Wednesday, November 23, 2022

a deeper generosity

Forgiveness is one of the really difficult things in life.  
The logic of receiving hurt seems to run in the direction of never forgetting
 either the hurt or the hurter.  When you forgive, some deeper, 
divine generosity takes you over.  When you can forgive, then you are free.  

When you cannot forgive, you are a prisoner of the hurt done to you.  
If you are really disappointed in someone and you become embittered, 
you become incarcerated inside that feeling.  Only the the grace of forgiveness 
can break the straight logic of hurt and embitterment.  It gives you a way out,
 because it places the conflict on a completely different level.  In a strange way,
 it keeps the whole conflict human.  You begin to see and understand the conditions, 
circumstances, or weakness that made the other person act as she did.


Why are we so reluctant to leave our inner prisons?  
There is the security of the confinement and limitation that we know.  
We are often willing to endure the searing sense of forsakenness and distance
 which limitation brings rather than risking the
 step out into the field of the unknown. 

~ John O'Donohue
from Eternal Echoes
art by Leah Dorion

of generosity

What is required is a willingness to look 
deeply at one's present moments, 
no matter what they hold, 
in a spirit of generosity,
 kindness towards oneself, 
and openness toward 
what might be possible. 

~ Jon Kabat-Zinn

the happiness of every living thing




What we really want to do is serve happiness.
We want everyone to be happy, never unhappy even for a moment.
We want the animals to be happy. The happiness of every living thing is what we want.
We want it very much but we cannot bring it about.

We cannot make even one individual happy.
It seems that this thing that we want most of all is out of our reach.
But we were born to serve happiness and we do serve it.
The confusion is due to our lack of awareness of real happiness. 

Happiness is pervasive.
It is everywhere. And everywhere the same.
And it is forever.

When people are really happy they say:
 'This will last forever even after death', and that is true.
When we are unhappy it is because something is covering our minds
 and we are not able to be aware of happiness. 
When the difficulty is past we find happiness again.
It is not that happiness is all around us. That is not it at all.
It is not this or that or in this or that.

It is an abstract thing.
Happiness is unattached. Always the same.
 It does not appear and disappear.
 It is not sometimes more and sometimes less.
 It is our awareness of happiness that goes up and down.
Happiness is our real condition.
It is reality.
It is life.

When we see life we call it beauty. It is magnificent - wonderful.
We may be looking at the ocean when we are aware of beauty
 but it is not the ocean. We may be in the desert and we say
 that we are aware of the 'living desert' but it is not the desert.

Life is ever present in the desert and everywhere, forever.
By awareness of life we are inspired to live.

Life is consciousness of life itself.

~ Agnes Martin
from Agnes Martin, Paintings, Writings, Remembrances 
by Arne Glimcherersity 
 prepared for a lecture at the Univ of New
 Mexico, Santa Fe 1979
art by van gogh

with thanks to being silently drawn

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

on loving-kindness



He who is skilled in good, and wishes to
attain that state of Peace, should act thus:
he should be able, upright, perfectly upright,
amenable to corrections, gentle and humble.

He should be contented, easy to support,
unbusy, simple in livelihood,
with senses controlled, discreet,
not impudent, and not greedily attached to families.

He would not commit any slight misdeeds
that other wise men might find fault in him.
May all beings be well and safe,
may their hearts rejoice.

Whatever beings there are —
weak or strong, long or short,
big, medium-sized or small, subtle or gross,

Those visible or invisible,
residing near or far, those that have come to be
or have yet to come, (without exceptions)
may all beings be joyful.

Let one not deceive nor despise
another person, anywhere at all.
In anger and ill-will,
let him not wish any harm to another.

Just as a mother would protect her
only child with her own life,
even so, let him cultivate boundless thoughts
of loving kindness towards all beings.

Let him cultivate boundless thoughts
of loving kindness towards the whole world —
above, below and all around,
unobstructed, free from hatred and enmity.

Whether standing, walking, seated
or lying down, as long as he is awake,
he should develop this mindfulness.
This they say, is the divine abiding here.

