Sunday, March 27, 2022

wanting and contentment


No one grumbles among the oyster clans,
And lobsters play their bone guitars all summer.
Only we, with our opposable thumbs, want
Heaven to be, and God to come, again.
There is no end to our grumbling; we want
Comfortable earth and sumptuous Heaven.
But the heron standing on one leg in the bog
Drinks his dark rum all day, and is content.

~ Robert Bly
from The New Yorker, Nov. 5, 2007
 art by Henri Matisse

fear, contraction and control

It is not diversity that divides us; it is not our ethnicity or religion or culture that divides us.
~ Nelson Mandela

Fear unites the disparate parts of our false selves very quickly. 
The ego moves forward by contraction, self-protection, and refusal, by saying no.
 Contraction gives us focus, purpose, direction, superiority, and a strange kind of security. 
It takes our aimless anxiety, covers it up, and tries to turn it into purposefulness
 and urgency, which results in a kind of drivenness.
 But this drive is not peaceful or happy.
 It is filled with fear and locates all its problems as
 “out there,” never “in here.”

The soul or the True Self does not proceed by contraction but by expansion.
 It moves forward, not by exclusion, but by inclusion. It sees things deeply
 and broadly not by saying no but by saying yes, at least on some level,
 to whatever comes its way. Can you distinguish between those two
 very different movements within yourself?

Fear and contraction allow us to eliminate other people, write them off, 
exclude them, and somehow expel them, at least in our minds. 
This immediately gives us a sense of being in control 
and having a secure set of boundaries... 

But in controlling we are usually afraid of losing something.
 If we go deeper into ourselves, we will see that there is both a rebel
 and a dictator in all of us, two different ends of the same spectrum.
 It is almost always fear that justifies our knee-jerk rebellion
 or our need to dominate—a fear that is hardly ever recognized as such
 because we are acting out and trying to control the situation. 
~ Richard Rohr
from  Dancing Standing Still

life as it comes


Just live your life as it comes.
Keep quietly alert, inquiring into the real nature of yourself.
Perception is based on memory and is only imagination.
The world can be said to appear but not to be.
Only that which makes perception possible is real.

You agree to be guided from within
 and life becomes a journey into the unknown. 
Give up all names and forms, and the Real is with you.

Know yourself as you are. Distrust your mind and go beyond.
Do not think of the Real in terms of consciousness and unconsciousness.
It is utterly beyond both.
It gives birth to consciousness.
All else is in consciousness.

Nothing you can see, feel or think is so. Go beyond the personal and see.
 Stop imagining that you were born. You are utterly beyond all existence
 and non-existence, utterly beyond all that the mind conceives.

Question yourself: Who am I?
What is behind and beyond all this?
Soon you will see that thinking yourself to be a person
 is mere habit built on memory. Inquire ceaselessly.

Just be aware of your being here and now.
There is nothing more to it.

In reality you are not a thing nor separate.

You are the infinite potentiality, the inexhaustible possibility.
Because you are, all can be.
The universe is but a partial manifestation of your limitless capacity to become. 
You are neither consciousness nor its content.
You are the timeless Source.

Disassociate yourself from mind and consciousness.
Find a foothold beyond and all will be clear and easy.

—Nisargadatta Maharaj
from I am That
art by Duncan Nagonigwane Pheasant (Ojibwe)
with thanks to Love is a Place

Saturday, March 26, 2022

to each and every thing


You must become brother and sister
to each and every thing
so that they flow through you
dissolving every difference
 between what belongs to you and others.
No star, no leaf shall fall -
you fall with them -
to rise again
in every new beginning.
~ Hermann Hesse
From The Seasons of the Soul

walking with those who've come before and those who will follow


When we take a step on the green grass of spring, we walk in such a way
 that allows all our ancestors to take a step with us. Our peace, our joy,
 our freedom, which are in each step, penetrate each generation of our ancestors 
and each generation of our descendants. If we can walk like that,
 that is a step taken in the highest dhyana (training of the mind).

When we take one step we see hundreds and thousands of ancestors 
and descendants taking a step with us, and when we take a breath
 we are light, at ease, calm. We breathe in such a way that all the generations
 of ancestors are breathing with us and all the generations of our descendants
 are also breathing with us […] if we breathe like that, 
only then are we breathing according to the highest teachings.

We just need a little mindfulness, a little concentration and then we can look
 deeply and see. At first we use the method of visualization and we see,
as we walk, all the ancestors putting their foot down as we put our foot down, 
and gradually we don’t need to visualize any more – each step we take, 
we see that that step is the step of people in the past.

~ Thich Naht Hanh
with thanks to Love is a Place

Friday, March 25, 2022

I live in my dreams


"The things we see,” Pistorius said softly, “are the same things that are within us.
 There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people 
live such an unreal life. They take the images outside them for reality 
and never allow the world within to assert itself. You can be happy that way.
 But once you know the other interpretation you no longer have the choice
 of following the crowd. Sinclair, the majority’s path
 is an easy one, ours is difficult."

If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself.
 What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.” “Each of us has to find out
 for himself what is permitted and what is forbidden.. Forbidden for him.
It’s possible for one never to transgress a single law and still be a bastard.
 And vice versa.

I live in my dreams — that’s what you sense. 
Other people live in dreams, but not in their own. 
That’s the difference.
~ Hermann Hesse
excerpts from Damian 
 art by Alaira Bird

Demian is the story of a boy, Emil Sinclair, and his search for himself.
 Emil was raised in a good traditional home at the turn of the century 
in the young nation of Germany. His family is rather wealthy
 and they have a reputation as an upright, godly family.
 As a boy, Sinclair views the world within the walls of his home
 as representing all that is good, pure, innocent, and godly.
 But starting at a young age he feels a constant inner conflict between this world, 
which he refers to as the “world of light” and the outside world,
 or “forbidden realm” which represents sin, lowliness, deceit, and insecurity. 
And although his mother, father, and two sisters remain within the “world of light”,
 he constantly feels drawn to the outside realm and is in this way
 somewhat estranged from his family and their sphere of security.
 He ends up vacillating between both and not belonging to either
 comments by Susan Sontag from Art and Thoughts

Thursday, March 10, 2022

hurt or heal


 I have come to the frightening conclusion
 that I am the decisive element.
 It is my personal approach that
creates the climate.
 It is my daily mood that makes the
 I possess tremendous power to make life
miserable or joyous.
 I can be a tool of torture or an
instrument of inspiration. 
I can humiliate or humor,
hurt or heal. 
In all situations it is my response that
decides whether a crisis is escalated or deescalated,
and a person is humanized or dehumanized. 
If we treat people as they ought to be, 
we help them become what they are capable of becoming.

~ Attributed in various places to both
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
and in others to Dr. Haim Ginott
art by Rodrigo Gaya Villar
 with thanks to Mystic Meanderings


Wednesday, March 9, 2022

through the body




Our weaknesses are the way to God
Tell me why it is through the body
through torment of the body you speak to the spirit
why through leprosy fever deafness
You are a healer and not a priest
you take in your hands the head of the dying
from one lump you bring forth new life 
like bread you multiply the body
You come through bodies not through sunsets
and the hard strong hand of blood and flesh
holds in the palm like a sparrow
the muscle of the human heart
~ Anna Kamienska
from Astonishments

lack of faith


even when I don't believe
there is a place in me
inaccessible to unbelief
a patch of wild grace
a stubborn preserve
pain untouched sleeping in the body
music that builds its nest in silence
~ Anna Kamienska
from Astonishments
 art Detail from Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein