Kodo Sawaki, To You

The consciousness question is why am I driving this particular body/mind vehicle? You know, if there is no deeper self, no deeper truth, if we’re just a mashup of firing neurons then why the “I am!” And why would it appear as this person that is me instead of that guy or gal over there? This pondering gets me excited and does that traffic jam thing in my mind where the thoughts all run into each other and stall out and so I sink deeper.
– Chelan Harkin

When did we get afraid to go back, to reread?
– Toni Morrison

Everybody knows that pestilences
have a way of recurring in the world,
yet somehow we find it hard to believe
in ones that crash down on our heads
from a blue sky. There have been as many
plagues as wars in history,
yet always plagues and wars
take people equally
by surprise.
– Albert Camus

The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand.
– Annie Dillard

Thinking a lot about the rules of behavior
as a moving target.
– Ottessa Moshfegh

How ill-inspired we are when
Life, brawling in its crude matter-of-fact way
Decks us with the cold fist of reality.
– Laurence Overmire, Gone Hollywood

Never think that war,
no matter how necessary, 
nor how justified,
is not a crime.
– Ernest Hemingway

I Ask Percy How I Should Live My Life

Love, love, love, says Percy.
And hurry as fast as you can
along the shining beach, or the rubble, or the dust.

Then, go to sleep.
Give up your body heat, your beating heart.
Then, trust.
– Mary Oliver

May all us writers be so lucky as to fall in love with other writer friends, both the person and the writing in equal measure, and then have that last for years and years. There’s little better.
– Matt Bell

He was an old man, who, at the age of nearly sixty, had postponedly encountered that thing in sorrow’s technicals called ruin.
– @MobyDickatSea

One breath of juniper smoke, like the perfume of sagebrush after rain, evokes in magical catalysis, like certain music, the space and light and clarity and piercing strangeness of the American West. Long may it burn.
– Edward Abbey

We all should have gotten out of academia the second we realized we’d have to pay to park our car at work. That was the first sign, y’all.
– @danmartin_7

If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.
– John Maxwell

When did we get afraid to go back, to reread?
– Toni Morrison

Don’t respond to toxicity with toxicity; why contribute to a toxic cycle?
– @A_JourneyWithin

Literature is like phosphorus: it shines with its maximum brilliance at the moment when it attempts to die.
– Roland Barthes, Writing Degree Zero

Wonder as a point of concern denies its own consideration. It has the remarkable capacity to hide in the midst of its revelation. Wonder, to preserve itself, withdraws. It withdraws from the mind, from the willing mind, which would make of mystery a category.
– Dan Beachy Quick

A substantial crisis of identity occurs whenever we experience the unavoidable conflict between the natural Self and the acquired “sense of self,” with its attendant attitudes, behaviors, and reflexive strategies.
– James Hollis

the humble navel orange is an incredible delicacy
– @Remember_Sarah

i’m doing good, i’m on some new shit, been saying yes instead of no
– @folklorebot

Each one of us should speak of his roads, his crossroads, his roadside benches; each one of us should make a surveyor’s map of his lost fields and meadows. Thoreau said that he had the map of his fields engraved in his soul.
– Bachelard, staring at poets very hard

Enlightenment is very ordinary; it is nothing special. Rather than making you more special, it is going to make you less special. It plants you right in the center of a wonderful humility and innocence.
– Adyashanti

The nest is a lyrical bouquet of leaves. It participates in the peace of the vegetable world.
– Gaston Bachelard

men will literally put a 150-year curse on their family instead of carrying madame zeroni up the mountain
– @jzux

The Giver of Stars
Hold your soul open for my welcoming.
Let the quiet of your spirit bathe me
With its clear and rippled coolness,

Let the flickering flame of your soul play all about me,
That into my limbs may come the keenness of fire,
The life and joy of tongues of flame,
And, going out from you, tightly strung and in tune,
I may rouse the blear-eyed world,
And pour into it the beauty which you have begotten.
– Amy Lowell, Sword Blades & Poppy Seeds

The self-compulsion of ideological thinking ruins all relationship with reality.
– Hannah Arendt

the daily exhaustion tax that comes with living in such a cruel country
– R.O. Kwon

Listen to your body. It’s always speaking to you.
– 12TinyThings

Disappointment is simply a dream that doesn’t want to become a reality.
– Richard Wilkins

In a dream, we take god out of the attic and put back the birds
– Christina Davis

Music begins inside human beings, and so must any instruction. Not at the instrument, not with the first finger, nor with the first position, not with this or that chord. The starting point is one’s own stillness, listening to oneself, the ‘being ready for music,’ listening to one’s own heart-beat and breathing.
– Carl Orff

Your future depends on many things, but mostly on you.
– Frank Tyger

Some say you’re lucky
If nothing shatters it.
But then you wouldn’t
Understand poems or songs.
You’d never know
Beauty comes from loss.
It’s deep inside every person:
A tear tinier
Than a pearl or thorn.
It’s one of the places
Where the beloved is born.
– Gregory Or

Remember, we are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Actions and states of mind matter, because we’re so deeply interconnected with one another. Working on our own consciousness is the most important thing that we are doing at the moment, and being love is the supreme creative act…..
The most important aspect of love is not in giving or receiving: it’s it being. When I need love from others, or need to give love to others, I’m caught in an unstable situation. Being in love, rather than giving or taking love, is the only thing that provides stability. Being in love means seeing the Beloved all around me.
– Ram Dass

Coherence in Consequence
by Claudia Rankine

Imagine them in black, the morning heat losing within this day that floats. And always there is the being, and the not-seeing on their way to—

The days they approach and their sharpest aches will wrap experience until knowledge is translucent, the frost on which they find themselves slipping. Never mind the loose mindless grip of their forms reflected in the eye-watering hues of the surface, these two will survive in their capacity to meet, to hold the other beneath the plummeting, in the depths below each step full of avoidance. What they create will be held up, will resume: the appetite is bigger than joy. indestructible. for never was it independent from who they are. who will be.

Were we ever to arrive at knowing the other as the same pulsing compassion would break the most orthodox heart.

Laughter for me can do only this: stretch what is tense to the point where it is unendurable. Otherwise it seems to me overrated. I’ve never believed that laughter is able to put an end to the injustices of the world. No power has ever yielded an inch thanks to a laugh. Ridicule, yes, annoys the powerful, but it doesn’t bury them. Yet for the moment we’re laughing, we feel their grip on our life relax a little. Laughter is a short, very short, sigh of relief.

That must be why the laughter that interests me most, in the context of a story, is incongruous laughter, the laughter that explodes in situations where laughing is inconceivable, in fact seems an enormity. There is a moment like this in Stanisław Lem’s His Master’s Voice: a nine-year-old child, confronted by the unendurable death agony of his mother, goes off into his room, makes faces in the mirror, and laughs. That laughter in the face of the unendurable is risky for literature, and it’s the laughter that interests me most.

– Elena Ferrante

No One Lives His Life
by Rainer Maria Rilke

Disguised since childhood,
haphazardly assembled
from voices and fears and little pleasures,
We come of age as masks.
Our true face never speaks.
Somewhere there must be storehouses
where all these lives are laid away
like suits of armour or old carriages
or cloths hanging limply on the walls.
Maybe all paths lead here,
to the repository of unlived things.

It is part of the mystery of life on earth that the human soul can awaken, grow greater, and reveal inner gifts when everything turns dark and seems about to fall apart. Soul does not fear a downturn or seek to avoid a period of darkness. Soul carries a deeper wisdom and darker knowledge born of descent and loss and renewal. Soul would have us go where we fear to go in order to learn who we are intended to be.
– Michael Meade

FOREVER A STRANGER
What made you go into poetry?
How often are you asked that question?
Have you ever heard anyone ask
What made you go into writing novels?
What made you go into composing music?
What made you decide to become a filmmaker?
In all these others the work is discussed
Not the motivation of the worker.
The question is a kind of face-saving lie
That masks the ignorance of the questioner
Who knows little to nothing of poetry
And finds it strange
That anyone should do it.
It masks as well the American obsession
With choosing
Itself a reflection of Capitalism
(Which product do you want?–choose)
And its daddy-o, the Protestant Revolution
(Heaven or Hell–choose)
*What made you go into interviewing?*
I was one of those
Whom poetry took by the hair
And brought willy nilly into a world
That had nothing to do with choice
And everything–
Everything–
To do with the ecstatic.
I stood outside myself
Observing
The deep potentialities of thought
And knew
This was my world
This was where I wished to be
And–naive as it may sound,
Deluded as I undoubtedly was–
I didn’t care
About a career
Or money
Or ambition
Or even love
If only I
(Forever a stranger, forever young)
Could vanish
Into the world
Of words.
– Jack Foley

everyone is as god made him, and oftentimes a great deal worse.
– miguel de cervantes

Each man is a hero and an oracle to somebody
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

The key to practice is to recognize the sheer, remarkable amazement of all the manifold appearances, personalities, problems, and to be able to flow with them freely, without attachment.
– Guo Gu

The ability to see the metaphors in the old tales opens us to the richness of everything around us.
The whole world turns into a holy picture.
We can become aware of a dimension of significance in the ordinary that is nothing short of radiant.
– Joseph Campbell

nothing is more dangerous
than a limited identity –
your true nature is limitless,
you are cosmic intelligence –
the vastness where
life resides –
whatever limits who you are,
whether it is a culture or religion
or education or politics,
wake away from that now.
– Guthema Roba

Doom scenarios, even though they might be true, are not politically or psychologically effective. The first step . . . is to make us love the world rather than to make us fear for the end of the world.
– Gary Snyder

Spring is a happiness so beautiful, so unique, so unexpected, that I don’t know what to do with my heart. I dare not take it, I dare not leave it – what do you advise?
– Emily Dickinson

Criticism is an alluring substitute for creation, because tearing things down, unlike building them up, really is as easy as falling off a stump. It’s blissfully simple to strike a savvy, sophisticated pose by attacking someone else’s creations, but the old adage is right: Any fool can burn down a barn. Building one is something else again.
– Martha Beck

Hail service of the sunbeam,
illumination of the world;
changeable gleaming sphere
of the moon shining by night;
O great, greatest, spherical,
incomprehensible image
of the world!
Water-formed, earth-formed,
fire-formed, wind-formed,
Light-formed, darkness-formed,
gleaming as a star, thou who
hast gathered the deep together,
who hast veiled heaven,
who hast scattered the air
by a self moving wind,
who dost lead up the flashes
of lightning, who dost thunder,
who dost lighten, who dost rain,
who dost shake, who dost
beget living beings,
God of aeons, ruler of the universe.
– From the Magic Papyrus, 2nd-3rd century A.D.

The whole purpose of Christianity is not to get you to heaven, but to get heaven in you.
– Bob Holmes

BUDDHA SPEAKS

More than those who hate you, more than all your enemies, an undisciplined mind does greater harm.

DHAMMAPADA.

I LOVE THIS POEM by Anthony M. Flores

When I was a kid,
I used to get mad at my Mom
For not being able to make
Those over-easy eggs I always saw
On television.

The yolks always broke.

She said it was the pan,
And she apologized.

Over and over,
She apologized.

When I tried
To make them myself later in life,
I became mad at me.

No matter how hard I tried,
The yolks always broke.

I cursed at the pan,
And I fully blamed it,
Not really knowing why.

I tried again in college,
And the yolks broke.

I tried making them for my daughter
After she was born,
And the yolks broke.

I spoke friendly-like to the stove,
Said I had been patient for so long,
And the yolks still broke.

You need a good pan,
Someone finally told me,
Or else you will be angry about this
The rest of your life.

I did not know the difference
Between a good pan
And a bad pan.

I swear I cried
When I first flipped them perfectly.

I had never fully realized
We never really had the means
To make the magic happen.

We couldn’t afford
To make the magic happen,
No matter how many spatulas we tried.

I make over-easy eggs for my Mom
All the time nowadays.

She’s 93.

I make over-easy eggs for my son.
I make sunny-side-ups for everyone.
I flip puffy omelets up in the air,
And I speak a little poem of gratitude
In the two seconds before I catch them
Behind my back.

I always feel
Like I want to apologize to my Mom,
To my younger selves,
To all those poor pans I cussed-out
And who didn’t really deserve it.

I cook all the time now.
I’m very careful not to be angry at anyone
For the various things we weren’t taught,
The things we didn’t have.
I tell my son to turn the flame up now,
Or lower it.

Sometimes, things will stick.

I think, sometimes,
I broke the yoke.

BUDDHA SPEAKS

You should inquire deeply and directly into the distress of the mind and find out what has been created and who is the self that is suffering. Without this understanding, you can’t develop clarity and the ability to help others. A person may be expert at undoing knots, but if he never sees that there is a knot in front of him, how will he undo it? Without clear and direct looking, you will be locked into time and space and unable to free yourself from the material world.

SURANGAMA SUTRA

JAMGON KONGTRUL LODRÖ THAYE

The root of all of these
Is not taking your own mind to be paramount.

If you are able to make use of your mind
Then you don’t need to search for some other place of retreat;
When concepts are absent, that is your retreat.

You don’t need to search outside for the guru;
The nature of mind is the enlightened guru.

You don’t need to worry about other spiritual practices to be done,
Being without distraction is the heart of spiritual practice.
You don’t need to deliberately abandon distractions,
If your mindfulness is firm, things are spontaneously liberated.

You don’t need to fear that afflictions will occur,
If you recognize their nature it is primordial wisdom.

Except for this momentary mind of yours,
Saṃsāra and nirvāṇa are not established as anything else.
Please always watch over the mind!

ADVICE TO LHAWANG TASHI

Earth crisis. All this suffering.
– Steel Pulse

This may be a wicked age, but your lives should redeem it.
– Ephesians:5:16

Without a personal connection to the Divine Mother, we are left to flounder in reverence of many false mothers.
– Raphael Awen

We tend to believe that there is a knowing principle or a kind of consciousness that has an existence of its own. When we need it, we can take it out and use it. When we bring our consciousness into contact with a mountain, the consciousness knows the mountain. When it meets a cloud, it knows the cloud. Then, after letting this consciousness determine these things for us, we put it back until we need it again. This is a basic belief, but it is a misunderstanding.
– Thich Naht Hanh

Change your mind, and it’s as though you have changed the world.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

God is the invisible obvious.
– Victor Hugo

To be perpetually talking sense runs out the mind, as perpetually ploughing and taking crops runs out the land.
The mind must be manured, and nonsense is very good for the purpose.
– James Boswell

Look it – you start out as an artist, I started out when I was nineteen, and you’re full of defenses. You have all of this stuff to prove. You have all of these shields in front of you. All your weapons are out. It’s like you’re going into battle. You can accomplish a certain amount that way. But then you get to a point where you say, “But there’s this whole other territory I’m leaving out.” And that territory becomes more important as you grow older. You begin to see that you leave out so much when you go to battle with the shield and all the rest of it. You have to start including that other side or die a horrible death as an artist with your shield stuck on the front of your face forever. You can’t grow that way. And I don’t think you can grow as a person that way, either.
– Sam Shepard

Alas, one carries away so little from even the greatest works of art. Of the longer classics I have read more than once […] I am shocked at how little I retain, especially for one often credited with a good memory: only a handful of quotations, a spotty sense of plot. For example, […] what remains of that beloved, much lived-with book [Stendhal’s Vie de Henri Brulard] now, 20 years later? Only the memory of Stendhal’s autumnal sensibility – passionate, disappointed and forgiving.

The memory of a tone, the rhythm of an author’s sentences, the sorrow we felt on a novel’s last page – perhaps that is all that we can expect to keep from books. […T]hey linger in our souls only like the distant images of childhood. Years ago our elementary school was the burning center of the universe, a place of anxiety, triumph and heartbreak. Now, it’s just a building whose windows we peer into on an idle Saturday afternoon. […]

Perhaps poems and stories, like paintings and music, truly exist only when we are actively engaged with them. Afterwards they lose their substance, grow wispy and vague, or find themselves diminished to little more than a few cold facts. The actual art, all that makes a great work funny, sorrowful and real, fades away like a dream at morning.

– Michael Dirda

I don’t care much if you have worldly or spiritual power, show me you want to benefit beings as that is the most attractive feature in anyone. (Our real nature)
– Aric Parker

Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.
– Thomas Merton

Use your mind. Remember. Observe. You are not different from others. Most of their experiences are valid for you too. Think clearly and deeply, go into the structure of your desires and their ramifications. They are a most important part of your mental and emotional make-up and powerfully affect your actions. Remember, you cannot abandon what you do not know. To go beyond yourself, you must know yourself.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it.
– Fyodor Dostoevsky

I found that what I really could not bear was missing out on the larger narrative unwinding around me.
– Dorianne Laux

To see that your life is a story while you’re in the middle of living it may be help to living it well. It’s unwise, though, to think you know how it’s going to go, or how it’s going to end. That’s to be known only when it’s over.And even when it’s over, even when it’s somebody else’s life, somebody who lived a hundred years ago, whose story I’ve heard told time and time again, while I’m hearing it I hope and fear as if I didn’t know how it would end; and so I live the story and it lives in me. That’s as good a way as I know to outwit death. Stories are what death thinks he puts an end to. He can’t understand that they end in him, but they don’t end with him.
Other people’s stories may become part of your own, the foundation of it, the ground it goes on.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.
– Leo Babauta

No matter what path you’re on in this life, if that path isn’t about love, you’re on the wrong path.
– Laurence Overmire

I have lived too long to have not f*cked up a lot.
– Sarah Silverman

The last century has produced an abundance of ideologies that pretend to be keys to history but are actually nothing but desperate efforts to escape responsibility.
– Hannah Arendt

I reserve the right to evolve. What I think and feel today is subject to revision tomorrow.
– Laurence Overmire

The first thing a writer has to do is find another source of income. Then, after you have begged, borrowed, stolen or saved up the money to give you time to write and you spend all of it staying alive while you write, and you write your heart out, after all that, maybe no one will publish it, and if they publish it, maybe no one will read it. That is the hard truth, that is what it means to be a writer.
– A- Ellen Gilchrist

We work in the dark. We do what we can. We give what we have. Our doubt is our passion. Our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.
– Henry James

Essays discover themselves in the writing.
– Lydia Fakundiny

People get stuck in one frame of mind. They dream they are wearing their father’s or mother’s glasses, or child’s play glasses. They are not seeing with their own eyes.
– Marion Woodman

Norms require that like cases be treated alike. That there not be one rule for Democrats and another for Republicans. One rule for friends and another for foes.
– Merrick Garland

The world around you needs some hug, a few cups of gentleness and some light. Your only responsibility is this: – to be truly yourself, to make life your endless companion – to allow everything to be divine and fresh like rain and fireworks and sunrise and like someone whose heart opened suddenly. Yes, we cannot create what is new. If you are willing to give up what is old, then everything is new and ancient at the same time.
– Guthema Roba

Much more important than any words spoken is to live with our hearts open, to empty ourselves of false beliefs, to be mindfully anchored in the present moment, to no longer be caught up in our false personas… to be awake. To realize that every man, woman, child, bird, insect, flower, cloud, river and tree that we look upon is another reflection of our Original Face, a unique creative expression of this entire Universe.
– Christopher Chase

I am not talking about God, Allah or Buddha,
but about developing a better society.
We need to think of ourselves
belonging to one human family.
If we can do that, then there is a possibility
that by the end of the 21st century
we can create a happier, more peaceful society
and this depends on our own actions
and not on who we pray to.

The 7 billion human beings alive today
are our brothers and sisters;
therefore we need cooperation based on trust
and self-confidence to create an open, compassionate, harmonious society.
– Dalai Lama

Like an old tattered garment, so our duality falls off of us as our spirit enters into our wholeness in God.
– Bob Holmes

I feel an unhappiness
which almost dismembers me,
and at the same time am convinced
of its necessity.
– Franz Kafka

As happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for much more than a moment. And sound stopped and movement stopped for much, much more than a moment.
– John Steinbeck

Shams e Tabriz’s 40 Rules of Love

Rule 32

Nothing should stand between you and God. No imams, priests, rabbits or any other custodians of moral or religious leadership. Not spiritual masters and not even your faith. Believe in your values and your rules, but never lord them over others. If you keep breaking other people’s hearts, whatever religious duty you perform is no good. Stay away from all sorts of idolatry, for they will blur your vision. Let God and only God be your guide. Learn the Truth, my friend, but be careful not to make a fetish out of your truths.

The person who cannot educate his own soul, then how is he going to educate others.
– Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jilani

Be Kind
Not merely because Henry James said
there were but four rules of life—
be kind be kind be kind be kind—but
because it’s good for the soul, and,
what’s more, for others, it may be
that kindness is our best audition
for a worthier world, and, despite
the vagueness and uncertainty of
its recompense, a bird may yet wander
into a bush before our very houses,
gratitude may not manifest itself in deeds
entirely equal to our own, still there’s
weather arriving from every direction,
the feasts of famine and feasts of plenty
may yet prove to be one, so why not
allow the little sacrificial squinches and
squigulas to prevail? Why not inundate
the particular world with minute particulars?
Dust’s certainly all our fate, so why not
make it the happiest possible dust,
a detritus of blessedness? Surely
the hedgehog, furling and unfurling
into its spiked little ball, knows something
that, with gentle touch and unthreatening
tone, can inure to our benefit, surely the wicked
witches of our childhood have died and,
from where they are buried, a great kindness
has eclipsed their misdeeds. Yes, of course,
in the end so much comes down to privilege
and its various penumbras, but too much
of our unruly animus has already been
wasted on reprisals, too much of the
unblessed air is filled with smoke from
undignified fires. Oh friends, take
whatever kindness you can find
and be profligate in its expenditure:
It will not drain your limited resources,
I assure you, it will not leave you vulnerable
and unfurled, with only your sweet little claws
to defend yourselves, and your wet little noses,
and your eyes to the ground, and your little feet.
– Michael Blumenthal

To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.
– George Orwell

There will be a book that includes these pages,
and she who takes it in her hands
will sit staring at it a long time,
until she feels that she is being held
and you are writing.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

That’s when I want you—
you knower of my emptiness,
you unspeaking partner to my sorrow—
that’s when I need you,
– Rainer Maria Rilke

So, they’re just kind of little pictures made out of words.
– Elliott Smith

I think of your wind chime brain
the low hanging indifferent sky
a frame for loneliness just beginning—
– Susan Rich

If we could have one wish, it would be that particular season. Have it back, have better.
– Lisa Lewis

No ideas but in things,’ said William Carlos Williams. This does not mean ‘no ideas.’ It means (and here I quote Wordsworth) that ‘language is not the dress but the incarnation of thoughts.’ ‘No ideas but in things,’ means, essentially, ‘Only connect.’ And it is therefore not only a craft-statement, not only an aesthetic statement(thought it is these things also, and importantly), but a moral statement. Only connect. No ideas but in things. The words reverberate through the poets life, through my life, and I hope through your lives, joining with other knowledge in the mind, that place that is not a gray room full of little boxes …
– Denis Levertov

Whatever may be the tensions and the stresses of a particular day, there is always lurking close at hand the trailing beauty of forgotten joy or unremembered peace.
– Howard Thurman

A true leader creates a culture of spirits and hearts not just heads and hands.
– Ed Konczal

Big thinking precedes great achievement.
– Wilfred Peterson

Having a private life allows you to connect with people on a deeper level.
– @wiseconnector

We want to see and yet we are afraid to see. This is the perceptible threshold of all knowledge, the threshold upon which interest waivers, falter, then returns.

– Bachelard

Blunted Buddha:
The shadow must be held in loving awareness and understanding in order to transform it to a higher vibration.

We form ourselves within the vocabularies that we did not choose, and sometimes we have to reject those vocabularies, or actively develop new ones.
– Judith Butler

Tony Hawk was cursed by a deity to be beloved by all but recognizable to none.
– @RodiBrown

Be private.
Be humble.
Be low key.
– Wise Connector

The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions.
– Adlai Stevenson

This is your body, your greatest gift, pregnant with wisdom you do not hear, grief you thought was forgotten, and joy you have never known.
– Marion Woodman

Your body contains a code that when unlocked will manifest a feeling of peacefulness so profound it will actually silence the thoughts passing through your mind.
– Richard Rudd

But surely it is something to have been
The best beloved for a little while,
To have walked hand in hand with Love, and seen
His purple wings flit across thy smile,
– Oscar Wilde, Apologia

You gotta train your mind to be stronger than your emotions, or else you’ll lose yourself every time.
– @TrainingMindful

Nothing is so potent as the silent influence of a good example
– James Kent

There is always something within poetry that desires the invisible.
– Barbara Guest, Invisible Architecture

It’s all too easy
To let go of hope
To think there’s nothing worth saving
And let it all go up in smoke
– Bruce Cockburn

We have within us the ability to wonder,
the intelligence to understand,
and the love to care about that which we wonder at.
I try to play to those abilities,
within myself and within others,
and in them I always find hope.
– Donella Meadows

I love when people teach good, useful lessons without announcing them but just in the way they move.
– g@tamaranopper

I want a poem
I can grow old in. I want a poem I can die in.
– Eavan Boland

I don’t think any serious writer wants to be called the spokesperson for their generation.
– Ann Beattie

It is no use at all to learn a list of archetypes by heart. Archetypes are complexes of experience that come upon us like fate
– C.G. Jung

A word after a word after a word is power.
– Margaret Atwood

Caitlin Johnstone:
How many of people’s mental health diagnoses are really just them not coping well with capitalism?

Be a child again. Teach me poetry. Teach me the rhythm of the sea. Return to words their initial innocence. Give birth to me from a grain of wheat, not from a wound.
– Mahmoud Darwish trans. by Sinan Antoon

If more of us put up the picture of Earth taken from the moon as an icon in our homes, maybe that would break the old glasses, the old hearing aids. Maybe we would have a glimpse of what we could be.
– Marion Woodman

Bruce Cockburn:
Don’t I hear them talking?
Don’t I know what they say?
I’m a fool for thinking
Things could be better than they were today

The day you stop racing, is the day you win the race.
– Bob Marley

…i’m trying to write in a nonarrogant, nonabsolutist way, and i think that’s important right now for people interested in making ideological input; to develop a style of writing and a style of work that is contra-arrogant.
– Assata Shakur

Every man should pull a boat
over a mountain once
in his life.
– Werner Herzog

Books say: She did this because. Life says: She did this. Books are where things are explained to you; life is where things aren’t. I’m not surprised some people prefer books.
– Julian Barnes

Books have bohemian souls; they don’t stay in one place for long. How would all of those authors have felt had they known that books would journey and gather stories apart from the ones written on their pages?
– Alisha Fridland

Merely by resting in your heart
you soften one thousand miles
of space around you.
Those who come near you
feel the touch of wild cotton,
the radiance of seven pearls
threaded on a sunbeam.
Their souls begin to orbit your belly button.
They enter your invisible garden of Presence
and somehow taste those blood-red seeds
from the pomegranate’s core
without gashing the husk.

It is for others, not yourself alone,
that you repose in this golden shrine
at the center of your body.
Let the pious make the haj.
You just need to be more hollow.
Supreme attainment is
no longer seeking to attain,
because the seeker has dissolved
into the erotic splendor
of the void.

Let this exhalation be poured
from the libation cup,
offered by a dying warrior
whose triumph is surrender.
Let this inhalation be
the Beloved’s sparkling kiss.
Welcome home, my love!
Did no one tell you?
Your breath is the name of God.

– Fred LaMotte

A pair of wings, a different respiratory system, which enabled us to travel through space, would in no way help us, for if we visited Mars or Venus while keeping the same senses, they would clothe everything we could see in the same aspect as the things of the Earth.

The only true voyage… would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to see the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to see the hundred universes that each of them sees, that each of them is

– Marcel Proust

Right wingers don’t really care about “the debt.” What they care about is who the money’s going to. Police and military is all they care about. They subscribe to the idea that only violence can attain freedom. That’s what Mao believed too.
– Mark Bitner

What lies in the shadow, what is disowned, disavowed, or denied, can flower into something magnificent.

Not just by accepting it and feeling it, but by watering it and nourishing it as it goes through an alchemical transformation.

Over the years, I have seen:

– Anger flower into genuine power
– Vengeance flower into a profound sense of justice
– Judgmental-ness flower into authority and clear decision making
– Fear flower into sensitivity and tenderness
– Paranoia flower into subtle sight
– Madness flower into shamanic power
– Exhaustion flower into the wisdom found in stillness
– Trauma flower into a life of artistic expression

We begin by letting go of seeing these disturbances as “negative;” we take the next step by watering the soil of the seeds in these qualities with a humbling faith that nature doesn’t arise in error.
– David Bedrick

The ego says, ‘I shouldn’t have to suffer,’ and that thought makes you suffer so much more. It is. a distortion of the truth, which is always paradoxical. The truth is that you need to say yes to suffering before you can transcend it.
– Eckhart Tolle

at the core of all spiritualities there lies a deep radical social project. this communal vision contemplates the overthrowing of the social and economic systems of “it” and their replacement with communities of “thou”. all our prophets, sages, poets, teachers and wise-walkers of all types, have insisted on liberation of both the self and of the world. and many had clear thoughts about creating a just, a liberated, a dhammic society, a kingdom of god, a shining city on the hill, and have taught about the importance of right livelihood and engaging in work that will not become hindrances to the spiritual life. those teachings only need to be freed and recovered from within the burden of the heavy yoke of layers upon layers of rituals, theologies and clerical structures they presently lie buried under.
– hune margulies

Katharine Hepburn, in her own words:

Once when I was a teenager, my father and I were standing in line to buy tickets for the circus.

Finally, there was only one other family between us and the ticket counter. This family made a big impression on me.
There were eight children, all probably under the age of 12. The way they were dressed, you could tell they didn’t have a lot of money, but their clothes were neat and clean.

The children were well-behaved, all of them standing in line, two-by-two behind their parents, holding hands. They were excitedly jabbering about the clowns, animals, and all the acts they would be seeing that night. By their excitement you could sense they had never been to the circus before. It would be a highlight of their lives.

The father and mother were at the head of the pack standing proud as could be. The mother was holding her husband’s hand, looking up at him as if to say, “You’re my knight in shining armor.” He was smiling and enjoying seeing his family happy.

The ticket lady asked the man how many tickets he wanted? He proudly responded, “I’d like to buy eight children’s tickets and two adult tickets, so I can take my family to the circus.” The ticket lady stated the price.

The man’s wife let go of his hand, her head dropped, the man’s lip began to quiver. Then he leaned a little closer and asked, “How much did you say?” The ticket lady again stated the price.

The man didn’t have enough money. How was he supposed to turn and tell his eight kids that he didn’t have enough money to take them to the circus?

Seeing what was going on, my dad reached into his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill, and then dropped it on the ground. (We were not wealthy in any sense of the word!) My father bent down, picked up the $20 bill, tapped the man on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, sir, this fell out of your pocket.”

The man understood what was going on. He wasn’t begging for a handout but certainly appreciated the help in a desperate, heartbreaking and embarrassing situation.

He looked straight into my dad’s eyes, took my dad’s hand in both of his, squeezed tightly onto the $20 bill, and with his lip quivering and a tear streaming down his cheek, he replied; “Thank you, thank you, sir. This really means a lot to me and my family.”

My father and I went back to our car and drove home. The $20 that my dad gave away is what we were going to buy our own tickets with.

Although we didn’t get to see the circus that night, we both felt a joy inside us that was far greater than seeing the circus could ever provide.

That day I learned the value to give.

The giver is bigger than the receiver. If you want to be large, larger than life, learn to Give. Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to give – which is everything.

The importance of giving, blessing others can never be over emphasized because there’s always joy in giving. Learn to make someone happy by acts of giving.
– Katharine Hepburn, Everything Good in the World

Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.
– William Ellery Channing

Resilience is our ability to meet with difficult feelings and setbacks, and not only trust in our capacity to adapt and recover from them, but to find something redemptive hidden within adversity. It takes a lot of energy to distance ourselves from pain; not only do we become more vital by entering into relationship with our feelings, but that resilience grows into a place of refuge for others.
– Toko-pa Turner

It could be that there’s only one word and it’s all we need. It’s here in this pencil.
– W.S. Merwin

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.
– Maya Angelou

I despise formal restaurants. I find all of that formality to be very base and vile. I would much rather eat potato chips on the sidewalk.
– Werner Herzog

Faith is the center of my life and I’m on a specific path to seek out others like myself, to build an intimate community based on my beliefs, through study, divinity school, service projects, and more ..not so easy in a non faith oriented world. But I’m doing it, and people like Richard Rohr are helping me immensely.
– Amy Gigi Alexander

Matter and Mind Conspiring
We involve ourselves with matter by means of warm, aggressive feelings and we grow our minds and spirits by means of cool, reflective feelings. Between these poles is the full spectrum of emotional temperaments, each of which creates its own attitudes and skill-types. The physical sciences can ignore how the experience of time is always colored by emotional biases, yet biological organisms exist in the living time of their stories where excitement, fear, pleasure, pains, surprise, rest, and loyalty are important.

Somewhat like the positive and negative poles of electrical energy, the warm, passionate emotions provide the fuel for mind to physically influence, and be influenced by, matter through action and perception, while the cooler feelings of detachment help us adapt to matter through the more mental processes of understanding and imagination. The active bias of the warm emotions is high-frequency, concentrated, aggressive, and dispersive. Such attempts to accomplish anything divide the world into categories of relative importance. Successful sense-action (i.e., physical perception and action working together) depends on ignoring almost everything but the goal and the steps to get there. Sense-action involves a progressive narrowing of experience toward its short-term limits, while isolating the self as a physical agent.

On the other hand, the more abstracted tendency of cooler emotions decelerates into longer-term connections and understandings. Such cognitions strive to recoordinate the various domains of experience that sense-action has dispersed. Whereas sense-action depends on the accelerative tree-like branchings of choice after choice, attention and reflection reverse the process, forming single rivers from tributaries of observation, interaction, and comprehension.

Sense-action endows experience with substance and solidity as it generates multiplicity and uniqueness. Without this tendency toward the isolation of unrepeatable events by a particular agent there would be no definitive body of experience. Such strong definition of focal elements is a function of their multiplicity and eccentricity, in other words, of their dissonance. Perfect resonance among a set of elements means no resistance. And it is their resistance to one another’s influence (inertia) that endows material elements with such dependable definition, while the lack of such dissonance makes psychological skills both physically ambiguous and flexibly able to apply to different types of situations.

But while the short-wave focus of physical action is where personal identity is sharply distinguished from the rest of the cosmos, it’s stressful to maintain this sharp focus for long. Which is why all living systems have the need to reunite with longer-term fields of being, leaving personal limitations behind for a while. Since a life is not a one-shot affair, all organisms cycle into “lower-focus” modes of reflection, sleep, coherence, and dream for the sake of revitalization. Sitting on the porch swing and letting your mind wander provides the relief of not concentrating on specific details for specific reasons. Clear boundaries between immediate present and other times and places begin to blur, along with distinctions between reality and fantasy, self and environment, thought and feeling. As the pace of experience relaxes, priorities start changing too. Powerful feelings that were held in check by short-term concerns may come to the fore. The context of one’s experience can change from a narrowly predictable stream into an ocean that is not so easily encompassed.


In Mathematics, Physics & Reality Arthur M. Young, the inventor of the helicopter, writes about how lower frequencies control higher frequencies in processes of experience:

Considering the whole range of frequencies involved…we can reasonably surmise that the lower frequencies characterize the larger ‘organon.’’ It is also obvious that the larger organon could not have evolved from a single cell without being able to control and coordinate the activities of its constituent parts. This implies that the lower frequency controls the higher frequencies…the organon which spans the longer time controls processes that span the shorter time. Put in terms of human actions, you can only control a process shorter than your attention span.

And though longer-term processes can be controling lots of shorter-term ones, they also tend to be that much harder to control.

Generally speaking, the larger and longer the adaptive cycles, the less predictable and controllable they are. At a very limited spatial and temporal scale (and if we clearly define the boundaries of the system in question), prediction and control are possible, but since such reductions in complexity (e.g. controlled laboratory conditions) are artificially created by us and don’t take into account the fundamental interconnectedness, interbeing and complexity of the scale-linking processes we participate in, such prediction and control is only of limited use.

Though the part of your mind that intends the longer-wave process of making that good pot of gumbo is controlling the sequencing of each of the shorter-term processes that together will accomplish the full recipe, I would substitute the word influence, since control implies an absolute degree of unilateral influence that is rarely desirable in communicative systems, including one’s own mind/body.

Such longer- to shorter-term influences, though subtle in terms of physical energies, can produce powerful consequences, as when the subtle firing of a few neurons in the brain results in someone pulling the trigger of a gun. As Young points out, though “higher frequencies involve greater energy exchange… all man-made machinery involves control of energy, and if the energy controlled were not greater than the energy needed to control the machine, machinery would be useless….This is consistent with the relationship between energy and time decreed by Planck’s Constant, in which energy is inversely proportional to time (e x t = h); that is, if we reduce the energy, the period increases.” Which shows why mental influence – the powers conferred by memory, intention, and desire – sometimes requires very little energy for a lot of oomph.
– Daniel Christian Wahl

Each time you happen to me all over again.
– Edith Wharton

It doesn’t matter if the whole world does things differently than you. Find ways of working with your unique brain. Utilize your strengths to overcome your weaknesses.
– Andrew Duff McDuffey

Resurrection of the body of the beloved,
Which is the world.
Which is the poem
Of the world, the poem of the body.

Mortal ourselves and filled with awe,
We gather the scattered limbs
Of Osiris.
That he should live again.
That death not be oblivion.

The beloved is dead. Limbs
And all the body’s
Miraculous parts
Scattered across Egypt,
Stained with dark mud.

We must find them, gather
Them together, bring them
Into a single place
As an anthologist might collect
All the poems that matter
Into a single book, a book
Which is the body of the beloved,
Which is the world.

Who wants to lose the world,
For all its tumult and suffering?
Who wants to leave the world,
For all its sorrow?
Not I.
And so I come to the Book,
Which is also the body
Of the beloved. And so
I come to the poem.
The poem is the world
Scattered by passion, then
Gathered together again
So that we may have hope.

The shape of the Book
Is the door to the grave,
Is the shape of the stone
Closed over us, so that
We may know terror
Is what we pass through
To reach hope, and courage
Is our necessary companion.

The shape of the Book
Is dark as death, and every page
Is lit with hope, glows
With the light of the vital body.

When I open the Book
I hear the poets whisper and weep,
Laugh and lament.

In a thousand languages
They say the same thing:
“We lived. The secret of life
Is love, which casts its wing
Over all suffering, which takes
In its arms the hurt child,
Which rises green from the fallen seed.”

It’s not magic; it isn’t a trick.
Every breath is a resurrection.
And when we hear the poem
Which is the world, when our eyes
Gaze at the beloved’s body,
We’re reborn in all the sacred parts
Of our own bodies:
the heart
Contracts, the brain
Releases its shower
Of sparks,
and the tear
Embarks on its pilgrimage
Down the cheek to meet
The smiling mouth.

Sadness is there, too.
All the sadness in the world.
Because the tide ebbs,
Because wild waves
Punish the shore
And the small lives lived there.
Because the body is scattered.
Because death is real
And sometimes death is not
Even the worst of it.

If sadness did not run
Like a river through the Book,
Why would we go there?
What would we drink?

Isis kneels on the banks
Of the Nile. She is assembling
The limbs of Osiris.
Her live limbs moving
Above his dead, moving
As if in a dance, her torso
Swaying, her long arms
Reaching out in a quiet
Constant motion.

And the river below her
Making its own motions,
Eddies and swirls, a burbling
Sound the current makes
As if a throat was being cleared,
As if the world was about to speak.

The poem is written on the body,
And the body is written on the poem.

The Book is written in the world,
And the world is written in the Book.

This is the reciprocity of love
That outwits death. Death looks
In one place and we’re in the other.

Death looks there, but we are here.

“What is life?”
When you first
Hear that question
It echoes in your skull
As if someone shouted
In an empty cave.

The same answer each time:
The resurrection of the body
Of the beloved, which is
The world.

Every poem different but
Telling the same story.
And we’ve been gathering
Them in a book
Since writing began
And before that as songs
Or poems people memorized
And recited aloud
When someone asked: “What is life?”

The things that die
Do not die,
Or they die briefly
To be born again
In the Book.

Did you think
You would see
The loved one again
In this world
Or in some other?

No, that cannot happen.
But we have been
Gathering, all of us,
The scattered remnants
Of the loved one
Since the beginning.

In Egypt, the loved
One is not in the pyramids
But in the poem
Carved in stone
About the lover’s lips
And eyes.
In the igloo
The poem gathers
The dark hair of the beloved.

All the poems of the world
Have been gathering the beloved’s
Body against your loss.
Read in the Book. Open
Your eyes and your heart;
Open your voice.
The beloved
Is there and was never lost.

– Gregory Orr, Concerning the Book That Is the Body of the Beloved

Piousness
and the Path of Love
are two different roads.
Love is the fire that burns both belief
and non-belief.
Those who practice Love have neither
…. religion nor caste.
– Abu- Said Abil-Kheir

Demands begin with the playwright–with any writer. You must demand that you tell the truth about something important to you. You must demand that it may take you to uncomfortable quarters, but you will remain there to see whatever it is you have all the way home, to cop a title.
– Edward Albee

New rule for myself: At any time, you should be able to name at least 5 of your strengths and how you’ve used them today or plan on using them today.
– Andrew Duff McDuffee

HAIKU
~
The cherry blossoms:
can they not be beautiful
and also angry?

Season Word: “cherry blossoms,” spring / plants

Cherry blossom call to mind an array of conventional feelings about beauty, sadness, and the fleetingness of life. It’s enough to make anybody angry, being reduced to a stereotype. Haiku poets beware. The blossoms have had enough!

– Clark Strand

May the Lord bless you from Zion;
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
May you live to see your children’s children—

– Psalm 128

Winter Man

Winter man, Winter woman, frozen at the heart,
Lethal as a falling falcon, full of subtle art,
Having put the earth beneath you, master and not friend,
Miracles alone can’t teach you how to love again.

Winter people, winter world, caught in your own spell,
Pinioned in the cunning coils of your heaven’s hell,
From your hives of stone and steel you tremble for the day
When the bells of spring will peal and sweep your works away.

“You are not the villain here,” sings the truthful snow
“You are not the hero and you are not the foe.”
“You are just a seed of life still learning how to grow
Far beyond your fragile sense of a tale too great to know.”

As the fierce and fragile seeds who bear the brunt of time,
Children of the tree of life that yearns to fill the sky,
Buried deep in bitter ground, you are the living dead.
But when the pipes of spring come ’round, you will lift up your heads.

You will lift up your hearts to shout with gladness loud and long.
You will cast off the husk of doubt to sing a heartfelt song.
Your ancient song of love between all creatures great and small
Will echo from the highest hills and from the starry halls!

“You are not the villain here,” sings the truthful snow
“You are not the hero and you are not the foe.”
“You are just a seed of life still learning how to grow
Far beyond your fragile sense of a tale too great to know.
– George Gorman

Girls don’t want boys; they want Stevie Nicks hair and a bookstore within walking distance of their apartment.
– Kendra Alvey

Money is numbers and numbers never end. If it takes money to be happy, your search for happiness will never end.
– Bob Marley

i can’t remember the last time
i felt light as dandelion. i can’t remember
the last time i took the sweetness in
& my diaphragm expanded into song.
– Yesenia Montilla

People who see their spirituality as something to attain, don’t know what they’re talking about. All spirituality is about growth and transformation. It’s all a gift, all grace.
– Bob Holmes

When you find the way
Others will find you
Passing by on the road.
They will be drawn to your door.
The way that cannot be heard
will be reflected in your voice.
The way that cannot be seen
Will be reflected in your eyes.
– Lao Tzu

I’m only a jolly storyteller
and have nothing to do
with politics or schemes
and my only plan
is the old Chinese way of the Tao:
Avoid the authorities.
– Jack Kerouac

Truly, ours is a circle of friendships, united by our ideals.
– Juliette Gordon Low

Learn to tame your mind,
And never spoil the mind of others.
– Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche

History is the tracks in the snow left by creativity’s wandering in the divine imagination.
– Terence McKenna

Grateful living is the awareness
that we stand on holy ground—
always—in touch with Mystery.
– Brother David Steindl-Rast

Singing is more
Temporally magical
Than a poem

A poem is a bouquet of thoughts
Suffused with feeling

Songs weave times together
Poems must debate them

As if Octavio Paz
And Pablo Neruda

Could spar for partnership
In cooperatively unruly play

The magic must spark
Off of a poem

With a song
It trembles

– George Gorman

Dr. Thema:
Aren’t you glad you stopped waiting for them to choose you?

Aren’t you glad you chose yourself?

Baffled and disturbed by the way so many people all seem to have embraced the idea we can solve social problems by forcing subsets of the population to stay in their houses.
– @moveincircles

True humility —
is one of the most expansive
and life-enhancing of all virtues.
It does not mean undervaluing yourself.
It means valuing other people.
It signals a certain openness
to life’s grandeur and the willingness
to be surprised, uplifted,
by goodness wherever one finds it.
Judaism is a religion of memory.
Memory, for Jews, is a religious obligation.
– Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

It is the task of the translator to release in his own language that pure language that is under the spell of another, to liberate the language imprisoned in a work in his re-creation of that work.
– Walter Benjamin

I contemplate the peace of trees.
Such long wild lives in the self-same spot
infuse me with such comfort, as if
loving where I am is not so hard.
– George Gorman

LIST OF SEEMINGLY UNRELATED OBSERVATIONS
Distance, like snow, melts.

Walking in deep yellow leaves
drowns out your voice.

Thinking, like a deep river,
eats canyons in your mind.

Everything blossoms that can.

Everything blossomed that could.

Stars move if they are airplanes;
wish fast.

You can live in as many places
at once as you need to.

For some places you don’t go anymore,
you still have a key.

A dream brings you into morning
one way or another.
– Grace Butcher

Have an uncomfortable mind; be strange. Be disturbed: by what is happening on the planet, and to it; by the cruelty, and stupidity humanity is capable of; by the unbearable beauty of certain music, and the mysteries and failures of love, and the brief, confusing, exhilarating hour of your own life.
– Kim Addonizio

To see that your life is a story while you’re in the middle of living it may be help to living it well. It’s unwise, though, to think you know how it’s going to go, or how it’s going to end. That’s to be known only when it’s over.And even when it’s over, even when it’s somebody else’s life, somebody who lived a hundred years ago, whose story I’ve heard told time and time again, while I’m hearing it I hope and fear as if I didn’t know how it would end; and so I live the story and it lives in me. That’s as good a way as I know to outwit death. Stories are what death thinks he puts an end to. He can’t understand that they end in him, but they don’t end with him.
Other people’s stories may become part of your own, the foundation of it, the ground it goes on.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

REMEMBER
the way mere mortals are overwhelmed
by circumstance,
how great reputations
dissolve with infirmity
and how you,
in particular,
stand a hairsbreadth
from losing
everyone you hold dear.
Recall the way you are all possibilities
you can see, and how you live best
as an appreciator of horizons
whether you reach them or not.
Admit that once you have got up
from your chair and opened the door,
once you have walked out into the clear air
toward that edge and taken the path up high
beyond the ordinary you have become
the privileged and the pilgrim,
the one who will tell the story
and the one, coming back
from the mountain
who helped to make it.
– David Whyte, Mameen

The future cannot be trusted. The moment of truth is now. And more and more it will be poetry, rather than prose, that receives this truth. Prose is far more trusting than poetry: poetry speaks to the immediate wound.
– John Berger

Poetry is the making of poetic sense of the poet’s life for the use of another.
– John Berger

Be careful that you’re not so tightly-knit that you’re a clique.
– Leah Callen

With few exceptions our society has considered the industrial route as the way into the future. We have been entranced with the progress myth, unlimited progress, progress that would lead beyond the existing human condition to something infinitely better, to wonderland. Such is the seductive theme of almost all our advertising.
– Thomas Berry

What if I told you that people don’t have self-esteem issues, instead we have self-hatred issues – meaning we have inner criticism that is bullying us, putting us down?

What if I told you that those inner bullies are mostly internalized from a sexist, racist, anti-Semitic, ableist, ageist, homophobic culture?

Meaning that Black people, for the most part, don’t have self-esteem issues, they have internalized racism.

And women don’t have self-esteem issues, they have internalized sexism?

What if you knew, clearly, that the bad feelings you have about yourself don’t belong to you – that they mostly result from biases in the culture, not personal psychological issues? Even the family abuses are often fueled by these powerful forces.

What if I told you that even if you are a White straight male, your criticisms of yourself may still have sexist, racist and homophobic roots as you apply a standard to yourself that is not whole, pressuring you to conform to a rigid identity?

When I see this clearly in my clients, my activist heart swells with fury and my resistance to see their problems as some form of personal pathology grows stronger.
– David Bedrick

Everyone just nods their head when someone says something like, scientific research has validated the use of hawthorn as a heart tonic. That is a very strange underlying bias for people to have, giving “science” (but actually scientists) the power to define what is true and what is not, what we can legitimately do and not do for our own health…. There is a knee jerk default to scientists as the arbiters of reality. What if scientists viewpoints and perceptions are actually expressions of their own biases and aren’t really indicative of something about the exterior world? What if a lot of their research is skewed? What if the most important things in a human life and our habitation of Earth have nothing to do with what scientists say it does?
– Stephen Buehner

How can one write nothing?

Let us place it here, not to close it,
but on the contrary so as to leave it open,
like a wound.

– Jacques Derrida, Sovereignties in question the poetics of Paul Celan

Snowdrops
by Louise Glück

Do you know what I was, how I lived? You know
what despair is; then
winter should have meaning for you.

I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn’t expect
to waken again, to feel
in damp earth my body
able to respond again, remembering
after so long how to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring—

afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy

in the raw wind of the new world.

Transformation is an instant-moment thing, open to us and available to us in any and every second. Life starts anew when you say it does. Remember always that you are not your past.
– Neale Donald Walsh

It is your attempt to get special experiences from life that makes you miss the actual experience of life.
– Michael A. Singer

Do everything with a mind that lets go. If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace. If you let go completely, you will know complete peace and freedom. Your struggles with the world will have come to an end…
– Ajahn Chah

I Don’t Have a Pill for That
by Deborah Landau

It scares me to watch
a woman hobble along
the sidewalk, hunched adagio

leaning on—
there’s so much fear
I could draw you a diagram

of the great reduction
all of us will soon
be way-back-when.

The wedding is over.
Summer is over.
Life please explain.

This book is nearly halfway read.
I don’t have a pill for that,
the doctor said.

Her feeling had come too late;
there it was ready,
but he no longer needed it.
– Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

The Development of Insight
by ACHAAN NAEB

There are in Buddhism two methods of mental development. One is the development of insight (Vipassana), and the other is the development of tranquility (Samatha). The latter aims only at concentration, whereby the individual is constantly conscious of one object, and this concentration is directed along a single channel of one-pointedness until a serene tranquility is reached. This kind of mental development does not bring about an understanding of reality, nor of its cause and effect. It brings only tranquility. The development of insight, on the other hand, calls for an understanding of the ‘truth of existence’; or, to put it another way, an understanding of form or matter and mind or mental states. This understanding is the aim of the development of insight.

To begin with, I shall explain what concentration in the development of tranquility is composed of, because the development of concentration according to this method cannot be used at the same time as the development of insight, or vice versa. Please do not misunderstand this point, for one can begin with the development of tranquility, and after having achieved concentration, one may then proceed to the development of insight. But the mixing of these two cannot achieve the desired results of insight.

Tranquility meditation is cultivated by concentrating the mind and holding it one-pointedly on a particular object. The traditional objects through which concentration can be achieved, according to the development of tranquility, are forty in number: the ten colors and elements, ten impurities, ten recollections, four sublime abodes, four boundless meditations, one reflection upon the loathsomeness of food, and the analysis of the four primary qualities—namely, solidity, cohesion, heat, and vibration. Any one of these may be taken as the meditation subject for the development of tranquility.

Concentration upon any one of the forty foregoing objects cannot lead to insight, because insight meditation must have the changing of mental states and matter as its object of meditation. Although concentration can lead to the development of great powers of mind and extraordinary happiness, this great happiness is temporary and still very different from the application of mindfulness which leads to nirvana. Only insight practice brings a permanent end to sorrow.

Before speaking further about the development of insight, I think that we should first understand what insight is, its function and its usefulness. In brief, insight is wisdom which enables one to see that mental states and matter are impermanent or transitory, unsatisfactory or suffering, and impersonal or nonself. What we regard as ‘self’ or ‘ego’ or ‘soul’ are miscomprehensions arising from a lack of knowledge of absolute truth. In reality, ‘self’ is but a very rapid continuity of birth and decay of mental states and matter.

Having thus learned that insight is this kind of wisdom, what then is its function? Insight has as its function the destruction of all hidden defilements, craving, and wrong views. With regard to its usefulness, insight will enlighten us to the true nature of mental states and matter. But what is this true nature? It is the understanding that mental states and matter are not lasting, that they are full of suffering and that they are not a personality or soul or self. In other words, development of insight does not create these three characteristics of existence— impermanence, suffering, and impersonality—nor does this kind of development deceive you into perceiving these characteristics. No! These three characteristics of existence are there in nature. Whether or not anyone sees or understands them, they are always present. The reason that we do not see or understand these characteristics is that we use the wrong methods in trying to perceive and analyze them. It is only through cultivating the right methods of development of insight that we can see existence as it really is.

Such is the sole purpose of the development of insight. There is nothing else which can be attributed to this kind of mental development. I have read about people who, having made no study of the development of insight, claim to see heavens and hells while closing their eyes. Others claim they can heal illnesses and that childless parents can have children by development of insight. Still others profess that by means of the development of insight they can see lottery numbers, tell the future of others’ lives, or that they can float in the air, walk on water, penetrate the earth, render themselves transparent, or become clairvoyant or clairaudient. All of these performances are not the achievement of the development of insight and have no bearing upon it. These peculiar feats may only be the effects of concentration. The sole function of insight is to destroy the defilements, qualities of mind such as craving, wrong view, and ignorance, which form the basis of the rebirth cycle (samsara). This is the growth of wisdom.

Wisdom has three sources, namely: 1. Wisdom which results from pondering the teachings heard from others. 2. Wisdom which results from one’s own considerations and reflections, pondering and thinking about the truth of existence, which, during periods of reflection, can temporarily destroy the defilements. 3. Wisdom which results through personal experience that enables one to see the truth of the three characteristics: impermanence, suffering, and impersonality. This experiential aspect is insight wisdom. It is the tool by which the defilements can be destroyed completely and permanently.

After we are well versed in the wisdom of teachings, this in turn can give birth to consideration. This right understanding of the teachings leads then to right awareness and the results of right awareness lead to the birth of insight wisdom. This insight wisdom is dependent upon the other two aspects of wisdom.

No worldly wisdom compares. Only these three kinds of wisdom serve to destroy progressively the conditions of rebirth. They are cultivated until the three characteristics of existence become clear. This perception is the main aim of the development of insight. This was the purpose of the Buddha’s propagating his teachings, to enable all beings to appreciate and realize the Dharma, the truths of nature.

Next it should be understood just what prevents us from realizing the three characteristics of existence. Factors obscuring impermanence, suffering, and impersonality, the three characteristics known by wisdom, were explained by the Buddha. That which masks impermanence is continuity, which refers to rapid change in all formations; that is, mental states and matter are constantly and very rapidly arising and falling away. This process happens so quickly that we are unable to perceive the arising and falling away of mental states and matter; thus it seems to us that mental states and matter are permanent. This is how continuity hides impermanence. In order to illustrate this, let us take seeing a movie as an example. Although continuous movement appears on the screen, it is not the projection of only one picture but actually hundreds of them. The rapidity of the change from one type of matter to another gives us the impression that there is only one matter instead of separate matters. Similarly, as we cannot see the many individual pictures making up a movie, we cannot see that in reality there are many kinds of mental states and matter. Moreover, mental states and matter arise and fall away far more rapidly than the individual pictures which go into the making of a movie. This is why it is extremely difficult for us to perceive the changes. When we cannot perceive this truth, the delusion which claims impermanence as being permanent arises.

What is it that obscures suffering? The Buddha said that it was the lack of consideration upon the bodily positions. Not paying attention to the body, we do not realize that mental states and matter are painful, and that suffering is oppressing us at all times.

When we do not realize this truth, then wrong view occurs, and we see our life, mental states, and matter as good and bringing happiness. Following this, the craving for happiness arises, leading to greater suffering.

What is it that obscures impersonality? Before answering, let us talk a little about this characteristic. Impersonality is the heart of Buddhism and it is a doctrine different from other philosophies and religions. In other religions, there must be one fundamental thing to act as the foundation, or a supreme leader, or else a permanent or sacred thing which is held on to or depended upon. But in Buddhism, we find that everything is impersonal; there is no soul or self; there is no ‘Powerful One’. Thus all existence has the characteristic of impersonality. Now, what is it that prevents us from realizing impersonality? The Buddha said that it is the massing together of compounded perceptions of mental states and matter. This gives us the opinion that mental states and matter are one whole solid mass or entity which is permanent. We then add the notions that mind and matter are wholesome and important; that the five aggregates (form, feelings, perceptions, mind objects, and consciousness) are good. Although we may have heard that the five aggregates arise and fall away very rapidly, we are not able to see the separation of each mental state or each of the five aggregates and thereby realize its true characteristics. This inability to separate them is the reason why we do not realize impersonality. This lack of realization creates the illusion of solidity, or personality, that is to say, the belief that there is a permanent ‘I’ or ‘self’. When this happens, the illusion of personality becomes the mental factor causing desire. Desire, in turn, will cause one to think that both mental states and matter are lasting and can bring happiness. It is necessary to correct this misperception to understand the three characteristics of existence and become liberated.

There are many varieties of mental states and matter. We, as ordinary people, are not able to analyze them and shall never be able to do so unless we (1) develop insight, (2) understand the principles which govern this kind of development, and (3) acquire right purpose. Only with right purpose will we be able to overcome the obstacles to enlightenment. Otherwise we will succumb to the influence of cravings and whimsical fancies (or wrong judgments), which lead to the perpetual cycle of birth and death.

Right purpose is understanding that the importance of insight is to destroy the painful cycle of birth, old age, ill health, and death, and all the lesser sufferings which occur in daily life. If we want to practice because we think that we will gain merit, or because we wish to create some supranormal happenings, or to achieve something extraordinary, we do not have the correct understanding of the basic principles.

Up to now I have been talking about the effects of the development of insight and as yet have not dealt with the practice itself. During the actual development of insight we must continually be aware of mental states and matter so that we may perceive their characteristics. Only after we have thoroughly understood mental states and matter can we deepen the development of awareness of them. Such mental development must follow the sequence outlined in the Buddha’s discourse, Application of Mindfulness. In this text are found four classifications of objects for development of insight, namely, the physical body, feelings, consciousness, and Dharma. These can be boiled down to mental states and matter.

After we have understood the basic theory of insight meditation, we must begin to actually develop insight by being aware of the four fundamental positions of the body and the attendant mental states. Please keep in mind that the purpose in being aware of the position of the body is to see the inherent suffering and misery clearly. In other words, the requirement is to be conscious constantly of every position and movement of the body. If we are not so aware, we will never realize the true extent and nature of suffering. We must exercise awareness on each movement of the body as it is taking place, as when we move to sit down, to lie down, to stand, or to walk; we must be aware of every such movement.

While we are sitting, standing, lying, or walking, we shall be mindful of this position as matter. The walking position is the movement of the body and not the feet touching the floor. It is the same with the sitting position. We must be careful that we are mindful of the whole sitting position and not just the portion of the body which is touching the object we are sitting on. The matter which is touched and the sitting position are different. Sometimes the practitioner intends to be mindful of the sitting position but, instead, is mindful of the touching. He therefore is unaware of the sitting position. If the practitioner is mindful of the touching, then he must be mindful when he is touching. If he is mindful of the sitting position, he has to be mindful right at the time when he is sitting. The touching and sitting positions have different characteristics and they are different matter and have different doorways of recognition. They are different in all aspects. Whenever we want to see any matter we have to be mindful of the correct object.

We must also be aware of all the kinds of mental states and physical actions in a particular position, as to whether we are doing something or thinking about things. Suppose we take the sitting position as an example. We should be conscious and aware of the sitting position, and we must realize that the sitting position is matter and the awareness of that position is a mental state. We must separate the matter from the mental state. While we are looking at a mental state or at matter, we also have to realize which type of mental state or which type of matter it is. By understanding that there are different positions, we will then know that each experience of matter is different. If we do not know that matter is ‘sitting matter’ at a given moment, or if we know only that it is just matter, we are not practicing the correct method. Because if we merely know that it is only matter, and fail to perceive the separation or change of matter, we will mistakenly think that there is only one continuous matter, and that that ‘one’ continuous matter sits, stands, walks, etc. When we see only unchanging matter, then wrong view, belief in an unchanging self, arises. Therefore, while practicing insight, we have to be aware at all times of precisely what type of matter or what type of mental state we are looking upon. As soon as we begin to consider any one form of existence, we will be able to determine, little by little, whether it is a mental state or matter.

The situation is the same as when we began learning how to write. At first we had to learn what the letter was, whether it was a orb. We had to study and remember the shape of each letter. If we didn’t remember the shape of each letter, then we could not read. Some children have no difficulty in saying the ABCs, but if you ask them to point out any one letter, they are unable to do so because they did not learn the shape of each letter. In the same way, if the practitioner of development of insight does not realize the characteristic of, for example, the sitting position, but just says or thinks to himself, sitting, sitting, he is not practicing correctly. Practicing insight without understanding the different types of mental states and matter is like trying to read the ABCs without having learned the shape of each letter, or looking at a row of letters without being able to read. For this reason, we have to try to be aware of the position of matter and each type of mental state in order to know the particular characteristic of each and how it differs from the others, since each has its own characteristic. We will then be able to see the constant change of these states. If we cultivate wisdom in this way, we shall realize the true characteristics of mental states and matter.

The Buddha said that, we must practice insight to see clearly that which is. To do so we have to first destroy attachment and aversion for the object. Therefore, while being mindful of mental states and matter, we have to be carefully watchful and mentally alert. Developing desireless awareness is the right understanding of the applications of mindfulness. It is similar to watching the characters acting in a play. As for the character who has not yet appeared, we do not desire to see him. Similarly we do not desire to follow or hold the characters who are going off stage. We keep our attention upon the character who is acting. Our only interest is in seeing the characters performing the play and not the directing of it. We are composed of aggregates (matter and mind or feelings, perceptions, mind elements, and consciousness) which are like a movie picture that continues throughout the day and night, even while we are sleeping, sitting, or breathing. It continues acting with every breath, in and out, until we die, and then begins to act another role, continuing on endlessly. This is known as samsara.

It is not necessary to search elsewhere to learn about mental states and matter. During the practice we must have a neutral feeling toward whatever arises, like the attitude toward the role which a character is playing, or appearing in, at every moment. We have to be aware as an onlooker with a neutral feeling. So, if our mind is wandering about, and we do not like it wandering about, this attitude is not correct. The correct way is to be aware of the act of wandering itself. We should also realize that we are aware of the mental state which is wandering about. We must realize that the wandering mind is a mental state, or we will mistakenly think it is ‘I’ wandering about and thus the idea of personality will remain instead of being eliminated.

As we analyze in this fashion, while being aware of the wandering mind, we should check to see that there is no desire to have the wandering mind disappear.

Meditating upon the wandering mind, thinking that the purpose of insight practice is to make it disappear, is entirely incorrect; insight cannot be attained at all this way. Why? Because one is wrongly trying to control nature, deluded that there is a self which can control the mind or force the wandering mind to disappear. Now, if through great effort it would disappear, as we would like it to, wisdom would not result, but instead merely cause wrong views and cravings for certain peaceful states of mind to spring up. We would feel happy as soon as the wandering mind disappeared and believe that our meditation was very effective, thus reinforcing the illusion of a self, a doer. After the wandering mind disappears, the concentrated or tranquil mind takes its place. At this point we feel we can control the world, and we lose the opportunity to realize that mental states and matter are impersonal and are ultimately not in one’s power or control.

No one can govern or command mental states and matter to behave in a certain manner. If a person wrongly thinks that he can control mental states and matter, such thinking will only bring misunderstanding. In fact, even though one does not meditate, nor want the wandering mind to disappear, it will disappear anyhow, because anything which arises must fall away. All kinds of mental states and matter have the three characteristics. When we do not look wisely upon them, then misunderstanding occurs and the defilements of like, dislike, or self arise. When the defilements exist, they hinder insight. When the mind is wandering and the practitioner does not want this to happen, the feeling of dislike will result. When he has the feeling of dislike, he tries to concentrate strongly so as to have a ‘concentrated mind’ and stop the ‘wandering mind’. In other words, his mind aims at peacefulness or pleasure. He finds himself stuck, attached to tranquility. The practitioner who meditates correctly should not be creating attachments and aversions.

One reason why the practitioner is often unable to develop the application of mindfulness is that he does not have correct understanding of how to be mindful. For instance, while he is mindful of a position, pain must sooner or later occur in that position. When pain occurs, he should be aware of the painful feeling without trying to suppress it. It is the same as in the case of awareness of the wandering mind. If we concentrate on the pain to suppress the pain, this kind of mindfulness is the object of craving, rather than just observing the object. This means that the proper mental factor for the middle path of mental balance is missing because our consciousness is turned toward our feelings of like and dislike. When we want pain to disappear, it is attachment, and when we dislike it if pain has not yet disappeared, it is aversion. Should the pain disappear as we desired, there follows further attachment. Such practice is not the correct application of mindfulness, and the awareness is not seeing clearly the ‘present’ object because we wish it to be different in the future. If it is not the ‘present’ object which we are aware of, then the practice is off the middle path. We can see that establishing the balance of the middle path is not easy. For this reason, it is of extreme importance to have right understanding first. We must see that insight does not depend only on effort or on strong concentration. Nor does it depend upon our wish to know or to realize, but rather, it depends upon right awareness. If we do not achieve keen awareness, although we try to use much effort and concentration, wisdom still will not result.

As an example let us take this lecture. While you are listening, those of you who have never practiced mindfulness at all will get only a certain amount of understanding from it. Those who have practiced mindfulness might attain some understanding of the matter of insight; and if you are very keen, you might have deep insight wisdom arise while you are listening. For if you have the right understanding and awareness, you can meditate anywhere on the ‘present reality’ (that which exists independent of our desires) which is occurring at any moment. When we are aware of present reality with right understanding and awareness, we can reach at any moment the first stage of enlightenment. The same situation happened during the Buddha’s lifetime. Often when he finished expounding his teaching, a great number of people would reach the various stages of enlightenment. So insight depends upon right understanding and not on effort nor strong concentration.

Now let us go back and review what has been mentioned before. Why are we aware of our positions? So that we can realize the nature of suffering or pain. If we are not aware of a position, then can that position show us the truth of suffering? Furthermore, if we do not understand how to be aware properly, we cannot realize pain. When changing position, if we are not aware that the old position was painful, the new position may cover up the truth of pain. Therefore, we should be alert and wisely find the reason why we changed our position. If we discover the reason before changing, then the new position will not cover up the truth of pain. When we are aware of the position at all times, we find that pain will occur after a certain period of time, and it is only then that we wish to change position. When there is pain in a position we do not like that position; and when we do not like a position because it is no longer comfortable, any desire for that position will disappear. When the desire for a position disappears, then aversion may replace our initial attachment for that position. The emotion of aversion arises with painful feeling.

As for changing position, although we once liked the old position, desire for it disappeared, and instead dislike arose. When dislike enters the mind, desire will attach itself to a new position because it is comfortable. Thus we can see that in all kinds of positions there are attachment and aversion. However, the practitioner usually does not recognize this. To be aware of a position, the practitioner should understand that before changing a position he must find out at all times why he must make that change. If we do not know the cause or reason for our changing, then we cannot and will not recognize pain as pain. At times I have asked a practitioner if he knows why he has to change the bodily positions. One of the replies was that he sat too long and that he just ‘wants’ to change. Such reasoning as this, of course, is not correct. This reason does not in the least show the true nature of pain to him. Therefore, I must further ask him why he has to change after sitting a long time. There must be some other cause or reason. It is not that after sitting for a long time one just ‘wants’ to change; one must find a more precise reason as to what it is that forces one to ‘want’ to change a position. If he is questioned in this manner, he will see that he was forced to change by the influence of suffering or pain. It is pain forcing him to change position at all times.

Now, let me ask a counter-question. Can a human being assume one position and not move or change it at all? The answer, of course, is ‘no’. Even if we do not want to change, are we not forced to change regardless of our wishes? Previously we said that we sat because we wanted to sit, we stood because we wanted to stand; but now can we say that we sit or change a position because we want to? As we see, then, we change position due to pain or suffering, because we are uncomfortable. That is why, to develop insight, the practitioner must find the reason each time he changes position. When he is lying down before falling asleep and he turns or changes position, he must find the reason; he must know that each time he changes it is because of pain or suffering. If the cause is realized in this manner at all times, and we are aware of the present object, we shall recognize the basic characteristics of existence.

Now, when we realize that we are forced to change positions because of pain, we should question further to find out if there are other reasons. If the answer is that we change because we want to be comfortable, this is incorrect. It is incorrect because it is a distortion of happiness. The correct answer is that we change in order to ‘cure’ the pain. We do not change to acquire happiness. The wrong answer comes from misunderstanding, and if we do not have the right comprehension when we change positions, defilements can and will spring up.

Changing positions to ‘cure’ pain indicates that we have to remedy the situation at all times. We should not misjudge and think that the reason is to attain happiness, since the curing of pain all the time is the same as having to take medicines constantly. It is like nursing a continuous sickness. Thus, we should not look upon nursing sickness and curing pain as being happiness at all. P

ain in the old position is easy to realize, but the pain in a new position is difficult to realize. With wisdom one can fathom the pain in the new position. If there is no wisdom, craving will surely arise. That is why we must have a way to find suffering or pain in the new position. And what is that way? To realize why we change position. When we realize that we change positions because of painful feeling, we must further recognize the fact that actually there is pain in all positions. Sitting becomes painful, standing becomes painful, so we change; all positions become painful and it is necessary to change positions repeatedly. We lie down for a while, but then pain will occur. At first we think that lying down is happiness and we want to lie down, but after experiencing the lying position for a while, we notice that it also is painful. Let us, therefore, realize that the truth of suffering is found in all positions. In this way the illusion, which claims it to be happiness, will certainly disappear. As soon as we think that any position is happy, illusions arise and we will be unable to eliminate them.

As I said earlier, it is easy to realize suffering in an old position, because the painful feeling is obvious, but it is difficult to realize suffering in a new position. We have to recognize the different kinds of sufferings and the necessity to change or to ‘cure’ suffering all the time; and realizing that all formations, mind and matter, are inherently painful, is wisdom.

When we are practicing insight, we should not cling to any particular state. To understand this we can again work with the postures. If we ask someone who is meditating which position he likes best, he may say that he likes the sitting or standing or walking position best. We will have to question him further as to why he meditates more in one position than another. His answer may be that he just likes it. So again we must question him as to why. His answer may be that he likes one position more than another because in that position his mind is more able to concentrate and it does not wander so much. Some people may say that when they sit, the mind wanders a great deal and, therefore, they have to walk because they ‘want’ the mind to concentrate and be centered on one point. All of these motives are created by the influence of desire. Walking because the mind will then be able to concentrate is wrong, and if we have an attitude like this, we have wrong understanding and think that walking is good or useful; we will think that walking will bring us happiness and what we desire, because we believe that the concentrated mind has the ability to bring wisdom. If we walk for these reasons, it is not correct. We cannot walk with desire and have wisdom at the same time. If we hold onto concentration while walking, desire will arise and cover the truth of the walking position; by misconstruing the walking position as good and useful, we shall want to be in this position.

If there is any question as to why we cannot concentrate the mind first and then practice insight later, I would only say that if the concentration has an insight object (mind and matter), then it is all right. But if, on the other hand, the concentration occurs because of your desire or because you create an object, then you will be unable to practice insight with that object. A constructed object cannot be an insight object. We cannot find the truth in a constructed object because direct experience is covered up. Insight wisdom must realize the truth in all daily activities which are ‘realities’ and not consider any special object which has been produced and which differs from daily activities.

Sometimes, when someone cultivates the development of insight, he will know that he is supposed to recognize the three characteristics. He may then think that mental states and matter are impermanent or suffering or impersonal, and he will repeat this within his mind, without direct awareness of their present existence. But to recognize mental states and matter as being impermanent results from awareness in the practice. If we do not know how this understanding comes about, we think about the characteristics of mental states and matter instead of being aware of their present existence. This means that we think of the idea only, and we believe that in order to practice insight meditation we only have to think in this manner until insight wisdom occurs. This, however, is a wrong understanding, because to know through thinking instead of experiencing is not the way to gain insight. We must cultivate the right causes so that the right results will occur. Then we will see for ourselves how suffering, impermanence, and impersonality are related. We will see that anything which is impermanent is ultimately unsatisfactory and impersonal, out of control.

A most important point in the practice of the application of mindfulness is to be mindful of the present existence rather than wishing for anything in the future. This prevents the arising of defilements in all positions. If we sit in order that our mind may become peaceful, or stand so that our mind may become quiet, we are not developing insight, and desire will not be destroyed. The desire for peacefulness is attachment. No matter what position we are mindful of, we must be careful to know, at each moment, whether defilements exist or not. This clear knowing of mental states and matter is correct practice. Do not force yourself to sit for a long period of time, nor stand for a certain length of time. If we practice like this, it is incorrect. We must not force ourselves. If we do, all our practices are done in connection with the illusion of ‘self’ and this illusion will follow in all positions. Attempting to control actions in this manner cannot bring insight wisdom. In order to have insight wisdom there must be no control or time schedules (such as holding a bodily position for a prescribed period of time or appointing a time to do certain activities). Simply be aware of the appropriate cause which compels you to change positions.

If we truly consider, we will realize that we have to change positions continuously, and it is not happiness at all. When we realize this truth by having considered all our positions, we then destroy the delusions which obscure suffering. After these delusions are destroyed, the wrong view, which mistakes suffering for happiness, is also destroyed and wisdom arises. To realize this is to have right understanding. Suffering is the first of the four noble truths, and whoever realizes suffering is said to have recognized the truth of existence. To destroy the hindrance which prevents realization of suffering is one of the ways of realizing the truth.

Furthermore, we should acquaint ourselves with an additional reason for being aware of all positions. This is to understand the truth of impersonality. When we are not aware of, say, the sitting or lying positions, we do not know what is sitting or what is lying down. If we do not know what is sitting or what is lying down, it must be ‘I’ who sits or lies. Accordingly, when suffering occurs in any position we will suppose that ‘we’ are suffering. This is because we still believe it is ‘I’ who has the suffering. If we still feel that ‘we’ have suffering or that suffering has ‘us’, we have not as yet eliminated the ‘I’ concept. Who is suffering? Is matter suffering, or mental states suffering? If examining mental states and matter has not yet shown us the true characteristics of things, we still cling to the illusion of ‘self’. That being the case, when we are mindful of the positions we should be careful to observe whether there is anything other than matter or mental states and whether these are permanent or ‘self’. This is a very important point to remember, otherwise we will not be able to eliminate the illusion of ‘self’ or the ‘I’.

Mindfulness of all matter and mental states is the basic practice along with special attention to bodily positions. It is also necessary to be continually mindful of all seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching. In doing so, when we acknowledge an object through the eyes, we must be aware that it is the mental state which sees. When we acknowledge an object through the ears, we must be aware that it is the mental state which hears. It is not necessary to be mindful of the sound, but rather to be mindful of hearing. If a teacher does not have right understanding, he or she may tell the practitioner that it does not matter whether one is mindful of the sound or of the hearing. Therefore, the teacher may advise the student to be mindful of the sound if the sound is more prominent or clearer. If we practice mindfulness in this manner, it is incorrect practice.

Being mindful of color or sound cannot lead to insight because, if we are more mindful of sound or color, we shall have more concentration instead of insight. This, as I stated before, is not the correct practice because craving, wrong view, and conceit continue to assert a belief in ‘I’. It is the hearing which makes us think that ‘we’ hear, sense, etc. That is why it is not necessary to be mindful of the sound since craving and wrong view do not mistake the sound as being ‘I’ when hearing arises. Wherever craving, conceit, and wrong view exist, that is the place where we will have to eliminate them by mindfulness. Accordingly, we must be mindful of hearing when we hear. We must also know that hearing is a mental state, otherwise we mistake the hearing as ‘I’ hear. We must be mindful of hearing so that we may eliminate the illusion of ‘I’ or ‘self’ from the hearing. Hence it is of extreme importance to realize that when we hear or see, it is simply the mental state or process which hears or sees. Similarly, when the mind is wandering, we must be mindful of the mental state which is wandering about. Do not be mindful because you want to stop the wandering of the mind, or crave a peaceful mind. Do not let such notions sneak into the practice. We have to set our minds to observe the mental states which are wandering about, but with balance. Again, the situation should be the same as when one is watching a play or movie (the actor being the wandering mind). When we are observing the wandering mind we do not try to stop it. The wandering mind itself can also show the truth of the three characteristics of existence. It is not as though the wandering mind does not have these characteristics for us to see, nor are the three characteristics only in the peaceful mind. In fact, we can realize the three characteristics in the wandering mind much more easily than in the peaceful mind. This is because we can easily see how the wandering mind is out of control, not ‘I’, and also is painful.

Continuing practice, we must consider each object at the doorways of perception. We have become aware of the mental states in perception. Now we should also be mindful of matter. When we smell something, we should be mindful of the smell and realize it is matter. When we acknowledge taste or when the taste touches the tongue, we should be mindful of taste and how it is matter. In addition, we must realize that it is not according to our desire that taste arises. For example, when we take salt, even though we may not like the salty taste, we cannot change it because its basic nature is salty. Therefore, if we see how the salty taste appears naturally, and not according to our wish, then craving does not exist at the time. This is why keeping in the present moment is the most important instrument to prevent the arising of attachment and aversion. The meaning of present moment is: existence which occurs at a given time independently of our desire. We must be mindful of each object and perceive its true nature. If any object occurs through our desire, then defilements also arise. We must realize that any object which we perceive with desire cannot reveal the truth, as it is a constructed object. How can we realize the true nature of an object which has been constructed? The only object which can reveal the truth must be the ‘present object’, which occurs by itself and independently of our wishes.

We must understand what the present object is. Sometimes we may think that what we are mindful of is the present object, but in reality this may not be the case. Considering the present object, which occurs in just a split second, is like catching a fish in water. We think that we can catch a particular fish because we see it swimming in one place, so we stretch out our hand to catch it. But we fail to catch it because it slips off in another direction. It is the same in being mindful of the present object, since attachment and aversion are always pushing the present existence aside.

Whenever we are mindful of any object which occurs by itself, then the object is the present object; but most of the time we are not mindful of the present object or existence. Let us take an example. While we are mindful of the sitting position which is, let us say, the present object, our mind moves to the idea of peacefulness. Our aim being peace or comfort, we are not at such a time mindful of the truth of the object of sitting at all. We do not want to find the truth in the sitting position; instead we are mindful of the object for attaining peace of mind which has not yet occurred.