Not erroneous with views,
endowed with virtues and insight,
with sensual desires abandoned,
he would come no more to be conceived in a womb.


~ the Buddha
 Metta Sutta
photo by Michael Marcoux


Sunday, November 20, 2022



While I stood here, in the open, lost in myself,
I must have looked a long time
Down the corn rows, beyond grass,
The small house.

White walls, animals lumbering toward the barn.
I look down now. It is all changed.
Whatever it was I lost, whatever I wept for
Was a wild, gentle thing, the small dark eyes
Loving me in secret.
It is here. At the touch of my hand,
The air fills with delicate creatures
From the other world.

~ James Wright

a blessing

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota, 
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass. 
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies 
Darken with kindness. 
They have come gladly out of the willows 
To welcome my friend and me. 
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture 
Where they have been grazing all day, alone. 
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness 
That we have come. 
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other. 
There is no loneliness like theirs. 
At home once more, 
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness. 
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms, 
For she has walked over to me 
And nuzzled my left hand. 
She is black and white, 
Her mane falls wild on her forehead, 
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear 
That is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist. 
Suddenly I realize 
That if I stepped out of my body I would break 
Into blossom.

~ James Wright
from Above the River

Friday, November 11, 2022

today's stupidity



Natural, reckless, correct skill;
Yesterday's clarity is today's stupidity
The universe has dark and light, entrust oneself to change
One time, shade the eyes and gaze afar at the road of heaven.


from Ikkyū and The Crazy Cloud Anthology : A Zen Poet of Medieval Japan 
by Sonja Arntzen
with thanks to crow with no mouth

any road

its logical; if you're not going anywhere
any road is the right one 

~ Ikkyu Sojun (1394 -1481)
he was known his teaching and for his erotic poems and revolutionary shakuhachi music. 
he founded what became known as the "Red Thread," or erotic school of Zen.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

the iron grinder





They were like two mirrors facing each other.

Who sees, who is seen?

Seeing each other like this,
they experienced the recognition everyone craves -
to be seen exactly as we are,

nothing more,

and nothing less.

Seen like this,

all the many forms in the world
are the same
as one's own hand,

one's own face.

~ Liu Tiemo
from Women of the Way
by Sallie Tisdale
with thanks to being silently drawn

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

what is brought into being?




What is it that we are creating together?
We exchange a few words and a presence is born. 
We pass in the street for a fleeting instant,
and something new comes into being. 
Sitting across the table together, a guest arrives.
What guest has been invited to join us? 
What is brought into being? 
– Shanti Natania Grace
 from The Intrinsic Heart

judge like a king, and choose the purest


God has given us a dark wine so potent that,
drinking it, we leave the two worlds. 
God has put into the form of hashish a power
to deliver the taster from self-consciousness. 
God has made sleep so
that it erases every thought. 
God made Majnun love Layla so much that
just her dog would cause confusion in him. 
There are thousands of wines
that can take over our minds.
Don’t think all ecstasies
are the same!
Jesus was lost in his love for God.
His donkey was drunk with barley. 
Drink from the presence of saints,
not from those other jars. 
Every object, every being,
is a jar full of delight.
Be a connoisseur,
and taste with caution. 
Any wine will get you high.
Judge like a king, and choose the purest,
the ones unadulterated with fear,
or some urgency about “what’s needed.” 
Drink the wine that moves you
as a camel moves when it’s been untied,
and is just ambling about. 

~ Rumi
Translated by Coleman Barks
from The Essential Rumi

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

transitions and letting go



Different transitions challenge our attachments in different ways.
 Just going from one day to another—Friday into Saturday—is not so hard for most of us.
 But what about going from one season to another, one year to another, one job to another,
 one relationship to another? Each of these transitions becomes harder as our attachments
 and expectations around them increase. Perhaps you are used to being able to get up and run 
or jog each day. There may come a time when this is no longer possible, and you must
 forget about jogging. That kind of change can be very difficult to adapt to. 
Maybe you’ve always had one kind of relationship with your parents, but now
 it’s become another kind of relationship. Now, instead of gathering for barbecues or parties,
 maybe you visit them in a hospital or nursing home and hold their hands. It’s a change.
 You are not used to it. It’s hard to transition to the new phase of life 
if you’re still attached to the previous one.

Because bigger transitions are more difficult, we must focus on our ability to let go now.
 If you look at this moment of your life, right now, how many things could you let go of? 
Think of one thing at this moment that you are attached to, that you’re identifying with,
 that you are holding onto, that causes pain. Perhaps you have a difficult relationship 
with someone in your life because of a grudge you are holding onto, or perhaps your
 attachment to the relationship itself is holding you back.
With awareness, we can see that when we struggle with a transition, 
it has something to do with an attachment, whether to an identity or to something external.
 If you let that one thing go, and then another thing and another and another,
then all the smaller things you can let go of will help you to be free. Each act of letting go
 benefits you, making it easier to let go of the harder things that will come along the way.
 If we do not apply ourselves to these opportunities to let go, if we can’t handle the little things
 that come along, then we are certain to have a harder time with the big things.

Letting go is like cleaning your garage or your closet.
 How many of us have cleaned our closets and found stuff in there that we were not using?
 This is a simple opportunity to practice letting go. When you open your closet and see something
 you put in there five years ago that you haven’t used, haven’t even touched, go ahead
 and take hold of it and let that one thing go! Energetically, these small acts of letting go
 can make a big impact. Even just deleting photos from your phone—a simple act of selecting
 and then deleting—can lighten our attachments. Do you know someone who has too much stuff, 
whose house has almost no space for people to move, let alone any sense of spaciousness? 
Often, at times of transition, we behave without awareness. 
We behave with condition, with pain, with fear. We feel we don’t have a choice.
 Just knowing we do have a choice can make all the difference. The choice comes
 when we can take time to be still, silent, spacious. We practice not doing, not saying,
 not thinking (not thinking is harder, but at least not doing and not saying).
 Then, once we have calmed down, we find a new space from which we can do 
and say and think, and what we do and what we say might be different from what we originally
 would have said or done. One thing that we want to be able to see clearly and to say
 to ourselves is, “If it’s not good, I will not make it worse.” 
Leave it as it is.

We have so many opportunities to be aware. Think about approaching it this way:
 I’m going to handle this little transition well so I can handle the next, harder one even better. 
Each time we make these little transitions and feel free, feel good, the world opens up for us.
 Moments, places, locations, changes, transitions happen all the time in life. 
These are all opportunities to cultivate and practice to better support the transition. 

~ Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
with thanks to Lions Roar
art: Visualizing a Lost Painting by Vincent van Gogh
 using X-ray Fluorescence Mapping

Sunday, October 2, 2022

the true love

 David Whyte - Meditative Story

There is a faith in loving fiercely
the one who is rightfully yours,
especially if you have
waited years and especially
if part of you never believed
you could deserve this
loved and beckoning hand
held out to you this way.

I am thinking of faith now
and the testaments of loneliness
and what we feel we are
worthy of in this world.

Years ago in the Hebrides,
I remember an old man
who walked every morning
on the grey stones
to the shore of baying seals,
who would press his hat
to his chest in the blustering
salt wind and say his prayer
to the turbulent Jesus
hidden in the water,

and I think of the story
of the storm and everyone
waking and seeing
the distant
yet familiar figure
far across the water
calling to them

and how we are all
preparing for that
abrupt waking,
and that calling,
and that moment
we have to say yes,
except it will
not come so grandly
so Biblically
but more subtly
and intimately in the face
of the one you know
you have to love

so that when
we finally step out of the boat
toward them, we find
everything holds
us, and everything confirms
our courage, and if you wanted
to drown you could,
but you don’t
because finally
after all this struggle
and all these years
you simply don’t want to
any more
you’ve simply had enough
of drowning
and you want to live and you
want to love and you will
walk across any territory
and any darkness
however fluid and however
dangerous to take the
one hand you know
belongs in yours.
~ David Whyte
from  The Sea in You: Twenty Poems of Requited and Unrequited Love
listen here: