Monday, March 19, 2018


Freedom is not following a river.
Freedom is following a river
...though, if you want to. 

It is deciding now by what happens now.
It is knowing that luck makes a difference.
No leader is free; no follower is free
 ...the rest of us can often be free.
Most of the world are living by
creeds too odd, chancy, and habit-forming be worth arguing about by reason. 

If you are oppressed, wake up about
four in the morning: most places,
you can usually be free some of the time
..if you wake up before other people.

~ William Stafford
 from The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

two golden birds

Like two golden birds perched on the selfsame tree,
Intimate friends, the ego and the Self
Dwell in the same body.  The former eats 
The sweet and sour fruits of the tree of life
While the other looks on in detachment.

As long as we think we are the ego,
We feel attached and fall into sorrow.
But realize that you are the Self, the Lord
Of life, and you will be freed from sorrow.
When you realize that you are the Self,
Supreme source of light, supreme source of love,
You transcend the duality of life
And enter into the unitive state. 

The Lord of Love shines in the hearts of all.
Seeing him in all creatures, the wise
Forget themselves in the service of all.
The Lord is their joy, the Lord is their rest;
Such as they are the lovers of the Lord.

~ Mundaka Upanishad
Modes of Knowing 
translation by Eknath Easwaran
art by Jane Rosen

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

one body

My right hand has written all the poems that I have composed. 
My left hand has not written a single poem. 
But my right hand does not think, “Left Hand, you are good for nothing.” 
My right hand does not have a superiority complex. 
That is why it is very happy. 
My left hand does not have any complex at all. 
In my two hands there is the kind of wisdom 
called the wisdom of nondiscrimination.
One day I was hammering a nail and my right hand was not very accurate 
and instead of pounding on the nail it pounded on my finger.
 It put the hammer down and took care of the left hand 
in a very tender way, as if it were taking care of itself. 
It did not say, “Left Hand, you have to remember that
 I have taken good care of you and you have to pay me back in the future.” 
There was no such thinking. And my left hand did not say, 
“Right Hand, you have done me a lot of harm—
give me that hammer, I want justice.” 
My two hands know that they are members of one body; 
they are in each other.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
from his address to Congress entitled
Leading with Courage and Compassion,
Sept. 10th 2003
with thanks to Love is a Place

Saturday, March 3, 2018

the way it is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
~ William Stafford 

the smile

Galen, the great physician, asked one of his assistants
to give him a certain medicine.

"Master, that medicine is for crazy people!
You're far from needing that!"

Galen: "Yesterday a madman turned and smiled at me,
did his eyebrows up and down, and touched my  sleeve.
He wouldn't have done that if he hadn't recognized 
in me someone congenial."

Anyone that feels drawn,
for however short a time, to anyone else,
those two share a common consciousness.

It's only in the grave that unlike beings associate.
A wise man once remarked, "I saw a crow and a stork
flying together, and I couldn't understand it,
until I investigated and found what they shared.
They were both lame."

~ Rumi
from Rumi's Little Book of Love and Laughter
version bu Coleman Barks
photo by Sean Thomas

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

what we can learn from water

~ Raymond Tang

Monday, February 19, 2018

bring the jewel back

The purpose of the journey is compassion.

When you have come past the pairs of opposites, you have reached compassion. 
The goal is to bring the jewel back to the world, 
to join the two things together.
The separateness apparent in the world is secondary.

Beyond that world of opposites is an unseen,
 but experienced, unity and identity in us all. 

~ Joseph Campbell
from The Hero’s Journey (On Living in the World)

empty yourself into Reality


As a river empties into the ocean,
empty yourself into Reality.

When you are emptied into Reality
you are filled with compassion,

desiring only justice.

When you desire only justice,
the will of Reality becomes your will.

When you are filled with compassion,
there is no self to oppose another

and no other to stand against oneself.

~ Pirke Avot 2:4 —
a compilation of ancient Jewish teachings and maxims.

love and compassion


We can reject everything else: religion, ideology, all received
wisdom. But we cannot escape the necessity of love and compassion....

This, then, is my true religion, my simple faith. In this sense, there is no need
for temple or church, for mosque or synagogue, no need for complicated
philosophy, doctrine or dogma. Our own heart, our own mind, is the temple.
The doctrine is compassion.

Love for others and respect for their rights and
dignity, no matter who or what they are: ultimately these are all we need.
So long as we practice these in our daily lives, then no matter if we are
learned or unlearned, whether we believe in Buddha or God, or follow some
other religion or none at all, as long as we have compassion for others and
conduct ourselves with restraint out of a sense of responsibility, there is
no doubt we will be happy.

~ Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Christianity and Unknowing

~ Richard Rohr

Saturday, February 3, 2018

the dark night

In the delicious night,
In privacy, where no one saw me,
Nor did I see one thing,
I had no light or guide
But the fire that burned inside my chest.

That fire showed me
The way more clearly than the blaze of noon
To where, waiting for me,
Was the One I knew so well,
In that place where no one ever is.

Oh night, sweet guider,
Oh night more marvelous than dawn!
Oh night which joins
The lover and the beloved
So that the lover and beloved change bodies!

In my chest full of flowers,
Flowering wholly and only for Him,
There He remained sleeping;
I cared for Him there,
And the fan of the high cedars cooled Him.

The wind played with
His hair, and that wind from the high
Towers struck me on the neck
With its sober hand;
Sight, taste, touch, hearing stopped.

I stood still, I forgot who I was,
My face leaning against Him,
Everything stopped, abandoned me,
My worldliness was gone, forgotten
Among the white lilies.

~ St. John of the Cross
from The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross 
version by Robert Bly
photo by imogene cunningham

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

wei wu wei: "action without action" or "effortless doing"

The deep secrecy of my own being is often hidden from me by my own estimate of what I am. My idea of what I am is falsified by my admiration for what I do. And my illusions about myself are bred by contagion from the illusions of other men. We all seek to imitate one another's imagined greatness.
If I do not know who I am, it is because I think I am the sort of person everyone around me wants to be. Perhaps I have never asked myself whether I really wanted to become what everybody else seems to want to become. Perhaps if I only realized that I do not admire what everyone seems to admire, I would really begin to live after all. I would be liberated from the painful duty of saying what I really do not think.

~ Thomas Merton

with thanks to whiskey river

Sunday, January 28, 2018

a vast similitude

On the beach at night alone,
As the old mother sways her to and fro singing her husky song,
As I watch the bright stars shining, I think a thought of the clef of the universes 
and of the future.

A vast similitude interlocks all,
All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets,
All distances of place however wide,
All distances of time, all inanimate forms,
All souls, all living bodies though they be ever so different, or in different worlds,
All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes, the fishes, the brutes,
All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages,
All identities that have existed or may exist on this globe, or any globe,
All lives and deaths, all of the past, present, future,
This vast similitude spans them, and always has spann’d,
And shall forever span them and compactly hold and enclose them.

~ Walt Whitman
photo by chertkova svetlana

Friday, January 26, 2018

a song for nobody

A yellow flower
(Light and spirit)
Sings by itself
For nobody.

A golden spirit
(Light and emptiness)
Sings without a word
By itself.

Let no one touch this gentle sun
In whose dark eye
Someone is awake.

(No light, no gold, no name, no color
And no thought:
O, wide awake!)

A golden heaven
Sings by itself
A song to nobody.

~ Thomas Merton
from Selected Poems of Thomas Merton

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


A refreshing vision our intimate connection with each other
and life itself.

~  by Gregory Boyle