We must observe clearly in the present moment all our activities, matter and mind states. We will then see how they are without ‘self’ and are suffering. Not having the present existence as our present object, we will be wasting our time during the ,br>practice. But if we realize suddenly that our mind has slipped away from the present object, we then can mindfully set the mind on the present object once more. If we understand these characteristics of mental states we will then be able to have mindfulness on the correct object for longer periods of time and have more opportunities to realize the truth.

Let us see how to apply this while eating. We should be mindful and consider the reason why we take food. It is indicated in the Buddhist texts that we take food not because we want it, not because it is good, but rather because it is necessary to sustain the body. The Buddha also told of a further reason why we want the body to live, which is to have sufficient strength to develop the path which leads to the ending of all suffering or sorrow. It is necessary to have such consideration, otherwise we will not be able to prevent defilements from arising. We must understand that we do not take food because it tastes good, but in order to cure pain and satisfy hunger. When we take food to satisfy hunger, even though the food is not good, it will satisfy the hunger. Suppose we take food for the sake of its flavor. If it is not good, then aversion will occur. On the other hand, if it is good, then greed will occur. This would mean that we are taking the food to encourage defilements. When food is good, greed or attachment will occur. When it is not good, dissatisfaction will occur. To eat without consideration is to create more cycles of desire, of birth and death, which is the endless continuation of suffering. Therefore, when we are applying the application of mindfulness as we are going to take food, we must understand the reason at each mouthful; so that when we are eating, it will be solely for the purpose of being free from suffering. While we are taking food, if attachment and aversion do not arise at that time, then insight can occur.

When we take a bath, we must also understand this act as an action curing suffering. In our daily duties we should see the reasons for our actions. We should not put on clothing for the sake of beauty, thus we do not select this or that color, but instead use clothing to protect the body against the coldness and to keep the insects, such as mosquitoes and flies, from biting us. So it means that whatever our actions may be, they are for the realization of nirvana and the deliverance from suffering. When we have this kind of thorough understanding, the attachment to the changing mental states and matter will become weaker and weaker. But remember, we must realize what mental state it is and what matter it is, and we must have this awareness or knowledge at all times. All kinds of existence are nothing more than mental phenomena and matter; no body, no soul, no woman, no man, is there who sits. There is no one who stands, walks, or sleeps; no one is there who smells, sees, or hears, etc. There is nobody who understands or knows these things.
– Jack Kornfield

Part of the beauty of love
was that you didn’t need to explain
it to anyone else.
You could refuse to explain.
With love, apparently you didn’t necessarily
feel the need to explain anything at all.
– Meg Wolitzer

This tremendous world I have inside of me.
How to free myself, and this world,
without tearing myself to pieces.
And rather tear myself to a thousand pieces
than be buried with this world within me.
– Franz Kafka

Should we continue to look upwards? Is the light we can see in the sky one of those which will presently be extinguished? The ideal is terrifying to behold… brilliant but threatened on all sides by the dark forces that surround it: nevertheless, no more in danger than a star in the jaws of the clouds.
– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

I contemplate the peace of trees.
Such long wild lives in the self-same spot
infuse me with such comfort, as if
loving where I am is not so hard.
– George Gorman

Where the sun sets
that’s supposedly the west…
We have so many thoughts, don’t we?
One moment we think about a towel,
the next minute we think about paper,
then the next what we ate yesterday,
next what we’re going to do tomorrow,
or the person in front or the person behind.
So many thoughts! Now the question is:
each of these thoughts rises and sets –
this is quite an important aspect
of the Amitabha Sutra –
every time a thought appears, a thought rises, the same thought sets, it disappears.
And whenever a thought sets,
that’s where Amitabha is [western pure land]. This is very much complimentary to what Milarepa said in a song,
“between two thoughts there is the Buddha”.
So where is this Amitabha Buddha?
Always with you.
– Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Amitabha Sutra, Perspective of Triple Vision

begin by dusting off
the wings of wonder
on your local pillow
Lift your ineffable
out of the mundane
Aim for airborne
with the eye of the heart
as your sky pilot
and soar to glory
– James Broughton, Little Sermons of the Big Joy

Conscious self-denial leaves a man self-absorbed and vividly aware of what he has sacrificed; in consequence it fails often of its immediate object and almost always of its ultimate purpose. What is needed is not self-denial, but that kind of direction of interest outward which will lead spontaneously and naturally to the same acts that a person absorbed in the pursuit of his own virtue could only perform by means of conscious self-denial.
– Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness

It is really true what philosophy tells us, that life must be understood backwards. But with this, one forgets the second proposition, that it must be lived forwards. A proposition which, the more it is subjected to careful thought, the more it ends up concluding precisely that life at any given moment cannot really ever be fully understood; exactly because there is no single moment where time stops completely in order for me to take position [to do this]: going backwards.
– Søren Kierkegaard

What drivel it all is!… A string of words called religion. Another string of words called philosophy. Half a dozen other strings called political ideals. And all the words either ambiguous or meaningless. And people getting so excited about them they’ll murder their neighbors for using a word they don’t happen to like. A word that probably doesn’t mean as much as a good belch. Just a noise without even the excuse of gas on the stomach.
– Aldous Huxley

For I have learned that every heart will get what it prays for most.
– Hafez Shirazi

The finest qualities of our nature,
like the bloom on fruits,
can be preserved only by the most
delicate handling.
Yet we do not treat ourselves
nor one another
thus tenderly.
– Henry David Thoreau

When asked if I am a Buddhist
I answer
Yes
yet I know little of it
other than a few basic teachings
preferring practice
of a simple life
unencumbered
with entanglements of robes and
a shaved head.
I live between heaven and earth
wild-haired and gray
lucky to be retired
no more load to carry
no more titles to maintain
free and easy moving in this simple life
coffee in the morning
…iaido in the afternoon.
– Shinzen

We are sun and moon, dear friend; we are sea and land. It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is: each the other’s opposite and complement.
– Hermann Hesse

lao-tsu said: “he who loves the world as his body may be entrusted with the empire” good sentiment. but i say that he who loves the concept of empire should not be entrusted with the environment.
hune margulies

I am obliged to look at reality and talk about it without pretending… Because I reject lies and denial I am accused of pessimism; but this rejection implies hope – the hope that the truth may be useful. And this is a more optimistic attitude than the choice of apathy, ignorance or shame.
– Simone de Beauboer

Stepping “up” suggests elevation and speed, entering something with more challenge: a promotion, a better location for a home and the costs that follow, a more difficult exercise program, more engagement and possible notoriety. We tend to feel good and hopeful when we step up. But when it comes right down to it, more of our time will be taken. There will be more responsibility and maybe some nights we’ll be up more hours than is good for us. Stepping up is a mixed blessing. It needs to be something that truly is “for” us, not just an ego-win. If the latter, it will be costly.
– Gunilla Norris

A Buddha in the Woodpile
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
If there had been only
one Buddhist in the woodpile
In Waco Texas
to teach us how to sit still
one saffron Buddhist in the back rooms
just one Tibetan lama
just one Taoist
just one Zen
just one Thomas Merton Trappist
just one saint in the wilderness
of Waco USA
If there had been only one
calm little Gandhi
in a white sheet or suit
one not-so-silent partner
who at the last moment shouted Wait
If there had been just one
majority of one
in the lotus position
in the inner sanctum
who bowed his shaved head to the
Chief of All Police
and raised his hands in a mudra
and chanted the Great Paramita Sutra
the Diamond Sutra
the Lotus Sutra
If there had somehow been
just one Gandhian spinner
with Brian Wilson at the gates
of the White House
at the Gates of Eden
then it wouldn’t have been
Vietnam once again
and its “One two three four
What’re we waitin’ for?”
If one single ray of the light
of the Dalai Lama
when he visited this land
had penetrated somehow
the Land of the Brave
where the lion never
lies down with the lamb —
But not a glimmer got through
The Security screened it out
screened out the Buddha
and his not-so-crazy wisdom
If only in the land of Sam Houston
If only in the land of the Alamo
If only in Wacoland USA
If only in Reno
If only on CNN CBS NBC
one had comprehended
one single syllable
of the Gautama Buddha
of the young Siddartha
one single whisper of
Gandhi’s spinning wheel
one lost syllable
of Martin Luther King
or of the Early Christians
or of Mother Teresa
of Thoreau or Whitman or Allen Ginsberg
or of the millions in America tuned to them
If the inner ears of the inner sanctums
had only been half open
to any vibrations except
those of the national security state
and had only been attuned
to the sound of one hand clapping
and not one hand punching
then that sick cult and its children
might still be breathing
the Free American air
of the First Amendment.

When I knew a thing or two
pride kept me blind.
I was a rutting buck,
mind so stained it believed
‘I know everything’.
Then bit by bit I approached
the truly wise-minded
and saw myself a fool —
pride was a
fever
that finally broke.

– from Some Unquenchable Desire: Sanskrit Poems of the Buddhist Hermit Bhartrihari, translated by Andrew Schelling

How necessary it is to have opinions! I think the spotted trout
lilies are satisfied, standing a few inches above the earth. I
think serenity is not something you just find in the world,
like a plum tree, holding up its white petals…
How important it is to walk along, not in haste but slowly,
looking at everything and calling out
Yes! No! The
swan, for all his pomp, his robes of grass and petals, wants
only to be allowed to live on the nameless pond. The catbrier
is without fault. The water thrushes, down among the sloppy
rocks, are going crazy with happiness. Imagination is better
than a sharp instrument. To pay attention, this is our endless
and proper work.
– Mary Oliver

Solstice Litany
BY JIM HARRISON
1
The Saturday morning meadowlark
came in from high up
with her song gliding into tall grass
still singing. How I’d like
to glide around singing in the summer
then to go south to where I already was
and find fields full of meadowlarks
in winter. But when walking my dog
I want four legs to keep up with her
as she thunders down the hill at top speed
then belly flops into the deep pond.
Lark or dog I crave the impossible.
I’m just human. All too human.
2
I was nineteen and mentally
infirm when I saw the prophet Isaiah.
The hem of his robe was as wide
as the horizon and his trunk and face
were thousands of feet up in the air.
Maybe he appeared because I had read him
so much and opened too many ancient doors.
I was cooking my life in a cracked clay
pot that was leaking. I had found
secrets I didn’t deserve to know.
When the battle for the mind is finally
over it’s late June, green and raining.
3
A violent windstorm the night before
the solstice. The house creaked and yawned.
I thought the morning might bring a bald earth,
bald as a man’s bald head but not shiny.
But dawn was fine with a few downed trees,
the yellow rosebush splendidly intact.
The grass was all there dotted with Black
Angus cattle. The grass is indestructible
except to fire but now it’s too green to burn.
What did the cattle do in this storm?
They stood with their butts toward the wind,
erect Buddhists waiting for nothing in particular.
I was in bed cringing at gusts,
imagining the contents of earth all blowing
north and piled up where the wind stopped,
the pile sky-high. No one can climb it.
A gopher comes out of a hole as if nothing happened.
4
The sun should be a couple of million miles
closer today. It wouldn’t hurt anything
and anyway this cold rainy June is hard
on me and the nesting birds. My own nest
is stupidly uncomfortable, the chair
of many years. The old windows don’t keep
the weather out, the wet wind whipping
my hair. A very old robin drops dead
on the lawn, a first for me. Millions
of birds die but we never see it—they like
privacy in this holy, fatal moment or so
I think. We can’t tell each other when we die.
Others must carry the message to and fro.
“He’s gone,” they’ll say. While writing an average poem
destined to disappear among the millions of poems
written now by mortally average poets.
5
Solstice at the cabin deep in the forest.
The full moon shines in the river, there are pale
green northern lights. A huge thunderstorm
comes slowly from the west. Lightning strikes
a nearby tamarack bursting into flame.
I go into the cabin feeling unworthy.
At dawn the tree is still smoldering
in this place the gods touched earth.

A difficult life is not less
worth living than a gentle one.
Joy is simply easier to carry
than sorrow. And your heart
could lift a city from how long
you’ve spent holding what’s been
nearly impossible to hold.
This world needs those
who know how to do that.
Those who could find a tunnel
that has no light at the end of it,
and hold it up like a telescope
to know the darkness
also contains truths that could
bring the light to its knees.
Grief astronomer, adjust the lens,
look close, tell us what you see.
– Andrea Gibson

A Morning in Early March
by Ted Kooser
Twenty-six degrees at 4:00 a.m.,
bright moonlight on the last patches of snow,
a muddy blackness between them,
the soft red light from a heat lamp
easing out into the cold through a drafty crack
under the chicken house door,
and an old man in a jacket and cap,
earflaps down, his hearing aids left behind
in the house, has stopped to look up,
and is letting the moon feel all over his face
as he stands with his hands in his pockets
listening into the stars.

To be an artist means: not to calculate and count; to grow and ripen like a tree which does not hurry the flow of its sap and stands at ease in the spring gales without fearing that no summer may follow.
It will come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are simply there in their vast, quiet tranquility, as if eternity lay before them.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

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 done well.
– Vincent van Gogh

When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.
– Alan Watts

I want to think again of dangerous
and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable,
beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.
– Mary Oliver

And the trees are nice. I mean, I think I’d like ‘em all. It’d have to be a pretty fucked-up tree for me not to like it. Sometimes I wonder if life was wasted on me. It’s not that I’m dumb to the beauty of things. I—I take all the beautiful things to heart, and then they fuck my heart till I about die from it.
– Jessica Goldberg

Another kind of hurt lodged / where happiness had smouldered, another kind / of ruin, and summer came.
– Marie Howe

I don’t love my country. Her abstract glory
eludes me.
But (this may sound bad) I would give my life
for ten of her places, for certain people,
ports, pine forests, fortresses,
for a run-down city, grey and monstrous,
for several of her historical figures,
for mountains
(and three or four rivers).
– José Emilio Pacheco

The sea was more important now than the shore.
– Virginia Woolf

This must be what I wanted to be doing,
Walking at night between the two deserts, Singing.
– W.S. Merwin

We can never get life to work out so that we eliminate everything we fear and end up with all the goodies.
– Pema Chödrön

On Intellect
by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, from the book Rest

Intellectus, in turn, was enabled by leisure, which Pieper described as not just a “result of spare time” but “an attitude of non-activity, of inward calm.” The philosopher’s capacity for insight had its center in this “tranquil silence” that only the world’s deep truths could disturb and provide space for the cultivation of intellectus. Leisure was, as the English translation of Mube and Kult put it, the basis of culture.

Modern thinkers and industry destroyed this organic vision, Pieper argued. Emmanuel Kant argued that only active intellectual effort could serve as a firm basis for knowledge; as he put it in 1796, “reason acquires its possessions through work,” and forms of knowledge that claim anything other than formal, rational foundations are suspect. Cognition, Pieper wrote, became in the eighteenth century “an active, discursive labor of the ratio” alone, and intellectus and leisure were discarded.

Knowledge wasn’t just the product of work; how hard you worked to produce it became a measure of how significant and profound the knowledge was. Disciplines that were hard to master, like physics and mathematics, came to be seen as more profound than softer (or easier) fields like botany and natural history, their knowledge closer to the realm of absolute and ultimate truth. Philosophy only mattered if it was the product of “herculean labor,” as Kant put it. Anything created through contemplation (or religious revelation, or intuition) was, by definition, less impressive and trustworthy.

The rise of industry and technology, growth of the modern bureaucratic state, emergence of the modern office, rise of the labor movement, and triumph of the marketplace completed the transformation of knowledge from a product of leisure to a product of, well, production. The philosopher, writer, and scientist were all turned into “intellectual workers,” their products subject to the regulation of the state and judgment of the marketplace. Some found back. The nineteenth-century Romantic genius declared that he created only for himself and his muse and turned his back on the dictates of the market. Likewise, the liberal arts were reinvented as treasuries of timeless knowledge, a canon of great works stretching back to the beginnings of Western civilization. But these were small battles in a much larger war. By the mid-twentieth century, Pieper had lamented, the conversion of thinkers into intellectual workers was complete: “The whole field of intellectual activity [has been] overwhelmed by the modern ideal of work and is at the mercy of its totalitarian claims,” he wrote, while space for contemplation and leisure had been eliminated in the name of “planned diligence and ‘total labour.’”

These philosophical arguments might seem arcane, but the assumptions that knowledge is produced rather than discovered or revealed, that the amount of work that goes into an idea determines its importance, and that the creation of ideas can be organized and institutionalized, all guide our thinking about work today. When we treat workaholics as heroes, we express a belief that labor rather than contemplation is the wellspring of great ideas and that the success of individuals and companies is a measure of their long hours.

On Anti-Intellectualism
by Bayo Akomolafe

There is a subtle but pervasive anti-intellectualism that barely registers above the din of countercultural discourse and the newfound affinity for everything indigenous and other-than-western. It is still noticeable though. This anti-intellectualism is a rejection of (or wariness about) the ‘head’ and its dominance over the ‘heart’. We probably don’t talk about it enough, but we are now all about feelings and senses and intuition and other forms of knowing. We call this the ‘heart’.

There’s good reason for this preference: with Western metaphysics still largely entrenched in the Enlightenment legacies of privileging rationality over and above other modes of knowing, and with more and more connections being made between Enlightenment intellectualism and the troubling crises we find ourselves in today, many are gesturing towards spirituality and reconnecting with the land by looking with suspicion upon anything that sounds or looks like intellectual rigor. When it becomes too challenging, an idea is often labelled as a matter of the ‘head’. The ‘heart’ – closely associated with culture, indigenous worlds, the sacred, enchantment, the feminine, ‘spirit’, ‘energy’ and generally the kinds of work we feel called to do today – is, on the other hand, where the energy lies.

The academic world, caught up in its economies of self regard and usual oblivious navel-gazing, has produced knowledges and languages that alienate and turn people off. Hence the sacred is usually dissociated from the intellect. When philosophy checks in, people check out. Too many words.

But an unhelpful binary persists in demarcating the head and the heart, as if the intellect is something separate from affect. Or as if the only way to understand intellectual work is through the practices and products of the Western academia. There are other non-western philosophies and histories and legacies and disciplines of rigor that are no less intellectual and no less sacred. These are largely rendered invisible by the ‘prominence’ of western philosophies.

Perhaps what is most important to note is that thought is not anti-spiritual or antithetical to the shifts we are noticing today. Non-western people do not have the luxury of abandoning ‘good thinking’. We need to think powerfully; we need to think ethically; we need to think with an eye for our children and ancestors. We need to think well and carefully about how we think these matters. The work of decolonization – of noticing other positionalities that trouble modern claims to singularity and stability – will need not just our bodies, indigenous technologies, songs and games. It will need ideas and powerful concepts, some of which will challenge us.

Yes we can notice how Enlightenment epistemologies and philosophies cut out the body and the nonhuman, while centralizing the thinking human subject. The head. However, to retreat to the ‘heart’ and dismiss the ‘head’ is to reinforce the same Enlightenment architecture that feels so problematic today. It is to patronize the ‘indigenous’ while supposing you are offering the highest respect. The shifts being made today are not dualizing. They are transversal, cross-cutting, intersecting gestures that show how the heart has always been entangled with the head. And vice versa. Perhaps the gut is where they both meet.

Without prejudice to the different and specific needs that emerge in different contexts, I sincerely hope that our convenient practices of distinguishing the heart from the head would be fraught with more trouble than is currently being appreciated. And that we would come to know the scandalous affair that has always existed between thought and feeling.

A really good poem—
or should I say a good poem—
poses a question and then answers it.
A very good poem poses a question
and then thinks
through the possible ways
to answer that question.
But the great poem poses a question…
and then forgets the question.
It moves into something
that we would call a sense of mystery.
It moves beyond the kind of logic
that makes us want an answer.
– Paisley Rekdal

Beyond Words

Go ahead… assemble your brilliant sounding words
Go ahead… write them… sing them… chant them…
But no matter how eloquent you may be
Your words will never encompass the nature of mind

Go ahead… I dare you…
Go ahead and try…
Using words is like trying to catch the moon and stars
By chasing their reflections on the surface of a lake

Go ahead… try to catch them…
No matter how finely you construct your web of words
You will not catch a single star
They are not there

Go ahead… your mind is spinning now
Can you see it spin… your words are the axis
The axis on which you spin
The whole of cyclic existence is spinning on your words

Words are your affliction
Reality never needed a theory or a dream
The truth is beyond your intellect
Beyond the seer and the seen
– Ŧoƞpa Ɉoƞ

Be like a mountain –
remain untouched
by cultures and religions
and politics around you –
I want you to know that
You are larger than
the phenomenon unfolding
around you.
inside you, there is a mystery
that does not know
boundaries.
– Guthema Roba

All roads actually lead to our sacred truth and sovereignty; not to Rome.
– Eimear Stassin

I began to be annoyed that the movements of the world machine, created for our sake by the best and most systematic artisan of all, were not understood with greater clarity by the philosophers, who otherwise examined so precisely the most insignificant trifles of this world.
– Nicolaus Copernicus

Get out of the construction business.
Stop building bridges
across the raging waters
of samsaric existence,
attempting to reach the ‘far shore,’ nirvana.
Better to simply relax, at ease and carefree,
in total naturalness,
and just go with the primordial flow,
however it occurs and happens.

And remember this:
whether or not you go with the flow,
it always goes with you.

****

In this world each minute of time,
Day and night, each instant is fleeting.
Some are being born, some are dying;
Some are happy, and some are miserable; Some are crying, some laugh, and so on ….
Seeing all things are as impermanent
as a flash of lightning.
It’s so sad to stay lax and unconcerned,
Assuming that you have obtained
the power of adamantine life
And will live until Lord Maitreya’s coming.
So don’t remain indifferent, my heart-friends!
The nature of everything is illusory
and ephemeral.
Those with dualistic perception
regard suffering as happiness,
Like they who lick honey
from the edge of a razor blade – How pitiful, they who cling strongly to concrete reality!
Turn your attention within, my heart-friends!
When you are happy,
everything seems very pleasant;
When you’re not,
all is threatening and oppressive;
Human moods are like the highlights
and shadows on a sunlit mountain range.
There is no one to depend upon in this time,
So point your finger to yourselves,
my heart-friends!
This free and well-endowed human life
is like a wish-granting jewel;
Don’t return empty-handed
from this island of jewels,
my heart-friends!
– Nyoshul Khenpo, Natural Great Perfection: Dzogchen Teachings and Vajra Songs

Any text is constructed as a mosaic of quotations; any text is the absorption and transformation of another.
– Julia Kristeva

The older I get, the more apparent it becomes: Clarity is more valuable than comfort.
– Subversive Lens

Human delusions of time immemorial, deceit, pride, deviousness, and conceit, have conglomerated into one body.That is why scripture says that this body is just made of elements, and its appearance and disappearance is just that of the elements, which have no identity. When successive thoughts do not await one another, and each thought dies peacefully away, this is called absorption in the oceanic reflection.
– Ma-Tsu

Dualism is the real root of our suffering and of all our conflicts. All our concepts and beliefs, no matter how profound they may seem, are like nets which trap us in dualism. When we discover our limits we have to try to overcome them, untying ourselves from whatever type of religious, political or social conviction may condition us. We have to abandon such concepts as ‘enlightenment’, ‘the nature of the mind’, and so on, until we are no longer satisfied by a merely intellectual knowledge, and until we no longer neglect to integrate our knowledge with our actual existence.
– Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

ישנם שני פחדים מהותיים: או לאבד את מה שיש לנו או לא להשיג את מה שרוצים. יש פתרון אחד: לאהוב את המקום בו נמצאים.” – ג’ף פוסטר

There are two core fears: losing what you have, and not getting what you want. There is one solution: Falling in love with where you are.
– Jeff Foster

Song to Forgotten Ancestors

Whatever you sing to them
Is only this world humming to itself
Through the single human song
Is only your heart answering their love.
And the words you sing are not your own
Though you sounded them they are older than you
They rise from the soul of your people
Music of your emigrant ancestors
Whose hard history left a long soul scar.
They are behind you breathing through you
Still hungering for the unlived life beyond.
Their passion never fired breaks through in you
Their energy passed to you carries it so strongly on
Listen where the ages roar
In the morning wind through the forest
Where no one yet walks.

– Douglas Stewart, MacTalla

When everyone is trying to be something, be nothing. Range with emptiness.
– Shams of Tabrizi

in every generation a person must see himself as though he himself had left egypt”. (from the passover liturgy). we are never free, we are always leaving bondage and becoming free. freedom is a permanent state of becoming. therefore the promised land is not the goal, its only a means for the process of becoming free.
– hune margulies

If the desire to write is not accompanied by actual writing, Then the desire is not to write.
– Hugh Prather

Every morning, we need to enhance our happiness and optimise our efficiency in life. Actions precede results; thoughts precede actions; intentions precede thoughts. If you want a fresh perspective towards life, you need to go beyond the conditioning.
– Daaji

To change your results, change your process.
– @wiseconnector

What is going on is a projection of your mind. A weak mind cannot control its own projections. Be aware, therefore, of your mind and its projections. You cannot control what you do not know. On the other hand, knowledge gives power. In practice it is very simple. To control yourself, know yourself.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

The world is increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy… To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. To be comfortable with our messy, human selves, would not be good for business.
– Matt Haig

I want you always to remember me. Will you remember that I existed, and that I stood next to you here like this?
– Haruki Murakami

We are such spendthrifts with our lives, the trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster. I’m not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out.
– Paul Newman

The Index
by Rena Priest

In the beginning there was darkness,
then a bunch of other stuff—and lots of people.
Some things were said and loosely interpreted,

or maybe things were not communicated clearly.
Regardless—there has always been an index.
That thing about the meek—how we

shall inherit the earth; that was a promise
made in a treaty at the dawn of time
agreed upon in primordial darkness

and documented in the spiritual record.
The nature of the agreement was thus:
The world will seemingly be pushed past capacity.

A new planet will be “discovered” 31 light-years away.
Space travel will advance rapidly,
making the journey feasible. The ice sheets will melt.

Things will get ugly. The only way to leave
will be to buy a ticket. Tickets will be priced at exactly
the amount that can be accrued

by abandoning basic humanity.
The index will show how you came by your fortune:
If you murdered, trafficked or exploited the vulnerable,

stole, embezzled, poisoned, cheated, swindled,
or otherwise subdued nature to come by wealth
great enough to afford passage to the new earth;

if your ancestors did these things and you’ve done nothing
to benefit from their crimes yet do nothing to atone
through returning inherited wealth to the greater good

you shall be granted passage. It was agreed.
The meek shall stay, the powerful shall leave.
And it all shall start again.

The meek shall inherit the earth,
and what shall we do with it,
but set about putting aside our meekness?

When the gray morning has nothing to do
with you & doesn’t weigh you down
like a heavy blanket, then you know
that moving will be easy again and
your body will flow through time
like the river it really is, smooth & deep.
no rocks, no shallows to smash or catch you,
keep you from moving on.
– Grace Butcher

Since time immemorial [speech] has been correctly acknowledged to be man’s most outstanding trait,’ [philosopher Hans] Jonas wrote […]. [But] cultures with a higher general estimation of animals than ours may not precisely share this view, or may just accept that animals have language that is obscure to people. It is interesting to consider how the everyday proximity to different kinds of creatures may have affected the development of these beliefs. That is, elephants, higher-order primates, and the like are not native to the West, and thus our basic common sense of what “animals” can think or do calibrates at the level of, say, horses and dogs — not to malign the intelligence of horses and dogs, which we tend to underappreciate anyway. But in Asia and Africa, where there’s been much more natural interaction between people and very smart animals — and not as novelties but as members of other communities — most cultures seem to take a more expansive view of animal potential.
– Caitrin Keiper, Do Elephants Have Souls?

It was you, me, fall and fallen light,
It was that kind of imperfection
through which infinity wounds the finite.
– Christian Wiman

Your presence
somewhere else is the sad warm thing
blowing around my room.
– Joshua Beckman

How slowly the mountain
takes it in,
like a diagnosis
of darkness.

The consolation
of a continuation
that has nothing to do
with you.

– Christian Wiman

Five kinds of time when one love wakes up
and wonders where we are, and one wonder
wakes up another, and another, and another.
– Christian Wiman

I am a door of metaphor
waiting to be opened.
You’ll find no lock, no key.
– Nikki Grime

Bruce Cockburn:
What does it take for the heart to explode into stars?
One day we’ll wake to remember how lovely we are
Lightning’s a kiss that lands hot on the loins of the sky
Something uncoils at the base of my spine and I cry

Watching people who aren’t progressives destroy our movement eats my soul. The only thing I ever wanted was a better life for my children and grandchildren.
– Paula Jean Swearengin

Oh, mother earth,
your comfort is great, your arms never withhold.
It has saved my life to know this.
– Mary Oliver

I don’t like to give up on people when they need someone not to give up on them.
– Carroll Bryant

Students who acquire large debts putting themselves through school are unlikely to think about changing society. When you trap people in a system of debt, they can’t afford the time to think.
– Noam Chomsky

Without a dream there is no reason to work…without work there is no reason to dream.
– Lee Ayers

Andrea Gibson:
Friends are my religion.

The proper use of the classroom, she said, is to ‘unveil those who perpetuate suffering’ and to ‘criticize and unmask the predominant ideas for what they are.
– Angela Davis

Jimmy used to argue against this concept of culture as only high culture. And he said, you know, you have to think of culture in terms of the word agriculture. You have to think of culture as the way that people live.
– Grace Lee Boggs

All this GenX vs. Boomers vs. Millennials stuff is totally distracting bullshit to conceal the truly evil actors, who are the one percent in any generation. Trust me, you’ll be old before you know it. Study the dynamics of race and class oppression and you’ll know who fucked you.
– Steve Silberman

Joy Clarkson:
you are not a machine. you are more like a garden. you need different things on different days. a little sun today, a little less water tomorrow. you have fallow and fruitful seasons. it is not a design flaw. it is wiser than perpetual sameness. what does your garden need today?

I’m extremely selective on who I choose to let into my life and into my space, who I share my energy, time, heart, body and soul with, and with who’s energy I’m around. Not everyone deserves access to me. It’s not a selfish act, it’s simple an act of self love
– @amandaperera

This is my last message to you: in sorrow seek happiness. Work, work unceasingly. Remember my words, for although I shall talk with you again, not only my days but my hours are numbered.
– Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

We need a criticism based on how poets get their food.
– Joy Harjo

Bruce Cockburn:
You’ve been leading me
Beside strange waters
Streams of beautiful lights in the night
But where is my pastureland in these dark valleys?
If I loose my grip, will I take flight?

She is an open fire hydrant on a New York City block
on the hottest day of summer
spraying cool water and nostalgia.
– @Buddha_Blunted

Without necessity nothing budges, the human personality least of all. It is tremendously conservative, not to say torpid. Only acute necessity is able to rouse it.
– CG Jung

Spontaneous meditation occurs in pouring and drinking tea. No need to go after meditation, like hunting down some stranger.
– Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, The Deepest Peace

If you believe everything you read, better not read.
– Japanese Proverb

We all become well-disguised mirror image of anything that we fight too long or too directly. That which we oppose determines the energy and frames the questions after a while. Most frontal attacks on evil just produce another kind of evil in yourself…
– Richard Rohr

What happens to a hurt people? We forget that we are butterflies bearing up in the wild winds. We forget that we are tender from the suffering.
– Sensei Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, The Way of Tenderness

Caitlin Johnstone:
Imperialists see the American people as nothing more than local fauna who need to be kept from interfering in the business of the empire. That’s why keeping Americans poor and ignorant has so much institutional support; it keeps the local fauna away from the gears of the machine.

Men, like nails, lose their usefulness when they lose direction and begin to bend.
– Walter Savage Landor

Sylvia Plath:
Each thorn; spiring from wet earth, a blue haze
Hung caught in dark-webbed branches like a fabulous heron.

I think I need to step back and act like I’m going to be here for a while, because it will impact the decisions that I make in a better way. I have to bet on myself.
– Issa Rae

True Power is generated by a neutralizing of Self.
– Simone Wright

I honestly don’t remember my “moment” when I realized things were bad. Because things were already so bad and I was already isolated and concerned about my future. Covid made it much worse. I just don’t remember when it really hit me because it was already so much.
– @crys_tom

A true friend sees more potential in you than you see in yourself.
– @wiseconnector

How astonishing it is that language can almost mean,
and frightening that it does not quite.
– Jack Gilbert, The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart

Caitlin Johnstone:
In the old days the rulers would execute those who criticized the dominant power structure. Now they just make sure such people never ascend to prominent platforms or positions of influence.

writing a book is such a useful way to hold an argument: you speak, you speak, you speak, you speak and no one interrupts you
– Kudinov

The things that abandon you get remembered differently.
– Reginald Dwayne Betts

Life seems so vulgar, so easily content with the commonplace things of every day, and yet it always nurses and cherishes certain higher claims in secret, and looks about for the means of satisfying them.
– Goethe

Dr. Thema:

Aren’t you glad you stopped waiting for them to choose you?

Aren’t you glad you chose yourself?

I redo the body of my poem like someone who tries to cure her own wound.
– Alejandra Pizarnik

You create a slave society by getting the slaves to hate those who are free, by feeding their hearts with jealousy and their minds with lies.
– @PyramidRealm

Fight me if you want, but I predict New Orleans will have a golden summer of beautiful outdoor events with food, music, and renewed joy.
– @MauriceRuffin

Caitlin Johnstone:
That’s the only path to a healthy world: getting enough people to perceive enough truth with enough clarity. Until that happens real change is impossible. After that happens real change is inevitable.

Caitlin Johnstone:
Once the underlying sources of an unwholesome behavior dynamic have been sufficiently perceived, there’s a movement from dysfunction to health.

Respecting life is not about obsessing over safety. It’s about living with intention, creating and honoring beauty, respecting nature, leaving a legacy of love.
– @PyramidRealm

cursing my name, wishing i stayed, look at how my tears ricochet
– @folklorebot

Forty thousand neurons that are essentially brain cells in the heart were discovered in 1991. A similar discovery of a network of neurons was found in the gut earlier in the century.

I wouldn’t be surprised if neurons are found next to all of the chakra centers.
– @Buddha_Blunted

We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.
– Eric Hoffer

What first came out as a stammer and later degenerated to an empty phrase was quite correct: the war was a religious experience. What is left is, as always, the empty aura of the word. One must understand religious experience through the war and not vice versa.
– Musil on WWI

The first condition of progress is the removal of censorship.
– George Bernard Shaw

You are not judged by the height you have risen, but from the depth you have climbed.
– Frederick Douglas

It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything.
– Chuck Palahniuk

… the poet had given concrete form to a very general psychological theme, namely, that there will always be more things in a closed, than open, box. To verify images kills them, & it is always more enriching to imagine than to experience.
– Bachelard

childhood scrapbook
the life expectancy
of Scotch tape
– Carolyn Hall

Easiest way to see what a man values is to look at his daily schedule.
– Dan Go

The Far Norway Maples
by Arthur Sze

Silver poplars rise and thin to the very twig,
but what thins at your fingertips?

The aspirations of a minute, a day, a year?
Yellow tangs veer in the water and, catching

sunlight, veer again, disappear from sight.
The unfolding of a life has junctures

that rupture plot: a child folds paper
and glues toothpicks, designs a split-level

house with white walls and pitched roof
but his father snatches the maquette

and burns it. If you inhale and spore this moment,
it tumors your body, but if you exhale it,

you dissolve midnight and noon; sunlight
tilts and leafs the tips of the far Norway maples.

To tell you the truth, I don’t think I deserve your kindness. I’m trying my best to be a much better person, but things aren’t going so well. The next time we meet I hope I’ll have my act together. Whether that will happen or not, I don’t know. Thanks for everything.
– Haruki Murakami

Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone…….just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education.
– Bertrand Russell

Ex(ile)
by Desiree C. Bailey

We ask about our people and they tell us the plight of boats
yachts smashed in the marina, ferries crashed into harbors
masts snapped, propellers bent, vessels drowned in coves.

They broadcast reports of water rising in hotel rooms
sand slipping into sheets where our cousins could never sleep
salt stains as testimony, spit-prints of the hurricane’s wrath.

Bodies are piling up in the morgues and instead
an elegy of boats
an inventory of industry, countdown
to when paradise can begin again.

So it seems when we’re no longer property
we become less than property
a nail sick with rust, jangling in high winds.

This would be a different story were it not
for ex(ile), whose sting swells when banished
in one’s own yard, barred
from the fruits of your mother’s land.

Inside ex(ile): tempests and fault lines
are developers’ wet dreams.
A mainland will sink its territory in debt
starve its subjects in the wake of storms
clearing ground for palaces on the shore.

Inside ex(ile): the body is only
as good as its technology
how it buckles in a field.

Inside ex(ile) is the ile
pushed across the Atlantic through Oya’s lips.
Place or shelter, sacred home.

We ask about our people and fill the silence with prayer
utterances rerouting to our climate’s first spirits:
Guabancex blowing furious winds, Huraca’n spiraling at the center.
Guatauba drenched in thunder and lightning.
Coatrisque of the deadly floods.

Spare our kin, we plead. Save your wrath for the profiteers.
Cast them from our archipelago, our ile ife of the seas
until home is a place we never have to leave.

I Will Not Die an Unlived Life
by Dawna Markova
I will not die an unlived life
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits.
– Hemingway

No amount of intellectual knowledge can satisfy the need for the direct experience that is beyond concepts and duality. Do not be a fool and spend your whole life in a book.
Of course you must study the teachings, but you must also know when it is time to put what you have learnt into practice. Only direct experience can set you free.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

Birds of Belfast
by Kris Delmhorst
The field grew wild all that buzzing summer
We dozed a while, woke a little younger
Hung your clothes, waited on the weather
Thorn and rose twine and grow together
When did all the birds of Belfast learn to sing your name?
When did all those silver ashes breathe into flame?
Who are you without your sadness? Who am I without my shame?
When did all the birds of Belfast learn to sing your name?
Which was right, the fight or the surrender?
You my light, my solitary mender
Still the sun will rise on every weeper’s mourning
Tear stained eyes, pearly light adorning
When did all the birds of Belfast learn to sing your name?
When did all those silver ashes breathe into flame?
Who are you without your sadness? Who am I without my shame?
When did all the birds of Belfast learn?
Who am I to sing a love song? Who are you to do the same?
With our weary little hearts full of broken little claims?
Will they even recognize us? Should I give you a new name?
And then all the birds of Belfast would sing it just the same

In the morning as the storm begins to blow away
the clear sky appears for a moment and it seems to me
that there has been something simpler than I could ever
believe
simpler than I could have begun to find words for
not patient not even waiting no more hidden
than the air itself that became part of me for a while
with every breath and remained with me unnoticed
something that was here unnamed unknown in the days
and the nights not separate from them
not separate from them as they came and were gone
it must have been here neither early nor late then
by what name can I address it now holding out my thanks
– W.S. Merwin, The Pupil

You cannot meet someone for a moment,
or even cast eyes on someone in the street,
without changing.
That is my subject.
– Carolyn Kizer

Here
right next to me
an old pine
leaning
with the weight of years
holds on
a little longer.
– David Budbill, Happy Life

Nothing is ever really lost, or can be lost,
No birth, identity, form—no object of the world.
Nor life, nor force, nor any visible thing;
Appearance must not foil, nor shifted sphere confuse thy brain.
Ample are time and space—ample the fields of Nature.
The body, sluggish, aged, cold—the embers left from earlier fires,
The light in the eye grown dim, shall duly flame again;
The sun now low in the west rises for mornings and for noons continual;
To frozen clods ever the spring’s invisible law returns,
With grass and flowers and summer fruits and corn.
– Walt Whitman, The Notebook

I don’t know, sometimes everything makes me uptight once in a while. What I hate is this thing of society these days trying to put everything and everybody into little tight cellophane compartments. I hate to be in any type of compartment unless I choose it myself. The world is getting to be a drag. I ain’t gonna be any cellophane socialite. They don’t get me in any cellophane cage. Nobody cages me.
– Jimi Hendrix

Now I’ve found my hard-headed woman,
I know the rest of my life will be blessed.
– Yusuf, Cat Stevens

Feet Of A Dancer
by Charlie McGettigan

I hope you find the feet of a dancer,
I hope you can sing in the rain,
I hope you find all the easy answers to your pain;
It won’t be easy, what can I say,
There will be trouble along the way;
‘Round every corner there’s terror and fear,
Always remember that we’re here.

I hope you find the feet of a dancer,
I hope you can sing in the rain,
I hope you find all the easy answers to your pain;
I hope you find love and affection,
I hope you find someone who cares;
I hope you find all the right directions everywhere,
Everywhere.

A shoulder to cry on whenever you’re alone,
You can rely on us you know;
Nothing too crazy, nothing too dear,
Always remember that we’re here.

I hope you find the feet of a dancer,

I hope you can sing in the rain,
I hope you find all the easy answers to your pain;
I hope you find love and affection,
I hope you find someone who cares;
I hope you find all the right directions everywhere,
Everywhere.

Bridge:
Sometimes when the rain comes pouring down,
When it comes pouring down,
Down on you.

I hope you find the feet of a dancer,
I hope you can sing in the rain,
I hope you find all the easy answers to your pain;
I hope you find love and affection,
I hope you find someone who cares;
I hope you find all the right directions everywhere,
Everywhere.
I hope you find all the right directions everywhere,
Everywhere.

One lives in the naïve notion that ‘later’ there will be more room than in the entire past.
– Elias Canetti, The Human Province

To define is to kill. To suggest is to create.
– Stephane Mallarme

How describe or say anything
in articulate words again?
– Virginia Woolf

God is basic Fact. He must not be thought of as a featureless generality. He is the most concrete thing there is.”
– C.S. Lewis

Ode to an Enemy:

I really don’t think about him anymore.

There will sometimes be an unexpected reminder,
Where I’ll pause—and briefly reminisce,
But he no longer occupies my thoughts;
Invades my dreams.

Four summers together. Four winters. Four autumns. Four springs.

I was perhaps more innocent then.
More hopeful.
In the beginning.
Before my world—before THE world—changed so rapidly.

He likely never thinks of me;
I know he didn’t then.

He’s moved on as if nothing ever happened.
As if he didn’t fray the delicate fabric entrusted to him.
As if his actions didn’t cause ten billion tears.

I really don’t think about him anymore;
Number one—plus forty-four.

– The Subversive Lens

The planets are still spinning. The grass is still growing. And this spring the leaves came back as usual too. If this can all happen without me weighing in, worrying or having elaborate action plans, I guess at least for tonight I can turn my personal problems over to the Universe too!
– Begin With Yes

Especially today, rainlight and
spring…….a moment, to look
at the downlight out the dining window
—Blue light, alpha light, verdancy,

velvet-almost, the grass, and raining

leaves off the oak, fallen at a slant, raining leaves, beautiful to see

—And there, past the wooden fence,
the neighbor’s redbud in its horizontal
slant, itself; but it is not red, it is lilac, and

powdery, and driving home, the dogwood,
and up and down the parkway, mountain laurel, up and down the purple path

– Marian Haddad, Wildfower. Stone.

The best part of having
superpowers is that most of
the time other people do not
even know that you have them.
– Brenna Twohy

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.
– Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

Q. While in India, you found a teacher with whom you studied for a number of years. What is the value of a teacher for the spiritual life?
JEAN KLEIN – A teacher is one who lives free from the idea or image of being somebody. There’s only function; there’s no one who functions. It’s a loving relationship; a teacher is like a friend.
Q.Why is that important for someone on the spiritual path?
JEAN KLEIN – Because generally the relationship with other people involves asking or demanding sex, money, psychological or biological security. Then suddenly you meet someone who doesn’t ask for demand anything of you; there’s only giving.
A true teacher doesn’t take himself for a teacher, and he doesn’t take his pupil for a pupil. When neither one takes himself to be something, there is a coming together, a oneness. And in this oneness, transmission takes place. Otherwise the teacher will remain a teacher through the pupil, and the pupil will always remain a pupil.
When the image of being something is absent, one is completely in the world but not of the world; completely in society, but at the same time free from society. We are truly a creative element when we can be in society in this way.

The Dharma begins with difficulties
but culminates in bliss.
It is very different
from ordinary worldly involvement,
which begins with joy
and ends in distress and disillusionment.
Milarepa lived in lonely caves,
but his glory traveled throughout the world.
He, too, had to cross the door of death,
but now he sits at the center
of the mandala of the Land of Pure Joy.

How different from the proud people
of this world! When a head of state
or a millionaire dies, people say,
“So-and-so is dead.”
That is all—
nothing more significant
than a blown-out candle,
a puddle of water evaporated.

The word dharma
also means “to amend” or “to correct.”
To correct all imperfections
and develop all perfections—
how else can we win freedom?
The qualities that result
from the practice of Dharma
remain with us as a spiritual potential
for our future lives.

– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, The Hundred Verses of Advice

I am the breeze that nurtures all things green.
I encourage blossoms to flourish with ripening fruits.
I am led by the spirit to feed the purest streams.
I am the rain from the dew that causes the grasses to laugh with the joy of life.
I call forth tears. I am the yearning for good.
I adorn all the earth.

Good people,
Most royal greening verdancy
Rooted in the sun,
You shine with radiant light through this earthly ring.
You shine so finely, it surpasses understanding.
God hugs you. You are encircled
by the arms of the Mystery.

O Lord, most gentle viriditas,
O Mary, honeycomb of life,
O Jesus, hidden in sweetness as flowing honey,
Release my voice again.
I have deliciousness to share.
I have stories to tell.
I have God to announce.
I have green life to celebrate.
I have rivers of fire to ignite.

– Hildegard von Bingen

A Habitable Grief

Long ago
I was a child in a strange country:

I was Irish in England.

I learned
a second language there
which has stood me in good stead–

the lingua franca of a lost land.

A dialect in which
what had never been could still be found.

The infinite horizon. Always far
and impossible. That contrary passion
to be whole.

This is what language is:
a habitable grief. A turn of speech
for the everyday and ordinary abrasion
of losses such as this

which hurts
just enough to be a scar.

And heals just enough to be a nation.

– Eavan Boland

Much love to you on this day.
May your bright soul-

Guided by the earth and magnetism
Towards the good, towards love, towards all those things
That cause us to awaken
In the middle of the night, longing
For a world that cares-

Find her way deep into life,
Into the arms of all of us who care so much for you.

Angels are smiling on you.
It is the only light you travel by.

– Lee van Laer

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.

Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, pressed down, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.
– Joshua/Yeshua/Yessua/Jesus

Your ultimate refuge is the nature of your mind.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

Lights in the world are those,
who know,
Guides of mankind are those,
who know

When looking for the road to God,
And Prophet, ask from those,
who know

The alchemist in his research,
Finds sympathy with those,
who know

An ignorant is like a corpse,
Like Jesus Christ are those,
who know

For by His breath of the dead arose,
The saintly breath of those,
who know

Those are not humans, only shells,
The empty ones,
who do not know

No matter to which low degree,
Rehman will serve the ones,
who know.

– Rehman Baba

If you have never changed your mind about some fundamental tenet of your belief, if you have never questioned the basics, and if you have no wish to do so, then you are likely ignorant.

Before it is too late, go out there and find someone who, in your opinion, believes, assumes, or considers certain things very strongly and very differently from you, and just have a basic honest conversation.

It will do both of you good.

– Vera Nazarian

For some tips on how to engage in such conversations, see the article, “Ending the Civil War Patheos”

Consciousnesses remains beyond all chemicals. If you fast long enough, naturally your body chemistry can’t be the same. A few things disappear from your body chemistry and a few things accumulate too much. Your body has a different combination of chemicals. After a one month long fast you will feel beautiful things, but those beautiful things are created by the chemical change. Start eating and those beautiful things will disappear.
You do certain yoga postures continuously, for years, pressing your body structure at certain points, certain important points, pressing your body meridians at certain junctures continuously; it changes your body chemistry. Breathe in a certain way for years, always in a certain way – it changes your body chemistry, because the oxygen and the carbon dioxide balance will be changed by your breathing.
Have you not noticed it – when you are angry you breathe in a different way. Why? That different way of breathing releases some chemicals in your body which are helpful to being angry. If you don’t breathe in a different way you will not be able to be angry. Try it: breathe in the Buddhist way and you will not be able to go into anger, because the Buddhist way won’t allow your body to release the chemicals that are needed for anger. You are afraid – you breathe in a different way. Different chemicals are needed, because a man who is frightened needs to escape fast, as fast as possible. He needs flight, certain chemicals are needed so he can flee fast.
When you are in sexual passion your breathing changes. Continue to breathe normally and you will not be able to achieve orgasm. For the orgasm to be triggered a certain kind of breathing is needed. But these changes are physical; these are not going to affect your consciousness. The consciousness is the witness to all changes. Just try to understand.
You are hungry, feeling hungry, the body is hungry – the consciousness simply notes the fact that the body is hungry. The consciousness is never hungry, cannot be hungry; it has no stomach. It can only be a witness. Consciousness is nothing but witnessing. Remember this formula: CONSCIOUSNESS IS WITNESSING. You are hungry? The consciousness reflects the hunger. It is like a mirror: it says ‘The body is hungry’. When you have eaten and your body is satisfied, the consciousness says, ‘The body is satisfied’. The consciousness was not hungry and is not satisfied either. In both cases the consciousness was just witnessing – hunger/satisfaction, sexual passion/sexual contentment, anger/release of anger.
You take LSD or some other drug, and there are lightning experiences. Consciousness is simply waiting and watching. It simply says, ‘Look, beautiful things are happening’, but they are not happening to consciousness. Spiritual growth is the growth of this witnessing. Spiritual growth has nothing to do with particular experiences. Spiritual growth is not a search for novel experiences.
Spirituality has nothing to do with experiences as such. in fact, to say that any experience is a ‘spiritual experience’ is utterly wrong, because all experiences are non-spiritual.
The experiencer is the spirit. The witness is the Only spiritual phenomenon. When all experiences have disappeared – of hunger, of satiety, of anger, of release, of love, of hate, of kundalini arising in you, chakras opening in you, lotuses opening in you, lights showering in you; celestial music is heard, you feel great space, you feel joy, you feel bliss, but these are all experiences – The real spiritual point is when there is no experience, and the experiencer is left alone, utterly alone.
There is no object to experience; only this witness is there, silently witnessing nothing. Then you have arrived. This is samadhi. Witnessing nothing is Samadhi. That‘s why Buddha calls it Nirvana, Nothingness, Emptiness.
– Osho

To know that you are a prisoner of your mind, that you live in an imaginary world of your own creation is the dawn of wisdom.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Become a researcher
Pain can be a better revealer of your own mind than any other state. Sometimes pain is really a great ally for you to discover certain defects in your mind. Pain sometimes can serve as an illuminator. People think, “Oh, I’m not very arrogant; I don’t feel so arrogant; I don’t think I see myself as arrogant.” And it’s true, people feel that way. But when they are offended and they have pain, they can see how they have been arrogant all along. My answer to you is, “Become a researcher,” and not just in support of the Dharma. That is why Buddha has said, “Examine my words like a goldsmith examines gold; do not take my word because it’s my word.” These words encourage us to become like a researcher. Use pain to get to know your state of mind much more deeply, in order to develop a conviction in the Dharma.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

It is time for writers to admit that nothing in this world makes sense.
– Anton Chekhov

Buried inside even our deepest neuroses are the raw materials of healing. In the alchemical traditions, where we are turning around the light, those less-than-awakened images, emotions, and raw sensations are the rich and mineral-infused soil for us to work with, as secret keys to the sacred world.

The shit, the piss, the dirt, the failures, the heartbreak, disappointment, the crumbling relationships, the disintegrating ideas about the ways we thought it would all turn out, the raw eruption of our historic core vulnerabilities, the achiness of a shattered heart. These are the holy materials we have to work with inside the vessel of our own bodies.

While we live in a world that has forgotten the mystery of dissolution, it is the nature of all form to arise and to pass, shapeshifting and reorganizing as forerunners and emissaries of wholeness. When the wound begins to weep, go into the earth, into the mud and her holding.

Lay your hands on your heart, on your belly. Listen. Feel. Sense. The temptation will always be to replace the darkened form with something else – some new person, belief system, identity, or feeling to cut into the hot, rich, textured, pregnant unknown.

This ancient longing for relief need not be shamed or met with judgment, aggression, and self-abandonment, for it too is utterly valid and workable, allowed to arise, unfold, and held in curious, loving awareness.

But co-arising with the urge for relief is the invitation to enter into the deflation itself, to descend inside the core of the creative energies of the yellowing, and take refuge in the intelligence of the naked, the tender, and the raw unknown.

To slow down, finally, and touch the emptiness with love. To become an archaeologist of the inner landscape, to see with cleansed perception the inseparability of sun and moon, and to know the union of matter and spirit.

It’s not easy, this path of the wounded healer, but is a noble and honorable inheritance, and up to each of us to bring these fruits into the collective, into a world that has grown a bit weary.
– Matt Licata

If you really think the theatre is bad, hopeless, over–then leave it. The message you’ve received from God or fate is that you should get out. So get out. A lot of us still believe, and a lot of us think we might be able to love the theatre back into good shape. But don’t piss and fart all over the theatre while I’m working in it and loving it. I have friends in there. Go fart on something else.
– Maureen Stapleton

The truth doesn’t require your cooperation to exist, but illusion does.
– Terence McKenna

A Closer Walk With Thee

O my fetal soul,
Enwombed and vulnerable,
I shall guard you now
As you have me over lifetimes.

Weep not, lonely swimmer,
I’ll sing to you of whales and trees,
Of mushrooms and tigers and seas.

The pumping cord of resonance throbs
As you fatten on our thrill.

Through my Hara
Secret silence calls my hand,
I feel your growing mass
And our swiftness of recognition.

Rest easy, now, sweet Soul,
I can wait all the hours you need
Until your birth
Swirls us into dream-waking….

My fairest of hopes, my Magical Self
Dances through walls,
Flies up into trees,
Perches on clouds,
Shapeshifting to please,
Travels on thought
With magnificent ease.

May love hold you,
My dearly wanted,
My cornerstone that I rejected
And now joyfully choose.

Snug under my roof,
Schmooz in my belly,
Hang out in the raptures –
Blissing about bliss

– Bobbie Gorman

BUDDHA SPEAKS

How to look.

Like a star, an aberration, or a flame.
Like a magical illusion, a dewdrop, or a water bubble.
Like a dream, lightning, or a cloud.
Know all things to be this way.

KING OF SAMADHI SUTRA

Good morning, dear Sangha…

Our society is not very healthy.
Therefore, many of us are sick,
and we need healing and nourishment.
We have intoxicated ourselves with poisons. Our mind has a lot of poisons, like craving, hate, anger, and despair. Our body also
has a lot of poisons because we don’t know how to consume.

Mother Earth has the capacity to heal herself and has the capacity to help us heal
if we know how to take refuge in her.
When the Buddha was teaching his son, Rahula, he talked about the Earth
as having the virtues of patience and equanimity. Patience and equanimity
are the two great virtues of the planet Earth.
If needed, Mother Earth can spend one million years or ten million years to heal herself.
She is not in a hurry. She has the power
to renew herself. We have to see that.
If we study the history of the Earth,
we know that she has had a lot of patience,
and now she is a very beautiful star.

When we walk, we are aware
that the Earth is holding our steps.
But Mother Earth is not just below us,
under our feet; Mother Earth is inside of us.
To think that Mother Earth is only
the environment outside of us, around us,
is wrong. Mother Earth is inside of us.
We don’t need to die to go back
to Mother Earth. We are already
in Mother Earth. That is why we have to learn how to take refuge in her. That is the best way to heal and to nourish ourselves.

Walking meditation is one of the ways to heal. Walking meditation is successful
when we know how to allow the Earth
to be in us and around us.
Just to be aware that we are the Earth.
We don’t have to do much, we don’t have
to do anything at all, to get healing
and nourishment. Just like when
we were in our mother’s womb,
we did not have to breathe,
we did not have to eat,
because our mother breathed for us
and ate for us. We did not have to worry
about anything. It is possible
to behave like that now.

When you sit, allow Mother Earth to sit for you. When you breathe, allow Mother Earth
to breathe for you. When you walk,
allow Mother Earth to walk for you.
Don’t make any effort. Allow her to do it.
She knows how to do it.

When you are sitting,
allow the air to enter your lungs.
Allow the air to go out of your lungs.
We don’t need to try to breathe in.
We don’t need to try to breathe out.
We just allow nature, allow the Earth
to breathe in and out for us.
We just sit there and enjoy the breathing in
and the breathing out. There is no “you”
who is breathing in and breathing out.
The breathing in and the breathing out
happen by themselves. Try it.

We allow our body to relax totally, without striving or even making an effort. Behave like the fetus in the womb of the mother. Allow your mother to do everything for you, to breathe, to eat, to drink. This is possible if you know how to take refuge in Mother Earth. She’s a great bodhisattva; she’s the mother of all the buddhas, all bodhisattvas, all saints. Shakyamuni is her son. Jesus Christ is also her son. We are also her sons and daughters, and we have to learn how to take refuge in her and to allow her to continue to do everything for us.

We don’t need to do anything at all. Just allow yourself to be seated; let the sitting take place. If you don’t strive to sit, relaxation will come. And you know something? When there is relaxation, healing begins to take place. There is no healing without relaxation. Relaxation means doing nothing, not trying.

So while there is breathing in, it’s not you who is breathing in. While there is breathing out, you just enjoy it. You say, “Healing is taking place; healing is taking place.” Allow your body to renew herself, to heal herself, to be nourished. This is the practice of non-practice.

If we observe, we see that Mother Earth has the power, the capacity to heal herself and to heal us. You believe in that power, which comes from your own observation, your own experience, not something people tell you and ask you to believe in. Mother Earth can renew herself, can transform herself, can heal herself, and can heal us. That is a fact. If we recognize that fact, faith is there, and we can take refuge. We allow ourselves to be healed by Mother Earth. While sitting, we get the healing. While walking, we get the healing. While breathing, we get the healing. We do not have to do anything at all. Just surrender ourselves to Mother Earth and she will do everything.

When breathing in is taking place—I don’t want to say when you are breathing in—you say, “Nourishment is taking place; nourishment; nourishment.” Allow yourself to be nourished. You are nourished by the air, you are nourished by the sunshine, because the air is breathing you, penetrating you. And the sunshine also penetrates you. Father Sun and Mother Earth are there twenty-four hours a day for us. Even during the night, the sun is present; otherwise, we would freeze. Like Mother Earth, Father Sun is also in us, not only up there, outside us. When I wrote The Sun My Heart, I had the insight, the vision, that the sun is my heart outside of me.

If we know the practice of non-practice, we don’t have to strive or fight in order to practice. You may believe that you need a lot of medicine, a lot of exercise, to heal. But the only exercise that can heal you is the exercise of non-exercise. Allow yourself to relax and release all the tension in your body, and all the worries and the fear in your mind, because these things are preventing you from healing. Let go, release, take full refuge in the Earth and in the sun, and allow yourself to be healed. Do this in the four positions: sitting, lying down, walking, standing. Allow Mother Earth and Father Sun to penetrate you, to act for you so you can heal.

It is our experience that no healing is possible without releasing, relaxing. So when you sit, sit in such a way that you don’t have to try, you just enjoy deeply your sitting. Nothing to do, nowhere to go. I just enjoy my sitting. With a half an hour of sitting like that, you have a half an hour of healing. You enjoy every in-breath. It’s not you who are making the in-breath and out-breath. You don’t have to make an in-breath and an out-breath. It will happen by itself.

The in-breath does not need a self in order to happen. I don’t have to breathe; the breathing just happens by itself. I just enjoy. If I know how to enjoy the breathing, the breathing will become more pleasant. The quality of breathing will increase, because I don’t try to interfere and to force it.

So the sitting should be natural, without effort. The breathing also, and walking also. Don’t try to walk; just allow yourself to walk. The walking will take place without you. Only be there and enjoy, because if there is letting go and relaxation, every step is healing, every step is nourishing. No healing is possible without relaxation and letting go.

We should practice this simple thing
in order to get healed
and to help heal our society and the world.
If you do it for one hour,
you have one hour of healing.
If you do it for one day,
there is one day of healing.
This is possible. Make it pleasant;
make it healing and nourishing.
Everything you do, don’t try;
don’t make any effort.
Take refuge in Mother Earth.
She knows how to do it.
She continues to do it for you,
just like during the time
you were in the womb of your mother…
– Thich Nhat Hanh, Take Refuge in Mother Earth

…pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters.
– C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

I am so honored
to be part of a world
that includes frogs
croaking like maniacs
from a nearby pond
for who knows what reason
though it seems for the same
impulse in the chest
that leads us to pray.

I’m so honored and dazzled
to be part of a Universe
that includes moons at all.

And who can say anything
without first being incinerated
in awe
about that great burn pile
in the sky–
the sun
that provides its own fuel
and brings everything to life
with light

I’m so grateful
to be part of a world
that includes
the reverence of nighttime

and oceans
with unknowable depths
and hearts
yet deeper

I’m tickled to be part of a world
that I’m certain is spun
of living poetry
and to be part of this same magic fabric
at all

I’m beyond wonderment
to stand still
within this particular twilight
while the stars appear one by one
like fireflies
turning on their lights
and know that anywhere I point
my heart’s gaze
in this marvelous world
holds a full cup
of secret delight
that makes all seeking replete
with arrival

And as my knowing lays itself
at the feet of amazement
what else can I do
but join those frogs
in their great, burbling chorus
of praise.
– Chelan Harkin

You don’t have to believe in God
but please collapse in wonder
as regularly as you can

try and let your knowledge
be side swiped by awe
and let beauty be so persuasive
you find yourself willing
to lay your opinions at her feet

Darling, you don’t have to believe in God
but please pray
for your own sake
great prayers of thanks
for the mountains, the great rivers
the roundness of the moon
just because they’re here at all
and that you get to know them
and let prayer bubble up in you
as a natural thing
like song in a bird

You don’t have to have
a spiritual path
but do run
the most sensitive
part of your soul
over the soft curves
of this world
with as much tenderness
as you can find in yourself
and let her edgeless ways
inspire you to discover more

just find a way
that makes you want to yield
yourself
that you may be more open
to letting beauty fully
into your arms

and feel some sacred flame
inside of you that yearns toward
learning how to build a bigger
fire of love in your heart

You don’t have to believe in God
but get quiet enough to remember
we really don’t know a damn thing
about any of it
and if you can, feel a reverence to be part
of This Great Something,
whatever you want to call it,
that is so much bigger
and so far beyond
the rooftops of all
our knowing.
– Chelan Harkin

Why does anything cling to something? Maybe they love wherever they’re going so much that it’s worth it. Maybe they’ll keep coming back, until there’s only one star left. Maybe that one star will make the trip forever, out of the hope that someday—if it keeps coming back often enough—another star will find it again.
– Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Mist and Fury

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.
– Albert Einstein

Unless I’m myself. I’m nobody.
– Virginia Woolf

Tell me how you seek, and I will tell you what you are seeking.
– Wittgenstein

Isn’t that what it means to stop running
away? Stranding yourself somewhere so
hard that it has to work, it has to, and if it
doesn’t there’s only back south or the snow.

– Neil Hilborn

This is probably one of the most relevant statements I’ve read in awhile:

key takeaway: humans aren’t the problem—it’s our systems. we don’t need to vanish to heal the earth, we need a revolution of policy and ideology that changes the way we interact with the earth. the problem is our methods, not *us,* and to think otherwise veers into ecofascism
– Talia Vogt

…We have certainly entered a time of tremendous change. From the Enneagrammatic point of view, change occurs through shocks. Shock-points function by undoing the status quo of any system, but with awareness, we can use them to develop rather than knock us down. Love and ease to you. May we all use this time to refocus, to be creative, to re-prioritize, and to help the many people in our lives who are going to need our support.
– Russ Hudson

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

I am [in your world].’ said Aslan. ‘But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.
– C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.
– CS Lewis (The Weight of Glory)

Writing these poems is how I survived.
– Frank Bidart

This is deathless: the liberation of the mind through lack of clinging.
– The Buddha

Robert Reich:
“Filibuster” comes from the Dutch word “vribuyter” — which meant “robber,” “pirate,” or “plunderer.”

The value of things is not in the duration, but in the intensity in which they occur. This is why there are unforgettable moments, inexplicable things and incomparable people.
– Fernando Pessoa

One of the best ways to persuade others is with your ears – by listening to them.
– Dean Rusk

Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.
– Henry David Thoreau

He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.
– Confucius

Normalize treating book jacket designers like artists.
– Jennifer Banks

Those who are lifting the world upward and onward are those who encourage more than criticize.
– Elizabeth Harrison

The most reliable way to anticipate the future is by understanding the present.
– John Naisbitt

Cheryl Strayed:
I will never, ever, in all of my life, get over how much beauty is revealed when we share our deepest suffering.

Samantha Rose Hill:

Horkheimer: Thinking becomes the only pleasure.

Adorno: The pleasure of thinking is not to be recommended.

One man practicing kindness in the wilderness is worth all the temples this world pulls…
– Kerouac

Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling.
– Carl Gustav Jung

All this new stuff goes on top
turn it over, turn it over
wait and water down
from the dark bottom
turn it inside out
let it spread through
Sift down even.
Watch it sprout.

A mind like compost.
– Gary Snyder

Without tenderness, we are all in hell.
– Adrienne Rich

Bruce Cockburn:
The wind that blows through everything
Sweeps out the halls of my heart when I sing to you
It carries the moon and the stars and the rain
Carries the seagulls and carries my shame away

May the noble path of non-violence
Flourish in all the worlds there are
When beings meet and interact
May the connections they make be filled with love
And by this may auspiciousness
Light up the whole universe!
– Khenpo Rinpoche

Beware of the anger of the mouth. Master your words.
– The Buddha

Our cultural obsession w/binary thinking means we are unable to welcome truths larger than ourselves, which means we are unable to build empathy, unable to recognize the experiences of others, nor see things for what they are when they spill over into more than one assigned box.
– Anis Mojgani

I felt as if the color made sound.
– Charles Burchfield, Journals

When you say goodbye to someone you love, maybe if you say something crazy, something true, maybe he won’t stop loving you.
– Tom Spanbauer, I Loved You More

Cease trying to work everything out with your minds. It will get you nowhere. Live by intuition and inspiration and let your whole life be a revelation.
– Eileen Caddy

An “old soul” is someone who remembers things beyond the cultural conditioning in which they have been born in — They carry ancient souvenirs in their waking consciousness, which can be either a burden or a gift.
– @mikael_jibril

Bruce Cockburn:
Amid the rumours and the expectations
And all the stories dreamt and lived
Amid the clangour and the dislocation
And things to fear and to forgive
Don’t forget… about delight

After all this, how can the world still be so beautiful?

Because it is.

– Margaret Atwood

Set peace of mind as your highest goal, and organize your life around it.
– Brian Tracy

Be thankful for
every thorn that others might throw at you.
It is a sign that you will soon be showered in roses.
– Shams e Tabraiz

Is happiness a skill that, once acquired, endures through the ups and downs of life? There are a thousand ways of thinking about happiness, and countless philosophers have offered their own. For Saint Augustine, happiness is ‘a rejoicing in the truth.’ For Immanuel Kant, happiness must be rational and devoid of any personal taint, while for Marx it is about growth through work. ‘What constitutes happiness is a matter of dispute,’ Aristotle wrote, ‘and the popular account of it is not the same as that given by the philosophers.’
“Has the word happiness itself been so overused that people have given up on it, turned off by the illusions and platitudes it evokes? For some people, talking about the search for happiness seems almost in bad taste. Protected by their armor of intellectual complacency, they sneer at it as they would at a sentimental novel.
“How did such a devaluation come about? Is it a reflection of the artificial happiness offered by the media? Is it a result of the failed efforts we use to find genuine happiness? Are we supposed to come to terms with unhappiness rather than make a genuine and intelligent attempt to untangle happiness from suffering?
“What about the simple happiness we get from a child’s smile or a nice cup of tea after a walk in the woods? As rich and comforting as such genuine glimpses of happiness might be, they are too circumstantial to shed light on our lives as a whole. Happiness can’t be limited to a few pleasant sensations, to some intense pleasure, to an eruption of joy or a fleeting sense of serenity, to a cheery day or a magic moment that sneaks up on us in the labyrinth of our existence. Such diverse facets are not enough in themselves to build an accurate image of the profound and lasting fulfillment that characterizes true happiness.
“By happiness I mean here a deep sense of flourishing that arises from an exceptionally healthy mind. This is not a mere pleasurable feeling, a fleeting emotion, or a mood, but an optimal state of being. Happiness is also a way of interpreting the world, since while it may be difficult to change the world, it is always possible to change the way we look at it.
A FORETASTE OF HAPPINESS
“Although Bertha Young was thirty she still had moments like this when she wanted to run instead of walk, to take dancing steps on and off the pavement, to bowl a hoop, to throw something up in the air and catch it again, or to stand still and laugh at — nothing — at nothing, simply. . . . What can you do if you are thirty and, turning the corner of your own street, you are overcome, suddenly, by a feeling of bliss — absolute bliss! — as though you’d suddenly swallowed a bright piece of that late afternoon sun and it burned in your bosom, sending out a little shower of sparks into every particle, into every finger and toe?
— Katherine Mansfield, Bliss and Other Stories
“Ask any number of people to describe a moment of ‘perfect’ happiness. Some will talk about moments of deep peace experienced in a harmonious natural setting, of a forest dappled in sunshine, of a mountain summit looking out across a vast horizon, of the shores of a tranquil lake, of a night walk through snow under a starry sky, and so on. Others will refer to a long-awaited event: an exam they’ve aced, a sporting victory, meeting someone they’ve longed to meet, the birth of a child. Still others will speak of a moment of peaceful intimacy with their family or a loved one, or of having made someone else happy.
“The common factor to all of these experiences would seem to be the momentary disappearance of inner conflicts. The person feels in harmony with the world and with herself. Someone enjoying such an experience, such as walking through a serene wilderness, has no particular expectations beyond the simple act of walking. She simply is, here and now, free and open.
“For just a few moments, thoughts of the past are suppressed, the mind is not burdened with plans for the future, and the present moment is liberated from all mental constructs. This moment of respite, from which all sense of emotional urgency has vanished, is experienced as one of profound peace. For someone who has achieved a goal, completed a task, or won a victory, the tension they have long carried with them relaxes. The ensuing sense of release is felt as a deep calm, free of all expectation and fear.
“But this experience is just a passing glimpse brought on by a particular set of circumstances. We call it a magic moment, a state of grace. And yet the difference between these flashes of happiness seized on the fly and the immutable peacefulness of the sage, for instance, is as great as that between the tiny section of sky seen through the eye of a needle and the limitless expanses of outer space. The two conditions differ in dimension, duration, and depth.
“Even so, we can learn something from these fleeting moments, these lulls in our ceaseless struggles; they can give us a sense of what true plenitude might be and help us to recognize the conditions that favor it.
– Matthieu Ricard

Fools chase their own tails. The average man seek inner peace. The wise don’t mind what happens.
– Maxime Lagacé

Let idiots
Reel giddy in bedlam spring:
She withdrew neatly.
– Sylvia Plath

The importance of insomnia is so colossal that I am tempted to define man as the animal who cannot sleep.
– E. M. Cioran

We need grounded people right now. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, please give yourself permission to take a break to close your eyes. Lie down. Breathe. Recharge. Feel your weight on the earth. Then return to action from that place of loving stillness, of having been gathered.
– Shira Erlichman

You say you love flowers, but you keep tearing them from the ground. You say you love animals, but you eat them for breakfast. You say you love me. I am afraid
– Tonino Guerra

I want my poems to make you do the kind of crying that leads to real thinking.
– Jericho Brown

A time in life comes when you are looking for a partner with who you can sit down and listen to rain.
– Tonino Guerra

From the uncertainty, move forward all the same. Nothing acquired, for everything acquired would that not be paralysis? Uncertainty is the engine, shadow is the source. I walk for lack of place, I speak for lack of knowledge, proof that I am not yet dead.
– Philippe Jaccottet

Homesick we are, and always, for another
And different world.
– Vita Sackville-West, The Garden

Christine Kane:
The truth is, with any decision you face, you know your context and intention better than anyone. Sure, there are people with more certifications, more experience in your field, and bigger bottom lines. But when it comes to your business, you bring the real wisdom to the table. You are the wise thinker. To make decisions that advance your intention, it helps to see yourself that way. You need to allow your wisdom to be the main driver of your decisions – no matter how many opinions you solicit.

Every human thought, word, or deed is based on fear or love. Fear is the energy which contracts, closes down, draws in, hides, hoards, harms. Love is the energy which expands, opens up, sends out, reveals, shares, heals. You have free choice about which of these to select.
– Neale Donald Walsh

Technology tries to prevent us from asking deeper questions. The megatechnology society believes that there is a technological solution to every problem. This would be correct only if the world were a machine.
– Stephanie Mills, Turning Away from Technology

…This perhaps is the way to find that thing I long for: go into the woods alone and look at the earth crowded in growth, new and old bursting from their strong roots hidden in the silent, live ground, each seed according to its own kind expanding, bursting, pushing its way upward towards the light and air, each one knowing what to do, each one demanding its own rights on the earth.

Feel this growth, the surging upwards, this expansion, the pulsing life, all working with the same idea… life, life, life… Draw deeply from the good nourishment of the earth but rise into the glory of the light and air and sunshine. Rejoice in your own soil, the place that nurtured you when a helpless seed. Fill it with glory—be glad.
– Emily Carr

My imagination is a monastery and I am its monk.
– John Keats

Some people need religion. Me?
I’ve got my long black hair.
– Jericho Brown, “Monotheism”

Wildly Constant
(excerpt)

The first thing I saw
the first morning I went out for a walk in Stykkishólmur
was a crow

as big as a chair.
What’s that chair doing on top of that house? I thought
then it flapped away.

A crow that big is called a raven.
Corvus corax in Linnaeus’s binomial system.
Each one makes a sound

like a whole townful of ravens
in the country I come from.
Three adjectives that recur

in the literature on ravens are
omnivorous.
Pernicious.

Monogamous.
I’m interested in monogamous.
I got married last May

and had my honeymoon in Stykkishólmur.
This year I returned to Stykkishólmur
to live with my husband

for three months in one small room.
This extreme monogamy
proved almost too much for us.

Rather than murder each other
we rented a second place
(Greta’s house)

near the pool.
Now we are happily
duogamous.

There are ravens on the roof
of both places.
Perhaps they are the same ravens.



I should learn more about signs.
I came to Stykkishólmur
to live in a library.

The library contains not books
but glaciers.
The glaciers are upright.

Silent.
As perfectly ordered as books would be.
But they are melted.

What would it be like
to live in a library
of melted books.

With sentences streaming over the floor
and all the punctuation
settled to the bottom as a residue.

It would be confusing.
Unforgivable.
A great adventure.

…I
stand amid glaciers.
Listen to the wind outside

falling towards me from the outer edges of night and space.I have no theory
of why we are here

or what any of us is a sign of.
But a room of melted glaciers
rocking in the nightwind of Stykkishólmur

is a good place to ponder it.
Each glacier is lit from underneath
as memory is.

Proust says memory is of two kinds.
There is the daily struggle to recall
where we put our reading glasses

and there is a deeper gust of longing
that comes up from the bottom
of the heart

involuntarily.
At sudden times.
For surprise reasons.

Here is an excerpt from a letter Proust wrote
in 1913:
We think we no longer love our dead

but that is because we do not remember them:
suddenly
we catch sight of an old glove

and burst into tears.

(Anne Carson [source — do consider reading the entire long poem!])

…and:

Life is an experimental journey undertaken involuntarily. It is a journey of the spirit through the material world and, since it is the spirit that travels, it is the spirit that is experienced. That is why there exist contemplative souls who have lived more intensely, more widely, more tumultuously than others who have lived their lives purely externally.
– Fernando Pessoa

__________What is poetry?__________

The best words in the best order.
– Coleridge

There are six errors or misconceptions which we should guard against.

Mistaken patience or endurance.

Religious people, who bravely put up with hardships and persevere in the practice even though they have nothing in the way of food and clothing, suffering from cold and so on, may well be a sorry sight. They may in fact lack material possessions, but they do not need us to feel sorry for them. After all, their discomforts will be short lived and are the means through which they will finally come to liberation. Quite different from that sort of courage is the mistaken bravery of ordinary heroes who, in order to destroy their opponents and protect their own side, undergo unbearable hardships in the fight against their enemies, or suffer the cruel discipline and fury of their leaders.

Misplaced interest.

It is also a mistake to be intent on the accumulation of wealth, power and comfort for this life at the expense of Dharma practice.

Our intention should be to help all sentient beings, who have been our mothers, and to bring them to the state of Buddhahood. We should never be self-satisfied and rest on our laurels, thinking that we have meditated well, that we have done retreat and are familiar with the rituals, or that we can chant and know all there is to know about the practice. This is an obstacle on the path.

Taking delight in worldly pleasures instead of in the Dharma.

This is also a mistake. ‘Learning comes from listening to the teachings; evil is reversed through listening to the teachings; futile ways are shunned by listening to the teachings.’ Bear this in mind. We should try to understand whether the teachings are expressed in the relative or the absolute sense, and we should make an effort to grasp the ultimate meaning beyond the words. Then we should practise it with an undivided heart. That is how to make sure progress. However, having experienced a taste of the Dharma, most ‘experts,’ armed with their intellectual knowledge, allow themselves to be sidetracked into arguments and disputes with opponents, all for worldly satisfaction. Their taste of Dharma has played them false.

Misplaced compassion.

It is a mistake to feel sorry for practitioners who endure a lot of difficulties for the sake of the Dharma, staying in lonely mountain hermitages without much food or warm clothing. It is incorrect to worry and think, ‘These poor practitioners! They are going to die of starvation!’ By contrast, the ones we should really feel sorry for are those who commit evil actions, such as army leaders and military heroes who kill hundreds and thousands of people, and whose hatred will drag them down into the realms of hell. We should show compassion to those who need it.

Being helpful in the wrong way.

It is a mistake, too, to introduce our relations and dependants to worldly hap piness and success instead of bringing them into contact with the Dharma. If we really care for them, we should help them to meet religious teachers and instruct them in the practice. Day by day, we should show them how to tread the path of liberation. Good people are like medicinal trees: whoever frequents them becomes good also. But if, by contrast, we teach people how to do business, how to trick others and stand up to their enemies, they will become as vicious as we are.

Rejoicing inappropriately.

It is wrong to rejoice at the sufferings of enemies instead of at whatever is joyful and virtuous. By contrast, when people engage in work for any kind of good cause, or when Dharmapractitioners undertake innumerable nyungne fasts,2 when they do a lot of work, building temples, constructing stupas and images or printing books, we should pray: ‘In this life and their lives to come, may they always practise virtue, may their good actions bring about the birth of Bodhichitta in their minds.’ This is the proper way to rejoice. But if, on the contrary, we feel pleasure and satisfaction when someone we dislike is punished by his superiors, or even killed-thinking that he only got what was coming to him, we are rejoicing wrongly.

These, then, are six wrong actions that we should forsake if we wish to follow the unmistaken way.

Be consistent in your practice.

When we are content and our lives are going well, we feel inclined to practise; but when, for instance, we are hungry and have nothing to eat, we lose interest. This is because we lack perfect confidence in the teachings. As the saying goes, ‘Well fed and warm in the sun: that’s when we look like practitioners. But when things go wrong, we are very ordinary people. The Dharma and our minds never seem to mingle. Bless us with the proper attitude!’ And it is said too, ‘Meditators whose behaviour has drifted into ordinary ways will never be free. Reciting many mantras for the sake of appearances will not help us on the path.’

