Commonplace Book I

O spirit of poetry,
souls of those I have loved,
come back to teach me again.
– Edward Hirsch

I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.
– Gus Speth

Our lives are not as limited as we think they are; the world is a wonderfully weird place; consensual reality is significantly flawed; no institution can be trusted, but love does work; all things are possible; and we all could be happy and fulfilled if we only had the guts to be truly free and the wisdom to shrink our egos and quit taking ourselves so damn seriously.
– Tom Robbins

There are no prescriptive solutions, no grand designs for grand problems. Life’s solutions lie in the minute particulars involving more and more individual people daring to create their own life and art, daring to listen to the voice within their deepest, original nature, and deeper still, the voice within the earth.
– Stephen Nachmanovitch

Revolutions don’t necessarily follow in the wake of explosions and bloodshed. Sometimes they arrive as if on the paws of kittens. This is the revolution of mindfulness.
– Gary Gach

The theme of interiority… is to do with the kindling within the heart of a fire that mirrors and transcends the fire on the hearth. Just as the fire is kindled on the hearth each day, so also there must be the kindling of an inner fire…
— Esther de Waal

…I want first of all – in fact, as an end to these other desires – to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact – to borrow from the language of the saints -to live ‘in grace’ as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony…
– Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I never learn anything talking. I only learn things when I ask questions.
– Lou Holtz

Be kind. It’s worthwhile to make an effort to learn about other people and figure out what you might have in common with them. If you allow yourself to be somewhat curious – and if you get into the habit of doing that – it’s the first step to being open minded and realizing that your points of view aren’t totally opposite.
– Viggo Mortensen

Italian for dawn
Scottish Gaelic for Scotland
I always thought it very onomatopoeic
(If dawn light had a sound for me it would be alba)
– Kim French‏

In many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions. When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence? Where we have stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence is where we have experienced the loss of soul. Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are the four universal healing salves.
– Angeles Arrien

He sang the brightness of mornings and green rivers
He sang of smoking water in the rose-colored daybreaks,
Of colors: cinnabar, carmine, burnt sienna, blue,
Of the delight of swimming in the sea under marble cliffs
– Czesław Miłosz

Broad sun-stoned beaches.

White heat.
A green river.

A bridge,
scorched yellow palms

from the summer-sleeping house
drowsing through August.

Days I have held,
days I have lost,

days that outgrow, like daughters,
my harbouring arms.

– Derek Walcott, Midsummer Tabago

The silent mind touches the world without naming, without grasping and what it finds is only Love.
– t.k.

Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.
– Oscar Wilde

Bring me all of your dreams,
You dreamer,
Bring me all your
Heart melodies
That I may wrap them
In a blue cloud-cloth
Away from the too-rough fingers
Of the world.
– Langston Hughes

Give us courage, gaiety and the quiet mind.
Spare us to our friends, soften to us our enemies.
Bless us, if it may be, in all our innocent endeavors.
If it may not, give us the strength to encounter
that which is to come, that we be brave in peril,
constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath,

and in all changes of fortune and down to the gates

of death, loyal and loving to one another.

– Robert Louis Stevenson

I have written
My last line
Watched it turn
Burn into a roaring fire
Sizzle down into
A whisper
That floats
And settles down
On your window sill
Transformed into a snowflake…
I have felt
My last emotion
Watched it engraved
In my book of life
I have
Braved a winter chill
Felt it
Drizzle down into
A shower
That rejuvenated me
And washed away
All my pain…
I have felt
A feeling of lying still
A corpse burning
On a funeral pyre…
When a poet dies
A soul is lost
Wandering through
Forests and woods
Without a destination
All that I had felt
Now rising up
To a crescendo
And the music plays on
And falls
A cascade of emotions…
So, let me bid adieu
The day is done
I have carefully wrapped up
My last feeling
It will lie with me
A solitary blossom
In my coffin
When a poet dies
I die, too…
– Anita Limbu Moktan

The true birthplace is that wherein for the first time one looks intelligently upon oneself; my first homelands have been books.
– Marguerite Yourcenar

My Religion Is New England
A selection from Vagabonds and Sundries
by L.M. Browning
My feast days come
When the apples are ripe
And the blueberries
Hang heavy with juice.
My communal wine
Is the crisp salty liquor sipped
From the oysters that grow
Along the black rocks in the bays.
On the afternoons when the molted leaves
Float in the air like bronzed snow flakes
And the gnarled pumpkin patches
Yield their copper bounty.
Walking across the wide floor boards,
Parched gray with dust,
Bending for the low horse-hair plaster ceilings,
Following the cramped stairways leading up to bed.
When the smell of the smoldering hearth
Beckons me home
As I walk through the village
On the first chilled winter night.
Having a heavy mug of hot cider,
A bowl of hearty fish stew.
And watch the fishing boats come in at dusk,
Their hulls loaded down heavy.
Sitting from my place along the shore,
Looking out unto tall masts,
The smell of the brine
When the wind is high in the east.
Driving down wooded roads,
Following the unending thread of stonewalls,
Winding along beneath the bower
Of Oaks, Maples, and Walnut trees.
I find that my home is my church.
And my heaven, a chair by the hearth.
In the dearness of it,
I find the sacred at work.
In partaking of it
—Belonging to it—
My heart swells
With a joy not to be conveyed.

It is when two such persons discover one another, when, whether with immense difficulties and semi-articulate fumblings or with what would seem to us amazing and elliptical speed, they share their vision – it is then that Friendship is born. And instantly they stand together in an immense solitude.
– C.S. Lewis

Sharing silence is, in fact, a political act
– Parker J. Palmer

I long for the imperishable quiet at the heart of form.
– Theodore Roethke

by D. H. Lawrence

All that matters is to be at one with the living God
to be a creature in the house of the God of Life.

Like a cat asleep on a chair
at peace, in peace
and at one with the master of the house, with the mistress,
at home, at home in the house of the living,
sleeping on the hearth, and yawning before the fire.

Sleeping on the hearth of the living world
yawning at home before the fire of life
feeling the presence of the living God
like a great reassurance
a deep calm in the heart
a presence
as of the master sitting at the board
in his own and greater being,
in the house of life.

you and i have no argument nor do we have
agreement. that is the sort of love silence is.
others need gain and loss but you, my dear
friend, you and i, we don’t even need those words.
– t.k.

Spoken For
by Li-Young Lee

I didn’t know I was blue,
until I heard her sing.

I was never aware so much
had been lost
even before I was born.
There was so much to lose
even before I knew
what it meant to choose.

Born blue,
living blue unconfessed, blue
in concealment, I’ve lived all my life
at the plinth
of greater things than me.

Morning is greater
with its firstborn light and birdsong.
Noon is taller, though a moment’s realm.
Evening is ancient and immense, and
night’s storied house more huge.

But I had no idea.
And would have died without a clue,
except she began to sing. And I understood

my soul is a bride enthralled by an unmet groom,
or else the groom wholly spoken for, blue
in ardor, happy in eternal waiting.

I heard her sing and knew
I would never hear the true

name of each thing
until I realized the abysmal
ground of all things. Her singing
touched that ground in me.

Now, dying of my life, everything is made new.
Now, my life is not my life. I have no life
apart from all of life.

And my death is not my death,
but a pillow beneath my head, a rock
propping the window open
to admit the jasmine.

I heard her sing,
and I’m no longer afraid.
Now that I know what she knows, I hope
never to forget
how giant the gone
and immaculate the going.
How much I’ve already lost.
How much I go on losing.
How much I’ve lived
all one blue. O, how much
I go on living.

Lacan says that the obsession to know oneself is in itself a pathology — for him, the opposition of knowing oneself is not just to act intuitively, it’s something different. His point is that instead of probing into yourself, dedicate yourself to an external cause. You are not cured when you can say: “Now I can tell a complete story about myself!” … The point is not to ease your suffering, but to move out of these categories … and, to discover things …. that are more important than your suffering or pleasure.
– Slavoj Žižek

How often, in fact, the child’s boredom is met by that most perplexing form of disapproval, the adult’s wish to distract him — as though the adults have decided that the child’s life must be, or be seen to be, endlessly interesting. It is one of the most oppressive demands of adults that the child should be interested, rather than take time to find what interests him. Boredom is integral to the process of taking one’s time.
– Adam Phillips

I shall hope to see you with the sparkle and exhilaration of the mountains still in your eyes.
– John Muir

The ability to be tough-minded remains useful; but by now, the fact that we are all in trouble in terms of both nature and culture can only be denied by those who become overly conservative and blindly reactionary. The more tender-hearted imagination that suggests we are all in this together and that there must be an underlying unity in life may be the only way to survive.
– Michael Meade

Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. And unselfishness is letting other people’s lives alone, not interfering with them.
– Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man and Prison Writings

Yearning for a new way will not produce it.
Only ending the old way can do that.
You cannot hold onto the old,
all the while declaring that you want something new.
The old will defy the new;

The old will deny the new;

The old will decry the new.

There is only one way to bring in the new.
You must make room for it.
– Neale Donald Walsch

Each soul lives on the verge of remembering the forgotten agreement and original dream that it carries; yet each moment can be another point when the dream of life becomes lost again. Each meaningful step we take on the path of life involves some tension between the needs of the common world and the dreams of the soul. This inherent tension can stop us in our tracks, yet can also be the source of vital energy needed for the soul to grow. Each time we remember a piece of why we came to life we pull the seeds of eternity farther into the world of time. The inner seed keeps trying to sprout, but often our fate must place us in a crossroads or nail us to a cross before we pay proper attention to it.
– Michael Meade

Clichés, stock phrases, adherence to conventional, standardized codes of expression and conduct have the socially recognized function of protecting us against reality, that is, against the claim on our thinking attention that all events and facts make by virtue of their existence.
– Hannah Arendt, The Life of The Mind

There are people who talk to us and we do not listen to them, there are people who hurt us and leave no scars, but there are [also] people who simply appear in our lives and mark us forever.
– Cecília Meireles

I will have to love you from afar
– from the quiet distance
in which love is nostalgia
and desire, constancy.
From the divine place
where the good of existence
is like eternity &
seems as absence.
Who needs to explain
the moment and the fragrance
of a rose, which persuades
without any arrogance?
And, deep in the sea,
the star, without violence,
fulfills its truth,
unconnected to transparency.
– Cecília Meireles

Forgive me, dry leaf,
I can not take care of you.
I came to love in this world,
and even lost love.

You are Autumn, leaf,
fly through the garden.
I leave you my homesickness
– the best part of me.

– Cecília Meireles

We only gain merit and psychological development by accepting ourselves as we are, and by being serious enough to live the life we are entrusted with.
– C.G. Jung

Surazeus Simon Seamount:
I love The Last Jedi precisely because it presents Luke as old and bitter with the despair of failure because evil and greed are ultimately undefeatable yet we must continue fueling the light of love to maintain the fragile flame of life in the vast and hostile universe.

Luke is like Beowulf in that he defeats Grendel of Vader when young and yet is still willing to die fighting the dragon of Snoke when old.

If you want to do a certain thing
You first have to be a certain
Once you have become
that certain person

you will not care anymore

about doing that certain thing.
– Dogen

First, anyone who seriously intends to become a philosopher must “once in his life” withdraw into himself and attempt, within himself, to overthrow and build anew all the sciences that, up to then, he has been accepting. Philosophy wisdom (sagesse) is the philosophizer’s quite personal affair. It must arise as His wisdom, as his self-acquired knowledge tending toward universality, a knowledge for which he can answer from the beginning, and at each step, by virtue of his own absolute insights.
– Edmund Husserl, Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology

Blue Mountain

Why dwell in the Blue Mountain

I laugh without answering

Silence of water and blossoming flowers

World beyond the red dust of living

– Li Po

Larry Smith‎:
The distant shore
reflected in the eyes
of the old dog.
I clip my nails
to gentle my touch.

The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Some people are looking for quick and short; less words, less meaning. I’m wordy. I want substance. Depth. Rich, complex layers you can’t find in a sentence or two. Soul deep penetration. I don’t want to float on the surface where conversation is safe and acceptable. I want to dive into the depths where the unknown breathes.
– Ara Campbell

All precious things discovered late To those that seek them issue forth, For Love in sequel works with Fate, And draws the veil from hidden worth.

Jeff Brown:
When people ask me how long it is going to take before they can heal all their wounds, I always respond the same way: “It’s going to take a lifetime.”
This is seldom what they want to hear, particularly in this fast-paced and over-stimulated culture, but it’s the truth. The emotional healing journey is a lifelong process, particularly for trauma survivors. Because trauma is not a concept. It’s not a ‘victim story’ or a needless cry for attention. It’s not something to ‘rise above’ or rush beyond with pseudo-positivity practices.
Trauma is a lived experience, embedded in the emotional and physical bodies, that continues to interface with our consciousness throughout our lives. There is work that we can do to understand and transform our relationship with it, but it will continue to participate in our experience of reality.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Because its fundamental to who we are. Because it’s part of our real-time story, and at its heart are the seeds of our individual and collective transformation. How many great healers and world-changing activists did not endure tremendous suffering? Very few.
Trauma is a door-opener to greatness. It’s a portal to awakening. Let’s not pretend it isn’t there. Let’s not deny it’s brazen wisdom. Let’s roar it loud and true.

I am concerned with the earth, not with worlds beyond for their own sake; it is a terrestrial realisation that I seek and not a flight to distant summits. All other Yogas regard this life as an illusion or a passing phase; the supramental Yoga alone regards it as a thing created by the Divine for a progressive manifestation and takes the fulfilment of the life and the body for its object. The supramental is simply the Truth-Consciousness and what it brings in its descent is the full truth of life, the full truth of consciousness in Matter. One has indeed to rise to high summits, to reach it, but the more one rises, the more one can bring down below. 
No doubt, life and body have not to remain the ignorant, imperfect, impotent things they are now; but why should a change to fuller life-power, fuller body-power be considered something aloof, cold and undesirable? The utmost Ananda the body and life are now capable of is a brief excitement of the vital mind or the nerves or the cells which is limited, imperfect and soon passes: with the supramental change all the cells, nerves, vital forces, embodied mental forces can become filled with a thousandfold Ananda, capable of an intensity of bliss which passes description and which need not fade away. How aloof, repellent and undesirable! The supramental love means an intense unity of soul with soul, mind with mind, life with life, and an entire flooding of the body consciousness with the physical experience of oneness, the presence of the Beloved in every part, in every cell of the body. Is that too something aloof and grand but undesirable? With the supramental change, the very thing on which you insist, the possibility of the free physical meeting of the embodied Divine with the sadhak without conflict of forces and without undesirable reactions becomes possible, assured and free. That too is, I suppose, something aloof and undesirable?
– Sri Aurobindo

One hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove … but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.
– Forest Witcraft

Something ancient in us bends us toward the origins of the whole thing. We either drown in the splits and confusions of our lives, or we surrender to something greater than ourselves. The water of our deepest troubles is also the water of our own solution. In surrender, we descend down to the bottom of it and back to the beginning of it; down into what is divided in order to get back to the wholeness before the split. Healing, health, wealth, wholeness: all hail from the same roots. To heal is to make whole again; wholeness is what all healing seeks and what alone can truly unify our spirit.
– Michael Meade

A lifetime may not be long enough to attune ourselves fully to the harmony of the universe. But just to become aware that we can resonate with it — that alone can be like waking up from a dream.
– David Steindl-Rast

It’s not Love. But what fault is it of mine
if my affections do not become
Love? Very much my fault, I would say,
when I can live from day to day
on mad purity, blind pity…

Make a scandal of meekness.

But the violence of the senses and intellect

that has confounded me for years

was the only way.
– Pier Paolo Pasolini

It’s good to be just plain happy, it’s a little better to know that you’re happy; but to understand that you’re happy and to know why and how and still be happy, be happy in the being and the knowing, well, that is beyond happiness, that is bliss
– Henry Miller

My plan, then, in so far as the negation of all effort and purpose may be said to be a plan, is to stop evolving, to remain what I am and to become more and more only what I am – that is, to become more miraculous.
– Henry Miller

It is said that one should observe oneself. We cannot control the universe outside, but we can control ourselves. If there is some evolution within ourselves, this may be useful for others.
– Chögyal Namkhai Norbu

All we want is to be freed beyond the telling of what went wrong or how we failed. All we want is to be freed into living the one song that keeps lifting through our hearts.
– Mark, Nepo, Things That Join the Sea and the Sky

I started out looking for the perfect love story, but what I found instead was something even more beautiful – a messy love, an imperfect love, a human love. In this time of uncertainty, can I continue to love, even if it breaks my heart?
– Velcrow Ripper

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth. Thus I beg and beseech you. Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do—back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

I would like to invite you to put some effort into uplifting yourselves and building an enlightened society and energizing the vision of the Great Eastern Sun so that we can understand how to defeat the setting-sun vision. Let us go on. Please don’t fall back; let us continue. If you don’t fall back, I certainly won’t. I’ll be with you all along. Whether it is a rough journey or a smooth journey, I will always be there with you.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

When the chesty, fierce-furred bear becomes sick he travels to the mountainsides and the fields, searching for certain grasses, flowers, leaves and herbs, that hold within themselves the power of healing. He eats, he grows stronger. Could you, oh clever one, do this? Do you know anything about where you live, what it offers? Have you ever said, “Sir Bear, teach me. I am a customer of death coming, and would give you a pot of honey and my house on the western hills to know what you know.”
– Mary Oliver

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.
– Jack London

Meditate Like Christ: He Lost Himself In Love
‘One day a Canadian man arrived for his first visit with Neem Karoli Baba (Maharaj-ji). He didn’t know much about Maharaj-ji but had heard about him. Maharaj-ji didn’t give lectures or formal teachings; didn’t write books; and, as far as I know, didn’t formally initiate people. He just kept shining like the sun…. When Maharaj-ji asked this man why he’d come and what he wanted, he was unsure how to respond. Finally, he replied, “Can you teach me how to meditate?”
‘Maharaj-ji’s response was: “Meditate like Christ.”
‘We asked him about his darshan. He told us that Maharaj-ji had said to meditate like Christ. At first we were surprised. “What! Meditate like Christ! What does that mean?” But then we thought about it. We were always trying to get Maharaj-ji to tell us what practice to do, but he’d never give us any specific instructions about yoga or meditation. Now he’d said this. If he said it, he must know how Jesus meditated. We decided to ask him about it. We were so excited — we were going to get the secret teachings at last!
‘Later in the day, when Maharaj-ji came to the back of the temple to hang out with the Westerners, one of us broached the subject that had us all buzzing. “You said to meditate like Christ. How DID he meditate?”
‘It seemed as if Maharaj-ji was about to answer, but instead his eyes closed and he sat there completely still, completely silent. It felt like he’d totally disappeared. In all the time I’d been with him, I’d only seen him sitting motionless like this a couple of times before. It was extraordinarily powerful, as if the whole universe had become silent. Then a tear came down his cheek. We were in awe. After a couple of minutes, his eyes half opened and, with great emotion, he quietly said, “He lost himself in love, that’s how he meditated. He was one with all beings. He loved everyone, even the people who crucified him. He never died. He is the atman. He lives in the hearts of all. He lost himself in love.”‘
– Krishna Das, in Chants of Lifetime

Phillip Moffitt:
The poet T. S. Eliot wrote, “Love is most nearly itself when here and now cease to matter.” What Eliot is suggesting is that the true nature of love is based on the sheer openness of one heart to another. The Buddha taught that our true nature is emptiness—a lack of a permanent Self—and when this true nature is realized, the divine states of loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity emerge.

by Peter Harris
Only if we all become that second baseman
who dove to his right, snagged the liner, thudded
to a stop on his belly, too late to get up or change
hands, too late to do anything but what he could
not do, had never tried, could not have done if he had tried:
shovel the gloved ball backhanded over his back
without looking to the shortstop. No,
not to the shortstop, but to where the shortstop
would be when he flew across the bag,
barehanded the ball, toed the bag, swiveled,
elevated above the maverick ox of truth barreling
down on him from first, high enough to make the throw
for the double play. Game over.
The not-doable, done. Outside the scriptures.
Outside thought: No sound at all inside
the redundant thunder of applause.

Gunilla Norris:
Deep down we all know those few things that really matter to us. The trouble is we add to them unnecessarily. It’s like having three things in closet that we love to wear, but we also have forty things we have accumulated that obscure and diminish what we love. Moving the forty things out gives our closet space, and we can more fully appreciate and take care of what remains. This is a metaphor, of course. Why not be clothed in what matters and gently let the rest go to Good Will?

If my heart could do the thinking
And my head begin to feel
I’d look upon the world anew
And know what’s truly real…
– Van Morrison

The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes.
– G.K. Chesterton

I think that poetry, and maybe all writing, certainly everything we do to some degree, does not come out of what you know, but out of what you don’t know. And one of the great superficialities of positivistic thinking is the assumption that things really evolve out of what you know. Nothing evolves out of what you know. You don’t move from what you know to something else you know. And it’s the unknown that keeps rendering possibilities.
– W.S. Merwin, 1982

I believe in the power of poetry, which gives me reasons to look ahead and identify a glint of light.
– Mahmoud Darwish

Jamie Mariah:
To give beyond reason, to care beyond hope, to love without limit; to reach, stretch, & dream, in spite of your fears. These are the hallmarks of divinity – traits of the immortal -your badges of honor. May you wear them with a pride as great as the immeasurable pride we feel for you. Your light has illuminated darkened paths, your gaze has lifted broken spirits, & already your life has changed the course of history.

Once you realize that the road is the goal
and that you are always on the road,
not to reach a goal, but to enjoy its beauty and its wisdom,
life ceases to be a task and becomes natural and simple, in itself an ecstasy.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Our hearts cannot apprehend that they are imaginatively thinking hearts, because we have so long been told that the mind thinks and the heart feels and that imagination leads us astray from both.
– James Hillman

What I want to talk about now is how to orient your mind in practice. For the beginner it is inevitable that there will be hard discipline, the observation of some rules. The observation of rigid rules is not our point. But if you want to acquire vital freedom, it is necessary to have some strength, or to have some discipline, in order to be free from one-sided dualistic ideas.
– Suzuki-roshi

– In Managua:

“I think everyone here is a poet in some way,” Immanuel laughed, only half joking. “Did you know that if you ask a couple expecting a child, ‘Will it be a boy or a girl?’, do you know what they might say?”

“What?” I asked.

“A poet.”

Fa Hsing Jeff Miles:

No matter how hard

I wave my hands
The sky just slips

Between my fingers,

While the clear lake
Sits still and reflects
And captures it all
Without even trying.

I Don’t Know What You’re Called, I’ll Call You by Your Sounds
By Susan Landers
dew grass a fire shine
mountain a lung
pine cone the bone
tsunami rock hawk jaw
gravity a fall all consuming
a song chirp for sunlight
spine daggers cracking
the sky an ocean paused in its crashing
creature shake trip whistle
rustle nut squirrel swish
stump thunder or thump
thump a swallowing
you beautiful urchin
you rot mound of moss

All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without the benefit of experience.
– Henry Miller

…He had been reading western philosophy, and it seemed all the intense thinking done by Ludwig Wittgenstein in his pithy Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus boiled down to the observation that ‘the rational mind only describes a tiny room in a vast cosmos, and beyond this we cannot speak.
– Kay Larson describing a student of John Cage’s reaction to Wittgenstein in her book Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists

Mankind will never see an end of trouble until lovers of wisdom come to hold political power, or the holders of power become lovers of wisdom.
– Plato

What we call coincidence, what we call obstacle, what we call the miracle of surprise—all are notes of the one song bringing us alive, throwing us into each other.
– Mark Nepo

If only I could share it:
The soft sound of snow
Falling late at night
From the trees
At this old temple.

– Zen Master Hakuin

I think the source of our sorrow and the source of our joy are intimately entwined. Our sorrow is that we have forgotten who we are, we have forgotten we are one with that source of all life – absolutely indestructible, perfect, joyful. The source of our joy is when we remember that.
– Richard Bach

If you amass a multitude of profound texts, such as scriptures, commentaries and oral instructions, and you don’t practice them, they will be of no benefit at the time of death.
‘To watch your mind’ is my heart advice.
– Longchenpa

I have had to learn the simplest things
last. Which made for difficulties.
Even at sea I was slow, to get the hand out, or to cross
a wet deck.
The sea was not, finally, my trade.
But even my trade, at it, I stood estranged
from that which was most familiar. Was delayed,
and not content with the man’s argument
that such postponement
is now the nature of
that we are all late
in a slow time,
that we grow up many
And the single
is not easily

It could be, though the sharpness (the achiote)
I note in others,
makes more sense
than my own distances. The agilities

they show daily
who do the world’s
And who do nature’s
as I have no sense
I have done either

I have made dialogues,
have discussed ancient texts,
have thrown what light I could, offered
what pleasures
doceat allows

But the known?
This, I have had to be given,
a life, love, and from one man
the world.
But sitting here
I look out as a wind
and water man, testing
And missing
some proof

I know the quarters
of the weather, where it comes from,
where it goes. But the stem of me,
this I took from their welcome,
or their rejection, of me

And my arrogance
was neither diminished
nor increased,
by the communication
It is undone business
I speak of, this morning,
with the sea
stretching out
from my feet
– Charles Olson

All through life, be sure and put your feet in the right place, and then stand firm.
– Abraham Lincoln

When I take a long look at my life, as though from outside, it does not appear particularly happy. Yet I am even less justified in calling it unhappy, despite all its mistakes. After all, it is foolish to keep probing for happiness or unhappiness, for it seems to me it would be hard to exchange the unhappiest days of my life for all the happy ones. If what matters in a person’s existence is to accept the inevitable consciously, to taste the good and bad to the full and to mak…e for oneself a more individual, unaccidental and inward destiny alongside one’s external fate, then my life has been neither empty nor worthless. Even if, as it is decreed by the gods, fate has inexorably trod over my external existence as it does with everyone, my inner life has been of my own making I deserve its sweetness and bitterness and accept full responsibility for it.
– Herman Hesse

Do you ever suddenly find it strange to be yourself?
– Clarice Lispector, A Breath of Life

The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss – an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. – is sure to be noticed.
– Søren Kierkegaard

Ozay Tulku Rinpoche:
If you seek your true self then when you discover this self you will see that death is no master, but you must find yourself, your true nature, not a mask to fit over another mask, but a sword to cut them all away and be free.

It’s about this sense of an imagined harmony if the world came together. I hope everyone sees it as a project that is very inclusive and very welcoming.
– Xu Zhen, artist

Everybody thinks environmentalists are total pessimists, but in reality we are the biggest optimists. We know how bad it is, and we still think we can make a difference.
– Denita Toneva

The water of the mind, how clear it is!
Gazing at it, the boundaries are invisible.
But as soon as even a slight thought arises,
ten thousand images crowd it.
A…ttach to them, and they become real.

Be carried by them, and it will be difficult to return.

How painful to see a person trapped in the ten-fold delusions.
– Ryokan

When young people are not given the chance to awaken to the story seeded in their souls, something greater than careers and potentials becomes wasted. Something golden and noble becomes lost and more people begin to wander in confusion, seeking in the outside world what has become lost within themselves.”
– Michael Meade

You enter life a ship laden
with meaning, purpose and gifts
sent to be delivered to a hungry world.
And as much as the world needs your cargo,
you need to give it away….
Everything depends on this.
But the world forgets its needs,
and you forget your mission,
and the ancestral maps used to guide you
have become faded scrawls
on the parchment of dead Pharaohs.
The cargo weighs you heavy
the longer it is held
and spoilage becomes a risk.
The ship sputters from port to port
and at each you ask:
‘Is this the way?’
But the way cannot be found
without knowing the cargo,
and the cargo cannot be known
without recognizing there is a way,
and it is simply this:
You have gifts.
The world needs your gifts.
You must deliver them.
The world may not know it is starving,
but the hungry know,
and they will find you
when you discover your cargo
and start to give it away.
– Greg Kimura
.. .. .. ..
And as if continuing where Greg Kimura
leaves off, Geneen Marie Haugen wrote:
Do not be surprised by prickly questions
from those who barely inhabit
their own fleeting lives, who barely taste
their own possibility, who barely dream.
If your hands are empty, treasureless,
if your toes have not grown claws,
if your obedient voice has not
become a wild cry, a howl,
you will reassure them.
We warned you, they might declare,
there is nothing else,
no point, no meaning, no mystery at all,
just this frantic waiting to die.
And yet, they tremble, mute,
afraid you’ve returned without sweet
elixir for unspeakable thirst, without
a fluent dance or holy language
to teach them, without a compass
bearing to a forgotten border where
no one crosses without weeping
for the terrible beauty of galaxies
and granite and bone. They tremble,
hoping your lips hold a secret,
that the song your body now sings
will redeem them, yet they fear
your secret is dangerous, shattering,
and once it flies from your astonished
mouth, they — like you —
must disintegrate
before unfolding tremulous wings.

Stephen Hatch:
One of the curious traits we human beings share is a tendency to become intensely energized by conflicts and problems. It is often these disturbances that draw us together to form common bonds as well. There’s something about the drama of having an enemy – whether it be inner, individual, corporate, political, religious, or an environmental disaster – that makes us believe we can rise above the mundane daily grind we so often fall into.
I wonder, however, if we might allow… ourselves to be equally energized by POSITIVE experiences; that is, by stunning insights, the multi-faceted beauties of life, and by inspiring stories of exploration or self-giving? I wonder if shared ecstatic experiences might also more readily become the basis for our efforts at creating community?

There isn’t time, so brief is life, for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving, and but an instant, so to speak, for that.”

Such is the way of influences, I suppose. They imprint themselves on our consciousness as light does a photograph, or trauma the psyche, then slowly seep into us, syncopate with our hearts’ beating like a disease or an incessant prayer. They become the blueprints from which we map our own works of art, our own narratives, our own heartbreaks.
– Melissa Febos

Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.
– John Lubbock

It is so small a thing, the life of a man, and yet there is time to do great things, fragments of a common task.
– Paul Gauguin

My brother the star, my mother the earth,
My father the sun, my sister the moon
to my life give beauty, to my body give strength,
to my work give goodness, to my house give peace
to my spirit give truth, to my elders give wisdom.
We must pray for strength.
We must pray to come together,
Pray to the weeping earth,
pray to the trembling waters
and to the wandering rain.
We must pray to the whispering moon,
pray to the tip-toeing stars
and to the hollering sun.
– Nancy Wood, Earth Prayers

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
– Wordsworth

The power of the memory is prodigious, my God. It is a vast, immeasurable sanctuary. Who can plumb its depths? And yet it is a faculty of my soul. Although it is part of my nature, I cannot understand all that I am…I am lost in wonder when I consider this problem. It bewilders me.
– Lewis Lapham quoting St. Augustine

A hundred archaic longings stupified me.
– Susan Sontag

How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here for ever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself.
– Virginia Woolf, The Waves

The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts.
– Charles Darwin

Whatever the content at hand, it’s really the shape and quality and rhythm of one’s attention that is eventually on display.
– Maggie Nelson

Creativity means standing out of the way so that the angels, daimones, muses, duende and inspirations can do their jobs.
– Thomas Moore

There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
– Douglas Adams

Man starts over again everyday, in spite of all he knows, against all he knows.
– Emil M. Cioran

It took years of indifference and stupidity to make us as ignorant as we are today. Anyone who has taught college over the last forty years, as I have, can tell you how much less students coming out of high school know every year. At first it was shocking, but it no longer surprises any college instructor that the nice and eager young people enrolled in your classes have no ability to grasp most of the material being taught. Teaching American literature, as I have been doing, has become harder and harder in recent years, since the students read little literature before coming to college and often lack the most basic historical information about the period in which the novel or the poem was written, including what important ideas and issues occupied thinking people at the time.
– Charles Simic, New York Review of Books

It is impossible to overlook the extent to which civilization is built up upon a renunciation of instinct.
– Sigmund Freud

Fantasy is where we spend most of our time. This is called the ‘substitute life.
– Pema Chodron

He could see plainly that she was not herself. That is, he could not see that she was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.
– Kate Chopin, The Awakening

Love The Dark Hours of My Being…
I love the dark hours of my being.
My mind deepens into them.
There I can find, as in old letters,
the days of my life, already lived,
and held like a legend, and understood.

Then the knowing comes: I can open
to another life that’s wide and timeless.

So I am sometimes like a tree
rustling over a gravesite
and making real the dream
of the one its living roots

a dream once lost
among sorrows and songs.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

If learning is not followed by reflecting and practicing, it is not true learning.
– Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching

Reason and discussion will soon bring things right, however wrong they may begin.
– Thomas Paine

Since we were born, we have let our mind do what it likes, like a spoiled child, and we have to admit that nothing really positive has come of it. To take control of it is indispensable. That is something worth spending time on, even if it is just a little bit each day.
– Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche

Pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion.
Pity the nation that wears a cloth it does not weave
and eats a bread it does not harvest.

Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero, …
and that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful.

Pity a nation that despises a passion in its dream,
yet submits in its awakening.

Pity the nation that raises not its voice
save when it walks in a funeral,
boasts not except among its ruins,
and will rebel not save when its neck is laid
between the sword and the block.

Pity the nation whose statesman is a fox,
whose philosopher is a juggler,
and whose art is the art of patching and mimicking

Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with trumpeting,
and farewells him with hooting,
only to welcome another with trumpeting again.

Pity the nation whose sages are dumb with years
and whose strongmen are yet in the cradle.

Pity the nation divided into fragments,
each fragment deeming itself a nation.
– Kahlil Gibran

What and how much had I lost by trying to do only what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do?
– Ralph Ellison

Either way or otherwise
You’re in my eyes.

Like low gargle,
Under the skin of the word….
A stranded migrant,
To the turbulence
The wind.

I’ll save you in the poem,
Before the sickle. Hand
Of the moon.

The Twig is still singing.
– Brigitta Huemer

Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.
– Fyodor Dostoevsky

Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Walk out like somebody suddenly born into colour.
Do it now.
You’re covered with thick cloud.
Slide out the side. Die,
and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign
that you’ve died.
Your old life was a frantic running
from silence.
The speechless full moon
comes out now.
– Rumi

We buy books because we believe we’re also buying the time to read them.
– Warren Zevon

Our habitual way of living is to take things so much for granted. We always think there’s gonna be another day. We always think there’s gonna be another chance. In some sense, we think it’s gonna go on forever. And therefore, we don’t pay attention. This moment only happens once, in all of eternity. We think that time and eternity are two different things, but they’re not.
– Reggie Ray

I still believe that the way to subvert the dominant paradigm is to have more fun than they do and make sure they know it…
– David Eisenberg

One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.
– Paulo Coelho

I shouldn’t write this but I will because it’s weighing heavy on me.
Dear tired: I hope you know you are seen and loved even without the fanfare of all that you do behind the scenes. The bills get paid. The food gets made. The clothes are clean. You go and go and go. I believe in you. I know there’s very little support. You don’t get the accolades of love, the strokes of recognition that you deserve and still you continue to do you. It’s rough when your creativity is ignored …and unappreciated. Sometimes is feels awful and it hurts. It’s not an easy world. How can some always have the silver spoon of adoration? I wish I knew. Still I’m letting you know, you are seen, believed and keep going. Takes breaks when you can. Cry in the bathroom because it’s the quietest, safest place. Eat that chocolate if need be. Make that cup of tea and daydream. You are going to make it.
– Carolyn Avalani

Your true self is always
shining and free.
Human beings make something
and enter the ocean of suffering.
Only without thinking..
can you return to your true self.
The high mountain is always blue.
White clouds coming, going.
– Zen Master Seung Sahn

Mark Nepo:
Like divers who open the treasure just as they’re running out of air, we’re forced to let go of what we want in order to live another day.

I think what we’re seeing actually is not compassion fatigue, but empathic distress, where there’s a resonance, but we’re not able to stabilize ourselves when we’re exposed to this kind of suffering. When we are more stabilized, then we can face the world with more buoyancy. We have more resilience. We have got more capacity to actually address these very profound social and environmental issues. So that’s why I call these things edge states, because they really call us to our edge.
– Roshi Joan Halifax

Water sparkles sunlight of vibrant life,
providing movement of hope to all things,
for eternal spirit of consciousness
shimmers in every drop of crystal water
that fills our bodies with light when we drink.
– Hermead Book VII 1628-32

Acceptance means: For now, this is what this situation, this moment, requires me to do, and so I do it willingly.
– Eckhart Tolle

Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are….
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.
– Laozi, Tao Te Ching

Don’t Look For My Life In These Poems
Eunice De Souza
Poems have order, sanity
aesthetic distance from debris….
All I’ve learnt from pain
I always knew
but could not do.

Some people are so fully open to the true nature of existence that they are peaceful no matter what the circumstances. For the enlightened mind, peace does not depend on any object or concept. Awareness of the absolute nature of things, the universal truth, is not limited or conditioned by concepts, feelings, or labels such as good and bad. A mind that is free can transcend dualistic categories such as peace versus conflict, and joy versus suffering. The enlightened mind does not discriminate between a subjective or objective reality, or between liking and disliking. Time is timeless, and everything in existence is perfect as it is.
– Tulku Thondup

The old idea is that when tragedy strikes or when an obstacle blocks us, there are only two possibilities. We either become a smaller person or we become a bigger person. If it’s a real life change you cannot come out the same. So therefore, you’re either going to come out smaller or you are going to rise up and ultimately come out of it a bigger person.
– Michael Meade

For many years, I have been moved by the blue at the far edge of what can be seen, that color of horizons, of remote mountain ranges, of anything far away. The color of that distance is the color of an emotion, the color of solitude and of desire, the color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color of where you can never go.
– Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

I would say that there exists a thousand unbreakable links between each of us and everything else, and that our dignity and our chances are one. The farthest star and the mud at our feet are a family; and there is no decency or sense in honoring one thing, or a few things, and then closing the list. The pine tree, the leopard, the Platte River, and ourselves-we are at risk together, or we are on our way to a sustainable world together, we are each other’s destiny.
– Mary Oliver | Winter Hours

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
– Marcel Proust

I’m not personally obsessed with death. At a certain age, the light that you live in is inhabited by the shades – it ’tis, Mr. Heaney said. I’m very conscious that people dear to me are alive in my imagination – poets in particular. There’s an elegy for Joseph Brodsky, an elegy for Ted Hughes. These people are with me. It’s just a stage of your life when the death of people doesn’t banish them out of your consciousness. They’re part of the light in your head.
– Seamus Heaney

You wake up on a winter morning and pull up the shade, and what lay there the evening before is no longer there – the sodden gray yard, the dog droppings, the tire tracks in the frozen mud, the broken lawn chair you forgot to take in last fall. All this has disappeared overnight, and what you look out on is not the snow of Narnia but the snow of home, which is no less shimmering and white as it falls. The earth is covered with it, and it is falling still in silence so deep that you can hear its silence. It is snow to be shoveled, to make driving even worse than usual, snow to be joked about and cursed at, but unless the child in you is entirely dead, it is snow, too, that can make the heart beat faster when it catches you by surprise that way, before your defenses are up. It is snow that can awaken memories of things more wonderful than anything you ever knew or dreamed.
– Frederick Buechner

the truth is to be built, like love, like intelligence. Nothing is given or promised, but everything is possible for who agrees to undertake and risk. It is this bet that we must hold at a time when we lie under the lie, where we are being pushed against the wall. You have to keep it quiet, but stubbornly, and the doors will open.
– Albert Camus

Now winter downs the dying of the year,
And night is all a settlement of snow;
From the soft street the rooms of houses show
A gathered light, a shapen atmosphere,
Like frozen-over lakes whose ice is thin
And still allows some stirring down within.

These sudden ends of time must give us pause.
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
More time, more time. Barrages of applause
Come muffled from a buried radio.
The New-year bells are wrangling with the snow.
– Richard Wilbur

Where is the edge of new? Where is the edge of belief? Is it possible to believe something truly unbelievable? How does that begin? Is there a crack of light under the door? How do you know to see it as light? Is there an edge of light all around the dark mass of your life up to this moment? Can you see the dark mass as a veil? Can you want it gone?
– Anne Carson, Float

Native American Prayer for Healing:
Mother, sing me a song
That will ease my pain,
Mend broken bones,
Bring wholeness again.
Catch my babies
When they are born,
Sing my death song,
Teach me how to mourn.
Show me the Medicine
Of the healing herbs,
The value of spirit,
The way I can serve.
Mother, heal my heart
So that I can see
The gifts of yours
That can live through me.

And of all the things we’re dying from tonight,
being alive is the strangest,
surviving our histories is the saddest.
– Li-Young Lee, Changing Places in the Fire

Loneliness is what every writer deserves for all their ruthless betrayals – telling other people’s stories their way.
– Hilton Als, I Am The Happiness Of This World

The art of not reading is a very important one. It consists in not taking an interest in whatever may be engaging the attention of the general public at any particular time. When someone political or ecclesiastical pamphlet, or novel, or poem is making a great commotion, you should remember that he who writes for fools always finds a large public. — A precondition for reading good books is not reading bad ones: for life is short.
– Schopenhauer

As I grew older the things I cared about were fewer, but were more important.
– Mary Oliver

Knowing the unknown of our knowing, is the unraveling of what we are slowly showing. Under our perfectly, poised, there’s a wild creature of longing. We are pining to express our true soul’s belonging. How we flicker and float – sometimes it is freeing until caught in the snare of someone else’s boasting; the latter an icky web to keep us from growing. Who the hell cares if they appear all-knowing? Stay close to YOUR unknowing and it’ll lead you to YOUR deeper knowing; for our souls speak in symbols, apart from this world’s brash showing.
– Carolyn Riker

Robert Moss:
I am in love with the whole spectrum of blue. Even the names excite me: aquamarine, azure, chicory, cobalt, cornflower, curaçao, cyan, Egyptian blue, electric blue, French blue, hyacinth, ice blue, indigo, midnight blue, ocean blue, royal blue, sapphire, sky blue, teal, ultramarine. Colors of sea and sky, of blue fire and lightning, of great blue morphos winging through rainforest, of memory, of saudade, of home among the stars.
Our lives are dyed in the colors of our imaginations, said the philosopher emperor Marcus Aurelius. Mine is deeply dyed in blue, running into violets and turquoise, purple and malachite. The marriage of blue and green delights and excites me. One of my favorite scenes from nature is bluebells popping up through lush green grass under ancient beeches in a forest in England. And you?

Then it’s not the past
I yearn for, but the idea
of a time when everything important
has not yet happened:
– Lawrence Raab

Dreaming is not merely an act of communication (or coded communication, if you like), it is also an aesthetic activity, a game that is a value in itself. Our dreams prove that to imagine–to dream about things that have not happened–is among mankind’s deepest needs.
– Milan Kundera

I was thinking books are less complicated than us. Even when
we run out of a line, of a word. Even when
we can’t quite breathe. When I thought about that
I had a vague notion of entitlement.
And a pale breath wishing to be a page.
– Filipa Leal

Write instead of sewing.
Even if you knew how, you couldn’t do enough mending.
– Margarida Ferra

Repetition, and the rewriting that repetition becomes, make a perpetual beginning.
– Lyn Hejinian

I Dream.
Sometimes I think that’s the only right thing to do.
– Haruki Murakami

Somewhere a man is repairing the night, one word at a time.
– Anne Michaels

So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?
– Elizabeth Gilbert

Because you love so much; / because you never smile; because your heart / must always ache so much.
– César Vallejo

For us, too, there was a wish to possess
Something beyond the world we knew, beyond ourselves,
Beyond our power to imagine, something nevertheless
In which we might see ourselves; and this desire
Came always in passing, in waning light, and in such cold
That ice on the valley’s lakes cracked and rolled,
And blowing snow covered what earth we saw,
And scenes from the past, when they surfaced again,
Looked not as they had, but ghostly and white
Among false curves and hidden erasures;
And never once did we feel we were close
Until the night wind said, “Why do this,
Especially now? Go back to the place you belong;”
And there appeared, with its windows glowing, small,
In the distance, in the frozen reaches, a cabin;
And we stood before it, amazed at its being there,
And would have gone forward and opened the door,
And stepped into the glow and warmed ourselves there,
But that it was ours by not being ours,
And should remain empty. That was the idea.
– Mark Strand

I imagine poets stitching the world together. Long silver threads of text. Lines prompting reading, dreaming minds not to see every thing by itself and separate, but to see the seams often unseen in the dark expanses across space and time. This is, perhaps, a kind of sorcery. A power not to wield, but to hold. To practice holding.
– Ellie A. Rogers

The chances of finding a human existence are one in a hundred.
Now that you have found one, if you fail to practice the sublime Dharma,
How could you possibly expect to find such an opportunity again?
This is why it’s crucial that you take advantage of your situation.
Conceiving of your body as a servant or a thing to ferry you about,

Don’t allow it to rest in idleness for even just a single moment;

Use it well, spurring on your entire body, speech and mind to virtue.
– Chatral Rinpoche

You should therefore cease from practice based on intellectual understanding, pursuing words and following after speech, and learn the backward step that turns your light inwardly to illuminate your self. Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will be manifest. If you want to attain suchness, you should practice suchness without delay.
For sanzen [zazen], a quiet room is suitable. Eat and drink moderately. Cast aside all involvements and cease all affairs. Do not think good or bad. Do not administer pros and cons. Cease all the movements of the conscious mind, the gauging of all thoughts and views. Have no designs on becoming a Buddha. Zazen has nothing whatever to do with sitting or lying down.
– Zen Master Dogen

The idea that just one more dollar, one more dalliance, one more rung on the ladder will leave us feeling sated reflects a misunderstanding about human nature – a misunderstanding, moreover, that is built into human nature; we are designed to feel that the next great goal will bring bliss, and the bliss is designed to evaporate shortly after we get there. Natural selection has a malicious sense of humor; it leads us along with a series of promises and then keeps saying ‘Just kidding.’

Remarkably, we go our whole lives without ever really catching on.

The advice of the sages – that we refuse to play this game – is nothing less than an incitement to mutiny, to rebel against our creator.

To cultivate some indifference is one plausible route to liberation. While few of us can claim to have traveled far on this route, the proliferation of this scriptural advice suggests it has been followed some distance with some success.
– Robert Wright

Seeking Clarity
by Pablo Neruda
if each day falls
inside each night

there exists a well

where clarity is imprisoned.
we need to sit on the rim
of the well of darkness
and fish for fallen light
with patience.

W. S. Merwin:
To the New Year
With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning
so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible

…Life is so generous a giver. But we, judging its gifts by their covering,
cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and you
will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom, with power.
Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel’s hand that brings it to you.
Everything we call a trial, a sorrow or a duty, believe me, that angel’s hand is there.
The gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Your joys, too,
be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.
Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering,
that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it; that is all!
But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together,
wending through unknown country home.
And so, at this time, I greet you, not quite as the world sends greetings,
but with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you, now and
forever, the day breaks and shadows flee away.
– Fra Giovanni

I tremble sometimes for your happiness, / […] / And when I get confused by time, / I fear you no longer exist—
– Rainer Maria Rilke

I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else. After all, what is a painter? He is a collector who gets what he likes in others by painting them himself. This is how I begin and then it becomes something else.
– Ann Livermore, Artists and Aesthetics in Spain

If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.
– Orson Walles

People want to find a ‘meaning’ in everything and everyone. That’s the disease of our age, an age that is anything but practical but believes itself to be more practical than any other age.
– Pablo Picasso

If I could give you one key, and one key only to more abundant life, I would give you a sense of your own worth, an unshakeable sense of your own dignity as one grounded in the source of the cosmic dance, as one who plays a unique part in the unfolding of the story of the world.
– Greta Crosby

Everyday there are more sustainable solutions available to us, but applied at an inadequate scale or without paying attention to their systemic context, today’s solutions can quickly turn into tomorrow’s problems.
Without the cultural ability to see our actions and the changes around us from a systemic perspective, combined with the wisdom to evaluate any proposed solutions in the context of their effects on the health and resilience of life as a whole, even well-meant attempts to create sustainability can have ill-fated results.
Einstein’s widely quoted advice that “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them” seems more appropriate than ever. We are dealing with the complexity of a profound societal change and the transition towards diverse regenerative cultures as manifestations of not only a different way of being in the world, but also a different way of seeing the world…
In spring 2002 I had the good fortune to meet the physicist Fritjof Capra at Schumacher College. Capra clearly articulated something that I had intuitively known and was trying to understand better. He suggested that the ecological, environmental, social and economic crises we are facing are not separate but interconnected expressions of one single crisis: a crisis of perception..
– Daniel Christian Wahl

Rain, New Year’s Eve
The rain is a broken piano,
playing the same note over and over.
My five-year-old said that.
Already she knows loving the world
means loving the wobbles
you can’t shim, the creaks you can’t
oil silent—the jerry-rigged parts,
MacGyvered with twine and chewing gum.
Let me love the cold rain’s plinking.
Let me love the world the way I love
my young son, not only when
he cups my face in his sticky hands,
but when, roughhousing,
he accidentally splits my lip.
Let me love the world like a mother.
Let me be tender when it lets me down.
Let me listen to the rain’s one note
and hear a beginner’s song.
– Maggie Smith

I ask not for any crown
But that which all may win;
Nor try to conquer any world
Except the one within.
– Louisa May Alcott

What can poetry be but the mirror which returns me time and again to this scene and, at the same time, the reiterated attempt to drag me from it, with words, to re-create a space of my own, a chamber of my own?
– Maria Mercé Marçal

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.
– Epictetus

Lauren Worsh:
every revolution
needs a funky

Love is contrary to conscious common sense because love involves the total systemic mind…love is precisely that to which the pragmatic, headstrong, purposive consciousness must always be allergic. – Gregory Bateson. And therefore is it the perfect antidote to our separation and destruction.

Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, something is out of tune.
– C.G. Jung

The first step in any natural healing process is rest – a time when the body’s immune system can be free from stress to be able to focus on the healing process itself. A time of Rest enables us an opportunity to reconnect with the infinite intelligence of LIFE. It allows us to let go of the noise of external stimuli and re-member ourselves and how to function as a coherent life-affirming whole.
– Shelley Ostroff

I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.
– John Cage

A very sweet light is spreading over the Earth like a perfume. The moon is slowly dissolving and a boy-sun languidly stretches his translucent arms . . . Cool murmurings of pure waters that surrender themselves to the hillsides. A pair of wings dances in the rosy atmosphere.
Silence, my friends.
The day is about to begin.
– Clarice Lispector

There is within us a sacred flame covered by the ashes of consumerism, the search for material goods, of a distracted life of the essential things. It is necessary to remove such ashes and awaken the sacred flame. And then irradiaremos. We’ll be like a sun.
– Leonardo Boff

A Poem for the New Year from Anam Thubten:

Welcoming the New Year

The times are getting darker,
The world descends,
Castles crack,
Bridges fall apart,
Flowers decay,
Music loses its magic,
The Divine is crying.
Such times have always been part of our history,
A giant messed up family.
In the entire galaxy,
The only species who think they know.
What a curse!

The big mountains,
The hundred year old trees,
The ever flowing rivers,
Those great witnesses say,
This is not the first time.

In such times,
It is hard to be a dreamer.
Optimism is gone,
Our hearts are frozen,
Our confidence is shaken,
Signs of “dead end” everywhere.
All the roads lead nowhere,
The future is bleak.

Only one thought can lift up our spirit,
The grand scheme of all things,
That cosmic energy in the sky,
When it makes a slight move,
The world will renew.
Light will return,
A big spring will bless our people,
May it happen quickly!

Let’s welcome this New Year,
While holding a sacred torch,
Of hope,
The hope for change.


As long, long ago, I launch my boats of bark.

Czeslaw Milosz
May you build a raft and get home this year. To the real.
Arcadia, Camelot, the back of the Wardrobe.

And maybe you’ll find a little love as you go.


And not the stuff some therapists approve of: the reduced, off-the-boil, not in-love-but-loving kind, but finding a place for the indecent, howling hunger strike of a feeling that scythes all in it’s path. The perilous. The Chapel Perilous. Dionysus riding the leopard. I hope there’s absolutely no planning permission where you are headed. It’s a night sea journey and your compass is ecstatically drunk, indiscreetly lonesome and prone to abrupt changes of location.


Not as a neurotic garnish for sexual desire, or a temporary, politic hallucination for wealthy couplings, but as a sustainable, dangerous, uninsurable, risk-aggravated fit of telling the truth. With stages, and delicate negotiations and repentances, with tango twists and sudden, excruciating slips. With long periods of silence. Love as something utterly and profoundly important. As a thing worth taking seriously.

Sometimes the raft will run on land, with mud underfoot, crashing through long periods of foliaged darkness and flicking thorns before breaking the hell out into sudden views of waterfalls and hummingbirds. We will all cheer you at such a moment.

Then you will be back skimming, skimming like a stolen coin over blue Russian ice, and charging down into the Lascaux caves with Bonnie and Clyde as your guides, holding nothing but a spluttering candle of tiger fat. They point at the shadows on the breathing walls and they coo under an antelope robe.

For some of this foolishness you may end up trudging on foot, or secreted within the wingspan of a condor, or on the sturdy back of a Carpathian steed, yip yip yipping over the whipping grasses and through unconsecrated, vampiric Mountains.

The point is you don’t know yet. The fidelity is to the journey, not the mode of transport.

Maybe the shrinks have got it wrong, the marital mediators and the priests have got it wrong, even your friend with an expression like she’s sucking on a rotten lemon describing her tortured years with Sebastian has got it wrong. Maybe the ones that make love small, conditional, and robbed of holy stature have got it wrong.

Learn to dance on the tips of spears. These sentences are boats burnt on the beaches of loves great islands. There is no pretence at retracing your steps. You are committed.

It’s going to be chaotic at times. Art is the enemy of the well made. Robert Motherwell said that. A lovers home is designed to collapse magnificently. Loving repair has its erotic fulfilment. On every fridge of every great poet is taped, ‘the only sense of security we have is a false sense of security’.

Who knows, maybe you will meet the gods. The goddesses.
They are gnawing on the edge of these sentences.

The Otherworld is this one, when it chooses.

They are talking to our left brain, right brain, serpent brain, gorilla brain, elegant-cloud-over-moisty-hills brain, old brain, new brain, skeptical brain, exhausted parent brain, terrified brain, celibate brain, horny brain, hands extended into the nourishing dark that hangs over a late summer cornfield brain, strategic brain, hang-it-all please god almighty let me taste real love one last time before they throw me in the clay brain. All the brains.

We have to stop saying that they die if we stop thinking about them. That’s a degraded idea.

So here’s to you, and your foolishness, setting out.

Take Courage.


Let the Wild Rumpus begin.
– Martin Shaw

Elegy in Joy by Muriel Rukeyser
We tell beginnings: for the flesh and the answer,
or the look, the lake in the eye that knows,
for the despair that flows down in widest rivers,
cloud of home; and also the green tree of grace,
all in the leaf, in the love that gives us ourselves.

The word of nourishment passes through the women,
soldiers and orchards rooted in constellations,
white towers, eyes of children:
saying in time of war What shall we feed?
I cannot say the end.

Nourish beginnings, let us nourish beginnings.
Not all things are blest, but the
seeds of all things are blest.
The blessing is in the seed.

This moment, this seed, this wave of the sea, this look, this instant of love.
Years over wars and an imagining of peace. Or the expiation journey
toward peace which is many wishes flaming together,
fierce pure life, the many-living home.
Love that gives us ourselves, in the world known to all
new techniques for the healing of the wound,
and the unknown world. One life, or the faring stars.

Burning the Old Year
by Naomi Shihab Nye

Letters swallow themselves in seconds.
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.

So much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
Orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.

Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
I begin again with the smallest numbers.

Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things I didn’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.

Abby E. Murray:
When your father says
he doesn’t want me to march
what he really means is
he doesn’t want you to march.
He doesn’t want me to march
because you will follow.
He doesn’t want you to march
by default, on my shoulders,
because you might follow
the songs of women
by default, on my shoulders,
raised on bread and justice.
Daughter, the songs of women
are the first words of children
raised on bread and justice.
Blessed are the ones who sing
the first words of children:
this is how I love you.
Blessed are the ones who say
they follow songs into the street.

Fear limits our ability to feel the social field, to inhabit the collective present, to care for a wider community in an unbiased way…
– Gaylon Ferguson, PhD

Holding in.
Reaching out.
Stumbling over yourself
to find yourself.
Desiring the end of desire.
Give it up, child!
Your dreams of enlightenment
Do not stand a chance.
Grace will find you in the end.
She will nail your hands to the cross
And whisper softly in your ear,
“Only love can survive this”.
And you will understand.
And you will never have felt so alive.
– Jeff Foster

Poetry is probably the last gift economy.
– Claudia Rankine

God isn’t compatible with machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness. You must make a choice. Our civilization has chosen machinery and medicine and happiness.
– Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Freedom of consciousness comes when we take responsibility for guiding our own development.. Each person has the potential to “self-actualize,” as Abraham Maslow put it, to create or discover what the Japanese refer to as Ikigai (生き甲斐), our own unique purpose and meaning for being.
To do this we need to disconnect from (or limit our interactions with) time-wasting technologies, from unhealthy manufactured foods and violent cultures, to gravitate towards (and create) art, music, science, poetry, literature, spirituality and media that nourish our hearts, feed our souls, help our children and ourselves to grow healthier and wiser.
Pick up a musical instrument, join a local chorus, band or drum circle, start painting or gardening, take walks in nature, read more books, grow more of your own food, open a cafe with a group of friends, take up yoga, start to cook more, sing more. Connect with others, find what provides deep meaning, speaks to your heart, nourishes your soul…
– Christopher

Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.
– D.H. Lawrence

Sometimes a high moon, liquid-brilliant, scudded across a hollow space and took cover under electric, brown-iridescent cloud-edges.
– D.H. Lawrence

To feel most beautifully alive means to be reading something beautiful, ready always to apprehend in the flow of language the sudden flash of poetry.
– Gaston Bachelard

After a certain point you reach the conclusion that what you’re looking for is not found in any object, in any projection. This insight brings you to a standstill. You become quiet, and listening, stripped of direction, multidimensional and totally open… And then you are completely undressed, free of all attributes; you are Silence, the original perception, wherein there is neither perceiver nor anything perceived… You feel (without feeling it) that during all states—waking, dreaming, and sleeping—pure object less consciousness is.
– Jean Klein

The Day
by Peter Everwine
We walked at the edge of the sea, the dog,
still young then, running ahead of us.
Few people. Gulls. A flock of pelicans
circled beyond the swells, then closed
their wings and dropped head-long
into the dazzle of light and sea. You clapped
your hands; the day grew brilliant.
Later we sat at a small table
with wine and food that tasted of the sea.
A perfect day, we said to one another,
so that even when the day ended
and the lights of houses among the hills
came on like a scattering of embers,
we watched it leave without regret.
That night, easing myself toward sleep,
I thought how blindly we stumble ahead
with such hope, a light flares briefly—Ah, Happiness!
then we turn and go on our way again.
But happiness, too, goes on its way,
and years from where we were, I lie awake
in the dark and suddenly it returns—
that day by the sea, that happiness,
though it is not the same happiness,
not the same darkness.

As we all know, too much of any divine thing is destruction.
– D.H. Lawrence

Nithya Shanti:
Three Lessons from a Teacher
I met a gentlemen (he was truly gentle and glowing) recently who has been a mathematics teacher for over three decades.
He shared with me three imporant lessons he has learned…
1) Love the children intensely: Once he had been a very reactive person, quick to anger. This made his work of teaching very cumbersome and annoying both for himself and his students. His Spiritual Guru told him that his main work is not to teach maths, but to love the children intensely. He began practicing this and gradually it changed everything. I could see the kindness radiating from his face.
2) Pause and reflect: Whenever he is unsure of what to do, he has learned to pause, get inwardly quiet and ask himself what his Guru would do in that same situation. This has always given him clear and reliable answers free from selfishness and full of wholesomeness. Pausing is a way to step off the train of thoughts and access our own innermost wisdom and clarity. We can all do this whether or not we have a Guru.
3) Encourage and uplift: Wherever he goes and whomsoever he is with, he said he does his best to raise the spirits and consciousness of everyone around him. He said we all have a circle of people we are connected to and can influence – some have a small circle, some have a larger circle – we can all do our best to encourage everyone and make them feel seen, loved and appreciated. This elevates everyone and then everyone goes on to elevate everyone else!
I loved his simple, grounded explanations from the rich soil of his own life experiences. I am sure he has touched the lives of thousands of students in magnificent ways. Truly the influence of a teacher has no boundary. It carries on and on and on. It strokes eternity.
How wonderful!

Therefore, dark past,
I’m about to do it.
I’m about to forgive you
for everything.
– excerpt from The Settlement by Mary Oliver

Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power to that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.
– J. K. Rowling

The New Year is not something before us, it is something hidden within us trying to find the light. Don’t wait for the right gift to be given to you. Look inside instead and find the Holy message trying to be opened.
– Michael Meade

Peace will only prevail if it is born within the mind.
– Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche

One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.
– Sigmund Freud

So many people are frightened by the wonder of their own presence. They are dying to tie themselves into a system, a role, or to an image, or to a predetermined identity that other people have actually settled on for them.
– John O’Donohue

All the visible Universe is the Buddha; so are all sounds; hold fast to one principle and all the others are Identical. On seeing one thing, you see ALL. On perceiving any individual’s mind, you are perceiving ALL Mind. Obtain a glimpse of one way and ALL ways are embraced in your vision, for there is nowhere at all which is devoid of the Way.

When your glance falls upon a grain of dust, what you see is identical with all the vast world systems with their great rivers and mighty hills. To gaze upon a drop of water is to behold the nature of all the waters of the Universe. Only come to know the nature of your own Mind, in which there is no self and no other, and you will in fact be a Buddha.
– Huang Po

Writing is an ongoing fascination and challenge, as well as being the only form of spirituality I can consistently practice. I started as a poet and will always return to poetry—both reading and writing it—for that sense of deep discovery and communion I find there. There are only two useful rules I can think of for aspiring writers: learn your craft, and persist. The rest, as Henry James said, is the madness of art.
– Kim Addonizio

Retweeted Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama):
I am convinced we can become happier individuals, happier communities and a happier humanity by cultivating a warm heart, allowing our better selves to prevail.

Mark Nepo:
When we put down our dreams and maps of memory, precious as they are, we can feel the pulse of life.
– from Things That Join the Sea and the Sky

Lyna Rose:
Toxic emotions and thoughts cloud our spiritual field and vision.
Emotional health is the beginning of spiritual health.
Without a clear river running through us, we are merely spewing pockets of fear and projection around us, and love cannot swim through us.
To love ourselves and the world, it is so important to consistently clear and heal our emotions.

Theoretical knowledge has no end. Take to heart and practice what you have learned.
– Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche

The most we can do is dream the myth onwards and give it a modern dress.
– Carl Gustav Jung

Simon Sinek:
Find a place where you feel like you belong, where you can be yourself & you’ll work hard every single day.

Surazeus Simon Seamount:


Quiet peaceful rest and fresh herbal tea, 
and gentle whispers from lips of close friends, 
will aid the journey of his soul back from gloom, 
and light his flight to inhabit his body 
better than wild dances and freakish masks.

Hermead V 509-13

It is easy enough to be pleasant,
When life flows by like a song,
But the man worth while is one who will smile,
When everything goes dead wrong.
For the test of the heart is trouble,
And it always comes with the years,
And the smile that is worth the praises of earth,
Is the smile that shines through tears.
– Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I believe that amor can move out of an adolescent, or tragic, mode, and into something really tremendous—vast, in fact. I do.
It’s also risky because it means being witnessed. I think that amor in its most intensely delicious form is absolutely about you and another. It’s not just about you and the transcendental, white light of the divine. I counsel against transcending most things. There’s a real, trembling, curious human being in front of you. Don’t skip them and go straight to the mantra! Otherwise, why were we born at all? Forget all that. I wonder if we have all got a little too self-sufficient. Think of the voltage, the nutritional value in the Song of Songs:
Come away, my lover,
and be like a gazelle
or like a young stag
on the spice-laden mountains
I know a man of ninety years who calls that out his backdoor every night, and I swear the stars shift closer to him.
– Martin Shaw

Wendell Berry on stewardship:
No settled family or community has ever called its home place an “environment.” None has ever called its feeling for its home place “biocentric” or “anthropocentric.” None has ever thought of its connection to its home place as “ecological,” deep or shallow. The concepts and insights of the ecologists are of great usefulness in our predicament, and we can hardly escape the need to speak of “ecology” and “ecosystems.” But the terms themselves are culturally sterile. They come from the juiceless, abstract intellectuality of the universities which was invented to disconnect, displace, and disembody the mind. The real names of the environment are the names of rivers and river valleys; creeks, ridges, and mountains; towns and cities; lakes, woodlands, lanes roads, creatures, and people.
And the real name of our connection to this everywhere different and differently named earth is “work.” We are connected by work even to the places where we don’t work, for all places are connected; it is clear by now that we cannot exempt one place from our ruin of another. The name of our proper connection to the earth is “good work,” for good work involves much giving of honor. It honors the source of its materials; it honors the place where it is done; it honors the art by which it is done; it honors the thing that it makes and the user of the made thing. Good work is always modestly scaled, for it cannot ignore either the nature of individual places or the differences between places, and it always involves a sort of religious humility, for not everything is known. Good work can be defined only in particularity, for it must be defined a little differently for every one of the places and every one of the workers on the earth.
The name of our present society’s connection to the earth is “bad work” – work that is only generally and crudely defined, that enacts a dependence that is ill understood, that enacts no affection and gives no honor. Every one of us is to some extent guilty of this bad work. This guilt does not mean that we must indulge in a lot of breast-beating and confession; it means only that there is much good work to be done by every one of us and that we must begin to do it.
– Wendell Berry

Our feelings are formations, impermanent and without substance. We learn not to identify with ourselves with our feelings, not to consider them as a self, not to seek refuge in them, not to die because of them.
– Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching

Let us not waste our time in idle discourse!
Let us do something, while we have the chance!
It is not every day that we are needed.
Not indeed that we personally are needed.
Others would meet the case equally well, if not better. …
To all mankind they were addressed, those cries for help still ringing in our ears!
But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not.
Let us make the most of it, before it is too late!
– Samuel Beckett

Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation…
– Robert F. Kennedy

If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, return to yourself, to who you are, here and now and when you get there, you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong.
– Masaru Emoto, Secret Life of Water

We only gain merit and psychological development by accepting ourselves as we are, and by being serious enough to live the life we are entrusted with.
– C.G. Jung

Planetary revolution is here:
But there are options—
A hot-headedly conducted,
Bloody revolution—
Everyone loses;…
A cool-headedly conducted,
Design science computer-accommodated
Wealth-accounting revolution—
All humanity wins.
– R. Buckminster Fuller

Just imagine living in a world without mirrors. You’d dream about your face and imagine it as an outer reflection of what is inside you. And then, when you reached forty, someone put a mirror before you for the first time in your life. Imagine your fright! You’d see the face of a stranger. And you’d know quite clearly what you are unable to grasp: your face is not you.
– Milan Kundera, Immortality

It’s difficult when you spend most of your life in a sort of survival mode to shift out of it when your circumstances no longer require that of you. We often become so used to doing things a certain way that we then create situations in our life so we can continue reliving those patterns because it’s all we have ever known. It’s familiar, it’s comfortable.
Even if it’s toxic.
– Jessica Stewart

The next step for all the Buddhists I think is learning more. My next step all the time is learning more. And if anybody is setting a more important example for us, it’s one of the great Buddhist masters of our era, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who’s always learning more. If someone asks me in one word or one phrase, “What is Buddhism?” I say Buddhism is engaged realism—that’s what it is, period.
– Robert Thurman

It is science alone that can solve the problems of hunger and poverty, of insanitation and illiteracy, of superstition and deadening custom and tradition, of vast resources running to waste, or a rich country inhabited by starving people. Who indeed could afford to ignore science today? At every turn we have to seek its aid. The future belongs to science and those who make friends with science.
– Nehru

There is a strength of thousands of lifetimes and bloodlines that flows through the veins of the Soul whom can recall its Origins… the defiance of the battles from a time not on this Earth, and an intention that was planted long ago… deep within the womb… this Soul has a fire that has been burning for eons… Tread cautiously, as this Soul has broken the barriers of fear… and holds a faith and trust that is uncanny.
It is Souls such as these that are here to wash away what no longer serves, and bring fourth a New Dawn.
– Jordi Klassen

By poverty, i.e. simplicity of life and fewness of incidents, I am solidified and crystallized, as a vapor, or liquid by cold.
– Henry David Thoreau

In this passage, Thoreau compares simplicity of lifestyle to a cold day. I think of high altitude sky that is relatively empty of the air molecules that would otherwise hold more heat and produce rain. Because of this emptiness, any water vapor that is present more readily condenses into snow. Similarly, when we empty our own …lives of excess activity and mental busyness, spiritual meaning is able to condense, crystallize and manifest itself in all of its beauty.
– Stephen Hatch

Yolanda Rommel:
And if love comes to your life
with force greater than you can bare
do not fall
stand in her majesty
alow her to
wash over your heart
in solitude
draw from her power and
in her light
And when she comes do not
ask questions in your fears
trust her presence in your own
heart it is love that
chose you alone for your
in her

The human being is a most curious creature. He thinks he has got one
soul, and he has got dozens.
– D.H. Lawrence

I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day.
– Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

The most basic precept of all is to be aware of what we do, what we are, each minute. Every other precept will follow from that.
– Thich Nhat Hanh, Being Peace

I swear, the reason for full moons is so the gods can more clearly see the mischief they create.
– Michael J. Sullivan

I have learned that it’s never about ‘saying’ very much at all but, rather, receiving, listening, and valuing people until they come out with their hands up — feeling, for perhaps the first time, valuable.
– Father Greg Boyle, Barking to the Choir

Never separate the life you live from the words you speak.
– Paul Wellstone

When coral dies, it affects the shelter and food that sustain fish, lobsters, shellfish, worms, etc. The same happens in a rain forest. When the trees die, the animals and plants that have developed over millennia die with them,” he said, before adding an analogy. “When a country is ravaged by war, people die and migrate.
– Jelle Atema

We’ve got to start taking steps that we haven’t thought about before — even if they sound absolutely crazy. Because the stuff we thought ma…de sense will no longer work.
– Dr. Eakin

It is a beautiful and delightful sight to behold the body of the Moon.
– Galileo Galilei

Human love, human trust, are always perilous, because they break down. The greater the love, the greater the trust, and the greater the peril, the greater the disaster. Because to place absolute trust on another human being is in itself a disaster, both ways, since each human being is a ship that must sail its own course, even if it go in company with another ship…. And yet, love is the greatest thing between human beings.
– D.H. Lawrence

Did you ever feel, as though you had something inside you that was only waiting for you to give it a chance to come out? Some sort of extra power that you aren’t using – you know, like all the water that goes down the falls instead of through the turbines?”
– Aldous Huxley

But make no mistake, even as we undergo transformation, we are all at once the vehicles for transformation. We are both the artist and the artistry of our soul’s true nature.
– Melissa La Flamme

in the underbelly of consciousness
where the old world lurks
in the labyrinth of all minds
like a gothic cathedral

where the hero has ventured
into the darkness of the unknown
and then has leapt out
as if following somebody else’s path
now, go beyond the ego
beyond aberrations of the human mind
be dismissive of theological speculation
devoid of intrinsic spiritual value
where the map has been obscured
where violins ask questions
and the great myths are burned
pierced, desecrated and destroyed
a cultural relic of the victorian age
where crusaders talk about the inexpressible
where the world had been shattered
into separate and meaningless shapes
be not shocked nor pierced by my poem…
nor the perversion of the simple
reach the sphere of inexhaustible fullness
a symphony vibrating higher in your inward thoughts
– ivan kireevskii

Those who believe that art proceeds from a healthy, and not from a diseased, faculty of the mind will take what he shows them as a revelation, not of what we ought to be but of what we are at a given time and under given circumstances.
– Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners

Let her have time, and silence,
enough paper to make mistakes and go on.
– Jane Hirshfield, The Poet

The culture of selfishness and individualism that often prevails in our society is not, I repeat, not what builds up and leads to a more habitable world: rather, it is the culture of solidarity that does so; the culture of solidarity means seeing others not as rivals or statistics, but brothers and sisters. And we are all brothers and sisters!
– Pope Francis

Whether science or religion is constructive or destructive depends on our motivation and whether we are guided by a real concern for the well-being of others and an appreciation of the oneness of humanity.
– Dalai Lama

Thomas Moore:
If you want to give your spirituality more depth and a frame of rich, human reflection, do a study of a great artist or poet.

Poetry has been to me its own exceeding great reward. It has soothed my afflictions; it has multiplied and refined my enjoyments; it has endeared solitude; and it has given me the habit of wishing to discover the good and the beautiful in all that meets and surrounds me.
– Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Few people are powerful enough, persuasive, persistent, consistent, and charismatic enough to change the world all at once, but everyone has the ability to affect the three feet around them by behaving more ethically, honestly, and compassionately toward those they meet.
– Sharon Salzberg

Dennis Lewis:
…The inward call toward being and the outward urge toward manifestation complement and complete each other. The movement inward unchecked by the demand for outward manifestation turns into imagination and dreaming. And outward manifestation without an inner search is empty and simply creates confusion in both ourselves and the world….

Songs are thoughts, sung out with the breath when people are moved by great forces and ordinary speech no longer suffices. Man is moved just like the ice flow sailing here and there in the current. His thoughts are driven by a flowing force when he feels joy, when he feels fear, when he feels sorrow. Thoughts can wash over him like a flood, making his breath come in gasps and his heart throb. Something like an abatement in the weather will keep him thawed up. And then it will happen that we, who always think we are small, will feel still smaller. And we will fear to use words. But it will happen that the words we need will come of themselves. When the words we want to use shoot up of themselves – we get a new song.
– Orpingalik, Netsilik Eskimo

Surazeus Simon Seamount:
I prefer wise Apollo as my god, 
my personality guide to living well 
in singing visions of truth I perceive.

Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.
– John F. Kennedy

To develop the nonviolent approach, first of all you have to see that your problems are not really trying to destroy you.
– Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

One should . . . be able to see things as hopeless and yet
be determined to make
them otherwise.
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

Matt Licata:
At times, all our reference points will be taken away, with nothing given to replace them. What we were so clear about just a few days ago is nowhere to be foun…d. The relationship we thought would be there forever, the creativity in our work, our deepest insights and realizations – recycled in the activity of the vast.
The solid ground we once took refuge in has disintegrated underneath us, sending us spiraling through space. We were so sure we were beyond breaking yet again, that we had finished with all that, but the beloved is not interested in maintaining the status quo. It is the nature of all form to disintegrate, so that new forms may emerge.
Between the worlds, burning up, longing for an end to the contradictions. We have found ourselves in the liminal, but how do we rest there? Where is the healing, the transcendence, the resolution? How could we be asked to surrender more? It can seem that we are falling apart, but were we ever together to begin with? Is that even the right lens from which to attempt navigation? Or were we always something more vast, more whole, more majestic that all that?
Slow way down. Breathe deeply from the lower belly. Feel your feet in the mud of the earth. Sink into the womb of now. For just this moment, set aside the need to understand, to figure it all out, or to replace this moment with another. Today may not be the day for answers, but to let your heart break open to the vastness of the question.
Look up into the winter sky. Lay your hands on your heart and attune to what is really happening here: There are blues coming into existence that have never made their way into this dimension. There are oranges, reds, and purples that have been sent to remind you of the rarity and outrageousness of one human heart.
Stay right here. Don’t move from this moment. Listen. Receive. Everything that has ever happened, and everyone you have ever met, has led up to right here, and right now. While it can seem that the dark and the light are two, things are not always as they appear.

I would rather have your judgment of the moral quality of the Huck Finn book, after your fifty readings of it, than that of fifty clergymen after reading it once apiece.
– Mark Twain

My big fish must be somewhere.
The clouds over the land now rose like mountains and the coast was only a long green line with gray blue hills behind it. The w…ater was dark blue now, so dark that it was almost purple. As he looked down into it he saw the red sifting plankton in the dark water and the strange light the sun made now. He watched his lines to see them go straight down out of sight into the water and he was happy to see so much plankton because it meant fish.
– The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway

Anytime you’re gonna grow, you’re gonna lose something. You’re losing what you’re hanging onto to keep safe. You’re losing habits that you’re comfortable with, you’re losing familiarity.
– James Hillman

the main scourge of humanity is not ignorance, but the refusal to know.
– Simone de Beauvoir

We are living in a very special period of the history of humanity. The future of what it means to be human depends on us. Change and transformation at such a scale is only possible through an underlying change in human consciousness…
– Daniel Christian Wahl

If I wanted to understand a culture, my own for instance… I would turn to poetry first. For it is my confirmed bias that the poets remain the most ‘stunned by existence,’ the most determined to redeem the world in words.
– C.D. Wright

We emphasize stability as progress, the unchanging form, and queerness rejects that and offers a wild, often chaotic yet expansive lesson in what is possible.

