Wednesday, January 31, 2018

wei wu wei: "action without action" or "effortless doing"







The deep secrecy of my own being is often hidden from me by my own estimate of what I am. My idea of what I am is falsified by my admiration for what I do. And my illusions about myself are bred by contagion from the illusions of other men. We all seek to imitate one another's imagined greatness.
If I do not know who I am, it is because I think I am the sort of person everyone around me wants to be. Perhaps I have never asked myself whether I really wanted to become what everybody else seems to want to become. Perhaps if I only realized that I do not admire what everyone seems to admire, I would really begin to live after all. I would be liberated from the painful duty of saying what I really do not think.





~ Thomas Merton

with thanks to whiskey river

Sunday, January 28, 2018

a vast similitude





On the beach at night alone,
As the old mother sways her to and fro singing her husky song,
As I watch the bright stars shining, I think a thought of the clef of the universes 
and of the future.

A vast similitude interlocks all,
All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets,
All distances of place however wide,
All distances of time, all inanimate forms,
All souls, all living bodies though they be ever so different, or in different worlds,
All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes, the fishes, the brutes,
All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages,
All identities that have existed or may exist on this globe, or any globe,
All lives and deaths, all of the past, present, future,
.
This vast similitude spans them, and always has spann’d,
And shall forever span them and compactly hold and enclose them.




~ Walt Whitman
photo by chertkova svetlana




Wednesday, January 24, 2018

recommended





A refreshing vision our intimate connection with each other
and life itself.

~  by Gregory Boyle 

 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

the art of dying - training for nonviolence






Just as one must learn the art of killing in the training for violence, 
so one must learn the art of dying in the training for nonviolence. 

Violence does not mean emancipation from fear, 
but discovering the means of combating the cause for fear. 

The votary of nonviolence has to cultivate the capacity for sacrifice 
of the highest type in order to be free from fear. 

He reckons not if he should lose his land, his wealth, his life. 
Whoever has not overcome all fear cannot practice nonviolence to perfection. 




~ Mohandas K. Gandhi
art by picasso



the chance of humming






A
man
standing on two logs in a river
might do all right floating with the current
while humming in the
now.

Though
if one log is tied to a camel,
who is also heading south along the bank - at the same pace -
all could still be well
with the 
world

unless the camel
thinks he forgot something, and
abruptly turns upstream,
then

uh-oh.

Most minds
do not live in the present
and can stick to a reasonable plan; most minds abruptly turn
and undermine the

chance
of
humming.


~ Rumi
translation by Daniel Ladinsky
from Love Poems from God
watercolor by Kim Novak



Monday, January 15, 2018

Love


...


Love is the strongest force the world possesses,
and yet it is the humblest imaginable

...

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, January 13, 2018

mansion





So it came time
for me to cede myself
and I chose
the wind
to be delivered to

The wind was glad
and said it needed all
the body
it could get
to show its motions with

and wanted to know
willingly as I hoped it would
if it could do
something in return
to show its gratitude

When the tree of my bones
rises from the skin I said
come and whirlwinding
stroll my dust
around the plain

so I can see
how the ocotillo does
and how saguaro-wren is
and when you fall
with evening

fall with me here
where we can watch
the closing up of day
and think how morning breaks



~ A. R. Ammons
art by Jill Kuhn
 with thanks to Death Deconstructed






when we pray alone







We are brought thick desserts, and we rarely refuse them
We worship devoutly when we’re with others.
Hours we sit, though we get up quickly
after a few minutes, when we pray alone.
We hurry down the gullet of our wantings.

But these qualities can change,
as minerals in the ground rise inside trees
and become tree, as a plant faces an animal
and enters the animal, so a human
can put down the heavy
body baggage and
be light. 


~Rumi
 version by Coleman Barks
from The Essential Rumi
 

the silent articulation of a face







Love comes with a knife, not some
shy question, and not with fears
for its reputation! I say
these things disinterestedly. Accept them
in kind. Love is a madman

working his wild schemes, tearing off his clothes,
running through the mountains, drinking poison,
and now quietly choosing annihilation.

A tiny spider tries to wrap an enormous wasp.
Think of the spiderweb woven across the cave
where Mohammad slept! There are love stories,
and there is obliteration into love.

You've been walking the ocean’s edge,
holding up your robes to keep them dry.

You must dive naked under and deeper under,
a thousand times deeper! Love flows down.

The ground submits to the sky and suffers
what comes. Tell me, is the earth worse
for giving in like that?

Don’t put blankets over the drum!
Open completely. Let your spirit-ear
listen to the green dome’s passionate murmur.

Let the cords of your robe be untied.
Shiver in this new love beyond all
above and below. The sun rises, but which way
does night go? I have no more words.

Let soul speak with the silent
articulation of a face.

* * *




~ Jelalludin Rumi 
(1207 – 1273)
 translated by Coleman Barks








Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Ripeness





Ripeness is
what falls away with ease.
Not only the heavy apple,
the pear,
but also the dried brown strands
of autumn iris from their core.