Be zealous in your training.

Let us train ourselves wholeheartedly, completely saturating ourselves with the Mind Training: sometimes meditating on emptiness, sometimes on detachment from this life and sometimes on compassion towards beings. Through investigation and examination, we should endeavour to practise the methods of cultivating the Mind Training more and more.

Free yourself by analysis and testing.

Let us first examine which of our emotions is strongest. Then let us make a concerted effort to generate its antidote, investigating whether the emotion increases when we are confronted by certain specific situations. We should observe whether it arises or not, recognize it and, with the help of the antidote, rid ourselves of it, persevering until it no longer arises.

Don’t take what you do too seriously.

If we help others by providing them with food and clothing, by freeing them from prison, or by promoting them to some position of importance, it should not be with the expectation of some kind of recognition. If we practise intensely and for a long time, or if we are knowledgeable and disciplined, we should not expect to be respected for it. If, on the other hand, we find that others know a great deal, we should pray for them to become really learned; if they are very disciplined, we should pray for them to be like the disciples at the time of Buddha; if we see people practising, we should pray that their minds be blended with the practice, that their practice be without obstacle and that their paths might lead to the final goal. That is how we should meditate, caring more for others than for ourselves. But if we manage to do so, we should not congratulate ourselves on having done something great or extraordinary. ‘Do not rely on other human beings; just pray to the yidam.’ Such was the advice of Radreng.30 Therefore, do not count on others for help with food, clothing, etc. Rather have a confident faith in the Three Jewels. As it is said: ‘Trusting in the Teacher is the ultimate refuge, working for the benefit of others is the ultimate Bodhichitta, therefore do not brag about your accomplishments.’ We should always have this attitude, because if we depend on others, the results may not be as we wish…

Do not be bad tempered.

If it happens that we are slighted in public, we should never think to ourselves that despite the fact that we are such good practitioners, people have no regard for us and do not come to pay respects or to receive our blessings. We should not react with annoyance and harsh words. At the moment, because we have not used the teachings as an antidote for egoclinging, our patience and forbearance are more fragile than a blister and we are as irritable as a bear with a sore head. All that because we have failed to use the instructions as an antidote.

Do not be temperamental.

Because of its transparency, a crystal ball takes on the colour of whatever it is standing on. In the same way, there are some practitioners, who, if they are given a lot of money, will have all sorts of positive thoughts. ‘Oh, this is such a kind sponsor,’ they will say. But if they get nothing, they will say bad things and hold a grudge. We should not be swayed by such trivial things.

Do not expect to be rewarded.

If we have been of help to others or have managed to practise, we should not expect thanks, praise or fame. If we practise the two Bodhichittas all our lives, perform our meditation and post-meditation properly, and if we mingle our minds with the view of meditation, our experience in day to day life will not be ordinary. Furthermore, if we are not distracted in our daily lives, this will help our meditation to progress. If, however, we meditate singlemindedly during the sessions, but afterwards are completely distracted, we will not gain confidence in the view of meditation. Conversely, if we develop virtuous habits in post-meditation but during the meditation session engage in useless activities, again our practice will be meaningless. Therefore we should make sure to train ourselves correctly.”

***

“If we have instructions on how to carry obstacles onto the path, then no matter how many difficulties and conflicting situations come upon us, they will simply clarify our practice and have no power to hinder us on the path. If, however, we do not have such instructions, then difficulties will be experienced as hindrances.

In these degenerate times, as far as the outer universe is concerned, the rains and snows do not come when they should, harvests are poor, the cattle are unhealthy and people and animals are riddled with disease. Because people spend their time in evil activities, because they are jealous and constantly wish misfortune on one another, many countries are at variance and in desperate circumstances. We are in the era when even the teachings of religion are perverted so that famine, disease and war are rife. But, when a forest is on fire, a gale will only make it bigger, it certainly will not blow it out. Likewise, for a Bodhisattva who has received instruction, all such catastrophic situations may be profitably taken onto the path.

***

All suffering comes through not recognising ego-clinging as our enemy. When we are hit by a stick or a stone, it hurts; when someone calls us a thief or a liar, we become angry. Why is this? It is because we feel great esteem and attachment for what we think of as our selves, and we think I am being attacked. Clinging to the I is the real obstacle to the attainment of liberation and enlightenment. What we call obstacle-makers or evil influences, such as ghosts, gods, and so on, are not at all entities outside us. It is from within that the trouble comes. It is due to our fixation on I that we think: I am so unhappy, I can’tget anything to eat, I have no clothes, lost of people are against me and I don’t have any friends. It is thoughts like these that keep us so busyand all so uselessly! This is the reason why we are not on the path to liberation and Buddhahood. Throughout the entire succession of our lives, from beginningless time until the present, we have been taking birth in one or another of the six realms. How long we have been labouring in the three worlds of samsara, slaves to our ego-clinging! This is why we cannot escape. When a man has borrowed a lot of money, he will never have a moment’s peace until he has repaid his debt. So it is with all the work that our ego-clinging has given us to do; it has left negative imprints on the alaya similar to promissory notes. When our karma fructifies and payment is demanded, we have no chance for happiness and enjoyment. All this is because, as it says in the teachings, we do not recogni2e ego-clinging as our real enemy.

It is also because we do not recognise the great kindness of beings. It was said by Buddha Shakyamuni that to work for beings with kindness and compassion, and to make offerings to the Buddhas are of equal value for the attainment of enlightenment. Therefore to be generous to others, to free them from suffering and set them on the path of liberation is as good as making offerings to the Buddhas. We may think that it is better to give to a temple, or place offerings before an image of the Buddha. In fact, because the Buddhas are completely free from self cherishing, the more we can help beings, the happier they are. When the hordes of demons tried to obstruct the Buddha as he was on the point of attaining enlightenment, sending their armies and hurling their weapons, he meditated on kindness towards them, turning their weapons into flowers, and their curses and war cries into praises and mantras. Other beings are in fact the best occasions for the accumulation of merit.

***

In short, all suffering comes from the enemy of our own egoclinging; all benefit derives from other beings, who are therefore like friends and relatives. We should try to help them as much as possible. As Langri Tangpa Dorje Gyaltsen said, Of all the profound teachings I have read, this only have I understood: that all harm and sorrow are my own doing and all benefit and qualities are thanks to others. Therefore all my gain I give to others; all loss I take upon myself. He perceived this as the sole meaning of all the texts that he had studied, meditating upon it throughout his life.
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Enlightened Courage: An Explanation of the Seven Point Mind Training

You become words. ..you do not know the difference between utter and utterance. You will call the sea an overturned sky.
– Mahmoud Darwish on child discovering words

Look, seek and wonder, tremble…
Already you yourself no longer have a past.
– Oskar Milosz

Perhaps it is better to be un-sane and happy, than sane and un-happy.
But it is the best of all to be sane and happy. Whether our descendants
can achieve that goal
will be the greatest challenge of the future. Indeed, it may well decide
whether we have any future.
– Sir Arthur C. Clarke

Call me crazy but I don’t think you can love your neighbor while supporting politics & policies that hurt them.
– Laurence Overmire

No iron can enter the human heart, like a period placed at just the right moment.
– Isaac Babel

The system wants us sad; we have to be happy to resist it.
– Gilles Deleuze

Just practice good, do good for others, without thinking of making yourself known so that you may gain reward. Really bring benefit to others, gaining nothing for yourself. This is the primary requisite for breaking free of attachments to the Self.
– Dogen Zenji

Give me the strength to lock the soft Earth, a relative to all that is.
– Black Elk

The invisible are flush with it, they drowse on blue subway seats. Heads bowed, yes, but to what. This island of concrete and glass tied by rough hands.
– Jenny Xie

I always strive, when I can,
to spread sweetness and light.
There have been several complaints about it.
– P. G. Wodehouse

Remember
the flowers in your heart
confined in winter
– Basho

Visit, we beseech you, O Lord, our homes and families, drive far from us all the snares of the enemy. May your holy angels dwell with us and guard us in peace, and let your blessing be always upon us. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
– via Steve Miller

Herons, cats, and burglars achieve what they intend by going silently and unobserved. Such is the constant practice of a sage.
– The Way of the Bodhisattva, Shantideva

Nimbawaadaan Akiing / I Dream a World
Nimbawaadaan akiing
I dream a world

atemagag biinaagami
of clean water

gete-mitigoog
ancient trees

gaye gwekaanimad
and changing winds.

Nimbawaadaan akiing
I dream a world

izhi-mikwendamang
of ones who remember

nandagikenindamang gaye
who seek the truth and

maamwidebwe’endamang waabang
believe in tomorrow together.

Nimbawaadaan akiing
I dream a world

izhi-biimiskobideg giizhigong
where our path in the sky

waabandamang naasaab
can be seen as clearly as

gaa-izhi-niibawid wiijibemaadizid
the place where our neighbor once stood.
– Margaret Noodin

What makes people despair is that they try to find a universal meaning to the whole of life, and then end up by saying it is absurd, illogical, and empty of meaning. There is not one big, cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.
– Anaïs Nin

I have no friends, there are only people I love.
– Louis Aragon

My culture comes from everywhere.
I’m sick of this notion of nationality,
that if you’re brought up in the same city
or same country you’re the same.
Even three kids brought up in the same family
with the same genes, they are not the same.
Just consider a human a human.
– Marjane Satrapi

I want my poems to make you do the kind of crying that leads to real thinking.
– Jericho Brown

I’ve always known forgiveness was important. Now I’m seeing it’s even more important than I thought. Whatever we don’t forgive in our past – maybe we were raped, maybe our father abandoned us, maybe our mother chronically guilt-tripped us – we bring into our present relationships. Whatever resentment of pain we feel towards others in our past, we take out on our current friends, significant others, etc. That forgiveness piece is so important, because it’s the piece that removes the anger and resentment from our vessel. Once this is removed we no longer risk becoming vessels of rage and pain on others (which is ultimately abusive to them). I always thought forgiveness was about healing the self, and it is. But now I see it’s also about helping others in our lives today. If someone remotely triggers those old wounds we haven’t forgiven, all the anger and rage about that past wound comes out on the poor bystander in the present time. Now, if only I could practice what I preach. Creator help me! haha. Can’t do it alone.

Forgiveness, I was told, is not holding it against the person who abused you, even though you have the “right” to. It is the act of clearing a debt that “should” be owed to you. It is letting them go. And in that process, letting yourself go as well.
– Lyla June

Why does this bother me
Where does this bother me ….this toxicity … this conflict
How can I tend to it
It is not the other’s bad behavior
but the me that I truly witness
So how do I tend to this me
To see what I am hanging onto
To what belief or opinion I am hanging onto that keeps me separate that keeps me in conflict
Why does this bother me
Where does this bother me
Who does it bother
This me that is only a compilation of ever changing likes and dislikes
And when those are removed
let go of
dissolved
seen through
…who is left?
…who is looking?
– Shinzen

True vision isn’t just seeing seeing.
It’s also seeing not seeing.
And true understanding isn’t just understanding understanding.
It’s also understanding not understanding.
If you understand anything, you don’t understand.
Only when you understand nothing is it true understanding.
Understanding is neither understanding nor not understanding.
The sutras say, “Not to let go of wisdom is stupidity.”
When the mind doesn’t exist, understanding and not understanding are both true.
When the mind exists, understanding and not understanding are both false.
When you understand, reality depends on you.
When you don’t understand, you depend on reality.
When reality depends on you, that which isn’t real becomes real.
When you depend on reality, that which is real becomes false.
When you depend on reality, everything is false.
When reality depends on you, everything is true.
Thus, the sage doesn’t use his mind to look for reality, or reality to look for his mind, or his mind to look for his mind, or reality to look for reality.
His mind doesn’t give rise to reality.
And reality doesn’t give rise to his mind.
And because both his mind and reality are still, he’s always in samadhi.
– Bodhidharma

The real war is not
between the West and the East.
The real war is
between intelligent and stupid people.
– Marjane Satrapi

We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus!
That alone should make us love each other
but it doesn’t.
We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities,
we are eaten up by nothing.
– Charles Bukowski

She had always wanted words, she loved them; grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape.
– Michael Ondaatje

Discipline is remembering what you want.
– David Campbell

Whatever hour God has blessed you with, take it with grateful hand.
– Horace

It’s the troublemakers in your life who cause you to see that you’ve shut down, that you’ve armored yourself, that you’ve hidden your head in the sand. If you didn’t get angry at them, didn’t get fed up with them, you would never be able to cultivate patience.
– Pema Chodron

I always knew that grief was something I could smell. But I didn’t know that it’s not actually a noun but a verb. That it moves.\
– Victoria Chang

Bruce Cockburn:
Don’t know where it came from
But I know where it came
There’s a bone in my ear
Keeps singing your name

Why is it that right-wing bastards always stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity, while liberals fall out among themselves?
– Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Irina Dumitrescu:

Academia takes a lot of passionate and intelligent people and finds ways to break them.

Sometimes the cracks are large and visible to all. Sometimes they are hairline fine.

In both cases so much shame is involved.

Who finds this good? Whom is it serving?

And if you can’t shape your life the way you want,
at least try as much as you can
not to degrade it
by too much contact with the world,
by too much activity and talk.
– Cavafy

“The first day of spring”–
just thinking about those words–
green, grass, green, trees, green
– Kobayashi Issa

Books give birth to books
that then give birth to more books.
Soon there are whole worlds

that are nothing but
books addressing each other,
constantly talking

and singing of books
yet to be written. So now
the world is written

we should start to read.
– George Szirtes

Doc Hubbard:

I used to wait for, perhaps even anticipate, a miracle that would change my life and correct the injustices of the past. Now, I no longer expect or wait or even hope for such things.

There is great freedom in that.

A sense of blessedness comes from a change of heart, not from more blessings.
– Mason Cooley

…There are no
empty hopes. But knowing
what to hope for is steady
work. What was ever
so important to you you left
your daily life to heed it?
– Joanna Klink

Jason Isbell:
Why are workout clothes designed to fit people who don’t need to work out.

Matthew Burnside:
i wish we all went to high school together instead of all the people i actually went to high school with.

We find comfort only in
another beauty, in others’
music, in the poetry of others.
Salvation lies with others,
though solitude may taste like
opium. Other people aren’t hell
if you glimpse them at dawn, when
their brows are clean, rinsed by dreams.
– Adam Zagajewski

We have an obligation to one another, responsibilities and trusts. That does not mean we must be pigeons, that we must be exploited. But it does mean that we should look out for one another when and as much as we can; and that we have a personal responsibility for our behavior; and that our behavior has consequences of a very real and profound nature. We are not powerless. We have tremendous potential for good or ill. How we choose to use that power is up to us; but first we must choose to use it. We’re told every day, “You can’t change the world.” But the world is changing every day. Only question is . . . who’s doing it? You or somebody else?
– J. Michael Straczynski

It is of no use to sit in a peaceful forest if our mind is lost in the city.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window, into which people look(while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things, while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and

without breaking anything.

– e.e. cummings

Because we generally lack an understanding of our inner world, we would do well to find a way to incorporate it into the education curriculum from kindergarten to university. We have to examine which emotions are helpful and which are harmful. Some, like compassion we should learn to enhance, while others, like anger and fear, we should learn to reduce. Emotions have causes and we need to understand what they are.
– Dalai Lama

All of your desires, all of your needs, all of your wants are already within you, waiting to be fulfilled and expressed.
– Ponder this.
All of the Masters, the teachers, the Saints, the Sages that you have worshipped all of your life, whether it’s Buddha, Christ, Muhammad, Moses, whomever, have always been within you, waiting to be expressed.
– Ponder this.
The only problem you have, that does not allow these Sages, your desires, your wants to be expressed through you, is your noisy mind.
– Ponder this.
Whatever you see in your life right now, good or bad, is a result of your thoughts and your belief. It has no other reality. It is not permanent.
– Ponder this.
– Robert Adams

As observers of totalitarianism such as Victor Klemperer noticed, truth dies in four modes, all of which we have just witnessed.

The first mode is the open hostility to verifiable reality, which takes the form of presenting inventions and lies as if they were facts. […]

The second mode is shamanistic incantation. As Klemperer noted, the fascist style depends upon “endless repetition,” designed to make the fictional plausible […].

The next mode is magical thinking, or the open embrace of contradiction. […]

The final mode is misplaced faith. […] Once truth [becomes] oracular rather than factual, evidence [is] irrelevant. At the end of the war a worker told Klemperer that “understanding is useless, you have to have faith. […]”

Accepting untruth of this radical kind requires a blatant abandonment of reason. Klemperer’s descriptions of losing friends in Germany in 1933 over the issue of magical thinking ring eerily true today. One of his former students implored him to “abandon yourself to your feelings, and you must always focus on the Führer’s greatness, rather than on the discomfort you are feeling at present.”
– Timothy Snyder

Wake up, my soul.
I don’t know where you are,
where you’re hiding,
but wake up, please,
we’re still together,
the road is still before us,
a bright strip of dawn
will be our star.
– Adam Zagajewski, Rest in Poetry

Bruce Cockburn:
In the southland of the heart
Where night blooms perfume the breeze
Lie down
Take your rest with me

The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.
– John Green

Only brightness / can undo or save me.
– Adam Zagajewski, Broken heart

And the way that I love, Lord,
is narrow and branching and switch-backed and, Lord, I love you.
– Kaitlyn Spees

I nearly always write
just as I nearly always breathe.
– John Steinbeck

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi:
I don’t know anything about consciousness.
I just try to teach my students
how to hear the birds sing.

kyle carrero lopez:
around 93% of the time, loving your alma mater is a toxic trait.

Bruce Cockburn:
This current flows between us
That will not be denied
You draw me in towards you
Like the moon pulls at the tide
May no shadow ever fall
That will make me have to call
You someone I used to love

In some communities there is a man who sells whistles by the courthouse or paper kites down by the river. In others there is a woman who decorates her home with multicolored lights and streamers every holiday. Usually these people are no more than small figures at the periphery of everyone’s attention, but when they die, it can be more surprising than the death of a prominent leader or a renowned artist, because no one has ever regarded them carefully enough to consider what their absence might mean.
– Kevin Brockmeier

I hear so many crazy things spoken. Crazy things spoken with such certainty as if it is realty. Everyday I find myself wanting to just say less. So…I spend more time here in the quiet of this space.
“The things you do not have to say make you rich. Saying things you do not have to say weakens your talk. Hearing things you do not need to hear dulls your hearing. And things you know before you hear them — those are you, those are why you are in the world.”
– William Stafford

Our road is too quiet – let’s move to somewhere with more traffic,” said almost no-one ever.
– Iain Roberts

I have woven
a parachute out of everything broken, my scars
are my shield: and I jump, daylight or dark
into any country
– William Stafford

Surge
by Etel Adnan

A long night I spent
thinking that reality was the story
of the human species

the vanquished search for the vanquished

Sounds come by, ruffling my soul

I sense space’s elasticity,
go on reading the books she wrote on the
wars she’s seen

Why do seasons who regularly follow
their appointed time, deny their kind of energy
to us?

why is winter followed by a few
more days of winter?

We came to transmit the shimmering
from which we came; to name it

we deal with a permanent voyage,
the becoming of that which itself had
become

In Colorado, In Oregon, upon
by Joshua Beckman

In Colorado, In Oregon, upon
each beloved fork, a birthday is celebrated.
I miss each and every one of my friends.
I believe in getting something for nothing.
Push the chair, and what I can tell you
with almost complete certainty
is that the chair won’t mind.
And beyond hope,
I expect it is like this everywhere.
Music soothing people.
Change rolling under tables.
The immaculate cutoff so that we may continue.
A particular pair of trees waking up against the window.
This partnership of mind, and always now
in want of forgiveness. That forgiveness be
the domain of the individual,
like music or personal investment.
Great forward-thinking people brought us
the newspaper, and look what we have done.
It is time for forgiveness. Dear ones,
unmistakable quality will soon be upon us.
Don’t wait for anything else.

What’s your “fair share” of carbon emissions? You’re probably blowing way past it.

Since we are all created equal, what would equal carbon rights look like?

For any given target temperature stabilization there is a “carbon budget,” a fixed total amount of carbon dioxide (and equivalents) that can be emitted by everyone. The latest United Nations Emissions Gap Report […] shows that to stay on track for an average global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius, the average emissions for each human on Earth needs to be 2.1 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (tCO2e) per year, by 2030.

How much will different income groups need to change to get to their carbon “fair share”?

The world’s wealthy need cuts of over 90 percent of their carbon emissions, to get to their carbon fair share. [97% cut for the global top 1%; 91% cut for the global top 10%.] Most “middle class” Americans are in the global top 1 or 10 percent.

[…] Your market choices matter, mathematically and morally. Contrary to the conscience-clearing trope that personal consumption choices don’t really matter, the UN report says 70% of total global emissions emanate directly from personal purchasing decisions like diet and transportation.

One round-trip medium-haul flight burns 30% of an annual “fair share” (a long-haul, 90%). […] Here, Covid-19 offers key lessons. We changed consumption instantly on a vast scale (way faster than we can make large political or technological changes happen). The pandemic led to a 10% drop in US carbon emissions in 2020, according to preliminary estimates by the Rhodium Group. We must hit that every year this decade to stabilize at 1.5°C. […]

So what the hell can anyone do? The main answer for the majority of folks reading this is to cut your personal consumption, and to press for political and systemic changes to get off the “hedonic treadmill.” […]. It’s critical to avoid mindless overconsumption. […] Pursuit of happiness by unlimited consumption interferes with the right to life of others. These 18th-century rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” were developed under very different conditions. We now live in a world of material and moral limits.

This is your hatred back. She loves you.
– Joy Harjo, Transformations, In Mad Love and War

At the post office, I dash a note to a friend,
tell her I’ve just moved in, gotten settled, that

I’m now rushing off on an errand—except
that I write errant, a slip between letters,

each with an upright backbone anchoring it
to the page.

– Natasha Trethewey, Letter

How fragile we are under the sheltering sky.
Behind the sheltering sky is a vast dark universe,
and we’re just so small.
– Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky

Love does not dominate; it cultivates.
– Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

It’s not always that we need to do more but rather that we need to focus on less.
– Nathan W. Morris

Focus on what you control. Your habits. Your responses. Your ability to learn. Your ability to think. These are controllable and give you massive tailwinds.
– Shane Parrish

People write for many different reasons. Those reasons all fall under the umbrella of ‘need.‘ A Need to write. A Need to say something that other people will hear. So where does the Need come from? The call we hear in the present moment likely has deep roots. Events, people, incidents, ‘stuff’ in our past, taken altogether, poke us, prod us—require us to speak up. Speak out. I don’t necessarily mean trauma, though trauma is often a strong trigger for writing.

Where Need to write does not come from is here. Blogs. Twitter. Snapchat. Instagram. Tumblr and a hundred other social media, informationally overloaded, time-sucking pleasures of the internet. Cumulatively, the effect of our time spent online is dilute our Need to write. A dilatory effect. The more time we spend online, the more we are absorbed into the monolith of Cumulative Thought—Group Think—at the expense of our inner, unique selves. The more we post and comment and share, the more of ourselves we give away—all at the expense of our own truths. Our own secret, individual voice. Our unique vision of the world, the one that looks out through our eye holes.

Yet we all have an online life. It’s almost impossible not to. That being the case, my argument is simple: we all need to hit ‘Refresh’ on occasion. We need to try to find our way back to those events, feelings, and images that shaped us in the first place.

– Will Weaver, Hitting Refresh

The imagination is not just our capacity to invent, to project something new. Imagination is more like our feel for the world. Think of it as a faculty of perception pitched somewhere between intellect and instinct. Instinct is our biological hardwiring that determines certain kinds of responses to our environment. Intellect is our capacity for theoretical reflection. But imagination is, in fact, our default mode of navigating the world—a perceiving that is intertwined with acting, a perception that is pre-theoretical and largely unarticulated. Philosophers Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty describe this as a kind of ‘attunement,’ a fitting metaphor precisely because it holds an artistic kernel in itself: we are like instruments tuned to the world in certain ways. My feel for the world is like a song my body knows how to sing; my feel for the world is oriented by a story I carry in my bones.

However—and this is crucial—the imagination is acquired. It is learned. It is neither instinctual nor universal. We don’t all operate with the same sort of imagination. Rather, the imagination is a form of habit, a learned, bodily disposition to the world. Embodiment is integral to imagination: such attunement is absorbed on a bodily register.

And how do you teach a body? Through embodiment. This is why the formation of the imagination is fundamentally incarnate. The way to the imagination is through the body, which is why embodied, material media captivate and shape it. Philosopher Charles Taylor talks about what he calls our collective ‘social imaginary’: ‘the way ordinary people “imagine” their social surroundings’ before they ever think about it, the way we perceive others and our collective life in an instant. Our ‘take’ on others. Importantly, Taylor points out that our social imaginary is “not expressed in theoretical terms, but is carried in images, stories, and legends.” In other words, the social imaginary is shaped by the ways artists show us the world: our storytellers, image-makers, and performers of all kinds enact a story about who we are.

This, of course, is also where we go wrong. Our imaginations are susceptible to malformation depending on what images we feed them, what stories they soak up. It’s the imagination—well- or malformed—that determines what I see before I look.

– James. K.A. Smith, Healing the Imagination

How shall I treat these ironies in verse
or explain to the world
all the qualities I see in you?
— Marina Tsvetaeva

and everything burned in blue, everything a star
– Pablo Neruda

The fact that millions of people take part in a delusion doesn’t make it sane.
— Erich Fromm

I don’t think people read poetry
because they’re interested in the poet.
I think people read poetry
because they’re interested in themselves.
– Billy Collins

Zen is not a warm baby blanket of belief systems to comfort you
nor is it hanging mobile of distraction to entertain you.
It is more like an unpredictable, wtf, confusing blast
from an ice cold shower that makes you gasp —
makes you wonder why in the hell you are doing this
…before you go back for more!
– Shinzen

Ilya Kaminsky:
I never understood why some seem to have the need to produce such a thing as a “defense of poetry”?

I mean: why defend yourself against the thing that you know disappears by the minute while you sing?

excerpts from “Duned”
by Natalie Diaz

The worst work of my hands is in English—: I’m a chiral body writing into what I cannot coincide.

I’ve come to the mountain to bless these hands back. Clay clod & gypsum—: a way my body has been & will become. I rename one hand Occupied Territory, call to the other Amante Verde. & the mountain sobs its hornblende to the surface.

I am known in this place—: of Creation & cascabel. Mojave Greens are my relatives. I holograph in the ambient heat, green quicked with copper. Don’t play with snakes they say Don’t play with your own power.

Beneath the granite boulders the hibernaculum cools, empty with shed skins—: their spectered shells, curled ribbons of fried light.

The pressure of molecule & memory—: atmosphere bears touch on loop, apparates everything it has held. The salted swastiks of their bodies, thick, rope-heavy, a scent you have to lift.

My flesh-light cleaves their old energy eyes, slips each slit of limonite & aperture. In them I am struck—: a fever image. They coil into their handless work of transmutation, into radio sensation, rattling the hair on my forearms.

She recognizes me not as human but as her own imagination. I am granite reorganized, a formation—: yet forming. I dream with the mountain because I am of the mountain.

Grief for my elemental life respires my body. My snakes lick me from the wind like a chemical, return me to electric signal—: a web of small lightning suturing the mouth to the skull. Pleasure, unlanguaged & noise.

I was dreamed into being—: I was the dreamer. Skin fleshes the world it’s made of, in overwhelm.

Cloud shadow drifts a gray whale across the salt flats—: a periphery of white halite crust surrounds its slow shade. My lover crystallizes this same way along the ridges of my knuckles & back of my hand, the dorsal side, as we also call a fin—: I surfaced from deep submersion.

There is no pleasure not earthen or wet. Ancient ocean, we say—: & we mean every body.

Sand’s gentle crust of berm edging the wash—: the desert a hot pie, juiceless yet swelling mirage. The neon red sign of a jackrabbit’s spine eaten to its glow, dropped from the sky, flickers in the bleach-light gushing the open land.

How much love can a desert drink to bone? How many bodies—: pressed beneath this tectonic pie?

A shelled vehicle in landscape—: rust-burning, slow bleed of oxide having laced the chassis, licked the light bucket to chrome edges.

A ram’s scattered skeleton—: empty lake of pelvis, desert grapevines threading the bone sockets, tugging the jaw vee deeper into the canyon. Its broken horn is a curl of gold telephone I hold to my eye. I am dislocated. Some knowledge is not mine, some is but I haven’t arrived there yet.

A long time ago the wind licked the coyote’s skull to glass—: this is how we happen. Atom-born, I bend back the atom world. My inheritance is hydrogen. How rain & clouds happen to one another—: wet though risen up from dust, abundant.

We have no word for God. It is sky because someone said it was. Until then, it was only what was in it: giant fish with pharyngeal teeth, orange sand clouds, & ‘Amo—: the bighorn sheep made of stars & staggered, spear still warm from the warrior’s hand,

its shattered torso notching the night. The first wound was a clock, our hunger. We ate the mountain sheep—: now our moon is a curve of cold fat congealing on a blued bone & lives in daylight, diurnal leftover.

Over night’s black dunes we follow the trail of ‘Amo’s white face. If I speak of love—: who will believe me? The only poets in this desert are beryl & jasper.

Thunder is not thunder but the air broken by lighting. My lover backlit like a thunderhead, strapped with night until the softness of her hips disrupts—: her light-wet hands & cock. I am the sound I make breaking in a room.

We are always becoming—: from somewhere. Desire is a blood-colored worm flexing the sand sea around me. I have a power I am learning to be careful with.

They say When you see Numet, she’s already been watching you. The stroke her long tail drags in the sand disappears where the loose wash turns granite outcrop. Looning & lonely, I thundercat—: stalk myself through wind-flooded canyons, watch myself happen to me in the map of my hand.

In the beginning we didn’t understand the bullet. It had no head, no arms or legs—: Menamentk we said. It crossed the water. We named it ‘Anya kwa’oorny. We named it Of the Sun. We had no word for shore, except how water touches land.

They gave us the word shore for their bullet to arrive on. Then said our flesh was also Shore—: so we called the bullet Bullet. We name things for what is done there.

The injuries of becoming human. Tuu’achk—: shoulder blades from turtle shell, hand from wing. The carpus erupting petals of wrist—: bone-flower, flesh.

Bats ripen like fruit in the lava fields, in volcanic caves of basalt. Dusk buds their breathing wings—: flowering angel-beasts. The bats remember when we loved ourselves & called so tenderly into twilight that our words brought us the throbbing world—: mosquito & blood. Kenakenem.

Even the eye’s small water will evaporate to quench the sun. I search the rain from the tongues of my skin—: it is four months away.

The horse has been dead in the dunes all summer. Sun-chromed ravens in early devotion opened each bright window along its bloated belly—: unthreaded red curtains.

Desert as Plutonian shore—: the torso open, a sand-torn sail of hide flapping above the funeral boat. In Mojave a horse is what it does & how it does it, but our word for boat is a wooden box.

Mesquite pods drip in light from turquoise branches. Coyotes mistake the pool for moon water. If the shepherds don’t poison the coyotes—: the coyotes will eat the pods & scat them out.

Scarification—: the obligation of breaking, of rock & whelm.

Every scar loses its wound. In the valley of loss I shift shape, an ache—: become one hundred coyotes in the ‘analy grove weeping from every fleshed door of my body.

The land of Death is a duned land. Xeric. Saly’aay. Saly’aat. We burn our dead we say—: because we do. Touch me I say, because it’s a story we become.

If there is to be any proving of our humanity
it must be through revolutionary means.
– Walter Rodney

You will often meet with characters in nature so extravagant that a discreet poet would not venture to set them upon a stage.
– Lord Chesterfield

A beautiful woman with grey eyes knocks at your door. You answer it, and she hands you a planet.
– @MagicRealismBot

The Mountain Chant of Mappō
— a parting poem
It was a cloudy day, but my ears heard it bright and clear as the sun — a chant for journeying through these times of peril.
It began with a chickadee but by evening-tide even the owls and high wind were singing The Mountain Chant of Mappō.
It wasn’t until dawn-light, however, that I heard the sacred words coming from each of the four winds:
May all suffering beings
in hell realms
god realms
animal realms
human realms
realms of hungry ghosts
experience full liberation
from tormented heart-minds
in this predicted time.
May all wounded souls
seeking the balm of healing
come to know the boundless wellspring of luminosity
found within their own being.
May all sentient beings
yearning for the
wish-fulfilling jewel
of a heart-mind
at-ease with itself
learn the steadfast practice
of Serene-Mirroring
passed down, uninterrupted,
from the Lantern-Lit Heart-Mind
of the Great Forest-Counselor
to the Wayfarers in every age.
May all those caught in the
spinning blades of karma
and drowning in the poisoned waters of obsession, addiction, ignorance, and self-deception
benefit from the unbridled,
karmic chain-breaking power
of innumerable protectors and guides throughout the ten realms.
Buddha of the East
Buddha of the South
Buddha of the West
Buddha of the North
Buddha of the Vast Cosmic Void
Buddha of the Sun
Earth Powers-as-Buddhas
Buddhas of the Three Mountains
Buddhas of Caves and Rivers
Buddhas of Village, Town, and Market
Buddha Within the Beating Heart of Every Suffering Being
Buddha Within the Beating Heart of Every Awakening Woman
Buddha Within the Beating Heart of Every Awakening Man
Buddha Within the Beating Heart of Every Wonder-Filled Child
Buddhas On Pilgrimage
Buddhas On Retreat
Buddhas Creating Art
Buddhas Nurturing Community
Buddhas Tending Gardens
Buddhas Supporting Families
Buddhas Healing Buddhas
Buddhas Teaching Children
Grandmother Buddhas
Sister Buddhas
Grandfather Buddhas
Brother Buddhas
Mother Buddhas
Father Buddhas
Buddhas Being Born
Buddhas Dying
Buddhas Remembering
May we all remember
why we are really here.
— Frank LaRue Owen

DEAR EUROPEAN DESCENDANTS
1.
Here’s the truth of it:
things were bad where we came from.
If they were good, our people would not have left.
Persecution, disease, famine, displacement,
colonization disguised as religious salvation;
empire, slavery, witch burnings,
obliteration of vast wilderness––
who wants to remember any of it?
Which is why that journey across the sea
held the draw of amnesia; of leaving it all behind
and beginning anew. But let’s be honest,
our pain followed us. Just because
you’ve stopped talking about
where you come from
or what happened there,
does not mean the past
has forgotten you.
2.
Who says our ancestors
are in the past, anyway?
Ghosts traveled with us on the ships
and departed at the same harbor.
We no longer speak their names
and long ago dispelled their languages,
but we are the embodiment of
their stories and prayers.
We are remembered into being
each time we open our eyes again
in the brilliant morning light.
There are people and lands
in which we come from,
whether or not we choose
to claim them.
How could exile be free
from consequence?
3.
History does repeat itself,
even if you don’t believe it.
Even if you are consumed
by the current headlines
and shake your finger in the face
of all that is wrong with the world;
especially if you position yourself
outside of what went wrong.
What is happening now
is shaped by the refusal
to acknowledge
what has been.
What difference does it make
that we should know who
and where we come from?
It makes all the difference in the world.
– April Tierney

I think always how we always miss it.
Not anything is ever entirely true.
– William Bronk

Let Lemuel bless with the wolf, which is a
dog without a master, but the Lord hears his
cries and feeds him in the desert. ~ Christopher smart : Jubilate Agno
~
You that know the way,
Spirit,
I bless your ears which are like cypruses on a mountain
With their roots in wisdom. Let me approach.
I bless your paws and their twenty nails which tell their own prayer
And are like dice in command of their own combinations.
Let me not be lost.
I bless your eyes for which I know no comparison.
Run with me like the horizon, for without you
I am nothing but a dog lost and hungry,
Ill-natured, untrustworthy, useless.
My bones together bless you like an orchestra of flutes.
Divert the weapons of the settlements and lead their dogs a dance.
Where a dog is shameless and wears servility
In his tail like a banner,
Let me wear the opprobrium of possessed and possessors
As a thick tail properly used
To warm my worst and my best parts. My tail and my laugh bless
you.
Lead me past the error at the fork of hesitation.
Deliver me
From the ruth of the lair, which clings to me in the morning,
Painful when I move, like a trap ;
Even debris has its favorite positions but they are not yours;
~
From the ruth of kindness, with its licked hands;
I have sniffed baited fingers and followed
Toward necessities which were not my own: it would make me
An habitue of back steps, faithful custodian of fat sheep;
From the ruth of prepared comforts, with its
Habitual dishes sporting my name and its collars and leashes of
vanity ;
From the ruth of approval, with its nets, kennels, and taxidermists;
It would use my guts for its own rackets and instruments, to play
its own games and music;
Teach me to recognize its platforms, which are constructed like
scaffolds;
From the ruth of known paths, which would use my feet, tail, and
ears as curios,
My head as a nest for tame ants,
My fate as a warning.
I have hidden at wrong times for wrong reasons.
I have been brought to bay. More than once.
Another time, if I need it,
Create a little wind like a cold finger between my shoulders, then
Let my nails pour out a torrent of aces like grain from a threshing
machine ;
Let fatigue, weather, habitation, the old bones, finally,
Be nothing to me,
Let all lights but yours be nothing to me.
Let the memory of tongues not unnerve me so that I stumble or
quake.
~
But lead me at times beside the still waters;
There when I crouch to drink let me catch a glimpse of your image
Before it is obscured with my own.
Preserve my eyes, which are irreplaceable.
Preserve my heart, veins, bones,
Against the slow death building in them like hornets until the place
is entirely theirs.
Preserve my tongue and I will bless you again and again.
Let my ignorance and my failings
Remain far behind me like tracks made in a wet season,
At the end of which I have vanished,
So that those who track me for their own twisted ends
May be rewarded only with ignorance and failings.
But let me leave my cry stretched out behind me like a road
On which I have followed you.
And sustain me for my time in the desert
On what is essential to me.
– LEMUEL’S BLESSING by W.S. Merwin, The Moving Target

The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him… a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create — so that
without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.
― Pearl S. Buck

Matt Licata:
It’s an act of mercy and compassion to step back and acknowledge how much we’ve been through over the last year. Just to be alive as a human being on the planet right now carries with it a certain tone of activation in the nervous system, as open, sensitive human beings contained within personal, collective, and cosmological networks
It’s as if there’s been a continuous drip of a soul-level cortisol, on the one hand, and a collapse into hopeless/helplessness on the other – an alternation between hypervigilance and a numbing or shutting down.
Each of these responses and the bodily felt arousal that accompanies them are valid and layered with coherence. In addition to our verbal narratives, there are the stories of the body (somatic narrative) and also those of the nervous system (autonomic narrative) that weave together worlds of meaning.
Underneath it all, a deep longing to rest and feel safe again in our bodies, to re-tune and enter consciously into the next phase. Something has fallen away that we will never be able to return to, but the exact nature of what’s coming next has yet to be revealed.
This not-knowing where we’re headed can generate a deep, even cosmic sort of restlessness and disorientation, which is common in moments of liminality and transitional space, when we’re in between the way things used to be and the unknown birth that is yet to come.
The (understandable) temptation is to get out of the in-between and to the rebirth as quickly as possible. But if we abandon the reorganization prematurely, we will lose touch with the silver and emerald and gold materials found only within the core of that which is falling apart.
This is a difficult realm to navigate as it requires a stepping outside the psychic status quo. But it is in these moments when a portal opens where we’re asked to turn the light around and to see the water of life, the fountain, the spring, as it emerges from behind the veil.
Stepping into this vision may grind us into dust, but the particles that remain are the ruby substance which forms the scaffolding of a new world.

The thing you need to know is that each morning every tree stands tall and chants its name, its history, its kinship web and lineage. You’ve heard them, dear, but thought it was the dawn chorus of birds.
– Terri Windling, Seven Little Tales

Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos.
– Mary Shelly

Some people spend a huge amount of time and energy exploring the world.
But they never spend any time and energy exploring their mind. If they did, they would realise it is the greatest journey that they could ever make.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

Actually we did not have the feelings
we said we had until we spoke them—
at least I didn’t;
to phrase them was to invent them
and own them.
We whipped our strangeness and newness
into a froth that resembled love,
and we dared not play too long with it,
talk too much of it,
or it would flatten and fizzle away.
– Philip Roth, Goodbye, Columbus

I dreamed of great discoveries—
…but I found neither bayonets
nor gold, only rust was everywhere,
rust’s brown hatred; I was afraid
that it might penetrate my heart.
– Adam Zagajewski

In robes and rags
I hold this split
In cunning hands
On this sea I battle
Through wave after wave
Yet take heart
For there are friends
Who feel the fierce purpose
That binds us together
We go on
Encouraged by our brief
But certain communions
– Bobbie Gorman

Let this time be held in trust
Everything will swirl to dust
But the feelings that we make
In the moments as they break
Let this day be given chance
To perform its piece of the dance
It could be that the humblest hour
Bears the most enchanted flower
Let this place be duly blessed
For having offered us a nest
Even if we must go today
Ours the love we give away
Let these little fires of thought
Fertilize the seeds we brought
From the caves of birth and death
Where we give each other breath
Let this evening of our dreams
Flush to morning bursting green
Now let us hurry out to find
Drops of dew on every vine
Dreams, like seeds, must die to grow
Eyes, like skies, may cry to show
Joys, like birds, are here and gone
Only trust keeps growing on
– George Gorman

Just a perfect day
Problems all left alone
Weekenders on our own
It’s such fun
– Perfect Day, Lou Reed

Sometimes a mind is just born late,
coming through waves on a slower journey.
You were never, in the end, alone.
Isn’t it a blessing,
what becomes from inside the alone?
– Lidia Yuknavitch

But where do we find what’s lasting?
Where do the deathless things hide?
– Adam Zagajewski

When I start on the path…
He is my guide,
When I look for love…
He is my enchanter,
When I fight a war…
He is my dagger,
When I seek peace…
He is my ambassador,
At the feast…
He is my wine and my sweets,
In the garden…
He is the scent of jasmine,
In the mine…
He is the ruby,
In the sea…
He is the pearl,
In the desert…
He is the oasis,
In the heavenly sphere…
He is a star,
When I seek patience…
He is my ultimate Master,
When I burn in my grief…
He is the censer,
When I write…
He is my pen and paper,
When I chase after a rhyme…
He is my inspiration,
When I wake up…
He is my awareness,
When I go to sleep…
He haunts my dreams,
His perfection is beyond grasp, no pen…
Or brush could ever describe Him.
Throw your learning…
Let Him become your book.
– Rumi

An appearance can only exist if there is a mind that beholds it. The ‘beholding’ of that appearance is nothing other than experience; that is what actually takes place…All the elements are vividly distinguished as long as the mind fixates on them. Yet they are nothing but a mere presence, an appearance. When the mind doesn’t apprehend, hold, or fixate on what is experienced. ..’reality’ loses its solid, obstructing quality.
– TULKU URGYEN RINPOCHE

Normally we are so identified with our thoughts and emotions, that we are them. We are the happiness, we are the anger, we are the fear. We have to learn to step back and know our thoughts and emotions are just thoughts and emotions. They’re just mental states.

What do people think spiritual development is? It’s not lights and trumpets. It’s very simple. It’s right here and now. People have this idea that Enlightenment and realization is something in the distance- a very fantastic and magnificent happening which will transform everything once and for always. But it’s not like that at all. It’s something which is sometimes so simple you hardly see it. It’s right here in front of us, so close we don’t notice it. And it’s something which can happen at any moment. And the moment we see it, there it is. It’s been there all the time, but we’ve had our inner eye closed. When the moments of awareness all link up – then we become a Buddha.
– JETSUNMA TENZIN PALMO

And so as I close—and nobody believes a preacher when they as I close—as a man of faith, I believe that democracy is a political enactment of a spiritual idea. The sacred worth of all human beings, the notion that we all have within us, a spark of the divine, to participate in the shaping of our own destiny. Reinhold Niebuhr was right: ‘[Humanity’s] capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but [humanity’s] inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.
– Senator R. Warnock

Seeds grow in the dark — so do we.
Let’s stop making such a virtue out of the light
and turn toward what’s in the shadows
and breathe it in, breathe it here
meeting it face to face
until we realize
with more than mind
that what we are seeing
is none other than us
in endarkened disguise

Seeds grow in the dark — so do we.
Let’s not be blinded by light
let’s unwrap the night
building a faith too deep to be spoken
a recognition too central to be broken
until even the darkest of days
can light our way
– Robert Augustus Masters

If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.
– Jon Stewart

He who delights in solitude
is either a wild beast or a god.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Resting as unwavering awareness is the greatest of all medicines, wherein one relaxes as flawless peace that is pristine, unconditioned, and unborn, free from effort and striving, a continuous and uninterrupted equilibrium, where the eyes see without analyzing, and mind arises without reifying itself as a separate subject.
– Longchenpa

…We are not necessarily doubting
that God will do what is best for us;
But we are wondering how painful
the best will turn out to be.
– C.S. Lewis

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
– Jeremiah 17:7

The eyes of the future are looking back at us,
and they are praying
that we might see beyond our own time.
They are kneeling with hands clasped
that we might act with restraint,
that we might leave room for the life
that is destined to come.
To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle.
Perhaps the wildness we fear
is the pause between our own heart beats,
the silent space that says we live only by grace
wildness, wilderness lives by this same grace,
wild mercy is in our hands.
Let this be our prayer, reimagined.
– Terry Tempest Williams

Perhaps love could never be captured in a
definition;
it could only ever be captured in a story.
– Julian Barnes, The Only Story

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.
– Virgina Woolf

I think all writing is experimental…. I experiment all the time but the experiments are hidden. Rather like abstract art: You look at an abstract picture, and then you look at a close-up of a Renaissance painting and find the same abstractions.
– William Trevor

In any given situation there will always be more dumb people than smart people. We ain’t many.
– Ken Kesey

He discovered the cruel paradox
by which we always deceive ourselves
twice
about the people we love first to their advantage,
then to their disadvantage.
– Albert Camus

The pagan solar goddess Britannia was Christianised around AD 470 to become St Brigid. A monastery was built over Britannia’s fire temple at Kildare and the eternal flame associated with her worship at the pagan shrine was thereafter tended by nuns and continued to burn without interruption until the Reformation in the 16th century.
– Caroline Malim

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.
– Carl Sagan

One thing I have discovered over the years —
The aches and pains of training hard
are so much better than the aches and pains of not.
Never quit!
– Shinzen

Sensitive ones

Don’t be so quick
to pathologize yourself.

What we call
an emotional crisis
can be truth
desperately needing to erupt
from within
and take every untrue structure
with it.

Being called “too sensitive”
is a brutal accusation
to shame and silence
those necessary ones
who know and speak
the pain of living
in a dehumanized world.
We desperately need people
who are not okay with this.

Rage can be deep, fiery awareness
of so much violation
of your inherent dignity
and worth
and your mama bear soul
getting on its hind legs to roar,
“No more!”

Anxiety can be that
which speaks up
deep within you
when your inner light,
your tenderness,
your power,
your boundaries,
your truth,
your voice
isn’t safe here—
a smart alarm bell sounding,
“Get out!”

Even your beautiful addictions,
are your boldest advocates
for a spiritually sound,
wholehearted world,
that perpetually say,
in no uncertain terms,
“when I hide away my love and truth
and humanity—I go crazy!”

Yes, dear, wise one,
don’t be so quick
to pathologize yourself.

How beautiful that your body
speaks up so clearly
as a barometer for
truth, love, health and safety
and makes such a wild protest
in their absence.
– Chelan Harkin

Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious, and however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.
– Stephen Hawking

That’s true. I do believe that art is as important to the human psyche and physical body as air is, as oxygen, as water. And alas, because it’s not something we can quantify reliably, we tend to think art is a luxury.

Art is not a luxury. The artist is so necessary in our lives. The artist explains to us, or at least asks the questions which must be asked. And when there’s a question asked, there’s an answer somewhere. I don’t believe a question can be asked which doesn’t have an answer somewhere in the universe. That’s what the artist is supposed to do, to liberate us from our ignorance.
– Maya Angelou

creativity is the only antidote for destruction.
– Ari Annona

Some people seemed to get all sunshine, and some all shadow…
– Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Any account of prehistoric Europe which omits a consideration of [mind altering] substances is likely to be incomplete.
– Andrew Sherratt

Dreams are great. Dreams are meaningful. And in a sense, the whole of life moves on the wave of a dream.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

The more you are willing to just let the world be something you’re aware of, the more it will let you be who you are: the awareness.
– Michael A. Singer

Doing
by Rosmarie Waldrop
I often don’t know what to do. Or if I want to.
Dawn has long broken while I still drag my feet in the mud inside my head, hope for coffee, make a B-flat moan. To prepare the plunge into action. Or not.
Maybe I want to cast only a passing shadow. Feel like my mother’s “Thank God” when she took off her corset.
But I am worried there’s something I ought to be doing. Afraid I’ll die without having done anything. “Realized” myself, you call it, but wouldn’t that just mean limited myself? A cement mixer stuck in one motion, even if it helps build a house?
So I delude myself into thinking I’m doing something when thinking. Or when descending into the night with the cat and dreams of the cat.
You say, no doing without sweat of the face, thorns and thistles, and bringing forth children.
Should I look, instead of worrying about fine distinctions that escape my eyes? Listen, instead of fretting about the size of my ears? But can I cultivate my garden without becoming a cabbage head?
The hand gets ready to write. Could we not call this manual labor? Or a stage in the Great Work of rendering the corporeal cat incorporeal while giving her body to the bodiless word? Even if it‘s from despairing of my own body?
You say, my writing is so slow it’s more like gravitational condensation. Or dust gathering on the cleaning supplies.
It’s true I’m dawdling as if I had time to watch the formation of geological layers. Though night already seeps through my brittle bones.
I certainly don’t know what to do to end my days “gracefully.” But the body dies all through our life, thousands of cells every second.
So everything should be very clear.

The point of dharma practice is to pay attention to where there is suffering, see the clinging and identification, and release it to find a freedom of heart.
– Interview with Jack Kornfield by Helen Tworkov

The mushroom said to me once: For one human being to seek enlightenment from another is like a grain of sand on the beach seeking enlightenment from another.
– Terence McKenna

The marketplace and spiritual transcendence make strange bedfellows.
– Terence McKenna

A SCIENTIST’S ADVICE ON HEALING
by Christy Ducker

Try to accept
this fat red hurt
is your starting point,
in the way a pen must be put to paper
in one particular spot,

then move

beyond
the globby flap
of blame
and past
the mono-sulk
of pain.

Change the subject,
before it’s too late.
Sketch out
what health
you do possess,
what signal-cascades,
what flotilla of cells
circumnavigate you,

then draw yourself back
together again,
in a language
of your own.

Your body’s talk
is loose as lymph —
it’ll have you open out
as a tree,
or sneak up on pain
as assassin,
sidekick,
or wolf.

Encourage this
for healing won’t come at you
straight.
Embrace the lack of heroics —
this isn’t Hollywood,
it’s you,
in a plot
that may
or may not resolve.

No, my heart is not asleep. It is awake, wide awake. Not asleep, not dreaming— its eyes are opened wide, watching distant signals, listening on the rim of vast silence.
– Antonio Machado

There are men who struggle for a day and they are good. There are men who struggle for a year and they are better. There are men who struggle many years, and they are better still. But there are those who struggle all their lives: These are the indispensable ones.
– Bertolt Brecht

Of course, a culture as manically and massively materialistic as ours creates materialistic behavior in its people, especially in those people who’ve been subjected to nothing but the destruction of imagination that this culture calls education, the destruction of autonomy it calls work, and the destruction of activity it calls entertainment.
– James Hillman

A terrorist is the product of our education that says that fantasy is not real, that says aesthetics is just for artists, that says soul is only for priests, imagination is trivial or dangerous and for crazies, and that reality, what we must adapt to, is the external world, a world that is dead. A terrorist is a result of this whole long process of wiping out the psyche.
– James Hillman

Not like Dante
discovering a commedia
upon the slopes of heaven
I would paint a different kind
of Paradiso
in which the people would be naked
as they always are
in scenes like that
because it is supposed to be
a painting of their souls
but there would be no anxious angels telling them
how heaven is
the perfect picture of
a monarchy
and there would be no fires burning
in the hellish holes below
in which I might have stepped
nor any altars in the sky except
fountains of imagination
– Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Five-Cornered Star So the Corners Meet
by Li-Young Lee

This sadness I feel tonight is not my sadness.

Maybe it’s my father’s.
For having never been prized by his father.
For having never profited by his son.

This loneliness is Nobody’s. Nobody’s lonely
because Nobody was never born
and will never die.

This gloom is Someone Else’s.
Someone Else is gloomy
because he’s always someone else.

For so many years, I answered to a name,
and I can’t say who answered.

Mister Know Nothing? Brother Inconsolable?
Sister Every Secret Thing? Anybody? Somebody?

Somebody thinks:
With death for a bedfellow,
how could thinking be anything but restless?

Somebody thinks: God, I turn my hand face down
and You are You and I am me.

I turn my hand face up
and You are the I
and I am your Thee.

What happens when you turn your hand?

Lord, remember me.
I was born in the City of Victory,
on a street called Jalan Industri where,
each morning, the man selling rice cakes went by
pushing his cart, its little steamer whistling,
while at his waist, at the end of a red string,
a little brass bell
shivered into a fine, steady seizure.

This sleeplessness is not my sleeplessness.
It must be the stars’ insomnia.
And I am their earthbound descendant.

Someone, Anyone, No One, me, and Someone Else.
Five in a bed, and none of us can sleep.
Five in one body, begotten, not made.
And the sorrow we bear together is none of ours.
Maybe it’s Yours, God.
For living so near to Your creatures.
For suffering so many incarnations unknown to Yourself.
For remaining strange to lovers and friends,
and then outliving them and all of their names for You.
For living sometimes for years without a name.
And all of Your springtimes disheveled.
And all of Your winters one winter.

In the end you’ll understand that bad experiences are also needed.
The ones you remember will make you strong, The ones you forget will make you happy.
– Anthony Cornetta

Here is the paradox:
In our humility,
we are giants.
– Jeff Foster

There is a shattering sense of beingness out of which blooms the unshatterable.
– Rashani Réa

You have to love everyone out of their struggles and into their element. This is true of everyone. I do the loving on sets and stages and, occasionally, in what is called real life. But if you don’t have love–and respect–for the person, you’ll never achieve anything worthy. It starts with love.
– Arthur Penn

Ars Poetica

May the poems be
the little snail’s trail.

Everywhere I go,
every inch: quiet record

of the foot’s silver prayer.
I lived once.
Thank you.
It was here.
– Aracelis Girmay

Man needs a little madness – Or else he never dare cut the rope and be free.
– Unknown

I don’t know what will happen to me without you. Only you. Only you love me. Out of everyone in the world.
– Tony Kushner, Angels in America

Maybe one of the jobs of theory or philosophy is to elevate principles that seem impossible, or that have the status of the impossible, to stand by them and will them, even when it looks highly unlikely that they’ll ever be realised. But that’s ok, it’s a service.
– Judith Butler

Bruce Cockburn:
Some people get to make the news
Some people get to say what’s true
Everybody’s got to find their own way through
But if you love love, then love loves you too

Bruce Cockburn:
It’s the wind in the wings of a diving dove
You better listen for the laugh of love
Whatever else you might be thinking of
You better listen for the laugh of love

On the uneven road the bobbing red sail of the postvan.
– Ian Hamilton Finlay

Ginormous Buddha:

Mind always wants to be “paid” in some way.

Recognition, reward, satisfaction, approval, appreciation, attention, assistance, love…

Awakening is Realizing You’ve always been “paid in full”.

Love has no needs.

Love is Realizing- this mind has never been “Me”.

Awareness

Gather all the information you can, work like hell on it, then take a break. Walk, meditate, journal, sleep, nap. By taking a step back, you’ll gain clarity and a new perspective.
– Maxime Lagacé

Observe things as they are and don’t pay attention to other people.
– Huang Po

“to care for the least, the last and the lost”: a friend who’s involved in the health care debate just sent me this. i don’t know the source, but i’m sure that if i google the human heart, i’ll find it there.
– hune margulies

It may be the case that our perception and our cosmology are intimately bound together.
– Mark Johnston

I traffick contraband concepts such as postactivism, fugitivity, generative incapacitation, transraciality, tricarcerality, and theoanthropophagy – a ragtag group of tricksters whose task is to heist the strange from the clutches of the familiar, befuddle and confuse the inquirer, and pry open new sites of power. Oftentimes I am faced with a particular type of questions when I speak about outrageous things like eating god, falling into cracks, stealing away from plantations, or making sanctuary. People want to know: “But how can I make this practical?” They ask: “What can I do?” They say: “Wait! You definitely don’t mean that ‘literally’, right?” (That last one is the kicker.)

These questions are important, well-intentioned and instructive: they mostly represent a non-conscious attempt to reduce the intangible to things we can handle, ideas we can operationalize in daily to-do lists, or priorities and habits we are already used to. A key assumption lurking behind these questions is that the frequency of the human is where action, agency and movement abide. And so it is left to us to be good, to “get it”, to grasp everything, to put “it” into practice, to gentrify the Unthought by dragging its citizens into the Literal. But the world is too real to be merely literal, too thick to be thinly accessible to the empirical, too rich to be assigned to human hands for safekeeping. It is often the case that what needs to be done is not available for the doing – or is not to be done by our hands.

This is the meaning of my conceptual heist: to steal us away from the bodily forms we assume and their consequent anxieties into a richer ecology of accountability and acting-with. It is when we come to a place of obstacles and impediments that we come to see the others that have always been worlding the world with us – for good or ill.

– Bayo Akomolafe

the struggle with self never ends…
just me, being me, is incredibly challenging at times…
it makes me want to hibernate and fall silent more…
– Ari Annona

We don’t need more teachers, we need more practitioners, and importantly, we need more journalists of the inner landscape, and more spiritual friends, companions and guides.
– Andō, Does contemplation have a place in the world?

Nobody learnt archery from me
Who did not mark me in the end.
– Saadi Shīrāzī

Compassion is not so much being kind; it is being creative to wake a person up.
– Chögyam Trungpa

What would you weather just to call yourself alive?

– Molly McCully Brown

High Atlas
by Aria Arber
These intricate, Moroccan windows leak the softest light

Gunpowder with mint and sugar served in a silver teapot

The help mouthing shukran to me, shukran shukran

Terracotta in sun, the glory of a Riad unfolds inward

Like the idea of a woman

A courtyard shielded from summer’s austerity

Because God insists the warm clay of the body is a farce

Against wonders wondering themselves in the interior

Clematis cirrusis Iris palaestina Berberis vulgaris

These primordial tiles, date palms squared in the icy atrium

A land not mine, but like mine

I moved my life toward it

The glare of what this juniper steppe might do

To have an address

To have a you

Now I cannot stand it


This cold insulation Blue ceramics My soul’s cheap urgency

At the gate, a cat wails for more, evening singes her

Poor fool

Even the ancient architects knew waiting is cruel

That redemption is a promise not to be trusted

Because what is feral will remain so forever

And we must hunt for scraps as we hunt for the warmth of a hand

Everywhere I go the same detectable loneliness, my aboriginal shame

I am asked if I am Berber for I lack the language here

To be unlanguaged, then

To be a dream

Ber Ber as in the sound an animal emits

Ber Ber as in the sound of dusk when it summons its lessons in deprivation

But whatever will come, it already came

Like the sham of my mouth longing each evening

To grow with the vowels of your name

…love with skin on— was executed, brutally. He died with his body convulsing as his lungs collapsed, with vultures swarming overhead, hoping to clean up after the execution. There is nothing more evil than what happened that “Good” Friday.

…On the cross Jesus made a spectacle of evil — he exposed the hatred we are capable of. And he triumphed over that hatred with love. He died with forgiveness on his lips. Just as he came to set the oppressed free, he also came to set oppressors free.
– Shane Claiborne

The alchemists had an excellent image for the transformation of suffering and symptoms into a value of soul. A goal of the alchemical process was the pearl of great price. The pearl starts off as a bit of grit, a neurotic symptom or complaint, a bothersome irritant in one’s secret inside flesh, which no defensive shell can protect oneself from. This is coated over, worked at day in and day out, until the grit one day is a pearl, yet it still must be fished up from the depths and pried loose. Then when the grit is redeemed, it is worn. It must be worn on the warm skin to keep its lustre: the redeemed complex which once caused suffering is exposed to public view as a virtue. The esoteric treasure gained through occult work becomes an exoteric splendour. To get rid of the symptom means to get rid of the chance to gain what may one day be of greatest value, even if at first an unbearable irritant, lowly and disguised.
– James Hillman

We feel free
because we lack the very language
to articulate our unfreedom.
– Slavoj Žižek

If I reach into the silence, I cannot be afraid.
For where there is nothing, there is God.
– Emily Dickinson

You want to travel with her
and you want to travel blind
and you know
that she will trust you
for you’ve touched
her perfect body

With your mind…

– Leonard Cohen

Poetry is about all of the things that happen to people. War is one of them.
– Michael Longley

If we become an abbot
who is highly educated from the monasteries,
it doesn’t mean
that we have become a great practitioner,
a great practitioner means someone
who can change their negative mind
to a positive mind after learning Dharma.
– Dungse Garab Rinpoche

A Poem by Elizabeth Onsuko

Once I understood my place in the world,

I moved freely about it

though it was small and dark,

lit only by my violet aura,

and there I tended a slender hope

that had sprouted out of nothing,

pulling moisture from my breath

while yearning upwards toward

a fantasy of the sun,

and like this it lived contentedly,

which contented me,

for its existence was evidence

I was capable of growing something

men couldn’t see

or take from me.

this is just to say
i have
blocked
the suez

which you
probably needed
for international
trade

forgive me
im sideways
and my ship ass
is big”
– Rhiannon Shaw

When you and I have an interaction,
there’s what you do,
and there’s my interpretation of it.
These are not the same thing.

If I don’t check out my interpretation
with you and get on the same page,
I’m not in relationship with you—
I’m only in relationship with myself.

Me, my interpretation, and my feelings
based on that interpretation.
A big pile of me. No room for you.

If I want to get back into relationship
with you and/or with reality,
(and also lessen my own suffering),
I’ve got to notice that I’ve gone into
interpretation land.

I’ve got to return to the land
of openness and curiosity.
I’ve got to ask you
what’s true for you and listen.
I’ve got to be more interested
in actually knowing you than in being right.
– Josh Levin

Sensitive ones

Don’t be so quick
to pathologize yourself.

What we call
an emotional crisis
can be truth
desperately needing to erupt
from within
and take every untrue structure
with it.

Being called “too sensitive”
is a brutal accusation
to shame and silence
those necessary ones
who know and speak
the pain of living
in a dehumanized world.
We desperately need people
who are not okay with this.

Rage can be deep, fiery awareness
of so much violation
of your inherent dignity
and worth
and your mama bear soul
getting on its hind legs to roar,
“No more!”

Anxiety can be that
which speaks up
deep within you
when your inner light,
your tenderness,
your power,
your boundaries,
your truth,
your voice
isn’t safe here—
a smart alarm bell sounding,
“Get out!”

Even your beautiful addictions
are your boldest advocates
for a spiritually sound,
wholehearted world,
that perpetually say
in no uncertain terms,
“when I hide away my love and truth
and humanity—I go crazy!”

Yes, dear, wise one,
don’t be so quick
to pathologize yourself.

How beautiful that your body
speaks up so clearly
as a barometer for
truth, love, health and safety
and makes such a wild protest
in their absence.
– Chelan Harkin

Music is a safe kind of high.
– Jimi Hendrix

Book publishing should be done by failed writers who recognize the real thing when they see it.
– Robert Giroux

FRIENDS
for Robert Sward

how often they surprise you
with a sudden word
that immediately enters your heart.
relationships
of any kind are complex, sometimes problematical,
and yet
the heart is a foam mattress
that receives and sends things back
boing.
the heart
knows another heart
when it sees one
and it knows how to speak
in its deep heart language
which is,
though sometimes soundless, wordless,
sometimes a sword,
the only language
that flowers
in the long night that is age

– Jack Foley

Overheard: Addiction is giving up everything for one thing. Recovery is giving up one thing for everything.
– Mary Karr

At a certain point we need to grow up; we need to look inside ourselves for our inner guidance. There are things most human beings know; they just don’t want to know them. They know deep down that certain things in their lives are working or aren’t working, that certain parts of their lives are functional and others are dysfunctional. But sometimes, as human beings, we don’t want to know what’s not convenient. So we pretend not to know.
– Adyashanti

BUDDHA SPEAKS
All living beings, whether born from eggs, from the womb, from moisture, or spontaneously; whether they have form or do not have form; whether they are aware or unaware, whether they are not aware or not unaware, all living beings will eventually be led by me to the final Nirvana, the final ending of the cycle of birth and death. And when this unfathomable, infinite number of living beings have all been liberated, in truth not even a single being has actually been liberated.
Why Subhuti? Because if a disciple still clings to the arbitrary illusions of form or phenomena such as an ego, a personality, a self, a separate person, or a universal self existing eternally, then that person is not an authentic disciple.
– BUDDHA, DIAMOND SUTRA

Why are you so afraid of silence, Silence is the root of everything
– Rumi

The School of Night & Hyphens
by Chen Chen

The sky tonight, so without aliens. The woods, very lacking
in witches. But the people, as usual, replete

with people. & so you, with your headset, sit
in the home office across the hall, stuck in a hell

of strangers crying, computers dying, the new
father’s dropped-in-toilet baby

photos, the old Canadian, her grandson Gregory,
all-grown-up-now Greg, who gave her this phone

but won’t call her. You call her
wonderful. You encourage her to tell you what’s wrong

with her device. You with your good-at-your-job
good-looking-ness, I bet even over the phone

it’s visible. I bet all the Canadian grandmas
want you, but hey, you’re with me. Hey, take off

that headset. Steal away from your post. Cross
the hall, you sings-the-chorus-too-soon, you

makes-a-killer-veggie-taco, you
played-tennis-in-college-build, you Jeffrey, you

Jeff-ship full of stars, cauldron full of you,
come teach me a little bit

of nothing, in the dark
abundant hours.

the next time
you refuse to sing
because you’ll never
fill a stadium
or decline the joy of dance
for fear of looking
ridiculous
or you resist risking
the new adventure
because you’re
not entirely ready or
you dim your shine
because you’re not
completely healed and whole
the next time
you hold yourself suspect
because you’re not
entirely qualified
just remember
a bird doesn’t sing
because it’s talented
a bird sings because
it has a song
the moon doesn’t only shine
when it’s whole
it can show up with
a single sliver of itself
and still light an entire
night sky
show up. sing. shine.
the world needs you
as you are.
– Angi Sullins

It wasn’t always like this. There was a time when I imagined my life could happen in another way. It’s true that early on I became used to the long hours I spent alone. I discovered that I did not need people as others did. After writing all day it took an effort to make conversation, like wading through cement, and often I simply chose not to make it, eating at a restaurant with a book or going for long walks alone instead, unwinding the solitude of the day through the city. But loneliness, true loneliness, is impossible to accustom oneself to, and while I was still young I thought of my situation as somehow temporary, and did not stop hoping and imagining that I would meet someone and fall in love… Yes, there was a time before I closed myself off to others.
– Nicole Krauss, Great House

Solitary people, these book lovers. I think it’s swell that there are people you don’t have to worry about when you don’t see them for a long time, you don’t have to wonder what they do, how they’re getting along with themselves. You just know that they’re all right, and probably doing something they like.
– Helen Oyeyemi, Mr. Fox

We began as mineral.
We emerged into plant life and
into the animal state,
then to being human.

And always we have
forgotten our former states,
except in early spring,
when we dimly recall
being green again.

q
– Rumi

In the Moment

You’ve probably heard
the central rule of improv.
Say yes… and.
Yes, we are on a desert island…
and I am a shark.
Yes, we are playing in the World Series…
and I will use this hot dog as a bat.
It’s an excellent way to talk with those
who have wandered into dementia:
Yes, OK, I’m your mother.
Can I sing you a lullaby?

Improv is the core of jazz.
Bach may have set music’s
rules of the road, but he
was one crazy improvisational driver.
Look, I get this isn’t
the plot you chose, and everything
has gone off script.
Isn’t that just the way of it?
Play the scene you’re in.
Shift the plot. Tell me
where we can go together.

– Lynn Ungar

It was spring
and finally I heard him
among the first leaves –
then I saw him clutching the limb

in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still

and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness –
and that’s when it happened,

when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree –
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,

and the sands in the glass
stopped
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward

like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing –
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed

not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfectly blue sky – all, all of them

were singing.
And, of course, yes, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn’t last

for more than a few moments.
It’s one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,

is that, once you’ve been there,
you’re there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?

Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then – open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.

– Mary Oliver

Being isolated in the pandemic causes one to get quite introspective. Most of my relationships that have broken down are because we felt disrespected. They may have felt that way, but so did I. That’s never a good thing between people. Respect is essential.
– Leah Callen

There’s value in disaster. All our mistakes burned up. Thank god we can start again.
– Thomas A. Edison

Happiness does not consist in pastimes and amusements but in virtuous activities.
– Aristotle

That’s what makes me sad: Life is so different from books. I wish it were the same: clear, logical, organized. Only it isn’t.
– Pierrot le Fou

You’re only an image, a dream,
you’re made up wholly of yearning;
when you vanish, so will clouds,
you’ll be a memory in sepia.
– Adam Zagajewski

Time takes life away
and gives us memory, gold with flame,
black with embers.
– Adam Zagajewski

Perhaps, just perhaps, you’re there.
How little he needs. Just love. More love.
– Christopher Wiseman

I spent a few days trying in vain to envision this poet. One day when I’d finally given up—it was March 8, 1914—I walked over to a high chest of drawers, took a sheet of paper, and began to write standing up, as I do whenever I can. And I wrote thirty-some poems at one go, in a kind of ecstasy I’m unable to describe. It was the triumphal day of my life, and I can never have another one like it. I began with a title, The Keeper of Sheep. This was followed by the appearance in me of someone whom I instantly named Alberto Caeiro. Excuse the absurdity of this statement: my master had appeared in me.
– Fernando Pessoa

[She] and I felt something for each other from the beginning. It was not one of those strong, impulsive feelings that can hit two people like an electric shock when they first meet, but something quieter and gentler, like two tiny lights traveling in tandem through a vast darkness and drawing imperceptibly closer to each other as they go.
– Haruki Murakami

Optimism is an alienated form of faith,
pessimism an alienated form of despair.
To have faith means to dare,
to think the unthinkable,
yet to act within the limits
of the realistically possible.
– Erich Fromm

Pick your one overwhelming desire. It’s okay to suffer over that one.
– Naval Ravikant

You are too intelligent and beautiful to be stressing over someone with blocked chakras and a calcified pineal gland.
– @xirtempest

Someone on here yesterday said every media outlet that has a business section should also have a labor section, and folks, we used to.
– Kathleen McLaughlin

The very things we want flexibility to enjoy are only possible because someone made a commitment to a community and a place.
– Sean Blanda

It’s not too late to recover. You’re young, you’re tough. You’re adaptable. You can patch up your wounds, lift your head, and move on.
– Haruki Murakami

Being around the right people will completely transform your life.
– Gal Shapira

We are not powerless. We are indispensable despite all atrocities of state and corporate policy to the contrary. At a minimum we have the power to stop cooperating with our enemies. We have the power to stop the courtesies and to let the feelings be real.
– June Jordan

I don’t think politicians and the wealthy will ever understand how much most people on earth simply want a house, healthy food, clean water, basic education, real healthcare, and a healthy, protected, and respected natural environment around them.
– @OmanReagan

The older you get… the deeper the love you need.
– Leonard Cohen

I love those who yearn for the impossible.
– Goethe

Opening one’s heart can be accomplished either surgically or spiritually
– Unknown

Ely Kreimendahl:
we’re in such toxic relationships with our bodies, they work so hard to keep us alive and we’re constantly like ugh you’re disgusting.

Most have not obtained the divine eye and cannot perceive what is at a distance. Yet, Buddhas can give you a glimpse of the Buddha fields.
– @_Buddha_Quotes

It’s still not real to me – what the sentences are for and how long they might go on.
– Bhanu Kapil, Ban en Banlieue

Nature teaches us simplicity and contentment, because in its presence we realize we need very little to be happy.
– Mark Coleman

Friends such as we desire are dreams and fables. But a sublime hope cheers ever the faithful heart, that elsewhere, in other regions of the universal power, souls are now acting, enduring, and daring, which can love us and which we can love.
– R.W. Emerson, Friendship

Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you’ve never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground.
– Judith Thurman

Melanin Mvskoke:

Connected and Reconnecting is not, “us vs them.”

We are kin, not competitors.

Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.
– @_Buddha_Quotes

I’ve been hired to solve problems, not create divisions.
– President Biden

The spiritual path is a journey from unconscious repression and projection, to awareness and acceptance.
– @Buddha_Blunted

If you are easily provoked you are easily controlled.
– TheStoicEmperor

I ransack public libraries, and find them full of sunken treasure.
– Virginia Woolf

The shortest and surest way to live with honor in the world is to be in reality what we appear to be.
– Socrates

The image of one’s loves forever changes; and gradually… from being a sight, becomes a sense—a heaviness betwixt the third and fourth rib; a physical oppression.
– Virginia Woolf

One doesn’t understand music, one hears it. Hear me, then, with your whole body.
– Clarice Lispector

SPRING LOVE POEM
by Cea (Constantine Jones)

yeah it’s all one
big wish guess
the right star
just hasn’t
fallen yet

Vespers
by Louise Glück

In your extended absence, you permit me
use of earth, anticipating
some return on investment. I must report
failure in my assignment, principally
regarding the tomato plants.
I think I should not be encouraged to grow
tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold
the heavy rains, the cold nights that come
so often here, while other regions get
twelve weeks of summer. All this
belongs to you: on the other hand,
I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots
like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart
broken by the blight, the black spot so quickly
multiplying in the rows. I doubt
you have a heart, in our understanding of
that term. You who do not discriminate
between the dead and the living, who are, in consequence,
immune to foreshadowing, you may not know
how much terror we bear, the spotted leaf,
the red leaves of the maple falling
even in August, in early darkness: I am responsible
for these vines.

Your energy introduces you before you speak.
– Hawk of the Pines

He sensed between them an understanding too deep to articulate: the unspeakable knowledge that everything is lost.
– Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad

Contemplating how livable the world becomes when people take the basic attitude of trying to help each other, and how nightmarish it becomes when we don’t.
– Ethan Nichtern

Yet again, the more you strive for some kind of perfection or mastery—in morals, in art or in spirituality—the more you see that you are playing a rarified and lofty form of the old ego-game, and that your attainment of any height is apparent to yourself and to others only by contrast with someone else’s depth or failure.
– Alan Watts

It was only when science convinced us that nature was dead that it could begin its autopsy in earnest.
– James Hillman

By mistaking meta-consciousness for consciousness, we create two significant problems: First, we fail to distinguish between conscious processes that lack re-representation and truly unconscious processes. After all, both are equally unreportable to self and others. This misleads us to conclude there is a mental unconscious when, in reality, there may always be something it feels like to have each and every mental process in our psyche. Second, we fail to see our partial and tentative explanations for the alleged rise of consciousness may concern merely the rise of metacognition.

Consciousness may never arise—be it in babies, toddlers, children or adults—because it may always be there to begin with. For all we know, what arises is merely a metacognitive configuration of preexisting consciousness. If so, consciousness may be fundamental in nature—an inherent aspect of every mental process, not a property constituted or somehow generated by particular physical arrangements of the brain. Claims, grounded in subjective reports of experience, of progress toward reducing consciousness to brain physiology may have little—if anything—to do with consciousness proper, but with mechanisms of metacognition instead.
– There is an ‘Unconscious,’ but It May Well Be Conscious,” Journal of Psychology, Vol. 13, No. 3, 559572

And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground,
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm,
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows-
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father’s trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It’s when I’m weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping

– Frost, from Birches

I’m just so stinking grateful to be a person who gets to read and write and think about books with people who love to read and write and think about books.
– Jill Christman

If you keep breaking others people heart, whatever religious duty you perform is of no use…
– Shams Tabrizi

I believe a huge part of our collective feeling of emptiness comes from living in a self-centred phase of our evolution as a species, where everything begins with I. I want this object, I want to succeed. I want to improve myself. Even: I want to belong.

But true happiness depends upon our reciprocity with the environment in which we are embedded, and unto which we are indebted.

In the same way that mitochondria work to break down nutrients and turn it into energy for our bodies, we too are but a single component of a greater biosphere that sees no hierarchy between ferns and redwoods, worms and eagles.

If we imagine an invisible mycelial network under the visible surface of things, of which we are but fruiting bodies, then we see how our lives should be in service to feeding the whole forest together. Our negligence of that reciprocity is, more than any other factor, what fosters unbelonging.

– Toko-pa Turner, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home

This entire world is disturbed with insanity, due to the exertions of those who are confused about themselves.
– Santideva

Mostly you look back and say, “Well, OK. Things might have been different, sure, and it’s not too bad, but look – things happen like that, and you did what you could.” You go back and pick up the pieces. There’s tomorrow. There’s that long bend in the river on the way home. Fluffy bursts of milkweed are floating through shafts of sunlight or disappearing where trees reach out from their deep dark roots.
Maybe people have to go in and out of shadows till they learn that floating, that immensity waiting to receive whatever arrives with trust. Maybe somebody has to explore what happens when one of us wanders over near the edge and falls for awhile. Maybe it was your turn.
– William Stafford

🥀wildflowers

even on my darkest days
when the winds
have blown my faith astray
– I’ll have Hope
for even wildflowers
grow through cracks
in the dry desert Clay

– Alfred Gremsly

LAMENT

There are idiots in every quarter of the world. Behind every fence at least one. On the other side of the wall a total fool. Across the bridge a moron. On the airplane offering you a cigarette. Stupidity is general all over Utah. In Florida few have a brain in the head. And we all know about California, Have you met anyone from Bezerkley? Or Lost Angeles? Good god New Yorkers read The New Yorker. And look who they elected as governor. Idiots behind every tree trunk, with a foot in every puddle. Do you want to talk about politicians? Idiots in every quarter of the world.

– Jack Foley

Ode to Sitting in a Booth
by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

It’s the closest thing to a cave. I have to resist
this wild urge to carve a name or word in it.
My favorite way to sit here is with cold vodka
& grapefruit juice & whatever bitter concoction
you’re sipping. Under the table I’ll nudge you
with my heels—a sign no stalactite or dripstone
will stop us. Bats do not require any energy
to claw-dangle upside down. All they need
is to relax & gravity & there’s plenty of both
swirling to go around. No matter how loud
this bar, within these three walls we can drop
straight into a very electric flight. We can
pretend we don’t answer to anyone–including
the waitress–& no one even knows where we are.

I’m always irritated by people
who imply that writing fiction is an escape
from reality.
It is a plunge into reality
and it’s very shocking to the system.
– Flannery O’Connor

Really, in the end, the only thing
that can make you a writer
is the person that you are,
the intensity of your feeling,
the honesty of your vision,
the unsentimental acknowledgment
of the endless interest of the life
around and within you.
– Santha Rama Rau

Sometimes the most healing thing we can do is remind ourselves over and over and over other people feel this too.
– Andrea Gibson

The bird fights its way out of the egg. The egg is the world. Who would be born must first destroy a world. The bird flies to God. That God’s name is Abraxas.
– Hermann Hesse

Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?” That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.
– Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

Healing has always been political, rather than just being “somatic”. That’s because the body is already mediated by, struck through with, and conditioned by social tensions that must stretch our Cartesian definitions of matter beyond the physical. In other words, the somatic is political, spiritual, ecological, technological, philosophical, theological, architectural, racial, cosmic. And good health – once solely exemplified by a doctor’s bill, captured in her reassuring smile – must now in its fugitive state seek the larger body of a composting god, a burning bush in the wilderness.

