Saturday, April 30, 2022

Christian mysticism read by Rupert Spira









 

Friday, April 22, 2022

in abundance

 
 
 

 
 
I am who I am.
A coincidence as inscrutable
as any other.
 
Other ancestors
might have been mine, after all,
then from some other nest
I would have flown,
from some other stump
I would have crawled in my shell.
 
In nature's wardrobe
there are many costumes-
spider, seagull, field mouse.
Each fits like a glove from the get-go
and is loyally worn
until it wears out.
 
I, too, had no choice,
but I can't complain.
I could have been someone 
much less singular.
Someone from a school of fish,
from an anthill, from a buzzing swarm,
 a piece of landscape thrashed by the wind.
 
Someone much less lucky,
bred for fur
or for a holiday meal,
something swimming under a cover glass.
 
A tree stuck in the earth,
with a fire approaching.
 
A blade of grass trampled by a run 
of incomprehensible events.
 
One born under a dark cloud
whose lining gleams for others.
 
But what if I had awakened fear in people,
or merely revulsion,
or merely pity?
 
 If I hadn't been born 
into the right tribe and
paths closed before me?
 
Fate has proved
benevolent so far.
 
The memory of good moments
 might not have been granted me.
 
A penchant for comparisons
might have been withheld from me.
 
I might have been myself-though without the wonder,
but that would have meant
being someone else.
 
 
 
 
 
~ Wislawa Szymborska
from miracle fair
 Nasa photo

 
 

water

 
 
 

 
 
A raindrop fell on my hand,
crafted from the Ganges and the Nile,
 
from the ascended frost of a seal's whiskers,
from water in broken pots in the cities of Ys and Tyre.
 
On my index finger
the Caspian Sea isn't landlocked,
 
and the Pacific flows meekly into the Rudava,
the one that flew in a cloud over Paris
 
in seventeen sixty-four
on the seventh of May at three in the morning.
 
There are not enough lips to pronounce
your transient names, O water.
 
I would have to say them in every language
pronouncing all the vowels at once,
 
at the same time keeping silent-for the sake of a lake
that waited in vain for a name,
 
and is no longer on earth-as it is in the heavens,
whose stars are no longer reflected in it.
 
Someone was drowning; someone dying 
called out for you. That was long ago and yesterday.
 
You extinguished houses; you carried them off
like trees, forests like cities.
 
You were in baptismal fonts and in the bathtubs of courtesans,
in kisses, in shrouds.
 
Eating away at stones, fueling rainbows.
In the sweat and dew of pyramids and lilacs.
 
How light all this is in the raindrop.
How delicately the world touches me.
 
Whenever wherever whatever has happened
is written on the waters of Babel.
 
 
 
 
~ Wislawa Szymborska
from miracle fair
 
 
 

Thursday, April 21, 2022

water / life

 
 
 

 
 
Over 95% of our body is water. 
In order to stay healthy you've got to drink good water. ... 
Water is sacred, air is sacred. Our DNA is made out of the same DNA
 as the tree, the tree breaths what we exhale, we need what the tree exhales.
 So we have a common destiny with the tree. We are all from the earth, 
and when earth, the water, the atmosphere is corrupted
 then it will create its own reaction. 
The mother is reacting. 
 
 
 
~ Floyd Red Crow Westerman
 
 
 
 
 
 
 https://water.org/
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 Water.org is among the 2% of charities that have received 4-star ratings
 from Charity Navigator for 11 years, demonstrating our commitment
 to transparency and financial accountability.
 
 
 

 

 



Wednesday, April 20, 2022

to clear violence from ourselves





.
...is it possible to eradicate violence in ourselves?

I am asking whether it is possible for a human being living psychologically
 in any society to clear violence from himself inwardly? 
 If it is, the very process will produce a different way of living in this world.

Some of us, in order to rid ourselves of violence, have used a concept, 
and ideal, called non-violence, and we think by having an ideal of the opposite
 to violence, non-violence, we can get rid of the fact, the actual - but we cannot.
  We have had ideals without number, all the sacred books are full of them,
 yet we are still violent - so why not deal with violence itself
 and forget the word altogether?

