Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Never seek to tell thy love


Never seek to tell thy love
Love that never told can be
For the gentle wind does move
Silently invisibly
I told my love I told my love
I told her all my heart
Trembling cold in ghastly fears
Ah she doth depart
Soon as she was gone from me
A traveller came by
Silently invisibly
He took her with a sigh

~ William Blake

When Death Comes

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purseto buy me,
and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everythingas a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it's over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it's over, I don't want to wonderi
f I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,or full of argument.
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.
~ Mary Oliver

Monday, March 29, 2010

here and now

There is no greater mystery than this, 
that we keep seeking reality though in fact we are reality. 
We think that there is something hiding reality 
and that this must be destroyed before reality is gained. 
How ridiculous! 
A day will dawn when you will laugh at all your past efforts. 
That which will be the day you laugh is also here and now.
- Ramana Maharshi

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I often dream about falling. 
Such dreams are commonplace to the ambitious or those who climb mountains. 
Lately I dreamed I was clutching at the face of a rock, but it would not hold. 
Gravel gave way, I grasped for a shrub, but it pulled loose, 
and in cold terror I fell into the abyss. 
Suddenly I realized that my fall was relative; 
there was no bottom and no end. 
A feeling of pleasure overcame me.
 I realized that what I embody, the principle of life, 
cannot be destroyed.
 It is written into the cosmic code,
 the order of the universe. 
As I continued to fall in the dark void, 
embraced by the vault of the heavens, 
I sang to the beauty of the stars and made peace with the darkness.

 Heinz Pagels

kissed me quite insane

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

~ Sylvia Plath
 from Mad Girl’s Love Song


Saturday, March 27, 2010

the tired wanderer


the tired wanderer
loses the strength to go on
and in surrendering to hopelessness
is surprised
to finally feel at home
the troubled philosopher
finds nothing to believe in
and in unexpected silence
just smiles
at the still unanswered questions

the saddened lover
faces the loss of illusion once again
and in dying to passion
falls in love
with love itself

~ Nirmala
from: 'Gifts with No Giver'

burn yourself completely

In order not to leave any traces, when you do something, 
you should do it with your whole body and mind; 
you should be concentrated on what you do. 
You should do it completely, like a good bonfire. 
You should not be a smoky fire. 
You should burn yourself completely.
 If you do not burn yourself completely, 
a trace of yourself will be left in what you do. 
You will have something remaining which is not completely burned out.

 Zen activity is activity which is completely burned out, 
with nothing remaining but ashes. 
This is the goal of our practice. 
That is what Dogen meant when he said,
 “Ashes do not come back to firewood.”
 Ash is ash. Ash should be completely ash. 
The firewood should be firewood. 
When this kind of activity takes place, 
one activity covers everything.
~ Shunryu Suzuki


As regards the quietude of the sage, he is not
quiet because quietness is said to be good.  He
is quiet because the multitude of things cannot
disturb his quietude.  When water is still, one's
beard and eyebrows are reflected in it.  A skilled
carpenter uses it in a level to obtain measurement.
If still water is so clear, how much more are the
mental faculties!  The mind of a sage is the mirror
of heaven and earth in which all things are reflected.
~ Chuang-Tzu

my own reflection

Mullah Nasrudin, standing on the bank of a river, 
watched as a dog came to drink.
The dog saw itself in the water and immediately began to bark. 
 It barked and barked all morning and into the afternoon, 
until it was foaming at the mouth. Finally, dying of thirst,
 the dog fell into the river--whereupon it quenched its thirst, 
climbed out, and happily walked away.

Nasrudin said,
"Thus I realized all my life I had been barking at my own reflection." 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

There are no ordinary people

It is a serious thing to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.

~ C.S. Lewis

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The deep parts

The deep parts of my life pour onward,
as if the river shores were opening out.
It seems that things are more like me now,
that I can see farther into paintings.
I feel closer to what language can't reach.
With my sense, as with birds, I climb
into the windy heaven, out of the oak,
and in the ponds broken off from the sky
my feeling sinks, as if standing on fishes.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
[translated by Robert Bly]


The human mind has grown even since the time of the Buddha, 2,500 years ago.
 The human mind is more noisy and more all-pervasive, and the egos are bigger.
 There's been an ego growth over thousands of years; it's growing to a point of madness,
 with the ultimate madness having been reached in the twentieth century.
 One only needs to read twentieth-century history to see that it has been the climax
 of human madness, if it's measured in terms of human
 violence inflicted on other humans.

So in the present time, 
we can't escape from the world anymore;
 we can't escape from the mind. 
We need to enter surrender while we are in the world. 
That seems to be the path that is effective in the world that we live in now.

- Eckhart Tolle

a boy playing on the seashore

I do not know what
I may appear to the world,
but to myself
I seem to have been
only like a boy
playing on the seashore,
and diverting myself
in now and then finding
a smoother pebble
or a prettier shell
than ordinary,
whilst the great
ocean of truth
lay all undiscovered
before me.
~ Isaac Newton

quiet breathing


A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases, it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits.
~ John Keats, from:  'Endymion' 

I knew


I knew when I said
I love you
that I was inventing a new alphabet
for a city where no one could read
that I was saying my poems
in an empty theater
and pouring my wine
for those who could not
taste it.
~ Nizar Qabbani


Saturday, March 20, 2010

hiding inside a drop of water


It is early morning, and death has forgotten us for
a while. Darkness owns the house, but I am alive.
I am ready to praise all the great musicians.
Whatever happens to me will also happen to you.
Surely you must have realized this from hearing
the way the strings cry out no matter who hits them.
From the great oak trees in the yard in October,
leaves fall for hours each day. Every night
a thousand wrinkled faces look up at the stars.
Still we know that at any second the soul can stand
up and start across the desert, as when Rabia ended up
riding on a resurrected donkey toward the Meeting.
It is this reaching toward the Kaaba that keeps us glad.
It is this way of hiding inside a drop of water
that lets the hidden face become visible to everyone.
Gautama said that when the Great Ferris Wheel
stops turning, you will still be way up
there, swinging in your seat and laughing.
~ Robert Bly
from: 'My Sentence Was a Thousand Years of Joy: Poems'

Supple like a tree


A good traveller has no fixed plans

and is not intent on arriving.
Supple like a tree in the wind,
she has no destination in view
and makes use of anything
life happens to bring her way.
~ Lao Tzu

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

a voice inside the body


There is a voice inside the body.

There is a voice and a music,
a throbbing, four-chambered pear
that wants to be heard, that sits 
alone by the river with its mandolin
and its torn coat, and sings
for whomever will listen
a song that no one wants to hear.

But sometimes, lost,
on his way to somewhere significant,
a man in a long coat, carrying
a briefcase, wanders into the forest.

He hears the voice and the mandolin, 
he sees the thrush and the dandelion,
and he feels the mist rise over the river.

And his life is never the same,
for having been lost –
for having strayed from the path of his routine,
for no good reason.

~ Michael Blumenthal

experiences which helped me along the way

To the few experiences which helped me along the way
toward my life’s true goal I added this new one: the
observation of such configurations [staring at a fire,
tree roots, veins in rock, smoke, clouds, water,
reflections, light, dust, swirling specks of light when
eyes are closed].
The surrender to Nature’s irrational, strangely confused
formations produces in us a feeling of inner harmony with
the force responsible for these phenomena. We soon fall
prey to the temptation of thinking of them as being our
own moods, our own creations, and see the boundaries
seperating us from Nature begin to quiver and dissolve.
We become acquainted with that state of mind in which
we are unable to decide whether the images on our retina
are the result of impressions coming from without or
from within. Nowhere as in this exercise can we discover
so easily and simply to what extent we are creative, to what
extent our soul partakes of the constant creation of
the world. For it is the same indivisible divinity
that is active through us and in Nature, and if the
outside world were to be destroyed, a single one of us
would be capable of rebuilding it: mountain and stream,
tree and leaf, root and flower, yes, every natural
form is latent within us, originates in the soul whose
essence is eternity, whose essence we cannot know but
which most often intimates itself to us as the power
to love and create.
The next time we were together, the organist gave me
an explanation: “We always define the limits of our
personality too narrowly. In general, we count as part
of our personality only that which we can recognise as
being an individual trait or as diverging from the norm.
But we consist of everything the world consists of, each
of us, and just as our body contains the genealogical table
of evolution as far back as the fish and even much further,
so we bear everything in our soul that once was alive in
the soul of men. Every god and devil that ever existed,
be it among the Greeks, Chinese, or Zulus, are within us,
exist as latent possibilities, as wishes, as alternatives.
If the human race were to vanish from the face of the earth
save for one halfway talented child that had received no
education, this child would rediscover the entire course
of evolution, it would be capable of producing everything
once more, gods and demons, paradises, commandments, the
Old and New Testament.”
“Yes, fine,” I replied. “But what is the value of the
individual in that case? Why do we continue striving if
everything has been completed within us?”
“Stop!” exclaimed Pistorius. “There’s an immense
difference between simply carrying the world within us
and being aware of it. A madman can spout ideas that
remind you of Plato, and a pious little seminary student
rethinks deep mythological correspondences found among
the Gnostics or in Zoroaster. But he isn’t aware of them.
He is a tree or stone, at best an animal, as long as he is not
conscious. But as soon as the first spark of recognition
dawns within him he is a human being. You wouldn’t
consider all the bipeds you pass on the street human
beings simply because they walk upright and carry their
young in their bellies nine months! It is obvious how
many of them are fish or sheep, worms or angels, how
many are ants, how many are bees! Well, each one of
them contains the possibility of becoming human, but
only by having an intimation of these possibilities,
partially even by learning to make himself conscious
of them; only in this respect are these possibilities his.

~ Herman Hesse

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

You cannot depend upon anybody

You cannot depend upon anybody. 
There is no guide, no teacher, no authority. 
There is only you
 - your relationship with others 
and with the world 
- there is nothing else. 
When you realize this,
 it either brings great despair, 
from which comes cynicism and bitterness, 
or, in facing the fact that you and nobody else
 is responsible for the world and for yourself,
 for what you think, 
what you feel,
 how you act, 
all self-pity goes.
~  Jiddu Krishnamurti

Heaven and Earth give themselves


Heaven and Earth give themselves. 
Air, water, plants, animals, and humans 
give themselves to each other.
 It is in this giving-themselves-to-each-other that we actually live. 
Whether you appreciate it or not, it is true.

~ Kodo Sawaki


Monday, March 15, 2010

There's a space at the bottom of an exhale,
 a little hitch 
between taking in and letting out 
that's a perfect zero you can go into. 
There's a rest point between
 the heart's muscle's close and open 
- an instant of keenest living 
when you're momentarily dead. 
You can rest there.
~  Mary Karr


The gaps are the thing. 
The gaps are the spirit's one home,
 the altitudes and latitudes so dazzlingly spare and clean that 
the spirit can discover itself like a once-blind man unbound. 
The gaps are the clefts in the rock where you cower to see the back parts of God; 
they are the fissures between mountains and cells the wind lances through,
 the icy narrowing fords splitting the cliffs of mystery. 
Go up into the gaps.
 If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. 
Stalk the gaps. 
Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock -
 more than a maple - a universe.

~ Annie Dillard