– Bayo Akomolafe

I love you – the you inside this head of yours. Do you understand?
– Jean Fogelberg to husband, Dan Fogelberg

The difficulty is that It cannot be found other than
Where It is.
The simplicity is that It is everywhere.
When the ideas of difficulty and simplicity have been removed,
There arises an implosion of silence.
– Wu Hsin

Place is a relationship between bodies that constitutes those bodies, not a static container that merely holds presence. To be in a place is to keep making maps to locate oneself there again and again, and being at home is always an exercise in cartography.

So how do we find ourselves in modernity? We keep lists, we name things, we lose them, we filter out information, we adopt positions, we promise, we renege, we try out things. These exercises make ‘place’ an ongoing socio-material dynamic. This suggests that to be displaced is […] to be interrupted by the imposition of a finished product, a complete map. This is the stuff of the colonial: the denial of place and the insertion of the frozen. The toxic gift of arrival.

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

Sometimes our attention becomes so engrossed in the things we are trying to do that we forget to unify ourselves consciously with the source of our being.
– Myrtle Fillmore

San Francisco
by Sandra Lim

My older neighbor on Rose Street once showed me
the contents of his rent-controlled apartment, just up the stairs from mine.
He was a hoarder, living in a state of tragic grandeur
that his circumstances did not entirely support.
Recurringly, his latest boyfriend would flee from him.
When we met later in the alley to take out the trash, we would reliably
turn into two lumps of fear. What was more terrifying than
being abandoned? Downstairs, I was a collector, too,
with my need to interpret and sort everything.
But we didn’t tire of the spectacle
of our private lives, though many initiatives went badly wrong.
I was altogether more anxious about being light-minded.
My railroad apartment was a small cloth diary
with a lock and key. It was my real life,
or what so often passes among us for real life. And for all his possessions,
my neighbor dreamed of having a Petit Trianon with a vast garden
to walk in and dog roses lavishing a limitless dining room table.
Of course, there was no table, because there was no dining room.
Obviously, there was never a garden to walk in.

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

Maybe the best advice anyone ever gave me: You can never make someone’s life better by agreeing to not be yourself. Denying who you are will never bring any other person peace. It may seem so from the outside, but every soul in the universe is invested in every other soul living inline with their truth. That means—someone asking you to live in opposition to your essence is not speaking from their soul—they are speaking from their learned human biases, hatreds, and fears. Therefore, to be you is to be a guardian of not just your own soul, but the souls of those who mistakenly think their own lives would be better if you would be someone other than who you are.
– Andrea Gibson

Literature and Life
by Phillips Brooks

Life comes before literature, as the material always comes before the work.
The hills are full of marble before the world blooms with statues.
The forests are full of trees before the sea is thick with ships.
So the world abounds in life before men begin to reason and describe
and analyze and sing, and literature is born.

The fact and the action must come first. This is true in every kind
of literature. The mind and its workings are before the metaphysician.
Beauty and romance antedate the poet.

The nations rise and fall before the historian tells their story.
Nature’s profusion exists before the first scientific book is written.
Even the facts of mathematics must be true before the first diagram
is drawn for their demonstration.

We cling to a fixed idea of who we are, and it cripples us.
– Pena Chodron

I fell in love with her courage, her sincerity, and her flaming self respect. And it’s these things I’d believe in, even if the whole world indulged in wild suspicions that she wasn’t all she should be. I love her and it is the beginning of everything.
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

They were only white flowers, but were the bookmarks of my soul.
– Nicholas Pierotti

It’s not true that nice people finish last.
Nice people are winners
before the game even starts.
– Addison Walker

One must become the way the garden feels.
– Haraada of Tofuku-ji

Self love is not about just letting yourself feel good whenever you want, although it is about allowing good feelings to develop towards hard experiences. Real loving kindness is about leaning into the hard sensations, emotions, thoughts, collective grief and learning to radiate the peace of resolution. Real loving kindness radical, liberating, a bearing witness to the wisdom process and it’s unfolding. It is transformation encouraged with gentleness, a relaxation based on ones own inherent freedom.
– Aric Parker

I speak to you over cities
I speak to you over plains
My mouth is against your ear
The two sides of the walls face
my voice which acknowledges you.

I speak to you of eternity.

O cities memories of cities
cities draped with our desires
cities early and late
cities strong cities intimate
stripped of all their makers
their thinkers their phantoms
Landscape ruled by emerald
live living ever-living
the wheat of the sky on our earth
nourishes my voice I dream and cry
I laugh and dream between the flames

– Paul Eluard

Budo is ultimately a homeless journey.
It is founded on a willingness to abandon the security
and reputation of your name, rank, style, profit,
and eventually
…self.
– Shinzen

Nicholas Pierotti:

When I was but a few weeks old, my mother, a beautiful young Chassidic bride with severe scoliosis, who had come to Northern New Mexico with her Catholic husband in 1944, took me, her newborn son, to a Navajo Night Chant.

My first memory is of a mountain lion screaming in the frost-ridden darkness of a New Mexico night.

But my heart was reformed during those nine nights, and I still live by a vision of Harmony that was forged there, and reinforced over the years by my mother.

Here is some of what I heard and my heart learned:

“In Tse’gihi

In the house made of the dawn,

In the house made of the evening twilight,

In the house made of the dark cloud,

In the house made of the he-rain,

In the house made of the dark mist,

In the house made of the she-rain,

In the house made of pollen,

In the house made of grasshoppers,

Where the dark mist curtains the doorway,

The path to which is on the rainbow,

Where the zigzag lightning stands high on top,

Where the he-rain stands high on top,

Oh, male divinity!

With your moccasins of dark cloud, come to us.

With your leggings of dark cloud, come to us.

With your shirt of dark cloud, come to us.

With your head-dress of dark cloud, come to us.

With your mind enveloped in dark cloud, come to us.

With the dark thunder above you, come to us soaring.

With the shapen cloud at your feet, come to us soaring.

With the far darkness made of the dark cloud over your head, come to us soaring.

With the far darkness made of the he-rain over your head, come to us soaring..

With the far darkness made of the dark mist over your head, come to us soaring.

With the far darkness made of the she-rain over your head, come to us soaring.

With the zigzag lightning flung out on high over your head, come to us soaring.

With the rainbow hanging high over your head, come to us soaring.

With the far darkness made of the he-rain on the ends of your wings, come to us soaring.

With the far darkness made of the dark mist on the ends of your wings, come to us soaring.

With the far darkness made of the she-rain on the ends of your wings, come to us soaring.

With the zigzag lightning flung out on high on the ends of your wings, come to us soaring.

With the rainbow hanging high on the ends of your wings, come to us soaring.

With the near darkness made of the dark cloud, of the he-rain, of the dark mist and of the she-rain, come to us.

With the darkness of the earth, come to us.

With these I wish the foam floating on the flowing water over the roots of the great corn.

I have made your sacrifice.

I have prepared a smoke for you.

My feet restore for me.

My limbs restore for me.

My body restore for me.

My mind restore for me.

My voice restore for me.

Today, take out your spell for me.

Today, take away your spell for me.

Away from me you have taken it.

Far off from me, it is taken.

Far off you have done it.

Happily I recover.

Happily my interior becomes cool.

Happily my eyes regain their power.

Happily my head becomes cool.

Happily my limbs regain their power.

Happily I hear again.

Happily for me is taken off.

Happily I walk.

Impervious to pain, I walk.

Feeling light within, I walk.

With lively feelings, I walk.

Happily abundant dark clouds I desire.

Happily abundant dark mists I desire.

Happily abundant passing showers I desire.

Happily an abundance of vegetation I desire.

Happily an abundance of pollen I desire.

Happily abundant dew I desire.

Happily may fair white corn, to the ends of the earth, come with you.

Happily may fair yellow corn, to the ends of the earth, come with you. Happily may fair blue corn, to the ends of the earth, come with you.

Happily may fair plants of all kinds, to the ends of the earth, come with you. Happily may fair goods of all kinds, to the ends of the earth, come with you. Happily may fair jewels of all kinds, to the ends of the earth, come with you. With these before you, happily may they come with you.

With these behind you, happily may they come with you.

With these below you, happily may they come with you.

With these above you, happily may they come with you.

With these all around you, happily may they come with you.

Thus happily you accomplish your tasks.

Happily the old men will regard you.

Happily the old women will regard you.

Happily the young men will regard you.

Happily the young women will regard you.

Happily the boys will regard you.

Happily the girls will regard you.

Happily the children will regard you.

Happily the chiefs will regard you.

Happily, as they scatter in different directions, they will regard you.

Happily, as they approach their homes, they will regard you.

Happily may their roads back home be on the trail of pollen.

Happily may they all get back.

In beauty I walk.

With beauty before me, I walk.

With beauty behind me, I walk.

With beauty below me, I walk.

With beauty above me, I walk.

With beauty all around me, I walk.

It is finished in beauty,

It is finished in beauty,

It is finished in beauty,

It is finished in beauty.

– Sa’ah naaghéi, Bik’eh hózhó

May I live this day
Compassionate of heart,
Clear in word,
Gracious in awareness,
Courageous in thought,
Generous in love.
– JOHN O’DONOHUE

All-natural things! But more—Whence came
This yet remoter mystery?
How do these starry notes proclaim
A graver still divinity?
This hope, this sanctity of fear?
O innocent throat! O human ear!
– Alice Meynell – A Thrush Before Dawn

I didn’t realize that a majority of people belonged to domain of profound meaning not through their knowledge, but through their lives, through their radiant living substance, and that’s why it is dumb to accuse them of ignorance. I should have looked with tenderness
– Zagajewski

Having left this hell-fire of thought
no more point of view to profess
no more dogma to defend
not a ghost
nor an apparition
just animated stardust
…swinging a sword.
– Shinzen

The truth is that for many of us, initiation into the soul occurs by way of transition, shattering, loss, and reorganization, where what we were so sure about and the way we thought things were going to turn out begins to fall away and dissolve.

This dissolution is not evidence of error or mistake, but is a core alchemical unfolding, a non-negotiable and holy process, actually, that our world has lost contact with and even pathologized. Not a movement upward, into the light, transcendent, solar, and clear; but one of descent, ground, dust, and lunar, of the earth and the mud.

The experience of dissolution is archetypal and wired into the human psyche and points to how our wounding can serve an initiatory function, revealing that there are pieces of the soul, of the spirit, and of the Divine that are knowable only by way of a falling apart, of a holy crumbling, that aren’t accessible in times of clarity, certainty, and status quo.

And, this is painful. Like I don’t want that. We can honor that part of us that just isn’t interested in that, in participating in that sort of death and rebirth. Well, we want the rebirth part, but not the death, not the restructuring. This longing for certainty, for flow, for transcendence, for upward, for light, for clarity, of course this need not be shamed, made wrong, or dishonored – it’s so very human.

But perhaps the invitation is to somehow hold both, to hold the tension of the opposites and to travel into the very heart of that paradox and contradiction, where the Beloved is alive and seeding out the worlds… to honor and hold the desire for that flow, and to also honor and hold the inevitable reality that the rug will be pulled out from underneath us as part of this path.

And that that too is holy, is also God, is also Life. It, too, is flow, but a reorganizing flow. Not a grace that is sweet, but one that is fierce. But grace nonetheless.

– Matt Licata

You create disharmony and then complain!

When you desire and fear, and identify yourself with your feelings, you create sorrow and bondage.

When you create, with love and wisdom, and remain unattached to your creations, the result is harmony and peace.

But whatever be the condition of your mind, in what way does it reflect on you? It is only your self-identification with your mind that makes you happy or unhappy.

Rebel against your slavery to your mind, see your bonds as self-created and break the chains of attachment and revulsion.

Keep in mind your goal of freedom, until it dawns on you that you are already free, that freedom is not something in the distant future to be earned with painful efforts, but perennially one’s own, to be used!

Liberation is not an acquisition but a matter of courage, the courage to believe that you are free already and to act on it.

– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

I never felt my Mind repose upon anything with complete and undistracted enjoyment – upon no person but you. When you are in the room my thoughts never fly out of window: you always concentrate my whole senses.
– John Keats, Letters

Those who create their own worlds are generally the poets.
– Andrei Tarkovsky

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter.
– John Keats

It is not so easy to become what one is, to rediscover one’s deepest measure.
Here I understand what is meant by glory: the right to love without limits. There is only one love in this world. To clasp a woman’s body is also to hold in one’s arms this strange joy that descends from sky to sea.
I love this life with abandon and wish to speak of it boldly: it makes me proud of my human condition.
For me it is enough to live with my whole body and bear witness with my whole heart.
I had played my part well. I had performed my task as a man, and the fact that I had known joy for one entire day seemed to me not an exceptional success but the intense fulfillment of a condition which, in certain circumstances, makes it our duty to be happy.
Sea, landscape, silence, scents of this earth, I would drink my fill of a scent-laden life, sinking my teeth into the world’s fruit, golden already, overwhelmed by the feeling of its strong, sweet juice flowing on my lips. No, it was neither I nor the world that counted, but solely the harmony and silence that gave birth to the love between us. A love I was not foolish enough to claim for myself alone, proudly aware that I shared it with a whole race born in the sun and sea,alive and spirited, drawing greatness from its simplicity, and upright on the beaches, smiling in complicity at the brilliance of its skies.
– Albert Camus, Nuptuals at Tipasa

I felt, poem wasn’t for a person like me
Then I realized , I was wrong.
Everything around me is a poem on it own.
Now AM back to the society that I belong.
– unknown

Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reform.

The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle there is no progress.

Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.

This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
– Frederick Douglas

If children are allowed the practice of freedom, they may act in their own wisdom, captains of their own souls, shipwrecked perhaps, but not spirit-wrecked.
– Jay Griffiths

THE TRUTH ABOUT POETRY

Poetry is not a certain this or a certain that.
With or without rhyme. Beat or academic.
Uplifting or depressing.
Accessible or obscure.

Poetry is all.

At its heart, simply, a condensed form.
Free to violate the strict rules of prose.
Free to explore the subterranean
Passage of mind and soul.

We must allow it to be
Whatever it needs to be.
Only then will we realize
The vitality of its song.

– Laurence Overmire

You don’t need to take
a journey into the wilderness.
You need to take a journey
into the back yard.
The mountaintop
is wherever you are.
Angels of dew.
Forests of moss.
Cathedrals of clover and
Galaxies whirling in black loam.
Grand destinations for the eremitic
visionary earthworm.
Now dig.
– Fred LaMotte

Sometimes I think creativity is magic; it’s not a matter of finding an idea, but allowing the idea to find you.
– Maya Lin

Soften up in speech and you can speak the World.
– Nicholas Pierotti

A buddha is made only of non-buddha elements, just as I am made only of non-me elements. If you remove the non-me elements from me – the sun, the dirt, the garbage, the minerals, the water, my parents, and my society – there’s no me left. If you remove the non-buddha elements from a buddha, there’s no buddha left.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

In order to evolve, a system must be able to accommodate radical innovations that threaten traditional standards. Evolution depends on the existence of systems intelligent or flexible enough to accommodate their own subversion. This was as true for the first bacteria as it is for us today. So evolution occurs in waves. Squid and octopus cephalopods emerged at the climax of the marine invertebrate wave, as birds appeared at the climax of the reptile wave and humans came along at the end of the mammal wave. Such climax species tend to be quick-witted, agile, arrogant and unpredictable. They also tend to set themselves in opposition to the rest of their kin. Humans stand upright, birds fly and some smart cephalopods turned themselves inside out and let go their shells. Climax organisms have a bias toward freedom and like to test the limits of their envelopes. Giant squids have explored the depths of the oceans, birds have experimented with self-propelled flight, and some humans have left the planet for a while. Buddhism and Christianity both recognized that personal experience is capable of evolving by accommodating its own subversion. The best science is based on the conviction that the systems of symbols in which humans conserve information are also capable of evolving alterations. A full-fledged democracy would apply this same faith to institutions, to our species, and to our biosphere.
– George Gorman

Crys Tom:
My biggest issue with the Body Keeps the Score is how often he says something like “to heal from trauma, one must….” I don’t think it works that way ever. Trauma is complex. People are complex. Circumstances are complex. There is no one thing we *must* all do to heal.

As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome.
– Noam Chomsky

Bruce Cockburn:
I’ve got this thing in my heart
I must give you today
It only lives when you
Give it away

I dreamt I drank the color of your voice
– Evelyn Graham Frost, from “Memory”

It is precisely because one does not want to lose one’s status as a viable speaking being that one does not say what one thinks.
– Judith Butler, Precarious Life

Much of the work of midlife is to tell the difference between those who are dealing with their issues through you and those who are really dealing with you.
– Richard Rohr

I want vast distances.
My savage intuition of myself.
– Clarice Lispector

Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.
– Orson Scott

I didn’t realize that a majority of people belonged to domain of profound meaning not through their knowledge, but through their lives, through their radiant living substance, and that’s why it is dumb to accuse them of ignorance. I should have looked with tenderness
– Zagajewski

The Buddha:
A Bodhisattva courses with no thoughts of meanness, immorality, anger, sloth, distraction, stupidity, greed, hate or delusion.

He told me about the traditional Iroquois way, how parents and all adults were expected to win the favor and respect of the children rather and asking the children to blindly obey them.
– Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Outlaw Woman

Leah Callen:
I don’t last long in groups. People always say I’m not like them and yeah. That’s true. I’m like me.

Bruce Cockburn:
Sweet wind blowing off the bay
Sweeping the heat of the day away
Making the leaves of the palm trees sway
Down here tonight everything’s okay

Sylvia Plath:
Green, wholly green, they stand their knobby spine
Against our sky: they are what we look southward to

Dr. Thema:
Sometimes the door you were knocking on had nothing but stress on the other side. Give thanks it didn’t open.

idk how to “survive depression” i just keep buying different types of cheese
– @eve_kenneally

little prayer

let ruin end here
let him find honey
where there was once a slaughter
let him enter the lion’s cage
& find a field of lilacs
let this be the healing
& if not   let it be
– Danez Smith

Send the dew of blessing, the dew of grace;
renew my dispensation, and grant me length of days.
– Ya’akov Hakohen, Prayers for the Protection and Opening of the Heart

Don’t just truck through that poem. Poetry is not proof. I believe in the wisdom of the unfamiliar. A political poem is not bound to politics alone.

Rupture is so accurate.

– Uche Nduka, The Beige Notes

Yessica:
One of those blues lives matter bullies must have put the mal de ojo on me because my azabache just broke!!

wise connector:
Changing your food, changes your mood.
Changing your training, changes your body.
Changing your investment, changes your life.
Changing your reading, changes your thinking.
Changing your words, changes your perception.
Changing your environment, changes your outlook.

I prefer slow conversations where words are counted like pearls, conversation with many pauses, pauses replacing words.
– Rabih Alameddine

Bruce Cockburn:
Sunset is an angel weeping
Holding out a bloody sword
No matter how I squint I cannot
Make out what it’s pointing toward

All the little deaths you have to walk through, in order to be born and born and born.
– @danalevinpoet

I’ve been called a folk poet. I think that’s kind of cool.
– Eileen Myles

Instead of being exposed to wild beasts, tumbling rocks, and inundating waters, man is exposed today to the elemental forces of his own psyche.
– Robert A. Johnson

Julia Cohen:
What’s cool is being a Jew in places so white-Christian that when you tell people Leonard Cohen is your uncle they believe you

To devote oneself to the study of beauty is to offer footnotes to the universe for all the places and all the moments that one observes beauty. I can no longer grab beauty by her wrists and demand articulation or meaning. I can only take account of where things touch
– Bahar Orang

Sometimes the most healing thing we can do is remind ourselves over and over and over other people feel this too.
– Andrea Gibson

Inner Practitioner:
Stop looking for agreement, apology, attention, comfort, emotional connection, heart-to-heart connection, soul-to-soul connection, healing, honesty, intimacy, love, respect, safe space, support, transparency, understanding, vulnerability, and validation from narcissists.

The Buddha:
Do not look for bad company Or live with men who do not care. Find friends who love the truth. Drink deeply. Live in serenity and joy.

The Buddha:
Turn away from mischief. Again and again, turn away. Before sorrow befalls you. Set your heart on doing good.

Not as we are but as we must appear,
Contractual ghosts of pity; not as we
Desire life but as they would have us live,
Set apart in timeless colloquy.
So it is required; so we bear witness,
Despite ourselves, to what is beyond us,
Each distant sphere of harmony forever
Poised, unanswerable. If it is without
Consequence when we vaunt and suffer, or
If it is not, all echoes are the same
In such eternity. Then tell me, love,
How that should comfort us – or anyone
Dragged half-unnerved out of this worldly place,
Crying to the end ‘I have not finished’.
– Geoffrey Hill

Despite everything, we are good people, who can hardly live in this world that continues almost entirely at our expense. The best thing is to keep on moving arms and legs, and watch the waves, almost as though moving forward. In this way, despair turns quickly over to happiness, and back to despair again. And, if you reach the beach, walk back across it like everything is fine, toward your family who would not like to see the abyss you have just swum over.
– Joanna Walsh

Mostly you look back and say, “Well, OK. Things might have been different, sure, and it’s not too bad, but look – things happen like that, and you did what you could.” You go back and pick up the pieces. There’s tomorrow. There’s that long bend in the river on the way home. Fluffy bursts of milkweed are floating through shafts of sunlight or disappearing where trees reach out from their deep dark roots.
Maybe people have to go in and out of shadows till they learn that floating, that immensity waiting to receive whatever arrives with trust. Maybe somebody has to explore what happens when one of us wanders over near the edge and falls for awhile. Maybe it was your turn.
– William Stafford

The work of the poet
is to name what is holy:

the spring snow
that hides unevenness
but also records
a dog walked at lunchtime,
the hieroglyphs of birds,
pawprints of a life
tiny but resolute;

how, like Russian dolls,
we nest in previous selves;

the lustrous itch
that compels an oyster
to forge a pearl,
or a poet a verse;

the drawing on of evening
belted at the waist;

snowfields of diamond dust;

the cozy monotony
of our days, in which
love appears with a holler;

the way a man’s body
has its own geography––
cliffs, aqueducts, pumice fields,
but a woman’s is the jungle,
hot, steamy, full of song;

the brain’s curiosity shop
filled with quaint mementos
and shadow antiques
hidden away in drawers;

the plain geometry
of you, me, and art––
our angles at rest
among shifting forms.

The work of the poet
is to name what is holy,

and not to mind so much
the pinch of words
to cope with memories
weak as falling buildings,

or render loss, love,
and the penitentiary
of worry where we live.

The work of the poet
is to name what is holy,
a task fit for eternity,
or the small Eden of this hour.

– Diane Ackerman

There is another physical law that teases me, too: the Doppler Effect. The sound of anything coming at you- a train, say, or the future- has a higher pitch than the sound of the same thing going away. If you have perfect pitch and a head for mathematics you can compute the speed of the object by the interval between its arriving and departing sounds.

I have neither perfect pitch nor a head for mathematics, and anyway who wants to compute the speed of history? Like all falling bodies, it constantly accelerates. But I would like to hear your life as you heard it, coming at you, instead of hearing it as I do, a somber sound of expectations reduced, desires blunted, hopes deferred or abandoned, chances lost, defeats accepted, griefs borne. »

– Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose

When we put those long efforts into bringing beauty into the world, we are honouring that which made us by creating as we have been created. We are taught to respect the slow, attentive piecing together of the life we yearn for. Stitch by stitch, we apprentice the craft. We work in tandem with mystery, feeling its rhythms awaken in our bone-memory. As the hands work, the mind is stilled and a greater listening is engaged as we drop down into the deep rhythm of devotion, where the whole world is in communion. The ferns unfurl, the daffodils trumpet, the rosebuds fatten, and the song of creation can be heard.

Handwork also teaches us the patience required to make a life materialize. There are no shortcuts, and it can’t be done cheaply or en masse. The work is small, the work is slow, and all we can do is stay with it. As Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés says, “the shortcut, the easy way, always falls apart. Then one returns to the handmade life. One has to pick it up painfully, and piece it back together, holding the overall pattern in one’s mind, but working patiently, piece by piece.
– Toko-pa Turner

Not seeing rivers is also another way of dying.
– Etel Adnan, from Fog

The path into the light seems dark, the path forward seems to go back, the direct path seems long, true power seems weak, true purity seems tarnished, true steadfastness seems changeable, true clarity seems obscure, the greatest art seems unsophisticated, the greatest love seems indifferent, the greatest wisdom seems childish.
– Lao Tzu

My memories don’t feel as though they’ve been pulled up by the root. Even if they fade, something remains. Like tiny seeds that might germinate again if the rain falls. And even if a memory disappears completely, the heart retains something. A slight tremor or pain, some bit of joy, a tear.
– Yōko Ogawa

I think every time you do something like painting or whatever, you—you go with ideas. And sometimes the past can conjure those ideas and color ‘em. Even if they’re new ideas, the past colors them.
– David Lynch

I suspect the only reason I’ve been able to go on writing is that I’ve had your heart by my side all along.
– Yōko Ogawa

And lovers also gather your inheritance.
They are the poets of one brief hour.
They kiss an expressionless mouth into a smile
as if creating it anew, more beautiful.

Awakening desire, they make a place
where pain can enter;
that’s how growing happens.
They bring suffering along with their laughter,
and longings that had slept and now awaken
to weep in a stranger’s arms.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

If you ever want to see my face again I want to know
If you ever get lonely please let me know
If you never want to see my face again I’ll understand
If forever gets lonely take my hand
– Ben Schneider

The house, the stars, the desert — what gives them their beauty is something that is invisible!
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

My memories don’t feel as though they’ve been pulled up by the root. Even if they fade, something remains. Like tiny seeds that might germinate again if the rain falls. And even if a memory disappears completely, the heart retains something. A slight tremor or pain, some bit of joy, a tear.
– Yōko Ogawa

I think every time you do something like painting or whatever, you—you go with ideas. And sometimes the past can conjure those ideas and color ‘em. Even if they’re new ideas, the past colors them.
– David Lynch

I suspect the only reason I’ve been able to go on writing is that I’ve had your heart by my side all along.
– Yōko Ogawa

And lovers also gather your inheritance.
They are the poets of one brief hour.
They kiss an expressionless mouth into a smile
as if creating it anew, more beautiful.

Awakening desire, they make a place
where pain can enter;
that’s how growing happens.
They bring suffering along with their laughter,
and longings that had slept and now awaken
to weep in a stranger’s arms.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

If you ever want to see my face again I want to know
If you ever get lonely please let me know
If you never want to see my face again I’ll understand
If forever gets lonely take my hand
– Ben Schneider

Every little trifle, for some reason, does seem incalculably important today, and when you say of a thing that ‘nothing hangs on it,’ it sounds like blasphemy. There’s never any knowing – (how am I to put it?) – which of our actions, which of our idlenesses won’t have things hanging on it for ever.
– E. M. Forster

Contacts
by Colin Dekeersgieter

I like knowing when she will call.
The anxiety of three past any minute now
keeps me flustered in a precious way.
I consider the lighting in a corner
I’ve never cared for, megaliths,
marine mammals, the half bottle of wine,
and why I let anyone talk me out of drink
before noon. With no more small corruptions
to deal out the waiting, my unease whisks
up a brisk knowledge of each stairwell
between us, until she lies on every landing,
one blushing bruise on her neck.
Now I’m perusing black satin coffins
and cremation urns: pewter or china stone?
My father’s first gift to me
was porcelain. It has not crazed, yet
my brother is dead. Like this I’ve been pitched
to the stone fragility of fairness,
avoiding vulnerability’s entrance with a thumb
hovering above a name in my list of contacts.

I come to trust she just stopped in the good heat
to look up the name of a common, misflung flower,
one blue tussle in a tumult of dandelion.
I say a fast, bashful devotion to my empress
plum and eat. In the nectar’s palace
I think of a bee’s dance, flown arcs
of resolute gatherers, heliotropes, sextants,
red in the wind, and the ocean’s bend. Then
I find I like our dog is dying. Something vicious
because tender knows the middle-age shepherd
regrets letting Brennan go ahead of him
that night he thought of our mother, injected heroin,
then got into Child’s Pose and focused on his breath.
The shepherd’s ears perk up to bursts of air
like every wind was god and worth going to.
I know I’m mostly unneeded,
but more than anything I want to say
I have given unto him. So I lift the dog’s jowls
from the floor and let him nibble heartily down
to the mauve stone of my half-eaten plum.
Suddenly I feel sacred, sought, and a little guilty
that I can’t remember what I promised her
when she arrives, if it was material
or some real change in me.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between critiques of cooptation and people trying to own movement.

Also, Assata Shakur emphasized importance of doing the work and increasing the level of political activity wherever we are rather than focusing on being the vanguard.

– Tamara K. Nopper

Sometimes when people say they hate small talk, what they actually hate is fakeness/masks/social deceit. And sometimes when people say they crave depth, they are actually addicted to trauma bonding and confuse codependency with meaning. All of which is to say, I’ve found a great amount of value lately in NOT allowing EVERYONE into my “inner sanctum” nor necessarily wanting to be in theirs, but rather loving them lightly, with very strong boundaries, zero control or obsession, not overdone, not addictive, not collapsed into each other’s fields, held, supported *and also* not glib, fake, numb or shallow. The sweet spot – it’s hard for me to describe but I finally understand how to love people AND myself sustainably from this place. So we don’t need to mistake light interactions for shallowness, or codependency and enmeshment for depth.
– Sara Hayona Eisenman

I refuse to listen to anyone.

I can only take the ocean’s advice.

– Julia de Burgos

The sweet small clumsy feet of april came into the ragged meadow of my soul.
– e. e. cummings

Nobody can fall so low unless he has a great depth.

If such a thing can happen to a man, it challenges his best and highest on the other side; that is to say, this depth corresponds to a potential height, and the blackest darkness to a hidden light.
– C.G. Jung

TABLE TALK LYRICS
(With apologies to Chris LeDoux)

We’re a fun lovin crowd, kinda rowdy and loud,
Our jukebox won’t play no sad songs,
So don’t come in here and cry in your beer,
Cause we don’t care about who done who wrong.
We got a five dollar fine for whinin,
We’ll tell you before you come in.
And if it ain’t on your mind to have a good time,
Don’t come back and see us again.
Well, we don’t really care about your clothes or your hair,
This party’s open to all.
We like a good joke and though they won’t let us smoke,
We got just one rule on the wall.
Now there’s too many fools makin too many rules,
That’s one thing you can’t say about us.
Cause we all get along when we sing the same song
There’s just one thing that causes a fuss.
We got a five dollar fine for whinin,
We’ll tell you before you come in.
And if it ain’t on your mind to have a good time,
Don’t come back and see us again

It is not everyday
that the world arranges itself
into a poem.
– Wallace Stevens

I just said, “Your responsibility is to Lady Justice.” And I feel amazing.
– Hope Dunbar

The goal of translation or poetry is to upset the language of power.
– Don Mee Choi

trusting the wind
…dry leaves and sages.
– Shinzen

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

What is it that the child has to teach? The child naively believes that everything should be fair and everyone should be honest, that only good should prevail, that everybody should have what they want and there should be no pain or sadness. The child believes the world should be perfect and is outraged to discover it is not. And the child is right.
– Rabbi Tzvi Freeman

I can’t stop putting plants in the ground.
There’s a hunger in me,
a need to watch something grow.
– Ada Limón, The Carrying: Poems

Oh when man has escaped from the barbed-wire entanglement of his own ideas
and his own mechanical devices
there is a marvelous rich world of contact and sheer fluid beauty
and fearless face-to-face awareness of now-naked life […]
when at last we escape the barbed-wire enclosure of
Know Thyself,
knowing we can never know,
we can but touch
and wonder
and ponder
and make our effort
and dangle in a last fastidious fine delight
– D.H. Lawrence, Incognita

Sacred Circle

People often say, “Meditation is all very well, but what does it have to do with my life?” What it has to do with your life is that perhaps through this simple practice of paying attention – giving loving-kindness to your speech and your actions and the movements of your mind – you begin to realize that you’re always standing in the middle of a sacred circle, and that’s your whole life. …

Wherever you go for the rest of your life, you’re always in the middle of the universe and the circle is always around you. Everyone who walks up to you has entered that sacred space, and it’s not an accident. Whatever comes into the space is there to teach you.

– Pema Chodron

A WHITE TURTLE UNDER A WATERFALL
The waterfall on South Mountain hits the rocks,
tosses back its foam with terrifying thunder,
blotting out even face-to-face talk.
Collapsing water and bouncing foam soak blue moss.
old moss so thick
it drowns the spring grass.
Animals are hushed.
Birds fly but don’t sing
yet a white turtle plays on the pool’s sand floor
under riotous spray,
sliding about with the torrents.
The people of the land are benevolent.
No angling or net fishing.
The white turtle lives out its life, naturally.
– Wang Wei

O woman, unseal your power.
O man, do not let go her sacred thread, but come, come, follow it home.
from BULL · POPPY · STAR by Sylvia V. Linsteadt

The soul is an artist
and each heart a great mystic

Spirituality is as simple
as the natural process
of moving forward

It is built into life
for our soul to shed its skins
that our vision and perspective
may be vaster, clearer, more inclusive

If we choose, we can participate
in the development
of our consciousness
through expanding our understanding
of love and wonder
or not do that too much
but either way
we have within us
a quantum of light
that will not stop glowing

Love is the attractive force
in the Universe
that keeps things together—
beauty pulling beauty toward itself

What I’m saying is
you really don’t need a promotion
in this great, wild life
to be deemed worthy

You came here with 5 stars
attached to your every movement
and word and breath

The cosmos are in ceaseless applause
of your existence at all
and if you get quiet enough
you can hear
this wild celebration
of light

Each nucleus
in your holy body
is an oasis of starlight
and each electron whirls
with dazzlement
just to be!

Do you see how the Universe
in its infinitely creative way
is just trying to tell us all to relax?
And that we’re already okay
just as we are
and that our arrival has more to do
with our essence than our efforts

Right and wrong
might have been helpful
in humanity’s childhood
but it seems we’re moving beyond that
into a much fuller, more textured truth
allowing the whirling mystery
of our lives
to enter a wider dance hall

Darling, what I’m trying to say here
is even every wound
is an entryway
not an error
and there is no way out
of God.

– Chelan Harkin

READING MIŁOSZ
I read your poetry once more,
poems written by a rich man, knowing all,
and by a beggar, homeless,
an emigrant, alone.

You always wanted to go
beyond poetry, above it, soaring,
but also lower, to where our region
begins, modest and timid.

Sometimes your tone
transforms us for a moment,
we believe – truly –
that every day is sacred,

that poetry – how to put it? –
makes life rounder,
fuller, prouder, unashamed
of perfect formulation.

But evening arrives,
I lay my book aside,
and the city’s ordinary din resumes –
somebody coughs, someone cries and curses.
– Adam Zagajewski
translated by Clare Cavanagh

Here in the time between snow
and the bud of the rhododendron,
we watch the robins, look into

the gray, and narrow our view
to the patches of wild grasses
coming green. The pile of ashes

in the fireplace, haphazard sticks
on the paths and gardens, leaves
tangled in the ivy and periwinkle

lie in wait against our will. This
drawing near of renewal, of stems
and blossoms, the hesitant return

of the anarchy of mud and seed
says not yet to the blood’s crawl.
When the deer along the stream

look back at us, we know
we have left them. We pull
a blanket over us when we sleep.

As if living in a prayer, we say
amen to the late arrival of red,
the stun of green, the muted yellow

at the end of every twig. We will
lift up our eyes unto the trees hoping
to discover a gnarled nest within

the branches’ negative space. And
we will watch for a fox sparrow
rustling in the dead leaves underneath.

– Jack Ridl

FINISTERRE
The road in the end, taking the path the sun had taken,
into the western sea, and the moon rising behind you
as you stood where ground turned to ocean: no way
to your future now but the way your shadow could take,
walking before you across water, going where shadows go,
no way to make sense of a world that wouldn’t let you pass
except to call an end to the way you had come,
to take out each frayed letter you had brought
and light their illumined corners; and to read
them as they drifted on the late western light;
to empty your bags; to sort this and to leave that;
to promise what you needed to promise all along,
and to abandon the shoes that brought you here
right at the water’s edge, not because you had given up
but because now, you would find a different way to tread,
and because, through it all, part of you would still walk on,
no matter how, over the waves.
– DAVID WHYTE

Some foods are so comforting, so nourishing of body and soul, that to eat them is to be home again after a long journey. To eat such a meal is to remember that, though the world is full of knives and storms, the body is built for kindness.
– Eli Brown

That the native does not like the tourist is not hard to explain. For every native of every place is a potential tourist, and every tourist is a native of somewhere. Every native everywhere lives a life of overwhelming and crushing banality and boredom and desperation and depression, and every deed, good and bad, is an attempt to forget this. Every native would like to find a way out, every native would like a rest, every native would like a tour.

But some natives—most natives in the world—cannot go anywhere. They are too poor. They are too poor to go anywhere. They are too poor to escape the reality of their lives; and they are too poor to live properly in the place they live, which is the very place you, the tourist, want to go—so when the natives see you, the tourist, they envy you, they envy your ability to leave your own banality and boredom, they envy your ability to turn their own banality and boredom into a source of pleasure for yourself.

– Jamaica Kincaid

I think what you mostly do when you find you really are alone is to panic. You rush to the opposite extreme and pack yourself into groups – clubs, teams, societies, types. You suddenly start dressing exactly like the others. It’s a way of being invisible. The way you sew the patches on the holes in your blue jeans becomes incredibly important. If you do it wrong you’re not with it. That’s a peculiar phrase, you know? With it. With what? With them. With the others. All together. Safety in numbers. I’m not me. […] I’m a popular kid. I’m my friend’s friend. […] I’m a member. […] You can’t see me, all you can see is us. We’re safe. And if We see You standing alone by yourself, if you’re lucky we’ll ignore you. If you’re not lucky, we might throw rocks. Because we don’t like people standing there with the wrong kind of patches on their jeans reminding us that we’re each alone and none of us is safe.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

There are times when the kindness of strangers only makes things worse because one realizes how badly one is in need of kindness and that the only source is a stranger.
– Nicole Krauss

Lucid clarity is not something that you have to bring about.
It is what already is
But has been overlooked.
Attention, peace, and silence seem to have been lost
When one becomes otherwise engaged.
Merely check and see if it is really so.
– Wu-hsin

If you look carefully you will see that there is one thing and only one thing that causes unhappiness. The name of that thing is attachment. What is an attachment? An emotional state of clinging caused by the belief that without some particular thing or some person you cannot be happy.
– Anthony de Mello

No saints. Even
Our loved
Heroes
Misspeak, say
Stupid, unworthy things
Groucho Marx
Was on his final tour
Someone in the audience
Knew a person who worked for him,
Knew him. He shouted out
“Hey, Groucho,
How about—the person’s name.”
“Her!” said Groucho,
“She doesn’t count—
She’s a Schvartze”
Or William Carlos Williams
After a successful reading
At a women’s college—Wellesley?
The young women adored him.
“I could have raped them all.”
Today
As I left Safeway
I heard a saxophone player—
A busker—
Playing the most haunting version
Of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne”—
Every note perfect, every note
Full of respect for the beauty and subtlety of the song.
I pulled over to the side of the road to listen,
Entranced.
When it was over I rushed to give the player some money
And to tell him I knew Suzanne a little.
I thought what a gift Leonard Cohen had given her:
The gift of immortality.
Though they were not lovers
He caught her
In what someone has called
The whirling spirals of eternity.
– Jack Foley

Remember that life exists beyond the constraints of your small mind.
– Rúna Bouius

When Mozart was 8 this tree was over 40.
When first Steam Engine was patented this tree was 50.
When the Wright Brothers flew the first motorized plane this tree was 180.
Now at aged 300 it was felled for a service road for HS2
Words fail me.
– David Attenborough

Who Shall We Trust?
by Tad Hargrave

For most of human history, we knew who and what to trust.

Popularity of ideas has rarely been a marker of how true they are. Sometimes the inverse can be the thing: the more mainstream an idea gets the more profoundly it has been declawed and defanged so it is no longer any threat to anyone in power.

Longevity, on the other hand, might be closer to the mark as an indicator of truth. Ideas, practices, stories and cultures that have lasted have lasted for a reason. And that reason is that these ideas work, and they work over time. Some things are steadfast and beautiful. Some things aren’t. Discerning between those thing in what makes an adult and a culture.

When the times came when the path forward wasn’t clear and when, what was happening was not even clear, there were processes of collective discernment where the people might be brought together. Such a process was trustworthy.

There was a time where, on the whole, you could trust the land to grow you food, the sky to bring rains, the trees to grow you fruit and the animals to feed you. You could trust the old ceremonies, traditions, stories, songs and dances that rarely failed to bring the needed medicine. You could trust the elders and wise ones in times of duress. And you could trust each other. Things changed but not so quickly. Crops failed sometimes but not every year. Disasters came and went and leave their marks but, on the whole, things were slow and steady. So even time could be trusted.

Was The World Ever Trustworthy?

People will say that the world was never a trustworthy place. That, if the “old culture” was so good, why did we turn from it? Perhaps because the old culture was so very tough and difficult for most people and they we never could trust the harvest or the rains. Nor that our neighbours wouldn’t come a-pillaging. Or that famine, drought and plague wouldn’t sweep the lands and us from them. Perhaps no period of time was ever “better” or “worse” than any that come after or before. Maybe the world has always been like this: fundamentally untrustworthy and ambivalent to our existence. We could never trust the harvest or the rains.

And, in many ways, this is true. The world has never been ‘safe’ in that we were guaranteed safe passage from birth to a ripe old age. We ate other animals and, sometimes they ate us.

So, has anything changed at all?

I believe that yes. Something has changed.

The Three Changes

Part of what has changed is the placing of humans at the center of everything and the growing entitlement we feel to get what we want and have the world work out for us and that, any exceptions to this are a sign of the untrustworthiness of the world (which has steadily kept being itself in a trustworthy fashion regardless of our votes of approval or disapproval). Yes the world was full of troubles and unpredictability. And that, itself, was a part of the trustworthiness of the world. Yes, there were tricksters and troublemakers, but that was who they were and this, itself, could be trusted. That has not changed. Our relationship to it has.

The second thing that has changed is that, regardless of the necessary adversity of the world, we used to have a community to face it together. The community was woven together by certain shared understandings of the world and our role in it. Where did we come from? When? Why are we here? Is there a divine? Who are our dead to us? What happens to us after we die? All of those questions would have had answers or had their mysteriousness properly enthroned in the our shared basket of wonder. We do not have that anymore and so we face the slings and arrows, largely alone, most of us hungry for a kinship we keep thinking we have found only to be betrayed or disappointed when it turns out not to be so. We have a hunter-gatherer nervous system in a modern world. Literally nothing of the modern world is familiar to our nervous system, perhaps least of all this: the goneness of the village, the absence of shared cultural understandings, the crater where community was. We have been so utterly atomized down to the level of the individual. And this world is too heavy to carry alone.

The third thing that has changed, and this it vital, is the rate of change itself. The world has always been changing but few of our ancestors (aside from those who lived through massive Earthquakes, floods, asteroids or other natural disasters) ever lived through something like this. And never, to our knowledge, at their own hands. Things are unravelling so quickly now that even the best of us have no chance to keeping up. We are flooded in information. Why? To track the changes. But there are too many changes for one person to track now. So one must triage the flow of information – one must choose which sources one follows.

Which brings us back to this: whose information shall we trust?
Felling The Axis Mundi

In order to cope with this, lack of any enduring axis mundi, any world tree growing in the center of our collective and ripening years, everyone has had to become their own world tree (or imagined this was not only the only option before them but the one to which humanity has been aspiring all along). Each of us becomes the Center. When people speak of community, listen carefully to their language and what you will hear, over and over, is people saying, ‘My community’. What they are inadvertently testifying to is that there is no ‘the community’ anymore. There is only them and their crew. When they host a party ‘their people’ come. But if they don’t host that party, those people will never gather together. And that is, well and properly, utterly and completely, too much strain and burden for one person to bear.

Every generation has had to plant that world tree again. Each generation has had to figure out, once again, what took other cultures thousands of years of failure, foolishness, appraisal of and apprenticing to the world and its ways.

And then it shrunk again. It is no longer that every generation needs to re-evaluate their view of the world but every time a new phone comes out, a new social media platform. Hemmed in on both sides by progress and devastation, the steady river of our days has become the rapids of our undoing.

It’s not that people don’t trust anyone or anything but more that there is no agreement on who to trust. There is my world tree and your world tree but there is no longer any ‘the world tree’ that we all agree to sustain and protect. There is ‘my truth’ and ‘your truth’ but there is no longer any agreed, laboured over and deeply valued shared process of truing.

And that is an unspeakable devastation to our capacity to be a people.

The bedrock of culture might be understood as “we all trust the same things and the same ones”.

That is properly gone right now.

When my grandparents were raising their families, they could hang their hat on what Walter Cronkite said. A nation could, or at least imagined it could, trust that what that man on the news said was the truth, just the facts, no interpretation or political axe to grind.

Many people still trust in the mainstream, cable news. Many still trust in the major institutions of our day (e.g. the W.H.O. and the C.D.C. writing this as I do now during the Covid 19 situation of 2020). Many still trust the experts.

But there are many who have lost faith in them.

Maybe they watched the documentary Manufacturing Consent, or began to track how much of mainstream news’ funding comes from Big Oil and Big Pharma and realized they could never completely trust the news again on those issues.

Maybe they began to see the ways that the major organizations of their day, ostensibly dedicated to the health, liberty and happiness of the people of the world had become (or maybe always were) corrupt and beholden to monied interests.

Maybe they began to hear stories of how sometimes the experts were wrong and how they’d been bribed, corrupted or lied to the public. Maybe they did their own learning and decided, after not wanting to for a long time, that the experts were wrong.

And for those people there is a special kind of Hell awaiting: who then do you trust?

The Cost

I understand that people have strong opinions these days as to whom should be trusted and who should not. Properly so.


What I am trying to lift up is a larger wondering of: how did it come to be amongst us that we no longer have a shared understanding about what or whom is worthy of our belief?

Not so much, ‘who to trust’ but attending to the reality that we do not, collectively, trust much.

A colleague of mine wrote, “I am open-minded and not inherently trusting of any source, and there are also facts and knowable things. I want more nuance, play, and irreverence in the collective and also I want people to submit to facts and what is knowable.”

But for those whose trust in the dominant institutions of our day has been eroded, whose facts shall they trust?

This ‘not knowing who to trust’ is a devastation.

In much of Europe, after the time of trusting one’s people it became trusting the facts of the Church. And then it shifted into a trust of Science and Industry. With each seismic shift there was a period of immense dislocation. I think we are standing on such a fault line now. And it is rumbling.

You can see it come between us as people are called naive at best or dangerous at worst for trusting ‘those people’.

Humans are supposed to grow up in an environment they can trust. The woven basket of community is supposed to carry them through their days. But nowadays, people are having to make their own basket and attempt the impossible work of carrying themselves. It’s no wonder people struggle so much when the mind and heart can never relax but must always be hyper-vigilant in case one is betrayed.

This has become utterly normal in the modern world – the cynicism, the ‘can’t trust anyone’, the sense that the talking heads on the news are always lying to you, the feeling like even the scientists and the doctors have become shills for industry. This has all become normal. But it’s not natural.

A child should be able to trust their parent. A child who grows up realizing they can not trust their parent to be an adult (or possibly even, in any meaningful sense of the word, be human) will carry that lack of trust for a long time and likely the rest of the time entrusted to them.

A culture that can’t trust its elders, or that has no elders, or that tears down its elders and says “it’s youth and innovation that should be trusted!”, or that conflates being older with being an elder, a culture that has lost its moorings on what can fundamentally be trusted, that has come to mistrust nature and see if full of danger and threat… such a culture is in deep trouble, indeed.

If, in a traditional culture, it was discovered that many of the elders had been lying to the people in order to benefit themselves, this would be a ruination beyond imagining. We can’t even conceive of how unsettling, destablizing and undoing that would have been. And, because it’s so normal (and this is the real goods so lean in close)… we can’t even notice how devastating it currently is now.

There it is.

We are living through a traumatic experience that we can’t even see because we can’t imagine it being any other way. The younger amongst us have never known another time.

We are on the receiving end of a cultural poverty, a crater so bottomless, that we can’t imagine it wasn’t always there. This absence of any bedrock foundation of our days has, utterly and completely, become our days.

And those days have been packaged up and sold back to us by the machine of modern society as ‘freedom’.

“Don’t you see? This is the best part of the modern world! You get to decide what to trust and what not to trust! It’s up to you.”

As you hold this shiny, wrapped gift in your hands and feel the lightness of it, the lack of heft, all you can think is, “It looks like freedom but it feels like loneliness.”

They see this and persist, “Look, stop trying to trust anyone or anything. Trust comes from trusting oneself. Only trust yourself. All trust comes from within.”

You can hear the sound of the old ones in our midst shuffling away, put out of work by a few phrases. Unemployed and umemployable.

And there it is: the great untethering and untetheredness of our mutual days.

Enter the fascists. Enter the Surpremists. Enter the white nationalists. Enter the conspiracy theorists. Enter the wounded narcissists telling us ‘the truth’.

Enter us, begging to hear it. Pleading to to be sold anything that will make sense of what’s going on. Or to have it imposed.

Long Time Since

It has been a long time since we were held by the presence of and our trust in good elders and so it seems normal to not know who to trust. And it may, indeed, be normal these days but there’s nothing about it that our nervous system recognizes as natural.

Trust, it turns out, is a hard thing to scale. Maybe impossible. And maybe this is what much of citified humanity is coming to grips with right now: that trust is indigenous. Trust is rooted in particular times and particular places and the voices of the people who testify most honestly and clearly to the realities and particulars of that time and place. In this time, the unsettled nature of settler society is becoming apparent.

Trust that is manufactured seems to fall apart upon a little rugged inspection.

Maybe trust needs to be grown instead.

And so some are scaling down, not up. Some are growing their roots deeper into a patch of Earth and the people living nearby. Some are trying to slow down the rate of change and to find trustworthy things again.

And so who to trust? Or what?

I’ll offer this up…

I believe that we can trust that, to paraphrase the good Bayo Akomolafe, that the world is not only stranger than we think it is, but that it is stranger than we have the capacity to think. You can trust that too.

I believe that the most trustworthy ones amongst us would be our own indigenous ancestors and their life ways (and those indigenous ones still living in those ways today). They lived (and some still live) lives that were, on the whole, dramatically healthier and happier than our lives today. Their traditions and cultures were created over millennia not decades. They stood the test of time. They were not perfect but they had a kind of beauty and wholeness most of us can scarcely imagine today. I think the old myths and folklore are still trustworthy.

I believe that our senses are trustworthy, our intuitions and our intellect – those gifts that are indigenous to our bodies – are trustworthy capacities that can be grown and fostered.

How to live in a more indigenous, trustworthy way in a modern world hell bent on destroying any trace of the indigenous in the world?

That is one of the most important questions of our time.

But perhaps it begins like this: instead of clamouring to find something or someone trustworthy and so that we avoid ever being betrayed, we decide to become such a trustworthy one for those to come. We decide to build trustworthy things. We begin to craft trustworthy ways of relating to each other and the Earth. We did not inherit a society that is easy to relax into. We were born in a house with no solid foundations and it is rocking in the winds now.

That we don’t know who is being honest is a very honest thing to say. That we aren’t sure about who is being authentic anymore might be our authenticity speaking. We don’t, collectively, know who to trust anymore. But, I can promise you this, it will only get worse for those to come. They will need something to cling onto and by offering up the ragged and frayed edges of our bafflement and consternation, we give those to come something reliable to tie themselves onto that our perfectly cut edges (though they would have us fit in well today) could never do.

Our willingness to testify honestly to how things are amongst us now, our willingness to not disown the deep unmooring of our soul, our willingness to confess how little we trust any of this, might be the foundation of a house to come that would keep future generations sheltered from the howling storms, cold winds and rough gods that we can hear rumbling in the distance. They are coming.

Perhaps you can trust that most of all.

EASTER MORNING IN WALES

A garden inside me, unknown, secret,
neglected for years,
the layers of its soil deep and thick,
trees in the corners with branching arms
and the tangled briars like broken nets.

Sunrise through the misted orchard,
morning sun turns silver on the pointed twigs,
I have woken from the sleep of ages and I am not sure
if I am really seeing, or dreaming,
or simply astonished
walking towards sunrise
to have stumbled into the garden
where the stone was rolled from the tomb of longing.
– David Whyte

I miss you most
in the silence
between songs
on my favorite records.

Sometimes
it takes so long
for the music to start.

– Andrea Gibson

Avoid the flourish. Do not be afraid to be weak. Do not be ashamed to be tired. You look good when you’re tired. You look like you could go on forever. Now come into my arms. You are the image of my beauty.

– Leonard Cohen

You have not understood Easter if you recognize resurrection in scripture, but not in a leaf.

You have not understood Easter if actual cadavers have to sit up for you to realize the life process, of which you are an ephemeral expression, is itself eternal.

You have not understood Easter if you see see Christ in Jesus but not in your Muslim neighbor.

You have not understood Easter if you feel no call to a Passover of liberation for all the Earth’s people.

You have not understood Easter if you still believe the words “spirit” and “nature,” refer to two different worlds.

You have not understood Easter if you cannot understand how your LGBTQ neighbors are part of your one human family.

You have not understood Easter if your own body or life causes you shame.

You have not understood Easter if you are still remaining in your own grave.

– Jim Rigby

autopsychography
by, fernando pessoa

the poet is a faker
who’s so good at his act
he even fakes the pain
of pain he feels in fact.

and those who read his words
will feel in his writing
neither of the pains he has
but just the one they’re missing.

and so around its track
this thing called the heart winds,
a little clockwork train
to entertain our minds.

These are the days of the wandering oxymorons. These are the times we must seek out the contrary, the paradoxical, the distant, the impossible, and the counterintuitive. To find brighter light, we must head for the gloomiest caves; to understand ourselves, we must turn to the strange; to find the way out of our troubles, we must embrace them with fonder reverence, and to thrive…to live, we must come to the thinnest places, where life and death aren’t opposites but bedfellows.
– Bayo Akomolafe

Yes, I deserve a spring – I owe nobody nothing.
– Virginia Woolf

The Mountain Chant of Mappō
– a parting poem

It was a cloudy day, but my ears heard it bright and clear as the sun — a chant for journeying through these times of peril.

It began with a chickadee but by evening-tide even the owls and high wind were singing The Mountain Chant of Mappō.

It wasn’t until dawn-light, however, that I heard the sacred words coming from each of the four winds:

May all suffering beings
in hell realms
god realms
animal realms
human realms
realms of hungry ghosts
experience full liberation
from tormented heart-minds
in this predicted time.

May all wounded souls
seeking the balm of healing
come to know the boundless wellspring of luminosity
found within their own being.

May all sentient beings
yearning for the
wish-fulfilling jewel
of a heart-mind
at-ease with itself
learn the steadfast practice
of Serene-Mirroring
passed down, uninterrupted,
from the Lantern-Lit Heart-Mind
of the Great Forest-Counselor
to the Wayfarers in every age.

May all those caught in the
spinning blades of karma
and drowning in the poisoned waters of obsession, addiction, ignorance, and self-deception
benefit from the unbridled,
karmic chain-breaking power
of innumerable protectors and guides throughout the ten realms.

Buddha of the East
Buddha of the South
Buddha of the West
Buddha of the North
Buddha of the Vast Cosmic Void

Buddha of the Sun
Earth Powers-as-Buddhas
Buddhas of the Three Mountains
Buddhas of Caves and Rivers
Buddhas of Village, Town, and Market

Buddha Within the Beating Heart of Every Suffering Being

Buddha Within the Beating Heart of Every Awakening Woman

Buddha Within the Beating Heart of Every Awakening Man

Buddha Within the Beating Heart of Every Wonder-Filled Child

Buddhas On Pilgrimage
Buddhas On Retreat
Buddhas Creating Art
Buddhas Nurturing Community
Buddhas Tending Gardens
Buddhas Supporting Families
Buddhas Healing Buddhas
Buddhas Teaching Children

Grandmother Buddhas
Sister Buddhas
Grandfather Buddhas
Brother Buddhas
Mother Buddhas
Father Buddhas
Buddhas Being Born
Buddhas Dying
Buddhas Remembering

May we all remember
why we are really here.

May we all remember
why we are really here.

May we all remember
why we are really here.

– Frank LaRue Owen

I picture us in this light
Friendship a fine silver web
Stretched across golden smoky haze
And this is simple
And this is grace
– Bruce Cockburn

FOR DR. KING SPRING 2018
Fifty Aprils ago
you reported your visions from
top of a mountain
that you spirtually climbed.
Calmed the congrgation
with hope for the future we
greet you from mountain size pit.
Is there enough muscle spirit and rope
to climb back to fertile ground?

Come my cantilations,
Let us dump our hatreds into one bunch and be done with them,
Hot sun, clear water, fresh wind,
Let me be free of pavements,
Let me be free of the printers.
Let come beautiful people
Wearing raw silk of good colour,
Let come the graceful speakers,
Let come the ready of wit,
Let come the gay of manner, the insolent and the exulting.
We speak of burnished lakes,
Of dry air, as clear as metal.
– Ezra Pound

I used to hear students talking about their lives as if life was something, like a train or a bus, that hadn’t arrived yet. It was coming; it was down the way, waiting. I know that they felt that life hadn’t begun–couldn’t begin–until they were working as actors, until they had been recognized. But their lives had begun long ago, and what we’re living today, every day, is everything. I can’t sleep all day and then get up and go to the theatre, and then go home again. That wouldn’t be living to me. You move among people and events and then you use it all in your work. That is what I would call full living. What you see as you walk about and live is what fuels what you do, whatever it is. The answers are out there.
– Marian Seldes Interview with James Grissom

Each canyon resembles a winding corridor in a labyrinth. We listen for the breathing of the Minotaur but find only cottonwoods glowing green and gold against the red rock, rabbitbrush with it’s mustard-yellow bloom, mule-ear sunflowers facing the sunlight, their coarse petals the color of butter, and the skull and curled horns of a desert bighorn ram, half buried in auburn sand.
– Edward Abbey

Don’t try to fill your void with noise. Fill it with silence.
– Maxime Lagacé

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 travelled as close as I dared, Lord.

– Ilya Kaminsky

Edgar McGregor:

My generation is done playing your meaningless political games.

We’re done with your promises, we’re done with your shenanigans, and we’re done playing nice guy.

We have a right to a healthy planet, and we will not inherit anything but.

A ‘wyd’ in college can turn a normal day into an adventure
– @andrew_jami

The Spider as an Artist
has never been employed–
though his surpassing Merit
is freely certified

by every broom

– Emily Dickinson

I picture us in this light
Friendship a fine silver web
Stretched across golden smoky haze
And this is simple
And this is grace
– Bruce Cockburn

Forests recite poetry if you listen carefully enough.
– @mineisforever

A very important thing is not to make up your mind that you are any one thing.
– Gertrude Stein

If one hesitates in his path, let him not proceed. Let him respect his doubts, for doubts, too, may have some divinity in them.
– H.D. Thoreau, Letters

Yes, I deserve a spring – I owe nobody nothing.
– Virginia Woolf

Conservative? This category doesn’t exist in great poetry.
– Zagajewski

The secret of happiness is to admire without desiring.
– Carl Sandburg

Nobody should have any illusions. The United States has essentially a one-party system and the ruling party is the business party.
– Noam Chomsky

All descriptions of reality are temporary hypotheses.
– Buddha

Alina Stefanescu:
The hard thing about being gen x is you really can’t wear a tiny backpack without feeling fraudulent. It’s rucksack or fannypack with no in-between. I keep aspiring to all these tiny backpacks occurring around me.

Existential Comics:

The neoliberal solution to climate change is to hope that somehow it will become profitable to save the planet. This will not work.

The world is a very puzzling place. If you’re not willing to be puzzled, you just become a replica of someone else’s mind.
– Noam Chomsky

Dr. Thema:

Doing nothing is doing something.

I’m glad you’re resting, restoring, recovering, day dreaming, decluttering your mind, practicing stillness, breathing, reconnecting with yourself, and taking sacred pause.

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin:
Biology and poetry agree that there are no rigid boundaries between us or between us and the rest of the planet. Politics and economics really need to catch up.

I am alone in this spot on earth, and not alone enough
to make every moment holy.
– Rilke
tr. Kudinov

I have been in love with no one, and never shall,’ she whispered, ‘unless it should be with you.
– Sheridan Le Fanu, Carmilla

Joseph Fasano:
The song in us always knows.

Blunted Buddha:

I say
sayonara to samsara
tantalized by Tara
but
unmoved by Mara
dictate dharma
hope to expound it farther
discharge karma
with a lightbody
aura.

Bruce Cockburn:
Gone from mystery into mystery
Gone from daylight into night
Another step deeper into darkness
Closer to the light

Reverend Jes Kast:

Holy Saturday is a liminal day.

What was, is no longer.

What will be, is not yet.

It is the uncomfortable, in-between period. Where silence is more familiar than answers.

Holy Saturday has been my theology of the pandemic this whole time. It has been a long Holy Saturday.

Like poetry: a good poem,
no matter how beautiful it is, it will be cruel.
There is nothing else. Poetry is today
the last house of mercy.
– Joan Margarit, Catalan poet

If they occupy your country, you resist.
– Elias Khoury

You’re never too old to spend an entire hour seeing what your name looks like in a bunch of cool fonts.
– Helen Rosner

Anne Carson on the untranslatable:

Every translator knows the point where one language cannot be rendered into another. But now what if, within this silence, you discover a deeper one – a word does not INTEND to be translatable. A word that stops itself.

Remember that life exists beyond the constraints of your small mind.
– Rúna Bouius

Kat Dennings:
April 1 needs to just be a regular day going forward. I personally can’t take one more ounce of tomfoolery.

Wafaa Sbeiti, PhD.:
It is not easy to be long term investor in a short term world.

There are people who are always in love with the sky, no matter the weather. One day you will meet those people meant for you who’ll love you the same way.
– Delaney Rae

My biggest issue with the Body Keeps the Score is how often he says something like “to heal from trauma, one must….” I don’t think it works that way ever. Trauma is complex. People are complex. Circumstances are complex. There is no one thing we *must* all do to heal.
– Crys Tom

There is, however, a place reserved for the resurrections of the self, even when time disperses it in ever widening waves. That is the landscape. As landscape all events surround us, for we, the time of things, know no time. Nothing but the leaning of the trees, the horizon, the silhouetted mountain ridges, which suddenly awake full of meaning because they have placed us in their midst. The landscape transports us into their midst, the trembling treetops assail us with questions, the valleys envelop us with mist, incomprehensible houses oppress us with their shapes. We, their midpoint, impinge on them. But from all the time when we stand there quivering, one question remains: Are we time? Arrogance tempts us to answer yes-and then the landscape would vanish. We would be citizens. But the spell of the book bids us be silent. The only answer is that we set out on a path. As we advance, the same surroundings sanctify us. Knowing no answers but forming the center, we define things with the movement of our bodies. By drawing nigh and distancing ourselves once again on our wanderings, we single out trees and fields from their like and flood them with the time of our existence. We give firm definition to fields and mountains in their arbitrariness: they are our past existence–that was the prophecy of childhood. We are their future. Naked in this futurity, the landscape welcomes us … Exposed, it responds to the shudder of temporality with which we assault the landscape. Here we wake up and partake of the morning repast of youth. Things perceive us; their gaze propels us into the future, since we do not respond to them but instead step among them. Around us is the landscape where we rejected their appeal … Permeated by time, the landscape breathes before us, deeply stirred. We are safe in each other’s care, the landscape and I. We plunge from nakedness to nakedness. Gathered together, we come to ourselves.
– Walter Benjamin

I saw the earth was one of the great
unsuccessful poems.
– Mary Ruefle

Poetry is the first and last of all knowledge – it is as immortal as the heart of man.
– William Wordsworth

I know from experience that only on very few occasions do we find someone to whom we can accurately convey our mood, someone with whom we communicate perfectly. It is almost a miracle, or an unexpected fortune, to find that person.
– Haruki Murakami

Peter Kalmus:
The fact that the Republican party still has any power or relevance whatsoever is a testament to the power of the undertow that is racism (and more generally, otherism). Humans, evolve.

Song
The weight of the world
is love.
Under the burden
of solitude,
under the burden
of dissatisfaction
…….
looks out of the heart
burning with purity-
for the burden of life
is love,
but we carry the weight
wearily,
and so must rest
in the arms of love
at last,
must rest in the arms
of love.
No rest
without love,
no sleep
without dreams
of love—
be mad or chill
obsessed with angels
or machines,
the final wish
is love
—cannot be bitter,
cannot deny,
cannot withhold
if denied:
the weight is too heavy
—must give
for no return
as thought
is given
in solitude
in all the excellence
of its excess.
The warm bodies
shine together
in the darkness,
the hand moves
to the center
of the flesh,
the skin trembles
in happiness
and the soul comes
joyful to the eye—
yes, yes,
that’s what
I wanted,
I always wanted,
I always wanted,
to return
to the body
where I was born.
– Allen Ginsberg

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
by Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

The Inner History of a Day
No one knew the name of this day;
Born quietly from deepest night,
It hid its face in light,
Demanded nothing for itself,
Opened out to offer each of us
A field of brightness that traveled ahead,
Providing in time, ground to hold our footsteps
And the light of thought to show the way.

We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into an eternal continuity that keeps us.
Somewhere in us a dignity presides
That is more gracious than the smallness
That fuels us with fear and force,
A dignity that trusts the form a day takes.
So at the end of this day, we give thanks
For being betrothed to the unknown
And for the secret work
Through which the mind of the day
And wisdom of the soul become one.

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

Begin
…Every beginning is a promise
born in light and dying in dark
determination and exaltation of springtime
flowering the way to work.
Begin to the pageant of queuing girls
the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal
bridges linking the past and future
old friends passing though with us still.
Begin to the loneliness that cannot end
since it perhaps is what makes us begin,
begin to wonder at unknown faces
at crying birds in the sudden rain
at branches stark in the willing sunlight
at seagulls foraging for bread
at couples sharing a sunny secret
alone together while making good.
Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
that always seems about to give in
something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that we forever begin.
– Brendan Kennelly, Do Not Go Gentle

I want to write about the great and powerful thing that listening is. And how we forget it. And how we don’t listen to our children, or those we love. And least of all – which is so important, too – to those we do not love. Because listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. You can see that when you think how the friends that really listen to us are the ones we move toward, and we want to sit in their radius as though it did us good, like ultraviolet rays.

This is the reason: When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand. Ideas actually begin to grow within us and come to life. You know how if a person laughs at your jokes you become funnier and funnier, and if he does not, every tiny little joke in you weazens up and dies. Well, that is the principle of it. And it makes people happy and free when they are listened to. And if you are a listener, it is the secret of having a good time in society (because everyone around you becomes lively and interesting), of comforting people, of doing them good….

And so try listening. Listen to your wife, your husband, your father, your mother, your children, your friends, to those who love you and those who don’t, to those who bore you, to your enemies. It will work a small miracle. And perhaps a great one.

– Brenda Euland

Where the Sky Meets the Earth
by W. Todd Kaneko

A man can’t die where there is no earth

because there will be no place
to bury him. His body is the sky
and understands the language of birds.


His body says the earth is made of everything
that has fallen from Heaven


while no one was looking. He promises
to defy gravity and then return home.


A man can’t reach for the sky and not feel
he is falling. It goes on forever and the birds
talk about the awesomeness of flight

while the oxen labor in the fields,
while the cows eat grass and dream

of slaughter. A man can’t talk about flight
because one day, there will be no sky,
just the body covered in earth.

And now the sky is empty of birds.
And now the earth is covered in flowers.

is there a word for humanity’s shortsightedness in terms of conveniently forgetting truth, and just proceeding back to “normal” as if we weren’t in one of the biggest crises in Earth’s history.
– Aric Parker

Europe got to tell the story for the last 600 years.
– Raoul Peck

Start living in such
a way that outside
influences cannot
limit who you are
in any way.
be willing to
live in such a manner
that what has happened
to you 15 years ago or
what will happen 5 years
from now has no power
to decide how you want
to live your life.
– Guthema Roba

I’ve been down this road before
I remember every tree
Every single blade of grass
Holds a special place for me
And I remember every town
And every hotel room
Every song I ever sang
On a guitar out of tune

I remember everything
Things I can’t forget
The way you turned and smiled on me
On the night that we first met
And I remember every night
Your ocean eyes of blue
How I miss you in the morning light
Like roses miss the dew

I’ve been down this road before
Alone as I can be
Careful not to let my past
Go sneaking up on me
Got no future in my happiness
Though regrets are very few
Sometimes a little tenderness
Was the best that I could do

I remember everything
Things I can’t forget
Swimming pools of butterflies
That slipped right through the net
And I remember every night
Your ocean eyes of blue
How I miss you in the morning light
Like roses miss the dew

How I miss you in the morning light
Like roses miss the dew

– John Prine

Bliss and sorrow, love and hate, light and shadow,
hot and cold, joy and anger, self and other.
The enjoyment of poetic beauty may well lead to hell.
But look what we find strewn all along our Path:
Plum blossoms and peach flowers!
– Ikkyū

Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
– Brooks Haxton

And those who read his words
Will feel in his writing
Neither of the pains he has
But just the one they’re missing.
– Fernando Pessoa

The River of Light is not a tributary.
– Charles Wright

For God, all of time is simultaneous.
– Niklas Luhman

First Order of Things–For Gary Snyder
by Wang Ping

Today I rowed my first 12k in the Mississippi, and earned my first blisters.
The first shovel into the thawed earth, rich with compost from food scraps, bones, eggshells, leaves, worms, bacteria, rain, ice, time.
The first planting of potatoes from last year’s garden, pink sprouts and green skin, excited to re-enter the earth.
The first breaking of dirt in my hands, dark earth promising another year’s harvest.
The first sprouting: garlic, leeks, dandelions, peonies, lilies, fiddleheads, creeping Charlie, all beautiful and delicious.
The first harvest from my garden, first sautéed egg with garlic leek, first robin’s visit from Texas and first nest under my roof, asking why I’m not sharing food with her.
First filling of bird bath, after a long freeze, first line of chickadees splashing ecstasy.
First meal under the sun, listening to Gary Snyder’s“ Long Hair,” “Turtle Island” from 40 years ago, his fingers black and gnarly from fixing the generators for power and poetry, for living off grid on the Sierra, my fingers blessed with bleeding blisters and black earth, fingers that know how to dig, plant, nurse, cook, feed, write poetry, fingers that refuse to point at others, destroy, distrust, accuse, sow hate.
Fingers that vow to spread love and love only, through labor and devotion…intertwined, west and east, mountain and prairie.
And then the deer runs inside me
The plants flower inside me
The robin chirps inside with her rival chickadees
The garden is inside me
The Mississippi is inside me
The world flows into me
As I eat my first bowl of garlic leek with eggs in the garden, under the sun, listening to poetry

When the heart
is closed
you’re an outsider
to everything.
When the heart
is open
everything
is part of you.
– Chelan Harkin

Picking Flowers
by Nate Marshall

Grandma’s rosebush
reminiscent of a Vice Lord’s do-rag.
the unfamiliar bloom in Mrs. Bradley’s yard
banging a Gangster Disciple style blue.
the dandelions all over the park putting on
Latin King gold like the Chicano cats
over east before they turn into a puff
of smoke like all us colored boys.

picking dandelions will ruin your hands,
turn their smell into a bitter cologne.

a man carries flowers for 3 reasons:

• he is in love
• he is in mourning
• he is a flower salesman

i’m on the express train passing stops
to a woman. maybe she’s home.
i have a bouquet in my hand,
laid on 1 of my arms like a shotgun.
the color is brilliant, a gang war
wrapped & cut diagonal at the stems.
i am not a flower salesman.
that is the only thing i know.

THE EVERLASTING SELF
by Tracy K. Smith
Comes in from a downpour
Shaking water in every direction —
A collaborative condition:
Gathered, shed, spread, then
Forgotten, reabsorbed. Like love
From a lifetime ago, and mud
A dog has tracked across the floor.

Love Poem -1: Chicago (CST) to Bangalore (GMT +5:30)
by Kemi Alabi

Then love was a phone ding’s dopamine thimble
instead of revolution, our green and singing world.

My day your night. Your day
my husking, skin to bark to sap rot.

No pixels, no disembodied voice teched towards me
reassembled you here.

Both feet missing. Inner ears gone.
Top of your head, merely suspect.

Each eye’s prism, flattened.
The geometry of your chest, lost math.

The godweld between us taffied,
split back to word and light.

Its reconfigured data—
your slick hologram—

my dearest friend who refused
to touch me.

MYSTICISM FOR BEGINNERS
The day was mild, the light was generous.
The German on the café terrace
held a small book on his lap.
I caught sight of the title:
Mysticism for Beginners.
Suddenly I understood that the swallows
patrolling the streets of Montepulciano
with their shrill whistles,
and the hushed talk of timid travelers
from Eastern, so-called Central Europe,
and the white herons standing – yesterday? the day before? –
like nuns in fields of rice,
and the dusk, slow and systematic,
erasing the outlines of medieval houses,
and olive trees on little hills,
abandoned to the wind and heat,
and the head of the Unknown Princess
that I saw and admired in the Louvre,
and stained-glass windows like butterfly wings
sprinkled with pollen,
and the little nightingale practicing
its speech beside the highway,
and any journey, any kind of trip,
are only mysticism for beginners,
the elementary course, prelude
to a test that’s been
postponed.
– Adam Zagajewski
translated by Clare Cavanagh

So, if you are too tired to speak, sit next to me for I, too, am fluent in silence.
– R. Arnold

Like most music that affects me deeply, I would never listen to it while others were around, just as I would not pass on a book that I especially loved to another. I am embarrassed to admit this, knowing that it reveals some essential lack or selfishness in my nature, and aware that it runs contrary to the instincts of most, whose passion for something leads them to want to share it, to ignite a similar passion in others, and that without the benefit of such enthusiasm I would still be ignorant of many of the books and much of the music I love most…

But rather than an expansion, I’ve always felt a diminishment of my own pleasure when I’ve invited someone else to take part in it, a rupture in the intimacy I felt with the work, an invasion of privacy. It is worst when someone else picks up the copy of a book I’ve just been enthralled by and begins casually to thumb through the pages.

– Nicole Krauss, Great House

If there is any meaning
in the Holy books,
it is this:
Whatever is good for you,
grant it to others too.
– Yunus Emre

THREE ELEMENTS OF INSIGHT MEDITATION

Insight meditation practice is based on three fundamental factors: first, not centralizing inward; second, not having any longing to become higher; and third, becoming completely identified with here and now. These three elements run right through the practice of meditation, from the beginning up to the moment of realization.
– Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

After Graduate School
by Valencia Robin
Needless to say I support the forsythia’s war
against the dull colored houses, the beagle
deciphering the infinitely complicated universe
at the bottom of a fence post. I should be gussying up
my resume, I should be dusting off my protestant work ethic,
not walking around the neighborhood loving the peonies
and the lilac bushes, not heading up Shamrock
and spotting Lucia coming down the train tracks. Lucia
who just sold her first story and whose rent is going up,
too, Lucia who says she’s moving to South America to save money,
Lucia, cute twenty-something I wish wasn’t walking down train tracks
alone. I tell her about my niece teaching in China, about the waiter
who built a tiny house in Hawaii, how he saved up, how
he had to call the house a garage to get a building permit.
Someone’s practicing the trumpet, someone’s frying bacon
and once again the wisteria across the street is trying to take over
the nation. Which could use a nice invasion, old growth trees
and sea turtles, every kind of bird marching
on Washington. If I had something in my refrigerator,
if my house didn’t look like the woman who lives there
forgot to water the plants, I’d invite Lucia home,
enjoy another hour of not thinking about not having a job,
about not having a mother to move back in with.
I could pick Lucia’s brain about our circadian rhythms,
about this space between sunrise and sunset,
ask if she’s ever managed to get inside it, the air,
the sky ethereal as all get out—so close
and no ladder in sight.

Love is that splendid triggering of human vitality… the supreme activity which nature affords anyone for going out of himself toward someone else.
– José Ortega y Gasset

My face is a hundred times brighter when I see your face. My soul is a hundred times happier when your soul is near.
– RUMI

The importance of drinking a lot of water [for spiritual aspirants] is incalculable
– Dolores Cannon

Books work from the inside out. They are a private conversation happening somewhere in the soul.
– Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain

Song
You know that it is there, lair
where the bear ceases
for a time even to exist.

Crawl in. You have at last killed
enough and eaten enough to be fat
enough to cease for a time to exist.

Crawl in. It takes talent to live at night, and scorning
others you had that talent, but now you sniff
the season when you must cease to exist.

Crawl in. Whatever for good or ill
grows within you needs
you for a time to cease to exist.

It is not raining inside
tonight. You know that it is there. Crawl in.
– Frank Bidart

VINEGAR AND OIL

Wrong solitude vinegars the soul,
right solitude oils it.
How fragile we are, between the few good moments.
Coming and going unfinished,
puzzled by fate,
Like the half-carved relief
of a fallen donkey, above a church.
– Jane Hirshfield

My feeling is that everybody’s life is like a piece of music. It has a leitmotif, a recurring theme.
– Suzan-Lori Parks

He drinks of
the pure Wine of Unity
who is forgetful
of both this world
…. and the next.
– Shaykh Sa’adi Shirazi

WHILE I SLEEP
by Lynn Kincanon

When I lie under the cedar tree
I am reclining in my own bed
Under limbs that cast out over my roof
And into the front yard,
Sheltering me from the weather,
From the commotion in the street

All the cars, pedestrians, and neighbors
That pass by, virtually unnoticed.

The tree is a haven for animals,
As if the tree is a wailing wall
Where only wild things
And I
Come to it in prayer—

For absolution, for redemption
For solace, for protection against
The gray skies, the loose gravel,
The gallop of horsemen
Who sometimes visit in the night.

How its immensity encircles the house,
Wraps it in its own hemisphere
And lays its boughs lightly upon my breast
Where I can sleep, knowing
It is out there, breathing.

There is a comfort in the strength of love; ‘Twill make a thing endurable, which else would overset the brain, or break the heart.
– William Wordsworth

Perhaps the reason
we have a hard time connecting
with God,
nature,
any heart
is they’re the most gentle forces
in the universe
and we’re not yet operating
at that frequency.
– Chelan Harkin

You must have gone to
heaven. You spent too
much time taking care
of me to do anything bad.
– Neil Hilborn

I am a river stone.
I am a seabird.
Until I become the Sea
– Nicholas Pierotti

Sands

I wanted to be

a grain of sand

in your path.

I wanted to be

a grain of sand

clinging to your

hourglass.

A flighty thought,

a passing moment,

a nod and a smile.

All that I am is

a grain of sand,

an object of

frailty,

but never of

desire.

As I sit in silence,

on a dirty

bedroom floor.

My mind fills

with scenes of

what never

could have been.

Illusions of

a life not

well lived.

No tears fall,

no love lost,

Just a grain

of sand, and

that is all.

– Johanna Elattar

Anyone who thinks we are on the verge of some great voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of life is insane. We need to stop this culture from killing the planet.
– Derrick Jensen

JAZZBERRY

Did the Cashier/ Server/Barista
say Jazzberry
to a customer on the phone?

What jam was in the air
when the bakers placed the berries
strategically mixed or matched ?
What sax, what keyboard what trumpet
or drum solo
back in the Bakers’ space ?

What theme, what lyrics
did the opening bar state
or hint at ?

Or did he say rasberry?
My imagination running wild
with the Horace Silver solo
from the counter?
I wonder as finish coffee.
– Jerry Pendergast

The Great Way has no gender
no sexual preference
no ideology
no name
no body
no mind
…no identity, whatsoever.
So, what’s left?

I take my coffee black, please.
– Shinzen

Well the mouse ate the crumb
Then the cat ate the crust
Now they’ve fallen in love
They’re talking in tongues
– Leonard Cohen

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

To gain your own voice,
forget about having it heard.
Become a saint of your own
province and your own
consciousness.
– Allen Ginsberg

Whatever you feel, good or bad, right or wrong; stand up straight, do your best to handle your obligations, your duties, and your tasks — anyway just do it. That is what puts you right in the middle of impermanence.
– Dainin Katagiri

Don’t limit a child to your own learning.
– Rabindranath Tagore

My Kingdom
by Louisa May Alcott

A little kingdom I possess
Where thoughts and feelings dwell,
And very hard I find the task
Of governing it well;
For passion tempts and troubles me,
A wayward will misleads,
And selfishness its shadow casts
On all my words and deeds.

How can I learn to rule myself,
To be the child I should,
Honest and brave, nor ever tire
Of trying to be good?
How can I keep a sunny soul
To shine along life’s way?
How can I tune my little heart
To sweetly sing all day?

Dear Father, help me with the love
That casteth out my fear;
Teach me to lean on thee, and feel
That thou art very near,
That no temptation is unseen
No childish grief too small,
Since thou, with patience infinite,
Doth soothe and comfort all.

I do not ask for any crown
But that which all may win
Nor seek to conquer any world
Except the one within.
Be thou my guide until I find,
Led by a tender hand,
Thy happy kingdom in myself
And dare to take command.

RELAX AND LET GO WHEREVER YOU ARE

You can appreciate your life,
even if it is an imperfect situation.
Perhaps your apartment is run down
and your furniture is old and inexpensive.
You do not have to live in a palace.
You can relax and let go wherever you are. Wherever you are, it is a palace.

Any perception can connect us
to reality properly and fully. What we see
doesn’t have to be pretty, particularly;
we can appreciate anything that exists.
There is some principle of magic
in everything, some living quality.
Something living, something real,
is taking place in everything.

Whether you care to communicate
with it or not, the magical strength
and wisdom of reality are always there….
By relaxing the mind, you can reconnect
with that primordial, original ground,
which is completely pure and simple.
Out of that, through the medium
of your perceptions, you can discover magic, (which in the Shambhala tradition
is called) drala.
You actually can connect
your own intrinsic wisdom
with a sense of greater wisdom
or vision beyond you.

You might think that something extraordinary will happen to you when you discover magic. Something extra-ordinary does happen.
You simply find yourself
in the realm of utter reality,
complete and thorough reality.

– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior

Liberation will not fall like a miracle from the sky; we must construct it ourselves. So let’s not wait, let us begin…
– Zapatista Pamphlet on Political Education

What if you slept?

And what if,
In your sleep
You dreamed?

And what if,
In your dream,
You went to heaven

And there plucked
A strange and
Beautiful flower?

And what if,
When you awoke,

You had the flower
In your hand?

– Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I was made for another planet altogether. I mistook the way.
– Simone de Beauvoir

your Soul needs the shade of ancient forests
And not the melting caress of the car park asphalt.
Some of the blackness and depths you fear are inside.
– J. K. McDowell

Our spiritual realities do not exist in a vacuum. To be connected to our own spirituality, we must be connected to the spirituality of others. By this, I mean that what affects one of us affects all of us.
– Kaitlin Curtice

When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.
– Desmond Tutu

Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.
– Alan Watts

Louise Miller:
I’m almost 50, and here is the best thing I have learned so far: every strange thing you’ve ever been into, every failed hobby or forgotten instrument, everything you have ever learned will come back to you, will serve you when you need it. No love, however brief, is wasted.

I go missing every time my name is misspelled
– @isjonespoetry, overall genius

Don’t limit a child to your own learning
– Rabindranath Tagore

To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth.
– The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

Last night
@chenchenwrites read this Mary Ruefle poem “purple sadness” but replaced sadness each time with “happiness,” as a way to think about how sadness and happiness live near each other??

I dreamed in purple! I keep thinking about it!
– @sbrookcorfman

Mikael:
Pray during the little things, like taking a shower, making breakfast, entering a house, exiting a door, dressing, ironing your clothes, lighting a candle, going to sleep, writing a message…prayer makes our actions more conscious, and brings blessings.

Naval:
A future society will reunite the smart and the spiritual.

I mean this vacuum of twilight is like listening.
– Mei-Mei Berssengrugge

c.c. o’hanlon:
Dark, plaintive poetry in the words turning up on my timeline today — like messages from weary survivors, floated out in bottles on a noxious, virus-tainted tide.

Here is a question:
When did God first cry? Or – in another way –
When did God first realize the limitations of language?
– Pádraig Ó Tuama

Karma is based on energy.

Each thought and heartbeat produces an electromagnetic wave. Electromagnetic waves are magnetic by nature. And attracts similar energy.

This is how karma can be cleared by raising your level of consciousness via gratitude and forgiveness.

– @Buddha_Blunted

We are at work on the past to make the future

More bearable.

– Mark Strand. IX of Dark Harbor

The importance of drinking a lot of water [for spiritual aspirants] is incalculable.
– Dolores Cannon

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 Wosley, chapter 10, Kissing Fish

At the end of an age, the denizens of the age still profess to believe that they can understand themselves by the theory of the age, yet they behave as if they did not believe it. The surest sign that an age is coming to an end is the paradoxical movement of the most sensitive souls of the age, the artists and writers first, then the youth, in a direction exactly opposite to the direction laid down by the theory of the age.”
– Walker Percy

Praise Song

What dies in autumn
comes up in spring,

because this way
of saying “No”

becomes, in spring,
your praise-song, “Yes.”

– Rumi

I was familiar with the little mating rituals of getting to know each other, of dragging out the stories from childhood, summer camp, and high school, the famous humiliations, and the adorable things you said as a child, the familial dramas—of having a portrait of yourself, all the while making yourself out to be a little brighter, a little more deep than deep down you knew you actually were. And though I hadn’t had more than three or four relationships, I already knew that each time the thrill of telling another the story of yourself wore off a little more, each time you threw yourself into it a little less, and grew more distrustful of an intimacy that always, in the end, failed to pass into true understanding.
– Nicole Krauss

Silence is only frightening
to people who are
compulsively verbalizing.
– William S. Burroughs

Social fabric is created one room at a time, the one we are in at the moment.
– Peter Block

You cannot buy the revolution.
You cannot make the revolution.
You can only be the revolution.
It is in your spirit or it is nowhere.
– Ursula le Guin

How Do I Know When a Poem Is Finished?
by Naomi Shihab Nye

When you quietly close
the door to a room
the room is not finished.

It is resting. Temporarily.
Glad to be without you
for a while.

Now it has time to gather
its balls of gray dust,
to pitch them from corner to corner.

Now it seeps back into itself,
unruffled and proud.
Outlines grow firmer.

When you return,
you might move the stack of books,
freshen the water for the roses.

I think you could keep doing this
forever. But the blue chair looks best
with the red pillow. So you might as well

leave it that way.

a language I thought
forgotten
I forgot I thought
in
speaks lines of
unequal length
sings even the worst disasters
calls for me
for us
how can we
not follow
how heavy
heart & mind
matters not
I care enough
to go on, against
all that is
yet to come
– Pierre Joris

Love wants to possess,
but does not understand what possession means.
If I am not mine, then how can I be yours
or you mine? If I do not possess my own being,
how can I possess someone else’s being?
If I am already different
from the person to whom I am identical,
how can I be identical to someone
from whom I am entirely different?
– Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

We Will Not Save the World

It is commendable that we recognize that the world is not disposable, not just a plaything for our performances of forward movement, and that it stakes its claims to agency and power – qualities we usually reserve for ourselves.

Now we must also acknowledge that we will not save the world.

To attempt to save the world is to render it – strange it seems – eminently disposable. For in the effort, however well-intentioned, we simultaneously position ourselves ‘outside’ of material rhythms of transience that mobilise all things in fluid comings and goings. We perpetuate the myth of complete repair, the very storyline of colonial progress that encourages us to look past foreclosures, past endings, past lingering oppressions, into a promissory future where everything is set right.

Moreover, our previous efforts at trying to save the world are part of what brings us here.

– Bayo Akomolafe

If it stays,
It is love.

If it ends,
It’s a love story.

And if it never begins,

It is a poetry.

– Anonymous

And no one is me. No one is you.
This is solitude.
– Clarice Lispector, Água Viva

Nothing screams “the opposite of road life” like buying A TYPEWRITER.
– Shawna Caspi

EARTHTONES

There are times in a life
When words fail
Like rain to a gutter
Waste away
The crying of clouds

Thunderously exhausted
Gray pillows no comfort
The head too hard to find
Solace
In the repellant crust of
Stone.

– Laurence Overmire

The great ones do not set up offices, charge fees, give lectures, or write books. Wisdom is silent, and the most effective propaganda for truth is the force of personal example. The great ones attract disciples, lesser figures whose mission is to preach and to teach. These are gospelers who, unequal to the highest task, spend their lives in converting others. The great ones are indifferent, in the profoundest sense. They don’t ask you to believe: they electrify you by their behavior. They are the awakeners.
– Henry Miller

WATER OF AE
Don’t wait to walk out along the back-roads
to the boggy fields where the swans are.
You can cross the river at the small bridge
and walk a walk you’ve walked for ten years
every day, even when the rain’s on hard
and the wind’s tearing at you. Don’t wait
thinking you’ve seen it all already –
the flooded fields, the brown river,
the white swans. You can’t see these things
from the bog-eye of the human. Don’t wait.
Stride out with your boots on, or better still,
barefoot, and be inside the wind a while,
be inside the field like a grass halm might,
like a single blade awaiting sunlight.
Don’t wait. Inevitably, it takes time
to unzip your hair, your skin, your face
enough to see swans, their blazing white,
but don’t wait thinking you need better boots
or a waterproof that’ll keep out the rain.
It won’t. Don’t wait. Walk out entirely
as though the mind is a rook’s nest
in a tall, far off Scot’s pine and behold
for the first time, the swans, still there
after ten years of your looking, hunched
in the Scottish weather.
It doesn’t matter how many similes
climb down from the rook’s nest –
none of them fit. Don’t wait.
– E. M. Strang

A writer’s heart, a poet’s heart, an artist’s heart, a musician’s heart is always breaking. It is through that broken window that we see the world.
– Alice Walker

Grief has limits, whereas apprehension has none. For we grieve only for what we know has happened, but we fear all that possibly may happen.
– Pliny the Elder

The Healing Time
Finally on my way to yes
I bump into
all the places
where I said no
to my life
all the untended wounds
the red and purple scars
those hieroglyphs of pain
carved into my skin, my bones,
those coded messages
that send me down
the wrong street
again and again
where I find them
the old wounds
the old misdirections
and I lift them
one by one
close to my heart
and I say holy
holy.
– Pesha Joyce Gertler

I don’t believe in the oppressive, accumulative notion of “Debt.”
How can there be a “ceiling” to something that is artificially created to manipulate and oppress Us?

It’s all hype. Nobody should profit by the sweat of the brows of others. Lincoln did away with that kind of thinking in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates and wrote it into law in the Emancipation Proclamation.
We fought a war to end Slavery, and yet is it is perpetuated and perpetrated by artificially constructed financial institutions on a daily basis.

I believe in the concept of Homeostasis (from Greek: ὅμοιος, “hómoios”, “similar,” and στάσις, stásis, “standing still.”

Homeostasis is the property of a system that regulates its internal environment and tends to maintain a stable, relatively constant condition of properties. It can be either an open or closed system. In simple terms, it is basically a process in which a system’s internal environment is kept stable. Typically used to refer to a living organism, it incorporates multiple dynamic equilibrium adjustments and regulation mechanisms that make the balanced condition of homeostasis possible.

If things are out balance and harmony, it is because they are being artificially manipulated. This is contrary to the order of Nature, and need to be remedied.

Interest rates, debt, finance… these are all artificial houses of cards which are designed to falsely represent the real condition of things, which is Balance and Harmony, in order to extract artificial profit for the few, and oppression for the many, from the labor of others.

In a stable, harmonic society (a real Democracy as opposed to an oligarchic republic) everyone is provided for, and nobody is exploited, oppressed, or starved.

We are being played for profit. It’s time to return to Democracy and a homeostatic society of Balance.

– Nicholas Pierotti

Froglessness

The first fruition of the practice

is the attainment of froglessness.

When a frog is put

on the center of a plate,

she will jump out of the plate

after just a few seconds.

If you put the frog back again

on the center of the plate,

she will again jump out.

You have so many plans.

There is something you want to become.

Therefore you always want to make a leap,

a leap forward.

It is difficult

to keep the frog still

on the center of the plate.

You and I

both have Buddha Nature in us.

This is encouraging,

but you and I

both have Frog Nature in us.

That is why

the first attainment

of the practice –

froglessness is its name.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

I despise the kind of book that tells you
how to make yourself happy!
The first duty of philosophy
is making you understand
what deep shit you are in.
– Slavoj Žižek

The I’s Don’t Have It

I am limited by my language
I am limited by my culture
I am limited by my genes
I am limited

Until I walk outside my Self

See what a small creature “ I “ is

We laugh, all of us, together
A space infinite in its reach
Made glorious
By the resonance of our mirth.

– Laurence Overmire

IN TIMES OF TROUBLE

I saw my sister Beatled
In 1964
Gum-cracking to the toe-tap of
Ed Sullivan’s really big shoe
Teeny-bopping girl, she needed
To believe in something other
Than a bullet through a handsome
President’s head.

A new generation carried
Emotions violently unleashed
Barricades of cops
Unsuspecting mop-tops
Giggle-eyed lads who couldn’t
Believe their luck
Waving from the doors of planes
All smiles
Tragedy waiting out-of-view behind the wing.

In a flash of years
The screams still echo
Boys and girls alive
The music continues
In and out of the shadows of
The way we live
A bittersweet yearning for someone
In hard day’s night
To hold our hand.

– Laurence Overmire

We may be floating on Tao, but there is nothing wrong with steering. If Tao is like a river, it is certainly good to know where the rocks are.
– Deng Ming-Dao, Everyday Tao

Silence is not the absence of something but the presence of everything . . . It is the presence of time, undisturbed. It can be felt within the chest. Silence nurtures our nature, our human nature, and lets us know who we are.
– Gordon Hempton

You would never want to be a girl again
for any reason at all.
Happy old age is coming on bare feet,
bringing with it gentle words,
and ways which grim youth have never known.
You must pause first,
the way one must always pause
before a great endeavor,
if only to take a good breath.
– Mary Ruefle

Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light;
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

– W. B. Yeats

Camas Lilies

“Consider the lilies of the field,”

the blue banks of camas opening
into acres of sky along the road.
Would the longing to lie down
and be washed by that beauty
abate if you knew their usefulness,
how the natives ground their bulbs
for flour, how the settlers’ hogs
uprooted them, grunting in gleeful
oblivion as the flowers fell?

And you — what of your rushed
and useful life? Imagine setting it all down —
papers, plans, appointments, everything —
leaving only a note: “Gone
to the fields to be lovely. Be back
when I’m through with blooming.”

Even now, unneeded and uneaten,
the camas lilies gaze out above the grass
from their tender blue eyes.
Even in sleep your life will shine.
Make no mistake. Of course
your work will always matter.

Yet Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these.

– Lynn Ungar

Be melting snow.
Wash yourself of yourself.
– Rumi

I Am

from high plateaus,
roving wheatfields, wind
that blows from all directions, sometimes all at once.

I am from dirt mixed
with blood, memories
unreachable, unthinkable,
unmistakable human fragility and strength cannoned
into one being.

I am from the smell of oil
caked dirt, acrid cattle shit,
snow so fresh the land devours it in giant gulps
that spew forth mist,
inhaled, leaving
lungs frostbitten,
minds yearning, listing
toward spring thaw.

I am from creek beds
layered with dinosaur bones, fossilized cottonwood seeds,
corn tassels, Cheyenne Indian arrowheads, hope.

I am come come come
to being, a part of this
place that birthed me,
a time when the fibers
of my insides carry cells regenerated
regenerating
by generations
of eating dirt
in all its glorious forms.

I find I am.

– Ronda Miller

My mind moves in more than one place,
In a country half-land,
half-water.
– ROETHKE

People who have well-being of mind, even if the Buddha is not present, will receive Dharma from the midst of the sky, wall, and trees. For those Bodhisattvas whose minds are pure, teachings and instructions will appear just by the wishes in their minds.
– Tulku Thondup

Can you understand? Someone, somewhere, can you understand me a little, love me a little? For all my despair, for all my ideals, for all that – I love life. But it is hard, and I have so much – so very much to learn.
– Sylvia Plath, The Journals of Sylvia Plath

You really can’t understand America unless you understand the Civil War.
– Shelby Foote

Luke 6:38 … The portion you give will determine the portion you receive in return.

Oh God, are there so many of them in our land! Students who can’t be happy until they’ve graduated, servicemen who can’t be happy until they are discharged, single folks who can’t be happy until they’ve found a mate, workers who can’t be happy until they’ve retired, adolescents who aren’t happy until they’re grown, ill people who aren’t happy until they’re well, failures who aren’t happy until they succeed, restless who can’t wait until they get out of town, and in most cases, vice versa, people waiting, waiting for the world to begin.
– Tom Robbins

Buried inside the shadow are the lost pieces of the soul, which shine with the light of a billion suns. By bringing more discernment, mercy, and compassion to our engagement with our spiritual beliefs and practices, we open a portal for the lost ones to return.
– Matt Licata, PhD

SHIKANTAZA

Shikan means “nothing but” or “just,” while ta means “to hit” and za “to sit.” Hence shikantaza is a practice in which the mind is intensely involved in just sitting. In this type of zazen, it is all too easy for the mind, which is not sup­ported by such aids as counting the breath or by a koan, to become distracted. The correct temper of mind therefore becomes doubly important.

Now, in shikan-taza the mind must be unhurried yet at the same time firmly planted or massively composed, like Mount Fuji let us say. But it must also be alert, stretched, like a taut bowstring. So shikan-taza is a heightened state of concentrated awareness wherein one is neither tense nor hurried, and certainly never slack. It is the mind of somebody facing death.

Let us imagine that you are engaged in a duel of swordsmanship of the kind that used to take place in ancient Japan. As you face your opponent you are unceasingly watch­ful, set, ready. Were you to relax your vigilance even momentarily, you would be cut down instantly. A crowd gathers to see the fight. Since you are not blind you see them from the comer of your eye, and since you are not deaf you hear them. But not for an instant is your mind captured by these sense impressions.

This state cannot be maintained for long – in fact, you ought not to do shikan-taza for more than half an hour at a sitting. After thirty minutes get up and walk around in kinhin and then resume your sitting. If you are truly doing shikan-taza, in half an hour you will be sweating, even in winter in an unheated room, because of the heat generated by this intense concentration. When you sit for too long your mind loses its vigor, your body tires, and your efforts are less rewarding than if you had restricted your sitting to thirty-minute periods.

Compared with an unskilled swordsman a master uses his sword effortlessly. But this was not always the case, for there was a time when he had to strain himself to the utmost, owing to his imperfect technique, to preserve his life. It is no different with shikan-taza. In the beginning tension is unavoidable, but with experience this tense zazen ripens into relaxed yet fully attentive sitting. And just as a master swordsman in an emergency unsheathes his sword effortlessly and attacks single-mindedly, just so the shikan-taza adept sits without strain, alert and mindful. But do not for one minute imagine that such sitting can be achieved without long and dedicated practice.

This concludes the talk on shikan-taza.

– Yasutani Roshi, The Three Pillars of Zen

Why are the keys
to our future
in the hands
of those who have
the longest commutes
from their heads
to their hearts?
– Andrea Gibson

El Norte Recuerda:
So many have needlessly died and so many more are permanently changed mentally, emotionally, bodily and we still haven’t changed the way we work, the way we think, the way we fight, the ways we brutally abandon each other. How did you insulate yourself from this huge grief lesson

On days like today, the total restructuring of our society seems a lot less radical than the one we’ve already built.
– Ethan Nichtern

If the poem is an animal, knowledge is not fixed. It grows, evolves, as the writer struggles to hold it.
– Terrance Hayes

Bruce Cockburn:
Big Circumstance comes looming
Like a darkly roaring train
Rushes like a sucking wound
Across a winter plain
Recognizing neither polished shine
Nor spot nor stain
And wherever you are on the compass rose
You’ll never be again

Ethan Nichtern:

Question I get a lot: if people are basically good, why do we cause so much harm?

A: Our society is full of basically good people.

It’s also tethered to confused systems that cause a lot of harm.

It’s the duty of every person with privilege to work to dismantle those systems.

People are ridiculous & pathetic & incapable of intimacy, but one thing I love is walking around at night & looking at all these beautiful colors of light in people’s windows, like right now I see yellow and red and magenta and blue and maybe this offers its own form of intimacy.
– Mattilda B Sycamore

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

We fumed and screamed in our mountain nook, mad drunken Americans in the mighty land…
– Kerouac

When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people.
– Abraham Joshua Heschel

You have to not be scared to go away. Obviously, I think a lot of people are frightened if they go away, if they disappear for a while, everything will crumble, they come back and there’s no place for them.
– Sade

Alina Stefanescu:
It can’t be “an accident” if the system intentionally perpetuates and ensures it.

Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Democracy is always harmful to elite interests. Almost by definition.
– Noam Chomsky

Why do men insist on achieving something ? Would it not be better if they stood still under the sun in calm and silent immobility ? What is there to accomplish ? Why so much effort and ambition ? Man has forgotten the meaning of silence.
– Emil Cioran

The task of poetry teachers is to remind students or fellow poets “that the most beautiful light comes from the most unrepentant flame,” wrote D. A. Powell.

I survive on intimacy and tomorrow.
– Ntozake Shange

El Norte Recuerda:
So many have needlessly died and so many more are permanently changed mentally, emotionally, bodily and we still haven’t changed the way we work, the way we think, the way we fight, the ways we brutally abandon each other. How did you insulate yourself from this huge grief lesson.

paper lanterns…
blue shadows on corn snow
– Angela J. Naccarato

Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.
– Vaclav Havel

born of collective anxiety / dream-
lover / living constellation / man-
ifest id / the bawdy bisexual mid-
baccinal / horsey lout / bad lad /
– Richard Scott, centaur

White violets
have no place
on your hot brow;
how can I bring you
what the spring must bring?
– H.D

Bruce Cockburn:
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
Great big love
Sweeping across the sky

writing at my desk
I look out across the sea . . .
words slip their moorings
– Caroline Gourlay

vacation’s end
my small black notebook
brings home the mountains
– Rohini Gupta

Nobody is going to pour truth into your brain. It’s something you have to find out for yourself.
– Noam Chomsky

Whether you worship Christ, Krishna, Kali or Allah, you actually worship the one Light that is also in you, since It pervades all things.
– Anandamayi Ma

Idil Ahmed:
It all eventually aligns.

should I mother or write
serve art or the state
– Carmen Giménez Smith

Elisa Gabbert:
If my wife was having an affair with Bertrand Russell I would simply write The Waste Land

No one really dies in the myths.
No world is lost in the stories.
Everything is lost in the retelling,
in being wondered at. We grow up
and grow old in our land of grass
and blood moons, birth and goneness.
A place of absolutes. Of returning.
– Linda Gregg

The most effective way to do it, is to do it.
– Amelia Earhart

Nothing is sweeter than love, all those other blessings
Come second to it. I have spat even honey
From my mouth
– Nossis, 325 BC

I can say one thing and it will be heard on ten different levels, depending upon the inner psychological and spiritual maturity of listener.
– Richard Rohr

cyrée jarelle:
the idea that disabled people are supposed to be gracious for whatever we get after a year where we watched y’all condone ableist plague eugenics is absolutely ridiculous

A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak.
– Michael Garrett Marino

Ben Purkert:
writers get mad at lit mags for charging submission fees and lit mags get mad at writers for not paying to subscribe and meanwhile, outside the US, many governments actually support the arts.

When God is a father, he is said to be elsewhere. When God is a mother, she is said to be everywhere.
– Jenny Offill, from Dept. of Speculation

Krishnamurti:
We are labels, whether Hindu or Muslim, German or English, Japanese or Chinese, and that is why tragedy has taken place all over the world. Nationalistic spirit is rampant. Until it ceases, you are going to have war, economic, religious, psychological.

Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it’s from Neptune.
– Noam Chomsky

If you leave who will prove that my cry existed?
– Agha Shahid Ali

This is a lot.
I hope you have places where you don’t have to be stone, wall, soldier, warrior, wooden, palatable.

I hope you have or create spaces where you can unfold, collapse, become undone, breathe.
– Dr. Thema

Becca Laurie:
would like to create a kind of reverse-substack, where people must pay for the right to email me

Joseph Gordon-Levitt:

Not everything you write has to be posted on social media or uploaded somewhere on the internet.

Try writing something just for you.

Something you don’t show anyone.

It can be one of the best feelings.

Just try it sometime.

Do spiritual practice everyday and don’t think about it.
– Robert Adams

There’s a way to do it better — find it.
– Thomas Edison

Addiction is as psychological as malaria. It’s a matter of exposure.
– William S. Burroughs

A snowflake just whipped into my eye like a tiny ninja star and I am undone.
– Leah Callen

We search for everything we believe we don’t have, not knowing that everything we’re looking for is already inside us. We are born with it.
– Miguel Angel Ruiz

The three-pound mass balanced atop our spines is made up of somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 billion neurons, each of which can make upwards of five to ten thousand synaptic connections with other neurons. A memory, at the most fundamental physiological level, is a pattern of connections between those neurons. Every sensation that we remember, every thought that we think, transforms our brains by altering the connections within that vast network. By the time you get to the end of this sentence, your brain will have physically changed.
– Joshua Foer, Moonwalking with Einstein

If They Come in the Night

Long ago on a night of danger and vigil
a friend said, why are you happy?
He explained (we lay together
on a cold hard floor) what prison
meant because he had done
time, and I talked of the death
of friends. Why are you happy
then, he asked, close to
angry.

I said, I like my life. If I
have to give it back, if they
take it from me, let me
not feel I wasted any, let me
not feel I forgot to love anyone
I meant to love, that I forgot
to give what I held in my hands,
that I forgot to do some little
piece of the work that wanted
to come through.

Sun and moonshine, starshine,
the muted light off the waters
of the bay at night, the white
light of the fog stealing in,
the first spears of morning
touching a face
I love. We all lose
everything. We lose
ourselves. We are lost.

Only what we manage to do
lasts, what love sculpts from us;
but what I count, my rubies, my
children, are those moments
wide open when I know clearly
who I am, who you are, what we
do, a marigold, an oakleaf, a meteor,
with all my senses hungry and filled
at once like a pitcher with light.

– Marge Piercy

I think women should run the world–or at least pull many more levers than are made accessible to them. Women will improve the world, because they have given birth to it, and they are the architects of humanity, of kindness, of care. Men can build great things and husband great forces, but creation rests with women.
– Tennessee Williams, Interview with James Grissom

”Not Sure!” – The Standard of the Noble Ones
“There was once a Western monk, a student of mine. Whenever he saw Thai monks and novices disrobing he would say, ”Oh, what a shame! Why do they do that? Why do so many of the Thai monks and novices disrobe?” He was shocked. He would get saddened at the disrobing of the Thai monks and novices, because he had only just come into contact with Buddhism. He was inspired, he was resolute. Going forth as a monk was the only thing to do, he thought he’d never disrobe. Whoever disrobed was a fool. He’d see the Thais taking on the robes at the beginning of the Rains Retreat as monks and novices and then disrobing at the end of it… ”Oh, how sad! I feel so sorry for those Thai monks and novices. How could they do such a thing?”
Well, as time went by some of the Western monks began to disrobe, so he came to see it as something not so important after all. At first, when he had just begun to practice, he was excited about it. He thought that it was a really important thing, to become a monk. He thought it would be easy.
When people are inspired it all seems to be so right and good. There’s nothing there to gauge their feelings by, so they go ahead and decide for themselves. But they don’t really know what practice is. Those who do know will have a thoroughly firm foundation within their hearts – but even so they don’t need to advertise it.
As for myself, when I was first ordained I didn’t actually do much practice, but I had a lot of faith. I don’t know why, maybe it was there from birth. The monks and novices who went forth together with me, come the end of the Rains, all disrobed. I thought to myself, ”Eh? What is it with these people?” However, I didn’t dare say anything to them because I wasn’t yet sure of my own feelings, I was too stirred up. But within me I felt that they were all foolish. ”It’s difficult to go forth, easy to disrobe. These guys don’t have much merit, they think that the way of the world is more useful than the way of Dhamma.” I thought like this but I didn’t say anything, I just watched my own mind.
I’d see the monks who’d gone forth with me disrobing one after the other. Sometimes they’d dress up and come back to the monastery to show off. I’d see them and think they were crazy, but they thought they looked snappy. When you disrobe you have to do this and that… I’d think to myself that that way of thinking was wrong. I wouldn’t say it, though, because I myself was still an uncertain quantity. I still wasn’t sure how long my faith would last.
When my friends had all disrobed I dropped all concern, there was nobody left to concern myself with. I picked up the pātimokkha2 and got stuck into learning that. There was nobody left to distract me and waste my time, so I put my heart into the practice. Still I didn’t say anything because I felt that to practice all one’s life, maybe seventy, eighty or even ninety years, and to keep up a persistent effort, without slackening up or losing one’s resolve, seemed like an extremely difficult thing to do.
Those who went forth would go forth, those who disrobed would disrobe. I’d just watch it all. I didn’t concern myself whether they stayed or went. I’d watch my friends leave, but the feeling I had within me was that these people didn’t see clearly. That Western monk probably thought like that. He’d see people become monks for only one Rains Retreat, and get upset.
Later on he reached a stage we call… bored; bored with the Holy Life. He let go of the practice and eventually disrobed.
”Why are you disrobing? Before, when you saw the Thai monks disrobing you’d say, ‘Oh, what a shame! How sad, how pitiful.’ Now, when you yourself want to disrobe, why don’t you feel sorry now?”
He didn’t answer. He just grinned sheepishly.
When it comes to the training of the mind it isn’t easy to find a good standard if you haven’t yet developed a ”witness” within yourself. In most external matters we can rely on others for feedback, there are standards and precedents. But when it comes to using the Dhamma as a standard… do we have the Dhamma yet? Are we thinking rightly or not? And even if it’s right, do we know how to let go of rightness or are we still clinging to it?
You must contemplate until you reach the point where you let go, this is the important thing… until you reach the point where there isn’t anything left, where there is neither good nor bad. You throw it off. This means you throw out everything. If it’s all gone then there’s no remainder; if there’s some remainder then it’s not all gone.
So in regard to this training of the mind, sometimes we may say it’s easy. It’s easy to say, but it’s hard to do, very hard. It’s hard in that it doesn’t conform to our desires. Sometimes it seems almost as if the angels3 were helping us out. Everything goes right, whatever we think or say seems to be just right. Then we go and attach to that rightness and before long we go wrong and it all turns bad. This is where it’s difficult. We don’t have a standard to gauge things by.
People who have a lot of faith, who are endowed with confidence and belief but are lacking in wisdom, may be very good at samādhi but they may not have much insight. They see only one side of everything, and simply follow that. They don’t reflect. This is blind faith. In Buddhism we call this saddhā-adhimokkha, blind faith. They have faith all right but it’s not born of wisdom. But they don’t see this at the time, they believe they have wisdom, so they don’t see where they are wrong.
Therefore they teach about the five powers (bala): saddhā,viriya, sati, samādhi, paññā. Saddhā is conviction; viriya is diligent effort; sati is recollection; samādhi is fixedness of mind; paññā is all-embracing knowledge. Don’t say that paññā is simply knowledge – paññā is all-embracing, consummate knowledge.
The wise have given these five steps to us so that we can link them, firstly as an object of study, then as a gauge to compare to the state of our practice as it is. For example, saddhā, conviction. Do we have conviction, have we developed it yet? Viriya: do we have diligent effort or not? Is our effort right or is it wrong? We must consider this. Everybody has some sort of effort, but does our effort contain wisdom or not?
Sati is the same. Even a cat has sati. When it sees a mouse, sati is there. The cat’s eyes stare fixedly at the mouse. This is the sati of a cat. Everybody has sati, animals have it, delinquents have it, sages have it.
Samādhi, fixedness of mind – everybody has this as well. A cat has it when its mind is fixed on grabbing the mouse and eating it. It has fixed intent. That sati of the cat’s is sati of a sort; samādhi, fixed intent on what it is doing, is also there. Paññā, knowledge, like that of human beings. It knows as an animal knows, it has enough knowledge to catch mice for food.
These five things are called powers. Have these five powers arisen from right view, sammā-ditthi, or not? Saddhā, viriya, sati, samādhi, paññā – have these arisen from right view? What is right view? What is our standard for gauging right view? We must clearly understand this.
Right view is the understanding that all these things are uncertain. Therefore the Buddha and all the Noble Ones don’t hold fast to them. They hold, but not fast. They don’t let that holding become an identity. The holding which doesn’t lead to becoming is that which isn’t tainted with desire. Without seeking to become this or that there is simply the practice itself. When you hold on to a particular thing is there enjoyment, or is there displeasure? If there is pleasure, do you hold on to that pleasure? If there is dislike, do you hold on to that dislike?
Some views can be used as principles for gauging our practice more accurately. Such as knowing such views as that one is better than others, or equal to others, or more foolish than others, as all wrong views. We may feel these things but we also know them with wisdom, that they simply arise and cease. Seeing that we are better than others is not right; seeing that we are equal to others is not right; seeing that we are inferior to others is not right.
The right view is the one that cuts through all of this. So where do we go to? If we think we are better than others, pride arises. It’s there but we don’t see it. If we think we are equal to others, we fail to show respect and humility at the proper times. If we think we are inferior to others we get depressed, thinking we are inferior, born under a bad sign and so on. We are still clinging to the five khandhas4, it’s all simply becoming and birth.
This is one standard for gauging ourselves by. Another one is: if we encounter a pleasant experience we feel happy, if we encounter a bad experience we are unhappy. Are we able to look at both the things we like and the things we dislike as having equal value? Measure yourself against this standard. In our everyday lives, in the various experiences we encounter, if we hear something which we like, does our mood change? If we encounter an experience which isn’t to our liking, does our mood change? Or is the mind unmoved? Looking right here we have a gauge.
Just know yourself, this is your witness. Don’t make decisions on the strength of your desires. Desires can puff us up into thinking we are something which we’re not. We must be very circumspect.
There are so many angles and aspects to consider, but the right way is not to follow your desires, but the Truth. We should know both the good and the bad, and when we know them to let go of them. If we don’t let go we are still there, we still ”exist,” we still ”have.” If we still ”are” then there is a remainder, there are becoming and birth in store.
Therefore the Buddha said to judge only yourself, don’t judge others, no matter how good or evil they may be. The Buddha merely points out the way, saying ”The truth is like this.” Now, is our mind like that or not?
For instance, suppose a monk took some things belonging to another monk, then that other monk accused him, ”You stole my things.” ”I didn’t steal them, I only took them.” So we ask a third monk to adjudicate. How should he decide? He would have to ask the offending monk to appear before the convened Sangha. ”Yes, I took it, but I didn’t steal it.” Or in regard to other rules, such as pārājika or sanghādisesa offenses: ”Yes, I did it, but I didn’t have intention.” How can you believe that? It’s tricky. If you can’t believe it, all you can do is leave the onus with the doer, it rests on him.
But you should know that we can’t hide the things that arise in our minds. You can’t cover them up, either the wrongs or the good actions. Whether actions are good or evil, you can’t dismiss them simply by ignoring them, because these things tend to reveal themselves. They conceal themselves, they reveal themselves, they exist in and of themselves. They are all automatic. This is how things work.
Don’t try to guess at or speculate about these things. As long as there is still avijjā (unknowing) they are not finished with. The Chief Privy Councilor once asked me, ”Luang Por, is the mind of an anāgāmī5 pure yet?”
”It’s partly pure.”
”Eh? An anāgāmī has given up sensual desire, how is his mind not yet pure?”
”He may have let go of sensual desire, but there is still something remaining, isn’t there? There is still avijjā. If there is still something left then there is still something left. It’s like the bhikkhus’ alms bowls. There are ‘a large-sized large bowl, a medium-sized large bowl, a small-sized large bowl; then a large-sized medium bowl, a medium-sized medium bowl, a small-sized medium bowl; then there are a large-sized small bowl, a medium-sized small bowl and a small-sized small bowl’…. No matter how small it is there is still a bowl there, right? That’s how it is with this… sotāpanna, sakadāgāmī, anāgāmī… they have all given up certain defilements, but only to their respective levels. Whatever still remains, those Noble Ones don’t see. If they could they would all be arahants. They still can’t see all. Avijjā is that which doesn’t see. If the mind of the anāgāmī was completely straightened out he wouldn’t be an anāgāmī, he would be fully accomplished. But there is still something remaining.”
”Is his mind purified?”
”Well, it is somewhat, but not 100%.”
How else could I answer? He said that later on he would come and question me about it further. He can look into it, the standard is there.
Don’t be careless. Be alert. The Lord Buddha exhorted us to be alert. In regards to this training of the heart, I’ve had my moments of temptation too, you know. I’ve often been tempted to try many things but they’ve always seemed like they’re going astray of the path. It’s really just a sort of swaggering in one’s mind, a sort of conceit. Ditthi, views, and māna, pride, are there. It’s hard enough just to be aware of these two things.
There was once a man who wanted to become a monk here. He carried in his robes, determined to become a monk in memory of his late mother. He came into the monastery, laid down his robes, and without so much as paying respects to the monks, started walking meditation right in front of the main hall… back and forth, back and forth, like he was really going to show his stuff.
I thought, ”Oh, so there are people around like this, too!” This is called saddhā adhimokkha – blind faith. He must have determined to get enlightened before sundown or something, he thought it would be so easy. He didn’t look at anybody else, just put his head down and walked as if his life depended on it. I just let him carry on, but I thought, ”Oh, man, you think it’s that easy or something?” In the end I don’t know how long he stayed, I don’t even think he ordained.
As soon as the mind thinks of something we send it out, send it out every time. We don’t realize that it’s simply the habitual proliferation of the mind. It disguises itself as wisdom and waffles off into minute detail. This mental proliferation seems very clever, if we didn’t know we would mistake it for wisdom. But when it comes to the crunch it’s not the real thing. When suffering arises where is that so-called wisdom then? Is it of any use? It’s only proliferation after all.
So stay with the Buddha. As I’ve said before many times, in our practice we must turn inwards and find the Buddha. Where is the Buddha? The Buddha is still alive to this very day, go in and find him. Where is he? At aniccam, go in and find him there, go and bow to him: aniccam, uncertainty. You can stop right there for starters.
If the mind tries to tell you, ”I’m a sotāpanna now,” go and bow to the sotāpanna. He’ll tell you himself, ”It’s all uncertain.” If you meet a sakadāgāmī go and pay respects to him. When he sees you he’ll simply say, ”Not a sure thing!” If there is an anāgāmī go and bow to him. He’ll tell you only one thing… ”Uncertain.” If you meet even an arahant, go and bow to him, he’ll tell you even more firmly, ”It’s all even more uncertain!” You’ll hear the words of the Noble Ones… ”Everything is uncertain, don’t cling to anything.”
Don’t just look at the Buddha like a simpleton. Don’t cling to things, holding fast to them without letting go. Look at things as functions of the apparent and then send them on to transcendence. That’s how you must be. There must be appearance and there must be transcendence.
So I say, ”Go to the Buddha.” Where is the Buddha? The Buddha is the Dhamma. All the teachings in this world can be contained in this one teaching: aniccam. Think about it. I’ve searched for over forty years as a monk and this is all I could find. That and patient endurance. This is how to approach the Buddha’s teaching… aniccam: it’s all uncertain.
No matter how sure the mind wants to be, just tell it, ”Not sure!” Whenever the mind wants to grab on to something as a sure thing, just say, ”It’s not sure, it’s transient.” Just ram it down with this. Using the Dhamma of the Buddha it all comes down to this. It’s not that it’s merely a momentary phenomenon. Whether standing, walking, sitting or lying down, you see everything in that way. Whether liking arises or dislike arises you see it all in the same way. This is getting close to the Buddha, close to the Dhamma.
Now I feel that this is a more valuable way to practice. All my practice from the early days up to the present time has been like this. I didn’t actually rely on the scriptures, but then I didn’t disregard them either. I didn’t rely on a teacher but then I didn’t exactly ”go it alone.” My practice was all ”neither this nor that.”
Frankly it’s a matter of ”finishing off,” that is, practicing to the finish by taking up the practice and then seeing it to completion, seeing the apparent and also the transcendent.
I’ve already spoken of this, but some of you may be interested to hear it again: if you practice consistently and consider things thoroughly, you will eventually reach this point… At first you hurry to go forward, hurry to come back, and hurry to stop. You continue to practice like this until you reach the point where it seems that going forward is not it, coming back is not it, and stopping is not it either! It’s finished. This is the finish. Don’t expect anything more than this, it finishes right here. Khīnāsavo – one who is completed. He doesn’t go forward, doesn’t retreat and doesn’t stop. There’s no stopping, no going forward and no coming back. It’s finished. Consider this, realize it clearly in your own mind. Right there you will find that there is really nothing at all.
Whether this is old or new to you depends on you, on your wisdom and discernment. One who has no wisdom or discernment won’t be able to figure it out. Just take a look at trees, like mango or jackfruit trees. If they grow up in a clump, one tree may get bigger first and then the others will bend away, growing outwards from that bigger one. Why does this happen? Who tells them to do that? This is nature. Nature contains both the good and the bad, the right and the wrong. It can either incline to the right or incline to the wrong. If we plant any kind of trees at all close together, the trees which mature later will branch away from the bigger tree. How does this happen? Who determines it thus? This is nature, or Dhamma.
Likewise, tanhā, desire, leads us to suffering. Now, if we contemplate it, it will lead us out of desire, we will outgrow tanhā. By investigating tanhā we will shake it up, making it gradually lighter and lighter until it’s all gone. The same as the trees: does anybody order them to grow the way they do? They can’t talk or move around and yet they know how to grow away from obstacles. Wherever it’s cramped and crowded and growing will be difficult, they bend outwards.
Right here is Dhamma, we don’t have to look at a whole lot. One who is astute will see the Dhamma in this. Trees by nature don’t know anything, they act on natural laws, yet they do know enough to grow away from danger, to incline towards a suitable place.
Reflective people are like this. We go forth into the homeless life because we want to transcend suffering. What is it that makes us suffer? If we follow the trail inwards we will find out. That which we like and that which we don’t like are suffering. If they are suffering then don’t go so close to them. Do you want to fall in love with conditions or hate them?… they’re all uncertain. When we incline towards the Buddha all this comes to an end. Don’t forget this. And patient endurance. Just these two are enough. If you have this sort of understanding this is very good.
Actually in my own practice I didn’t have a teacher to give as much teachings as all of you get from me. I didn’t have many teachers. I ordained in an ordinary village temple and lived in village temples for quite a few years. In my mind I conceived the desire to practice, I wanted to be proficient, I wanted to train. There wasn’t anybody giving any teaching in those monasteries but the inspiration to practice arose. I traveled and I looked around. I had ears so I listened, I had eyes so I looked. Whatever I heard people say, I’d tell myself, ”Not sure.” Whatever I saw, I told myself, ”Not sure,” or when the tongue contacted sweet, sour, salty, pleasant or unpleasant flavors, or feelings of comfort or pain arose in the body, I’d tell myself, ”This is not a sure thing!” And so I lived with Dhamma.
In truth it’s all uncertain, but our desires want things to be certain. What can we do? We must be patient. The most important thing is khanti, patient endurance. Don’t throw out the Buddha, what I call ”uncertainty” – don’t throw that away.
Sometimes I’d go to see old religious sites with ancient monastic buildings, designed by architects, built by craftsmen. In some places they would be cracked. Maybe one of my friends would remark, ”Such a shame, isn’t it? It’s cracked.” I’d answer, ”If that weren’t the case then there’d be no such thing as the Buddha, there’d be no Dhamma. It’s cracked like this because it’s perfectly in line with the Buddha’s teaching.” Really down inside I was also sad to see those buildings cracked but I’d throw off my sentimentality and try to say something which would be of use to my friends, and to myself. Even though I also felt that it was a pity, still I tended towards the Dhamma.
”If it wasn’t cracked like that there wouldn’t be any Buddha!”
I’d say it really heavy for the benefit of my friends… or perhaps they weren’t listening, but still I was listening.
This is a way of considering things which is very, very useful. For instance, say someone were to rush in and say, ”Luang Por! Do you know what so and so just said about you?” or, ”He said such and such about you…” Maybe you even start to rage. As soon as you hear words of criticism you start getting these moods every step of the way. As soon as we hear words like this we may start getting ready to retaliate, but on looking into the truth of the matter we may find that… no, they had said something else after all.
And so it’s another case of ”uncertainty.” So why should we rush in and believe things? Why should we put our trust so much in what others say? Whatever we hear we should take note, be patient, look into the matter carefully… stay straight.
It’s not that whatever pops into our heads we write it all down as some sort of truth. Any speech which ignores uncertainty is not the speech of a sage. Remember this. As for being wise, we are no longer practicing. Whatever we see or hear, be it pleasant or sorrowful, just say ”This is not sure!” Say it heavy to yourself, hold it all down with this. Don’t build those things up into major issues, just keep them all down to this one. This point is the important one. This is the point where defilements die. Practicers shouldn’t dismiss it.
If you disregard this point you can expect only suffering, expect only mistakes. If you don’t make this a foundation for your practice you are going to go wrong… but then you will come right again later on, because this principle is a really good one.
Actually the real Dhamma, the gist of what I have been saying today, isn’t so mysterious. Whatever you experience is simply form, simply feeling, simply perception, simply volition, and simply consciousness. There are only these basic qualities, where is there any certainty within them?
If we come to understand the true nature of things like this, lust, infatuation and attachment fade away. Why do they fade away? Because we understand, we know. We shift from ignorance to understanding. Understanding is born from ignorance, knowing is born from unknowing, purity is born from defilement. It works like this.
Not discarding aniccam, the Buddha – this is what it means to say that the Buddha is still alive. To say that the Buddha has passed into Nibbāna is not necessarily true. In a more profound sense the Buddha is still alive. It’s much like how we define the word ”bhikkhu”. If we define it as ”one who asks6”, the meaning is very broad. We can define it this way, but to use this definition too much is not so good – we don’t know when to stop asking! If we were to define this word in a more profound way we would say: ”Bhikkhu – one who sees the danger of samsāra.”
Isn’t this more profound? It doesn’t go in the same direction as the previous definition, it runs much deeper. The practice of Dhamma is like this. If you don’t fully understand it, it becomes something else again. It becomes priceless, it becomes a source of peace.
When we have sati we are close to the Dhamma. If we have sati we will see aniccam, the transience of all things. We will see the Buddha and transcend the suffering of samsāra, if not now then sometime in the future.
If we throw away the attribute of the Noble Ones, the Buddha or the Dhamma, our practice will become barren and fruitless. We must maintain our practice constantly, whether we are working or sitting or simply lying down. When the eye sees form, the ear hears sound, the nose smells an odor, the tongue tastes a flavor or the body experiences sensation… in all things, don’t throw away the Buddha, don’t stray from the Buddha.
This is to be one who has come close to the Buddha, who reveres the Buddha constantly. We have ceremonies for revering the Buddha, such as chanting in the morning Araham Sammā Sambuddho Bhagavā… This is one way of revering the Buddha but it’s not revering the Buddha in such a profound way as I’ve described here. It’s the same as with that word ”bhikkhu.” If we define it as ”one who asks” then they keep on asking… because it’s defined like that. To define it in the best way we should say ”Bhikkhu – one who sees the danger of samsāra.”
Now revering the Buddha is the same. Revering the Buddha by merely reciting Pāli phrases as a ceremony in the mornings and evenings is comparable to defining the word ”bhikkhu” as ”one who asks.” If we incline towards annicam, dukkham and anattā7 whenever the eye sees form, the ear hears sound, the nose smells an odor, the tongue tastes a flavor, the body experiences sensation or the mind cognizes mental impressions, at all times, this is comparable to defining the word ”bhikkhu” as ”one who sees the danger of samsāra.” It’s so much more profound, cuts through so many things. If we understand this teaching we will grow in wisdom and understanding.
This is called patipadā. Develop this attitude in the practice and you will be on the right path. If you think and reflect in this way, even though you may be far from your teacher you will still be close to him. If you live close to the teacher physically but your mind has not yet met him you will spend your time either looking for his faults or adulating him. If he does something which suits you, you say he’s no good – and that’s as far as your practice goes. You won’t achieve anything by wasting your time looking at someone else. But if you understand this teaching you can become a Noble One in the present moment.
That’s why this year8 I’ve distanced myself from my disciples, both old and new, and not given much teaching: so that you can all look into things for yourselves as much as possible. For the newer monks I’ve already laid down the schedule and rules of the monastery, such as: ”Don’t talk too much.” Don’t transgress the existing standards, the path to realization, fruition and Nibbāna. Anyone who transgresses these standards is not a real practicer, not one who has a pure intention to practice. What can such a person ever hope to see? Even if he slept near me every day he wouldn’t see me. Even if he slept near the Buddha he wouldn’t see the Buddha, if he didn’t practice.
So knowing the Dhamma or seeing the Dhamma depends on practice. Have confidence, purify your own heart. If all the monks in this monastery put awareness into their respective minds we wouldn’t have to reprimand or praise anybody. We wouldn’t have to be suspicious of or favor anybody. If anger or dislike arise just leave them at the mind, but see them clearly!
Keep on looking at those things. As long as there is still something there it means we still have to dig and grind away right there. Some say, ”I can’t cut it, I can’t do it” – if we start saying things like this there will only be a bunch of punks here, because nobody cuts at their own defilements.
You must try. If you can’t yet cut it, dig in deeper. Dig at the defilements, uproot them. Dig them out even if they seem hard and fast. The Dhamma is not something to be reached by following your desires. Your mind may be one way, the truth another. You must watch up front and keep a lookout behind as well. That’s why I say, ”It’s all uncertain, all transient.”
This truth of uncertainty, this short and simple truth, at the same time so profound and faultless, people tend to ignore. They tend to see things differently. Don’t cling to goodness, don’t cling to badness. These are attributes of the world. We are practicing to be free of the world, so bring these things to an end. The Buddha taught to lay them down, to give them up, because they only cause suffering.
– Ajahn Chah Subaddho, Forest Recollections: Wandering Monks in Twentieth-Century Thailand by Tiyavanich Kamala

May we raise children
who love the unloved
things – the dandelion, the
worms & spiderlings.
Children who sense
the rose needs the thorn
& run into rainswept days
the same way they
turn towards sun…
And when they’re grown &
someone has to speak for those
who have no voice
may they draw upon that
wilder bond, those days of
tending tender things
and be the ones.
– Nicolette Sowder

But let me leave my cry stretched out behind me like a road, on which I have followed you.
– Merwin

Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty.
– David Hume

The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.
– C. McCandless

. . . and probably thinking not to grow up
Is the brightest kind of maturity for us, right now at any rate.
– Ashbery,, Soonest Mended

Associate with the noblest people you can find;
read the best books; live with the mighty;
but learn to be happy alone.
– Saul Bellow, Ravelstein

A man can be himself
only so long as he is alone;
and if he does not love solitude,
he will not love freedom;
for it is only when he is alone
that he is really free.
– Arthur Schopenhauer

If (the Lord) likes you,
He’ll give you everything;
if He loves you
He’ll take everything away.
– Srimad Bhagavatam

In the old times, the knowledge of biology was perhaps similar to what could be made out in a very large, very dark house. Many objects could be more felt than seen with equal dimness, once the eyes got used to the darkness; and scientists were conscious of the limiting conditions under which they worked. In our time, however, a few very powerful and very narrow beams of light have been thrown into a few corners of this dark house, and several things can be seen in clarity and illumination that almost distort their significance. But at the same time we have lost our dark-adaptation; and since we all have a tendency to follow the light, we have moved into these cozy corners, to the detriment of the rest, which still is, by far, the major part of nature. In pointing this out one runs the risk of being accused of trying to spread the darkness.
– Erwin Chargaff

To perceive consists in condensing enormous periods of an infinitely diluted existence into a few more differentiated moments of a more intense life… To perceive means to immobilize.
– Henri Bergson

You are not a documentary film. You are a painting. No events are happening here so don’t expect anything. Inside the painting there is another painting and a faint ray of light passes through that frame to fall on a solitary book whose letters are tiny and wide open as your lungs. The same ray lights the knitting needle inserted by a woman into a skein of wool. A spider’s thread shines on a potted cactus; there’s no escaping fragility. There must be a breeze for you to see such tenderness […].

Very slowly the painting moves from screen to screen. The changes are slight. […] Had you slowed down you would have seen all of this. Don’t rush things. Don’t be the one on whom slowness is forced, don’t be the convalescent or the old man. Slow down exactly when you might be hurrying off. Put on your clothes without haste. Do everything in slowness. Perhaps you will find some sort of solution or hope.
– Golan Haji

Coyote
by Harry Fonseca

Some say that Coyote first appeared on a raft
That Coyote created the world
That Coyote is very old the first one
That Coyote put the stars in the universe
That Coyote fucked up the planets
That Coyote is the giver and taker of life
That Coyote stole fire for the people
That Coyote can change the seasons.

II
Some say that Coyote dances in a feather cape trimmed with flicker quills
That Coyote plays a flute and is the best dancer around
That Coyote has more clamshell and magnesite beads than you can imagine
That Coyote can make redbud burst into bloom by staring at it
That Coyote wanted to be a falling leaf and tried it
That Coyote was looking for figs and followed a male
That Coyote is a poet
That Coyote is a fool

III
Some say that Coyote is on the streets and in the alleys
That Coyote lives in L.A. and San Francisco and eats out of garbage cans
That Coyote talks to his asshole and usually takes its advice
That Coyote howls at the moon because it never stays the same
That Coyote doesn’t like change
That Coyote is change

IV
Some say that Coyote wears a black leather jacket and hightop tennis shoes
That Coyote thinks that Rose is a good singer
That Coyote eats frybread peanut butter and jelly
That Coyote will use you if you don’t watch out
That Coyote will teach you if you let him
That Coyote is very young the new one
That Coyote is a survivor

Some say Coyote is a myth
Some say Coyote is real

I say Coyote is
I say Coyote
I say Coyote

The Dragon and the Coyote
by Jose Hernandez Diaz

A man looked into a mirror, but he didn’t recognize himself. Instead, he saw a dragon and a coyote engaged in a game of chess. The dragon moved first: middle pawn, two spaces. Then the coyote parroted the move. They stared into each other’s eyes. Neither budged.

After three hours, they called it a draw. The dragon flapped its scarlet wings, and flew toward a nearby mountain. The coyote howled a lullaby. When the man eventually stopped looking into the mirror, he realized he was the dragon. And he was the coyote. It’s always been that way.

Be part of the evolutionary effort that keeps us all moving toward the light. Be conscious of what you think, say and do. Have the courage to learn, to grow and to understand. Be a force for good and be an example for others.
– Laurence Overmire

Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mediocre educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you’ve got any guts. Some of you like Pep rallies and plastic robots who tell you what to read.
– Frank Zappa

Proust says memory is of two kinds.
There is the daily struggle to recall
where we put our reading glasses

and there is a deeper gust of longing
that comes up from the bottom
of the heart

involuntarily.
At sudden times.
For surprise reasons.
– Anne Carson

Don’t seek the masculine God
he’ll be in his man cave
hiding away somewhere
unwilling to feel
and demanding every condition.
He’ll want you to clean the house
and present your perfect, tidied-up self first—
and he still won’t respond to this!
He’ll want you to beg and implore
for a crumb of his weak attention
but then he’ll see you as needy
and pull aware farther. So don’t do that either.
He’ll insist you put on every act
keep up appearances
wear white
show you off as his pure, obedient little servant
to make him look good.
And when your mask comes off
and you rage and bear your fury
at the confines of your spirit
in the corset of this man-god trap
and your truth is too big for him,
he will not be able to bear your feelings.
Let me ask,
is this the kind of arrangement we want?!
Aren’t we ready for a Big Hipped God
a Dancing God
a Feeling God
a God that Respects Hunger
a God that Nourishes
a Welcoming God
a God of Home
a Responsive God
a God Accepting of The Wild Mess
a Laughter and Tears God
a Natural God
a Darkness with the Light God
a Strong God
a God who desires you too?
Time to topple the man God.
this universe is ready
for a Lady Ruler.
– Chelan Harkin

Be a little kinder than you have to.
– E. Lockhart

All sorts of things in this world behave like mirrors.
– Jacques Lacan

And melancholy, I came out on the balcony,
came out to change my thoughts at least by looking at
a little of the city that I loved,
a little movement on the street and in the shops.
– C.P. Cavafy

i am—and always was—of the opinion that political mass movements of our time are psychic epidemics, in other words, mass psychoses. They are, as their inhuman concomitants show, abnormal mental phenomena, and I refuse to regard such things as normal.
– C.G. Jung

The temperament to which Art appeals […] is the temperament of receptivity. That is all.

If a man approaches a work of art with any desire to exercise authority over it and the artist, he approaches it in such a spirit that he cannot receive any artistic impression from it at all. The work of art is to dominate the spectator: the spectator is not to dominate the work of art. The spectator is to be receptive. He is to be the violin on which the master is to play. And the more completely he can suppress his own silly views, his own foolish prejudices, his own absurd ideas of what Art should be, or should not be, the more likely he is to understand and appreciate the work of art in question. […] A temperament capable of receiving, through an imaginative medium, and under imaginative conditions, new and beautiful impressions, is the only temperament that can appreciate a work of art. […]

What is true about Art is true about Life.

– Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism

Knowledge sets us free, art sets us free. A great library is freedom.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

the soul is a night-shining cloud. the future is a spider on acid. the ocean is enlightened mind.
– Drew Dellinger

Nothing is ever so good that it can’t stand a little revision, and nothing is ever so impossible and broken down that a try at fixing it is out of the question.
– Rebecca Solnit

To be an artist or a writer is to be this weird thing — a hand worker in an era of mass production.
– Susan Sontag

Llorona
All the public places I’ve cried:
airports, beaches, parking lots—

so many—waiting rooms,
parks, train platforms,

benches. Whose loss
is shed? The bluish distillate

in Rilke’s saucerless cup
was watered down with tears

to be more bearable.
In this morning’s coffee

tears dissolved like comets
into darkness. If I need a good cry

I watch that astronaut singing
“Major Tom,” playing his guitar.

Astronaut tears are Jell-O.
Even this physics makes my heart

confetti. You’re too emotional,
you said, as my eyes irrigated

the flower beds. In India, Colombia,
Chile, Japan, and the Philippines,

you can still hire a professional
mourner. Crying in public

ought to be easier. Designated
trees or hilltops might help.

Or an hour of tears,
when we can howl in unison

and then return to our
diluteness. I mean dailiness.

Crying is inevitable
when headlines read

like requiems. When
Cihuacoatl prophesied

the conquest of Mexico
all she could do was cry.

– Gloria Muńoz

… the promise of a truly regenerative, collaborative, just, peaceful and equitable human civilization that flourishes and thrives in its diverse cultural and artistic expressions while restoring ecosystems and regenerating resilience locally and globally …
– Daniel Christian Wahl

THE WAKE OF A DREAM

I watched as the dream fell to earth
Shot down by fate
It fluttered in the breeze
As if to catch one last gust of breath
To carry it homeward
But it was not to be.

It landed in a field of barren hopes
Quite inconspicuously
Stirring the wasted years for a brief moment
Before settling into the dust of oblivion.

I toss the flowers where the tears have dried
Trying to forget and trying to remember
But time is not kind to the tombstone of regret

The memories etched with such dramatic blade
Fade like an epitaph too long exposed
Till all sense and feeling is blurred

An incomprehensible wash of wind and rain.

– Laurence Overmire

Christopher Hitchens:
The gods that we’ve made are exactly the gods you’d expect to be made by a species that’s about half a chromosome away from being chimpanzee.

There is much to celebrate and much to lament.
The alchemy works! Too long I have used
Detachment as a shield against enchantment. No more!
– J. K. McDowell

Your imagination is your preview to life’s coming attractions.
– Einstein

Don’t act grudgingly, selfishly, without due diligence, or to be a contrarian. Don’t overdress your thought in fine language. Don’t be a person of too many words and too many deeds…. Be cheerful, not wanting outside help or the relief others might bring. A person needs to stand on their own, not be propped up.
– Marcus Aurelius

So many gods, so many creeds, so many paths that wind and wind, while just the art of being kind is all the sad world needs.
– Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I find I cannot read Scholem, but I can live in Buber.
– Nicholas Pierotti

If your Nerve, deny you —
Go above your Nerve
– Emily Dickinson

I’m all over my poems, even if their relation to my everyday life is that of dream to reality.
– Matthea Harvey

The self is a patchwork of the felt and the unfelt, of presences and absences, of navigable channels around the walled-off numbnesses. Perhaps it’s impossible for anyone short of an enlightened being to carry the weight of all suffering, even to recognize and embrace it, but we make ourselves large or small, here or there, in our empathies. I met a Thai Buddhist saint once who for twenty years took on tiny tokens and charms people gave him so that he would carry their suffering. Eventually he wore a cloak of a couple hundred pounds of clanking, chiming griefs at all times, and then it became too heavy or he’d carried it far enough, and he put it down.
– Rebecca Solnit

After Spending the Morning Baking Bread

Our cat lies across the stove’s front burners,
right leg hanging over the oven door. He
is looking into the pantry where his bowl
sits full on the counter. His smaller dish,
the one for his splash of cream, sits empty.
Say yes to wanting to be this cat. Say
yes to wanting to lie across the left-over
warmth, letting it rise into your soft belly,
spreading into every twitch of whisker, twist
of fur and cell, through the mobius strip
of your bloodstream. You won’t know
you will die. You won’t know the mice
do not exist for you. If a lap is empty and
warm, you will land on it, feel an unsteady
hand along your back, fingers scratching
behind your ear. You will purr.

– Jack Ridl

And if I inhabit the house, it also inhabits me. […] From where I sit at my desk I look through the front hall, […] and through the warm colors of an Oriental rug on the floor of the cosy room, to the long window at the end that frames distant trees and sky. […] The sequence pleases the eye and draws it out in a kind of geometric progression to open space. Indeed, it is just the way rooms open into each other that is one of the charms of the house, a seduction that can only be felt when one is alone here. People often imagine that I must be lonely. How can I explain? I want to say ‘Oh no! You see, the house is with me.’ »
– May Sarton, With Solitude For My Domain, Plant Dreaming Deep

Silhouette
by Janice Lobo Sapigao

After Robert Minervini’s “Improvised Garden II (Water Street)”

more and more of my friends
are becoming parents or partners
to plants

i have lived long and short enough
to remember the homegirls who
danced non-stop until three a.m.
the moon a parabola to our party
i’ve grown up enough
to see them sing their favorite slow songs
to herbs and succulents on their windowsills
in homes they sowed from dreams

the same sister who once dug a heel into
a man’s oblique now steals thyme with me
off of suburban bushes after brunch
in my neighborhood

when a friend locked herself out—
the same person who loses wallets &
laptop chargers & saves my broken earrings
with a hot-glue gun in her backpack—
this pinay macguyver
has me breaking into her house at night
where we be tiptoeing over her
forest of planted avocado jars
into her dark room to find warmth

the one whose living room and bedroom
once resembled a flea market
or a super fly thrift store
and sometimes ikea—
the one who let me stay
she pays full price for potters &
vases—pronounced with the short
& therefore expensive ‘a’ sound

one womxn named her garden
“grown and sexy”
bringing new meaning
to the phrase garden hoe.

another who tops burritos with
white sauce dots like queen anne’s lace
also commits the crime of eating
one half at a time, you know, meal planning
with a sweet tooth, she drinks all of her horchata
& knows how
my family loves orchids &
she brings me them for my birthday
or any other tuesday
just because.

my mentee once congratulated me with
mint & basil & lavender & rosemary—
sweet aromas gifted when i
was leaving a job that left me to rot
for another that was not an office
with no windows, no green

the women in my life reroot
over oceans & provinces & planes to cultivate
a geography of trunks & limbs
reminding me that to decompose
is the chance to live again

my mother’s rose bushes open wide this spring
in her backyard without her
my mother’s body is buried in a plot
of other bodies without mine
isn’t a cemetery a garden
of all we’ve loved?

and isn’t a garden full
of already dead things?
those who bury their beloved
put the gentlest parts
of themselves into soil
my mother is a seed
the first woman i cannot unplant
cannot pull or twist back into my hands
her orchids bloom reaching
how delicately the petals hang off
their stakes like gold, glass bangles on wrists
against disco lights against the ambiance of a food truck menu
like lip gloss how bougainvillea spill onto sidewalks
like how the sun stays lit
during an eclipse

the flowers in my garden grow lively
& loving & hungry from pods & cinderblocks
my friends are florists
they water & cry & bloom & sleep
from loss & clay & unfolded laundry
sometimes we grow tired & tough
sometimes you have to open a cactus to cut
pieces off so we don’t grow stuck

arranging the flowers
in my garden
is a lattice
a life lesson
on how
to grow
up.

The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.
– Clarisa Pinkola Estes

In my dreams of this city I am always lost.
– Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye

The greater point in any genuine conflict is to push the inner nature of those involved towards a greater depth of character and to a greater sense of maturity and psychological awareness that can lead to moments of healing and openness. Psychologically, the idea is not to give all our power to those who would be in charge, but to find ways to exercise our own powers of speaking for justice, speaking for the understanding of humanity as all inclusive, finding ways to activate the nobility that’s natural to each person’s soul, and finding words of healing, and ways of healing, for to heal means to make it whole. And the only way we can get through this collective crisis is to find moments of wholeness, where everyone is included and everyone gets a little healing because as people used to know better, hatred is a failure of imagination, and so is violence, and also, they knew that healing and creation are the only outcomes of conflict that can truly satisfy the soul.
– Michael Meade

Do keep a thesaurus, but in the shed at the back of the garden or behind the fridge, somewhere that demands travel or effort.
– Roddy Doyle

I see nothing to fear in inner space.
– Yeshe Tsogyal

You become what you understand.
– Soren Kierkegaard

What would it mean to trust the God of small particles?
– Margie McCreless Roe

It’s curious
how quick people are
to call something out
if it uses the term “She”
to refer to God
especially if it implies
that anything about the way we’ve
been relating to Him as God
hasn’t been working
as it hasn’t been.

“We need balance!”
they insist.
“God isn’t masculine OR feminine
you’re creating a fallacy
with your binaries!”

I wonder, how often they speak up
like this
when the word “He” is used to describe God
as it most always is
or when His systems play out
in a way that oppresses Her

It’s curious how when the system
of thought that hasn’t been feeding Her
is addressed
many begin to shout
about how BOTH need equal nourishment
neglecting to acknowledge
the ancient neglect.

I wonder
if they stand up in church
with raised fists
to announce the fallacy of binaries
as their pastor again addresses Him,
if the audacity to imply God is a man
rankles them to voice and action
if a system that votes
for imbalance in favor of the masculine
is even noticed?

Welp, until then, I will enjoy
calling out this patriarchal paradigm
until God as a man only
and all the imbalanced trickle down
that that implies
is overruled

I am not afraid to hurt man god’s feelings
frankly, that paradigm could stand
to grow in resilience

And I certainly will savor the holy taste
of the sacred word, “She”
reverberating through my prayers.

– Chelan Harkin

The opposite of cancel culture is intimacy.
– Yogi Shambu⁠

Sometimes, I meet bright people who don’t feel that the tech field is open to them. Over and over, I tell them that’s really not the case. If you have a curious mind, love to learn, like to problem solve, and desire a promising career path, the software industry needs you. No one is born with these skills, they are developed. With commitment and hard work, really just about anyone can do it, but it’s the people who actually do it who will start changing the world.
– Steve Wozniak

To the intelligent man or woman, life appears infinitely mysterious. But the stupid have an answer for every question.
– Edward Abbey

When a nation becomes unmoored from reality, it retreats into a world of magic. Facts are accepted or discarded according to the dictates of a preordained cosmology. The search for truth becomes irrelevant.
– Chris Hedges

BIRDS AGAIN
A secret came a week ago though I already
knew it just beyond the bruised lips of consciousness.
The very alive souls of thirty-five hundred dead birds
are harbored in my body. It’s not uncomfortable.
I’m only temporary habitat for these not-quite-
weightless creatures. I offered a wordless invitation
and now they’re roosting within me, recalling
how I had watched them at night
in fall and spring passing across earth moons,
little clouds of black confetti, chattering and singing
on their way north or south. Now in my dreams
I see from the air the rumpled green and beige,
the watery face of earth as if they’re carrying
me rather than me carrying them. Next winter
I’ll release them near the estuary west of Alvarado
and south of Veracruz. I can see them perching
on undiscovered Olmec heads. We’ll say goodbye
and I’ll return my dreams to earth.
– Jim Harrison

we have to make a choice: between preserving space as a special zone of existential awe, or stripping it of all other kinds of spiritual and philosophical worth in order to claim, mine, settle, and de-nature it.
– Ceridwen Dovey

The truth about clouds is that they haven’t happened.
– Alina Stefanescu

The first language was loss,
the second sorrow,
this is the last, then:
yours . . . /
An island, summer, late dusk;
hills, laurel and thorn.
I walked from the harbor,
over the cliff road, /
down the long trail
through the rocks.
– C. K. Williams

WHAT YOU’VE DONE
by Alexandra Umlas
That night, the clouds roll in,
as if on a whim, just at the moment
you decide to take the dog you rescued
outside to pee—and you’ve discovered
how the dog is scared of the rain,
the wind shattering the stillness
of the trees, how the dog won’t move,
not even an inch, but stands solidly,
his four legs statued to the porch.
So you carry the dog, who is
too big to be a lapdog, but small enough
to awkwardly hold, down to the corner
where the bushes are on which all
the other dogs have peed, the corner
where there’s a fire hydrant, the ultimate
dog-peeing place, and you set him down.
His name is Joey Ramone, because
your husband loves music and you already
had a cat named Beatles, like the band,
not the bug, and you and Joey Ramone
are there, on the corner of Vista del Sol
with the rain pelting you both,
and you say a prayer to the pee-gods
that the dog will find bravery
enough so you can sleep until the morning
without worrying, and you remember
your children when they were very young,
how much they needed at four
in the morning, and you remember
how your grandmother could never
get comfortable at night.
It’s late, an hour that makes the mind
panic about getting up, and the dog is also
panicked because of the rain, the rain,
that’s still shooting into your eyes,
and no amount of his furious shaking
can shake off the falling rain, and so
he runs all the way home, pulling you
behind him through the darkness, past
the masked raccoon hiding in the tree,
and you remember the man
who made the joke about who
was walking who, and you feel
as ridiculous as you look, but as if
that isn’t ridiculous enough,
when you get home you remember
the pee pads you picked up at Petco
because you didn’t know what to get—
and better to be safe than sorry.
You dig through the cupboard
to find one, set it in the garage, pull
the dog there, where it isn’t raining,
and you listen to the resolve of the rain
on the garage roof and pray (again) the dog
will just pee, and you remember something
about ammonia and decide if you spray
Windex, the dog might pee on it,
and you find the bright blue bottle, spritz
a bit on the pad, and as Joey Ramone
walks by the pad (again), you think
about My Big Fat Greek Wedding,
how Windex cures all.
The the dog sniffs curiously and still
nothing, so you think how the dog
usually pees where other dogs pee,
(except when it’s raining) and you have
no other dogs, being a one-dog household,
and you were talked into this dog
by your kids, because you are a cat person,
but your husband says something to you
one day, he says, I don’t want to live
my whole life and not know what it’s like
to have a dog, even though
he is also a cat person, and so you go
to Wags, the shelter in Westminster,
and there is Joey Ramone,
and all of a sudden he is in your car,
and you are buying pee pads
and a fifty-dollar dog bed.
Your husband loves to tell people
that the best thing about getting a dog
is not having to hear your kids ask
for a dog anymore. And it is
for all these reasons that right then
and there you pull down your sweatpants,
still damp from the rain, and you squat
and pee, just a little, just to see
if you can get the dog to go, and still
he doesn’t go, but looks at you like he
can’t believe what you’ve resorted to,
and you both go to bed,
and it’s still raining, and now
every time it rains you are reminded
of what you’ve done.

Blue is a mysterious color, the hue of illness and nobility, the rarest color in nature. It is the color of ambiguous depth, of the heavens and the abyss at once; blue is the color of the shadow side, the tint of the marvelous and the inexplicable, of desire, of knowledge…of melancholy and the unexpected (once in a blue moon, out of the blue).
– Alexander Theroux

That is one good thing about this world, there are always sure to be more springs.
– L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

Last forever!’ Who hasn’t prayed that prayer? You were lucky to get it in the first place. The present is a freely given canvas. That it is constantly being ripped apart and washed downstream goes without saying.
– Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

As this holy day ends, I meditate on “conocimiento” and turn to Anzaldúa’s words…

“The world as we know it “ends.” We experience a radical shift in perception, otra forma de ver. Este choque shifts us to nepantla, a psychological, liminal space between the way things had been and an unknown future. Nepantla is the space in-between, the locus and sign of transition. In nepantla we realize that realities clash, authority figures of the various groups demand contradictory commitments, and we and others have failed living up to idealized goals. We’re caught in remolinos (vortexes), each with different, often contradictory forms of cognition, perspectives, worldviews, belief systems—all occupying the transitional nepantla space. …..
It is this nuevo mundo, this new order, we need to create with the choices we make, the acts we perform, and the futures we dream. Chaotic disruptions, violence, and death catapult us into the Coyolxauhqui state of dissociation and fragmentation that characterizes our times. Our collective shadow—made up of the destructive aspects, psychic wounds, and splits in our own culture—is aroused, and we are forced to confront it. In trying to make sense of what’s happening, some of us come into deep awareness (conocimiento) of political and spiritual situations and the unconscious mechanisms that abet hate, intolerance, and discord. I name this searching, inquiring, and healing consciousness “conocimiento.”
– Norma Elia Cantú

INSPIRIT

The poets
are here to bear witness to
and give strength to
the heart
of humanity.

Listen if you will
and greet the short span
of your single life’s time
with curiosity, candor
and courage.

– Laurence Overmire

The Japanese have been producing wood for 700 years without cutting down trees. In the 14th century, the extraordinary daisugi technique was born in Japan. Indeed, the daisugi provide that these trees will be planted for future generations and not be cut down but pruned as if they were giant bonsai trees; by applying this technique to cedars, the wood that can be obtained is uniform, straight and without knots, practically perfect for construction. A pruning as a rule of art that allows the tree to grow and germinate while using its wood, without ever cutting it down.
Extraordinary technique.
– Mary Conceicao Coelho

What a blessing it would be if we could close and open our ears as easily as our eyes !
– Lichtenberg, Notebook

You were wild once. Don’t let them tame you!
– Isadora Duncan

No One Speaks of How Tendrils Feed on the Fruits
no one speaks of how tendrils feed on the fruits

of my demise these dead hands for instance that alight phlox

wild strawberry and pine this is my body out of context rotting in the wrong hemisphere

I died so all my enemies would tremble at my murmur how it populates their homes

so I could say to the nearest fellow dead person I know more than

all my living foes I’ve derived sun-fed design for once from

closing my oak eyes now they’ll never snare the civilian

pullulating my throat

– Xandria Phillips

He who jumps into the void owes no explanation to those who stand and watch.
– Jean-Luc Godard

It is personal. That’s what an education does. It makes the world personal.
– Cormac McCarthy

My poetry,
more than mystical,
is human.

At times
God passes me a code
to be written down
and passed from heart
to heart
to unlock
beauty in the world

At other times
my poetry licks its fingers
after finishing a bag of potato chips
all by itself
and reclines on the couch
to talk about the importance
of embracing our wholeness–
bags of potato chips, Divine Essence
and all.

At times my poetry is rage
and wants nothing more
than to decapitate light
hungry for spaciousness
and the wider embrace
that only the darkness can offer

At times my poetry is so small
and beseeches anything
that can remind her
of greater connection

And while yes,
on occasion the ideal self
does pop out
to guide, love, inform
and laugh with the rest
rather than transcend it
it knows its only purpose
is to feed the full
authentic self–
it knows its best work
is in loving the journey, the mess
not only in touting the destination,
the completed, the tidy.

My poetry will decline
the dehumanization
of expectation
to stay mystical
it wants to wear no robes
wants to come home
in a cozy way
rather than further exile
into the barren lands of image
and facade
and desires most
to release itself from fragmented
versions of self
on it path toward the full breath
of wholeness

The soul that writes this poetry
would rather relax honestly
into the all of it
than force itself to balance
high up
on a tight wire
of light

My poetry has many faces
she would like all of them
to beam forth,
unveiled.
– Chelan Harkin

You should be angry. You must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. So use that anger. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it.
– Maya Angelou

What Oliver Sacks did was to be the Hubble Space Telescope of neurology. Astronomy of the mind.
– Temple Grandin

Spiritual growth is not made in reaction against, for all striving against imposed restrictions is imaginary. Spiritual growth is accomplished by inclination toward. We grow like the sunflower, following the light.
– Houghton

Cities, like people, can be recognised by their walk.
– Robert Musil

I was willing to take
all the blame, just
to be a part of
someone else’s story.
– Jared Singer

You earned that seat at the table.
– Rosie Rios

When she does not find love,
she may find poetry.
– Simone de Beauvoir

A successful song comes to sing itself inside the listener. It is cellular and seismic, a wave coalescing in the mind and in the flesh. There is a message outside and a message inside, and those messages are the same, like the pat and thud of two heartbeats, one within you, one surrounding. The message of the lullaby is that it’s okay to dim the eyes for a time, to lose sight of yourself as you sleep and as you grow: if you drift, it says, you’ll drift ashore: if you fall, you will fall into place.
– Kevin Brockmeier

What if the way we respond to the crisis is part of the crisis?
– Bayo Akomolafe

Glorious creation, so easy to destroy, yet the palette of possibility somehow prevails.
– Laurence Overmire

Stick to the practice under all circumstances. Let nothing stop you from practicing. And again if you can’t practice sometime or if you get tired of practicing that method become the witness. Become mindful. Watch what your mind is thinking, become aware of what your body is doing. Become aware of the sensations in the body and mind. Then you can ask yourself, “To whom do these come?”
– Robert Adams

Slow Reading

Imaginative literature invites us to read slowly and carefully, stop and re-read passages. I want to know other people who do this.

