Friday, March 27, 2015

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






as one listens to the rain








Listen to me as one listens to the rain,
not attentive, not distracted,
light footsteps, thin drizzle,
water that is air, air that is time,
the day is still leaving,
the night has yet to arrive,
figurations of mist
at the turn of the corner,
figurations of time
at the bend in this pause,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
without listening, hear what I say
with eyes open inward, asleep
with all five senses awake,
it’s raining, light footsteps, a murmur of syllables,
air and water, words with no weight:
what we are and are,
the days and years, this moment,
weightless time and heavy sorrow,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
wet asphalt is shining,
steam rises and walks away,
night unfolds and looks at me,
you are you and your body of steam,
you and your face of night,
you and your hair, unhurried lightning,
you cross the street and enter my forehead,
footsteps of water across my eyes,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the asphalt’s shining, you cross the street,
it is the mist, wandering in the night,
it is the night, asleep in your bed,
it is the surge of waves in your breath,
your fingers of water dampen my forehead,
your fingers of flame burn my eyes,
your fingers of air open eyelids of time,
a spring of visions and resurrections,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the years go by, the moments return,
do you hear the footsteps in the next room?
not here, not there: you hear them
in another time that is now,
listen to the footsteps of time,
inventor of places with no weight, nowhere,
listen to the rain running over the terrace,
the night is now more night in the grove,
lightning has nestled among the leaves,
a restless garden adrift—go in,
your shadow covers this page.



~ Octavio Paz
from A Tree Within
Eliot Weinberger translation



clouds






I’d have to be really quick
to describe clouds -
a split second’s enough
for them to start being something else.

Their trademark:
they don’t repeat a single 
shape, shade, pose, arrangement.

Unburdened by memory of any kind, 
they float easily over the facts.

What on earth could they bear witness to? 
They scatter whenever something happens.

Compared to clouds, 
life rests on solid ground, 
practically permanent, almost eternal.

Next to clouds
even a stone seems like a brother, 
someone you can trust, 
while they’re just distant, flighty cousins.

Let people exist if they want,
and then die, one after another:
clouds simply don't care
what they're up to
down there.

And so their haughty fleet
cruises smoothly over your whole life
and mine, still incomplete.

They aren't obliged to vanish when we're gone.
They don't have to be seen while sailing on. 




–Wisława Szymborska
from Monologue of a Dog
Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh translation


Saturday, March 14, 2015

known through love but not through thought




Bright but hidden, the Self dwells in the heart.
Everything that moves, breathes, opens, and closes
Lives in the Self.  He is the source of love
And may be known through love but not through thought.
He is the goal of life.  Attain this goal!

...
In his robe are woven heaven and earth,
Mind and body.  Realize him as the One
Behind the many and stop all vain talk.
He is the bridge from death to deathless life.

Where all the nerves meet like spokes in a wheel,
There he dwells, the One behind the many.
Meditate upon him in the mantram.
May he guide us from death to deathless life!

...
The Lord of Love is before and behind.
He extends to the right and to the left.
He extends above; he extends below.
There is no one here but the Lord of Love.
He alone is; in truth, he alone is.



~ excerpt from The Mundaka Upanishad
translated by Eknath Easwaran



the great self






The universe must be experienced as the Great Self. 

Each is fulfilled in the other: the Great Self is fulfilled in the individual self, the individual self is fulfilled in the Great Self. Alienation is overcome as soon as we experience this surge of energy from the source that has brought the universe through the centuries.

New fields of energy become available to support the human venture. These new energies find expression and support in celebration. For in the end the universe can only be explained in terms of celebration.

It is all an exuberant expression of existence itself.




~ Thomas Berry
with thanks to Love is a Place


Friday, March 13, 2015

reveal your heart










~ Jean Vanier





earth's desire





To be seen
in her loveliness 

to be tasted
in her delicious
fruits

to be listened to
in her teaching

to be endured
in the severity
of her discipline

to be experienced
as the maternal
source
whence we come

the destiny
to which we
return.




~ Thomas Berry


The basic mood of the future might well be one of confidence in the continuing revelation that takes place in and through the Earth. If the dynamics of the Universe from the beginning shaped the course of the heavens, lighted the sun, and formed the Earth, if this same dynamism brought forth the continents and the seas and atmosphere, if it awakened life in the primordial cell and then brought into being the unnumbered variety of living beings, and finally brought us into being and guided us safely through the turbulent centuries, there is reason to believe that this same guiding process is precisely what has awakened in us our present understanding of ourselves and our relation to this stupendous process. Sensitized to such guidance from the very structure and functioning of the Universe, we can have confidence in the future that awaits the human venture.

"The New Story" The Dream of the Earth


Thursday, March 12, 2015

language without words








Sick of those who come with words, words but no language,
I make my way to the snow-covered island.