If you want to understand the actual you must give your whole attention,
 all your energy, to it.  That attention and energy are distracted when you create
 a fictitious, ideal world.  So can you completely banish the ideal?  
The man who is really serious, with the urge to find out what truth is, 
what love is, has no concept at all. 
 He lives only in what is

To investigate the fact of your own anger you must pass no judgement on it,
 for the moment you conceive of its opposite you condemn it and therefore
 you cannot see it as it is.  When you say you dislike or hate someone,
 that is a fact, although it sounds terrible.  If you look at it, go into it completely,
 it ceases, but if you say, "I must not hate; I must have love in my heart,"
 then you are living in a hypocritical world with double standards.  

To live completely, fully, in the moment is to live with what is,
 the actual, without any sense of condemnation or justification -
 then you understand it so totally that you are finished with it.  

When you see clearly the problem is solved.



~ J. Krishnamurti
from Freedom from the Known





peace is letting go

 
 
 

 
 
The power of quiet is great.
It generates the same feelings in everything one encounters.
It vibrates with the cosmic rhythm of oneness. 
 
It is everywhere, available to anyone at any time.
It is us, the force within that makes us stable, trusting, and loving.
It is contemplation contemplating. 
 
Peace is letting go 
 
– returning to the silence that cannot enter the realm of words
because it is too pure to be contained in words.
This is why the tree, the stone, the river, and the mountain are quiet.
 
 
 
 
~  Malidoma Patrice Some
 with thanks to No Mind's Land



 
 

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

act great





What is the key
To untie the knot of your mind’s suffering?

What
Is the esoteric secret
To slay the crazed one whom each of us
Did wed

And who can ruin
Our heart’s and eye’s exquisite tender
Landscape?

Hafiz has found
Two emerald words that
Restored
Me

That I now cling to as I would sacred
Tresses of my Beloved’s 
Hair:

Act great.
My dear, always act great.

What is the key
To untie the knot of the mind’s suffering?

Benevolent thought, sound
And movement.



~ Hafiz

beautiful hands



.


.
This is the kind of Friend
You are -

Without making me realize
My soul's anguished history,
You slip into my house at night,
And while I am sleeping,
You silently carry off
All my suffering and sordid past 

In Your beautiful 
Hands.


.
~ Hafiz
from The Subject Tonight is Love
translation by Daniel Ladinsky



the flight of language





Some of the leaves stay on all winter
and spring comes without knowing
whether there is suffering in them
or ever was
and what it is in the tongue they speak
that cannot be remembered by listening
for the whole time that they are on the tree
and then as they fly off with the air 
that always through their lives was there





~ W.S. Merwin
from The Pupil
 
 



Sunday, April 17, 2022

we can receive







What I’m coming to lately is an end-of-life conviction that there is more
 to consciousness than what is produced in my little head, or yours.
 Both of us have the capacity, at times, mysteriously, to get beyond 
whatever this small consciousness is doing and telling us. 
When we are able, when we are sufficiently still and relaxed—letting it happen, 
not doing it—we can receive a resonance from a greater consciousness.

Many spiritual masters I’ve known, and also eminent scientists like Carl Jung,
 echo this belief. Just before Jung died, He said: “Man cannot stand a meaningless life.
 Something in us sees around corners, knows beyond time and space, 
so may continue in that state after our physical death. 
Those who fear death as the End, die soon. 
Those who think they will go on, die old.”

Fear is constricting. In fact, so are all those self-concerns for one’s reputation,
 for one’s ideas, even for what the next association is telling me. For example,
 am I just thinking of what I should say to you now? Or am I open to something
 that could be quite new, that is not really coming so much from me 
as from this source consciousness that many traditions have called “I”?

I’m referring to the consciousness that manages to see what things are,
 what I am, and to not get caught in the next reaction or judgment or association
—because all of these are functions; and consciousness is not a function.

Without being in love with consciousness, we can’t reach it, 
and it can’t reach us while we’re preoccupied with all that is going on 
in our ordinary thought, our ordinary bodily habits, sensations, movements,
 and our ordinary emotional reactions.