– Doug Anderson

An exile’s love is never-ending, and we are all exiles.

Hate, too, is a species of love; perhaps our enemies are, after all, merely thwarted lovers.
– Yahia Lababidi

You must empty out the dirty water before you fill the pitcher with clean.
– Idries Shah

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.
– Shams I Tabrizi

“He licked his lips. ‘Well, if you want my opinion-‘
‘I don’t, ‘ She said. ‘I have my own’.”

– Toni Morrison, Beloved

The concept of going more mad in poetry is fairly straightforward advice. Stop being soppy and sane.
– Bianca Stone

When love arises it just embraces whatever it contact with even if that person or object does not at first glance seem loveable. Love is not a gated community. Everyone and every part of ourselves is welcome. “No part left out,” we say in Zen.
– Frank Ostaseski

Jesus Christ is the only sure thing in an inconsistent world.
– Dostoyevsky

God is always bigger than you imagined or expected or even hoped. When you see people going to church and becoming smaller instead of larger, you have every reason to question whether the practices or sermons or sacraments or liturgies are opening them to an authentic God experience.
– Fr. Richard Rohr

People normally cut reality into compartments, and so are unable to see the interdependence of all phenomena. To see one in all and all in one is to break through the great barrier which narrows one’s perception of reality.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

They call you strange but you are rare.
– Siva Akash

The stallion, the bear, the ones who dance and sing, ones who orchestrate symphonies of astounding music, ones who walk the streets with grocery carts and sacks on their backs looking for homes. Hunger opens. How deeply do you want to discover anything other than your own reflection?” Across the earth, colors and sounds of other lands, regardless of language, speak to universal sensitivities that all people share.
– Jesse LoVasco

Nora Bateson:
It could be time to start noticing those customs, contracts, communications, justifications & rationales that stink of the logic of the last system -which failed to advocate for vitality.
I have been remarking lately, (fill in the blank)– No thanks, that is so last system.

WHEN PARENTS GET OLD…
Let them grow old with the same love they let you grow… let them speak and tell repeated stories with the same patience and interest they heard yours as a child… let them overcome, like so many times they let you win…. let them enjoy their friends, the talks with their grandchildren… let them enjoy living among the objects that have accompanied him for a long time, because they suffer feeling that you tear pieces of his life away… let them be wrong, like so many times you have Wrong you… LET THEM LIVE and try to make them happy the last stretch of the path they lack to go, just like they gave you their hand when you started yours!
(“Honor your mother and father and your days shall be long upon the earth”.) God
– Sarah Willyard Cauley

Here’s to the heart warriors
who awkwardly, anxiously, timidly
but courageously
do what they can to open that beating fistful
of God every day
to share its beauty
Here’s to those who never stop
believing this world
can be so much more than it is
that there is a rose
inside of this bud
and to those who never stop using their lives
to water it
Here’s to those who know
humanity has a potential
inside of it
that is more splendid
than a garden of wildflowers
waiting to wake up to themselves
Here’s to those who know
cruelty
comes from believing in illusion
and love is profoundly real
Here’s to those who believe
our pride can be pulverized
into tenderness
if we keep working to be honest
and to those who keep working to make diamonds
from that coal
Here’s to those who can see through
the 9-5, the push and pull of capitalism
the distance we’ve been told
lives between people
all the hard, edgy requirements
overlayed atop
the softeness of our souls
to the sea of oneness that breathes and sings
through it all
and the beauty that pulses like an ocean
through all of these structures
that beckons and coaxes
the potential of our love forward.
Here’s to you and me and all of us
remembering and forgetting
and committing to remember again
to trust our heart’s vision
and brushing off the dust of the world
when we fall down
to rush again
toward bringing forth to the lips of the world
the balm of our precious light.
– Chelan Harkin

The way it is now, the asylums can hold the sane people, but if we tried to shut up the insane we should run out of building materials.
– Mark Twain, Following the Equator

Astonishment
Translated by Diana Decker

Teach me – you say, from your avid twenty-one years
believing still that one can teach something

and I, who passed sixty
look at you with love
that is, with farawayness,
(all love is love of differences
the empty space between two bodies
the empty space between two minds
the horrible presentiment of not dying in twos)

I teach you, gently, some quote from Goethe
(Stay instant! You are so beautiful!)
or from Kafka (once there was, there was once
a mermaid that did not sing)

while the night slowly slides into dawn
through this window
that you love so much
because its nocturnal lights
conceal the true city

and actually we could be in any place
these lights could be those of New York,
Broadway Avenue, those of Berlin, Konstanzerstrasse,
those of Buenos Aires, calle Corrientes
and I withhold from you the only thing that I truly know:
poet is one who feels that life is not natural
that it is astonishment
discovery revelation
that it is not normal to be alive

it is not natural to be twenty-one years of age
nor be more than sixty

it is not normal to have walked at three in the morning
along the old bridge of Córdoba, Spain, under the yellow
light of its streetlamps

-three in the morning-
not in Oliva nor in Seville

natural is the astonishment
natural is the surprise
natural is to live as if just arrived
to the world
the alleys of Córdoba and its arches
to the plazas of Paris
the humidity of Barcelona
the doll museum
in the old wagon standing
on the dead train tracks of Berlin

natural is to die
without having walked hand in hand
through the portals of an unknown city
nor to have felt the perfume of the white jasmines in bloom
at three in the morning
Greenwich meridian

natural is that s/he who has walked hand in hand
through the portals of an unknown city
won’t write about it
would bury it in the casket of forgetfulness

Life blooms everywhere

blood relative
inebriated
exaggerated Bacchante
on nights of turbid passions
but there was a fountain that clucked
languidly
and it was difficult not to feel that life can be beautiful
sometimes
like a pause
like a truce
that death grants to joy.
– Christina Peri Rossi

I Never Wanted to Die
It’s the best part of the day, morning light sliding
down rooftops, treetops, the birds pulling themselves
up out of whatever stupor darkened their wings,
night still in their throats.

I never wanted to die. Even when those I loved
died around me, away from me, beyond me.
My life was never in question, if for no other reason
than I wanted to wake up and see what happened next.

And I continue to want to open like that, like the flowers
who lift their heavy heads as the hills outside the window
flare gold for a moment before they turn
on their sides and bare their creased backs.

Even the cut flowers in a jar of water lift
their soon to be dead heads and open
their eyes, even they want a few more sips,
to dwell here, in paradise, a few days longer.
– Dorianne Laux

Meditate like Christ. He lost himself in love.
– Neem Karoli Baba

This is the only Christianity I know:
At the end of each breath, a death of Jesus.
At the rise of each breath, a resurrection.
What happened 2000 years ago,
what will happen at the last judgment,
doesn’t concern me now.
The sound of a wood thrush
is the end of time.
Because I am awake, the Parousia
is a dogwood blossom,
the coming of Christ again and again.
I am a fallen creature
plummeting into grace.
From what should I be saved?
I was never lost.
The One who bears my soul,
this pang of fire, in her own heart
can never let me go!
– Fred LaMotte

The great thing is to last and get your work done and see and hear and learn and understand; and write when there is something that you know; and not before; and not too damned much after.
– Ernest Hemingway

The financial crisis we are facing today arises from the fact that there is almost no more social, cultural, natural, and spiritual capital left to convert into money.
– Charles Eisenstein

Spring and all its flowers now
joyously break their vow of silence.
It is time for
celebration, not for
lying low;
you, too –
weed out those
roots of sadness
from your heart.
– Hafiz

Cargo

You enter life a ship laden with meaning, purpose and gifts
sent to be delivered to a hungry world.
And as much as the world needs your cargo,
you need to give it away.
Everything depends on this.

But the world forgets its needs,
and you forget your mission,
and the ancestral maps used to guide you
have become faded scrawls on the parchment of dead Pharaohs.
The cargo weighs you heavy the longer it is held
and spoilage becomes a risk.
The ship sputters from port to port and at each you ask:
“Is this the way?”
But the way cannot be found without knowing the cargo,
and the cargo cannot be known without recognizing there is a way,
and it is simply this:
You have gifts.
The world needs your gifts.
You must deliver them.

The world may not know it is starving,
but the hungry know,
and they will find you
when you discover your cargo
and start to give it away.

– Greg Kimura

I have beliefs, of course, like everyone—but I don’t always believe in them.
– Joyce Carol Oates

He wanted his ashes scattered on the Reach, off of our friend’s boat, Free Spirit. He asked me to wait for a perfect sailing day, then scatter them by the green buoy that marked the turn toward home.
– Jean Fogelberg

Sometimes, I think, I need to wear
a turquoise eye; the way parents
used to place a blue stone,
framed in gold, an eye inside, a cross,
pin it to—a child’s dress or shirt
—to keep away the curse—of someone
looking—to bless or burst
– Marian Haddad

Zen has been called the “religion before religion,” which is to say that anyone can practice, including those committed to another faith. And that phrase evokes that natural religion of our early childhood, when heaven and a splendorous earth were one. But soon the child’s clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions and abstractions. Simple free being becomes encrusted with the burdensome armor of the ego. Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. The sun glints through the pines, and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise.
After that day, at the bottom of each breath, there is a hollow place filled with longing. We become seekers without knowing that we seek, and at first, we long for something “greater” than ourselves, something apart and far away. It is not a return to childhood, for childhood is not a truly enlightened state. Yet to seek one’s own true nature is, as one Zen master has said, “a way to lead you to your long-lost home.
– Peter Matthiessen

Talk of mysteries! — Think of our life in nature, — daily to be shown matter, to come in contact with it, — rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks! The solid earth! The actual world! The common sense! Contact! Contact! Who are we? Where are we?
– Henry David Thoreau

god is better-looking than i am.
and he’s not young.
that’s consolation.
– adelia prado

Words make you think thoughts, music makes you feel a feeling, but a song makes you feel a thought.
– Yip Harburg

If I should die think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England.
– Rupert Brooke, The Soldier, 1914

Unhealthy guilt is a form of punishment and self-attack. It can arise when you’ve broken a rule that’s rigid, extreme or not in alignment with what you really value. It can also arise when you’ve broken a rule you do value but, instead of motivating positive change, the guilt becomes excessive and toxic. When we feel unhealthy guilt, we often overestimate how much others are annoyed or hurt by our actions, thereby artificially magnifying our transgressions. This approach to improving our relationships or personal actions doesn’t positively influence behaviour, and is rooted in fear. […]

Healthy guilt creates an invisible forcefield, helping us operate within a band of behaviour that’s aligned with our values. It ensures we’re responsive to the needs of those close to us, and allows us to have warm, positive relationships. This guilt is guiding you to get on track and be the kind of person you want to be in the world. […] It’s a positive force for change and is rooted in love—for yourself and for others.

Does the voice [of guilt] sound calm and loving, while still recognising you’ve made a mistake? If so, this is probably healthy guilt. Or is it angry and critical? [The] voice of unhealthy guilt can go on for hours or days, leading to prolonged periods of procrastination, avoidance or low mood. [It is] heavy like molasses, a burden that makes it hard to take effective, corrective action.

– Aziz Gazipura

Tom Tomson in Space
by Troy Jollimore
Some nights, when Tom retires, he pretty much
implodes: sucked back through nostril or an ear
into the starry void that lies behind
his sleep-blanked visage… Though his body crouch
corpse-still, sunk in suspended animation,
arid as freeze-dried food, his spirit finds
no rest—a cosmonaut, it treks where no man
(and even fewer women) have gone before:
Tom’s Inner Self. Its never-ending mission:
to seek out a new life—one not to bear,
but live… Out of range now of Ground Control,
and hurtling straight through Ursa Major, Tom
accelerates toward the inner wall
—the universe’s limit—of his skull…

If you try to pursue happiness, you will miss it because the search for happiness will cause discontent. Searching is bound to create turbulence within. A turbulent mind is an unhappy mind. Your search for happiness is always in the future, it is never in the present. The future is outside; the present is within. Bliss awaits you within.
– Amma

We are paradoxes. Made of both steel and fragile feathers. Rooted yet with wings. Our imagination both gifts us the world and exiles us from it. We may want both shimmering silver cities and quiet, serene trees. We want this, now. And we want soaring, slippery, taunting dreams. We want them close. We also want to be untied. To be free. It doesn’t matter darling. Accept all of your turns. Your twists. Your shifting hunger. Your changing seas. Despite all of this, you are still flawless. Unshakable. Human after all. A thing of wonder. Relax into yourself. Be. Believe.
– Victoria Erickson

WHY SPEAK UP ABOUT SOCIAL INJUSTICE

Of course we speak to create change – change in policy (legislation), change in institutions (education; law enforcement, banking), change in individuals (bigots, be they conscious or simply blind).

But consider these reasons as well:

1. Speaking up can make a more hospitable place for diverse audiences. It is a true privilege when a diversity of people join in public dialogue, contributing to the depth and breadth of our collective intelligence to matters personal, national and global.

2. Speaking may not impact the person you are challenging, but may nonetheless promote awareness of those who are watching and open to learning.

Personally, I have seen some ‘watchers’ become more brave over time, challenging their own friends, family and community.

3. Sometimes we simply need to hear wisdom, righteousness, and courage pass over our own lips. It can do our heart and personal development well to speak out even if nobody hears us except ourselves.

4. Earth and Spirit also have ears. When our voice trumpets forth, their ears reverberate and are gladdened. When their ears reverberate, it impacts the field we live in – people, flowers, birds, even the mountains are notified.

– David Bedrick

a peaceful drift
into your inner forest.

inner forest
outer forest
being fully-present

in the end,
what else was there?

– Frank LaRue Owen

a month alone behind closed doors
forgotten books, remembered, clear again.
poems come, like water to the pool
welling,
up and out,
from perfect silence.

– yuan mei, tr. j. p. seaton

Normal science extends what we know about things that already exist. Revolutionary science changes the way we understand reality itself.
– Jeff Carreira

I find art easy. I find life difficult.
– Lawrence Durrell

I “stay young” by finding new ways to waste time.
– Elisa Gabbert

Anchor your awareness in gratitude.
– @_SmoothieGod

The rhythms of poems travel instantly into that pre-literate part of the mind… I found people didn’t read the tunes properly on the page. A tune (to me) is a tension – its ending is stretched from its beginning and you can’t cut it without losing that tension.
– Alice Oswald

Compassion simply stated is leaving other people alone.
– Ram Dass

If it doesn’t come from the heart, music just doesn’t work.
– Levon Helms

If there is nothing in common between you and other people, try being close to things, they will not desert you; there are the nights still and the winds that go through the trees and across many lands…with the animals everything is still full of happening.
– Rilke

I was never a big fan of people who don’t leave home. It just seems part of your duty in life.
– Joan Didion

Every abyss is navigable by little paper boats.
– João Guimarães Rosa, Tutaméia

Part of why we must cultivate abolitionist sociology is commentary like “the streets killed them” or “mentorship would’ve saved them from being killed by the police” or “the community failed them” are common sociological frameworks informing public policy and everyday talk.
– tamara k. nopper

Jason Hickel:
Our culture is proudly obsessed with innovation and creativity, and yet for some reason when it comes to our economic system we insist that capitalism is the only option and we shouldn’t even *think* about making something better.

a sliver of moon
the old bluesman
breaks a string
– Ron C. Moss

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin:
An ecological, equitable, multi-racial democracy isn’t just a nice idea it’s a survival strategy.

The internet could be a very positive step towards education, organisation and participation in a meaningful society.
– Noam Chomsky

Happiness is not the surplus of pleasant over unpleasant moments. Rather happiness consists in seeing one’s life in its entirety as meaningful and worthwhile.
– Yuval Noah Harari

The Buddha:
Winning gives birth to hostility. Losing, one lies down in pain. The calmed lie down with ease, having set winning and losing aside.

A fellow doesn’t last long on what he has done. He has to keep on delivering.
– Carl Hubbell

Gary Snyder:
Having a place means that you know what a place means… what it means in a storied sense of myth, character and presence but also in an ecological sense… Integrating native consciousness with mythic consciousness.

Joy is radical.
– Mx. Faylita Hicks

It’s good to have a Street Team.
– Chris La Tray

There is one advantage to realizing that you’re never going to get it right: you do begin to stop expecting everyone else to get it right too, which makes for less frustration when other people turn out to be just as human as you are.
– Jeff Wilson

Unmapped

So time advances,
first by minutes, then by hours,
then by entire days,

extending itself
as if for ever. Where have
you been all these years,

they ask. You can’t say
because you don’t know. The map
is useless at night

but it’s all you have.

– George Szirtes

Dr. Myhre:
It’s one thing to advocate and activate for change. It’s another thing entirely to be free internally.

As you start to heal and remember who you are, you will realize your trauma bonding tribe is not your support system, because they only care about your trauma, not your healing, and their heavy trauma victim energy produces unnecessary drama and goes against your healing process.
– Inner Practitioner

I turned to watch the kitchen light recede in the sea of night. Then I leaned ahead.
– @DailyKerouac

The Buddha:
Desire never crosses the path Of virtuous and wakeful men.

. . . and probably thinking not to grow up
Is the brightest kind of maturity for us, right now at any rate.
– Ashbery, Soonest Mended

If you are sure you understand everything that is going on, you are hopelessly confused.
– Walter F. Mondale

Once you have recognized that there are other realities, other than the one you have been familiar with, your life starts to change. I don’t care whether you got it from a joint; whether you got it from trauma; whether you got it from surfing; whether you got it from temple or church. Whatever thing you did that took you beyond yourself. Whatever it was, if you acknowledged it as real as what you have started from, you are on the way. That is what is known as awakening.
– Ram Dass

Those who don’t feel this Love
pulling them like a river,
those who don’t drink dawn
like a cup of spring water
or take sunset like supper,
those who don’t want to change,
let them sleep.

This Love is beyond the study of theology,
that old trickery and hypocrisy.
If you want to improve your mind that way
sleep on.

I’ve given up on my brain.
I’ve torn the cloth to shreds
and thrown it away.
If you’re not completely naked
wrap your beautiful robe of words
around you,

and sleep.
– Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Rūmī

The First Green of Spring

Out walking in the swamp picking cowslip, marsh marigold,
this sweet first green of spring. Now sautéed in a pan melting
to a deeper green than ever they were alive, this green, this life,

harbinger of things to come. Now we sit at the table munching
on this message from the dawn which says we and the world
are alive again today, and this is the world’s birthday. And

even though we know we are growing old, we are dying, we
will never be young again, we also know we’re still right here
now, today, and, my oh my! don’t these greens taste good.

– David Budbill

Poem Composed in Santa Barbara
The poets talk. They talk a lot.
They talk of T.S. Eliot.
One is anti. One is pro.
How hard they think! How much they know!
They’re happy. A cicada sings.
We women talk of other things.
– Wendy Cope, Serious Concerns

Unhealthy guilt is a form of punishment and self-attack. It can arise when you’ve broken a rule that’s rigid, extreme or not in alignment with what you really value. It can also arise when you’ve broken a rule you do value but, instead of motivating positive change, the guilt becomes excessive and toxic. When we feel unhealthy guilt, we often overestimate how much others are annoyed or hurt by our actions, thereby artificially magnifying our transgressions. This approach to improving our relationships or personal actions doesn’t positively influence behaviour, and is rooted in fear. […]

Healthy guilt creates an invisible forcefield, helping us operate within a band of behaviour that’s aligned with our values. It ensures we’re responsive to the needs of those close to us, and allows us to have warm, positive relationships. This guilt is guiding you to get on track and be the kind of person you want to be in the world. […] It’s a positive force for change and is rooted in love—for yourself and for others.

Does the voice [of guilt] sound calm and loving, while still recognising you’ve made a mistake? If so, this is probably healthy guilt. Or is it angry and critical? [The] voice of unhealthy guilt can go on for hours or days, leading to prolonged periods of procrastination, avoidance or low mood. [It is] heavy like molasses, a burden that makes it hard to take effective, corrective action. »

– Aziz Gazipura

When your mind becomes vacant,
endeavour to fill it with the awareness of God and His contemplation.
– Anandamayi Ma

I have deliberately assumed the calm and sober language of the witness, not the lamenting tones of the victim or the irate voice of someone who seeks revenge.
– Primo Levi

Love shook my heart
Like the wind on the mountain
Troubling the oak-trees.
– @sapphobot

No society can smash the social contract and be exempt from the consequences….
– James Baldwin

The only people who see the whole picture are the ones who step outside the frame.
– Salman Rushdie

Whenever you meditate, remember the phrase, “without distraction and without grasping”, and put this into practice.
– Lerab Lingpa

Sometimes you are privileged with a glimpse of the other world, when the light shines up from the west as the sun sets and dazzles something wet. The world is just water and light, a slide show through which your spirit glides.
– Fanny Howe

One of the surprising things about the porpoise is that his superior brain is unaccompanied by any type of manipulative organ. […] Human beings think of intelligence as geared to things. The hand and the tool are to us the unconscious symbols of our intellectual achievement. It is difficult for us to visualize another kind of lonely, almost disembodied intelligence floating in the wavering green fairyland of the sea—an intelligence possibly near or comparable to our own but without hands to build, to transmit knowledge by writing, or to alter by one hairsbreadth the planet’s surface.

Perhaps man has something to learn after all from fellow creatures without the ability to drive harpoons through living flesh, or poison with strontium the planetary winds. [Quoting Herman Melville] “[The porpoise’s] great genius is declared in his doing nothing particular to prove it. It is declared in his pyramidical silence.” If man had sacrificed his hands for flukes, the moral might run, he would still be a philosopher, but there would have been taken from him the devastating power to wreak his thought upon the body of the world. Instead he would have lived and wandered, like the porpoise, homeless across currents and winds and oceans, intelligent, but forever the lonely and curious observer of unknown wreckage falling through the blue light of eternity.

– Loren Eiseley, The Star Thrower

Without, O, somewhere, you;
– Philip Larkin

Greece is a good place to look at the moon, isn’t it? You can read by moonlight. You can read on the terrace, you can see a face as you saw it, when you were young. It was good light then, oil lamps and candles. And those little flames that floated on a cork and olive oil. What I loved in my old life, I haven’t forgotten. It lives in my spine. Marianne and the child, the days of kindness, it rises at my spine, and it manifests as tears. I pray that a loving memory exists for them, too, the precious ones, I overthrew for an education in the world.
– Leonard Cohen

I wait not sure what I wait for
– Stephanie Heit

What those vultures sense is something trying to remain itself. What I want is something so true to itself it no longer resembles itself.
– Richard Jackson

The way for writers who want to write is just listen to a lot of music and figure out how people wrote what they wrote. There is a lot of craft, and it’s underestimated, even in a frivolous—I shouldn’t downgrade it by saying frivolous—but even in a commercial profession, like musical theater, there’s a great deal to be learned. And without craft, I think art is nonsense—it’s a sort of masturbation. Whereas, with craft, it’s a form of teaching, which, I have said innumerable times, is the noblest profession on earth.
– Stephen Sondheim/Mark Eden Horowitz, Sondheim on Music

You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.
– Arthur Plotnik

Iris Song
You go outside and the trees don’t know
You’re black. The lilacs will chatter and break
Themselves real bloom, real boon,
No matter your gender. You matter.
Who in you is most material, so
You matter. Your afro gone touch the sky.
Come up from the ground looking extra fly,
Come up from the ground looking extra, fly,
I will touch the sky. I—open my mouth,
And my whole life falls out.
– Rickey Laurentiis

The last slave ship did not arrive; it swallowed the shore. And we all, critters of the modern order the slave vessel helped make possible, live in the guts of that seafaring prison. Emancipation must exploit cracks in the vessel. Emancipation is fecal.
– Bayo Akomolafe

You want the truth?
I’ll tell you the truth…
the God whom I love
is inside.
– Kabir / Bly

HOW IT ENDED, HOW IT WAS RENEWED
by Lynn Kincanon

First was the storm
That went on all night long
And through the day
And all the days after
Until the world was an ocean

And the baby in the rushes
Of the rice fields
Tucked in the feathers
Of the swan—Was carried
Into the purple sky

Once the waters abated
She counted on her tiny hands
All the rice kernels
She would require
To germinate the land—

She would touch the earth
Lightly, press one seed, then
The next until there was
Just enough
To start anew.

No more than we need
This time
No more than we need.

Tend to your vital heart, and all you worry about will be solved.
– Rumi

Manu is Manu, what do you want me to do, son?
– Lionel Hollins, Grizz coach

I think the difficulty is this fragmentation. All thought is broken up into bits. Like this nation, this country, this industry, this profession and so on… And they can’t meet… Wholeness is a kind of attitude or approach to the whole of life. If we can have a coherent approach to reality then reality will respond coherently to us.
– David Bohm

I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all.
– unknown

Things that are lacking in today’s world
Communication skills
Incisive reading
Critical thinking
People giving opinions on things without knowing full story or even half story
– Marian Haddad

It must be a hallucination, I think; I am finally losing my mind, making sirens out of silence.
– @briallenhopper

Fitness and nutrition aren’t seasonal.
They are a lifestyle and way of life.
– @strong_leaders

my body does not have the same ideas i do.
– Gail Scott, Heroine

Soon we will learn our bodies are formed
of dead stars, so that if we made incisions
from breastbone to rectum, the caves within
would reveal themselves to house celestial ash.
– Sumita Chakraborty

Let us honor our earth
humbly recognize her worth
worship what’s under the skies
with her spirit
synch-ro-nize.
– @Buddha_Blunted

27 April, 1928
I rang you up just now, to find you were gone nutting in the woods with Mary Campbell, or Mary Carmichael, or Mary Seton but not me– damn you…
– Virginia Woolf

The Tao is near and people seek it far away.
– Mengzi

‘Carpe diem’ doesn’t mean seize the day – it means something gentler and more sensible. ‘Carpe diem’ means pluck the day. Carpe, pluck. Seize the day would be ‘cape diem,’ if my school Latin serves . . . What Horace had in mind was that you should gently pull on the day’s stem, as if it were, say, a wildflower or an olive, holding it with all the practiced care of your thumb and the side of your finger, which knows how to not crush easily crushed things . . . Pluck the cranberry or blueberry of the day tenderly free without damaging it, is what Horace meant – pick the day, harvest the day, reap the day, mow the day, forage the day. Don’t freaking grab the day in your fist like a burger at a fairground and take a big chomping bite out of it.
– Nicholson Baker

The one thing on the planet most closely resembling the forgoing conception of the divine is money. It is an invisible, immortal force that surrounds and steers all things, omnipotent and limitless, an “invisible hand” that, it is said, makes the world go ‘round. Yet, money today is an abstraction, at most symbols on a piece of paper but usually mere bits in a computer. It exists in a realm far removed from materiality. In that realm, it is exempt from nature’s most important laws, for it does not decay and return to the soil as all other things do, but is rather preserved, changeless, in its vaults and computer files, even growing with time thanks to interest. It bears the properties of eternal preservation and everlasting increase, both of which are profoundly unnatural.

[…] Money proved to be a capricious god. As I write these words, it seems that the increasingly frantic rituals that the financial priesthood uses to placate the god Money are in vain. Like the clergy of a dying religion, they exhort their followers to greater sacrifices while blaming their misfortunes either on sin (greedy bankers, irresponsible consumers) or on the mysterious whims of God (the financial markets). What we call recession, an earlier culture might have called ‘God abandoning the world.’
– Charles Eisenstein, Sacred Economics

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.
– A. Bartlett Giamatti

When You Lift the Avocado to Your Mouth
by Troy Jollimore

What matters is that when you lift the avocado to your mouth
you bend all your senses toward it, yet
allow a sliver of its flavor to escape
your lips—not into the muffled ether
of radio static that deadens the air
around us, but into the nearly real lips
of those who have gone before us, the pale
blue shadow-forms of the ancestors
who no longer have bodies to touch or to taste with,
to sing or to fuck with, but who still recall
what it is to touch or taste or sing or fuck
and who long for it and, in their longing, attach
themselves to the living, incarnated ones,
in the hope of feeling, once more, by a process
that must be mostly imagination, some spark
of sensation, the thinnest, outermost layer
of the experience of hearing the ocean,
of watching the moon rise over a city,
of kissing a woman, of stroking the fur
of a cat as it stretches to meet your palm,
of holding a pen, of smelling the pine-scented
breezes at dusk, of gazing deep into
a fire, a well, the eyes of a lover,
of tasting a teardrop, of tasting avocado.

The Night Migrations
by Louise Glück

This is the moment when you see again
the red berries of the mountain ash
and in the dark sky
the birds’ night migrations.

It grieves me to think
the dead won’t see them—
these things we depend on,
they disappear.

What will the soul do for solace then?
I tell myself maybe it won’t need
these pleasures anymore;
maybe just not being is simply enough,
hard as that is to imagine.

I was going to love every student that came to me at Juilliard: That was my sincere contract. No matter how resistant or disordered they might be, I loved them. Juilliard has great assets and tenets, and those provide a net of safety for students, but the net can become damaged and tangled by doubt and fear and gossip. I kept the net whole and beneath the students. I tried, at any rate. And I loved them, through good and bad and sadness and elation, and people grew to be better. The good teacher—of anything—loves students into fullness, and allows them to walk away. But I never leave them: I see everything they do, and I take people like you to see them. They taught me to love. They made me a better person.
– Marian Seldes

All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey Or a stranger comes to town.
– Leo Tolstoy

the earth is a living thing

is a black shambling bear
ruffling its wild back and tossing
mountains into the sea

is a black hawk circling
the burying ground circling the bones
picked clean and discarded

is a fish black blind in the belly of water
is a diamond blind in the black belly of coal

is a black and living thing
is a favorite child
of the universe
feel her rolling her hand
in its kinky hair
feel her brushing it clean

– lucille clifton

Projections carry very real energy; they either sustain or undermine.
If someone hits us with a poisoned projection, we feel it whether we recognize it or not; if we are struck with a loving projection, energy is released.
As we become more conscious we become increasingly aware of what we have projected onto others, both the good and the bad in ourselves.
Unconsciously we have asked them to take responsibility for what we have failed to recognized in ourselves or what of ourselves we have failed to realize.
Projections are charged with archetypal energy until they have been assimilated by the conscious ego.
– Marion Woodman, The Pregnant Virgin

Emerging from
an Abyss and
entering it again
that is Life, is
it not?
– Emily Dickinson

You pile up associations the way you pile up bricks. Memory itself is a form of architecture.
– Louise Bourgeois

BELATED GOOD ADVICE
FOR GANGSTER BUGSY SIEGEL

don’t settle in
to a comfortable chair
to read a newspaper
in the vicinity
of a window

– Jack Foley

Your life is shaped by the ends you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.
– Thomas Merton

Love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
– Maya Angelou, Love’s Exquisite Freedom

Dealing with generational trauma is like treading water in the murky depths when you can’t swim and you can’t find land and something beneath you is wrapping its tendrils around your naked feet. And pulling.

Addressing generational trauma is like trying to stop a freight train, your back pressed against the engine as it carries you down the track, splinters impaling your feet as you dig in. There’s no thought of destination or direction; just stopping the train.

Generational trauma is a never-ending rollercoaster, a kaleidoscope of okayness and not-okayness. Okayness a brief, tenuous calm, not-okayness always lurking beyond every resplendent sunrise.

Generational trauma is a fractured, obscured identity; lives defined and engulfed by “not-that!” rather than what we are.

Safety. Where does safety hide? The things we could accomplish and the places we could go and the visions we could share if we could find safety. Safety from the unexpected tragedies that rock us to our core and become the dividing line of our lives: The already traumatic Before; the disorienting Ever After.

Generational trauma can be decades of unspoken tears and a body that never feels safe and an opaque filter over everything.

Generational trauma will become the sounding board for my primal yell of defiance: “I’m still standing! And I’ll learn to swim and I’ll reroute that train—and my children will have beautiful sunrises and safety and identities unsullied by the pain that’s lurking in the shadows!
– Subversive Lens

It may be that you become rich,
But you will have a hard time being satisfied.
Be able to cut the knot of greed.
That is what really matters.
– Terdak Lingpa

In everyone there sleeps
A sense of life lived according to love.
To some it means the difference they could make
By loving others, but across most it sweeps
As all they might have done had they been loved.
That nothing cures. An immense slackening ache,
As when, thawing, the rigid landscape weeps,
Spreads slowly through them —
– Philip Larkin, Faith Healing

Truly, though our element is time,
We are not suited to the long perspectives
Open at each instant of our lives.
They link us to our losses: worse,
They show us what we have as it once was,
Blindly undiminished, just as though
By acting differently we could have kept it so.
– Philip Larkin, Reference Back

The camera of the eye
Spools out twelve months; the memory
Spells underneath,
– Philip Larkin, Poem

Each twilight like a blueprint in which something is always missing.
– Larry Levis

Shakespeare said it first: We’re nature, too.
– Jim Harrison

Even so it was with me when I was young.
If ever we are nature’s, these are ours. This thorn
Doth to our rose of youth rightly belong.
Our blood to us, this to our blood is born.
It is the show and seal of nature’s truth,
Where love’s strong passion is impressed in youth.
– William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well

Sometimes there are no words for your joy and no words
For my sorrow. I am the pillow trapped between
Othello and Desdemona—no wonder I can’t sleep.
– J. K. McDowell

The pen is the tongue of the mind.
– Miguel de Cervantes

Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon .
– Dalai Lama

So you don’t have to sit—wherever you are—should I write this poem or should I go out and join this demonstration. It’s from the heart. And poetry is happy to say take my arm.
– Alice Walker

What to do with this knowledge that our living is not guaranteed?
– Aracelis Girmay

And what shall we do, we who did not die?
– June Jordan

D. A. Powell:
I learn when I teach. And when I’m not teaching I’m learning.

Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false.
– Bertrand Russell

Eve Ettinger:
hire me, an under-employed millennial with burnout, ptsd, and no savings to write about burnout and resilience instead of one of these out of touch fools

Growth Hub:
You want growth, but won’t stay accountable to small daily habits that elicit change. Read it again!

Things are about to get interesting.
The more you open
to the light of the Wild Sun
the more motivated She’ll be
to pour Her golden drink upon you.
You thought your life was crazy now?
Just wait until you let love in!
You think She’ll bring a sip of holy wine
to your lips
but She’ll pop the corks right off
of this bubbly stuff
and make your whole world drunk!
Surround yourself with people
who have already been brave enough
to yank their souls
from the straight jackets
of their buds
and let the blossom
of their freak flags fly–
you will need this encouragement.
Because things are about to get interesting.
What used to be your reverent postures
will madly start trying
to pull God
into your body.
All your grounded words
will turn into the swooping birds
of unpredictable poetry
and all of your polite ways
will become true
maniacs for love.
Are you sure you’re ready
to turn your respectable life
into a wild parade?
Perhaps consider this
before you pray like that
again.
– Chelan Harkin

The Piano
We took the harp of beauty.
We took the drum of war.
We married them together
and made the pianoforte.
Out of that alchemic box
a thousand demons sprung
who, with apostolic fervor,
incited dreams among
entire populations.
The humble and the proud,
the pacifist and warrior,
the quiet and the loud,
all shared a common yearning
to reconcile the twain.
So research married industry
and pleasure married pain.
Then love, she married duty,
wisdom married wine,
and passion married abstraction,
as money married time.
Thus Mozart stole our sins away,
after Bach taught us to think,
Old Beethoven held the beat
while Chopin made lives sing.
So jazz propelled us to the moon
and brought us back amazed.
And rock-and-roll explained it all
as energy unfazed.
Now all the world is family,
one web of kinship vows.
All human love is incest
and all the past is now.
No one can explain it.
Past science and past art,
the battered old piano
reshapes the human heart.
– George Gorman

There is a beautiful complexity of growth within the human soul. In order to glimpse this, it is helpful to visualize the mind as a tower of windows. Sadly, many people remain trapped at the one window, looking out every day at the same scene in the same way. Real growth is experienced when you draw back from that one window, turn, and walk around the inner tower of the soul and see all the different windows that await your gaze. Through these different windows, you can see new vistas of possibility, presence, and creativity. Complacency, habit, and blindness often prevent you from feeling your life. So much depends on the frame of vision — the window through which you look.
– John O’Donohue

Silence roots…

Know Your Silent roots.

The Heart sings Silently.

Silent Awareness.

Do you know- You?

– Ginormous Buddha

Sara Ryan:
Why is it that it takes exactly two weeks of not working out to get out of shape? It’s truly a scam.

When musicians say they are going to play new songs the audience grumbles, but when poets say they are going to read new poems the audience listens closer.
– Robin Beth Schaer

It’s beautiful when someone comes looking for your old triggers but can’t find them – that’s healing.
– @_Pammy_DS_

GinormousBuddha:

If you think you can correct your thinking-

-you won’t correct it…

If you Observe the thinking and pay little attention to mind-

-it will correct itself.

The right approach is critical…

The little pocket on the left side of my chest, she settles in all cozy like a cartoon mouse. She says she is done with humans. Rather than take any further action, she now sends little kicks through my shirt so that I behave accordingly
– Sawako Nakayasu

R.O. Kwon:
once again what cannot be overstated is how incredibly easy it is to never sleep with one’s students

From a student’s speech today:

“At school, we should be developing passions rather than anxiety disorders.”

That line hit hard.

– Marcus Blair

As for me, my bed is made: I am against bigness and greatness in all their forms, and with the invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, stealing in through the crannies of the world like so many soft rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, and yet rending the hardest monuments of man’s pride, if you give them time.
– William James

Beneath it all, desire of oblivion runs:
– Philip Larkin

How would you have me? Towards your grace
My promises meet and lock and race like rivers,
But only when you choose.
– Philip Larkin

I do not limit myself: I imitate
many fancy things such as the dull red
cloth of literature, its mulled griefs
– Lisa Robertson

i want to live on his tongue, build a home of gospel & gayety
i want to raise a city behind his teeth for all boys of choirs & closets to refuge in.
– Danez Smith

Art has always been the raft onto which we climb to save our sanity. I don’t see a different purpose for it now.
– Dorothea Tanning

TREE OF LIFE

Bengal men self-quarantine on tree to keep others safe
— Hindustan Times

It could be romantic to sleep in a tree
with all the sounds of the forest around—
insect cacophony, elephants in musth.
I have always loved the word rut. A seasonal
glut. The opposite of looking through
a window to a never-ending view of wives
washing dishes in the sink—Simone
de Beauvoir’s idea of the domestic abyss.
But reader, she had silk curtains and chandeliers.
She had multiple lovers and appointments
with Sartre in the Jardin du Luxembourg.
It is dangerous to romanticize anyone’s life,
especially low to purge the nobility of the poor,
so let me not say how much I cried watching
Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali, especially the part
with the kids running through fields of kash
to watch the train of modernity pass.
More poignant if you know the director’s wife
had to pawn her jewels for the film to be made.
The goodness of some women—
they almost levitate, like the girl in the film,
child of the forest, how she picks thorns from her feet
like stones from rice. And the crone, how I love
the crone. How all this sadness builds like a raga
to bring on rain, which the girl rushes into of course—
ripples of water lilies, darting bugs. How all this joy
leads to death. There are no spare rooms
is the point. In the film, or in real life.
There are no spare rooms so these men
who’ve returned from the city are put in a tree
to quarantine, a tree that strangles its hosts
as it walks. Munificent, shade-giving banyan
that throws down roots as trunks,
in whose leaves God Krishna resides. Krishna,
who talked good game about the temporality
of the body, while so enjoying the body, understood
the material world as one big inverted banyan.
But as we’re stuck in this reflection, why not
enjoy the fruits, why not jump from branch to branch
like a bird? Which these men do, I suppose, stationed
as they are. Their good wives leave supplies at the base—
rice and oil, cooking implements. It goes like this
for days, this story of seven men in a tree, living
through a 21st century pandemic. Men who say
they’re happy not to pass on any bad city virus.
And because the news is so full of counterfeits
and horrors, can we for once not be sceptics?
Forget that the tree is moving, that one day
its phantom limbs will tap against our door.
Until then, can’t we stand by our windows
and stare at all the desolation and sweetness?
Can’t we adore the convoluted roots
of our attachments? How they complete
us. My god, how this living is a hymn.
– Tishani Doshi

Wear the old coat and buy the new book.
– Austin Phelps

The Electric Slide is Not a Dance, Man!
by Porsha Olayiwola
I wanna privy you to a little secret. Come close now. Good. So, what you need to know is the electric slide is not a dance. It’s a transmission code. What I’m trying to tell you is every time I need to leave here, every time I need to get to a place that feels like my mama’s cooking or my brother’s cackle booming from soot, I sound the gathering. I bring out the trumpets and horns whenever I need to shake this crypt dust settling my bones. I turn my stereo up. Just the othefr day, so-and-so tells me he wants me to teach ‘im the moves. I can’t teach style, can’t learn blood to pound to a drum pulse so slick, it glide. So free, it ain’t. Can’t teach ‘im, or nobody else who not from where we from what’s innate. I mean, man, shit, there is a place I need to get to, a grin I need to spread, a quaking of my foundation ungrounded from laughter. The codes an impenetrable thing; how the slide is sauve, how the count off for the take off is the dip low, the count out. The down swing recollects our plot of land on this earth. Picking a leg high, a knee raised, a turn to the left is the way we know to leave our massacre behind, man. The dance floor is a square padlock you can’t crack. Each space we take there is meant for us to occupy. Each brethren is attached to our side, our fronts, our backs. This pattern is a shield against depression or hunger hanging out of someone’s blue eyes. Our bodies arrange a constellation in memory of the boy who was slain with no indictment, for the guillotined girl who went forgotten, for the housing stacked like the gut of the ship, the dogs and the waters. The blast off happens insync and our spirits rupture ceilings. We ritual. Sacred. Secret. Originators of a beat cascading. The electric slide is how we leave here, how we ascend. This kinship is how we get to a place named joy, and go home. That’s blood, history, man. Ain’t no teaching that.

Insult is a typical reward for the job well done.
– Bulgakov

I cannot read the Galaxy,
But I know the language of tree,
Leaf and the cross-branched sky.
I know the speech of secrets;
I know the stone-lined path
And I have taken the long way home.
– Tom Hirons, Merrivale

To be a teacher in the right sense is to be a learner. Instruction begins when you, the teacher, learn from the learner, put yourself in his place so that you may understand what he understands and the way he understands it.
– Søren Kierkegaard

Japanese Hokku
by Lewis Grandison Alexander

I.
Life goes by moving,
Up and down a chain of moods
Wanting what’s nothing.

II.
My soul is the wind
Dashing down fields of Autumn:
O, too swift to sing.

III.
Listen to the rain
Falling broken on the ground:
Pity the sky once.

IV.
Knowing not at all
Who stands above me seeing:
Tears of gratitude.

V
The nightingale sings
My heart desires but the night
Space swallows my voice:

VI.
I shall spend my moods
Like a rose discards leaves
And die without moods.

VII.
Did you say a sound?
Did you say the wind? Dashing
Only my soul’s quick—

VIII.
O moon of to-night
Let me rest my head on you
And hear my life sing.

IX.
My ears burn for speech
And you lie cold and silent
Supinely cruel:

X.
Look at the white moon
The sphinx does not question more.
Turn away your eyes.

XI.
Thought that is no thought
Poems buried in my heart
Song that is no song …

XII
The poetry of life?
No, the picture of my dreams
Flashing on my heart.

XIII
I ride down the stream
Between the earth and the sun
On the moon’s shadow.

XIV
Treading wearily
A unit of the parade
There is no escape.

XV.
Within the shadow
I am weaving the pattern
Of a spider web.

XVI
My heart like a shell
Moans at the breast of the earth
Being too full sing.

XVII
You are life’s fountain
Springing from eternity
Flow not recklessly.

XVIII
I will wrap the song
In the leaves of the lotus
And send it to you.

XIX
No words speak louder
Than the tragic look of eyes
Close yours out of love.

XX
Why should I wander
I who have known no surprise?
Every day the same.

If one cannot risk oneself, then one is simply incapable of giving. And, after all, one can give freedom only by setting someone free.
– James Baldwin

It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well.
– René Descartes

Some say you’re lucky
If nothing shatters it.
But then you wouldn’t
Understand poems or songs.
You’d never know
Beauty comes from loss.
It’s deep inside every person:
A tear tinier
Than a pearl or thorn.
It’s one of the places
Where the beloved is born.
– Gregory Orr

Your body cannot heal without play. Your mind cannot heal without laughter. Your soul cannot heal without joy.
– Catherine R. Fenwick

Love is a living, breathing thing. There is no need to force it to grow in a particular direction. If we start by being easy and gentle with ourselves, we will find it is just there inside of us, solid and healing.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Rick Hanson, Ph.D.:
If you don’t grow flowers in the garden of your mind the weeds will come back.

Each person carries a hidden poetic unity that reflects the mysterious continuity of the Soul of the World. In the depths of the soul, we are each an old soul able to survive the troubles of the world and contribute to its healing and renewal. The key to what we miss and secretly long for is hidden within us. Medicine men and healers of all kinds from cultures around the world have used various techniques to not only “heal” the soul, but also to restore individuals to their proper place in the world and in their culture. To heal means to “make whole,” and when we feel whole we are in touch with the whole world. When in touch with our underlying soul, we are naturally in touch with nature and the Soul of the World. We are the missing ingredient in the solutions needed for all that ails us, if we but awaken to the nature of our own souls.
– Michael Meade, “Awakening the Soul”

If you think
the Eccentric God who made
the octopus
is gonna judge you
for your sins,
I’m afraid you’ve missed
the mark
If you think this
Wild God
that spins galaxies
as a pastime
cares to get fussy
about your mistakes
or has ever made anything
that wasn’t born
perfect and luminous,
you might need to repent
If you can’t yet admit
how lovable and
infinitely worthy
the fullness of your human nature is
and if you think God
wants to do anything
but perpetually pour
an abundance
of love gifts
upon you,
well, my dear, your soul
just might need
to go to confession.
– Chelan Harkin

Each person carries a hidden poetic unity that reflects the mysterious continuity of the Soul of the World. In the depths of the soul, we are each an old soul able to survive the troubles of the world and contribute to its healing and renewal. The key to what we miss and secretly long for is hidden within us. Medicine men and healers of all kinds from cultures around the world have used various techniques to not only “heal” the soul, but also to restore individuals to their proper place in the world and in their culture. To heal means to “make whole,” and when we feel whole we are in touch with the whole world. When in touch with our underlying soul, we are naturally in touch with nature and the Soul of the World. We are the missing ingredient in the solutions needed for all that ails us, if we but awaken to the nature of our own souls.
– Michael Meade, Awakening the Soul

Vow of Extinction
by Mary Ruefle

From this day forward all plants
except the lemon tree
will be banished from my poems

From this day forward I am wedded to the sky

All clouds shall be banished
and my memory of them vanish
like memory itself

Not even a lime shall sneak in

Animals shall exit my poems
including those that cross the sky
in herds or as stragglers

Without plants, without animals
people cannot survive in my poems
so they too shall be sent,
those with shoes and those without
in a long line leaving

Leaving myself under the lemon tree
wedded to the sky
that is light then dark then light

Candles are forbidden

I will feel the terrible weight of twilight
as it falls over the land like a despondent minx,
words I might formerly have used for a squirrel

From this cretinous proposition
I shall write my poems
and try to reach those
who no longer exist

They are not in this poem or any other

From this day forward
I eat lemons in my park

Their complete similarity to me
can now be distinguished

To speak of my promise,
my offering to the sky,
puts a sprig in my mouth

Would this not then be my entry into society?

Spring

Spring! And Earth is like a child
who has learned many poems by heart.
For the trouble of that long learning
she wins the prize.

Her teacher was strict. We loved the white
of the old man’s beard. Now we can ask her
the many names of green, of blue,
and she knows them, she knows them!

Earth, school is out now. You’re free
to play with the children. We’ll catch you,
joyous Earth. The happiest will catch you!

All that the teacher taught her—the many thoughts
pressed now into roots and long
tough stems: she sings! She sings!

– Rainer Maria Rilke

It is with awe
That I beheld
Fresh leaves, green leaves,
Bright in the sun.
– Matsuo Bashō, The Narrow Road to the Deep North

There are so many things that art can’t do. It can’t bring the dead back to life, it can’t mend arguments between friends, or cure AIDS, or halt the pace of climate change. All the same, it does have some extraordinary functions, some odd negotiating ability between people, including people who never meet and yet who infiltrate and enrich each other’s lives. It does have a capacity to create intimacy; it does have a way of healing wounds, and better yet of making it apparent that not all wounds need healing and not all scars are ugly.
– Olivia Laing, The Lonely City

I pour out a cup or two of emerald wine inside the cabin.
The door swings closed, then back open onto exquisite

ranged mountains: ten thousand wrinkles unseen by anyone,
and every ridge hand-picked by the late sun’s slant light.
– Yang Wan-Li, On a Boat Crossing Hsieh Lake

Shortcut to Mare Vaporum
Seems so many words are perfect, just a torrent,
and clearly, each is a seed pearl of some wisdom.
On the other side of gnosis, we can take this with a grain of salt.
All theories of Original Sin carefully spun
from fog and shadow, are set to the diurnal clock
that runs, that is perhaps pulled, by the moon.
I’ve heard many stories about the moon,
and told some myself, in fact, a torrent.
Every time, no matter what, there’s buzz of bees, the thrum of clocks.
You could call that a kind of wisdom.
Despite whatever honey has been spun
into confectionary presence, I still taste salt.
Philosophies oxidize into salt,
then become tears falling from the seas of the moon
Of such dark ironies are spun
the Judeo-Christian torrent
of wisdom.
Millennium? Watch Sakyamuni, laughing at the clock!
From what lit face, did we invent that clock?
From what primordial soup, did we precipitate, like salt?
Who, in their right mind, would call the answers to this, wisdom?
There’s a secret kind of no thing on the moon.
A relation to original light that pours down in a torrent
Perhaps from that certain facts were spun
and spun,
corresponding to an inner clock,
that re-imagines time as a flooding torrent
with nothing like the stable framework of salt
(whose taut latticework is also shifted by moon).
Now that’s a clue to real wisdom,
in case you were seeking wisdom.
But even that can be spun
into just another theory that explains the moon
as if it were a clock,
whose hands rinse themselves in the salt
of the ocean’s torrent.
Of such same salt is spun
the clock that tells not time, but wisdom
spilling a humming torrent in the frequency of moon.
– Judyth Hill

3.30 by Radka Thea Otipkova

I need you to breathe
in this ending world
wake up warm wake up with a thought
of toast and tea speak again
in that voice still thick with sleep
of Rimbaud’s sudden silence
the vagueness of wolves of grief
Now this
morning not yet dawn
you turn
with much rustling undulation
move on towards another dream
If ocean liners tossed and turned
this is how they’d do it
If mountains could love you
and roads
and sunlit fields
this would be how

LINES THAT SPEAK TO ME ON THE DAY OF THE PASSION
Taking the route you would be likely to take
From the place you would be likely to come from,
If you came this way in may time, you would find the hedges
White again, in May, with voluptuary sweetness.
It would be the same at the end of the journey,
If you came at night like a broken king,
If you came by day not knowing what you came for,
It would be the same, when you leave the rough road
And turn behind the pig-sty to the dull facade
And the tombstone. And what you thought you came for
Is only a shell, a husk of meaning
From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
– T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding

Los Angeles, Manila, Đà Nẵng
by Cathy Linh Che

California drought withering the basins,
the hills ready to ignite. Oh, stupid ways

I’ve loved and unraveled myself.
I, a parched field, and not a spit of rain.

I announced to a room of strangers,
I’ve never loved anyone more.

Now he and I no longer speak.

Outside: Manila, 40 years
after my parents’ first arrival.

I deplane where they debarked.
At customs, I am given a sheet warning of MERS—

in ’75, my parents received fishermen’s lunches,
a bottle of fish sauce. They couldn’t enter

until they were vaccinated. My mother, 22,
newly emptied of a stillborn daughter.

In Đà Nẵng, my cousin has become unrecognizable
after my four year absence. His teeth, at 21,

have begun to rot. His face swollen over.
I want to shield him from his terrible life.

Tazed at 15 by the cops until he pissed himself.
So beaten in the mental institution, that family had to

bring him home. His mother always near tears
when I ask, How are you doing?

You want to know what survivorhood looks like?
It’s not romantic. The corn drying huskless

in the front yard. The ducks chasing each other in the back.
The thick arms of a woman who will carry bricks

for the rest of her life. The plainness with which
she speaks of hardship. The bricks aren’t a metaphor

for the weight she carries. Ánh, which means light,
is sick, and cannot work,

but instead goes wandering the neighborhood,
eating other people’s food, bloating

his mother’s unpayable debts.
What pleasure can be found here,

even if the love is palpable?
My mother stopped crying years ago.

What’s the use, she says, of all this leaking.
Enough to fill a drainage ditch, a reservoir?

No, just enough to wet a pillow.
What a waste of time, me pining after

a man who no longer feels for me.
Today, I would give it up. Trade mine

for theirs. They tell me that they are not hungry.
Happy is their toil. My uncles and their

browned skins, not a pinch of fat anywhere.
They work the fields and swallow

beer after beer, getting sentimental.
Whose birds have come to roost, whose pigs in the muck?

Their dog has just birthed four new pups.
Despite ourselves, time moves on.

I walked lover’s lane with my cousin.

The heart-lights reflected on the river’s black.
The locks clustered and dangling.

I should have left our names on that bridge.
My name, the names of my family, written there.

People are hard to hate close up. Move in. Speak truth to bullshit.
Be civil.
Hold hands. With strangers. Strong back. Soft front.
Wild heart.
– Brené Brown

The mind is an endless game.
You should not play it all the time.
– Sadhguru

A seed grows with no sound. But a tree falls with huge noise. Destruction has noise but creation is quiet. This is the power of silence ….
– Confucius

If flowers can teach themselves to bloom after winter passes, so can you.
– Noor Shirazie

Prophecy:

We were told that we would see America come and go. In a sense America is dying, from within, because they forgot the instructions of how to live on earth. It’s the Hopi belief, it’s our belief, that if you are not spiritually connected to the earth, and understand the spiritual reality of how to live on earth, it’s likely that you will not make it.

Everything is spiritual, everything has a spirit, everything was brought here by the creator, the one creator. Some people call him God, some people call him Buddha, some people call him Allah, some people call him other names. We call him Tunkaschila… Grandfather.

We are here on earth only a few winters, then we go to the spirit world. The spirit world is more real than most of us believe.

The spirit world is everything. Over 95% of our body is water. In order to stay healthy you’ve got to drink good water. … Water is sacred, air is sacred.

Our DNA is made out of the same DNA as the tree, the tree breaths what we exhale, we need what the tree exhales. So we have a common destiny with the tree.

We are all from the earth, and when earth, the water, the atmosphere is corrupted, then it will create its own reaction. The mother is reacting.

In the Hopi prophecy they say the storms and floods will become greater. To me it’s not a negative thing to know that there will be great changes. It’s not negative, it’s evolution. When you look at it as evolution, it’s time, nothing stays the same.You should learn how to plant something. That is the first connection.

You should treat all things as spirit, realize that we are one family. It’s never something like the end. Its like life, there is no end to life.

– Floyd Red Crow Westerman

Wanting to meet an author because you like his work is like wanting to meet a duck because you like paté.
– Margaret Atwood

Look at us now,
entering our days
no differently than we did before
– @CPhillipsPoet

Tourism encourages unreality.
– Jan Morris

There are some people whose souls are so pure their kindness overflows with good deeds and love. They are remarkable people. Other souls – maybe not so much but we strive to seek the goodness in each person. We never know what someone is going through – what they are experiencing. It could be a loss, a trauma, or confusion. Every human is important and sometimes we need to overlook the negative aspects of another and wrap them in a blanket of love.
– Tribal Whispers

Some cry with tears, others with thoughts…
– Shakespeare

Some cry with tears, others with thoughts…
– Octavio Paz

Like you, I worry what you’d
think of me if you knew
the whole truth.
– Bianca Phipps

You don’t know darkness until you know the darkness of California.
– Nicholas Pierotti

…”God is, or He is not.” But to which side shall we incline? Reason can decide nothing here. There is an infinite chaos which separated us. A game is being played at the extremity of this infinite distance where heads or tails will turn up. What will you wager? According to reason, you can do neither the one thing nor the other; according to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions.

Do not, then, reprove for error those who have made a choice; for you know nothing about it. “No, but I blame them for having made, not this choice, but a choice; for again both he who chooses heads and he who chooses tails are equally at fault, they are both in the wrong. The true course is not to wager at all.”

Yes; but you must wager. It is not optional. You are embarked. Which will you choose then? Let us see. Since you must choose, let us see which interests you least. You have two things to lose, the true and the good; and two things to stake, your reason and your will, your knowledge and your happiness; and your nature has two things to shun, error and misery. Your reason is no more shocked in choosing one rather than the other, since you must of necessity choose. This is one point settled. But your happiness? Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.
– PASCAL

Seed

If an entire world might exist
on a mote of pollen clinging to
the flower of a thistle,
then what about the blueberry seed
wedged into the chasm
of my broken tooth?

What catastrophe looms
for its atomic inhabitants
every time I worry it with
my lacerated tongue,
which is to say nothing for the event
in which the delightful berry
was pulped into seed
in the first place.

I am incapable of saving
my dying world,
but what about theirs?

Perhaps I should keep
the dentist at bay, and let the seed
germinate in the steamy hot house
of my mouth.

Might an entire universe sprout,
green and woody limbs and vines
erupting from my cheek,
wreathing my entire head,
until my body surrenders itself
as compost to the flowering
of a lush new multiverse?

What then might I think of
my efforts?

How gorgeous might their
worlds be?

– Chris LaTray

biofidelity (uncountable)
The degree of faithfulness of a model to the real biological system it is based on.

Find things beautiful as much as you can,
most people find too little beautiful.
– Vincent Van Gogh

You didn’t come into this world.
You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean.
You are not a stranger here.
– Alan Watts

God’s light has no opposite.
– Rumi

Moegi-iro (萌黄色) is a vibrant, green color representing the yellow-ish shade of young leaves that sprout in early spring. It is one of the oldest colors recorded in Japanese history. In the Heian period, moegi-iro was used as the symbol of youth.

For if I believe anything, it is that the primary business of literature and art is cognitive, a kind of finding out and knowing and telling, both in good times and bad; a celebration of the way things are when they are right, and a diagnostic enterprise when they are wrong.
– Walker Percy

You’ll notice that I haven’t talked about love. Or about happiness. I’ve talked about becoming – or remaining – the person who can be happy, a lot of the time, without thinking that being happy is what it’s all about. It’s not. It’s about becoming the largest, most inclusive, most responsive person you can be.
– Susan Sontag

[INTO THE STRENUOUS BRIEFNESS]
into the strenuous briefness
Life:
handorgans and April
darkness,friends

i charge laughing.
Into the hair-thin tints
of yellow dawn,
into the women-coloured twilight

i smilingly
glide. I
into the big vermilion departure
swim,sayingly;

(Do you think?)the
i do,world
is probably made
of roses & hello:

(of solongs and,ashes)
– E. E. Cummings

I was in darkness, but I took three steps and found myself in paradise. The first step was a good thought, the second, a good word; and the third, a good deed.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

I am not well. I could have built the Pyramids with the effort it takes me to cling on to life and reason.
– Franz Kafka, Letters to Felice

Reciprocal Inhabitation

The places we love
inhabit who we are.
When you love a place
it loves you back.
Reciprocal inhabitation.

Collaborative fields of identity
are essential to living systems.
As I am including otherness
in the construction of myself,
so are they.

On a planet of living experiences
continually cocreating
through interactive inclusion
of one another,

the greatest “honeys”
in this world hive
are gleanings of value
mainly measured
by how they feel,
and how well they are held.
– George Gorman

If you’re putting other people under a pretty close lens, you really have no choice but to put that lens on yourself, too.
– Tobias Wolff

Your path may be different to your family, friends, and country. But despite what they may think, it does not mean that you are going in the wrong direction.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

Fractal Nuances

Ingenious palette,
your blends are mischiefs
of miscegenation.

I hold you near
as I color a world
of fractal nuances.

Then scurry in
to talk story
with friends.
– Bobbie Gorman

the language is in principle ready to think
everything you seek to think with her
but something in her makes you think
at the discretion of insensitive trails
they look like auspicious moose and they are
old commandments the language seems
same as the lover discovering
with you love while it is percluse
Knowledge and truths all done
– Bernard Noël, 1930-2021

People are rivers, always ready to move from one state of being into another. It is not fair, to treat people as if they are finished beings. Everyone is always becoming and unbecoming.
– Kathleen Winter

To ignore someone’s suffering is to ignore God!
– Pope Francis

. . . meet you there.

There is a stitch; golden threads dance though the fabric.
Loops and knots closing so many open wounds.
Much of the healing is done elsewhere, not just there.

There is a snitch; one who betrays your darkest secret.
Despite all your precautions and security
The imprisoned soul finds a way out of there.

There is a twitch; the smallest of impairments,
In the eye, in the little finger. Cyphers that
The demise of the ego has begun there.

There is a switch; a shift, when you no longer use
The world’s tragedies to prove you’re right. You embrace
Compassion and love your enemy. Are you there?

There is a glitch; code hacked long ago, bits and bytes,
Copied and pirated. On to the reboot, restore,
Upgrade and patch. The work never seems done there.

There is a witch; beautiful in her obscure
Obsessions. She once told you J. K.: “The future
Is a strange and wonderful place.” We will meet you there.
– J. K. McDowell, The Mystery Still Drives Us

Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.
– Thomas Henry Huxley

The weight of the world is love.
Under the burden of solitude,
under the burden of dissatisfaction
the weight, the weight we carry is love.
Who can deny?
the burden of life is love,
but we carry the weight wearily,
and so must rest in the arms of love
at last, must rest in the arms of love.
No rest without love,
no sleep without dreams of love–
be mad or chill obsessed with angels
or machines, the final wish
is love.
– Allen Ginsberg

We think we know our own life, but what we know is only an edited version, colored by our emotions and narrow vision. How close can we come to the original draft?
– Gregg Krech

The great definition of enlightenment
is simply the natural state of being.
We have been hypnotized
into thinking that the perception of division
and fear and conflict
is actually the natural state of humanity.
But at another point,
when we’ve become more conscious,
we see that this state of division is not natural.

As I’ve said before,
it takes a tremendous amount of energy
to maintain the illusion of division,
because it’s not the natural state.
This fact should be obvious,
because division doesn’t feel natural.
It may feel common,
it may feel like it’s the usual thing,
you may see it all around you,
but when you feel
that same conflict inside yourself,
you realize it doesn’t feel natural.
It feels divided;
it feels conflicted.
– Adyashanti, The End of Your World

I realised that it is not the right of any human being to exercise control over a fellow human being except in what prevents the harm of others, and that we are much stronger than the conditions we find ourselves in – more than I had imagined. I realised that no one has the right to silence someone, or control what he reads and knows, for he is nothing but another human being like he is, and he is no way better than another to control him had the roles been reversed.
– Bassem Sabry

I am looking for the word that says of love what hasn’t been said before. Something like the spray of swallows that exhale from the ocean’s foamy caps. Like mountains come unhidden by clouds, I am looking for a word which is giant and invisible and always there. I am looking for an endearment, like trust made fresh, like the man who naps while his lover writes poetry. I am looking for a new kind of bravery word, like the alyssum which dares grow on the shoulder of an escarpment while the sea goes wild beneath. I am looking for the word which transcends the obstacles of familiarity, like a seabird’s shadow gliding over logs and rocks and seashored debris. I am looking for a word which tells, like a rune, of a sudden constellation. Which praises fidelity to the craft every bird undertakes; to hover unflapping into a headwind. I am looking, but I hope to write a thousand volumes before I find it.
– Toko-pa Turner

There’s nothing that makes you so aware of the improvisation of human existence as a song unfinished. Or an old address book.
– Carson McCullers

I have learned that you cannot help others unless you first help yourself. But I have also learned that the greatest honour that one could experience is to arrive upon a true serendipity of an opportunity to aid and bring joy to another human being.
– Bassem Sabry

For everything that emerges from the earth
thanks be to you, O Source,
Holy Root of being
Sacred Sap that rises
Full-bodied Fragrance of earth’s unfolding form.
May we know that we are of You
may we know that we are in You
may we know that we are one with You
together one.
Guide us as nations to what is deepest
open us as peoples to what is first
lead us as a world to what is dearest
that we may know the holiness of wholeness
that we may learn the strength of humility
that together we may live close to the earth
and grow in grounded glory.

– John Philip Newell, Praying with the Earth: A Prayerbook for Peace

To be angry means to punish oneself for the mistakes of others.
– Babuji Maharaj

When you neglect your own welfare in seeking the welfare of the children, you leave the children a bad inheritance, a very bad impression of the past. If you torture yourself in order to produce something for the children, you give them the picture of a tortured life.
Therefore away with all that.
If you are always preparing for the happiness of the children, you don’t know how to look after your own happiness, nor do the children learn how to look after theirs. They in turn may go on to prepare for the happiness of your grandchildren, and the grandchildren for the great-grandchildren, and so happiness is always somewhere in the future.
You think happiness is something to be attained in the future, that you cannot attain it, but your children will have it. So you fill your life with ambitions for that kingdom to come and it never does. Every generation is doing something towards it. They all torture themselves in order that the children shall attain it, but the children grow up and are the same fools we are.
Try to make it here and now, for yourself. That is good teaching. Then the children will try to make it here and now for themselves – then it can come into the real world. Don’t be unnatural and seek happiness in the next generations. If you are too concerned about your children and grandchildren, you simply burden them with the debts you have contracted. While if you contract no debts, if you live simply and make yourselves as happy as possible, you leave the best of conditions to your children. At all events, you leave a good example of how to take care of themselves. If the parents can take care of themselves, the children will also. They will not be looking for the happiness of the grandchildren, but will do what is necessary to have a reasonable amount of happiness themselves.
– C. G. Jung – Seminar on Nietzsche’s Zarathustra

If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it.
– ROALD DAHL, The Twits

The first step is to tone down the prophecies of doom, and switch from panic mode to bewilderment. Panic is a form of hubris. It comes from the smug feeling that I know exactly where the world is heading – down. Bewilderment is more humble, and therefore more clear-sighted. If you feel like running down the street crying ‘The apocalypse is upon us!’, try telling yourself ‘No, it’s not that. Truth is, I just don’t understand what’s going on in the world.
– Yuval Noah Harari, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Water, which is the oldest sound,
the first sound we forgot
– Li Young-Lee

Do you think the water will forget what we have done?
– Natalie Diaz

In Vietnamese, the word for water and the word for a nation, a country, and a homeland are one and the same: nu’o’c.
– lê thi diem thúy

We must picture hell as a state where everyone
is perpetually concerned about his own dignity
and advancement, where everyone
has a grievance, and where everyone lives
with the deadly serious passions of envy,
self-importance, and resentment.
– C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Respect was invented to cover the empty place
where love should be.
– Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Most the times
the higher intelligence
uses people to speak to us –
Listen not just with your
ears but with all of your body,
when someone talks
to you whether it
is a grownup or a child –
Just listen without
your mind’s temptation
to interfere, comment or judge.
– Guthema Roba

This day, then, ends in rain
but almost everyone will live through it.
Tomorrow’s thousands losing their loved ones
have not yet stepped into never being the same again.
Maybe the sun’s first light will hit me
in those moments, but I’d gladly wake to feel it:
the dramatic opening of a day,
clean blood pumping from the heart.
– Michael Ryan

DEAR FRIEND
I become each day more reckless,
too impatient for summer, the unbearable heat,
the calm that comes with it. There are no hills here,
not one, and I’m bored with the stillness

of the yellow field outside my window. And you,
who cannot keep still, who can never
look back, where will you go next?
How will I find you?

Can you feel the world pull
apart, the seams loosen?
What, tell me, will keep it whole,

if not you? if not me?
Send a postcard, picture, tell me
how you’ve been.
– Blas Falconer

I think of good love as something that roots, not rots, over time, and of the hyphae that are weaving through the ground below me, reaching out through the soil in search of mergings. Theirs, too, seems to me then a version of love’s work.
– Robert Macfarlane, Underland

Where the myth fails, human love begins. Then we love a human being, not our dream, but a human being with flaws.
– Anais Nin

And the emptiness turns its face to us and whispers,
‘I am not empty,
I am open’
– Tomas Tranströmer

Participation in the natural language of beauty has always been a primary concern of human culture, and clothing has been one of its principal means of expression. This is a story as old as fire, cooking and tool use – from the mists of human creation.
Rather than grow thicker hair and skin, somehow we pursued the adoption of clothing to make home in colder climates. We donned the skins and furs of the hunt as our evolutionary course – a natural extension of the life giving sustenance of the hunt; food and clothing now forever linked for us. We became dependent on clothing – for warmth, yes, but for beauty, meaning and communication too.
– Daniel Stermac-stein


Before her what did I do?
I gave away my ideas,
my time, my soul.
I walked the ridge lines
of the North Hills,
then drove to South Hills,
to drink martinis alone.
And I watched old tv shows,
stayed in bed till noon,
and wrote letters
to broken loves,
and waited for the replies
that never came.
So I made
porcelain cups and pots,
drove to the deserts
and took memories of stars,
like the photographs
I had once taken of ruins,
then drove to the ocean
and drew sketches on
sheets of fog.
This morning she
brought me coffee
and food, opened the blinds,
laughed about the weather,
told me of her plans — another
book shelf today — and then she
asked,
“What would you do without me?”
She knows.
– steve saroff

A great wound was open in my heart and — at times — I fled the family table to walk alone in the mountains, picking my way between the flint-peaks and ice floes.
I thought the wound needed healing. Only later did I realise that the wound was the price and prize of being alive, the sensation of my own heart beating. I heard the news from an old woman with tattoos on her face and when I understood, I began at last to love the people I was with. I saw that the chambers of my heart were big enough to carry them all.
– Tom Hirons, Black Hat

QUITE EARLY MORNING – Pete Seeger

Don’t you know it’s darkest before the dawn
And it’s this thought keeps me moving on
If we could heed these early warnings
The time is now quite early morning
If we could heed these early warnings
The time is now quite early morning

Some say that humankind won’t long endure
But what makes them so doggone sure?
I know that you who hear my singing
Could make those freedom bells go ringing (2x)

And so we keep on while we live
Until we have no, no more to give
And when these fingers can strum no longer
Hand the old banjo to young ones stronger (2x)

So though it’s darkest before the dawn
These thoughts keep us moving on
Through all this world of joy and sorrow
We still can have singing tomorrows (2x)

Standing before the awesome majesty and magnitude of the universe is so intimidating that many of us cry out for mediators—the state, gurus, evangelists with coifed hair—all with their own agendas of gain. The purveyors of the marketplace frequently denounce those who learn to respect their own encounter with mystery as “gnostics.” Well, gnosis means “knowledge.” If I can learn from my direct experience of the universe, and am haunted by them when I ignore them, then why not live my life according what I have learned directly, rather than what is mediated by others, however sincere their motivation may be?
– James Hollis, Hauntings: Dispelling the Ghosts Who Run Our Lives

It’s Important I Remember that the Moral Arc of the Universe Bends—
but it doesn’t break, and neither breaks toward justice
nor away from it. It simply bends, as the bow does
before propelling the arrow where it may, agnostic
to everything but flight. I don’t mean to make morality
a weapon in this way, but it already is one and has been
for some time. The shackles, after all, were explained
as saving us from ourselves, our naked savagery,
though it was their whip that licked us and left a kind
of tactile text on our bodies. The Bible will have a man
beating on someone as easily as it will have another
taking one, turning the other cheek, civilly disobedient
even when the bombs blow up in their church, not to say
saying no to violence isn’t commendable, just to say
a strong case can be made for cracking a skull or two
like an everyday egg in hopes whatever golden light
resides inside shines through, throughs the crimson tide
for the rest of time so the tide will, mercifully, recede.
– Cortney Lamar Charleston

Continent, city, country, society:
the choice is never wide and never free.
And here, or there… No. Should we have stayed at home,
wherever that may be?
– Elizabeth Bishop

I will hang over his head like a sword by a hair. I will be opium to his vanity—if I cannot injure his interests—He is a rat and he shall have ratsbane to his vanity.

– John Keats to his sister, 1819, at peak vehemence

Chuang Tzu and Hui Tzu
Were crossing Hao river
By the dam.

Chuang said:
“See how free
The fishes leap and dart:
That is their happiness.”

Hui replied:
“Since you are not a fish
How do you know
What makes fishes happy?”

Chuang said:
“Since you are not I
How can you possibly know
That I do not know
What makes fishes happy?” […]

– Chuang-Tzu, The Joy of Fishes

Humankind is drawn to dogs because they are so like ourselves—bumbling, affectionate, confused, easily disappointed, eager to be amused, grateful for kindness and the least attention.
– Patricia McConnell

Dig
You don’t need to take
a journey into the wilderness.
You need to take a journey
into the back yard.
The mountaintop
is wherever you are.
Angels of dew.
Forests of moss.
Cathedrals of clover and
Galaxies whirling in black loam.
Grand destinations for the eremitic
visionary earthworm.
Now dig.
– Alfred K. LaMotte

First Days of Spring

First days of spring — the sky
is bright blue, the sun huge and warm.
Everything’s turning green.
Carrying my monk’s bowl, I walk to the village
to beg for my daily meal.
The children spot me at the temple gate
and happily crowd around,
dragging to my arms till I stop.
I put my bowl on a white rock,
hang my bag on a branch.
First we braid grasses and play tug-of-war,
then we take turns singing and keeping a kick-ball in the air:
I kick the ball and they sing, they kick and I sing.
Time is forgotten, the hours fly.
People passing by point at me and laugh:
“Why are you acting like such a fool?”
I nod my head and don’t answer.
I could say something, but why?
Do you want to know what’s in my heart?
From the beginning of time: just this! just this!
– Ryokan

I’m never gonna wait
that extra twenty minutes
to text you back, and
I’m never gonna play
hard to get -when I know
your life has been
hard enough already.

Everyone’s life has been
hard enough already.
– Andrea Gibson

Much of popular psychology presumes that the difficulties a person faces—be that addiction, depression, anxiety or self-esteem—are caused by, and therefore must be addressed by, the individual.

This assumption is not always made explicit, but it can be seen in the fact that the counsel and advice offered is almost always addressed to the individual. Further, many people suggest that all causes and resolutions rest on individual, not collective, choice.

However, we also live in a web of history and relationships, including family, friendships, organizations, cultures, and subcultures.

For example, a gay youth’s suicidality is not only a result of that particular youth’s psychology and thus the “cure” must also include changes in the larger structures of relationship and society.

Or a Native American woman’s stress is not only the result of her individual psychology. In fact, it is heightened by the outrageous infant mortality rate – an injury more related to the genocidal history of white American colonialism.

The same is true for addictions and many other psychological difficulties. In the words of Arnold Mindell, Ph.D., these symptoms are “city shadows”—shadow material of a larger community that impacts some individuals more than others.

In my experience, there is no symptom that belongs ONLY to the individual, whether that symptom is emotional, spiritual, physical, social, or financial.

When this is not understood then our viewpoint and attitude towards individuals and clients make it more likely they will feel shame about their suffering or their inability to “cure” it.

In essence, they think the difficulty is only about them—their limits, their pathology, their deficiencies, and their failure.

– David Bedrick

Crisscross
Meandering across a field with wild asparagus,
I write with my body the characters for grass,
water, transformation, ache to be one with spring.
Biting into watermelon, spitting black seeds
onto a plate, I watch the eyes of an Armenian
accordion player, and before dropping a few
euros into his brown cap, smell sweat and fear.
I stay wary of the red horse, Relámpago, latch
the gate behind me; a thorned Russian olive
branch arcs across the path below my forehead,
and, approaching the Pojoaque River, I recall
the sign, beware pickpockets, find backhoe tracks,
water diverted into a ditch. Crisscrossing
the stream, I catch a lightning flash, the white-
capped Truchas peaks, behind, to the east, and in
the interval between lightning and thunder,
as snow accumulates on black branches,
the chasm between what I envision and what I do.
– Arthur Sze

Still round the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate.
– J. R. R. Tolkien

It is a general prejudice we have, based on unreflectively held Platonic ideas and Cartesian divisions of reality, that ideas are somehow pure form, that they don’t need feelings, embodiments, dramatic performances and personalities to be real. But nothing could be farther from the truth. From the poetic crystal clarity of mathematics, to the dense, solemn vengefulness of communism and the fresh, sprinkling hope of environmentalism, all great ideas come with lived moods, visions and rituals.

Metamodern ideas are no different; they arrive at the scene with a certain form of audacity, bordering on aristocratic arrogance. There is an existential tinge, a kind of adventurous but gentle sense of vastness that grips the heart and mind of the afflicted. You see complex patterns unfolding in the strangest dance, universality in every event, open horizons, and a depth—as if everyday phenomena became astronomical mysteries revealed by the Hubble telescope. There is a sense of connectedness, but in a universal and impersonal way.

And May the 4th be with you.

– Hanzi Freinacht

At this point, we are in a powerful spot: being in the present, we can reshape the whole future. Therefore, shouldn’t we be more careful, shouldn’t we be more awake in what we are doing this very moment?
– Chogyam Trungpa, True Perception

Subtle Interplay

Part I.

Missing the subtle interplay.
It’s harder to play subtly with myself.
Practice is a trick.
A child learning to play happily by itself.
Which means having been held lovingly.
Thank you.
Still learning.

Subtle interplay is about
going with spontaneous impulses
and inexplicable understandings,
which are increased through interactions.
Allowing love to change you/
‘Cause it feels so good.

Part II.

I’d rather “sift levity”
(as Bobbie says)
than suck density.
Would rather discover Japan
than to save North Carolina.
(Sounds like old unforgivenesses.)

Time is engendered through contrasts?
Differences that make an “if-ferance?”

` I found you one way
but if I’d found you another
then our contrasts would’ve interplayed
in different ways.
Never through cause-and-effect
but by dint of both
intent and extenuation.

Time again.

As those who like to play with others,
living creatures require time –
for the sake of equitability.

– George Gorman

Now, as far as I was concerned, there are two ways of living, and because we’re on a ball in space these were more or less exactly poles apart. The first, accept the world as it is. The world is concrete and considerable, with beauties and flaws both, and both immense, profound and perplexing, and if you can take it as it is and for what it is you’ll all but guarantee an easier path, because it’s a given that acceptance is one of the keys to any kind of contentment. The second, that acceptance is surrender, that there’s a place for it, but that place is somewhere just before your last breath where you say “All right then, I have tried” and accept that you have lived and loved as best you could, have pushed against every wall, stood up after every disappointment, and until that last moment, you shouldn’t accept anything, you should make things better.
– Niall Williams

It is fairly obvious that treating different things the same can generate as much inequality as treating the same things differently.
– Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought

No Title Required
by Wislawa Szymborska (trans. by S Baranczak/C Cavanagh)

It has come to this: I’m sitting under a tree
beside a river
on a sunny morning.
It’s an insignificant event
and won’t go down in history.
It’s not battles and pacts,
where motives are scrutinized,
or noteworthy tyrannicides.

And yet I’m sitting by this river, that’s a fact.
And since I’m here
I must have come from somewhere,
and before that
I must have turned up in many other places,
exactly like the conquerors of nations
before setting sail.