Wilderness has no words. The unwritten pages
stretch out in all directions.

I come across this line of deer-slots in the snow: a language,
language without words.




~ Tomas Tranströmer

translated by Robin Robertson

a message from space






Everything that happens is the message:
you read an event and be one and wait,
like breasting a wave, all the while knowing
by living, though not knowing how to live.

Or workers built an antenna -- a dish
aimed at stars -- and they themselves are its message,
crawling in and out, being worlds that loom,
dot-dash, and sirens, and sustaining beams.

And sometimes no one is calling but we turn up
eye and ear -- suddenly we fall into
sound before it begins, the breathing
so still it waits there under the breath --

And then the green of leaves calls out, hills
where they wait or turn, clouds in their frenzied
stillness unfolding their careful words:
"Everything counts. The message is the world."



~ William Stafford
from The Worth of Local Things

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

one soul






Never forget that the universe is a single living organism 
possessed of one substance and one soul, 
holding all things suspended in a single consciousness and 
creating all things with a single purpose that they might work together 
spinning and weaving and knotting whatever comes to pass.



~ Marcus Aurelius
from Meditations
with thanks to Love is a Place


perhaps







How can we ever know the difference we make to the soul of the earth? Where the infinite stillness of the earth meets the passion of the human eye, invisible depths strain towards the mirror of the name.

In the word, the earth breaks silence. It has waited a long time for the word. Concealed beneath familiarity and silence, the earth holds back and it never occurs to us to wonder how the earth sees us. Is it not possible that a place could have huge affection for those who dwell there?

Perhaps your place loves having you there. It misses you when you are away and in its secret way rejoices when you return. Could it be possible that a landscape might have a deep friendship with you? That it could sense your presence and feel the care you extend towards it? Perhaps your favorite place feels proud of you.

We tend to think of death as a return to clay, a victory for nature. But maybe it is the converse: that when you die, your native place will fill with sorrow. It will miss your voice, your breath and the bright waves of your thought, how you walked through the light and brought news of other places.

Perhaps each day our lives undertake unknown tasks on behalf of the silent mind and vast soul of nature. During its millions of years of presence perhaps it was also waiting for us, for our eyes and our words. Each of us is a secret envoi of the earth.





~  John O'Donohue
from Beauty: Rediscovering the True Source of Compassion, 
Serenity and Hope
art by van gogh
with thanks to whiskey river


Monday, March 2, 2015

behind the screen





Love plays its lute behind the screen - 
where is a lover to listen to its tune?

With every breath a new song,
each split second a new string plucked,

The world has spilled Love's secret -
when could music ever hold its tongue?

Every atom babbles the mystery -
Listen yourself, for I'm no tattletale!



~ Fakhruddin Iraqi
from Divine Flashes
photo by Christine de Grancy

Saturday, February 28, 2015

keeping our small boat afloat






.

So many blessings have been given to us
During the first distribution of light, that we are
Admired in a thousand galaxies for our grief. 

Don't expect us to appreciate creation or to
Avoid mistakes. Each of us is a latecomer
To the earth, picking up wood for the fire. 

Every night another beam of light slips out
From the oyster's closed eye. So don't give up hope
that the door of mercy may still be open. 

Seth and Shem, tell me, are you still grieving
Over the spark of light that descended with no
Defender near into the Egypt of Mary's womb? 

It's hard to grasp how much generosity
Is involved in letting us go on breathing,
When we contribute nothing valuable but our grief. 

Each of us deserves to be forgiven, if only for
Our persistence in keeping our small boat afloat
When so many have gone down in the storm.




~ Robert Bly
from Talking into the Ear of a Donkey
art by Klimt





a spirit of generosity








What is required is a willingness to look 
deeply at one's present moments, 
no matter what they hold, 
in a spirit of generosity,
 kindness towards oneself, 
and openness toward 
what might be possible. 



~ Jon Kabat-Zinn


our inner prisons





.
Forgiveness is one of the really difficult things in life.  The logic of receiving hurt seems to run in the direction of never forgetting either the hurt or the hurter.  When you forgive, some deeper, divine generosity takes you over.  When you can forgive, then you are free.  When you cannot forgive, you are a prisoner of the hurt done to you.  If you are really disappointed in someone and you become embittered, you become incarcerated inside that feeling.  Only the the grace of forgiveness can break the straight logic of hurt and embitterment.  It gives you a way out, because it places the conflict on a completely different level.  In a strange way, it keeps the whole conflict human.  You begin to see and understand the conditions, circumstances, or weakness that made the other person act as she did.

...

Why are we so reluctant to leave our inner prisons?  There is the security of the confinement and limitation that we know.  We are often willing to endure the searing sense of forsakenness and distance which limitation brings rather than risking the step out into the field of the unknown. 



~ John O'Donohue
from Eternal Echoes