Sunday, April 29, 2018

pain and healing

And a woman spoke, saying, Tell us of Pain.
And he said:

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, 

so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, 

your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, 

even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen,
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, 

has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened 
with His own sacred tears.

~ Kahlil Gibran
from The Prophet
 art by Sean Lewis

Thursday, April 26, 2018

to heal

Sakyamuni (Buddha) himself refused to answer speculative questions, 
and he would not permit abstract philosophical discussion.  

His doctrine was not a doctrine but a way of being in the world.  
His religion was not a set of beliefs and convictions or of rites and sacraments,
 but an opening to love.  

His philosophy was not a world view but a significant silence,
 in which the fracture implied by conceptual knowledge 
was allowed to heal and reality appeared again in its mysterious

~ Thomas Merton
from Zen and the Birds of Appetite


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

no better love

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!

~ Rumi
from The Essential Rumi
translations by Coleman Barks with John Moyne

Monday, April 16, 2018

see yourself in the cruelest

Practice until you see yourself in the cruelest person on Earth,
 in the child starving, in the political prisoner. 
Continue until you recognize yourself in everyone in the supermarket,
 on the street corner, in a concentration camp, on a leaf, in a dewdrop. 
Meditate until you see yourself in a speck of dust in a distant galaxy. 
See and listen with the whole of your being. If you are fully present, 
the rain of Dharma will water the deepest seeds in your consciousness, 
and tomorrow, while you are washing the dishes or looking at the blue sky, 
that seed will spring forth, and love and understanding
 will appear as a beautiful flower.

~  Thich Nhat Hanh
with thanks to louie, louie 

Saturday, April 14, 2018


We are vanishing from the earth, yet I cannot think we are useless
or else Usen would not have created us. He created all tribes of 
men and certainly had a righteous purpose in creating each.

~ Geronimo


Sunday, April 8, 2018

vocation to solitude

 To deliver oneself up, to hand oneself over, entrust oneself completely to the silence of a wide landscape of woods and hills, or sea, or desert; to sit still while the sun comes up over that land and fills its silences with light. To pray and work in the morning and to labor and rest in the afternoon, and to sit still again in meditation in the evening when night falls up on that land and when the silence fills itself with darkness and with stars… to belong completely to such silence, to let it soak into the bones, to breathe nothing but silence, to feed on silence, and to turn the very substance of life into a living and vigilant silence.

~ Thomas Merton 
from Thoughts in Solitude
  art by Odilon Redon, " Silence"
with thanks to Parabola


the finger pointing?

“What is essential is invisible to the eye" 
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The various languages placed side by side show that with words it is never a question of truth, never a question of adequate expression; otherwise, there would not be so many languages. The “thing in itself” (which is precisely what the pure truth, apart from any of its consequences, would be) is likewise something quite incomprehensible to the creator of language and something not in the least worth striving for. This creator only designates the relations of things to men, and for expressing these relations he lays hold of the boldest metaphors… It is this way with all of us concerning language; we believe that we know something about the things themselves when we speak of trees, colors, snow, and flowers; and yet we possess nothing but metaphors for things — metaphors which correspond in no way to the original entities… A word becomes a concept insofar as it simultaneously has to fit countless more or less similar cases — which means, purely and simply, cases which are never equal and thus altogether unequal. Every concept arises from the equation of unequal things. Just as it is certain that one leaf is never totally the same as another, so it is certain that the concept “leaf” is formed by arbitrarily discarding these individual differences and by forgetting the distinguishing aspects. This awakens the idea that, in addition to the leaves, there exists in nature the “leaf”: the original model according to which all the leaves were perhaps woven, sketched, measured, colored, curled, and painted — but by incompetent hands, so that no specimen has turned out to be a correct, trustworthy, and faithful likeness of the original model… We obtain the concept, as we do the form, by overlooking what is individual and actual; whereas nature is acquainted with no forms and no concepts, and likewise with no species, but only with an X which remains inaccessible and undefinable for us.

~ Friedrich Nietzsche
from  Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche
art from  original watercolors for The Little Prince

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

For Martin Luther King

On hearing if Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination Thomas Merton wrote this poem:
April 4 1968 

On a rainy night
On a rainy night in April
When everybody ---
Said the minister

On a balcony
Of a hotel in Tennessee
"We come at once

On a night
On a rainy night in April
When the shot was fired
Said the minister

"I've come at once upstairs
and found him lying
On the balcony ... after... the tornado...he came at once upstairs

On a --- ---
he was our hope
and we found a tornado
said the minister.

And a well dreamed white ---
said the minister
Propped a telescopic storm

and he never
(the well-deemed minister of death)
ran away

And on the balcony
Said the minister
even lovely dying.... after... the tornado
... after the tornado
... after... the tornado
... after... the tornado

~ Thomas Merton
with thanks to louie,louie

Merton's letter to Coretta Scott King