Even a passing moment has its fertile past,
its Friday before Saturday,
its May before June.
Its horizons are no less real
than those that a marshal’s field glasses might scan.

This tree is a poplar that’s been rooted here for years.
The river is the Raba; it didn’t spring up yesterday.
The path leading through the bushes
wasn’t beaten last week.
The wind had to blow the clouds here
before it could blow them away.

And though nothing much is going on nearby,
the world is no poorer in details for that.
It’s just as grounded, just as definite
as when migrating races held it captive.

Conspiracies aren’t the only things shrouded in silence.
Retinues of reasons don’t trail coronations alone.
Anniversaries of revolutions may roll around,
but so do oval pebbles encircling the bay.

The tapestry of circumstance is intricate and dense.
Ants stitching in the grass.
The grass sewn into the ground.
The pattern of a wave being needled by a twig.

So it happens that I am and look.
Above me a white butterfly is fluttering through the air
on wings that are its alone,
and a shadow skims through my hands
that is none other than itself, no one else’s but its own.

When I see such things, I’m no longer sure
that what’s important
is more important than what’s not.

I responded to the gravity of an invisible moon at my core, and I undertook journeys I had not expected to take.
– Mohsin Hamid

A single conversation can position you as a catalyst in someone’s personal growth and success.
– Wise Connector

The power of a man is his present means to obtain some future apparent good.
– Thomas Hobbes

The sheer terror of reading an interview transcript and realizing that, at some point in the last year, I started saying “oh my gosh” often and earnestly.
– Saeed Jones

The only revolution that can work is the inner transformation of every human being.
– Stanislav Grof

Because the bird flew before
there was a word
for flight

years from now
there will be a name
for what you and I are doing.

– Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Cenzontle

Your body is the bodhi tree
Your mind is like a clear mirror
At all times you must polish it
You must not let it collect dust

– Shen-hsiu

Calvert Morgan:
I thought a blockchain was just the list of people you’ve blocked

Self-observation is the first step of inner unfolding.
– Amit Ray

For in the dissolute life of my youth
the plans for my poetry were taking shape;
the boundaries of my art were being drawn.
– @cavafybot

Chase Anderson, MD, MS:
Normalize the knowledge that medicine is inherently political.

Doth:
It’s not you, it’s my shattered serotonin receptors.

No one cares about what you know

spread good aura wherever you go

– @Eziahatoka

Kathryn Knight Sonntag:
Feeling deeply into what it means to raise neurodivergent children. They are so tender. Please world, be tender for them.

Jason Garner:
Feeling confused is an invitation for growth after being pushed out of the tiny box of “things I thought I knew for sure.” Lean in. Be curious. Explore questions like: Why does not knowing scare me? Why does it hurt to have my beliefs shaken up? What new learnings are available?

The Buddha:
How easy it is to see your brother’s faults, How hard it is to face your own.

Dr. Thema:
It’s a gift to find the words and the freedom to speak about the experiences that were stuck and buried.

It’s good to see you breathing and speaking.

People are always angry at anyone who chooses very individual standards for his life; because of the extraordinary treatment which that man grants to himself, they feel degraded, like ordinary beings.
– Friedrich Nietzsche ; Human, All Too Human

the shortest straw
in his hand
winter solstice
– El Coyote

planetarium
my child’s grip
starts to loosen
– John McManus

Time, my twin, take me by the hand through the streets of your city.
– Ilya Kaminsky

A tough life needs a tough language—
and that is what poetry is.
That is what literature offers—
a language powerful enough to say how it is.
It isn’t a hiding place. It is a finding place.
– Jeanette Winterson

I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one… Humans are caught—in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too—in a net of good and evil… There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well—or ill?
– John Steinbeck

All’s in this flower …
Times, seasons, losses, all the fruits of woe,
Beauty’s fragility, and death’s bare gain,
Pluck’d in passing by, five minutes ago.

All’s in this flower, the war of life and death,
God’s character and purpose written down,
The force of love, the proof and power of faith
All’s here, and all unknown.

– Frank Kendon, The Time Piece

Where something becomes extremely difficult and unbearable, there we also stand always already quite near its transformation.
– R. Rilke

GHOST WORDS

Wikipedia: “A ghost word is a word published in a dictionary or similarly authoritative reference work, having rarely, if ever, been used in practice, and previously having been meaningless. As a rule, a ghost word will have originated from an error, such as a misinterpretation, mispronunciation, misreading, or from typographical or linguistic confusion.” Phrase coined by the great philologist, Walter William Skeat.

Meaningless words which
Upon their appearance in a book
Take on a meaning
They never had before,
Though the meaning is in fact
“The result of error, misinterpretation,
Mispronunciation, misreading, or
Typographical or linguistic confusion.”
Poetry. Finnegans Wake.
One example is “dord,”
Which can be found
In the magisterial second edition
Of the Miriam-Webster New
International Dictionary (1934)
And remained in editions until 1947.
It began as simply the letter D.
Another (Edinburgh Review, 1808): “The Hindoos
Have some very savage customs.
Some swing on hooks,
Some run kimes through their hands.”
Kimes? A misprint for knives
Though it too received
An erroneous definition of its own.
There are also ghost back formations
So that the word “pumpernickel”
Is said to have been invented
By Napoléon, who had a horse
Named Nicole:
“Pain pour Nicole”–
Fit only for a horse.
Are all my words ghost words?
When I say love
Is that a meaningless word
That takes on meaning
Erroneously
Only when it is written down?
When I say poetry
What in the world might that mean
Though we recognize a poem
Primarily through its shape
On the page
(As a well-known formalist discovered
When he failed to recognize a traditional sonnet
When he saw it printed as prose.)
Is everything written about everything
Erroneous?
I send these ghost words out
To whatever ears
Are ready for them
(My own hear
BOTH my heartbeat–
Thump thump thump–
AND the world outside:
Simultaneously!)
We live
As Murray said
In the web of words
And weave our erroneous wordlings
In the hope that we
And they

“Live.”

– Jack Foley

What I am really saying is that you don’t need to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.
– Alan Watts

All I am is literature, and I am not
able or willing to be anything else.
– Franz Kafka

Divide and rule, the politician cries; unite and lead, is watchword of the wise.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Do not be hardened by the pain
and cruelty of this world.
Be strong enough to be gentle,
to be soft and supple like running water,
gracefully bending around sudden turns,
lithely waving in strong winds,
freely flowing over sharp rocks,
all the while quietly sculpting
this hard world into ever deeper beauty,
gently eroding rigid rock into silken sand,
tenderly transforming human cruelty
into humankindness.
Remember, true strength is not found in the stone,
but in the water that shapes the stone.
– L.R. Knost

CARVED IVORY

The elephant remembers
The bones
Exposed on dry Earth
Caught in a tangle of splintered wood
Turned over and over again
The lip of the trunk drinking
The scent of the lost

The spirit departed

Grief hanging in the hot
Charge of the desert sun
A deep moan bellowing from the center
of the beast
Pouring across the floodplain
Much too low for inhuman ears
To decipher.

– Laurence Overmire

The American Performance Faith will drive you crazy. Self-improvement is not transformation. It is ego-based and is not sustainable.
The most profound expression of our spirituality is incarnational. It is Christ in you. It’s so profound that Jesus says, ‘apart from me, you can do nothing.
– Bob Holmes

Let the past go.
A homeless man at the shelter, the illness in his mind causes a rage to boil over, and he ends up back on the same hard street. Again. I know it has to be, but how long, I wonder until his sunrise? Where is his warmth and tiny comfort?

It took the smile and the embrace of a grandchild to teach me a great lesson, to help me see. Life isn’t about what has happened; we must let the past go. Life is about what is happening right now, and about passing along the love and the blessings to those who come after us. Thank you, child, for that.
– jobe

I don’t hold on to anything, don’t reject anything; nowhere an obstacle or conflict.
– Layman Pang

Like many intellectuals, he was incapable
of saying a simple thing in a simple way.
– Marcel Proust

I live in a world that is completely seamless between the two. Fantasy is the real story. The world in which we live is structured from notions that are completely fabricated; your clothes, your wallet, that we all agree that pieces of paper are worth something. Geography is a complete fabrication. Where does Mexico start and America end? From space, nowhere. We agree to kill each other, to tax each other, to shame each other from notions that are complete fabrications. To me, those are harmful fantasies. Whereas my fantasies are liberating.
– Guillermo Del Toro

I, too, pine for a landscape where nothing is in danger of becoming fragmented or foreclosing, where the thin line between endangered and extinct is a concern of the past.
– Terry Abrahams

I thought my dance alone through worlds of
odd and eccentric planets that no one else knew
would sustain me.
– Jo Harjo, She Had Some Horses: Poems

Parable of the Unclean Spirit
by Sara Eliza Johnson

You can’t remember what they did to you. Your loneliness isn’t welcome here, you know, but still you walk the dream-lit village, looking for someone gentle enough. There must be an animal trapped under your shirt, you think, because little claws scratch against your chest and you throb there, but you’re afraid to look because looking means remembering. You ask a man passing on the road to lift your shirt and check and he retches at what he sees, says the flesh there overflows, as if grinding its own meat, that strips of skin curl away from the wound like rot mushrooms growing on a tree, and he can’t help you, you make him sick, he says, he has to go now, so you wander some more until you reach the gate, which is the end of who you could have been, the end of the dream of your body made full with starmilk, propelled by a heart of sea anemone. You’ll be hungry forever if you stay here, trying to hide your secret mouth from all this light. Before you can cross the gate into that dark valley, you must look at yourself. You can think of other words for red: crimson, cherry, scarlet. But there’s no other name for blood, no name for a shame like this, its hiss of pain when you press your finger to it, the sweet stain it leaves on your fingertip. You just have to taste it.

To get the full value of a joy,
share it with someone.
– Mark Twain

We now know that moral norms and standards can be changed overnight, and that all that then will be left is the mere habit of holding fast to something. Much more reliable will be the doubters and skeptics…
– Hannah Arendt

There are those, standing in perfect giving, who become universal monarchs. Giving gifts, they establish beings in the ten wholesome paths.
– Buddha

Work, work, work, money, money, money, Shakespeare, Shakespeare, Shakespeare – my kid doing a bit he calls Boring Grownup.
– Zachary Lesser

Then he lay down
to sleep like a snow-covered road
winding through pines older than him,
without any travelers, and lonely for no one.
– Li-Young Lee, Eating Together

One comes not into the world but into question.
– Emmanuel Levinas

What labels me, negates me.
– Soren Kierkegaard

I want to have the gall of a poem that only lets you know who she is on the 16th draft.
– Shira Erlichman

At the end of this sentence, the rain will begin.
– Derek Walcott

People who can’t communicate think everything is an argument.
– @TrainingMindful

Create an aura so powerful that all shady energy directed at you, naturally bounces back to it’s original manifester.
– @_Pammy_DS_

Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.
– Paul Klee

I, too, am built out of a question about the sky.
– Aracelis Girmay, The Black Maria

It’s high time the stars were re-lit
– Apollinaire

Oscar Wilde said that if you know what you want to be, then you inevitably become it…that is your punishment, but if you never know, then you can be anything. There is a truth to that. We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing…an actor, a writer…I am a person who does things…I write, I act…and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.
– Stephen Fry

Yes, ignore the walking corpses and their many
Uninspired callings. I am tracing footprints
Left by your imagination. Why did you go?
– James McDowell

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.
– George Orwell

Forests and fields, rocks and weeds – my true companions. The wild ways of the Crazy Cloud will never change. People think I’m mad but I don’t care: If I’m a demon here on earth, there is no need to fear the hereafter.
– Ikkyū
Wild Ways : Zen Poems of Ikkyū
John Stevens

Happy May Day! Enjoy what flowers you can and don’t cross any picket lines, digital or otherwise. Here is a poem for the occasion.

May Day

You won’t believe the work it takes
to make it look so wild,”
the gardener said to me
as I passed through
for calm between commitments.

I understood.
The grass was long and soft and stroked with purple
in the circle of the ivy-covered trees.
It could have been a forest glade,
except for his wood wheelbarrow, his clippers, his dirt-smudged gloves,
and his words—not bitter—
but simply stated.
A fact he needed to make known.

So much of what we sense is work.

An apple is first planted, watered, picked, packed, transported, stocked before we taste its easy sweetness.

The books we read are sweated out over a year of midnights, pages pulped from timbered trees and printed, bound, and boxed to stores where they are stacked neatly on tables.

Even love is spun from diapers changed and nightmares soothed at 3 a.m., favorite meals cooked, important dates noted and remembered, three word texts crafted over hours.

Labor builds this world invisible as atoms—
till it stops.
– Olivia Rosane

Learning. If you plant a seed of mystery it doesn’t grow you a solution. It grows a strange plant bearing fruits you can’t eat, each one filled with a dozen more seeds. Mystery seems to beget mystery. Worthwhile questions seem to beget more questions. You can’t dissect the seeds and expect to find a solution without killing the plant inside it. Our need to know everything makes a sacrifice of what we say we want to know. Our manner of admiring is often the end of that which we profess to admire. The heartbreaking truth of modern culture is that our manner of loving is often deadly and our curiousity another form of acquisition. How do we admire in a way that ennobles and behold without seeking to remove the space between ourselves and those we claim to love? For many of us, our past is a consequence laden testimony to our not knowing another way. And maybe that past and the ways it echoes on in the world is a mystery too, waiting for us to learn some slower, older and more gracious manner of approach. It’s not so much that we ask too much of it but that there is something mystery asks of us that is all but unknown in this culture – the capacity to be in the presence of something unfamiliar without grasping at it or mauling it with our desire to turn it into something familiar. Mystery is a small village in a foreign country that you let embrace you as they come to know you slowly. It’s their dinner table at which you sit, attentive, not asking questions but trusting that when you need to know something they will tell you because we know that we are the stranger here, we are the guest, and mystery is the host of everything.
– Tad Hargrave

The song I came to sing
remains unsung to this day.
I have spent my days in stringing
and in unstringing my instrument.

The time has not come true,
the words have not been rightly set;
only there is the agony
of wishing in my heart…..

I have not seen his face,
nor have I listened to his voice;
only I have heard his gentle footsteps
from the road before my house…..

But the lamp has not been lit
and I cannot ask him into my house;
I live in the hope of meeting with him;
but this meeting is not yet.

– Rabindranath Tagore

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
– Rabindranath Tagore

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.
– Virginia Woolf

Tsunami Chant
I’m not a singer, but please
let me sing of the peacemakers
on the streets and internet, your candles
in this darkest moment of night,
your bodies on the steps of government buildings,
your voices from the roots of grasses and trees,
from your pit of conscience.

I’m not a prayer, but please,
please give my voice to the children
in Baghdad, Basra, Afghanistan,
and every other bombed-out place on earth,
your crying out in pain and fear;
please give my hands to the mothers
raking through rubble for food, bodies;
my sight to the cities and fields in smoke;
my tears to the men and women who are brought
home in bags; and please give my ears
to those who refuse to hear the explosions,
who tune only to censored news, official words.

I’m not a citizen, but please
count my vote against the belief
that the American way is the only way,
count it against the blasphemy of freedom,
against a gang of thugs who donned crowns
on their own heads, who live for power
and power only, whose only route is
to deceive and loot, whose mouths move
only to crush, whose hands close
only into a grave.

I’m not a worshiper, but please
accept my faith in those
who refuse to believe in painted lies,
refuse to join this chorus of supreme hypocrisy,
refuse to sell out, to let their conscience sleep,
wither, die. Please accept my faith
in those who cross the bridge for peace,
only to be cursed and spat upon, but keep crossing
anyway, every Wednesday, in rain and snow,
and my faith in those who camp out night after night,
your blood thawing the frozen ground,
your tents flowers of hope in this bleak age.

I don’t possess a bomb, don’t know
how to shoot or thrust a sword.
All I have is a broken voice,
a heart immense with sorrow.
But please, please take them,
let them be part of this tsunami
of chanting, this chant of awakening.
– Wang Ping

antonio porchia wrote: “god has given a lot to man; but man would like something from man.” indeed. from looking at god so much, we have missed each other. and that’s a shame, as the only way to receive from god is to give to men. or as martin buber said it much better, “the lines of relationship between i and thou intersect in the eternal thou.” porchia was right beyond measure.
– Hune Margulies

It isn’t very often that we are called upon as a society, let alone as a global population, to act in unison, in synchrony. But we are now. And if you are a hold out and choose to do something different, you are messing things up. Plain and simple. And its serious.

What a cool, historic moment of global solidarity we all have the opportunity to participate in right now. Not only are we looking out for our own immediate health safety, we are actively engaged in protecting others including those in our immediate proximity as well as all around the world. It is the ultimate action of human solidarity.

Like many deadly diseases that have killed and disabled many around the world over time, COVID 19 has the potential of being arrested through our collective will. And it takes each and everyone of us to act as one organism to accomplish this. We are, in that way, a single organism.

If you refuse to participate, you are doing the opposite, unless you totally retreat from participation in society and remain locked down. You cannot enjoy the opening up of society without simultaneously undermining this enormous global effort. Those who aren’t being vaccinated, whether by choice or do to lack of access, are creating a literal breeding ground for the virus to continue to morph and spread. In that way, choosing not participate in the vaccination rollout is profoundly anti-social. And further, if that same person that chooses to participate in the other activities of an opening up society, this is a profound act of indefensible privilege, that you should enjoy the outcomes of something you refused to help create. That is, of course, unless you have a very special health condition that warrants your refraining from the vaccine.

So, it is quite wonderful that we have now over 314 million people world wide who have stepped up to this call for solidarity for mankind. Thank you to all of the people I know who are a part of this amazing solidarity movement for the good of everyone around the world.

If you are among the few who refuse the vaccine, I plead with your to reconsider. If you remain unvaccinated, please continue to mask aggressively to protect the rest of us from what you may have the potential of spreading. Please refrain from participating in social gatherings, and please remain locked down. And most of all, please know that we have no desire to exclude you at all. We want you to join us and be a part of this great moment of human solidarity and that includes both being vaccinated as well as enjoying the benefits of this roll out.
– Will Eiserman 

The life-blood of our existence is not the circulation of money or credit, but spirituality lived and abundantly expressed. Each of us can live this supply today, and with unlimited joy and liberty of mind. Nothing is holding us back.
– Mehlenbacher

If it is not for Non-Duality. all the tantric practices of visualisation is a complete joke.
– GENDUN CHOPEL

Nurture great thoughts, for you will never go higher than your thoughts.
– B. Disraeli

As the lazy, pseudo-superior spiritualists hide behind their egoic badge of egolessness, the world burns. They imagine themselves above the problem, when in fact, their feigned aboveness is the problem. There is no difference between self-nullifying patriarchal spiritualists and soul-eradicating patriarchal capitalists. Meditation cushions, and board rooms… same bloody hustle. Meanwhile, the world burns.

If we want to save this bloodied species, we have to heal it. We have to do the individual work to heal and integrate our parts, and we have to do the collective work to heal and integrate every voice. Until then, we are nothing but lost. We are fragmented and fractured stumble bums, tripping our way to nothingness. There is no peace in that. There will only be peace when every single voice is heard and honored.

We may be frightened of this chaos, but it really is our only hope. Because we have been numbed to sleep for so long, that only the trauma survivors can scream our hearts back to life. Only their cries will awaken us. The cries of the long forgotten, raging against the dying of their light (Dylan Thomas line). Let them rage. And let us rage right alongside them.
– Jeff Brown

Never forget that you are a man and therefore you must bleed for the goal of humanity. Listen you are still too juvenile for your age. You should get older, the years are dwindling and yet your work has not been accomplished. Practice solitude assiduously without grumbling so that everything will in time become ready. You should not die unfulfilled. Your years are numbered and many years are still needed for your fulfilment. You should become serious and your work sink heavy as iron into the ground of mankind. Let go of too much science. There lies the way that is not the way. Your way goes toward the depths, toward the rarest and deepest.
– C. G. Jung, Black Books

God loves to repose
into at every atom of this world,
including your body,
and drench it with light

When I hear people talk
about their loneliness or limitations
I often want to shout,

“Darling, can’t you see
every part of you
is sopping with God!?”

– Chelan Harkin

I am so busy. I am practicing my new hobby
of watching me become someone else.
There is so much violence in reconstruction.
Every minute is grisly, but I have to participate.
I am building what I cannot break.
– Jennifer Willoughby, The Sun is Still a Part of Me

when the heart is broken
and the soul is crushed
let the psyche be rendered
and the spirit smelted
embrace the refining fire
let your steel be strengthened,
your bone enlivened,
and reclaim your gold.
– Roger Wolsey

Listen to me, your body is not a temple. Temples can be destroyed and desecrated. Your body is a forest – thick canopies of maple trees and sweet scented wildflowers sprouting in the underwood. You will grow back, over and over, no matter how badly you are devastated.
– Beau Taplin

INVITATION TO BRAVE SPACE
Together we will create brave space.
Because there is no such thing as a “safe space”
We exist in the real world.
We all carry scars and we have all caused wounds.
In this space
We seek to turn down the volume of the outside world,
We amplify voices that fight to be heard elsewhere,
We call each other to more truth and love.
We have the right to start somewhere and continue to grow.
We have the responsibility to examine what we think we know.
We will not be perfect.
This space will not be perfect.
It will not always be what we wish it to be.
But
It will be our brave space together,
and
We will work on it side by side.
– Micky Scottbey Jones

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.

– Billy Collins, Today

The foundation of reverence is this perception,
that the present holds within itself the complete
sum of existence, backwards and forwards,
that whole amplitude of time, which is eternity.
– Alfred North Whitehead

Deathwish
by Vivek Narayanan

I want to be sweet and clear and free, as half a line
of Auden, or an episode of the Powerpuff Girls;
I want to be dew, and honest with mine,
like Bob Marley, or Boesman the Boer.
I want to swing and get it right
at the speed of Pollock’s light,
I want to be deep like Zulu,
tight like Tamil,
and trust my sense of Sanskrit true
with little shame for its will.
I want to dabble in the fields
ignorant of what I was doing,
rub myself on the ruins
with a self-induced disease
and gleefully lapse
the hope to be heard. I want to fix
my favourite English words
into the forty-fifth century—
haw, for instance, or luminary—
hiding them in a snatch of prose…
passed over in silence
like Wittgenstein, no evidence
for myself or Laura Riding,
like Bharathiyar going mad composing,
I want to dissolve into our language
printing too little for my age;
I want to be obscure but not leaden,
flippant if I feel like it, then
I don’t mind being called poetically shitty
in a note from Manohar Shetty,
writing into the time we’ve borrowed,
singing from our utter boredom;
I want to hold in me the heat of my combustion
and leave this sweat-smear as a resurrection:
I want to be sweet and clear and free,
insouciant, insufferable, just like me.

Nothings A Gift
by Wisława Szymborska, (trans.S Baranczak and C. Cavanagh)

Nothing’s a gift, it’s all on loan.
I’m drowning in debts up to my ears.
I’ll have to pay for myself
with my self,
give up my life for my life.

Here’s how it’s arranged:
The heart can be repossessed,
the liver, too,
and each single finger and toe.

Too late to tear up the terms,
my debts will be repaid,
and I’ll be fleeced,
or, more precisely, flayed.

I move about the planet
in a crush of other debtors.
some are saddled with the burden
of paying off their wings.
Others must, willy-nilly,
account for every leaf.

Every tissue in us lies
on the debit side.
Not a tenacle or tendril
is for keeps.

The inventory, infinitely detailed,
implies we’ll be left
not just empty-handed
but handless too.

I can’t remember
where, when, and why
I let someone open
this account in my name.

We call the protest against this
the soul.
And it’s the only item
not included on the list.

Oscar Wilde said that if you know what you want to be, then you inevitably become it…that is your punishment, but if you never know, then you can be anything. There is a truth to that. We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing…an actor, a writer…I am a person who does things…I write, I act…and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.
– Stephen Fry

Yes, ignore the walking corpses and their many
Uninspired callings. I am tracing footprints
Left by your imagination. Why did you go?
– James McDowell

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.
– George Orwell

Forests and fields, rocks and weeds – my true companions. The wild ways of the Crazy Cloud will never change. People think I’m mad but I don’t care: If I’m a demon here on earth, there is no need to fear the hereafter.
– Ikkyū
John Stevens, Wild Ways : Zen Poems of Ikkyū

Happy May Day! Enjoy what flowers you can and don’t cross any picket lines, digital or otherwise. Here is a poem for the occasion.

May Day

You won’t believe the work it takes
to make it look so wild,”
the gardener said to me
as I passed through
for calm between commitments.

I understood.
The grass was long and soft and stroked with purple
in the circle of the ivy-covered trees.
It could have been a forest glade,
except for his wood wheelbarrow, his clippers, his dirt-smudged gloves,
and his words—not bitter—
but simply stated.
A fact he needed to make known.

So much of what we sense is work.

An apple is first planted, watered, picked, packed, transported, stocked before we taste its easy sweetness.

The books we read are sweated out over a year of midnights, pages pulped from timbered trees and printed, bound, and boxed to stores where they are stacked neatly on tables.

Even love is spun from diapers changed and nightmares soothed at 3 a.m., favorite meals cooked, important dates noted and remembered, three word texts crafted over hours.

Labor builds this world invisible as atoms—
till it stops.
– Olivia Rosane

Learning. If you plant a seed of mystery it doesn’t grow you a solution. It grows a strange plant bearing fruits you can’t eat, each one filled with a dozen more seeds. Mystery seems to beget mystery. Worthwhile questions seem to beget more questions. You can’t dissect the seeds and expect to find a solution without killing the plant inside it. Our need to know everything makes a sacrifice of what we say we want to know. Our manner of admiring is often the end of that which we profess to admire. The heartbreaking truth of modern culture is that our manner of loving is often deadly and our curiousity another form of acquisition. How do we admire in a way that ennobles and behold without seeking to remove the space between ourselves and those we claim to love? For many of us, our past is a consequence laden testimony to our not knowing another way. And maybe that past and the ways it echoes on in the world is a mystery too, waiting for us to learn some slower, older and more gracious manner of approach. It’s not so much that we ask too much of it but that there is something mystery asks of us that is all but unknown in this culture – the capacity to be in the presence of something unfamiliar without grasping at it or mauling it with our desire to turn it into something familiar. Mystery is a small village in a foreign country that you let embrace you as they come to know you slowly. It’s their dinner table at which you sit, attentive, not asking questions but trusting that when you need to know something they will tell you because we know that we are the stranger here, we are the guest, and mystery is the host of everything.
– Tad Hargrave

The song I came to sing
remains unsung to this day.
I have spent my days in stringing
and in unstringing my instrument.

The time has not come true,
the words have not been rightly set;
only there is the agony
of wishing in my heart…..

I have not seen his face,
nor have I listened to his voice;
only I have heard his gentle footsteps
from the road before my house…..

But the lamp has not been lit
and I cannot ask him into my house;
I live in the hope of meeting with him;
but this meeting is not yet.

– Rabindranath Tagore

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
– Rabindranath Tagore

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.
– Virginia Woolf

Tsunami Chant
I’m not a singer, but please
let me sing of the peacemakers
on the streets and internet, your candles
in this darkest moment of night,
your bodies on the steps of government buildings,
your voices from the roots of grasses and trees,
from your pit of conscience.

I’m not a prayer, but please,
please give my voice to the children
in Baghdad, Basra, Afghanistan,
and every other bombed-out place on earth,
your crying out in pain and fear;
please give my hands to the mothers
raking through rubble for food, bodies;
my sight to the cities and fields in smoke;
my tears to the men and women who are brought
home in bags; and please give my ears
to those who refuse to hear the explosions,
who tune only to censored news, official words.

I’m not a citizen, but please
count my vote against the belief
that the American way is the only way,
count it against the blasphemy of freedom,
against a gang of thugs who donned crowns
on their own heads, who live for power
and power only, whose only route is
to deceive and loot, whose mouths move
only to crush, whose hands close
only into a grave.

I’m not a worshiper, but please
accept my faith in those
who refuse to believe in painted lies,
refuse to join this chorus of supreme hypocrisy,
refuse to sell out, to let their conscience sleep,
wither, die. Please accept my faith
in those who cross the bridge for peace,
only to be cursed and spat upon, but keep crossing
anyway, every Wednesday, in rain and snow,
and my faith in those who camp out night after night,
your blood thawing the frozen ground,
your tents flowers of hope in this bleak age.

I don’t possess a bomb, don’t know
how to shoot or thrust a sword.
All I have is a broken voice,
a heart immense with sorrow.
But please, please take them,
let them be part of this tsunami
of chanting, this chant of awakening.
– Wang Ping

antonio porchia wrote: “god has given a lot to man; but man would like something from man.” indeed. from looking at god so much, we have missed each other. and that’s a shame, as the only way to receive from god is to give to men. or as martin buber said it much better, “the lines of relationship between i and thou intersect in the eternal thou.” porchia was right beyond measure.
– Hune Margulies

The prince says that the world will be saved
by beauty! And I maintain that the reason
he has such playful ideas is that he is in love.
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Idiot

It isn’t very often that we are called upon as a society, let alone as a global population, to act in unison, in synchrony. But we are now. And if you are a hold out and choose to do something different, you are messing things up. Plain and simple. And its serious.

What a cool, historic moment of global solidarity we all have the opportunity to participate in right now. Not only are we looking out for our own immediate health safety, we are actively engaged in protecting others including those in our immediate proximity as well as all around the world. It is the ultimate action of human solidarity.

Like many deadly diseases that have killed and disabled many around the world over time, COVID 19 has the potential of being arrested through our collective will. And it takes each and everyone of us to act as one organism to accomplish this. We are, in that way, a single organism.

If you refuse to participate, you are doing the opposite, unless you totally retreat from participation in society and remain locked down. You cannot enjoy the opening up of society without simultaneously undermining this enormous global effort. Those who aren’t being vaccinated, whether by choice or do to lack of access, are creating a literal breeding ground for the virus to continue to morph and spread. In that way, choosing not participate in the vaccination rollout is profoundly anti-social. And further, if that same person that chooses to participate in the other activities of an opening up society, this is a profound act of indefensible privilege, that you should enjoy the outcomes of something you refused to help create. That is, of course, unless you have a very special health condition that warrants your refraining from the vaccine.

So, it is quite wonderful that we have now over 314 million people world wide who have stepped up to this call for solidarity for mankind. Thank you to all of the people I know who are a part of this amazing solidarity movement for the good of everyone around the world.

If you are among the few who refuse the vaccine, I plead with your to reconsider. If you remain unvaccinated, please continue to mask aggressively to protect the rest of us from what you may have the potential of spreading. Please refrain from participating in social gatherings, and please remain locked down. And most of all, please know that we have no desire to exclude you at all. We want you to join us and be a part of this great moment of human solidarity and that includes both being vaccinated as well as enjoying the benefits of this roll out.
– Will Eiserman

The life-blood of our existence is not the circulation of money or credit, but spirituality lived and abundantly expressed. Each of us can live this supply today, and with unlimited joy and liberty of mind. Nothing is holding us back.
– Mehlenbacher

If it is not for Non-Duality. all the tantric practices of visualisation is a complete joke.
– GENDUN CHOPEL

Nurture great thoughts, for you will never go higher than your thoughts.
– B. Disraeli

As the lazy, pseudo-superior spiritualists hide behind their egoic badge of egolessness, the world burns. They imagine themselves above the problem, when in fact, their feigned aboveness is the problem. There is no difference between self-nullifying patriarchal spiritualists and soul-eradicating patriarchal capitalists. Meditation cushions, and board rooms… same bloody hustle. Meanwhile, the world burns.

If we want to save this bloodied species, we have to heal it. We have to do the individual work to heal and integrate our parts, and we have to do the collective work to heal and integrate every voice. Until then, we are nothing but lost. We are fragmented and fractured stumble bums, tripping our way to nothingness. There is no peace in that. There will only be peace when every single voice is heard and honored.

We may be frightened of this chaos, but it really is our only hope. Because we have been numbed to sleep for so long, that only the trauma survivors can scream our hearts back to life. Only their cries will awaken us. The cries of the long forgotten, raging against the dying of their light (Dylan Thomas line). Let them rage. And let us rage right alongside them.
– Jeff Brown

Never forget that you are a man and therefore you must bleed for the goal of humanity. Listen you are still too juvenile for your age. You should get older, the years are dwindling and yet your work has not been accomplished. Practice solitude assiduously without grumbling so that everything will in time become ready. You should not die unfulfilled. Your years are numbered and many years are still needed for your fulfilment. You should become serious and your work sink heavy as iron into the ground of mankind. Let go of too much science. There lies the way that is not the way. Your way goes toward the depths, toward the rarest and deepest.
– C. G. Jung, Black Books

God loves to repose
into at every atom of this world,
including your body,
and drench it with light

When I hear people talk
about their loneliness or limitations
I often want to shout,

“Darling, can’t you see
every part of you
is sopping with God!?”

– Chelan Harkin

I am so busy. I am practicing my new hobby
of watching me become someone else.
There is so much violence in reconstruction.
Every minute is grisly, but I have to participate.
I am building what I cannot break.
– Jennifer Willoughby, The Sun is Still a Part of Me

when the heart is broken
and the soul is crushed
let the psyche be rendered
and the spirit smelted
embrace the refining fire
let your steel be strengthened,
your bone enlivened,
and reclaim your gold.
– Roger Wolsey

Listen to me, your body is not a temple. Temples can be destroyed and desecrated. Your body is a forest – thick canopies of maple trees and sweet scented wildflowers sprouting in the underwood. You will grow back, over and over, no matter how badly you are devastated.
– Beau Taplin

INVITATION TO BRAVE SPACE
Together we will create brave space.
Because there is no such thing as a “safe space”
We exist in the real world.
We all carry scars and we have all caused wounds.
In this space
We seek to turn down the volume of the outside world,
We amplify voices that fight to be heard elsewhere,
We call each other to more truth and love.
We have the right to start somewhere and continue to grow.
We have the responsibility to examine what we think we know.
We will not be perfect.
This space will not be perfect.
It will not always be what we wish it to be.
But
It will be our brave space together,
and
We will work on it side by side.
– Micky Scottbey Jones

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.

– Billy Collins, Today

The foundation of reverence is this perception,
that the present holds within itself the complete
sum of existence, backwards and forwards,
that whole amplitude of time, which is eternity.
– Alfred North Whitehead

Deathwish
by Vivek Narayanan

I want to be sweet and clear and free, as half a line
of Auden, or an episode of the Powerpuff Girls;
I want to be dew, and honest with mine,
like Bob Marley, or Boesman the Boer.
I want to swing and get it right
at the speed of Pollock’s light,
I want to be deep like Zulu,
tight like Tamil,
and trust my sense of Sanskrit true
with little shame for its will.
I want to dabble in the fields
ignorant of what I was doing,
rub myself on the ruins
with a self-induced disease
and gleefully lapse
the hope to be heard. I want to fix
my favourite English words
into the forty-fifth century—
haw, for instance, or luminary—
hiding them in a snatch of prose…
passed over in silence
like Wittgenstein, no evidence
for myself or Laura Riding,
like Bharathiyar going mad composing,
I want to dissolve into our language
printing too little for my age;
I want to be obscure but not leaden,
flippant if I feel like it, then
I don’t mind being called poetically shitty
in a note from Manohar Shetty,
writing into the time we’ve borrowed,
singing from our utter boredom;
I want to hold in me the heat of my combustion
and leave this sweat-smear as a resurrection:
I want to be sweet and clear and free,
insouciant, insufferable, just like me.

Nothings A Gift
by Wisława Szymborska, (trans.S Baranczak and C. Cavanagh)

Nothing’s a gift, it’s all on loan.
I’m drowning in debts up to my ears.
I’ll have to pay for myself
with my self,
give up my life for my life.

Here’s how it’s arranged:
The heart can be repossessed,
the liver, too,
and each single finger and toe.

Too late to tear up the terms,
my debts will be repaid,
and I’ll be fleeced,
or, more precisely, flayed.

I move about the planet
in a crush of other debtors.
some are saddled with the burden
of paying off their wings.
Others must, willy-nilly,
account for every leaf.

Every tissue in us lies
on the debit side.
Not a tenacle or tendril
is for keeps.

The inventory, infinitely detailed,
implies we’ll be left
not just empty-handed
but handless too.

I can’t remember
where, when, and why
I let someone open
this account in my name.

We call the protest against this
the soul.
And it’s the only item
not included on the list.

Some people make you feel better about living. Some people you meet and you feel this little lift in your heart, this ‘Ah’, because there’s something in them that’s brighter or lighter, something beautiful or better than you, and here’s the magic: instead of feeling worse, instead of feeling ‘why am I so ordinary?’, you feel just the opposite, you feel glad. In a weird way you feel better, because before this you hadn’t realised or you’d forgotten human beings could shine so.
– Niall Williams

My name is Mosab Abu Toha, and I’m a bilingual Palestinian poet from Gaza. Maybe unlike other parts in the world, Gaza has been in lockdown for many years. As a result, only a very small number of people could get the vaccine shots which were allowed to enter Gaza. I haven’t yet received mine. Here is my poem:

Dear vaccine,

do you see us?

We know we are insignificant

in this universe,

but we want to walk on the streets,

unafraid to show our smiles to others passing by.

We promise we will be kind

to nature, to our fellow trees and seas,

to the sand and rocks,

to the ants sleeping near our books.

Do you not wish to watch us sing to our kids

on swings?

Do you not know how much the parks miss

the dogs as they run after a ball? How much fun

they would have jumping in a mall?

Dear vaccine, when you enter our bodies,

you will enjoy our lives

because we will be

better humans.

I have died too many times
believing and waiting, waiting
in a room
staring at a cracked ceiling
waiting for the phone, a letter, a knock, a sound…
going wild inside
while she danced with strangers in nightclubs…

out of the arms of one love
and into the arms of another

it’s not pleasant to die on the cross,
it’s much more pleasant to hear your name whispered in the dark.

– Charles Bukowski

I’m a “slow growth” being spiritually. It seems to take me decades to get where some are able to go in mere moments. But, as with old trees, deep roots also have their value.
– John Flynn

May, more than any other month of the year, wants us to feel most alive.
– Fennel Hudson

Back in the day, I was a pastor at the largest church in North America. Eventually I walked away from it all because I could not teach beliefs and doctrines that I myself no longer accepted. No person taught evangelical theology with the devotion and passion that I did, but one day I realized this did not produce true and lasting change in others lives or my own.

Looking back, I can see I made at least these mistakes as a megachurch pastor:

Putting church over community
Putting orthodoxy over love.
Putting certainty over wonder.
Putting teaching over conversation.
Putting polished over real.
Putting explanations over empathy.
Putting answers over questions.
Putting membership over friendship.
Putting prayer over action.
Putting services over self-care.
Putting style over substance.
Putting appearance over authenticity.
Putting functionality over beauty.
Putting religion over spirituality.
Putting numbers over faces.
Putting holiness over humanity.
Putting accountability over acceptance.
Putting heaven over earth.
Putting meetings over relationships.
Putting reputation over risk.
Putting superiority over humility.
Putting charisma over compassion.
Putting the afterlife over the herelife.
Putting doctrine over reason.
Putting hierarchy over equality.

– Jim Palmer

I’ve always liked dandelions.
They announce the longest days and
the start of summer.
Of course it’s personal:
their bright yellow
is the color
of the room where
I was a child.
Fresh paint. Happy parents.
And, during my homeless times,
living wild,
fresh dandelion greens,
served with forest and river,
were better than any
restaurant’s salad.
Give me the quiet
wishes made
on the breath
of children
running barefoot
who stop
to pick
and to look
and to see
those flying tiny umbrellas,
give me that memory
again, and again
rather than
the whine of lawnmowers
and the drone of conformity.
Give me dandelions.
– steve s. saroff

SKYE LOST

There is a thought that comes to me
On Skye
As the wind whips through the heather
Swaying on the purple hillside
Peaks of long knowing
Cloaked in the mists of time lost days

I try to hold on, to keep what is evident
In mind
But the drift of the place is old
And the uselessness of trying to be
Present gives way to a solitude that
Isn’t of this time and place

Something takes hold of me
Steals my breath
Carries it out to sea
Every last piece of myself
Broken
Collected somewhere
Perhaps
On some fantastical shore

Perhaps

Perhaps then
If I can find it
I can find myself
But for this moment
I am gone
I am nothing

I never was

And nothing matters
Not even me.

– Laurence Overmire, from The Ghost of Rabbie Burns

Wherever they might be they always remember that the past was a lie, that memory has no return, that every spring gone by could never be recovered, and that the wildest and most tenacious love was an ephemeral truth in the end.
– Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Thought for the day~

Without differentiation, life is a game of checkers, not chess.
One approach is much more nuanced, sophisticated, and demanding than the other.
Both are possibilities, but you can’t tell someone who engages at the level of chess to only play checkers because YOU don’t like (or understand) chess.

(a similar analogy would be be the card games of “go-fish” and “Bridge…”)

THE BODY RECORDS EVERYTHING

Science is still ambivalent about this, but I believe that the body records everything. I’ve experienced a connection between physical pain and past trauma. Therapy, meditation, and self-care are essential to coping with these memories, but if your body isn’t ready to let go, you have to attend to that too.

Conversely, you can start to resolve psychological pain through movement, stretching, qigong, and Taijiquan. Pain frequently consists of tight muscles, as if we were bracing for trauma and got stuck in that position. Furthermore, the causes of our pain are frequently chronic: that’s no different from getting beat up every day. There will be consequences.

There’s nothing good about pain—except that it’s an indication that something is wrong. Something wrong means that we need to fix things and repair ourselves. That begins with stopping the source of the pain, it continues through to caring for ourselves, and it ends with healing. When we do this right, then trauma eliminated creates wisdom.
– Deng Ming-Dao

Lost my temper.
Saw it in the lost
and found box
and took it home.
Know I’ll need it
again someday.
– Andrea Gibson

When my mother cries, I burn like the dry branches of a tree. I don’t think about rational reasons, I just discover that we are one person, who cries with four eyes.
– Mohamed Hassan E’lwan

forgive me. i promised, this
wouldn’t be a poem about
my body. or Palestinian [ ]
but it is always both.
– George Abraham

What if people are the only holy land?
– Naomi Shihab Nye

Palestine is a thankless cause. One in which if you truly serve, you get nothing back but opprobrium, abuse, and ostracism. How many friends avoid the subject? How many colleagues want none of Palestine’s controversy? How many ‘bien pensant’ liberals have time for Bosnia and Somalia, Rwanda and South Africa and Nicaragua and Vietnam and human and civil rights everywhere on earth, but not for Palestine and Palestinians?
– Edward Said

CLOSE TO THE EDGE

Sometimes you find yourself close to the edge.

The old existence, the one that yesterday seemed so solid, so fixed like a billion year-old stellar constellation, has shattered. No way of getting back to the way things were, it seems. No way of rewinding the movie and you ache to rewind. A terrible nostalgia for “back then” and its happy obliviousness to each tomorrow.

A painful sense of regret in your belly and chest.

And because the past has disintegrated the future has too. No way of knowing “what’s next” anymore. Everything feels out of sync, out of your hands, out of balance and out of control. Your plans have collapsed into the sounds of morning traffic. Your hopes and dreams have reduced to the raindrops pitter-pattering on your window. All you have left… is the present moment.

And even that doesn’t feel a safe place to be anymore. The body does not understand life in the abstract. You are in time but out of it, on solid ground but it feels so groundless now. Like you are living in someone else’s dream. Like you cannot recognize yourself here. Like you are being asked to begin again but you don’t know where everything ended. Like your life is over, but it carries on.

And the visitors come. Age-old reverberations of helplessness. A deep and dreadful anxiety that doesn’t feel like it’s yours. A terrible grief that would destroy or save the entire world if it could. A lostness, a sense of abandonment, like a child without protection, like light without its star.

A heart that beats in unfamiliar ways. Breathing that feels more constricted, tense. A discomfort throughout the body. You don’t feel at home in your own home.

(“Come to me”, the Universe cries.)

What do you do, here, close to the edge of things?

Well, you breathe, as well as you can. You prepare some tea. You speak with a friend, or join with them in a silence that understands.

You do the next thing, or it does you, or you sit for a while, despairing under an unfamiliar sky.

Homeless, scared, intimate with a painful truth –

Yes, sometimes,
close to the edge,
you find
yourself.
– Jeff Foster

How close to the soul is all that
Which is still so immensely far
From our hands!
Like the light of a star,
Like a voice without a name,
Transmitted by dreams.
– Juan Ramon Jimenez

Leave your mind alone, that is all. Do not go along with it. After all, there is no such thing as mind apart from thoughts which come and go, obeying their own laws, not yours. They dominate you only because you are interested in them.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Among Tibetans there is a saying that a person who thinks he is better or above others because he is wiser, more capable, more knowledgeable or learned is like someone sitting on the highest peak of the highest mountain. And what is it like on the peak of that mountain? It is very cold there. It’s very hard. It’s very lonely and nothing grows there. On the other hand, the person who cultivates humility and puts himself in a lower position is said to enjoy living on the fertile land of the plains.
– Khandro Rinpoche

We like to be out in nature so much
because it has no opinion about us.
– Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human

The true and durable path into and through experience involves being true to your own solitude, true to your own secret knowledge.
– Seamus Heaney

Our sense of right and wrong should transcend our ethnic identity…
– Peter Cohen

The stupidity of people comes from
having an answer for everything.
The wisdom of the novel comes from
having a question for everything.
– Milan Kundera

Once you realize that the world is your own projection, you are free of it. You need not free yourself of a world that does not exist, except in your own imagination! However is the picture, beautiful or ugly, you are painting it and you are not bound by it. Realize that there is nobody to force it on you, that it is due to the habit of taking the imaginary to be real. See the imaginary as imaginary and be free of fear.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

NOTHING WANTS TO SUFFER

BY DANUSHA LAMÉRIS

after Linda Hogan

Nothing wants to suffer. Not the wind
as it scrapes itself against the cliff. Not the cliff

being eaten, slowly, by the sea. The earth does not want
to suffer the rough tread of those who do not notice it.

The trees do not want to suffer the axe, nor see
their sisters felled by root rot, mildew, rust.

The coyote in its den. The puma stalking its prey.
These, too, want ease and a tender animal in the mouth

to take their hunger. An offering, one hopes,
made quickly, and without much suffering.

The chair mourns an angry sitter. The lamp, a scalded moth.
A table, the weight of years of argument.

We know this, though we forget.

Not the shark nor the tiger, fanged as they are.
Nor the worm, content in its windowless world

of soil and stone. Not the stone, resting in its riverbed.
The riverbed, gazing up at the stars.

Least of all, the stars, ensconced in their canopy,
looking down at all of us— their offspring—

scattered so far beyond reach.

Sometimes a call for “normalizing” something is a call to control behavior that one finds annoying.

There are absolutely important things that have needlessly been made to seem abhorrent that need to be “normalized”.

Then there are things that are just not what we’d like, things that made us uncomfortable – we need get over it. We should stop assuming everyone who isn’t like ourselves is an ass. Cultures vary. Subcultures vary. Norms… vary. It’s not necessary to diagnose people with illnesses or disorders. Different from oneself is not necessarily abnormal, any more than it is abhorrent.

It seems the important “normalizing” is about allowing people be who they are without trying to change them.

So it is kind of ironic, really, to use “let’s normalize” as a way to restrict or conform people’s behavior.

– Ren Powell

Our culture is competent to implement almost anything and to imagine nothing. The same royal consciousness (dominant consciousness) that makes it possible to implement anything and everything is the one that shrinks the imagination because the imagination is a danger. Thus every totalitarian regime is frightened of the artist.
– Walter Brueggemann

Those set on controlling others do all they can to control the message so as to define reality. The artist, the prophet, the poet is always challenging the message, shaking things up in order to create alternatives to the future through stirring the imagination. When the imagination goes dark…people become trapped…and when people feel trapped…hope dies. When hope is lost…a paralyzing depression sets in, or a destructive anger.
– Kent Burgess

The idea that Jesus lives only in the heart of Republicans is flat out heresy and it needs to be loudly refuted by the non-GOP faithful who aren’t content to be spoken for by anyone else, and who aren’t willing to be defined by a calculated lie.
– Pastor John Pavlovitz

Ever get the feeling animals are just thinking (or chirping): I could have told ya so!
We are an arrogant species. I guess we’ve had to make them dumb in our own minds so we could eat them without guilt.
– Ren Powell

The education secretary Gavin Williamson just said: “The record number of people taking up science and engineering demonstrates that many are already starting to pivot away from dead-end courses that leave young people with nothing but debt.

He’s genuinely gleeful about people not studying art. That’s what it means to the people in power, and that heinous attitude trickles down through every facet of society.
– Ren Powell

But to say what you want to say,
you must create another language
and nourish it for years and years
with what you have loved,
with what you have lost,
with what you will never find again.
– Mary Ruefle, Madness, Rack and Honey

Poetry chases the sparks and cinders star-ward.
– J. K. McDowell

Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow
BY ROBERT DUNCAN

as if it were a scene made-up by the mind,
that is not mine, but is a made place,

that is mine, it is so near to the heart,
an eternal pasture folded in all thought
so that there is a hall therein

that is a made place, created by light
wherefrom the shadows that are forms fall.

Wherefrom fall all architectures I am
I say are likenesses of the First Beloved
whose flowers are flames lit to the Lady.

She it is Queen Under The Hill
whose hosts are a disturbance of words within words
that is a field folded.

It is only a dream of the grass blowing
east against the source of the sun
in an hour before the sun’s going down

whose secret we see in a children’s game
of ring a round of roses told.

Often I am permitted to return to a meadow
as if it were a given property of the mind
that certain bounds hold against chaos,

that is a place of first permission,
everlasting omen of what is.

THE WONDER IS
The washing never gets done.
The furnace never gets heated.
Books never get read.
Life is never completed.
Life is like a ball which one must continually
catch and hit so that it won’t fall.
When the fence is repaired at one end,
it collapses at the other. The roof leaks,
the kitchen door won’t close,
there are cracks in the foundation,
the torn knees of children’s pants . . .
One can’t keep everything in mind. The wonder is
that beside all this one can notice
the spring which is so full of everything
continuing in all directions – into evening clouds,
into the redwing’s song and into every
drop of dew on every blade of grass in the meadow,
as far as the eye can see, into the dusk.
– Jaan Kaplinski, The Wandering Border

In some evolving civilizations, for reasons which we don’t entirely understand, the evolution of consciousness is attended by a disaster of some sort which occurs shortly after the Sy [symbolic] breakthrough. It has something to do with the discovery of the self and the incapacity to deal with it, the consciousness becoming self-conscious but not knowing what to do with the self, not even knowing what its self is, and so ending by being that which is not, and making others what they are not.

What does that mean?

Playing roles, being phony, lying, cheating, stealing, and killing.
– Walker Percy, Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book

Assume that you are quite right. You are depressed because you have every reason to be depressed. No member of the other two million species which inhabit the earth – and who are luckily exempt from depression – would fail to be depressed if it lived the life you lead. You live in a deranged age – more deranged than usual, because despite great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing.
– Walker Percy, Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book

PRAISE THE RAIN
Praise the rain; the seagull dive
The curl of plant, the raven talk –
Praise the hurt, the house slack
The stand of trees, the dignity –
Praise the dark, the moon cradle
The sky fall, the bear sleep –
Praise the mist, the warrior name
The earth eclipse, the fired leap –
Praise the backwards, upward sky
The baby cry, the spirit food –
Praise canoe, the fish rush
The hole for frog, the upside-down –
Praise the day, the cloud cup
The mind flat, forget it all –

Praise crazy. Praise sad.
Praise the path on which we’re led.
Praise the roads on earth and water.
Praise the eater and the eaten.
Praise beginnings; praise the end.
Praise the song and praise the singer.

Praise the rain; it brings more rain.
Praise the rain; it brings more rain.

– Joy Harjo, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings

If an event in the story and its telling on the page take about the same time, we’re in “real time.” A scene usually comes closest to this, with dialogue, choreography, and slivers of description holding our attention as we “watch” the incident play out. […] If the printed words showing a story event take more time to read than the event would: dilation, […] one the narrative’s health needs. An incident happens and then is pondered, its deeper sense revealed.

Narratologists such as Gérard Genette and Seymour Chatman have studied the differences between story time (how long an event in the storyworld takes) and text time (how long the telling on the page takes) and have named speeds according to the ratio between the two:

Gap, or ellipsis. Fastest: no text / much story time.
Summary. Fast: little text / much story time.
Scene. “Real time”: text time = story time.
Dilation. Slow: much text / little story time.
Pause. Slowest: much text / no story time.
Why have a menu of speeds? For illusion, economy, variety, of course. Also for magic […]. See the reader, paralyzed by a white page marked with tiny pictures. Only her eyes move, from cluster to cluster of letters, a dot or two, a curl, but in her brain: […] a story covering millennia can flit by in six minutes. A storyworld of just a minute can burn four hours in [her] life. Call [it] speed or flow or even narrative hydraulics. It’s magic, but a magic that can be mapped, which I suppose makes it technology.
– Jane Alison, Meander, Spiral, Explode: Design and Pattern in Narrative

Don’t leave your comfort zone. Make your comfort zone bigger.
– Avner EIsenberg, The Eccentric Principles

Leaving the Earth
by Vinod Kumar Shukla

Leaving the earth,
mounting the air,
does the bird know
that it’s the earth it is leaving?
To fly above it,
you really have to go high.

And when they return
to settle on trees
do birds know
that it’s the earth they’ve returned to?

I don’t have wings.

There’s a small yellow butterfly
flying above the earth.

When it comes to explaining human thought and behavior, the possibility that heredity plays any role at all still has the power to shock. To acknowledge human nature, many think, is to endorse racism, sexism, war, greed, genocide, nihilism, reactionary politics, and neglect of children and the disadvantaged. Any claim that the mind has an innate organization strikes people not as a hypothesis that might be incorrect but as a thought it is immoral to think.
– Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

My interest in straws for drinking anything had fallen off some years before, probably peaking out the year that all the major straw vendors switched from paper to plastic straws, and we entered that uncomfortable era of the floating straw… Why wasn’t it corrected? A different recipe for the plastic, a thicker straw? Surely the huge buyers, the fast-food companies, wouldn’t have tolerated straws beaching themselves in their restaurants for more than six months or so.

I stared in disbelief the first time a straw rose up from my can of soda and hung out over the table. I was holding a slice of pizza in one hand, folded in a three-finger grip so that it wouldn’t flop, and a paperback in a similar grip in the other hand—what was I supposed to do? The whole point of straws, I had thought, was that you did not have to set down the slice of pizza to suck a dose of Coke while reading a paperback.

I soon found, as many have, that there was a way to drink no-handed with these new floating straws: you had to bend low to the table and grasp the almost horizontal straw with your lips, steering it back down into the can every time you wanted a sip, while straining your eyes to keep them trained on the line of the page you were reading. How could the straw engineers have made so elementary a mistake, designing a straw that weighed less than the sugar-water in which it was intended to stand? Madness!… In this way the quality of life, through nobody’s fault, went down an eighth of a notch.
– Nicholson Baker, The Mezzanine

Something and Nothing
by John Brehm


There’s something to be said
for having nothing to say,

though I don’t know what
that is, or isn’t, just as

there’s something to be
known about not-knowing,

which I would tell you
if I could. There must be

something to be gained
by losing, a seed of victory

buried in every failure,
else I would not be here.

Clearly, there’s something
to be desired about being

beyond desire, as the sages
never tire of telling us,

and nothing more fulfilling
than emptying yourself out—

no ground beneath your feet,
nothing to hold onto, no handrail,

no belief, only this bright self-
sustaining air, and a falling

that feels like floating.

You are not my cure,
Nobody has that power.
– Margaret Atwood

The Promised Land refers not to a geographical location but to the territory of the human heart which anyone can enter.
– Joseph Campbell

Haven’t you found it delightful and strange when some “this” that happened out of the blue in your life connects with some “that” you never dreamed of as if they were puzzle pieces that longed to fit with each other and YOU were their happy meeting place?
– Gunilla Norris

A Poem to Riff Off Of:
life comes at you
from behind — unrecognizable

a breeze on your bare neck
a caress tracing the bones of your spine
spreading over your rib cage
around your torso — rising
to the notch at the base of your throat
where a shape begins to hollow

a nothing nest— built by a need
to hook yourself into the world
with a sound
with a word
– Ren Powell, Impermanence.

No disguise can long conceal love,
where it really exists,
nor counterfeit it,
where it does not.
– La Rochefoucauld

I had two longings
and one was fighting the other.
I wanted to be loved
and I wanted to be always alone.
– Jean Rhys

I am finding the wonders and terrors of living.
Certain doubts fill an uncertain reality.
Raise your glass, a toast to blessing and hazard..
– J. K. McDowell

Oh Shechinah,
you are the Sabbath Bride, the Beloved,
returned from exile.
You restore balance in our relationships
and wholeness to our fragmented souls.
You infuse our lovemaking with honey.
You fill the cup of our hearts,
which tremble with longing,
with the wine of your answering love.
You are the song of our homecoming.
– Mirabai Starr

“What is meant by “reality”? It would seem to be something very erratic, very undependable – now to be found in a dusty road, now in a scrap of newspaper in the street, now a daffodil in the sun. It lights up a group in a room and stamps some casual saying. It overwhelms one walking home beneath the stars and makes the silent world more real than the world of speech – and then there it is again in an omnibus in the uproar of Piccadilly. Sometimes, too, it seems to dwell in shapes too far away for us to discern what their nature is. But whatever it touches, it fixes and makes permanent. That is what remains over when the skin of the day has been cast into the hedge; that is what is left of past time and of our loves and hates.
– Virginia Woolf

I then thought: what is the use of studying philosophy if all that it does for you is to enable you to talk with some plausibility about some abstruse questions of logic, etc, and if it does not improve your thinking about the important questions of everyday life, if it does not make you more conscientious than any journalist in the use of the dangerous phrases such people use for their own ends? You see, that it’s difficult to think well about “certainty”, “probability”, “perception”, etc. But it is, if possible, still more difficult to think, or try to think, really honestly about your life and other people’s lives. And the trouble is that thinking about these things is not thrilling, but often downright nasty. And when it’s nasty then it’s most important.
– Ludwig Wittgenstein

If I had to summarize the entirety
of most people’s
lives in a few words,
it would be endless resistance to what is.
As we resist, we are in constant motion
trying to adjust,
and yet we still remain unhappy about what is.

If I had to summarize the entirety of an enlightened
person’s life in a few words,
it would be complete acceptance of what is.
As we accept what is, our minds are relaxed
and composed
while the world changes rapidly around us.

– Haemin Sunim

Today
If every there were a spring day so perfect,
So uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

That it made you want to throw
Open all the windows in the house

And unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,
Indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

A day when the cool brick paths
And the garden bursting with peonies

Seemed so etched in sunlight
That you felt like taking

A hammer to the glass paperweight
On the living room end table,

Releasing the inhabitants
From their snow-covered cottage

So they could walk out,
Holding hands and squinting

Into this larger dome of blue and white,
Well, today is just that kind of day.

– Billy Collins

Everyone, I think, has those places or environments that bring them calm and clarity. I can be alone with my thoughts any old place—at home, in bed, in the corner of some coffee shop somewhere—but there’s something about being outdoors and away from civilization, on a path, just putting one foot in front of the other, that helps me to metabolize my emotions in a way that nothing else seems to do. Walking alone affords me the time and the space to discard mental clutter, air out my ideas, stretch my emotional legs and simultaneously to breathe, feel a sense of calm and be absolutely, unequivocally present. I can’t think of any other instance where I can successfully do that.
– Claire Nelson

Education is neither writing on a blank slate nor allowing the child’s nobility to come into flower. Rather, education is a technology that tries to make up for what the human mind is innately bad at. Children don’t have to go to school to learn to walk, talk, recognize objects, or remember the personalities of their friends, even though these tasks are much harder than reading, adding, or remembering dates in history. They do have to go to school to learn written language, arithmetic, and science, because those bodies of knowledge and skill were invented too recently for any species-wide knack for them to have evolved.
– Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate

Unresolved to this day, Edison and Tesla
Debated the nature of electrons, yet agreed
That poetry was a dangerous hazard.
– J. K. McDowell

It might yet be the case that the liberations we seek are fatally unrecognisable, hiding in the folds of the ordinary, whispering softly in the cracks on the highway that leads to the televised revolution of protest and bullhorns. It might yet be true that power is not as scarce as it seems, and that though the odds are against us – the odds often work in mysterious ways.
– Bayo Akomolafe

We are slowed down sound and light waves, a walking bundle of frequencies tuned into the cosmos. We are souls dressed up in sacred biochemical garments and our bodies are the instruments through which our souls play their music.
– Roger Wolsey

You can’t build a bridge to people who aren’t tethered to reality.
– John Pavlovitz

I’ve lived to bury my desires,
And see my dreams corrode with rust;
Now all that’s left are fruitless fires
That burn my empty heart to dust.
– Alexander Pushkin

Fuck, if we’ve learned anything from this past year and a half, it is this: We need human contact. We need to be smiled at. We need to he hugged. We need to gather and we need to be heard by someone that isn’t looking at us through a fucking computer screen. Humans can be annoying but dammit, we need each other and I don’t think I’ll ever take that for granted again.
– Brooke Hampton

Each one of us here today will at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question: We are willing to help, Lord, but what, if anything, is needed? For it is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don’t know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them – we can love completely without complete understanding.
– Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through it and Other Stories

Psychoanalysis is on the wrong track on many points.

Without spiritual light, it does not work out the issue of the heart of the being.

In each human being, a closed world, a kind of city invisible from outside bubbles.

Man does not necessarily have access to it.

He cannot decipher signals that are unknown to him, and which a psychiatrist can interpret according to his criteria without succeeding in unravelling it’s complexities.

The complexity of this true nature remains a mystery.

Man manages sometimes, following dreams or repeated experiences, to seize true meaning of his life.

However open minded and informed he may be on the secrets of his nature, it will remain until the end an enigma for him.

He will be able at the best case scenario, to have some insight that will make him foresee reality.

This thread will encourage him to follow the path of knowledge and to call, in his deepest being, the guide who will be able to lead him towards the promised land.
– Babuji

Haven’t you found it delightful and strange when some “this” that happened out of the blue in your life connects with some “that” you never dreamed of as if they were puzzle pieces that longed to fit with each other and YOU were their happy meeting place?
– Gunilla Norris

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.
– George Orwell

I am that clumsy human, always loving, loving, loving.
And loving. And never leaving!
– Frida Kahlo

As a girl, I was made to know
that I come from a brigade of bitches—
women who will make you eat your words
with a quick snarl.
– Desireé Dallagiacomo

The poet is a kinsman in the clouds / Who scoffs at archers, loves a stormy day; / But on the ground, among the hooting crowds, / He cannot walk, his wings are in the way.
– Charles Baudelaire

The media has always propagated
and promoted being rich, for example.
Having a big lavish house is important.
Having a nice limousine is important.
That has been propagated for a very long time.

Even farmers in their own simple houses
and going about their daily work are watching this and will feel intimidated. They want to get [these luxuries] too, but they cannot.
It’s impossible for them. So what do they do?
They try their best to work hard for the next generation. They pressure their children
to make as much money as possible
and become rich. This is destroying everything.

Being content, being able to renounce,
being able to appreciate everything in life,
and also being able to help people in whatever way we can—that is what being a simple, good-hearted person means.
– Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche

Most of our minds are drugged with other people’s ideas and books, and as our minds are constantly repeating what someone else said, we have become repeaters and
not thinkers.
– Krishnamurti

I can’t keep everything unkept,
as everything I’ve kept bottled
isn’t keeping well.
– Omar Holmon

Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society.
– John Adams

You must have patience: toward situations, toward others, and toward yourself. Everything could be working out well, but if you become impatient, you create your own blockage. You could destroy what you’ve built, like a child who gets frustrated building a castle and kicks it all down when it’s almost finished, then gets upset and cries. Some people exhibit a strange kind of neurosis— right before something’s about to be completed, they like to sabotage it. For desired effects and positive changes to take place, patience is critical.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

What a lovely surprise to discover how un-lonely being alone can be.
– Ellen Burstyn

By yielding you may obtain victory.
– Ovid

Places that don’t exist have something in common: They’re real. / Places that do exist aren’t so real after awhile.
– Pere Ubu, Fortunate Son

Whenever poet Kim Hyesoon is asked whether her poetry represents her country — a question that is rarely asked of poets whose work is perceived to be rooted in the Western canon — she never fails to answer that her poetry comes from the Republic of Kim Hyesoon.
– @DonMeeChoi

Have you noticed the people who don’t want to help refugees because we “have our own poor” also don’t want to help our own poor?
– @mhdksafa

Most of our minds are drugged with other people’s ideas and books, and as our minds are constantly repeating what someone else said, we have become repeaters and
not thinkers.
– Krishnamurti

It eventually became clear to me that it was a matter of weaving a kind of spell. A prayer that apricots, doves, melons, & so on could continue to exist in the world. & at the same time, a prayer that atom bombs, hydrogen bombs, dioxin, & so on could disappear.
– Inger Christensen

If thy heart fails thee, climb not at all.
– Queen Elisabeth I

If there is any substitute for love, it is memory.
– Joseph Brodsky

I have always liked people who can’t adapt themselves to life pragmatically.
– Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time

Prince Bush:
I don’t have any favorite poets or poems anymore, but my forever favorite is poetry

We became uncompetitive by not being tolerant of mistakes.
– Roberto Goizueta

Suffering ends when you stop attaching to the stories of the mind.
– Ciara

Dr. Thema:
Sometimes an upgrade requires releasing what you have before you have what is coming.

Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached.
– Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace

You’ll never regret staying low-key and working on yourself.
– @_Pammy_DS_

I wish people extended more grace to those of us fighting these oppressive systems than they do to those oppressive systems.
– Leslie Mac

You yearn and burn and twist and turn
contentment always seeming just out of reach
Drop in.
Drop into the deep ocean of yourself
You’ve already got what you think you’re needing
All Love is there, it’s yours
as warm and nourishing as the blood pulsing through your veins
as inspiring as the air you breathe
as comforting as the song you hum as you fold the clothes

All Wisdom is within you
to sense as you need it.
Breathe deeply. Listen to your body.
Embrace your animal. Trust your instinct.
Knead your paws into the warm lap of your soul
Take your time, relax,
and rest in the beauty of your kingdom.
Share it with others when you’re ready.
Let them enjoy their kingdoms that they see in yours.

They are one.

– Roger Wolsey

Children have a
much better chance of growing up
if their parents have done so first.
– Susan Peters

So much Wisdom in a Pine Cone
– Nicholas Pierotti

TODAY

Today, let’s be rich.

Why not
let the sun name you
the beneficiary
of the great inheritance
of her golden light?

This type of generous wealth
that lights all who notice it
is fine to gloat about.

Today, I wish us the wealth
of increased porousness
of soul
to all things lovely

that every species of beauty
may flock to you

and you may be a magnet
to meaning

Yes today let’s be rich with knowing
that we share a world with magentas,
the wide collection of beauties
curated into the month of May,
and sunsets

and that the wonders of the world
are mirrors
for the wonders within us

let us relax into allowing
any taughtness
we carry
to be the tuned strings
for life’s music to play upon

and may the gushing gift
of our existence
rise up within us
like a glorious geyser
of hallelujahs

may light, like water,
flow into every cracked open space
in you

and may the mouth of your soul
become a gaping hole
for grace

Today may the sun
be a golden glass
raised all day long
in a cheers with heaven
to your existence

and may the luminous guests of stars
at life’s well attended celebration
take over at nighttime

Today, let’s be rich
with our noticing
of the detail, texture,
nuance, depth,
richness and satisfaction
of the fine brushstrokes of all things

that the world acquires
in our awakening to it

Darling, today may we celebrate
every exquisite moment
of ourselves.
– Chelan Harkin

Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
– Neil Gaiman

We are a chain. We are linked together, and I cannot be what I ought to unless you are what you ought to be.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

In the desert
I saw a creature,naked,bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;

“But I like it
“Because it is bitter,
“And because it is my heart.”
– Stephen Crane

Let all the walls
collapse at your feet.

Scream TIMBER when
they ask you how you are.

FINE is the suckiest word.
It is the opposite of HERE.

– Andrea Gibson

There was a typo in the book.
The line read, “I want to merry you.”

I thought, “That’s exactly what I want
to do! MERRY SOMEBODY!”

– Andrea Gibson

The Pontfadog Oak
c.802-2013

Derwen, quercus, sacred druid tree,
rings of history scribed in its heartwood,
stood its ground twelve centuries,
anchored by old roots and its own weight.

Twelve hundred years of leafing and unleaving,
of blackbirds’ nests, pied flycatchers, a living
insect citadel, each crack and crevice
a cwtch for wintering wrens and honey bees,

its hollow heart a cave for lovers,
cell for the holy, shelter for sheep, cover
for soldier, thief, fugitive, conspirator,
a place of tryst, trust, betrayal. Older

than cathedrals, its branches caught the stars,
made cruck and cradle, roof-beams, rafters,
fuel for the hearth; pollarded, sprouted, spared
when Henry Plantagenet rased Ceiriog woods.

In 1165, the midnight bell-note of the owl
from its branchy tower the rallying call
when Owain Gwynedd roused his men
for victory at Crogan against the Saeson.

Ten centuries on, an April wind
brought down the king of trees. It fell unseen,
laying its branches, just beginning to green,
on Cilcochwyn’s slates, slack as a dead hand.
– Gillian Clarke

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

It is time for writers to admit
that nothing in this world makes sense.
– Anton Chekhov

We are from
different stories,
could only ever
whisper in the wings.
– Kevin Kantor

We have shown that there is ample evidence to suggest that Africans were studying mathematical astronomy in their schools in Timbuktu over four centuries ago, much earlier than was expected.
– R.T. Medupe

There’s nothing missing in you.
There’s a missing village for you to be in.
There’s nothing missing in you.
There’s a missing larger story for you to be in.
What’s missing is not what is being approached
But a more beautiful way to approach it.
– Tad Hargrave

‘Don’t digress,’ people are always saying. ‘Get to the point’… My advice is to court digression…those places in the mind that we usually shut out because they would appear to lead us astray. Let your conversation get away from you; let a new story take over.
– Judith Kitchen

The most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is at the root of all true science.
– Albert Einstein

The Fountain
by Denise Levertov

Don’t say, don’t say there is no water
to solace the dryness at our hearts.
I have seen
the fountain springing out of the rock wall
and you drinking there. And I too
before your eyes
found footholds and climbed
to drink the cool water.
The woman of that place, shading her eyes,
frowned as she watched — but not because
she grudged the water,
only because she was waiting
to see we drank our fill and were
refreshed.
Don’t say, don’t say there is no water.
That fountain is there among its scalloped
green and gray stones,
it is still there and always there
with its quiet song and strange power
to spring in us,
up and out through the rock.

On Reparations

Reeds and their
reflections
stand in wild silence,
inherited wrongs
keeping company
with today’s
call to do right.
– Heidi Barr

laugh like everything
inside us is still a secret
that we get to choose
whether or not to tell.
– Ollie Schminkey

Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.
– Fyodor Dostoevsky

Things are shimmering. Beauty happens for no reason. Everything is a person.
– Timothy Morton

A poem is like a radio that can broadcast continuously for thousands of years.
– Allen Ginsberg

THE PEASANT’S WAY

The word “peasant” in English carries unpleasant associations dating back to feudalism; but in, other cultures, the word “peasant” is an honorific association of human beings with the land.

La Via Campesina, which means “Way of the Peasant” is an international movement of 182 organization from 81 nations that advocates for international farmers and for what it calls “food sovereignty.” “Food sovereignty is defined as “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through sustainable methods.”

La Via Campesina, released a manifesto yesterday that should cause quite a stir. Warning: the Manifesto will not be not a pleasant read for many Americans. It is entitled “Anti-Imperialist Manifesto in Defense of the Environment.”

The Manifesto says:

The unrestrained extraction and exploitation of natural resources for profit by the large corporations, and the logic of the capitalist system have depleted our planet. The destructive power of the current stage of capitalism – financial capitalism – is unprecedented. Transnational companies continue to increase their capacity to exploit common goods, pushing forward in mining projects, deforestation, and the private appropriation of water among other things. In agriculture, transnational companies apply the model of agribusiness based on mono-crops and pesticide use, that destroy biodiversity and changes the climate. The imperialists of the USA and other global north countries attack peripheral countries looking to privatize common goods that the people, the real owners of natural resources, used to take care of in each country.”

Instead of just dismissing this message because we do not want to change our life style, I hope we can listen to the truth of what “peasants” all over the world are saying to us.

It is tempting to think we simply need to make capitalism “green” and go on consuming, but there is a fundamental contradiction between our life style and our economic system and the nature of sustainable life on earth.

Under capitalism, food is a commodity, like everything else. In the Peasant’s Way food is a human right and so healthy food must be available to all.

Under capitalism, seeds can be patented which allows large corporations to overwhelm local markets and uproot community farming. In the Peasant’s Way, seeds are the common heritage of all humanity.

Under capitalism, the goal is to make prices as low as possible even if that means farmers must struggle and suffer all over the world. In the Peasant’s Way, the “price” of food must cover the cost of production of healthy food, a living wage for those who raise the food, and cover the cost of producing food in an environmentally responsible manner.

So what does the Manifesto propose as a solution?

The solution is in the rebuilding of the relationship between human beings and nature, where life, collective well-being, and ecological rhythms – not greed and profit – guide the actions of nations and peoples. It is a solution focused on agroecological production of food; the democratization of the access to land through agrarian reform; the protection and care of common goods such as water, biodiversity and land; and the transition to an energy model that responds to the real needs of the working class with social and environmental justice, overcoming patriarchy and racism.

Putting a stop to capitalist barbarism is the central task of our time. We need to put an end to the domination of capital over life in order to create a world that is just, egalitarian and vibrant, so that we all can live well and in peace.

In other words, the Peasant’s Way is simply putting the planet before profits.

– Jim Rigby

It took many years of vomiting up
all the filth I’d been taught about myself,
and half-believed,
before I was able to walk on the earth
as though I had a right to be here.
– James Baldwin, They Can’t Turn Back

A dandelion the neighborhood
holds in the air, hoping a gust
will catch the boy long enough
for him to land somewhere better.
– Rudy Francisco

There’s a practice I like called “Just like me.” You go to a public place and sit there and look around. Traffic jams are very good for this. You zero in on one person and say to yourself things such as “Just like me, this person doesn’t want to feel uncomfortable. Just like me, this person loses it sometimes. Just like me, this person doesn’t want to be disliked. Just like me, this person wants to have friends and intimacy.

We can’t presume to know exactly what someone else is feeling and thinking, but still we do know a lot about each other. We know that people want to be cared about and don’t want to be hated. We know that most of us are hard on ourselves, that we often get emotionally triggered, but that we want to be of help in some way. We know that, at the most basic level, every living being desires happiness and doesn’t want to suffer.

– Pema Chödrön, Welcoming the Unwelcome, Wholehearted Living in a Brokenhearted World

trying to resist binaries but I keep thinking there are (1) those who experience hardship & believe everyone else should too & (2) those who experience hardship & believe no one else should ever have to go through that shit, & everyone I trust seems to fall in the latter group.
– R.O. Kwon

The most basic activism we can have in our lives is to live consciously in a nation living in fantasies. Living consciously is living with a core of healthy self-esteem. You will face reality, you will not delude yourself.
– bell hooks

I saw a bank describe opening an account as “join[ing] the movement.” The co-opting of social justice language has reached the most ridiculous levels now. Everything is infused w/ language of social justice movements in ways that render the language meaningless.
– @BreeNewsome

I have owned a bookstore for exactly one day and I’ve already lost a pair of sunglasses somewhere inside it.
– Sam Kaas

If you want to understand Millennial and Gen Z politics, all you need to know is that when we were kids there were dead water fountains in every park and we knew they used to work.
– Sam Warlick

There are books so alive I worry that, while I’m not reading them, they change, like a river changes – the book has been living and changing while I have been living and changing. Can you step into such same book twice?
– Marina Tstetaeva

Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.
– Buddha

this is the time of year when my every third or fourth thought is, “sweet jesus I love this fucked up beautiful city”
– Peter Coviello

It is a brave and honest person who can stand apart from the masses and openly challenge its most treasured beliefs.
– Donna Evans

Your will is your wheel. Its what drives you forward from one destination to the next. Navigation is done with compassion, also known as the compass. Passion is your inner motivation – what moves you into action. Your heart points in the direction of your highest path.
– @MindfulXpansion

Political chaos is connected with the decay of language.
– George Orwell

lol. I can’t ever actually *see* the hill, due to this boulder I’m pushing…
– Michael Bazzett

By perseverance the snail reached the Ark.
– Charles Spurgeon

The price of civilization is neurosis. Socialization is necessary, but with each adaptation, one moves further from the Garden.
– James Hollis

You can’t pursue politics with people who are accustomed to accepting evil instead of resisting it—even if that is under the pretense of avoiding a greater evil.
– Hannah Arendt

First, we need to reflect on how we have contributed to the situation. Then we need to have the courage to turn off the television and take time to speak and listen to each other.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Say
grassland.
Say it slowly.
You are reciting
a perfect
poem.

– Christine Busta (trans. by Maria Fink)

Nobody ever tells you how Utahns, contrary to what you might think, are some of America’s wildest drivers.
– Kathleen McLaughlin

Trauma is the worst setback. Healing is the best comeback.
– Inner Practitioner

Remembering that time I made a friend in Astronomy. We sat together. We partnered up to use the telescope. We exchanged numbers. And on the last day of class, I told her the moon would always remind me of her. She didn’t return my texts after that.

Anyway, I’m a poet now.

