Thursday, June 6, 2019

identify yourself with the consciousness and life

This is the essential experience of any mystical realization. 

You die to your flesh and are born into your spirit. 
You identify yourself with the consciousness and life of which your body is but the vehicle. 
You die to the vehicle and become identified…
with that of which the vehicle is but the carrier. 

~ Joseph Campbell, Bill Moyers
from The Power of Myth

bathe in its fiery waters

Sons and daughters of the earth, steep yourself in the sea of matter, bathe in its fiery waters, for it is the source of your life and your youthfulness.

You thought you could do without it because the power of thought has been kindled in you? You hoped that the more thoroughly you rejected the tangible, the closer you would be to spirit: that you would be more divine if you lived in the world of pure thought, or at least more angelic if you fled the corporeal? Well, you were like to have perished of hunger.

You must have oil for your limbs, blood for your veins, water for your soul, the world of reality for your intellect: do you not see that the very law of your own nature makes these a necessity for you?

–Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

be as wood to a carpenter

To put it more simply, let that mysterious grace move in your spirit
 as it will and follow wherever it leads you.  Let it be the active doer 
and you the passive receiver.  Do not meddle with it, but let it be... 

Your part is to be as wood to a carpenter or a home to a dweller.
  Remain blind during this time cutting away all desire to know, 
for knowledge is a hindrance here.  Be content to feel 
this mysterious grace sweetly awaken in the 
depths of your spirit.   Forget everything...

~ The Cloud of Unknowing


Better indeed is knowledge than mechanical practice
Better than knowledge is meditation
But better still is the surrender of attachment to results,
For there follows immediate peace. 

translated by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

why scurry about looking for the truth?

Why scurry about looking for the truth? 
It vibrates in every thing and every not-thing, right off the tip of your nose. 
Can you be still and see it in the mountain? the pine tree? yourself? 
Don't imagine that you'll discover it by accumulating more knowledge. 
Knowledge creates doubt, and doubt makes you ravenous for more knowledge. 
You can't get full eating this way. 
The wise person dines on something more subtle: 
He eats the understanding that the named was born from the unnamed, 
that all being flows from non- being,
 that the describable world emanates from an indescribable source. 
He finds this subtle truth inside his own self, 
and becomes completely content. 
So who can be still and watch the chess game of the world?
 The foolish are always making impulsive moves,
 but the wise know that victory and defeat are decided by something more subtle.
 They see that something perfect exists before any move is made. 
This subtle perfection deteriorates when artificial actions are taken, 
so be content not to disturb the peace.
 Remain quiet. 
Discover the harmony in your own being. 
Embrace it. 
If you can do this, you will gain everything, 
and the world will become healthy again.
 If you can't, you will be lost in the shadows forever.

~  Lao Tzu
from Hua Hu Ching: The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu
by Brian Walker


living is relationship

Life is relationship, living is relationship, yet very little attention is given to the question.  What is your relationship with another? Have you any relationship at all; or is you relationship with the past?  The past with its images, experience, knowledge, brings about what you call relationship.  But knowledge in relationship causes disorder.  If you have hurt me, I remember that; you hurt me yesterday, or a week ago, that remains in my mind, that's the knowledge I have about you.  That knowledge prevents relationship; that knowledge in relationship breeds disorder.  So the question is:  When you hurt me, flatter me, when you scandalize me, can the mind wipe it away at the very moment without recording it?

So one asks:  Can you see that sunset, or the beautiful face, or your sexual experience, or whatever it be, see it and finish it, not carry it over  -  whether that thing was great beauty or great sorrow or great physical or psychological pain?  Can you see the beauty of it and be finished, completely finished, not take it over and store it up for the next day, next month, the future?  If you store it up, then thought plays with it.  Thought is the storing up of that incident of that pain or that suffering or that thing that gave delight.

I want to see the sunset, I want to look at the trees, full of the beauty of the earth. I don't want to reduce it, and thought will reduce it.  Is not the mind an instrument of comparison?  You say this is better than that; you compare yourself with somebody who is more beautiful, who is more clever.  There is comparison when you say, 'I remember that particular river that I saw a year ago, and it was still more beautiful'.  You compare yourself with somebody, with an example, with the ultimate ideal.  You see the sunset, and you immediately compare that sunset with the previous sunset.  You see a mountain and you see how beautiful it is.  Then you say, 'I saw a still more beautiful mountain two years ago'.  When you are comparing, you are really not looking at the sunset which is there, but you are looking at it in order to compare it with something else.  So comparison prevents you from looking fully.

What is actually taking place in our relationships?  Are not our relationships a self-isolation?  Is not every activity of the mind a process of safeguarding, of seeking security, isolation?  We have so many securities; we have built walls around ourselves with which we are satisfied, and occasionally there is a whisper beyond the wall;  occasionally there is an earthquake, a revolution, a disturbance which we soon smother.  So most of us really do not want to go beyond the self-enclosing process;  all we are seeking is a substitution, the same thing in a different form.  We are actually seeking, not to go beyond isolation, but to strengthen isolation so that it will be permanent and undisturbed.

Most of us are aware of this inner poverty, this inner insufficiency. You say it is empty, you give it a name, and you think you have understood it. Is not the very naming of the thing a hindrance to the understanding of it?   It is not an abortive reaction, it is a fact, and by calling it some name, we cannot dissolve it - it is there.  Do you know something by giving it a name?  Do you know me by calling me a name?  You can know me only when you observe me, when you have communion with me, but calling me by a name saying I am this or that, obviously puts an end to communion with me.     

It is only when the mind is quiet that it shall know love, and that state of quietness is not a thing to be cultivated.  Cultivation is still the action of the mind; discipline is still a product of the mind, and a mind that is disciplined, controlled, subjugated, a mind that is resisting, explaining, cannot know love. You may read, you may listen to what is being said about love, but that is not love.  Only when you put away the things of the mind, only when your heart is empty of the things of the mind, is there love.  Then you will know what it is to love without separation, without distance, without time, without fear - and that is not reserved to the few.

~ J. Krishnamurti
excerpts from a collection of talks
On Love and Loneliness

photo from streetcar named desire by Tennessee Williams

Monday, June 3, 2019

the stone of the fruit must break

And a woman spoke, saying, Tell us of Pain. 
And he said: Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, 
that its heart may stand in the sun, 
so must you know pain. 

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, 
your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy; 
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, 
even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields. 
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief. 

Much of your pain is self-chosen. 
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. 
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility: 

For his hand, though heavy and hard,is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen, 
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay 
which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.

~ Kahlil Gibran
from The Prophet

sitting with pain


In their MBSR Workbook, Bob Stahl and Elisha Golstein, present a very helpful how-to three step approach to working with chronic pain in meditation:

1) Investigate the pain and tension in the body:

A common knee-jerk reaction to pain is to clench and get tighter around it. Unfortunately, this can not only increase the physical pain, it may also begin a vicious cycle of reactions that lead to increased anger, fear, sadness, and confusion. Getting tight around pain further constricts the muscles and restricts blood flow, which may cause more spasms and pain, possibly even in other areas of the body. This cycle is difficult to stop, and in time you may discover that you're constricted not just around the painful area, but throughout the body.
The body scan provides an opportunity for you to reorient toward living and working with tension and pain. As you reeducate yourself about your pain by distinguishing physical sensations from mental and emotional feelings, you can learn to recognize strong sensations in the body as just physical sensations . . . 
Once you become aware of how you hold pain in the body, you can start figuring out how best to work with it . . . Mindful awareness will not only allow you to see where you're holding unnecessary tension, but will also help you soften and possibly release tension in these areas where there's no pain at all. Mindfulness also teaches you that if you can't release the tension, you can practice riding its waves, just observing them, letting them be, and allowing them to ripple wherever they need to go. 

2) Working with the emotions in physical pain:

Bringing mindful awareness to emotions allows you to begin to acknowledge them, no matter what they are, validating and acknowledging them without censorship and without resistance. As with physical pain, resistance to difficult emotions often causes more pain while learning to let be and go with them, rather than fighting them, can often diminish or change the suffering associated with them . . . 
As you gain more understanding of your physical pain, your emotional reactions to it, and the differences between them, you'll begin to see that there's a difference between physical pain and suffering. Even in times when you can't change the physical sensations of pain, you can change your emotional responses to them and thereby reduce your suffering. 

