Friday, February 24, 2017

sweater






What is asked of one is not what is asked of another.
A sweater takes on the shape of its wearer,
a coffee cup sits to the left or the right of the workspace,
making its pale Saturn rings of now and before.
Lucky the one who rises to sit at a table,
day after day spilling coffee sweet with sugar, whitened with milk.
Lucky the one who writes in a book of spiral-bound mornings
a future in ink, who writes hand unshaking, warmed by thick wool.
Lucky still, the one who writes later, shaking.  Acrobatic at last, the 
sweater,
elastic as breath that enters what shape it is asked to. 
Patient the table;  unjudging, the ample, refillable cup.
Irrefusable, the shape the sweater is given,
stretched in the shoulders, sleeves lengthened by unmetaphysical
pullings on.





~ Jane Hirshfield
from Come, Thief 


Friday, February 10, 2017

the "I" experience









~ Alan Watts



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



Sunday, January 29, 2017

simple acceptance







The everyday practice is simply to develop 
a complete acceptance and openness to all 
situations and emotions, and to all people,
 experiencing everything totally 
without mental reservations and blockages, 
so that one never withdraws
 or centralizes into oneself.



~ Trungpa Rinpoche




Thursday, January 26, 2017

individual shoots were younger







The individual shoots were younger, but these new growths from the past few centuries were not considered to be stand-alone trees but part of a larger whole.. The root is certainly a more decisive factor than what is growing above ground.  After all, it is the root that looks after the survival of an organism. It is the root that has withstood severe changes in climatic conditions. And it is the root that has regrown trunks time and time again. It is in the roots that centuries of experience are stored, and it is this experience that has allowed the tree's survival to the present day.

~ Peter Wohllenben
from The Hidden Life of Trees



... down deep, at the molecular heart of life,
we’re essentially identical to trees.


~ Carl Sagan

 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

thank you


.


Meditation enables them to go
Deeper and deeper into consciousness,
From the world of words to the world of thoughts,
Then beyond thoughts to wisdom in the Self.
...
Sharp like a razor's edge, the sages say,
Is the path, difficult to traverse.


~ Katha Upanishad



This is the passage from which the title of Somerset Maugham's book The Razor's Edge was taken. His story traces the spiritual journey of an American fighter pilot traumatized by WWI. The book is apparently based on the life of Guy Hague who had spent time with Ramana Maharshi in Tamil Nadu, India, as did Maugham himself.
William Somerset Maugham was born on this day in 1874 in Paris. He was trained as a doctor and work on the front as a Red Cross volunteer during WWI. He became famous with his semi- autobiographical novel Of Human Bondage in 1915. Maugham's novels seem to make apparent the beauty of and intricacy of the fabric of life in-which we are all entwined.



Happy Birthday Mr. Maugham and thank you.



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

the thing with feathers






"Hope" is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—

I've heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.


~ Emily Dickinson

from The Poems of Emily Dickinson, Edited by R. W. Franklin
 with thanks to Love is a Place

Saturday, December 17, 2016

the bridge








Between now and now,
between I am and you are,
the word bridge.

Entering it
you enter yourself:
the world connects
and closes like a ring.

From one bank to another,
there is always
a body stretched:
a rainbow.
I’ll sleep beneath its arches.


~ Octavio Paz
from The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz 1957-1987



Sunday, December 11, 2016

in the heart of the night






In the heart of the night,
The moonlight framing
A small boat drifting,
Tossed not by the waves
Nor swayed by the breeze.


~ Dogen
from Zen poetry of Dogen

 

true person







The true person is
Not anyone in particular,
But, like the deep blue color
Of the limitless sky,
It is everyone, everywhere in the world.
 
 
 
~ Dogen
from Zen poetry of Dogen
 

Friday, December 9, 2016

lessons








~ Elizabeth Lesser

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

still life





The rose that no longer blooms in the garden,
blooms inside her whole body, among the veins
and organs and the skeleton.

Linda Gregg 



A hidden blossoming.

Petals flaming beneath the skin.

And a softness pressing,
as delicate as the mouth
of a blind lover.

Each movement,
each quiet gesture
awakens
a rosary in the blood.

Was it desire
which brought her to this moment,
this arrival at source,
or was it merely a need 
to be still, to be richly fed
from this fountain
of dark silence?



~ Dorothy Walters
from Marrow of Flame


 

the difficulty of return






When I first got back,
I thought people would
wish to listen,
moved by my unlikely tale.

Soon I saw that to them I was
mere pariah, outcast,
traveler from a far country
no one had ever heard of,
or believed in.

These goods I brought home
were invisible to all
but the most discerning eye.

My recitals, my celebrations
and laments for what had transpired,
a dumb-show
to all but the most
finely tuned ear.

Now I am ringed by a halo of silence,
and move cautiously,
mouth closed
over this stone
I carry on my tongue.


~ Dorothy Walters
from Marrow of Flame

 

Monday, December 5, 2016

observe






Surely any form of accumulation, either of knowledge or experience, any form of ideal, any projection of the mind, any determined practice to shape the mind - what it should be and should not be - all this is obviously crippling the process of investigation and discovery.

So I think our inquiry must be not for the solution of our immediate problems but rather to find out whether the mind, the conscious as well as the deep unconscious mind in which is stored all the tradition, the memories, the inheritance of racial knowledge,whether all of it can be put aside. I think it can be done only if the mind is capable of being aware without any sense of demand, without any pressure, just to be aware.

 I think it is one of the most difficult things to be so aware because we are caught in the immediate problem and in its immediate solution, and so our lives are very superficial. Though one may go to all the analysts, read all the books, acquire much knowledge, attend churches, pray, mediate, practice various disciplines; nevertheless, our lives are obviously very superficial because we do not know how to penetrate deeply. 

I think the understanding, the way of penetration, how to go very, very deeply, lies through awareness, just to be aware of our thoughts and feelings, without condemnation, without comparison, just to observe. You will see, if you will experiment, how extraordinarily difficult it is, because our whole training is to condemn, to approve, to compare.  




~ J. Krishnamurti
from The Book of Life

Saturday, December 3, 2016

the unstructured sources of our beings









Poetry leads us to the unstructured sources of our beings, to the unknown, and returns us to our rational, structured selves refreshed. Having once experienced the mystery, plenitude, contradiction, and composure of a work of art, we afterward have a built-in resistance to the slogans and propaganda of oversimplification that have often contributed to the destruction of human life. Poetry is a verbal means to a nonverbal source. It is a motion to no-motion, to the still point of contemplation and deep realization.



~ A. R. Ammons