Wednesday, March 27, 2013

multiplicity in properties




He who has lifted the veil sees multiplicity in properties, 
not in Essence; hence he knows that changes in properties 
cannot touch Essence, which owns a perfection subject to no mutability. 
Light merely seems to change as it shines through colored glass, but

light has no color.
Its rays shine through the glass
and only then 
do hues and tints appear.

Don't you understand?

Come then into my eyes
and...look!

and you will see

a sun shining
through a thousand bits of glass
beaming to plain sight through each
a ray of color
Why should any difference appear
between this one and that?
All light is one
but colors a thousandfold.




~ Fakhruddin 'Iraqi
from Divine Flashes



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

war and peace and dan







~ Gangaji



Monday, March 25, 2013

behind uneasyness



Remedios Varo


Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

This one time upon the earth,
let’s not speak any language,
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be a delicious moment,
without hurry, without locomotives,
all of us would be together
in a sudden uneasiness.

The fishermen in the cold sea
would do no harm to the whales
and the peasant gathering salt
would look at his torn hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars of gas, wars of fire,
victories without survivors,
would put on clean clothing
and would walk alongside their brothers
in the shade, without doing a thing.

What I want shouldn’t be confused
with final inactivity:
life alone is what matters,
I want nothing to do with death.

If we weren’t unanimous
about keeping our lives so much in motion,

if we could do nothing for once,
perhaps a great silence would
interrupt this sadness,
this never understanding ourselves
and threatening ourselves with death,
perhaps the earth is teaching us
when everything seems to be dead
and then everything is alive.
.
Now I will count to twelve
and you keep quiet and I’ll go.



~ Pablo Neruda 
from Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon



There is a silence into which the world cannot intrude. There is an ancient peace you carry in your heart and have not lost. Lay down your arms and come without defense into the quiet place where Heaven's peace holds all things still at last. Lay down all thoughts of danger and of fear.

As you close your eyes, sink into the stillness. Let these periods of rest and respite reassure your mind that all its frantic fantasies were but dreams of fever that has passed away. Let it be still and thankfully accept its healing.




~ A Course in Miracles



Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty, unfamiliar and perilous.


~ Thomas Mann



Saturday, March 23, 2013

the lips of insanity










~ Coleman Barks
~ Rumi




Friday, March 22, 2013

wait for the hour





Always trust yourself and your own feeling, 
as opposed to argumentations, discussion, 
or introductions of that sort; if it turns out that you are wrong, 
then the natural growth of your inner life will eventually guide you to other insights. 

Allow your judgments their own silent, undisturbed development, 
which, like all progress, must come from deep within 
and cannot be forced or hastened. 

Everything is gestation and then birthing. 
To let each impression and each embryo of a feeling come to completion,
 entirely in itself, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, 
beyond the reach of one’s own understanding, and with deep humility 
and patience to wait for the hour when a new clarity is born: 
this alone is what it means to live as an artist: in understanding as in creating.



~Rainer Maria Rilke
from Letters to a young poet, letter 3
translation by Stephen Mitchell
image found at art42

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

an ancient voice




...behind this outer facade, another life is going on in you. The mind and heart are wanderers who are always tempted by new horizons.   Your life belongs in a visible, outer consistency; your inner life is nomadic.  Hegel says, "just this unrest that is the Self."  Your longing frequently takes you on inner voyages that no one would ever guess.  Longing is the deepest and most ancient voice in the human soul.  It is the secret source of all presence, and the driving force of all creativity and imagination: longing keeps the door open and calls towards us the gifts and blessings which our lives dream.

...longing is a quality of desire which distance or duration evokes.  In other words, your longing reaches out into the distance to unite you with whatever or whomsoever your heart desires.  Longing awakens when there is a feeling that someone or something is away from you.  It is interesting that the word "desire" comes from the Latin "desiderare," which originally meant "to cease to see."  This suggested a sense of absence and the desire to seek and find the absent one. Deep down, we desire to come back into the intimate unity of belonging.





~ John O'Donohue
from Eternal Echoes


many waves





each image painted
on the canvas of existence
is the form
of the artist himself.
Eternal Ocean
spews forth new waves,
"Waves" we call them;
but there is only the Sea.

Many and disparate waves do not make the sea a multiplicity;
no more do the Names make the Named more than One.
When the sea breathes they call it mist;
when mist piles up they call it clouds.
It falls again,
they name it rain;
it gathers itself and rejoins the sea.
And it is now the same sea it ever was.


~ Fakhruddin 'Iraqi
from Divine Flashes



Sunday, March 17, 2013

meditation






~ Jiddu Krishnamurti, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche



Saturday, March 16, 2013

utterance




Sitting over words
very late I have heard a kind of whispered sighing
not far
like a night wind in pines or like the sea in the dark
the echo of everything that has ever
been spoken
still spinning its one syllable
between the earth and silence




~ W. S. Merwin
 from The Rain in the Trees


the conditional





Say tomorrow doesn't come. 
Say the moon becomes an icy pit. 
Say the sweet-gum tree is petrified. 
Say the sun's a foul black tire fire. 
Say the owl's eyes are pinpricks. 
Say the raccoon's a hot tar stain. 
Say the shirt's plastic ditch-litter. 
Say the kitchen's a cow's corpse. 
Say we never get to see it: bright 
future, stuck like a bum star, never 
coming close, never dazzling. 
Say we never meet her. Never him. 
Say we spend our last moments staring 
at each other, hands knotted together,
clutching the dog, watching the sky burn. 
Say, It doesn't matter. Say, That would be 
enough. Say you'd still want this: us alive, 
right here, feeling lucky.



~ Ada Limón
with thanks again to Lisa


about this poem the author said,
"There is so much to worry about. 
All the time, so much worry. 
Here, I wanted to take all the worry as far out as I could 
and then stamp it out 
under the heavy black boot of love." 


Thursday, March 14, 2013

the wealth of poverty





I have seen that the lane of piety stretches out,
far, far into the distance;
My dearest friends, can you not show me then
the way of the madman?
Bring me a glass of Magian wine
that I may drink deep
for I have given up all thought
of ascetic piety;
or if the pure wine has all been downed
bring me the cloudy dregs
for thick residue lights up the heart 
and illuminates the eyes.
Tuppence for the Sufi meeting house!
I flee the company of the righteous;
fill up a row of glasses with wine
and bring me the first.
I have no rules or regulations,
nor heart nor religion -
only I remain, and you, sitting in the corner
and the wealth of Poverty.
All fear of God, all self-denial I deny;
bring wine, nothing but wine
for in all sincerity I repent
my worship which is but hypocrisy.
Yes, bring me wine, for I have renounced all renunciation
and all my vaunted self-righteousness
seems to me but swagger and self-display.
Now for a time let my proof be wine
against the sorrow of Time
for only in drunkenness can one be free
of the hour's grief.
Once I am thoroughly drunk, what difference
if I end up in a church or in Mecca?
Once I've abandoned myself, what matter
if I win Union - or separation?
I've been to the gambling house and seen 
that the losers there are pure;
I've been to the monastery and have found
no one but hypocrites.
Now I've broken my repentance, at least
do not break our covenant:
at least welcome this broken heart and say
"How are you? Where have you been?"
I've been to Mecca, to circle the Kaaba
but they refused me entrance
saying "Off with you!  What merit have you earned
outside, that we should admit you within?"
Then, last night, I knocked
at the tavern door;
from within came a voice: "'Iraqi! Come in!
for you are one of the chosen!"




~ Fakhruddin 'Iraqi
from the introduction to Divine Flashes
translation by William Chittick and Peter Wilson


another night in the ruins






7

How many nights must it take
one such as me to learn
that we aren't, after all, made
from that bird that flies out of its ashes, 
that for us
as we go up in flames, our one work
is
to open ourselves, to be
the flames?