3) Living in the present moment:

When you identify with stress, tension, or chronic pain, you may think of it as a long-term problem or life sentence, and this attitude can take you out of the present moment and increase your suffering. Mindfulness teaches you to be here now. You don't know what the future may bring, and you really don't know if the stress and pain will last forever . . . 
Rather than being held hostage by your discomfort, you can cultivate the attitude that it's possible to learn from it. As you learn to let go of the past and not cling to a specific vision of the future, you'll be able to see things as they are in the moment, with a growing sense of freedom and the possibility of new options. This perspective transforms you, your pain, and your relationship to your pain.
Three proven steps that can change the way you live with your pain. Not easy, but well worth the effort. 

~ Marguerite Manteau-Rao

to be near

It had been a good day after all.  This is what we were on the river for - to feel the power of it, to see it in action, to be near to it with as little as possible between us and it, to know it as an elemental force stripped of names and associations.  The hard work and aggravation, the unwieldy boat, stubborn as a mule, water like glue, all this was good, too.  What true understanding of the river could one acquire by a fast trip in ease and comfort?  And now, after such a day as this, it was good to be at rest, sheltered where wind and current could not reach us.

~ Harlan Hubbard
from Shantyboat Journal
edited by Don Wallis
art by the author


Our love is
a sister of the light;
deftly, she unwinds
our shadowed nets.

Where they become
keening shawls
to shelter loss,
she pours oil of ease.

From underneath
she rips the knots,
the mass of algae dream
unties and drops.

And the reeds 
woven to cover
fear of the deep,
drift and slip.

Lines of empty eyes
that caught and held
everything blindly,
surge and see.

urges us
to fluency.

~ John O'Donohue
from Echoes of Memory
photo from cog arts culture

listen with ease


Have you ever sat very silently, not with your attention fixed on anything, 
not making an effort to concentrate, but with the mind very quiet, really still? 
Then you hear everything, don’t you? 

You hear the far off noises as well as those that are nearer and those that are very close by, 
the immediate sounds—which means really that you are listening to everything. 
Your mind is not confined to one narrow little channel. 
If you can listen in this way, listen with ease, without strain, 
you will find an extraordinary change taking place within you, 
a change which comes without your volition, 
without your asking; 

and in that change there is great beauty and depth of insight.

~ J. Krishnamurti

Sunday, June 2, 2019


You can't tell that Sabriye Tenberken is blind. She rides horses to crisscross Tibet's forbidding passes and plateaus. When talking, she looks you straight in the eye and describes things by their colors: the yellow mushrooms or the azure lake. And to greet a visitor, she bounds down a flight of steps in her boarding school for visually impaired children in Tibet's capital Lhasa. In the playground Tenberken points to 15-year-old Ngudup, who is playing a song for her on his guitar. "For 11 years," she says, "he was locked up in a dark room."


Tenberken, 34, has brought light into Ngudup's life and into the lives of the other 48 children at her school. She and her staff don't just teach the kids Tibetan, Chinese and English, and practical skills like making beds and operating computers. They also give their charges dignity. Because of its high-altitude exposure to the sun, Tibet has unusually high rates of eye disease, and because of the prevalence of Buddhist beliefs, blindness is often regarded as punishment for misdeeds in a previous life. When Tenberken first went to Tibet seven years ago, she discovered that Tibetans had no idea what to do with their blind children. "It was depressing," she recalls. "We met kids who had been tied to a bed for years so that they didn't hurt themselves. Some couldn't walk, because their parents hadn't taught them."

Blind from a retinal disease by the time she was 13, Tenberken, who is German, studied for a master's degree in Tibetology at Bonn University and created Tibetan braille. She applied to various nongovernmental organizations to do fieldwork, but none would give her a job. So, along with her Dutch partner, Paul Kronenberg, 35, an engineer, Tenberken headed to Lhasa, waded through reams of red tape and was finally granted permission to open her school, raising the seed money by selling her autobiography. Says Tenberken: "We want to show the kids that they don't have to be ashamed. We want them to stand up and say, 'I am blind, not stupid!' They need to be proud of themselves, gather the strength to cope with discrimination and go out there as messengers for what they've learned."

Tenberken's latest project is a farm some 300 kilometers from Lhasa, where blind adults are taught to raise animals and plant vegetables, and she's also establishing a center in Kerala, India, where trainees from developing countries can learn to set up similar schools. "There should be no limits for the blind," says Tenberken—clear proof that you don't need sight to have vision.

~ Chaim Estulin and Ursula Sautter
for Timeasia


the song of life

I have no name,
I am as the fresh breeze of the mountains.
I have no shelter;
I am as the wandering waters.
I have no sanctuary, like the dark gods;
Nor am I in the shadow of deep temples.
I have no sacred books;
Nor am I well-seasoned in tradition.
I am not in the incense
Mounting on the high altars,
Nor in the pomp of ceremonies.
I am neither in the graven image,
Nor in the rich chant of a melodious voice.
I am not bound by theories,
Nor corrupted by beliefs.
I am not held in the bondage of religions,
Nor in the pious agony of their priests.
I am not entrapped by philosophies,
Nor held in the power of their sects.
I am neither low nor high,
I am the worshipper and the worshipped.
I am free.
My song is the song of the river
Calling for the open seas,
Wandering, wandering,
I am Life.
I have no name,
I am as the fresh breeze of the mountains.

~ J. Krishnamurti
photo of a pulsar

belief - an escape

You believe in God, and another does not believe in God, 
so your beliefs separate you from each other. 

Belief throughout the world is organized as Hinduism, Buddhism, or Christianity, 
and so it divides man from man. We are confused, and we think that 
through belief we shall clear the confusion; that is, belief is superimposed on the confusion, 
and we hope that confusion will thereby be cleared away. 

But belief is merely an escape from the fact of confusion; 
it does not help us to face and to understand the fact 
but to run away from the confusion in which we are. 

To understand the confusion, belief is not necessary, 
and belief only acts as a screen between ourselves and our problems. 
So, religion, which is organized belief, becomes a means of escape 
from what is, from the fact of confusion. 

The man who believes in God, the man who believes in the hereafter, 
or who has any other form of belief, is escaping from the fact of what he is. 
Do you not know those who believe in God, 
who do puja, who repeat certain chants and words, 
and who in their daily life are dominating, cruel, ambitious, cheating, dishonest? 
Shall they find God? Are they really seeking God? 
Is God to be found through repetition of words, through belief? 
But such people believe in God, they worship God, 
they go to the temple every day, 

they do everything to avoid the fact of what they are - 
and such people you consider respectable because they are yourself.

~ J. Krishnamurti
from The Book of Life
with thanks to j krishnamurti online
art by Michelangelo

an undeniable love

Anna reading at Payne Hollow

An undeniable love for the river drew us away from town and down to the shore; the boat we built there was to carry us into a new existence. This regeneration gave a direction to our lives that Anna had never before contemplated; for me it was the fulfillment of old longings; yet we were both led on by a common desire to get down to earth and to express ourselves by creating a setting for our life together which would be in harmony with the landscape.

We catch fish for our own eating, get all our living as direct means as possible, that we may be self-sufficient and avoid contributing to the ruthless mechanical system that is destroying the earth. 

In this endeavor, no sacrifice is called for, no struggle or effort of will. Such a way is natural. Rather than hardship, it brings peace and inner rewards beyond measure.

Thus shantyboating has become, for us, a point of view, a way of looking at the world and at life. You take neither of them too seriously, nor do you try to understand their complexities. Who can? It is an obviously illogical philosophy, in which the individual is supreme. The claims made on him by his inner beliefs are above the demands of society. He is not without compassion, but his love is expended on those of his fellow men he is in contact with. With no schemes for universal betterment, he tends his own garden.

Is this selfish? No. The selfish man wants more than his share, a higher seat at the table than he is entitled to. One strong enough to stand by himself is not attracted by the prizes which the world offers. He has his own values, receives other rewards, for which there is no competition.

Instead of trying to make everyone alike, the state and society should encourage individualism. Individuals will never be too numerous; in fact, they are becoming harder to find. The river shantyboater has passed away, along with the old river; yet a few renegades will always be found, out in the brush somewhere, or on a forgotten bit of river shore, content with an environment the proud would scorn. The shantyboat strain is not likely to be cultivated out of existence, any more than the earth will ever be completely subdued.

~ Harlan Hubbard
excerpts from Payne Hollow: Life on the Fringe of Society

a shantyboat in winter - by Harlan Hubbard