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

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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

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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
.

attachment

.



Our self-centeredness,
our distinctive attachment to the feeling 
of an independent "I" works to inhibit
our compassion.

True compassion can only develop
and grow as such self-grasping is reduced
and eventually eliminated.




~ Dalai Lama 
from Tibetan Portrait - The Power of Compassion
photo by Phil Borges

the woman is Tamdin, 69 years old, she was imprisoned in 1987 but now has escaped, 
walking 35 days across the Himalayas to seek an audience with the Dalai Lama.

.

destroyer of illusion






Compassion is the destroyer of illusion, 
it isn’t helping ladies over the road or helping people get through life.  
Compassion doesn’t help the separate individual,
 it exposes the dream of separation and leaves freedom. 
 Unconditional love doesn’t recognise that there is
 a separate person who needs help… 
that is the freeing nature of the boundlessness
 that is palpable when we are together.



~ Tony Parsons


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



Sunday, May 20, 2018

pain and pleasure








Human beings try to avoid pain by setting up permanent zones of pleasure. 
The mind is always seeking to create permanent territories of pleasure to avoid pain. 
But these zones, what we might call 'zones of safety' don't last. 
They always fall apart, and because they are fleeting, 
then we scramble to find another zone of pleasure to help us forget our pain. 
This going round and round is what we mean by samsara. 
Hell is just resistance to life. It's counter-intuitive, but if we stop, 
become curious about the pain, learn to befriend it 
and work with it, actually learn how to be genuine friends 
of ourselves, then the pleasures of life become authentic pleasures 
as opposed to numbing agents, anesthetizing us from our genuine experience.


~ Pema Chodron, 
Dharma talk, Karma Dzong, Boulder, Colorado, 1999
 art by Edvard Munch

separation is painful






When you have understood that all existence, in separation and limitation, is painful,
and when you are willing and able to live integrally, in oneness with all life, as pure being,
you have gone beyond all need of help.
You can help another by precept and example and, above all, by your being.
You cannot give what you do not have and you don't have what you are not.
You can only give what you are - and of that you can give limitlessly.



- Nisargadatta Maharaj

.

help





When another person makes you suffer, 
it is because he suffers deeply within himself, 
and his suffering is spilling over. 

He does not need punishment; he needs help. 
That’s the message he is sending.




~ Thich Nhat Hanh


Thursday, May 17, 2018

every time







Let people realize clearly that every time they threaten someone or humiliate or unnecessarily hurt or dominate or reject another human being, they become forces for the creation of psychopathology, even if these be small forces. Let them recognize that every person who is kind, helpful, decent, psychologically democratic, affectionate, and warm, is a psychotheraputic force.



  ~ Abraham H. Maslow