Wednesday, May 31, 2017

by whom






The Student
.
Who makes the mind think?
Who fills my body with vitality?
Who causes my tongue to speak?  Who is that
Invisible one who sees through my eyes
and hears through my ears?

The Teacher

The Self is the ear of the ear,
The eye of the eye, the mind of the mind,
The word of the word, and the life of life.
Rising above the senses and the mind
And renouncing separate existence,
The wise realize the deathless Self.

Him our eyes cannot see, nor words express;
He cannot be grasped even by the mind.
We do not know, we cannot understand,
Because he is different from the known
And he is different from the unknown.
Thus have we heard from the illumined ones.

That which makes the tongue speak but cannot be 
Spoken by the tongue, know that as the Self.
This Self is not someone other than you.

That which makes the mind think but cannot be
Thought by the mind, that is the Self indeed.
This Self is not someone other than you.

That which makes the eye see but cannot be 
Seen by the eye, that is the Self indeed.
This Self is not someone other than you.

That which makes the ear hear but cannot be 
Heard by the ear, that is the Self indeed.
This Self is not someone other than you.

That which makes you draw breath but cannot be
Drawn by your breath, that is the Self indeed.
This Self is not someone other than you.


.
~ The Kena Upanishad
translated and introduced by Eknath Easwaran

There is a Sufi story about a seeker who calls on Allah day in and day out for years and finally throws himself down and sobs,  "How long have I been calling and you do not answer!"  Then he hears a voice:  "Who do you think has been making you call me?"

Kena, in the title means "by whom?" - that is, impelled by whom do all the motions stir?  Or in Shankara's brilliant paraphrase, "By whose mere presence does that desire arise which moves the universe?"



a child went forth







There was a child went forth every day,
And the first object he looked upon and received with wonder or pity or love or dread, that object he became.
And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day....or for many years or stretching cycles of years.
The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass, and white and red morning glories, and white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird.
And the March-born lambs, and the sow's pink-faint litter, and the mare's foal, and the cow's calf, and the noisy brood of the barnyard or by the mire of the pondside.. and the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there.. and the beautiful curious liquid.. and the water-plants with their grateful flat heads.. all became part of him.

And the field-sprouts of April and May became part of him....wintergrain sprouts, and those of the light-yellow corn, and of the esculent roots of the garden,
And the appletrees covered with blossoms, and the fruit afterward.... and woodberries.. and the commonest weeds by the road;
And the old drunkard staggering home from the outhouse of the tavern whence he had lately risen,
And the schoolmistress that passed on her way to the school.. and the friendly boys that passed.. and the quarrelsome boys.. and the tidy and freshcheeked girls.. and the barefoot negro boy and girl,
And all the changes of city and country wherever he went.

His own parents..he that had propelled the fatherstuff at night, and fathered him.. and she that conceived him in her womb and birthed him.... they gave this child more of themselves than that,
They gave him afterward every day.... they and of them became part of him.




~ Walt Whitman
excerpt from There was a Child Went Forth
art by Klimt


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

when the body and mind grow weak






When the body and mind grow weak, the Self gathers in all the powers of life and descends with them into the heart.  As prana leaves the eye, it ceases to see. "He is becoming one," say the wise;  "he does not see.  He is becoming one; he no longer hears.  He is becoming one; he no longer speaks, or tastes, or smells, or thinks, or knows."  By the light of the heart the Self leaves the body by one of its gates; and when he leaves, prana follows, and with it all the vital powers of the body.  He who is dying merges in consciousness, and thus consciousness accompanies him when he departs, along with the impressions of all that he has done, experienced, and known.





~ from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
art by van gogh




Monday, May 29, 2017

as the rain





As the rain on the mountain peak runs off
The slopes on all sides, so those who see
Only the seeming multiplicity in life
Run after things on every side.

As pure water poured into pure water
Becomes the very same, so does the Self
Of the illumined man or woman, Nachiketa,
Verily become one with the Godhead.

