Saturday, July 14, 2018

on good and evil


.





And one of the elders of the city said, Speak to us of Good and Evil.
And he answered:
Of the good in you I can speak, but not of the evil.
For what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst?
Verily when good is hungry it seeks food even in dark caves, and when it thirsts it drinks even of dead waters.

You are good when you are one with yourself.
Yet when you are not one with yourself you are not evil.
For a divided house is not a den of thieves; it is only a divided house.
And a ship without rudder may wander aimlessly among perilous isles yet sink not to the bottom.

You are good when you strive to give of yourself.
Yet you are not evil when you seek gain for yourself.
For when you strive for gain you are but a root that clings to the earth and sucks at her breast.
Surely the fruit cannot say to the root, "Be like me, ripe and full and ever giving of your abundance."
For the fruit giving is a need, as receiving is a need to the root.

You are good when you are fully awake in your speech,
Yet you are not evil when you sleep while your tongue staggers without purpose.
And even stumbling speech may strengthen a weak tongue.

You are good when you walk to your goal firmly and with bold steps.
Yet you are not evil when you go thither limping.
Even those who limp go not backward.
But you who are strong and swift, see that you do not limp before the lame, deeming it kindness.

You are good in countless ways, and you are not evil when you are not good,
You are only loitering and sluggard.
Pity that the stags cannot teach swiftness to the turtles.

In your longing for your giant self lies your goodness: and that longing is in all of you.
But in some of you that longing is a torrent rushing with might to the sea, carrying the secrets of the hillsides and the songs of the forest.
And in others it is a flat stream that loses itself in angles and bends and lingers before it reaches the shore.
But let not him who longs much say to him who longs little, "Wherefore are you slow and halting?"
For the truly good ask not the naked, "Where is your garment?" nor the houseless, "What has befallen your house?"



~ Kahlil Gibran
(excerpt from: The Prophet )
.

troubled thoughts







Instead of conditioning the next moment with troubled thoughts, you surrender your investment in them; now the next moment is open, untroubled, and free.  There is no need to judge the world around you; you simply allow it to be what it is.  If the situation calls for a response from you, fine; you respond, not from defensiveness or judgment, but from the natural ease of your presence.  In the quiet mystery of surrendering your thoughts, you have released any fixity of belief or position-taking, and you are welcomed by openness, quiet, and a most subtle joy - a lightness of being.  In surrendering something of no real value, you have gained the world.  In the openness of unknowing, you are completely safe and innocent.



~ Pir Elias Amidon
from Free Medicine 
art by Dali

Thursday, July 12, 2018

creating enmity




.


Surely that thing which you fight you become. If I am angry and you meet me with anger what is the result? More anger. You have become that which I am. If I am evil and you fight me with evil means then you also become evil, however righteous you may feel. If I am brutal and you use brutal methods to overcome me, then you become brutal like me. And this we have done for thousands of years. Surely there is a different approach than to meet hate by hate. If I use violent methods to quell anger in myself then I am using wrong means for a right end, and thereby the right end ceases to be. In this there is no understanding; there is no transcending anger. Anger is to be studied tolerantly and understood; it is not to be overcome through violent means. Anger may be the result of many causes and without comprehending them there is no escape from anger.

We have created the enemy, the bandit, and becoming ourselves the enemy in no way brings about an end to enmity. We have to understand the cause of enmity and cease to feed it by our thought, feeling, and action. This is an arduous task demanding constant self-awareness and intelligent pliability, for what we are the society, the state is. The enemy and the friend are the outcome of our thought and action. We are responsible for creating enmity and so it is more important to be aware of our own thought and action than to be concerned with the foe and the friend, for right thinking puts an end to division. Love transcends the friend and the enemy.



~ J. Krishnamurti
from The Book of Life
art by Picasso










beauty and ugliness






When people see things as beautiful,
ugliness is created.
When people see things as good,
evil is created.

Being and non-being produce each other.
Difficult and easy complement each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low oppose each other.
Fore and aft follow each other.

Therefore the Master
can act without doing anything
and teach without saying a word.
Things come her way and she does not stop them;
things leave and she lets them go.
She has without possessing,
and acts without any expectations.
When her work is done, she takes no credit.
That is why it will last forever.





~ Lao Tzu
from the Tao Te Ching
translation by j.h.mcdonald




Monday, July 9, 2018

what draws you?







There are two types on the path, those
who come against their will, the blindly religious,
and those who obey out of love.

The former have ulterior motives.
they want the midwife near because she gives them milk.
The others love the beauty of the nurse.

The former memorize the prooftexts of conformity
and repeat them. The latter disappear
into whatever draws them to God.

Both are drawn from the source.
Any motion is from the mover.
Any love from the beloved.



~ Rumi
from Rumi - The Book of Love
translations by Coleman Barks


 

sacrificed





Not until a person dissolves, can
he or she know what union is

There is a descent into emptiness.
A lie will not change to truth

with just talking about it.

***

Longing is the core of mystery
Longing itself brings the cure.
The only rule is, Suffer the pain.

Your desire must be disciplined,
and what you want to happen
in time, sacrificed.



~ Rumi
from The Soul of Rumi
translations by Coleman Barks



Saturday, July 7, 2018

forget







Forget the suffering
You caused others.
Forget the suffering
Others caused you.

The waters run and run,
Springs sparkle and are done,
You walk the earth you are forgetting.

Sometimes you hear a distant refrain.
What does it mean, you ask, who is singing?
A childlike sun grows warm.
A grandson and a great-grandson are born.
You are led by the hand once again.

The names of the rivers remain with you.
How endless those rivers seem!
Your fields lie fallow,
The city towers are not as they were.
You stand at the threshold mute. 


By Czeslaw Milosz
version by Robert Hass

Friday, June 8, 2018

compassion and kinship








~ Fr. Gregory Boyle


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

when you're broken open






Dance, when you're broken open.
Dance, if you've torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance, when you're perfectly free.

I have lived on the lip
of insanity, wanting to know reasons,
knocking on a door.  It opens.
I've been knocking from the inside!

Something opens our wings.  Something
makes boredom and hurt disappear.
Someone fills the cup in front of us.
We taste only sacredness.

No better love than love with no object,
no more satisfying work than work with no purpose.
If you could give up tricks and cleverness,
that would be the cleverest trick!

Some nights stay up till dawn,
as the moon sometimes does for the sun.
Be a full bucket pulled up the dark way
of a well, then lifted out into light.





~ Rumi
.

St. Francis and the sow







.

The bud
stands for all things,
even those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as St. Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of
the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking
and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.





~ Galway Kinnell


epiphany








In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race ... there is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun. 

I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God's eyes. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all of the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed...




~ Thomas Merton
from Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

detachment







When I preach, I usually speak of detachment and
 say that a man should be empty of self and all things;
 and secondly, that he should be reconstructed in the simplicity
  beyond all words and beyond all understanding that God is;
 and thirdly, that he should consider the great longing
 which God has set up in the soul, such that by means of it 
man may wonderfully attain to God; and fourthly, 
of the purity of the divine nature.


~ Meister Eckhart


Saturday, May 26, 2018

the woodcarver




Kling, the master carver, made a bell stand
Of precious wood. When it was finished,
All who saw it were astounded.  They said it must be
The work of spirits.
The Prince of Lu said to the master carver:
"What is your secret?"
Kling replied: " I am only a workman:
I have no secret. There is only this:
When I began to think about the work you commanded
I guarded my spirit, did not expend it
On trifles, that were not to the point.
I fasted in order to set
My heart at rest.
After three days fasting,
I had forgotten gain and success.
After five days
I had forgotten praise or criticism.
After seven days
I had forgotten my body
With all its limbs."

"By this time all thought of your Highness
And of the court had faded away.
All that might distract me from the work
Had vanished.
I was collected in the single thought
Of the bell stand."

"Then I went to the forest
To see the trees in their own natural state.
When the right tree appeared before my eyes,
The bell stand also appeared in it, clearly, beyond doubt.
All I had to do was to put forth my hand 
And begin."

"If I had not met this particular tree
There would have been 
No bell stand at all."

"What happened?
My own collected thought
Encountered the hidden potential in the wood;
From this live encounter came the work
Which you ascribe to the spirits."



~ Chuang Tzu
translation by Thomas Merton
from The Collected Poems of Thomas Merton


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

when it is one-sided



.


.


"I have found a thought, Govinda, which you'll again regard as a joke or foolishness, but which is my best thought. It says: The opposite of every truth is just as true! That's like this: any truth can only be expressed and put into words when it is one-sided. Everything is one-sided which can be thought with thoughts and said with words, it's all one-sided, all just one half, all lacks completeness, roundness, oneness. When the exalted Gotama spoke in his teachings of the world, he had to divide it into Sansara and Nirvana, into deception and truth, into suffering and salvation. It cannot be done differently, there is no other way for him who wants to teach. But the world itself, what exists around us and inside of us, is never one-sided. A person or an act is never entirely Sansara or entirely Nirvana, a person is never entirely holy or entirely sinful. It does really seem like this, because we are subject to deception, as if time was something real.
...

I have experienced on my body and on my soul that I needed sin very much, I needed lust, the desire for possessions, vanity, and needed the most shameful despair, in order to learn how to give up all resistance, in order to learn how to love the world, in order to stop comparing it to some world I wished, I imagined, some kind of perfection I had made up, but to leave it as it is and to love it and to enjoy being a part of it.
...

... love, oh Govinda, seems to me to be the most important thing of all. To thoroughly understand the world, to explain it, to despise it, may be the thing great thinkers do. But I'm only interested in being able to love the world, not to despise it, not to hate it and me, to be able to look upon it and me and all beings with love and admiration and great respect.
.

~ Herman Hesse
from  Siddhartha

.



Monday, May 21, 2018

nearer the roses






A nightingale flies nearer the roses.
A girl blushes. Pomegranates ripen.

Hallaj will be executed. A man walks
a mountain path, solitary and full of

prayer. Trust grows for nine months,
then a new being appears. Narcissus

at the edge, creekwater washing tree
roots: God is giving a general into-

ductory lecture. We hear and read it
everywhere, in the field, through the

branches. We'll never finish studying.
Neither of us has a penny, yet we're

walking the jewelers' bazaar seriously
considering making a purchase! Or

shall I say this with other metaphors?
A barn crowded with souls. Quietness

served around a table. Two people talk
along a road that's paved with words.


~ Rumi
.