These are what I am calling functions.
It’s as if we have two natures: a functional nature and what many people
 have been calling a spiritual nature or a soul. But that language
 is suspect these days because we have been so careful for the last couple
 of centuries to separate from the superstitions of the past 
that we have involuntarily cut ourselves off from the sacred,
 and even from God.

This narcissistic preoccupation with my story, my difficulty, 
which always has a kind of negative touch to it because I am complaining
 about what is wrong with me either physically or mentally. And the quiet, 
impartial, impersonal mind, consciousness, with which I 
could be connected, is blocked by that.

It is so important to understand awareness as a connector to 
something greater than me, to my source, really. My presence
 is the doorway to that, even at the moment that I acknowledge
 that I don’t know who I am and I see my lack of presence.
 But that is the beginning of a real wish for it, a wish to be.

And when I have that wish, then maybe something can reach me
 that is of an absolutely different quality. I may perceive it as an axis
 of light running down through my physical body, which has a different
origin. Gurdjieff says the physical body comes from this earth, 
and this other … my essence … comes from the stars, from the sun,
 from higher up, in a sense, closer to the source.

We have such a resistance to even the theoretical idea that we could,
 right now, you and I, be breathing an air charged with 
the omnipresence of consciousness, the omniscience of consciousness. 
We’ve all had, perhaps rarely, a direct experience of a moment when
 I knew everything at once and I was aware not just of what
 I’m calling this present moment, but of past, present, future,
 as one eternity.

These are just words at this moment. But I remember it wasn’t just a word,
 it was a flash of light, of electricity from the top of my head to my toes.
 And it changed something in my cellular structure that persists today. 
I feel that now. And everybody has this possibility for a change.
 As you say, we have to be aware of our need, in order to be receptive
 to this source consciousness, to wake up in a larger sense.

I can’t reach it, but it can reach me.

It’s not a mental conception, but a deeper conviction 
that could draw everything and everyone together in the love
 of consciousness, the faith of consciousness, the hope of consciousness.






~ James George
from To let the Light In, A Conversation with James George
in Parabola Magazine
 
 
 

the night house







Every day the body works in the fields of the world
Mending a stone wall
Or swinging a sickle through the tall grass -
The grass of civics, the grass of money -
And every night the body curls around itself
And listens for the soft bells of sleep.

But the heart is restless and rises
From the body in the middle of the night,
Leaves the trapezoidal bedroom
With its thick, pictureless walls
To sit by herself at the kitchen table
And heat some milk in a pan.

And the mind gets up too, puts on a robe
And goes downstairs, lights a cigarette,
And opens a book on engineering.
Even the conscience awakens
And roams from room to room in the dark,
Darting away from every mirror like a strange fish.

And the soul is up on the roof
In her nightdress, straddling the ridge,
Singing a song about the wildness of the sea
Until the first rip of pink appears in the sky.
Then, they all will return to the sleeping body
The way a flock of birds settles back into a tree,

Resuming their daily colloquy,
Talking to each other or themselves
Even through the heat of the long afternoons.
Which is why the body - the house of voices -
Sometimes puts down its metal tongs, its needle, or its pen
To stare into the distance,

To listen to all its names being called
Before bending again to its labor.




  ~ Billy Collins
 art by Van Gogh



when faces called flowers float out of the ground








when faces called flowers float out of the ground
and breathing is wishing and wishing is having-
but keeping is downward and doubting and never
-it’s april(yes,april;my darling)it’s spring!
yes the pretty birds frolic as spry as can fly
yes the little fish gambol as glad as can be
(yes the mountains are dancing together)

when every leaf opens without any sound
and wishing is having and having is giving-
but keeping is doting and nothing and nonsense
-alive;we’re alive,dear:it’s(kiss me now)spring!
now the pretty birds hover so she and so he
now the little fish quiver so you and so i
(now the mountains are dancing, the mountains)

when more than was lost has been found has been found
and having is giving and giving is living-
but keeping is darkness and winter and cringing
-it’s spring(all our night becomes day)o,it’s spring!
all the pretty birds dive to the heart of the sky
all the little fish climb through the mind of the sea
(all the mountains are dancing;are dancing)




~ e.e.cummings

.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

kindness





Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
Like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be 
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crown of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.




~ Naomi Shihab Nye
from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems
 


nourishing happiness





Some thoughts from Thich Nhat Hanh

If you pour a handful of salt into a cup of water, the water becomes undrinkable. But if you pour the salt into a river, people can continue to draw the water to cook, wash, and drink. The river is immense, and it has the capacity to receive, embrace, and transform. When our hearts are small, our understanding and compassion are limited, and we suffer. We can’t accept or tolerate others and their shortcomings, and we demand that they change. But when our hearts expand, these same things don’t make us suffer anymore. We have a lot of understanding and compassion and can embrace others. We accept others as they are, and then they have a chance to transform.

When we feed and support our own happiness, we are nourishing our ability to love. That’s why to love means to learn the art of nourishing our happiness.

Sometimes we feel empty; we feel a vacuum, a great lack of something. We don’t know the cause; it’s very vague, but that feeling of being empty inside is very strong. We expect and hope for something much better so we’ll feel less alone, less empty. The desire to understand ourselves and to understand life is a deep thirst. There’s also the deep thirst to be loved and to love. We are ready to love and be loved. It’s very natural. But because we feel empty, we try to find an object of our love. Sometimes we haven’t had the time to understand ourselves, yet we’ve already found the object of our love. When we realize that all our hopes and expectations of course can’t be fulfilled by that person, we continue to feel empty. You want to find something, but you don’t know what to search for. In everyone there’s a continuous desire and expectation; deep inside, you still expect something better to happen. That is why you check your email many times a day!

The essence of loving kindness is being able to offer happiness. You can be the sunshine for another person. You can’t offer happiness until you have it for yourself. So build a home inside by accepting yourself and learning to love and heal yourself. Learn how to practice mindfulness in such a way that you can create moments of happiness and joy for your own nourishment. Then you have something to offer the other person.

If you have enough understanding and love, then every moment — whether it’s spent making breakfast, driving the car, watering the garden, or doing anything else in your day — can be a moment of joy.

In a deep relationship, there’s no longer a boundary between you and the other person. You are her and she is you. Your suffering is her suffering. Your understanding of your own suffering helps your loved one to suffer less. Suffering and happiness are no longer individual matters. What happens to your loved one happens to you. What happens to you happens to your loved one.

In true love, there’s no more separation or discrimination. His happiness is your happiness. Your suffering is his suffering. You can no longer say, “That’s your problem.”

When you love someone, you have to have trust and confidence. Love without trust is not yet love. Of course, first you have to have trust, respect, and confidence in yourself. Trust that you have a good and compassionate nature. You are part of the universe; you are made of stars. When you look at your loved one, you see that he is also made of stars and carries eternity inside. Looking in this way, we naturally feel reverence. True love cannot be without trust and respect for oneself and for the other person.





~ Thich Nhat Hanh,
from his book How to Love 


to create one's own world, takes courage.







The abstraction is often the most definite form 
for the intangible thing in myself that I can clarify in paint.

I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, 
you could not ignore its beauty. 





The bones seem to cut sharply to the center of something that is keenly alive on the desert even tho' it is vast and empty and untouchable... and knows no kindness with all its beauty.

There's something about black. You feel hidden away in it.


~ Georgia O'Keeffe


photo by Alfred Stieglitz


Wednesday, April 6, 2022

biographical documentary of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

 
 
 
 
 
 

 
~ narrated by actor Peter Coyote
 
 
 

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

lets the confused stay confused

 

 

 

 
 
She lets the confused stay confused
if that is what they want
and is always available
to those with a passion for the truth.

In the welter of opinions,
she is content with not-knowing.

She makes distinctions
but doesn’t take them seriously.

She sees the world constantly breaking
apart, and stays centered in the whole.

She sees the world endlessly changing
and never wants it to be
different from what it is.




~ Chuang-tzu
from The Second Book of the Tao
 Compiled and Adapted from the Chuang-tzu
 and the Chung Yung
 by Stephen Mitchell
Nat. Geo. photo
with thanks to Love is a Place


Saturday, April 2, 2022

our half-percieved half-created world

 
 
 
 
 

 
Rupert Spira & Bernardo Kastrup in Conversation
 
 
 

the two arrows - disassembling pain

 
 
 
 

 
 

When I write about living with pain, I don’t have to use my imagination. Since 1976 I have been afflicted with chronic head pain that has grown worse over the decades. This condition has thrown a granite boulder across the tracks of my meditation practice. Pain often wipes a day and night off my calendar, and sometimes more at a stretch. The condition has cost me a total of several years of productive activity. Because intense head pain makes reading difficult, it has at times even threatened my vocation as a scholar and translator of Buddhist texts.

In search of a cure, I have consulted not only practitioners of Western medicine but also herbal physicians in remote Sri Lankan villages. I’ve been pierced countless times by acupuncture needles. I’ve subjected my body to the hands of a Chinese massage therapist in Singapore, consumed Tibetan medicine pills in Dharamsala, and sought help from exorcists and chakra healers in Bali. With only moderate success, I currently depend on several medications to keep the pain under control. They cannot extricate it by the root. 

The Buddha compares being afflicted with bodily pain to being struck by an arrow. 
Adding mental pain (aversion, displeasure, depression, or self-pity) 
to physical pain is like being hit by a second arrow.

I know firsthand that chronic bodily pain can eat deeply into the entrails of the spirit. It can cast dark shadows over the chambers of the heart and pull one down into moods of dejection and despair. I cannot claim to have triumphed over pain, but in the course of our long relationship, I’ve discovered some guidelines that have helped me to endure the experience.

First of all, it is useful to recognize the distinction between physical pain
 and the mental reaction to it. Although body and mind are closely intertwined, 
the mind does not have to share the same fate as the body. 
When the body feels pain, the mind can stand back from it. 
Instead of allowing itself to be dragged down, the mind can simply observe the pain.
 Indeed, the mind can even turn the pain around and transform 
it into a means of inner growth.

The Buddha compares being afflicted with bodily pain to being struck by an arrow. 
Adding mental pain (aversion, displeasure, depression, or self-pity) to physical pain
 is like being hit by a second arrow. 
 
The wise person stops with the first arrow. 
Simply by calling the pain by its true name, one can keep it from extending
 beyond the physical, and thereby stop it from inflicting deep 
and penetrating wounds upon the spirit.

Pain can be regarded as a teacher—a stern one that can also be eloquent. My head pain has often felt like a built-in buddha who constantly reminds me of the first noble truth. With such a teacher, I hardly need to consult the sermon in Deer Park at Benares. In order to hear the reverberations of the Buddha’s voice declaring that whatever is felt is included in suffering, 
all I have to do is attend to the sensations in my head.
My own effort to deal with chronic pain has helped me to develop patience, courage, determination, equanimity, and compassion.


The experience of chronic pain has enabled me to understand how inseparable pain is from the human condition. This is something that we in America, habituated as we are to comfort and convenience, tend to forget. Chronic pain has helped me to empathize with the billions living daily with the gnawing pain of hunger; with the millions of women walking miles each day to fetch water for their families; with those in Third World countries who lie on beds in poorly equipped, understaffed hospitals, staring blankly at the wall. 

Whatever feelings there may be—past, present, or future—
all feeling is not mine, not I, not my self.

-The Buddha


The most powerful tool I’ve found for mitigating pain’s impact is a short meditative formula repeated many times in the Buddha’s discourses: “Whatever feelings there may be—past, present, or future—all feeling is not mine, not I, not my self.” Benefiting from this technique does not require deep samadhi or a breakthrough to profound insight. Even using this formula during periods of reflective contemplation helps to create a distance between oneself and one’s experience of pain.

Such contemplation deprives the pain of its power to create nodes of personal identification within the mind, and thus builds equanimity and fortitude. Although the technique takes time and effort, when the three terms of contemplation—“not mine, not I, not my self”—gain momentum, pain loses its sting and cracks opens the door to the end of pain, the door to ultimate freedom.
 
 
 
 
~  Bhikkhu Bodhi|
 excerpts from a Lion's Roar article