Robert Moss:
In physics, the Many Worlds theory holds that we are living right now in one of numberless parallel universes, and that they interact. Conscious dreamers awaken to what this means on a human scale. Active dreamers develop the practice of bringing gifts and lessons from one parallel self to another. We can do this with selves who have already died in the physical world and are now growing the kind of knowledge that matters in what we call the afterlife. I know this matter; I dreamed of it again last night.

The artist can only obey the apparently alien impulse within and follow where it leads, sensing that his work is greater than himself.
– Carl Gustav Jung

Humans are frugivores across the board, not omnivores.
Omnivore: Does not see full color scale.
Frugivore (human): Sees full color scale.

Brain Chemistry:
Omnivore: Fueled by fats and protiens
Frugivore (human): Fueled by glycogen

Circadian Rhythm:
Omnivore: Sleeps 18-20 hours per 24 hour cycle
Frugivore (human): Sleeps 8 or less hours per 24 hour cycle

Mouth opening vs. Head size
Omnivore: Large
Frugivore (human): Small
Jaw Type:
Omnivore: Lower jaw embedded inside upper jaw
Frugivore (human): Upper Jaw sits on Bottom Jaw

Jaw Angle:
Omnivore: Not expanded
Frugivore (human): Expanded

Jaw Joint Location:
Omnivore: Same plane as molar teeth
Frugivore (human): Above molar teeth plane

Jaw Motion and mastication:
Omnivore: Up and down, Minimal to no lateral or forward movement
Frugivore (human): Great lateral and forward mobility

Necessity of chewing food:
Omnivore: Swallows food whole after minimal shearing
Frugivore (human): Extensive chewing necessary

Facial Muscles:
Omnivore: Reduced to allow wide mouth gape
Frugivore (human): Well developed to facilitate chewing

Major Jaw Muscles
Omnivores: Temporalis
Frugivores (human): Masseter and Pterygoids

Omnivore: Long, Sharp and Curved fangs
Frugivore (human): Rudimentary, Short, and Blunted

Omnivore: Short and pointed
Frugivore (human): Broad, flattened and spade shaped.

Omnivore: Sharp blades and/or flattened
Frugivore (human): Flattened with nodular cusps

Omnivore: Moderate to rough
Frugivore (human): Smooth

Salivary gland size:
Omnivore: Small
Frugivore (human): Large

Salivary Chemistry:
Omnivore: Acidic
Frugivore (human): Alkaline

Salivary Enzymes:
Omnivore: No carb digesting enzymes ; Lysosomes
Frugivore (human): Has carb digesting enzymes like Ptyalin

Stomach Capacity:
Omnivore: 60-70% of total digestive tract
Frugivore (human): 21-27% of total digestive tract

Stomach Acidity:
Omnivore: Less than or equal to PH1 with food in stomach
Frugivore (human): 4-5PH with food in stomach

Omnivore: Does not requite fiber to stimulate
Frugivore (human): Reqires fiber to stimulate

Length of small intestine:
Omnivore: 3 times body length
Frugivore (human): 9 times body length

Colon type:
Omnivore: Simple
Frugivore (human): Complex

Colon Length:
Omnivore: Short
Frugivore (human): Long

Colon Shape:
Omnivore: Somewhat sacculated
Frugivore (human): Sacculated

Colon Chemistry:
Omnivore: Alkaline
Frugivore (human): Acidic

Liver Type:
Omnivore: Complex
Frugivore (human): Simple

Liver Size:
Omnivore: Proportionately larger than herbivores and
Frugivore (human): Proportionately small

Bile Flow:
Omnivore: Comparatively moderate
Frugivore (human): Comparatively weak

Vit. A (Liver detox):
Omnivore: Can metabolize larger amounts efficiently
Frugivore (human): Can only metabolize smaller amounts efficiently

Short Chain Fatty acids:
Omnivore: Cannot convert to Long chain fatty acids
Frugivore (human): Can convert to Long chain fatty acids

Omnivore: Can metabolize large amounts efficiently
Frugivore (human): Can only metabolize phytosterols efficiently

Omnivore: Renal secretion (kidneys)
Frugivore (human): No secretion

Urinary Concentration:
Omnivore: Extreme
Frugivore (human): Moderate

Urinary Chemistry:
Omnivore: Acidic
Frugivore (human): Alkaline

Digestion time:
Omnivore: 6-10
Frugivore (human): 12-18

Omnivore: Zonary shaped
Frugivore (human): Discoid shaped

Omnivore: Has 4 paws with claws or hooves
Frugivore (human): Has arms with prehensile hands

Omnivore: Walks on all fours
Frugivore (human): All fours or upright

Omnivore: Multiple teats for nursing litters
Frugivore (human): 2 nipples for nursing 1-2 offspring

Skin and Hair:
Omnivore: 100% covered in hair
Frugivore (human): Pores with minimal to moderate hair

Cooling System:
Omnivore: Minimal sweat glands Panting
Frugivore (human): Sweat glands all over body.

Omnivore: Sharp claws and blunt hooves
Frugivore (human): Flattened nails

I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment.
– Joan Didion

Why in fact should one tell the truth? What obliges us to do it? And why do we consider telling the truth to be a virtue? Imagine that you meet a madman, who claims that he is a fish and that we are all fish. Are you going to argue with him? Are you going to undress in front of him and show him that you don’t have fins? Are you going to say to his face what you think? . . . If you told him the whole truth and nothing but the truth, only what you thought, you would enter into a serious conversation with a madman and you yourself would become mad. And it is the same way with the world that surrounds us. If I obstinately told the truth to its face, it would mean that I was taking it seriously. And to take seriously something so unserious means to lose all one’s own seriousness. I have to lie, if I don’t want to take madmen seriously and become a madman myself.
– Milan Kundera

In winter you wake up in this city, especially on Sundays, to the chiming of its innumerable bells, as though behind your gauze curtains a gigantic china tea set were vibrating on a silver tray in the pearl-gray sky. You fling the window open and the room is instantly flooded with this outer, pearl-laden haze, which is part damp oxygen, part coffee and prayers. No matter what sort of pills, and how many, you’ve got to swallow this morning, you feel it’s not over for you yet. No matter, by the same token, how autonomous you are, how much you’ve been betrayed, how thorough and dispiriting in your self-knowledge, you assume there is still hope for you, or at least a future. (Hope, said Francis Bacon, is a good breakfast but bad supper.) This optimism derives from the haze, from the prayer part of it, especially if it’s time for breakfast. On days like this, the city indeed acquires a porcelain aspect, what with all its zinc-covered cupolas resembling teapots or upturned cups, and the tilted profile of campaniles clinking like abandoned spoons and melting in the sky. Not to mention the seagulls and pigeons, now sharpening into focus, now melting into air. I should say that, good though this place is for honeymoons, I’ve often thought it should be tried for divorces also – both in progress and already accomplished. There is no better backdrop for rapture to fade into; whether right or wrong, no egoist can star for long in this porcelain setting by crystal water, for it steals the show. I am aware, of course, of the disastrous consequence the above suggestion may have for hotel rates here, even in winter. Still, people love their melodrama more than architecture, and I don’t feel threatened. It is surprising that beauty is valued less than psychology, but so long as such is the case, I’ll be able to afford this city – which means till the end of my days, and which ushers in the generous notion of the future.
– Joseph Brodsky

Have you noticed how often it happens that a really good idea – the kind of idea that looks, as it approaches, like the explanation for everything about everything – tends to hover near at hand when you are thinking hard about something quite different? There you are, halfway into a taxi, thinking about the condition of the cartilage in the right knee joint, and suddenly, with a whirring sound, in flies a new notion looking for a place to light. You’d better be sure you have a few bare spots, denuded of anything like thought, ready for its perching, or it will fly away into the dark.
– Lewis Thomas, The Youngest Science

To remember you’re alive
visit the cemetery of your father
at noon after you’ve made love
and are still wrapped in a mammalian
odor that you are forced to cherish.
Under each stone is someone’s inevitable
surprise, the unexpected death
of their biology that struggled hard, as it must.
Now to home without looking back,
enough is enough.
En route buy the best wine
you can afford and a dozen stiff brooms.
Have a few swallows then throw the furniture
out the window and begin sweeping.
Sweep until the walls are
bare of paint and at your feet sweep
until the floor disappears. Finish the wine
in this field of air, return to the cemetery
in evening and wind through the stones
a slow dance of your name visible only to birds.
– Jim Harrison

I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
– Henry David Thoreau

I don’t understand why the water keeps saying yes, O, yes. / I don’t understand the black lake that pools in my heart.
– Charles Wright

Wind flowers
in the mist
as if dark-grown, as spindly as whims,
off the grey coast where there’s no horizon
but one we infer, where they walk
or sleepwalk, in their middle distance
of just-possibility
considering all this
in their absent and abstracted way,
three-petalled, unpeeling themselves: loves me
loves me not — unpicking the knot of the winds,
a twist of faded ribbon tied round the idea,
no more than that,
– Philip Gross, Windfarm at Sea

The next morning I shall get up at dawn. I shall let myself out by the kitchen door. I shall walk on the moor. I shall see the swallow skim the grass. I shall throw myself on a bank by the river and watch the fish slip in and out among the reeds. The palms of my hands will be printed with pine-needles. I shall there unfold and take out whatever it is I have made here; something hard. For something has grown in me here, through the winters and summers, on staircases, in bedrooms. Then my freedom will unfurl, and all these restrictions that wrinkle and shrivel–hours and order and discipline, and being here and there exactly at the right moment–will crack asunder.
– Virginia Woolf, The Waves

When beginning to speak, and—if it ever comes to this—when beginning to speak of oneself, […] one does so as if confessing, for it is he or [she]—not a priest or God but another poet—who hears you
– Joseph Brodsky

When I have found a way to express the inexpressible, I will tell you how I love you.
– Edna St. Vincent Millay

The deeper the blue becomes, the more strongly it calls man towards the infinite, awakening in him a desire for the pure and, finally, for the supernatural.
– Wassily Kandinsky

On Self Education
if your current situation doesn’t allow
you to go to college, if fate, bad or
inappropriate choices seem to be
blocking your way, if simply the economics 
are not there, if it’s just not feasible for
you at this time, or not the path of your
life’s journey….
then read! read the classics, study world
 history. study ancient civilizations. study
different philosophies.

compare different religions and ways of
thought. become adept at common
functional math. study science.
 write your thoughts, feelings and experiences 
down. write poetry.
follow your doubts to find your answers.
learn to listen. 
be aware. be conscious.
while you’re at it, learn to work with your
hands. learn how to build things, how
to fix things, how to grow your own food.
be the best you can be at whatever you’re
doing. don’t settle.
never give up. never submit to ignorance.
we have no excuse to be blind, and no
reason to be in bondage.
– Eric C.

I am learning to see. I don’t know why it is, but everything enters me more deeply and doesn’t stop where it once used to. I have an interior that I never knew of. Everything passes into it now. I don’t know what happens there.
– Rainer Maria Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge

The Poet
by Jane Hirshfield

She is working now, in a room
not unlike this one,
the one where I write, or you read.
Her table is covered with paper.
The light of the lamp would be
tempered by a shade, where the bulb’s
single harshness might dissolve,
but it is not; she has taken it off.
Her poems? I will never know them,
though they are the ones I most need.
Even the alphabet she writes in
I cannot decipher. Her chair —
let us imagine whether it is leather
or canvas, vinyl or wicker. Let her
have a chair, her shadeless lamp,
the table. Let one or two she loves
be in the next room. Let the door
be closed, the sleeping ones healthy.
Let her have time, and silence,
enough paper to make mistakes and go on.

Training as a Warrior

Wherever we are, we can train as a warrior. Our tools are sitting meditation, tonglen, slogan practice, and cultivating the four limitless qualities of loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. With the help of these practices, we will find the tenderness of bodhichitta in sorrow and in gratitude, behind the hardness of rage and in the shakiness of fear. In loneliness as well as in kindness, we can uncover the soft spot of basic goodness. But bodhichitta training offers no promise of happy endings. Rather, this “I” who wants to find security—who wants something to hold on to—will finally learn to grow up.

If we find ourselves in doubt that we’re up to being a warrior-in-training, we can contemplate this question: “Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?”