...
The adorable one who is seated
In the heart rules the breath of life.
Unto him all the senses pay their homage.
When the dweller in the body breaks out
In freedom from the bonds of flesh,
What remains?  For this Self is supreme!

We live not by the breath that flows in
And flows out, but by him who causes the breath
To flow in and flow out.




~ The Katha Upanishad
(Death as Teacher)
translated by Eknath Easwaran




Sunday, May 28, 2017

looking into a face








Conversation brings us so close! Opening
The surfs of the body,
Bringing fish up near the sun,
And stiffening the backbones of the sea!

I have wandered in a face, for hours,
Passing through dark fires.
I have risen to a body
Not yet born,
Existing like a light around the body,
Through which the body moves like a sliding moon.





~ Robert Bly
from The Light Around the Body


 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

body and soul





Without Contraries is no progression.
 Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, 
are necessary to Human existence.
From these contraries spring what the religious call Good & Evil.
 Good is the passive that obeys Reason. Evil is the active springing from Energy.
Good is Heaven. Evil is Hell.



All Bibles or sacred codes have been the causes of the following Errors.
1. That Man has two real existing principles Viz: a Body & a Soul.
2. That Energy, call'd Evil, is alone from the Body, & that Reason, call'd Good, is alone from the        Soul.
3. That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies.

But the following Contraries to these are True

1. Man has no Body distinct from his Soul for that call'd Body is a portion of Soul discern'd by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age
2. Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy.
3 Energy is Eternal Delight
~ William Blake 
from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
 with thanks to Love is a Place
 

Monday, May 22, 2017

traveling through







Death is a favour to us,
But our scales have lost their balance.
The impermanence of the body
Should give us great clarity, deepening the wonder in our
Senses and eyes
Of this mysterious existence we share
And surely are just traveling through.

If I were in the tavern tonight,
Hafiz would call for drinks
And as the Master poured, I would be reminded
That all I know of life and myself is that
We are just a mid-air flight of golden wine
Between His Pitcher and His cup.


If I were in the tavern tonight,
I would buy freely for everyone in this world
Because our marriage with the Cruel Beauty
Of time and space cannot endure very long.


Death is a favour to us,
But our minds have lost their balance.
The miraculous existence and impermanence of
Form
Always makes the illumined ones
Laugh and sing.





~ Hafiz
from  The subject tonight is Love –  poems of Hafiz
Versions by Daniel Ladinsky
with thanks to Death Deconstructed
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

though we strain




And yet, though we strain
against the deadening grip
of daily necessity,
I sense there is this mystery:

All life is being lived.

Who is living it then?
Is it the things themselves,
or something waiting inside them,
like an unplayed melody in a flute?
Is it the winds blowing over the waters?
Is it the branches that signal to each other?

Is it flowers
interweaving their fragrances
or streets, as they wind through time?



~ Rainer Maria Rilke
(from: Book of Hours, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

inside the rose


.

.
That camel there with its calf running
behind it, Sutur and Koshek, we're like

them: mothered and nursed by where 
and who we are from, following our fates

where they lead, until we hear a drum
begin, grace entering our lives, a prayer

of gratitude.  We feel the call of God,
and the journey changes, A dry field

of stones turns soft and moist as cheese.
The mountain feels level under us.  Love

becomes agile and quick, and suddenly
we're there!  This traveling's not done

with the body.  God's secret takes form
in your loving.  But there are those in

bodies who are pure soul.  It can happen.
These messengers invite us to walk with 

them.  They say, "You may feel happy
enough where you are, but we can't do

without you any longer!  Please."  So
we walk along inside the rose, being

pulled like the creeks and rivers are,
out from the town onto the plain.  My

guide, my soul, your only sadness is when
I am not walking with you.  In deep silence,

with some exertion to stay in your company,
I could save you a lot of trouble!