To let your body
love this world
that gave itself to your care
in all of its ripeness,
with ease,
and will take itself from you
in equal ripeness and ease,
is also harvest.

And however sharply
you are tested --
this sorrow, that great love --
it too will leave on that clean knife.




~ Jane Hirshfield
(The October Palace)



my name





I guess you are kind of curious as to who I am, but I am one of those who do not have a regular name. My name depends on you. Just call me whatever is in your mind.
If you are thinking about something that happened a long time ago: Somebody asked you a question and you did not know the answer.
That is my name.
Perhaps it was raining very hard.
That is my name.
Or somebody wanted you to do something. You did it. Then they told you what you did was wrong—“Sorry for the mistake,”—and you had to do something else.
That is my name.
Perhaps it was a game you played when you were a child or something that came idly into your mind when you were old and sitting in a chair near the window.
That is my name.
Or you walked someplace. There were flowers all around.
That is my name.
Perhaps you stared into a river. There as something near you who loved you. They were about to touch you. You could feel this before it happened. Then it happened.
That is my name.



~ Richard Brautigan
from In Watermelon Sugar
with thanks to love is a place

 

Monday, January 8, 2018

against certainty




.


.

There is something out in the dark that wants to correct us. 
Each time I think "this," it answers "that." 
Answers hard, in the heart-grammar's strictness. 

If I then say "that," it too is taken away. 

Between certainty and the real, an ancient enmity. 
When the cat waits in the path-hedge, 
no cell of her body is not waiting. 
This is how she is able to so completely to disappear. 

I would like to enter the silence portion as she does. 

To live amid the great vanishing as a cat must live, 
one shadow fully at ease inside another.



~ Jane Hirshfield
from After



Tuesday, January 2, 2018

identity






In the phrase [“to find myself”] lurks the idea that the self is a pre-existing entity, a self like a Platonic idea existing in a mystic realm beyond time and change. No, rather an object like a nugget of gold in the placer pan, the Easter egg under the bush at an Easter-egg hunt, a four-leaf clover to promise miraculous luck. Here is the essence of passivity, one’s quintessential luck. And the essence of absurdity, too, for the self is never to be found, but must be created, not the happy accident of passivity, but the product of a thousand actions, large and small, conscious or unconscious, performed not “away from it all,” but in the face of “it all,” for better or for worse, in work and leisure rather than in free time.



~ Robert Penn Warren
from his Jefferson Lecture about power, tenderness, and art’s role in a healthy society
with thanks to brainpickings


Friday, December 29, 2017

Seneca on anxiety





There are more things … likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality.

What I advise you to do is, not to be unhappy before the crisis comes; since it may be that the dangers before which you paled as if they were threatening you, will never come upon you; they certainly have not yet come.

Accordingly, some things torment us more than they ought; some torment us before they ought; and some torment us when they ought not to torment us at all. We are in the habit of exaggerating, or imagining, or anticipating, sorrow.

It is likely that some troubles will befall us; but it is not a present fact. How often has the unexpected happened! How often has the expected never come to pass! And even though it is ordained to be, what does it avail to run out to meet your suffering? You will suffer soon enough, when it arrives; so look forward meanwhile to better things. What shall you gain by doing this? Time. There will be many happenings meanwhile which will serve to postpone, or end, or pass on to another person, the trials which are near or even in your very presence. A fire has opened the way to flight. Men have been let down softly by a catastrophe. Sometimes the sword has been checked even at the victim’s throat. Men have survived their own executioners. Even bad fortune is fickle. Perhaps it will come, perhaps not; in the meantime it is not. So look forward to better things.

The mind at times fashions for itself false shapes of evil when there are no signs that point to any evil; it twists into the worst construction some word of doubtful meaning; or it fancies some personal grudge to be more serious than it really is, considering not how angry the enemy is, but to what lengths he may go if he is angry. But life is not worth living, and there is no limit to our sorrows, if we indulge our fears to the greatest possible extent; in this matter, let prudence help you, and contemn with a resolute spirit even when it is in plain sight. If you cannot do this, counter one weakness with another, and temper your fear with hope. There is nothing so certain among these objects of fear that it is not more certain still that things we dread sink into nothing and that things we hope for mock us. Accordingly, weigh carefully your hopes as well as your fears, and whenever all the elements are in doubt, decide in your own favour; believe what you prefer. And if fear wins a majority of the votes, incline in the other direction anyhow, and cease to harass your soul, reflecting continually that most mortals, even when no troubles are actually at hand or are certainly to be expected in the future, become excited and disquieted.
 
 
 
 ~ Seneca
with thanks to brainpickings
 Art by Catherine Lepange from Thin Slices of Anxiety: Observations and Advice to Ease a Worried Mind
 
 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Robert Bly and Friends reviving oral tradition








~ Robert Bly