– @LannieStabile

Some want to dismantle the imperial slaughter machine and create a harmonious world; others just want the imperial slaughter machine to give them healthcare. These are two entirely different positions. It’s not strange that these factions feud—it would be strange if they didn’t.
– Caitlin Johnstone

I love hearing Fast Car anytime of day.
– Alex Dimitrov

To look to the past in order to find analogies by which to solve our present problems is, in my opinion, a mythological error.
– Hannah Arendt

Living is not thinking… Living is the constant adjustment of thought to life and life to thought in such a way that we are always growing, always experiencing new things in the old and old things in the new. Thus life is always new.
– Thomas Merton

There is nothing more alienating than having your pleasures disputed by someone with a theory.
– Lauren Berlant

I can assure you that history reveals that people have never, in any age of the human past, ever known what they were doing, that is, what the effects would be of what they were doing.
– Marshall McLuhan

I’m so fucking angry that we taught ourselves to make care transactional. That relationships, communities, etc can only survive on equilibrium in care–needing it and giving it. It’s revoltingly capitalist, almost malthusian. Care is scarce only when we make it so.
– @HannahntheWolf

I call this the difficulty of the nonbeliever,
of waking, every morning, without a god.
– Donika Kelly

It is a confusing thing to be born between generations where the one above thinks nothing is trauma and the one below things everything is trauma.
– Zoe Whittall

Your ego usually rejects the thing that is absolutely best for your life due to the fear of losing control over you.
– Ciara

Nature has not changed. The night is still unsullied, the stars still twinkle… We may be afflicted and unhappy, but no one can take from us the sweet delight which is nature’s gift to those who love her and her poetry.
– George Sand ; Lélia

Time to stop fucking around the edges with climate change, saying nice words, making empty promises, buying offsets. The ONLY way out is to end the fossil fuel industry, and it has to happen now.
– Peter Kalmus

If you know someone who doesn’t have anxiety issues, that’s a demon. You’re friends with a demon.
– Doth

A lady just came up to me and said “Speak English, we are in San Diego.” So I politely responded by asking her “how do I say ‘San Diego’ in English?” The look of bewilderment on her face made it feel like a Friday.
– @ArtyCurry

In 1975, women of Iceland went on strike for equal rights. 90% of women walked off their jobs & homes, shutting down the entire country. The men could barely cope. Five years later, Iceland elected first female President. Now Iceland has the highest gender equality in the world.
– @mhdksafa

people: lol why would anyone get a humanities degree

also people: ugh why does the CDC seem to struggle with articulating a synthesis of a handful of complex concepts
– Jake Anbindet

thou pluckest
me out in a permanent lockdown
– Pattie McCarthy

An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions.
– Robert A Humphrey

I feel like a useful aesthetic principle for the current moment is: all copaganda – no matter its virtuosity or its prestige – is unforgivably malign, and we should maybe get used to saying so.
– Peter Coviello

Phrases came. Visions came. Beautiful pictures. Beautiful phrases. But what she wished to get hold of was that very jar on the nerves, the thing itself before it has been made anything.
– Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

I am not much an advocate for traveling, and I observe that men run away to other countries because they are not good in their own, and run back to their own because they pass for nothing in the new places. .. Who are you that have no task to keep you at home?
– R.W. Emerson

Reality, as it turns out, is far different than what we thought. Not only is it holographic but also nonlinear and multidimensional. The “you” who you think you are is really but a tiny fraction of all that you actually are. You are a limitless being that has “split” itself “multidimensionally”, and you’re now consciously experiencing one small part of yourself on this level
– Ziad Masri, Reality Unveiled

THE HALF-FINISHED HEAVEN
Despondency breaks off its course.
Anguish breaks off its course.
The vulture breaks off its flight.

The eager light streams out,
even the ghosts take a draught.

And our paintings see daylight,
our red beasts of the ice-age studios.

Everything begins to look around.
We walk in the sun in hundreds.

Each man is a half-open door
leading to a room for everyone.

The endless ground under us.

The water is shining among the trees.

The lake is a window into the earth.
– Tomas Tranströmer
translated by Robin Fulton

The authentic human being is one of us who instinctively knows what he should not do, and, in addition, he will balk at doing it. He will refuse to do it, even if this brings down dread consequences to him and to those whom he loves. This, to me, is the ultimately heroic trait of ordinary people; they say no to the tyrant and they calmly take the consequences of this resistance. Their deeds may be small, and almost always unnoticed, unmarked by history. Their names are not remembered, nor did these authentic humans expect their names to be remembered. I see their authenticity in an odd way: not in their willingness to perform great heroic deeds but in their quiet refusals. In essence, they cannot be compelled to be what they are not.
– Philip K. Dick

LAST SPRING
Fill yourself up with the forsythias
and when the lilacs flower, stir them in too
with your blood and happiness and wretchedness,
the dark ground that seems to come with you.

Sluggish days. All obstacles overcome.
And if you say: ending or beginning, who knows,
then maybe – just maybe – the hours will carry you
into June, when the roses blow.
– Gottfried Benn
translated by Michael Hofmann

Fortunately, some are born with spiritual immune systems that sooner or later give rejection to the illusory worldview grafted upon them from birth through social conditioning. They begin sensing that something is amiss, and start looking for answers. Inner knowledge and anomalous outer experiences show them a side of reality others are oblivious to, and so begins their journey of awakening. Each step of the journey is made by following the heart instead of following the crowd and by choosing knowledge over the veils of ignorance.
– Henri Bergson

A pleasant letter I hold to be the pleasantest thing that this world has to give. It should be good-humoured; witty it may be, but with a gentle diluted wit. Concocted brilliancy will spoil it altogether. Not long, so that it be tedious in the reading; nor brief, so that the delight suffice not to make itself felt. It should be written specially for the reader, and should apply altogether to him, and not altogether to any other. […] It should be legibly written, so that it may be read with comfort; but no more than that. […] Then let its page be soiled by no business; one touch of utility will destroy it all. If you ask for examples, let it be as unlike Walpole as may be. […] But, above all things, see that it be good-humoured.
– Anthony Trollope, The Bertrams

—For Mammoth Cave National Park

Humongous cavern, tell me, wet limestone, sandstone caprock,
bat-wing, sightless translucent cave shrimp,
this endless plummet into more of the unknown,
how one keeps secrets for so long.

All my life, I’ve lived above the ground,
car wheels over paved roads, roots breaking through
concrete,
and still I’ve not understood the reel of this life’s purpose.

Not so much living, but a hovering without sense.

What’s it like to be always night? No moon, but a few lit up
circles at your many openings. Endless dark, still time
must enter you. Like a train, like a green river?

Tell me what it is to be the thing rooted in shadow.
To be the thing not touched by light (no that’s not it)
to not even need the light? I envy; I envy that.

[…] Ruler of the Underlying, let me
speak to both the dead and the living as you do. Speak
to the ruined earth, the stalactites, the eastern small-footed
bat,

to honor this: the length of days. To speak to the core
that creates and swallows, to speak not always to what’s
shouting, but to what’s underneath asking for nothing.

I am at the mouth of the cave. I am willing to crawl.

– Ada Limón, Notes on the Below

I want to examine some instances of […] individuals whose principal concern [is] not primarily with human relationships, but with the search for coherence and sense. […] They are not so disturbed when relationships go wrong because, for them, the meaning of life is less bound up with intimate relationships than it is in the case of most people.

[…] Let us assume that the individuals to whom I have just referred showed ‘avoidance behaviour’ as infants. [… W]e can see that an avoidant infant might very well develop into a person whose principal need [is] to find some kind of meaning and order in life which [is] not entirely, or even chiefly, dependent upon interpersonal relationships. Such a person would be likely to feel the need to protect the inner world in which this search for meaning and order [is] going on from interference by others because other people would be perceived as posing a threat. Ideas are sensitive plants which wilt if exposed to premature scrutiny.
– Anthony Storr, Solitude: A Return to the Self

One of the best ways to build a new habit is to identify a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new behavior on top. This is called habit stacking.
– James Clear, Atomic Habits

I have been sitting here resting
after my morning stroll, and the sun
in its soft yellow work gloves
has come in through the window
and is feeling around on the opposite wall,
looking for me, having seen me
cheerfully walking along the road
just as it rose, having followed me home
to see what I have to be happy about.
– Ted Kooser

I want to do for you
what the sun does for me—
coax you to come
outside, to breathe in
the golden air.
I want to warm you
and enter you,
fill you with brilliance,
make your muscles melt,
make your mind shush.
I want to prepare for you
luminous paths
that span across deep space,
thaw any part of you
that feels frozen,
find any cracks
and slip shine into them.
I want to intensify
your shadow
so you might better know
your own shape.
I want to encourage you
to open, wider, wider,
want to teach you
to write your name
in light.
– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

The sign of life is pulsation. ‘Spanda’ in Sanskrit. From Spanda comes our word ‘expand.’ That which expands must also contract, must pulse. That which does not pulse cannot play, cannot live.

Pulse is the nectar of creation, and the wine of health. Atoms, hearts, moments of time, cycles of history, worlds and galaxies, all bubble up and dissolve as the pulse of the Infinite. Music is the pulse of silence, dance is the pulse of stillness, art is the pulse of the formless. Spirit pulses into Matter. Shiva pulses into Shakti.

If we are going to pulsate and live, we must not only know how to act, but how to rest; not only how to swell, but how to be empty; how to listen as well as speak; how to be dark as well as radiant.

We learn to rest between the pulses. Between our days. Between our moments. Between our heartbeats. And right in the midst of busy lives, to be so vulnerable that we can fall into the gaps and silences, coming Om even for an instant, which could be an instant of eternity, as we let go of Doing to sink into Being.

But we get stuck in the mind, do we not? In dry abstractions, brittle concepts. Whether religious or political, it is the same arid paralysis: lack of pulse. Weak pulse is dis-ease. The organic vibrancy of our body goes numb. Confined to the cage of the intellect, we have no juice, and cannot feel the kiss of God.

Ideology will never save our world. Our world will be saved by the call of a robin at dawn, the flavor of your grandmother’s mashed potatoes, the gaze of a baby sucking a nipple, the sting of dew on your bare feet. Whatever the question is, the answer is not an idea. Nor will the answer ever come as the conclusion of an argument.

The answer is returning to pulsation. When you are stuck in the mind, drop those inflexible concepts and come home to what pulsates, the rhythm that softens and expands your heart. This life-giving pulse of Spanda need not be sensational or dramatic. It could be as gentle and intimate as your next breath​.​

– Alfred K. LaMotte

Haiku- Spring 2021

vernal equinox
morning songbird songs
a thousand miles wide

day in day out, yet
the unknown calligraphy
from dirty dog paws

slow rain alley music softening rust

clouds pass a little
rainy somewhat sunny-
just wasting time

red light green light,
the dog barks and morning sun
unfolds the tulips

allergy attack,
no apologies required
from this floating world

– Brian, Five Branch Tree

What is there left to do
but gather the straws
with the lilies,
white
like the graying
of my hair
and the passing of days…
I listen to
the peaceful elegy of mountains
as they rise up to stars
oh!
this walk,
this raw valley
the tiny flowers smiling
their benediction of yellow hearts
in all directions
my heart burning…
What do we become
when absence claims us?
and the lonely story spills
into the vast twinkling sky
my friendship with clouds
and stars
the way I become
a thorn in your side
a buried treasure
that you must let
the loyal dog within
dig and dig
until your soul
becomes a spoon
and all that we cannot control
an unexpected meal
that is offered,
but only the truly hungry
can eat.
What is there left to do
but gather the straws
with the lilies,
white
like the graying
of my hair
and the passing of days…
– Margo Stebbing

Where the Mind Goes, the Chi Follows.
– Taoist saying

Every human thought, word, or deed is based on either fear or love. You have a a conscious choice which of these to select.
– Neale Donald Walsch

Mag Gabbert:
Is there an anthology or—better yet?—a journal around that’s dedicated to publishing ekphrastic poems next to the images they reference? Surely this exists. I assume it must(!). We cannot have dropped all those balls.

Only in the beauty created
by others is there consolation,
in the music of others and in others’ poems.
Only others save us,
even though solitude tastes like
opium. The others are not hell…
– Adam Zagajewski, from Polish, Renata Gorczynski

Language is a kingdom; it scoffs at empires.
– Paul Celan, Microliths

So many horrors could not have been possible without so many virtues. Doubtless, much science was needed to kill so many, to waste so much property, annihilate so many cities[…];but moral qualities in like number were also needed. Are Knowledge and Duty, then, suspect?
– Valery

Kathryn Knight Sonntag:
A Druidic legend claims that the [oak] is the beating heart of the planet and that a time will come when people will repair these sacred woods, beginning in County Clare, Ireland. The legend says that the idea will catch the world like a wildfire.
– To Speak for the Trees

Doc Hubbard:
If you don’t see the negative impact of too many people on our public lands and, instead, extol the virtues of everyone enjoying the outdoors at nature’s expense – well – you don’t get it then

Emily Brier:
Academia hates poor people, and I mean this literally. Every step of academia is trying to keep poor people from the academy. That anyone who grew up poor or working class is in academia is out of spite & against all odds.

God:
I don’t create complex marine ecosystems in your landfills, so please don’t dump shit in My oceans.

Whenever I post on Facebook, I feel like I’m playing air guitar in the parking lot of a retirement home.
– Joseph Massey

Ideology isn’t knowledge.

Identity isn’t soul.

Show me who you are behind the scaffolding and the ornaments. I’m interested in individuals, not the stink of the herd.
– Joseph Massey

To see the Summer
Sky
Is Poetry, though
never in a Book
it lie —
True Poems flee —
– Emily Dickinson

Joseph Massey:
There are people who get drunk and stay drunk on self-righteous victimhood. You see it in their eyes, that peculiar vacancy. They need help, but we live in a world where they are celebrated for destroying people who don’t deserve it.

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

I love words as food. It fills up my appetite with parsley, mint, and species. It has a way of keeping my immune system stronger – my senses alert, my feet tapping, and my soul smelling the aroma of imagery.
– Christina Strigas, A Book of Chrissyisms

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

Our cities can never be made really habitable or worthy of an enlightened people while the habitations of its citizens remain the property of private individuals. To permanently remedy the evils of city life the citizens must own their city.
– James Connolly

You do the work
and in the end
the world will need it or not.
– Claudia Rankine

If you wander the desert, and it is near sundown, and you are perhaps a little bit lost, and certainly tired, you are lucky, for La Loba may take a liking to you and show you something -something of the soul.
– Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves

Oxygen

Everything needs it: bone, muscles, and even,
while it calls the earth its home, the soul.
So the merciful, noisy machine

stands in our house working away in its
lung-like voice. I hear it as I kneel
before the fire, stirring with a

stick of iron, letting the logs
lie more loosely. You, in the upstairs room,
are in your usual position, leaning on your

right shoulder which aches
all day. You are breathing
patiently; it is a

beautiful sound. It is
your life, which is so close
to my own that I would not know

where to drop the knife of
separation. And what does this have to do
with love, except

everything? Now the fire rises
and offers a dozen, singing, deep-red
roses of flame. Then it settles

to quietude, or maybe gratitude, as it feeds
as we all do, as we must, upon the invisible gift:
our purest sweet necessity: the air.

– Mary Oliver

Most people fail in life because they major in minor things.
– Anthony Robbins

I believe that reading and writing are the most nourishing forms of meditation anyone has so far found. By reading the writings of the most interesting minds in history, we meditate with our own minds and theirs as well. This to me is a miracle.
– Kurt Vonnegut

Within the realm of traditional politics the gig is up; traditional activism by itself is basically futile. But there’s a new dimension, actually ancient but newly recognized that will part the waters & lead to new land. Meditation & higher consciousness are key to a better world.
– Marianne Williamson

everyday we are given the choice to build a future that does not reproduce the violent asymmetries of the past
– Tao Leigh Goffe

I value that little phrase “I don’t know” so highly. It’s small, but it flies on mighty wings.
– Wislawa Szymborska

Is anyone else cripplingly depressed about the imminent collapse of American democracy and the ecosystem that sustains human life, or is that just a me-thing?
– Max Berger

I believe that today more than ever a book should be sought after even if it has only one great page in it. We must search for fragments, splinters, toenails, anything that has ore in it, anything that is capable of resuscitating the body and the soul.
– Henry Miller, On Writing

When people spoke of the death of the book, they really seemed to be mourning the death of a set of fantasies about literature.
– Marco Roth, The Scientists

Dana Levin:
Human beings have the capacity to imagine perfection but live on a plane of existence where perfection is impossible, and this is the whole problem re: being alive.

Every reader, if he has a strong mind, reads himself into the book, and amalgamates his thoughts with those of the author.
– J. W. V. Goethe

Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential
– Winston Churchill

THE CONTRARIAN’S ADVICE TO HIMSELF
Because he who laughs last
probably didn’t get the joke,
and he who laughs at himself
will not be laughed at by others,
try to think of the sadness
latent in laughter, and say
something consciously joyous
about it. Remember, you’re
a contrarian and as such
something deeply opposite
is expected of you. Precision
will always be more radical
than passion because it is harder
to come by. But precision
without passion will cause
a dry exactitude
when what’s called for
is a punch in the nose.
When in doubt choose the latter.
Just don’t allow yourself
the apparent ease of doing nothing.
Remember, many a false step
has been made by standing still.
And if you believe that genetics
has given you one face
but your job is to create
for yourself another, try not to worry
when you fail. So much that’s worthy
occurs by accident. The Bible
couldn’t have been written by people
who thought they were writing the Bible.
– Stephen Dunn

The higher the voltage the greater the need for grounding.
– Mantak Chia

Suppose that what you fear
could be trapped
and held in Paris.
Then you would have
the courage to go
everywhere in the world.
All the directions of the compass
open to you,
except the degrees east or west
of true north
that lead to Paris.

You’re not really willing
to stand on a mountainside,
miles away,
and watch the Paris lights
come up at night.
Just to be on the safe side,
you decide to stay completely
out of France.
But then danger
seems too close
even to those boundaries,
and you feel
the timid part of you
covering the whole globe again.
You need the kind of friend
who learns your secret and says,
“See Paris first.”
– Marsha Truman Cooper (Substantial Holdings)

For our house is our corner of the world. As has often been said, it is our first universe, a real cosmos in every sense of the word.
– Gaston Bachelard

I didn’t want to use [her] to fill all my emptiness.
– L. M. Kit Carson & Sam Shepherd

The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves.
– Pema Chödrön

We have to consciously study how to be tender with each other until it becomes a habit because what was native has been stolen from us…but we can practice being gentle with each other by being gentle with that piece of ourselves that is hardest to hold.
– Audre Lorde

Discernment is a process of letting go of what we are not.
– Fr. Thomas Keating

From my Iceland journals, which I was re-reading last night
“The first condition to understanding a foreign country is to smell it.”
– Rudyard Kipling.

‘Reykjavik smells like nothing at all, and then air-if air can have a smell–like air in can called ‘fresh air’ but without the chemical aftertaste—and then a bit of the sea but-not-quite-fish: just water, bit of sulfur, and not the usual kind of saltwater, but the saltwater with a sort of Jack-London edge to it; and then rubble and construction and metal–the smell of a place being built; and then tidy–should tidiness have a smell–and this mixed with a damp moss and sunlight sort of smell; and then the tail end of herbs, the kind planted under a tree, shady, blended with a barely almost-rain. Despite the smallness of this place, how it smells is the same in a great deal of it, and you have to go to the edges to get more variance. I think this is an interesting illustration of place. I am walking around this morning smelling the neighborhood: I am making a scent-map.’

A few years later, this is so interesting. I need to make a scent-map of my neighborhood in San Miguel!
– Amy Gigi Alexander

Sooner or later you will realize that you are praying to your own shadow; that you are standing in front of mirrors and are worshipping your own reflection.
– Rudy Francisco

It’s hard to be neurotic in a grove of trees.
– Thomas Merton

Never underestimate the meanness
in people’s souls.
Even when they’re being kind
especially when they’re being kind.
– Alice Munro

Cooperatic

Some days like
It’s all dying
Other days
All being born

The former
Punctuation
The latter
No punctuation

How does it work together?
Cooperacies

Death and life
Working together
– George Gorman

Summer set lip to earth..And left the flushed print in a poppy there: Like a yawn of fire from the grass it came, And the fanning wind puffed it to…flame. With burnt mouth red like a lion’s it drank… And dipped its cup in the purpurate shine When the eastern conduits ran with wine.
– Francis Thompson

I think half the problems in our lives would be solved if people read slowly and not gleaned.
– Marian Haddad

I believe that today more than ever a book should be sought after even if it has only one great page in it. We must search for fragments, splinters, toenails, anything that has ore in it, anything that is capable of resuscitating the body and the soul.
– Henry Miller, On Writing

Love is not what you want, it is what you are. It is very important to not get these two confused. If you think that love is what you want, you will go searching for it all over the place. If you think love is what you are, you will go sharing it all over the place. The second approach will cause you to find what the searching will never reveal.
– Neale Donald Walsch

Listen to what makes your hair stand on end, your heart melt, and your eyes go wide, what stops you in your tracks and makes you want to live, wherever it comes from, and hope that your writing can do all those things for other people.
– Rebecca Solnit

Reputation as Food
by Tad Hargrave

“Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful — be concerned with doing good work and make the right choices and protect your work. And if you build a good name, eventually, that name will be its own currency.” – William S. Burroughs

I think reputation may be one of the least understood realities of the modern world.

Not the reputation is unique to the modern world.
Reputation, this way we constantly reconsider the meaning of other people’s lives and our understanding of who they are, may be one of the most important functions of human culture.

In fact, without it, culture, in any achieved sense, might not be possible.

In the modern world, there are two approaches to reputation.
The first seems to be a mad lunge towards a narcissistic sort of fame and notoriety.

The second is an aversion of ‘being known’ that plays as a kind of modesty, “I don’t care about that stuff. I don’t need to be well known. Whatever. I do what I want. People can think of me what they will.”

Perhaps both of these responses to this old, and deeply human culture-maker are not opposites, but opposames. Seemingly opposing answers that both, in the end, testify to the same thing: our modern obsession with and deep poverty of individualism and the sense that the only purpose reputation might have is to aggrandize ourselves; to fill some deep empty hole inside of ourselves.

But, what might reputation look like in a culture more rooted in some collectively held understanding of the world and their place in it?

I believe that, in a more tribal or clan based culture, it would be understood that, wherever you travelled, like it or not, aware of it or not, you were representing your people. If you behaved well, it reflected well on your people. If you behaved poorly, it did not.

And so, reputation might be better understood not as a way we feed ourselves but as a way we feed our people.

Perhaps a good reputation is a way we feed the past, the present and the future.

Perhaps a good reputation is a way that we feed our ancestors; that they look up and swell with pride and say, “They’re one of mine!”

Perhaps a good reputation is a way that we feed our people in the present. It’s a way that we make their lives easier, inspire the generosity and kinship of neighbouring peoples and warm up the hearth fires of good reception they might get the next time they follow your footsteps to the neighbouring county.
Perhaps a good reputation is a way we feed those to come by giving them ancestors worthy of claiming; worthy of being from. That they could swell with pride and say, “I come from those ones.”

I recall a storyteller from England speaking of the legendary Irish hero Fionn MacCumhaill as, “My man Fionn.” An ancestor he was proud to claim and be from.

In a world rife with self-loathing and all of the consequences to our physical, emotional and social health, developing a good and honourable reputation and allowing ourselves to be claimed by others, may be one of the most potent medicines we can give.

A good name is a currency, but it’s not there to be spent on yourself.

Reputation can also animate or de-animate our entire community; it can feed or starve those connected to us.
If you look at the word ‘indigenous’, you will see that root word gen that also appears in genitals, genealogy, generic, genetics, genre, genus and more. Gen seems to relate to a certain kind of belonging to a group, to a people. It seems to speak of lineage but also of shared understanding and deeply fashioned kinship.

Gen also appears in the word ‘generous’. And, perhaps this whispers that our capacity to be generous is not self-generated, but comes from our belonging to a people who have our back; and from the depth of the cultural patrimony entrusted to us.

Traditionally, the foundation of your personal self-esteem was not a self-generated enterprise at all but something of which you were on the receiving end.

So, from whence did it come?

From your pride about the people from whom you come and your noble heredity.

An elder I study with spoke of how the tall-walking, swagger one develops when one belongs to a people of good repute might come across as a bit arrogant. He shared how someone who was proud of where they came from might say, “Well, you know… I’d prefer to be a nobody. I mean, if it were up to me, I’d play it small, but look at who I come from and who I am representing here. Look who’s behind me!”

Most traditional people’s I know have an immense pride in the lineages from which they come.

Consider these words about the Irish during the times of the Potato Famine, as described by John Kelly in The Graves Are Walking:

“Irish peasant culture, though medieval in character, was good at a few things; one was affording a deeply impoverished people with a sense of dignity and worth. Every Irish townland had its wise man, its storyteller, its keeners; every district its schoolmaster, its traveling poets, and its songsters. Under the sheltering umbrella of peasant culture, even the most humble could be esteemed. Of course the peasant knew he was very poor, but that was the result of being outmatched by life, and where was the shame in that? Many a man – many a fine man – had been outmatched by life. Besides, the peasant’s language, Irish, was such a glory, the saints in heaven spoke it.”

Or consider the Scottish Highlander as Michael Newton writes about in Warriors of the Word:

“John Mair wrote in 1521 about the pride taken by his countrymen in their pretensions to noble birth, ‘…they take inordinate pleasure in noble birth and (though of ignoble origin themselves) delight in hearing themselves spoken of as come of noble blood’. Visitors from other nations often remarked at the self-regard of common Highlanders, in contrast to the cringing peasants of their own societies, as when as anonymous eighteenth-century English visitor noted, “The poorest and most despicable Creature of the name of MacDonald looks upon himself as a Gentleman of far Superior Quality than a man of England of £1000 a year.’ Regardless of their economic dearth or the swings of fortune, their cultural self-confidence gave them buoyancy as Edmund Burt noted in the 1720’s: ‘The Highlanders walk nimbly and upright, so that you will never see, among the meanest of them, in the most remote parts, the clumsy, stopping gait of the French paisans, or own own country fellows but, on the contrary, a kind of stateliness in the midst of their poverty.’ The Rev. Donald MacQueen, minister in eighteenth-century Skye, stated that even the lowest classes aspired to the highest ideals of noble behaviour, as elucidated and celebrated in Gaelic song and story: ‘…Every one of the superior clans thought himself a gentleman, as deriving from his pedigree from an honourable stock, and proposed to do nothing unworthy of his descent or connections.”

The whole thing is there in that last sentence: “…and proposed to do nothing unworthy of his descent or connections.”

Our reputation has immense consequences for our people.

Our reputation is not primarily about us.

Our reputation has immense consequences for our people. As does their reputation for us. This is the reciprocal nature of it.
If we behave badly, it reflects poorly on all of them. If they behave badly, it reflects poorly on us. If this shared culture is the source, the well-spring of one’s self-esteem, then if we act in such a way that poisons this well, everyone is affected. There is less to be proud of. And, of course, this isn’t just for those alive now. Our reputation will also have an effect on those who follow us. Ask any MacDonald in Scotland who knows their history if they don’t still hold some grudge against the Campbells for the Massacre at Glencoe that happened in 1692, over three hundred years ago.

In traditional communities, if you were the child of one with a bad reputation, you might carry that too and be starved by it but, if your parents were renowned for their kindness and generosity, that reputation would feed you.

If you are a salesperson and you behave badly towards a potential client, it reflects on all salespeople.

If you are an holistic practitioner and you behave badly towards a client, it reflects on all holistic practitioners.

If you are a life-coach and you behave badly towards a client, it reflects on all life-coaches.

If you are a man and you behave badly towards women, it reflects on all men.

If you are a white person and you behave badly towards people of colour, it reflects on all white people. And thus, the growing self-hatred amongst white people and the increase in cultural appropriation that flows from it. Of course, the challenge here is that white people tend not to see themselves as a group and so, can’t imagine why their conduct would have any consequence for other white people.

How we behave, and the honourable reputation we cultivate becomes food for all those around us and those to come and ennobles them as well.

A good reputation is food. But that food is not primarily for us. Cultivating a good reputation is our way of feeding the deep, cultural well-being of our community, it is the hard-wood we bring to the collective hearth fire that keeps us all warm, it is water flowing to the common cistern; the deep, spring-watered well of our collective self-esteem which feeds the fruiting trees of beauty-making, affection and pride that grow around it.
Our conduct can bring a good name to our people and give our community something beautiful to testify to that ennobles them in the testifying.

And so what does this mean for all of us? What does knowing this ask of us?

Perhaps it asks us to consider that our insistence on being an inconsequential nobody is starving people.

Perhaps it asks us to see that an honourable reputation is one of the ways that village-mindedness finds its way back into our world as people say, “Yes. I will claim this one as one of mine.”
Perhaps it might ask of us, that we proceed in such a way that we become an ancestor worth claiming; the we carry ourselves in the world with such beauty and style as we feed the world that has been feeding us all along that those who come after us might say, “I come from the same community as that one there. I’m one of their people. I’m proud to be in the same group as them.”

Perhaps it asks of us to see reputation as being a scent we can leave on the wind, a rumour that could be spread that, in these dangerous and endangered times, there were those who strove to live differently, who tried for something finer, who worked to learn the poverty of their times and make beauty from it, who woke up to the crater into which they were borne, and, instead of trying to escape it, made something marvellous, ornate and staggeringly wonderful of it from the poverty that was entrusted to them.

No doubt, life will get the best of us, but we can leave something that lingers behind us, a rumour, a small testimony, some carefully preserved sack of seeds, the remnants of the fruiting of all our best intentions, a reason to keep breathing and going on, a life-giving wind carrying a story of those who came before them.

Reputation is not a trophy to win. It’s an obligation. It’s a responsibility.

Reputation is not our greatest way of becoming a unique individual. It’s a deep manner of tethering one’s self to those you come from and allowing others to tether themselves to you.

Reputation is not a reward. It’s a manner of feeding. It is not about self-sufficiency but about bringing your contribution to that old clay pot at the centre of the village so that others might eat.

When there is no village, humans are consistently overwhelmed and lonely and, from this place, behave badly.

This has consequences for other humans, the non-human world and the unseen world.

When there are no people worthy of claiming as your kin, there is no possibility of village.

And so, perhaps, more than anything, it asks us to consider how our insistence on being an inconsequential, invisible, individual nobody might be starving something invaluable.

The Greeks thought of language as a veil which protects us from the brightness of things, I think poetry is a tear in that veil.
– Alice Oswald

What does the earth see but everything? What is the earth but a single massive eye? Ask me where I’ll go when I go and I’ll say that face the size of the sky.
– Michael Lee

I was born undisciplined. Never, even as a child, could I be made to obey a set rule… School was always like a prison to me. I could never bring myself to stay there… when the sun was shining and the sea was so tempting.
– Claude Monet

So, for all of you
maybe some little saying
or rolling thought
in this
Rescuing The Light
might be some small hint
of a delicious and intriguing whiff
of a feast of remembrance of something
your soul needs;
an aroma that guides
the starving soul by its spiritual
nose to pass through all the
modern murk
to the real light of the warm
fire
always burning
at the edge of
the sovereign culture’s influence,
where a welcome for tired exiles and a feast
for the forgotten palace-filling soul of our deeper
pasts is already laid.
So,
please sit by my fire.
Please eat. Let’s sing.
– Martin Prechtel, Introduction to Rescuing The Light

That’s why I travel far,
’cause I come so together
where you are.
– BOB WELCH

We are not mad. We are human.
We want to love,
and someone must forgive us for the paths
we take to love,
for the paths are many and dark,
and we are ardent and cruel in our journey.
– Leonard Cohen

It is not the magnitude of our actions,
but the amount of love that is put into them,
that matters.
– Mother Teresa

You must speak straight so that your words may go as sunlight to our hearts.
– Cochise

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

– Maya Angelou

If there is fear and anxiety
or worry inside your body,
What happens?
They can prevent your
from experiencing what is
truly whole within you –
they stop you from
functioning with you
full potential –
healing happens
only when you recognize them,
see them with loving and embracing eyes –
They need your presence not your attachment
nor your identification with them.
Yes, they heal completely and automatically
when you return to your natural state –
– Guthema Roba

Conversation in society is found to be on a platform so low as to exclude science, the saint, and the poet.
– R. W. Emerson, Prose Works

People think I don’t get toasters. Buddy I GET toasters.
– Andrew Quist

Remains

Is this what happens?
After leaving the body

it wanders down alleyways searching
for something solid to inhabit –

even the heart of a howling dog
in a ruined city, even a leaf

might do. Or it spends its time
staring into windows, waiting

for its shadow to appear.
Maybe it’s in a foreign room

listening for a hymn that’s yet
to be written. Perhaps, like notes

in the foxed margins of a book,
it just leaves traces.

– Maggie Sawkins

I just took the sacrament
of a ginormous plate of nachos–
why wait
until our diet looks a certain way
to experience with sacred relish
everything that passes
our lips?

Why wait until our health
matches some external image
to enjoy the exquisite health
of whatever degree our bodies
are functioning at
right now?

Why hold a carrot
in front of your beauty
and whip it until
it reaches that illusory destination
of finally measuring up
when the soft animal of your being
is already a masterpiece?

Why would we ever withhold
our perfect radiance
from ourselves
for the paltry return
of living up
to an image?

Please may we
take the ransom
of our radical self-acceptance
and stop holding
our happiness hostage

Spirituality rarely tends
to be glamorous–
that’s usually just good acting.

Spirituality is coming home to all
of your funky undone total lovableness
in the glorious mess you are
right now.

Spirituality is ceasing the war
as often as possible
between what is
and how you would like it to be
and letting the energy that comes available
through that sweet surrender
more or less figure it out
for you.
– Chelan Harkin

There is mercy for everyone, except those who are bored with life.
– Cesare Pavese

The Lord is the dept, the core
& the center
of the heart
– Unknown

CANA
What can I tell you that you don’t know
that will make you tremble again?

Forsythia
by the roadside, by
wet rocks, on the embankments
underplanted with hyacinth –

For ten years I was happy.
You were there; in a sense,
you were always with me, the house, the garden
constrantly lit,
not with lights as we have in the sky
but with those emblems of light
which are more powerful, being
implicitly some earthly
thing transformed –

And all of it vanished,
reabsorbed into impassive process. Then
what will we see by,
now that the yellow torches have become
green branches?
– Louise Glück

It is the intentions, the capacities for choice rather than the total configuration of traits which defines the person. Here the stage is set for identity crises, for wondering who one really is, behind the multifold variety of actions and roles. And the search for that core person is not a matter of curiosity; it is a search for the principles by which choices are to be made.
– Amélie Oksenberg Rorty

When you get the hang of being more interested in life than in agreeing with your thoughts, then you will get the life you get. And you will be able to have as much happiness as you want with almost no effort whatsoever. When you stop believing your thoughts, you look around just for you, just because it is interesting to look around. Some people call that enlightenment. But you won’t call it that. You’ll be too interested in the new view.
– John Tarrant

A Prayer to Talk to Animals
by Nickole Brown

Lord, I ain’t asking to be the Beastmaster
gym-ripped in a jungle loincloth
or a Doctor Dolittle or even the expensive vet
down the street, that stethoscoped redhead,
her diamond ring big as a Cracker Jack toy.
All I want is for you to help me flip
off this lightbox and its scroll of dread, to rip
a tiny tear between this world and that, a slit
in the veil, Lord, one of those old-fashioned peeping
keyholes through which I can press my dumb
lips and speak. If you will, Lord, make me the teeth
hot in the mouth of a raccoon scraping
the junk I scraped from last night’s plates,
make me the blue eye of that young crow cocked to
me—too selfish to even look up from the black
of my damn phone. Oh, forgive me, Lord,
how human I’ve become, busy clicking
what I like, busy pushing
my cuticles back and back to expose
all ten pale, useless moons. Would you let me
tell your creatures how sorry
I am, let them know exactly
what we’ve done? Am I not an animal
too? If so, Lord, make me one again.
Give me back my dirty claws and blood-warm
horns, braid back those long-
frayed endings of every nerve tingling
with all I thought I had to do today.
Fork my tongue, Lord. There is a sorrow on the air
I taste but cannot name. I want to open
my mouth and know the exact
flavor of what’s to come, I want to open
my mouth and sound a language
that calls all language home.

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

Only one answer: write carelessly so that nothing that is not green will survive.
– William Carlos William

I’d like to say that it makes me mad when you can’t sit down at the art museum, the train station, or anywhere in the fucking world.
– Stephen Ira

apologizing for how you expressed yourself in moments that you recognize you were operating at a low vibration, is awareness. apologizing for how you expressed yourself in moments where you had the right to feel the way you feel in fear of negative reaction, is a trauma response.
– billy chapata

To achieve anything today an artist has to develop a conscious strictness in respect of time which in former ages might have seemed neurotic and selfish, for he must never forget that he is living in a state of siege.
– W.H. Auden

Pull the string, and it will follow wherever you wish. Push it, and it will go nowhere at all.
– Dwight Eisenhower

What would I
think, coming

up after
my world

had evaporated?
I’d wish

I were water.

– Andrea Cohen

[T]here is[in The Grail story] a psychological expression of an extraordinary stirring of the unconscious, such as does happen from time to time, especially in periods when the religious values of a culture are beginning to change.
– Emma Jung & ML von Franz

I hear people all the time say they want their children to learn not to quit. Screw that. I want my daughters to quit every shitty job they ever have, every asshole boss, every time they’re treated like they don’t deserve to be there.
– Paul Crenshaw

There is no better trigger for thinking than laughter.
– Walter Benjamin

Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are out here spending billions, and yet, the only one successfully defying gravity is Simone Biles.
– Charlotte Clymer

Who do you think you are? Imagine there’s a version of you that sees all of it. A version that knows when versions are messing with the other ones, trying to get things off track, trying to erase things. A record of all the keystrokes, the storage of all the versions, partial and deleted and written over. All the changes. All truths about all parts of our self. We break ourselves up into parts. To lie to ourselves, to hide things from ourselves. You are not you. You are not what you think you are. You are bigger than you think. More complicated than you think. You are the only version of you that is you. There are less of you than you think, and more. There are a million versions of you, half a trillion. One for every particle, every quantum coin flip. Imagine this uncountable number of yous. You don’t always have your own best interests at heart. It’s true. You are your own best friend and your own worst enemy . . . Only you know what you need to do. Imagine there is a perfect version of you. Out of all the oceans of oceans of you, there is exactly one who is perfectly you.
– Charles Yu

It’s hard to explain my persistent
sadness when I keep so many

blueberries frozen in the freezer.
Nirvana, in the past, was plenty

of fruit, and all the moments spent outside
of myself.

– Kayleb Rae Candrilli, Water I Won’t Touch

Why him and nobody else?

Cause he reached in … and put a string of lights around my heart.
– Natalie Cooper, Desert Hearts

If I make a metaphor of my body,
it’s a desert. One part longing,

one part need, the rest withstanding. Of course
I would prefer to be thirsty

for nothing.

– Kayleb Rae Candrilli, Sand & Silt

In all memory there is a degree of fallenness; we are all exiles from our own pasts, just as, on looking up from a book, we discover anew our banishment from the bright worlds of imagination and fantasy.
– John Lanchester

know that if one shares concerns, heartbreak, and commitment to social change and actions directed to social change in relation structural and direct violence, there will be pushback. i expect it. i also have strong boundaries and if i feel that there is untoward speech or actions, i block. I also try to live the Ninth Mindfulness Training of the Order of Interbeing: The Ninth Mindfulness Training: Truthful and Loving Speech
Aware that words can create happiness or suffering, we are committed to learning to speak truthfully, lovingly and constructively. We will use only words that inspire joy, confidence and hope as well as promote reconciliation and peace in ourselves and among other people. We will speak and listen in a way that can help ourselves and others to transform suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. We are determined not to say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people, nor to utter words that might cause division or hatred. We will protect the happiness and harmony of our Sangha by refraining from speaking about the faults of other persons in their absence and always ask ourselves whether our perceptions are correct. We will speak only with the intention to understand and help transform the situation. We will not spread rumours nor criticise or condemn things of which we are not sure. We will do our best to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may make difficulties for us or threaten our safety.
– Joan Halifax

I thrill at the reality of love, for kindness is stock in love, and patience is the byword.
– Chila Bradshaw Woychik

There will be days
you struggle with knowing
where you belong for feeling
like you belong everywhere
and nowhere at all.
– Rachel Wiley

It takes a lot of courage to not be apocalyptic–to not feel like you just have to get what you can before it all blows up. Humans make chaos by trying to avoid chance. If you wrestle your scorn and bitterness and still have wonder and understanding of your blessings, you’re doing something worth doing.
– Martin Prechtel, Rescuing The Light

This culture is not alive, it’s just a televised imitation of a live culture that people just sit around watching. Unable to fully live, people’s minds and bodies atrophy and die in masses–from the weather, from epidemics, I’m not trying to save this broadcast but just keep alive seeds so that some of the people have something from which to regrow some memory of what real culture might and could be and actually how to live knowing and doing something besides just being entertained on a sinking ship. It’s not about trying to get to Shangri-La. It’s the deliciousness of giving heaven to someone else. That is heaven. We’re trying to learn that our health is the health of the whole thing.
– Martin Prechtel, Rescuing the Light

AND CALLED IT…
Etymology via *Finnegans Wake*

we know about
both British
and American
mispronunciations
of French.
if a French word
ends with e
both Brits and Yanks
think it must sound like a,
so that what the French call
lingereeeee
the Yanks and Brits think
must be
lingeraaaaaaa.
“stuck a feather in his cap
and called it macaroni”
in the Yankee Doodle song
is usually explained
by referring to The Macaroni Club,
an association of young men
who dressed in an Italianate style.
this is probably correct
but in the examples I found
people would call HIM macaroni—
HE is a macaroni—
but they do not call IT macaroni.
suppose we turn to *Finnegans Wake*
for a vastly belated
and probably inaccurate
correction.
“and called it ma couronne”—my crown.
in the benighted Brityank pronunciation
mightn’t ma couronne be
*mah cor-oh-nay*?
stuck a feather in his cap
and called it—
my crown?…
this is probably
a false etymology,
a “ghost word,”
something an American
half-Irish person
would concoct
in a pitiable effort
to sound
like the greatest Irish author
of the twentieth century.

rest easy, Mr. Skeat.

– Jack Foley

Not Everything is Black and White

You see the picture.
You think, “How lovely!”
Two horses greeting each other,
nose to nose, perhaps they will nuzzle.
You think about nuzzling, maybe
remembering something, maybe
longing.

You see a horse that is black
and white with a mane someone
took the care to braid,

three gatherings of hair moved
over and under, over and under
as the horse stood for attention.

The other horse has a scissor-
cropped mane, blunt at the ends.
Dashing. Elegant, but he’s sturdy
looking too.

When telling the story of this moment,
the greeting, you refer to this horse
as a white horse. Because, that’s how
you saw it.

But, not everything is black and white.

White horses are greys.

~

Left. Right.
Right. Wrong.
Here. There.
Then. Now.
Forward. Backward.
He. She.
Care. Careless.
Happy. Sad.
Strangers. Familiars.
Fearful. Courageous.
Sanity and the insane.
Two poles of the planet.
The other.

Every point in between
is a potential meeting
place.

~

A mess can be beautiful.
A broken heart, optimistic.
Chaos may be well-organized
by higher powers.

I’ve known sanity to be horrible
and observed that glory is often
tainted.

Loneliness is intimacy. It is memories
and desires touching us, reaching
for the human soul.

Peace requires much activity.

Everything,

my friends,

is not black and white.

We live in the grey areas.

– Jamie K. Reaser

Morning Light
by Effie Lee Newsome – 1885-1978
(The Dew-drier)

It is a custom in some parts of Africa for travelers into the jungles to send before them in the early morning little African boys called “Dew-driers” to brush with their bodies the dew from the high grasses—and be, perchance, the first to meet the leopard’s or hyena’s challenge—and so open the road. “Human Brooms,” Dan Crawford calls them.

Brother to the firefly—
For as the firefly lights the night
So lights he the morning—
Bathed in the dank dews as he goes forth
Through heavy menace and mystery
Of half-waking tropic dawns,
Behold a little black boy, a naked black boy,
Sweeping aside with his slight frame
Night’s pregnant tears,
And making a morning path to the light
For the tropic traveler!

Bathed in the blood of battle,
Treading toward a new morning,
May not his race—its body long bared to the world’s disdain,
Its face schooled to smile for a light to come—
May not his race, even as the dew-boy leads,
Bear onward the world toward a new day-dawn
When tolerance, forgiveness,
Such as reigned in the heart of One
Whose heart was gold,
Shall shape the earth for that fresh dawning
After the dews of blood?

We all rush in like fools to find more solutions, better remedies, fix-its from the profit makers, and fuzzy warm language to comfort the addicted aspects of ourselves. We make films, Facebook pages, petitions, we ask politicians to do our bidding, we cast votes virtually because we have to save our country, save the world, save the Earth, save the whales, save anything, but our own sanity.
– Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Indigenous Languages As Cures of the Earth

It is the soul that sees; the outward eyes present the object, but the mind descries. We see nothing till we truly understand it.
– John Constable, Cloud Study

If wars can be started by lies, they can be stopped by truth.
– Julian Assange

The chances of factual truth surviving the onslaught of power are very slim indeed.
– Hannah Arendt

Thinking tonight about how many of us are unlikeable or unbelievable survivors of violence, how so many stories are illegible from the outside and thus deemed unsympathetic; unworthy. And how that so quickly translates to abandonment.
– l@hyejinhere

The right people
feel different
to your
nervous system.
– Lalah Delia

You watch the sunset too often it just becomes 6pm. You make the same mistake over & over you’ll stop calling it a mistake. If you just wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up one day you’ll forget why.
– Phil Kaye

I believed their virtues were poured from a crucible whose heat couldn’t be measured.
– James Lee Burke, Robicheaux

Imagine living in a world where we trust there are enough resources for everyone; where competition is about being and becoming our best selves; where support and caring is the name of the game; and where I meet my needs in cooperation with yours, not at your expense.
– Sylvia Haskvitz

If I had to live a different incarnation, I’d rather live in Venice as a cat.
– Joseph Brodsky

What is the difference between religion and spirituality?

Religion is a codified set of symbol systems designed to express experiences of the Numinous.

Spirituality is inner experience that does not find resonance with the current codified systems in place…

spirituality moves beyond codified metaphors, necessitating new language and reworking of old ideas to more closely approximate that inner experience of the ineffable.

this can lead to isolation and psychosis (the abyss) where the ineffable experience becomes too overwhelming.

Experience always moves beyond the language used to contain and express it.

– Ari Annona

Trapped emotions can cause inflammation, congestion, self-sabotage, depression, anxiety, and more.
– Dr. Bradley Nelson

Each of us is merely one human being, merely an experiment, a way station. But each of us should be on the way toward perfection, should be striving to reach the center, not the periphery.
– Hermann Hesse

It’s fortunate that no one helps me. There is nothing more dangerous, when you need help, than to receive help.
– Alejandra Pizarnik

Every single ailment I have encountered was a stuck dissident, thrashing, buried emotion undermining the physiology. Emotional alchemy is key to getting and staying healthy.
– Eileen McKusick

In Denmark, there are libraries where you can borrow a person instead of a book to listen to their life story for 30 minutes. The goal is to fight against prejudice. Every person has a title – ′′ unemployed “, ′′ refugee “, ′′ bipolar “, etc. – but listening to their story makes you realize how not to ′′ judge a book by its cover “. This innovative and brilliant project is active in more than 50 countries. It’s called ′′ The Human Library “.
– Ro Binhood

Again and again in history some people wake up. They have no ground in the crowd and move to broader deeper laws. They carry strange customs with them and demand room for bold and audacious action. The future speaks ruthlessly through them. They change the world.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

A Short Testament
by Anne Porter

Whatever harm I may have done
In all my life in all your wide creation
If I cannot repair it
I beg you to repair it,

And then there are all the wounded
The poor the deaf the lonely and the old
Whom I have roughly dismissed
As if I were not one of them.
Where I have wronged them by it
And cannot make amends
I ask you
To comfort them to overflowing,

And where there are lives I may have withered around me,
Or lives of strangers far or near
That I’ve destroyed in blind complicity,
And if I cannot find them
Or have no way to serve them,

Remember them. I beg you to remember them

When winter is over
And all your unimaginable promises
Burst into song on death’s bare branches.

Blue is therefore most suitable as the color of interior life.
– William H. Gass

It is interesting that the idea that Darwin was swimming against the stream of accepted social dogma has prevailed‚ in spite of the fact that many historians have shown his thinking fitted squarely into the historical and social perspective of his time. […T]he social origins of the Darwinian synthesis have been probed by numerous scientists and historians.

[…] In his Autobiography‚ Darwin acknowledged being led to his theory by reading Malthus’s Essay on the Principles of Population (1798). […] He saw in Malthus’s struggle for existence the working of a natural law which effected what Herbert Spencer had called the “survival of the fittest.” […] Darwin’s theory […] fit well into the meritocratic ideology encouraged by the early successes of British mercantilism‚ industrial capitalism and imperialism.

But not only did Darwin’s interpretation of the history of life on earth fit in well with the social doctrines of 19th-century liberalism and individualism. It was used in turn to support them by rendering them aspects of natural law. For example‚ John D. Rockefeller proclaimed […]: “The growth of a large business is merely the survival of the fittest… The American Beauty rose can be produced in the splendor and fragrance which bring cheer to its beholder only by sacrificing the early buds which grow up around it. This is not an evil tendency in business. It is merely the working-out of a law of nature and a law of God.”

The circle was therefore complete: Darwin consciously borrowed from social theorists such as Malthus and Spencer some of the basic concepts of evolutionary theory. Spencer and others promptly used Darwinism to reinforce these very social theories and in the process bestowed upon them the force of natural law. »

– Sandra Harding & Merrill Hintikka, Discovering Reality: Feminist Perspectives on Epistemology, Metaphysics, Methodology and Philosophy of Science

It is not loving to remain silent about racism, sexism or homophobia so we can remain in good standing with intolerant people. Love must often be an agent of discomfort before it can be an agent of healing. Those who ignore injustice in the name of love have not yet understood that true love includes a longing to heal the whole world.
– Jim Rigby

Ignoring the mind is a beautiful sadhana. This is what many of the sages did. They ignored the mind out of existence. It loses its influence and its potency when it is ignored.
– Mooji

How pitiful is an intelligence used only to make excuses to quieten the conscience.
– Ignazio Silone, Bread and Wine

The Longer the Leap

I’m not here to muddle through,
one tedious chore at a time.
My destiny isn’t boring or
humdrum but vibrantly alive –
each breath a chance to draw
the mystery inside of me and
let life work its magic.
All it takes is the choice to
open my heart and give myself
fully into life. Obstacles,
impossible odds, fear, and
hesitation are all here to
awaken my determination,
to stimulate the knowing that
my soul isn’t here to be
a spectator. This day was made
for jumping into with both feet,
the longer the leap, the more
satisfied my smile will be tonight
when I give myself to sleep.

– Danna Faulds

I took a trip to see the beautiful things. Change of scenery. Change of heart. And do you know?

What?

They’re still there.

Ah, but they won’t be for long.

I know. That’s why I went. To say goodbye.
Whenever I travel, it’s always to say goodbye.

– Susan Sontag

I want to say that every poem I’ve ever written was elegy to this simple moment. A presupposed elegy. Lament for what would never come if only because it had not yet arrived.
– Paul Guest

A place that ever was lived in is like a fire that never goes out. It flares up, it smolders for a time, it is fanned or smothered by circumstance, but its being is intact, forever fluttering within it, the result of some original ignition. Sometimes it gives out glory, sometimes its little light must be sought out to be seen, small and tender as a candle flame, but as certain.
– Eudora Welty

To wake up in the morning under a command to animate the stones of an idea, the clods of research, the uncertainty of memory, is the punishment of the vocation.
– Elizabeth Hardwick

Imagined air unweaves
our losses and dissolves
ourselves into ourselves,
scatter us into leaves,
and you and I become
whatever words we may
have come so far to say.
– Henry Taylor

As if some little Arctic flower
Upon the polar hem —
Went wandering down the Latitudes
Until it puzzled came
To continents of summer —
To firmaments of sun —
To strange, bright crowds of flowers —
And birds, of foreign tongue!
I say, As if this little flower
To Eden, wandered in —
What then? Why nothing,
Only, your inference therefrom!
– Emily Dickinson, No. 177

when i found out that staff writers at the new yorker don’t get health insurance i lost it.
– aria aber

The idea that one race is inherently oppressive is absurd to anyone thinking clearly. The issue is that we’re all equally capable of oppressing others. No one is off the hook. Know yourself. Examine yourself. Become intimate with the shadows, and do the work to outshine them.
– Joseph Massey

You cannot fully address a crisis of values and epistemology with technology.
– Dr. Elizabeth Sawin

Every single ailment I have encountered was a stuck dissident, thrashing, buried emotion undermining the physiology. Emotional alchemy is key to getting and staying health.
– Eileen McKusick

I find I am more and more wanting to recover what might be called the Romantic outlook on the world. Foolish and impossible to recover, but there it is.
– sven birkerts

The Christian trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one of many threefold images symbolizing the developmental stages of psychic growth.
– James Hollis

I would much rather people describe their dreams to me than the plots of television shows.
– Elizabeth McCracken

Never limit yourself because of someone’s lack of imagination.
– Dan Go

Where light traffic knits a community together, heavy traffic rips it apart.
– @DocAppleyard

Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were.
– Cherie Carter-Scott

Harmony with the tao has a lot to do with breath.

When in accord with the great flowing energy of the universe inhalation and exhalation are wu wei. Effortless and balanced. The Buddha said basically the same thing when he said breath is a measurement of attainment.

Has there been comparatively less love poetry in our time than other times ?

– Gary Gach

The walls of al-hambra castle in Granada are full of love poems.
– Lim Kooi Fong

Our universe is what it is simply because we are here.

The situation can be likened to that of a group of intelligent fish who one day begin wondering why their world is completely filled with water.

Many of the fish, the theorists, hope to prove that the cosmos necessarily has to be filled with water. For years, they put their minds to the task but can never quite seem to prove their assertion.

Then a wizened group of fish postulates that maybe they are fooling themselves. Maybe, they suggest, there are many other worlds, some of them completely dry, some wet, and everything in between.
– Alan Lightman

In addition to the interpretive frameworks of the mythological (classical-Greek), the theological (Medieval-Christian), and the existential (modern-European), would it be possible to shift our framework to something we can only call cosmological? Could such a cosmological view be understood not simply as the view from inter-stellar space, but as the view of the world-without-us, the Planetary view?
– Eugene Thacker

When did they stop making long t-shirts? I want a t-shirt that is longer than the pandemic.
– Leah Callen

What is poetry which does not save nations or people?
– Czeslaw Milosz

More of us are able to imagine a different world, to think holistically & systemically, & are aware of how life works, how precious it is & how much is at stake. And coming together in service of a truly life-affirming, life-aligned society.
— Michelle Holliday

Father, Madman, Sage
Welcomed into a world
of colors, numbers and words,
spinning in circles like enchantment and
falling to the soft green grass earth.
When I was little my Father would
read to me from a book called
‘Once There Was and Was Not’.
I remember sitting on his lap
along a narrow church pew,
with a snake resting in the pocket
between his heart and mine.
One summer at the beach he sculpted
Medusa lying naked in the sand.
He reminded me of King David,
ecstatic and reckless,
passionately painting pictures
of the rainbows and moonlight.
I remember how the cucumbers
were climbing along the back fence.
I felt betrayed by his laughter
as I bit into a hot pepper from the garden.
I remember the crashing glass doors,
the frozen milk and melting snows
of my broken hearted childhood home.
My Father was the first man to love me
and the first man to leave me.
He taught me how to battle wildfires,
brave waterfalls and climb into volcano’s.
He showed me how to find crystals
hidden in roadside stones and
how to explore the mysteries of the stars.
Together we sat still and quiet,
as a rainbow bridge appeared and
the Angels gathered around.
He told me once through his laughter,
“Keren, we both know the meaning.
It is beyond meaning”.
Now the sun is setting
into a pure panic of terror and fright.
My Father is dying
from madness and sadness
as the mountain silently watches over.
Hallucinating, dehydrated and neglected.
His bowels protruding
from holes carved into his stomach.
Scars crossing his chest
like dried up riverbeds.
“Keren”, he asked me,
“Have you gotten rid of all the redundant clocks?”
I tended to his bedside as best I could.
Reading and singing, changing sheets and diapers
trimming his nails and buttering his bread.
I listened to his stories of delusion and peril.
He felt as though everything were falling.
He kept asking me to hold the things
that were in his empty hands.
His fingertips raced
around the seams of his hospital gown
over and over, again and again
searching for the end.
Wandering through the desert
looking into the mirror of spiritual poverty
we found a maze of redemption
cradled between the lingering breaths
where our heavy masks have come
to dance around the fire and
watch their reflections burn
like a galaxy begging to let go.
– Keren Kravig

If one would be a seeker of the dharma one must not seek it in anything at all.
– Vimalakirti

Sonnet Three Ways
Some poems are speeches
Whitman’s Leaves
Shakespeare’s Sonnets
Going where you need to
Not on a whim or a song
Songs are Cupid’s arrows
Holy bonds
The first poems
Had to be songs
Since the first words were
My favorite poems
Sidestep speeches and songs
Surprise both right and wrong
In infant lands of meaning
– George Gorman

What is the modern conception of pure art? It is to create a suggestive magic which contains both subject and object, the external world and the artist himself.
– Baudelaire, L’Art philosophique

Spiritual practice
should not be confused with grim duty.
It is the laughter of the Dalai Lama
and the wonder born with every child.
– Jack Kornfield

Mostly I’d Like to Be a Spiderweb

because in the rain I’d look like a cracked window
without a church to belong to. You could look

through me and see the world in front of us.

One time, my ex-lovers made a road of tongues for me.
I took my shoes off to feel the song a little better,

and cut a note short with each step.

I want to tell you how many churches
I’ve built to praise little things that deserve
more than their few seconds of existence.

Like the time I opened my door, smelled hibiscus
and knew you were home.

Like the time a child told me there was a god
And because he was smiling, I believed him.

Mostly, I’d like to be a spiderweb to feel you walk through.
To see if you’ll take me with you, despite the spider I bring.

– C. T. Salazar

Teach me to read
your rivers and mountains
and your scattered birdsong
so I will know
the way to heal
your broken heart.
– Gabriel Andreas

At a Deli Counter in Vermont
by Stephanie Burt

Your ride home complains the grocery store is freezing
they’d rather wait outside the burly guy
with the walrus stache asks whether you want your Italian
with the works You’re not sure what that means

So you ask and he tells you laboriously surprised
and also do you want tomato thanks
you lean on the counter and focus on condensation
the chill on your palm and forearm and under the glass

the meats in trays and butcher paper beds
some sausages sad stacked-up tongue
a leathery souse or loaf so out of it

that when he wants to know if that’s your order
and calls out loud Is that your order ma’am
you startle and then apologize for taking up his time
but he called you ma’am so you don’t mind

a woman’s place is inside a rainforest café
– @hollabekgrl

i do not want to have a career. i want to sit on the porch.
– @hollabekgrl

Often it seems we are destructively addicted to the negative.

What we call the negative is usually the surface form of contradiction. If we maintain our misery at this surface level, we hold off the initially threatening but ultimately redemptive and healing transfiguration that comes through engaging our inner contradiction. We need to revalue what we consider to be negative. Rilke used to say that difficulty is one of the greatest friends of the soul.

Your vision is your home, and your home should have many mansions to shelter your wild divinity.
– John O’Donohue

Crossing
by Jericho Brown

The water is one thing, and one thing for miles.
The water is one thing, making this bridge
Built over the water another. Walk it
Early, walk it back when the day goes dim, everyone
Rising just to find a way toward rest again.
We work, start on one side of the day
Like a planet’s only sun, our eyes straight
Until the flame sinks. The flame sinks. Thank God
I’m different. I’ve figured and counted. I’m not crossing
To cross back. I’m set
On something vast. It reaches
Long as the sea. I’m more than a conqueror, bigger
Than bravery. I don’t march. I’m the one who leaps.

The pioneers of peace are the young people who refuse to take up arms.
– Albert Enstein

People have a biologically built-in knowledge that life has meaning. They share that biologically ingrained trust with all other living creatures. A belief in life’s meaning is a necessity….Your greatest achievements have been produced by civilizations during those times when man had the greatest faith in the meaningfulness of life in general, and in the meaningfulness of the individual within life’s framework.
“You are…coming toward a time of greater psychological synthesis, so that the intuitions and reasoning abilities work together in a much more smooth fashion, so that emotional and intuitive knowledge regarding the meaningfulness of life can find clearer precision and expression, as the intellect is taught…to use its faculties in a far less restricted manner.
– Jane Roberts

If the spirit of something is its qualitative nature, its true way of being, then it’s easy to see how the inner natures of telluric forces and species are truly akin to our own inner drives and characters. As scientists say, nature is parsimonious. So nature’s habits and human habits develop through similar kinds of poetry. The full spectrum of morphic variety fans through our hearts and our minds as it fans through the body of the universe. Those characteristics that bridge the gaps between humans – emotional sympathy, curiosity, respect and honest communication – are also what we need to help us develop more satisfying relationships with the larger community of life.
– George Gorman

If the only thing I have ever done for a student is to remove some fear, then I think I could say I was a good teacher. When you remove fear from a student–by standing with them; improving them; loving them; consistently being there for them–then the natural and unique talent that student possesses will appear. The talent is theirs. All of it theirs. I just throw a little light on the road ahead and let them know that I’m right behind them.
– Marian Seldes

A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure…half slave & half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved…but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.
– Abraham Lincoln

We were always loyal to lost causes, the professor said.
– James Joyce, Ulysses

I have always loved to use fear, to take it and comprehend it and make it work and consolidate a situation where I was afraid and take it whole and work from there.
– Shirley Jackson

Ignorant people look to the right of the equal sign.

Intelligent people look to the left.

Few understand this.

– Michael A. Gayed, CFA

We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
– WS

Why the fuck aren’t University presses recognized in our culture as literal treasure troves that they are? Have you ever met ppl who work at university presses? They are most goddamn delightful ppl
– @gabehudson

Your whole idea about yourself is borrowed – borrowed from those who have no idea of who they are themselves.
– Osho

When you deprogram from social indoctrination, you naturally rediscover your common sense intelligence and creative brilliance.
– @violet_zenelle

We had to learn to listen, not just speak. For this reason, when we are asked what we are, we don’t know what we are, we are a hybrid, a result of reality.”
– Subcomandante Marcos

What we wish upon the future is often the image of some lost, imagined past.
– Graham Swift

Mark Harris:
I smiled at a woman in Columbus Circle. She smiled at me. We exchanged pleasantries about the beautiful day. Then she bent over, picked up a couple of oak leaves from the gutter, sniffed them, and ate them. I will see you all in another 15 months.

Ignorant people look to the right of the equal sign.

Intelligent people look to the left.

Few understand this.

– @leadlagreport

andrew yang not really being able to say anything but “take ur meds” when talking about the mentally ill kind of shows, on top of all the other clear signs he isn’t ready nor capable of doing the job, is like people are depressed more than ever before bc the pandemic; grieving
– erin taylor

A single garlic
chive, supported by tufts and
tufts of great firm root
– @BeccaBitter

The pioneers of peace are the young people who refuse to take up arms.
– Albert Enstein

Your energy is a lagging measure of your sleep habits. Your fitness is a lagging measure of your exercise habits. Your clutter is a lagging measure of your cleaning habits.
– James Clear

People who are no longer famous in the United States:

Poets
Track stars
Gangsters
Painters
Astronauts

– David Marcus

David Marcus:
The goal of high school should be simple. Every graduate should be able to read any book, short of a very small percentage that are hyper-specialized, and understand the concepts and ideas in it. Nothing less.

You can’t swear to the freedom of all mankind and put me in chains.
– Baldwin

Think of it more as a feeling instead of images you like or don’t like. Experiences instead of a product.

Thomas Merton referred to his camera as a zen camera. I relate to Merton on many levels.

– Kent Burgess

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.
– Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Rūmī

Evolution is the vehicle of intricacy.
– Annie Dillard

Recognize the counterfeit coins
that buy you a moment of pleasure,
But then drag you for days
behind a farting camel.
– Hafez

Rain
by Claribel Alegría
As the falling rain
trickles among the stones
memories come bubbling out.
It’s as if the rain
had pierced my temples.
Streaming
streaming chaotically
come memories:
the reedy voice
of the servant
telling me tales
of ghosts.
They sat beside me
the ghosts
and the bed creaked
that purple-dark afternoon
when I learned you were leaving forever,
a gleaming pebble
from constant rubbing
becomes a comet.
Rain is falling
falling
and memories keep flooding by
they show me a senseless
world
a voracious
world–abyss
ambush
whirlwind
spur
but I keep loving it
because I do
because of my five senses
because of my amazement
because every morning,
because forever, I have loved it
without knowing why.

Aubade at the City of Change
by Aldo Amparán
In this city
each door I cross
in search of your room

grows darker
than the sky, this silver
dome of morning spread

across the urban smog.
Country dark washes the city
light off the outskirts

& beyond

where you sleep in hiding,
where your face
wrapped in gauze

shines like sequin
in the lingering moon-drizzle.
I reach for you

at the corners of the clubs,
inside motel rooms,

where rent boys tumble
perspired bed sheets,
doubling you, your maleness

discharged,
your hipbones sticking
to my thighs, hard

stubble of your legs
scratching. The night I followed
a strange road, looking

to forget all this, starlight
spooled the gravel ribbon
leading back to the city

behind me, back
to the hospital room
where I last saw you—

Tonight, I’ll rest
on this road, I’ll look back
to the city of change

where one year
two skyscrapers lifted, a park
shed trees

for new thoroughfares,
& an old cinema
erupted to rebuild itself

in its place. I’ll stay
on the pavement,
suspended in time

like the broken sign announcing
You are enteringline , (a name

changed two years ago),
& I’ll wonder
if the hot breeze

blowing the nape
of my neck
is your unchanged

breath rising like candle
smoke from the city.

If you are really an artist, if you really care about what you do as an actor or a writer or a director–or anything–prepare to either sabotage your standards–which is to say yourself–or spend all of your time enraged because the business, the industry, does not care about art or how good things are: They only care about movement and money, which is to say: How fast is the money coming in? How much interest or heat is there on this product? And you are, and you remain, that product. Most give in to this and become a one-note parody of what they might have been, because they just want to work, to be seen, to be famous. If you persist in wanting to do good work, you become a massive pain in the ass, yelling and demanding that things be better. This is the life. You are seeking to gain entrance to a rotting ghost ship on the shore of an island where, many miles inland, there is good work being done, but you’re stuck on the ship with the hungry rats who are grateful just to be there, because it is about all they deserve.
– Marlon Brando, Interview with James Grissom, 1990

Enthusiasm is common, Endurance is rare.
– Angela Duckworth

night swimming
losing ourselves
in the darkness
– Vanessa Proctor

From a Bodhisattva’s point of view, the world is a giant emergency room.
– Chogyam Trungpa

The world does not give us very much now; it often seems to consist of nothing but noise and fear, and yet grass and trees still grow.
– Hermann Hesse

You have done more good than you know, for the impact of your life is not measured by what can be seen, but by what has passed almost unnoticed, freely given, quietly given, the countless acts of compassion you created, effortless, instinctive, offered in kindness, sustained in humor, thinking of others, of their needs, their longing, flowing out of your heart as simple as sunshine, a life of grace lived with intention, healing. You have been a source of hope in ways you cannot imagine. You have helped others and never even realized it. You are an answer to more prayers than you will ever hear. Have you made mistakes along the way? Yes, but consider the other truth: where you have walked, love has followed.
– Steven Charleston

A true vocation requires shedding anything that would impede or obscure the call. A true pilgrimage requires letting go of the very things most people try to hold onto. In seeking after what the soul desires we become pilgrims with no home but the path the soul would have us follow. As the old proverb says, “Before you begin the journey, you own the journey. Once you have begun, the journey owns you.” After all, what good is a dream that doesn’t test the mettle of the dreamer? What good is a path that doesn’t carry us to the edge of our capacity and then beyond that place? A true calling involves a great exposure before it can become a genuine refuge.
– Michael Meade, Fate and Destiny

To be the window and the wind,

the swallows and the muddened home.

– @aracelisxgirmay

Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms. It’s by talking nonsense that one gets to the truth! I talk nonsense, therefore I’m human.
– Fyodor Dostoevsky

In the stillness of noon prayer,
I long for you
Inflame my soul with love’s desire
I am your disciple.

In the silence of meditation,
I long for you
Take my life for your own
I am your disciple.

In the busyness of the day,
I long for you
Harness my heart for your work
I am your disciple.

In the warmth of family and friends,
I long for you
Use my joy for the world’s awakening
I am your disciple.

You called and I said: “Take me!”
Now, I await your touch
Do not abandon me Great Silence
I am your disciple.

Amen.

– Beverly Lanzetta

Lower power

the concept that names the observation that seditious freedom and power are ironically available and in fact made possible by the very imperious processes intended to stamp it out. The idea that power is not static, owned, containable, or scarce.

“Lower power” is the prophetic promise that the means by which control is exerted molecularly propagates the dynamics of the master’s failure – so that the “conqueror” and his claims to victory are already tenuously entangled with the participation of the “conquered”.

Lower power is not a “lower” form of “power” but an undercutting or queering of power-as-property, as something belonging to higher realms or high theory.

“Lower power” materializes as refusal (a gesture radically different from resistance) or failure: it is how apples allegedly propagate their kind when they offer their bodies to be eaten; it is how the protist, physarum polycephalum – brainless and supposedly stupid – conducts incredible cognitive feats; it is how black bodies stolen away from home revisited the meaning of home in the diaspora by scandalously splicing gods and their lostness in new alchemies of the sacred.

– Bayo Akomolafe

Sometimes when a bird cries out,
Or the wind sweeps through a tree,
Or a dog howls in a far off farm,
I hold still and listen a long time.


My world turns and goes back to the place
Where, a thousand forgotten years ago,
The bird and the blowing wind
were like me, and were my brothers.

My soul turns into a tree,
And an animal, and a cloud bank.
Then changed and odd it comes home.
And asks me questions. What should I reply?
– Hermann Hesse

Writing = I want to express myself, but I want to express my loving self.
– Barthes – The Preparation of the Novel

There’s nowhere to hide from heartbreak, climate change, stress, anxiety. So we have to armor ourselves, with emotional resilience—with vulnerability and bravery both—with empathy, the most powerful emotion.
– Waylon Lewis

The “progressive” in progressive Christianity is an adjective that helps to distinguish this form of the faith as being one that emphasizes following Jesus’ Way of unconditional love, grace, and radical inclusion – as opposed to the more commonly known form of the faith that emphasizes judgmentalism, legalism, and excluivism. Until the more commonly known form of the faith sheds its emphasis, the adjective is needed.
– Roger Wolsey

What I feel and I know is that I am here now, at this moment in the grand sweep of time. I am not part of the void. I am not a fluctuation in the quantum vacuum. Even though I understand that someday my atoms will be scattered in soil and in air, that I will no longer exist, I am alive now. I am feeling this moment. I can see my hand on my writing desk. I can feel the warmth of the Sun through the window. And looking out, I can see a pine-needled path that goes down to the sea.

A hundred years from now, I’ll be gone, but many of these spruce and cedars will still be here. The wind going through them will still sound like a distant waterfall. The curve of the land will be the same as it is now. The paths that I wander may still be here, although probably covered with new vegetation. The rocks and ledges on the shore will be here, including a particular ledge I’m quite fond of, shaped like the knuckled back of a large animal. Sometimes, I sit on that ledge and wonder if it will remember me. Even my house might still be here, or at least the concrete posts of its footing, crumbling in the salt air. But eventually, of course, even this land will shift and change and dissolve. Nothing persists in the material world. All of it changes and passes away.
– Alan Lightman

When effort is needed, effort will appear.
When effortlessness becomes essential,
it will assert itself.

You need not push life about.
Just flow with it and give yourself completely
to the task of the present moment,
which is the dying now to the now.

For living is dying.
Without death life cannot be.

– Nisargadatta Maharaj

& then there are those scrap poems,
the ones too beautiful to finish writing,
ones that would bring us too great a sadness
if we ever thought they could really end.
There are many of those.
– J. Todd Hawkins

Surely there’s a place to rest
a tortured mind.
Since sundown
I’ve been walking with these blues:
the blue of your eyes,
a well with no water.

– J. Todd Hawkin

Monotheism is haunted by set-theoretical paradox, because there must always be an excess, of outsiders who cannot be accommodated to the Kingdom of Heaven. It can only be one if it is not two, but if it is only one and not two, then this means it does not in fact include two, which means it cannot really be one. Oneness requires there to be some surplus or remainder, which will nevertheless then compromise any claim of any One to be All-in-one. This remainder has many names: evil; the Devil, sin; woman; time.
– Steven Connor, In Defence of Quantity: Living by Numbers

Much of philosophy is simply a game that we play according to rules that we agree to forget that we made up in the first place.
– Eugene Thacker

The world was hers for the reading.
– Betty Smith

In quoting others, we cite ourselves.
– Julio Cortázar

Philosophy grew in me through finding myself in the midst of life itself. Philosophical thought is practical activity… not impartial thinking which studies a subject with indifference.
– Karl Jaspers, On My Philosophy

I’m embracing the dialectic aspect of being a grown-up. The circling back. My students are my teachers in so many ways. Instead of a deeper education, I am getting a broader education in all that it is to be human. I have let go of the stupid notion that I’ve “seen it all” (at any age) and realize that if I believe that – that I have seen it before – I’m not looking closely enough at the details. What knowledge I have from before might offer itself as a key to unlocking something, but it isn’t the solution itself. There is no one-size-fits-all.

Until this year I struggled with the division of my efforts: nurturing other people’s talents, and making room for my own creative work/practices. I thought that the former sucked energy from the latter. But I am beginning to see how it doesn’t work like that. There is no either-or. That’s an excuse.
– Ren Powell

Take the time to come home to yourself every day.
– Robin Casarjean

I wish for a season
that does not begin with quick tides
of ache.
– Meg Day, Last Psalm at Sea Level

the bottle mouth /
when the night wind blows /
a blue voice
– J. Todd Hawkins, Three Forks Store

Because the story you know
is not the only story. Because the blues,
the Delta, the Lorraine,
they are not simply sadnesses.
They are lights onto paths. They are ways.
– J. Todd Hawkins

Making films is a way of dreaming and awaking. And remembering what you have dreamt, what you are dreaming or what your dream was like. And it is the puzzle you always try to put together and there are some elements [that] escape, some elements which never obey to the order of the story. Wim [Wenders] does not want to get rid of those elements–dream elements–even if [they are] not logical to the story itself.
– Hanns Zischler, The Road to Paris, Texas

Bring me the sunset in a cup,
Reckon the morning’s flagons up
And say how many Dew,
Tell me how far the morning leaps —
Tell me what time the weaver sleeps
Who spun the breadth of blue!

Write me how many notes there be
In the new Robin’s ecstasy
Among astonished boughs —
How many trips the Tortoise makes —
How many cups the Bee partakes,
The Debauchee of Dews!

Also, who laid the Rainbow’s piers,
Also, who leads the docile spheres
By withes of supple blue?
Whose fingers string the stalactite —
Who counts the wampum of the night
To see that none is due?

Who built this little Alban House
And shut the windows down so close
My spirit cannot see?
Who’ll let me out some gala day
With implements to fly away,
Passing Pomposity?

– Emily Dickinson, No. 140

george orwell said that saints ought to be be held guilty until proven innocent. i agree. for there is a primordial poetic relationship with beings of life, but often times saints distort that event by creating religions around those poetic experiences. founded religions do not celebrate god, but rather their own institutional self-image and likeness.

– hune margulies

To many a mingled sound at once
The awakened mountain gave response.
– Sir Walter Scott

[…]When the burdocks rustle in the ravine
and the yellow-red rowanberry cluster droops
I compose happy verses
about life’s decay, decay and beauty.[…]
– Anna Akhmatova, I Taught Myself to Live Simply

When I
meet someone
I greet them
with an apology.
– Porsha Olayiwola

Jet, with the wind in your hair of a thousand laces.
Climb in the back and we’ll
Go for a ride in the sky.
– McCartney & Wings

I thought I could organize freedom. How Scandinavian of me.
– Bjork

Null Point
by Gabrielle Calvocoressi
The first thing I learned was to look wide
at the darkness

and not want anything. He’d say, Just look
at the darkness

and tell me what you see. I’d say, I see stars or
Just the stars, Dad.

And he’d say, Don’t call them that yet. What do you see?
Just the stars, Dad.

But then I’d be quiet and let my eyes go and look wide
at the darkness.

It was like a dome. I think it frightened me to stare
at the darkness.

I see light. I see a million little lights.And he’d say
They aren’t all stars.

Some were planets and some were planes and I’d say, Yeah,
they aren’t all stars.

But not really believe it. But say it so not to feel stupid out there
in the darkness.

Each poem
tries to smuggle a bundle of God
into your heart.

If it’s good,
tucked away just right,
the security officers in your mind
won’t catch it.

If they do, they might try to send it back–
“This stuff will mess up our rules
and our sense of order!” they outcry.
They might make a great fuss
and have this light confiscated
and quarantined
to the small box of their judgements.

I used to hold back,
scared of being sniffed out,
but now I deal to anyone
even remotely interested
in the sweetest, sweetest hit
of the remembrance
of Home.
– Chelan Harkin

The new economy is not a matter of currency, but rather, of a more intimate awe. Give back the industry- that false boxy grid that life defies. One size did not fit all. The contest, to find a model of standardized scalable replicating rules, bore flatness, sold out.

***

ee cummings & a photo from my walk.

when serpents bargain

when serpents bargain for the right to squirm
and the sun strikes to gain a living wage –
when thorns regard their roses with alarm
and rainbows are insured against old age

when every thrush may sing no new moon in
if all screech-owls have not okayed his voice
– and any wave signs on the dotted line
or else an ocean is compelled to close

when the oak begs permission of the birch
to make an acorn – valleys accuse their
mountains of having altitude – and march
denounces april as a saboteur

then we’ll believe in that incredible
unanimal mankind (and not until)

– Nora Bateson


The bones
of what you used to be
are still not buried.
As I wake,
work and live,
I have forgotten you.
Even in sleep
you are mostly gone,
replaced
by the more
and the better
of this good now.
But sometimes
when my hand holds a pen
and rests unmoving on paper
the words
that I don’t write
are for you.
Like the bitterroots,
on the dry rocks above
the noise and the dust,
memories have a cycle
of silence and
quiet surprise.
– steve s saroff

Happiness is a strange notion.
I am just not made for it.
It has never been a goal of mine;
I do not think in those terms.
I try to give meaning to my existence
through my work.
That’s a simplified answer,
but whether I’m happy or not
really doesn’t count for much.
– Werner Herzog

Don’t digress,’ people are always saying. ‘Get to the point’… My advice is to court digression…those places in the mind that we usually shut out because they would appear to lead us astray. Let your conversation get away from you; let a new story take over.
– Judith Kitchen

After eating I dust off a boulder and sleep
and after sleeping I go for a walk
on a cloudy late summer day
an oriole sings from a sapling
briefly enjoying the season
joyfully singing out its heart
true happiness is right here
why chase an empty name
– Stonehouse

What is nonfiction but an archive that breathes?
– Amie Souza Reilly

For fucks sake please do not start a campfire anywhere in the American west this summer.
– Wudan Yan

Lao Tzu: Stop leaving and you will arrive.
Stop searching and you will see. Stop running away and you will be found.

Throughout school, we learn arithmetic, biology, and how to read and write. But we don’t learn how to manage stress, understand our emotions, or connect the feelings in our bodies with the thoughts in our heads.
– Mark Hyman, M.D.

Too much talking dissipates chi
– Mantak Chia

It is the individual and private that demands our sympathy.
– Thoreau – Cape Cod

The greatest use of active imagination really is to put us–like the rainmaker–into harmony with the Tao so that the right things may happen around us instead of the wrong.
– Barbara Hannah

Poetry has nothing to do with the poetry world — the parading around, the politicking, the blacklists, the bitter no-talents — when you realize poetry is life itself: breath to breath and every sensation. I choose to take that life seriously.
– Joseph Massey

Neurosis is an inner cleavage – the state of being at war with one- self. … What drives people to war with themselves is the intuition or the knowledge that they consist of two persons in opposition to one another.
– CG Jung

Grace fills empty spaces,
but it can only enter where
there is a void to receive it,
and it is grace itself that makes this void.

The imagination is continually at work
filling up all the fissures through which grace might pass.

– Simone Weil

When a thing is funny,
search it carefully for a hidden truth.
– George Bernard Shaw

The object of art is not to make salable pictures. It is to save yourself. The thing of course, is to make yourself alive. Most people remain all of their lives in a stupor.

The point of being an artist is that you may live.

– Sherwood Anderson