.
~ Rumi
from The Glance, Songs of Soul-Meeting
translated by Coleman Barks
art by ramel jasir




the trick of finding what you didn't lose




the trick of finding what you didn't lose
(existing's tricky:but to live's a gift)
the teachable imposture of always
arriving at the place you never left

(and i refer to thinking)rests upon
a dismal misconception;namely that
some neither ape nor angel called a man
is measured by his quote eye cue unquote.

Much better than which, every woman who's
(despite the ultramachinations of
some loveless infraworld)a woman knows;
and certain men quite possibly may have

shall we say guessed?"
"we shall" quoth gifted she:
and played the hostess to my morethanme



~e.e.cummings

.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

sweep aside the dust







A small fish swallowing a big one,
Like a Buddhist priest studying the Confucian classics;
It can penetrate the entanglements of buddhas and demons,
And sweep aside the dust collecting on the Law.




~ Dogen
from the Zen Poetry of Dogen by Steven Heine

 

the entry







Not from saying names, 
or praying to statuary.

Not from holding your breath
till you are blue in the face.

Not from twisting your torso this way, now that,
till you are like a string
striving to become a knot.

Not from reading saints' lives
or fingering a billion beads.

Only this:

The moment between the breaths.
The stillness between the notes.

A firefly extinguishes itself,
bleeds darkness
before its final flare.



 ~ Dorothy Walters
from Marrow of Flame 
(homage to Kabir)

 
 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

child of heaven and earth







As a child of heaven and earth, 
you are a mix of infinite openness and finite limitation.  
This means that you are both wonderful and difficult
 at the same time.  
You are flawed, you are stuck in old patterns, 
you become carried away with yourself.  
Indeed, you are quite impossible in many ways.  

And still, you are beautiful beyond measure. 
 For the core of what you are is fashioned out of love,
 that potent blend of openness, warmth, 
and clear transparent presence. 
 Boundless love always seems to sparkle 
through your limited form.



~ John Welwood
from Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships: Healing the Wound of the Heart
with thanks to Love is a Place
 

Monday, May 1, 2017

the broken thread









Once upon a time, there was a Sufi mystic. Like many mystics, he did not hold any formal position or title. He lived completely in the world, and the only way you knew anything was special about him was the sense of sweetness that seemed to cling to everything he touched.
During the day, he functioned as a shopkeeper, carefully sweeping and stacking and dusting the majestic tapestries, which he sold to support his family. There was a gentle buzz about the shop, a calm flow of traffic that never seemed to cease, from early in the morning when the shopkeeper’s wife unlocked the door and switched the sign to read open, until the evening hours, when the last rays of the sun settled across the dusty streets.

Gradually, the people who came to visit the shop began to linger, to breathe in the fragrance of the mystic, and upon their request, he began to teach. One of his students asked one day if he could begin to spend the afternoons as his assistant. He had no need of pay; he wanted to learn, and the mystic simply smiled, and so it began.

The boy was very polite, and so when he saw his master doing a very peculiar thing one afternoon after a new shipment arrived, he stared only for a moment and did not ask a question. Two days later, when he saw his master doing the same very odd thing, again he politely turned his eyes aside. And so again the third and the fourth and the fifth time. But finally, his curiosity could be contained no more.“Master,” he said, addressing his teacher.
The mystic turned and gazed with soft, deep eyes.
“Master. Why is it that every time you get a shipment of new tapestries, you grab a pin and loosen a thread in the center of each? I’ve seen you do this five times. I know how you love the tapestries, how you teach to always care for what we have here on earth.” He turned his palms up. “Why?”
The Mystic’s soft eyes did not change their expression. “That is the secret,” he said.
The boy’s face grew red and flushed. “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…”
His teacher continued. “The secret of the love. In the broken thread, the place of the flaw, is where you find your way to God.” 


 ~ Sufi story
art from  the Dome of a Sufi Saint by majhul
with thanks to noornalini