Galway Kinnell
 from Three Books
with thanks to the mark on the wall


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

three times my life has opened





.
Three times my life has opened.
Once, into darkness and rain.
Once, into what the body carries at all times within it and starts
to remember each time it enters the act of love.
Once, to the fire that holds all.
These three are not different.
You will recognize what I am saying or you will not.
But outside my window all day a maple has stepped from her leaves
like a woman in love with winter, dropping the colored silks.
Neither are we different in what we know.
There is a door.  It opens.  Then it is closed.  But a slip of light
stays, like a scrap of unreadable paper left on the floor,
or the one red leaf the snow releases in March.








~ Jane Hirshfield
from The Lives of the Heart



Friday, March 8, 2013

identity and safety





You ask me how I became a madman.  It happened thus:  One day, long before many gods were born,  I woke from a deep sleep and found all my masks were stolen, - the seven masks I have fashioned and worn in seven lives, - I ran mask-less through the crowded streets shouting, "Thieves, thieves, and cursed thieves."

Men and women laughed at me and some ran to their houses in fear of me.

And when I reached the market place, a youth standing on a house-top cried, "He is a madman."  I looked up to behold him; the sun kissed my own naked face for the first time.  For the first time the sun kissed my own naked face and my soul was inflamed with love for the sun, and I wanted my masks no more.  And as if in a trance I cried, "Blessed, blessed are the thieves who stole my masks."

Thus I became a madman.

And I have found both freedom and safety in my madness;  the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us.

But let me not be too proud of my safety.  Even a Thief in jail is safe from another thief.






~ Kahlil Gibran
from The Madman his Parables and Poems
art by Leonardo da Vinci



Monday, March 4, 2013

a wind-swept spirit




In this mortal frame of mine, which is made of a hundred bones and nine orifices, there is something, and this something is called a wind-swept spirit, for lack of a better name, for it is much like a thin drapery that is torn and swept away at the slightest stir of the wind.  
This something in me took to writing poetry years ago, merely to amuse itself at first, but finally making it its lifelong business.  It must be admitted, however, that there were times when it sank into such dejection that it was almost ready to drop its pursuit, or again times when it was so puffed up with pride that it exulted in vain victories over others. Indeed, ever since it began to write poetry, it has never found peace with itself, always wavering  between doubts of one kind and another. 
At one time it wanted to gain security by entering the service of a court, and at another it wished to measure the depth of its ignorance by trying to be a scholar, but it was prevented from either because of its unquenchable love of poetry.  The fact is, it knows no other art than writing poetry, and therefore, it hangs on to it more of less blindly.




~ Matsuo Basho
from Journal of a Travel-Worn Satchel
translated by Nobuyuki Yuasa





A wanderer all his life both in body and spirit, Basho concerned himself less with destination than with the quality of the traveler's attention.  A poem, he said, only exists while it's on the writing desk; by the time its ink has dried, it should be recognized as just a scrap of paper.  In poetry as in life, he saw each moment as gate-latch.  Permeability mattered more in this process than product or will:  "If we were to gain mastery over things, we would find their lives would vanish under us without a trace."




~ Jane Hirshfield 
from The Heart of Haiku


Sunday, March 3, 2013

this was once a love poem




This was once a love poem,
before its haunches thickened, its breath grew short,
before it found itself sitting,
perplexed and a little embarrassed,
on the fender of a parked car,
while many people passed by without turning their heads.

It remembers itself dressing as if for a great engagement.
It remembers choosing these shoes,
this scarf or tie. Once, it drank beer for breakfast,
drifted its feet
in a river side by side with the feet of another.

Once it pretended shyness, then grew truly shy,
dropping its head so the hair would fall forward,
so the eyes would not be seen. It spoke with passion of history, of art.
It was lovely then, this poem.
Under its chin, no fold of skin softened.
Behind the knees, no pad of yellow fat.
What it knew in the morning it still believed at nightfall.
An unconjured confidence lifted its eyebrows, its cheeks.

The longing has not diminished.
Still it understands. It is time to consider a cat,
the cultivation of African violets or flowering cactus. Yes, it decides:
many miniature cacti, in blue and red painted pots.

When it finds itself disquieted
by the pure and unfamiliar silence of its new life,
it will touch them-one, then another-
with a single finger outstretched like a tiny flame.



~ Jane Hirshfield
from Given Sugar Given Salt
with thanks to writers almanac