– Pema Chödrön, Comfortable with Uncertainty

Writer, reader, when our imaginations speak the same language we can change each other’s lives.
– Robert MacFarlane

Thinking in the heart becomes truly possible only when the mental faculties have been adequately developed and have reached a fairly high stage of unfoldment. Feeling in the heart is often confused with thinking. The ability to think in the heart is the result of the process of transmuting desire into love during the task of elevating the forces of the solar plexus into the heart center. Heart thinking is also one of the indications that the higher aspect of the heart center, the twelve-petalled lotus found at the very center of the thousand-petalled lotus, has reached a point of real activity. Thinking as a result of correct feeling is then substituted for personal sensitivity. It gives us the first faint indications, likewise, of that state of being which is characteristic of the monad and which cannot be called consciousness – as we understand the term.
– Esoteric Healing, A Bailey

The Patience of Ordinary Things
by Pat Schneider

It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes
Or toes. How soles of feet know
Where they’re supposed to be.
I’ve been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?

Because our worship is of no man, of no one church, of no one god. We call forth and invoke Spirit in all forms. Seeing God, Goddess, and Spirit in every plant, animal, and elemental being. Our palms and knees covered in dirt, as we sink ourselves onto the soil, finding our home, our holy place, our sanctuary in the wild.
– Caity Flanagan

How does one attain Freedom?

It is not so easy as some would have it, yet it is not so difficult either. Really, like so many other things, it is a question of sincerity. For one who is sincere, all things are possible. To one who is sincere all doors are open, no matter what the seeming disadvantages of one’s present condition, no matter how late one has started on the path to attainment.
– St. Germain

One of the greatest things in life is that we do have our own answers — inside of us. It may be hidden in a deep place within our hearts or souls, but it lives, burns, somewhere in our bodies. That little voice knows what we want, what we truly love, what will make us happy.
– Sophie Gregoire

A great gulf yawns now
between me and my retinue,
between craziness and reason.
– Seamus Heaney

Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.
– Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

wait around
for a teacher? Pick up a
staff and knock the sense
out of yourself, so 
you can enter
The ancestors
are everywhere around you,
offering the silent light of truth.
Put down what you’re doing with
your mind and pick that up.
Do non-doing, and you’ll
inherit the whole
– Wei Wu Wei Ching

Who’s building the competence?
And how?
Digital Competence is the set of knowledge, skills, attitudes (thus including abilities,
strategies, values and awareness) that are required when using ICT and digital media to
perform tasks; solve problems; communicate; manage information; collaborate; create and
share content; and build knowledge effectively, efficiently, appropriately, critically, creatively,
autonomously, flexibly, ethically, reflectively for work, leisure, participation, learning, 
socialising, consuming, and empowerment.
– Ferrari, 2013

Patriarchy is the single most life-threatening social disease assaulting the male body and spirit in our nation. Yet most men do not use the word “patriarchy” in everyday life. Most men never think about patriarchy—what it means, how it is created and sustained. Many men in our nation would not be able to spell the word or pronounce it correctly. The word “patriarchy” just is not a part of their normal everyday thought or speech. Men who have heard and know the word usually associate it with women’s liberation, with feminism, and therefore dismiss it as irrelevant to their own experiences. I have been standing at podiums talking about patriarchy for more than thirty years. It is a word I use daily, and men who hear me use it often ask me what I mean by it.
Nothing discounts the old antifeminist projection of men as all-powerful more than their basic ignorance of a major facet of the political system that shapes and informs male identity and sense of self from birth until death. I often use the phrase “imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy” to describe the interlocking political systems that are the foundation of our nation’s politics. Of these systems the one that we all learn the most about growing up is the system of patriarchy, even if we never know the word, because patriarchal gender roles are assigned to us as children and we are given continual guidance about the ways we can best fulfill these roles.
Patriarchy is a political-social system that insists that males are inherently dominating, superior to everything and everyone deemed weak, especially females, and endowed with the right to dominate and rule over the weak and to maintain that dominance through various forms of psychological terrorism and violence. When my older brother and I were born with a year separating us in age, patriarchy determined how we would each be regarded by our parents. Both our parents believed in patriarchy; they had been taught patriarchal thinking through religion.
At church they had learned that God created man to rule the world and everything in it and that it was the work of women to help men perform these tasks, to obey, and to always assume a subordinate role in relation to a powerful man. They were taught that God was male. These teachings were reinforced in every institution they encountered– schools, courthouses, clubs, sports arenas, as well as churches. Embracing patriarchal thinking, like everyone else around them, they taught it to their children because it seemed like a “natural” way to organize life.
As their daughter I was taught that it was my role to serve, to be weak, to be free from the burden of thinking, to caretake and nurture others. My brother was taught that it was his role to be served; to provide; to be strong; to think, strategize, and plan; and to refuse to caretake or nurture others. I was taught that it was not proper for a female to be violent, that it was “unnatural.” My brother was taught that his value would be determined by his will to do violence (albeit in appropriate settings). He was taught that for a boy, enjoying violence was a good thing (albeit in appropriate settings). He was taught that a boy should not express feelings. I was taught that girls could and should express feelings, or at least some of them. When I responded with rage at being denied a toy, I was taught as a girl in a patriarchal household that rage was not an appropriate feminine feeling, that it should not only not be expressed but be eradicated. When my brother responded with rage at being denied a toy, he was taught as a boy in a patriarchal household that his ability to express rage was good but that he had to learn the best setting to unleash his hostility. It was not good for him to use his rage to oppose the wishes of his parents, but later, when he grew up, he was taught that rage was permitted and that allowing rage to provoke him to violence would help him protect home and nation.
We lived in farm country, isolated from other people. Our sense of gender roles was learned from our parents, from the ways we saw them behave. My brother and I remember our confusion about gender. In reality I was stronger and more violent than my brother, which we learned quickly was bad. And he was a gentle, peaceful boy, which we learned was really bad. Although we were often confused, we knew one fact for certain: we could not be and act the way we wanted to, doing what we felt like. It was clear to us that our behavior had to follow a predetermined, gendered script. We both learned the word “patriarchy” in our adult life, when we learned that the script that had determined what we should be, the identities we should make, was based on patriarchal values and beliefs about gender.
I was always more interested in challenging patriarchy than my brother was because it was the system that was always leaving me out of things that I wanted to be part of. In our family life of the fifties, marbles were a boy’s game. My brother had inherited his marbles from men in the family; he had a tin box to keep them in. All sizes and shapes, marvelously colored, they were to my eye the most beautiful objects. We played together with them, often with me aggressively clinging to the marble I liked best, refusing to share. When Dad was at work, our stay-at-home mom was quite content to see us playing marbles together. Yet Dad, looking at our play from a patriarchal perspective, was disturbed by what he saw. His daughter, aggressive and competitive, was a better player than his son. His son was passive; the boy did not really seem to care who won and was willing to give over marbles on demand. Dad decided that this play had to end, that both my brother and I needed to learn a lesson about appropriate gender roles.
One evening my brother was given permission by Dad to bring out the tin of marbles. I announced my desire to play and was told by my brother that “girls did not play with marbles,” that it was a boy’s game. This made no sense to my four- or five-year-old mind, and I insisted on my right to play by picking up marbles and shooting them. Dad intervened to tell me to stop. I did not listen. His voice grew louder and louder. Then suddenly he snatched me up, broke a board from our screen door, and began to beat me with it, telling me, “You’re just a little girl. When I tell you to do something, I mean for you to do it.” He beat me and he beat me, wanting me to acknowledge that I understood what I had done. His rage, his violence captured everyone’s attention. Our family sat spellbound, rapt before the pornography of patriarchal violence. After this beating I was banished—forced to stay alone in the dark. Mama came into the bedroom to soothe the pain, telling me in her soft southern voice, “I tried to warn you. You need to accept that you are just a little girl and girls can’t do what boys do.” In service to patriarchy her task was to reinforce that Dad had done the right thing by, putting me in my place, by restoring the natural social order.
I remember this traumatic event so well because it was a story told again and again within our family. No one cared that the constant retelling might trigger post-traumatic stress; the retelling was necessary to reinforce both the message and the remembered state of absolute powerlessness. The recollection of this brutal whipping of a little-girl daughter by a big strong man, served as more than just a reminder to me of my gendered place, it was a reminder to everyone watching/remembering, to all my siblings, male and female, and to our grown-woman mother that our patriarchal father was the ruler in our household. We were to remember that if we did not obey his rules, we would be punished, punished even unto death. This is the way we were experientially schooled in the art of patriarchy.
There is nothing unique or even exceptional about this experience. Listen to the voices of wounded grown children raised in patriarchal homes and you will hear different versions with the same underlying theme, the use of violence to reinforce our indoctrination and acceptance of patriarchy. In How Can I Get Through to You? family therapist Terrence Real tells how his sons were initiated into patriarchal thinking even as their parents worked to create a loving home in which antipatriarchal values prevailed. He tells of how his young son Alexander enjoyed dressing as Barbie until boys playing with his older brother witnessed his Barbie persona and let him know by their gaze and their shocked, disapproving silence that his behavior was unacceptable:
Without a shred of malevolence, the stare my son received transmitted a message. You are not to do this. And the medium that message was broadcast in was a potent emotion: shame. At three, Alexander was learning the rules. A ten second wordless transaction was powerful enough to dissuade my son from that instant forward from what had been a favorite activity. I call such moments of induction the “normal traumatization” of boys.
To indoctrinate boys into the rules of patriarchy, we force them to feel pain and to deny their feelings.
My stories took place in the fifties; the stories Real tells are recent. They all underscore the tyranny of patriarchal thinking, the power of patriarchal culture to hold us captive. Real is one of the most enlightened thinkers on the subject of patriarchal masculinity in our nation, and yet he lets readers know that he is not able to keep his boys out of patriarchy’s reach. They suffer its assaults, as do all boys and girls, to a greater or lesser degree. No doubt by creating a loving home that is not patriarchal, Real at least offers his boys a choice: they can choose to be themselves or they can choose conformity with patriarchal roles. Real uses the phrase “psychological patriarchy” to describe the patriarchal thinking common to females and males. Despite the contemporary visionary feminist thinking that makes clear that a patriarchal thinker need not be a male, most folks continue to see men as the problem of patriarchy. This is simply not the case. Women can be as wedded to patriarchal thinking and action as men.
Psychotherapist John Bradshaw’s clear sighted definition of patriarchy in Creating Love is a useful one: “The dictionary defines ‘patriarchy’ as a ‘social organization marked by the supremacy of the father in the clan or family in both domestic and religious functions’.” Patriarchy is characterized by male domination and power. He states further that “patriarchal rules still govern most of the world’s religious, school systems, and family systems.” Describing the most damaging of these rules, Bradshaw lists “blind obedience—the foundation upon which patriarchy stands; the repression of all emotions except fear; the destruction of individual willpower; and the repression of thinking whenever it departs from the authority figure’s way of thinking.” Patriarchal thinking shapes the values of our culture. We are socialized into this system, females as well as males. Most of us learned patriarchal attitudes in our family of origin, and they were usually taught to us by our mothers. These attitudes were reinforced in schools and religious institutions.
The contemporary presence of female-headed households has led many people to assume that children in these households are not learning patriarchal values because no male is present. They assume that men are the sole teachers of patriarchal thinking. Yet many female-headed households endorse and promote patriarchal thinking with far greater passion than two-parent households. Because they do not have an experiential reality to challenge false fantasies of gender roles, women in such households are far more likely to idealize the patriarchal male role and patriarchal men than are women who live with patriarchal men every day. We need to highlight the role women play in perpetuating and sustaining patriarchal culture so that we will recognize patriarchy as a system women and men support equally, even if men receive more rewards from that system. Dismantling and changing patriarchal culture is work that men and women must do together.
Clearly we cannot dismantle a system as long as we engage in collective denial about its impact on our lives. Patriarchy requires male dominance by any means necessary, hence it supports, promotes, and condones sexist violence. We hear the most about sexist violence in public discourses about rape and abuse by domestic partners. But the most common forms of patriarchal violence are those that take place in the home between patriarchal parents and children. The point of such violence is usually to reinforce a dominator model, in which the authority figure is deemed ruler over those without power and given the right to maintain that rule through practices of subjugation, subordination, and submission.
Keeping males and females from telling the truth about what happens to them in families is one way patriarchal culture is maintained. A great majority of individuals enforce an unspoken rule in the culture as a whole that demands we keep the secrets of patriarchy, thereby protecting the rule of the father. This rule of silence is upheld when the culture refuses everyone easy access even to the word “patriarchy.” Most children do not learn what to call this system of institutionalized gender roles, so rarely do we name it in everyday speech. This silence promotes denial. And how can we organize to challenge and change a system that cannot be named?

“It is no accident that feminists began to use the word “patriarchy” to replace the more commonly used “male chauvinism” and “sexism.” These courageous voices wanted men and women to become more aware of the way patriarchy affects us all.”

It is no accident that feminists began to use the word “patriarchy” to replace the more commonly used “male chauvinism” and “sexism.” These courageous voices wanted men and women to become more aware of the way patriarchy affects us all. In popular culture the word itself was hardly used during the heyday of contemporary feminism. Antimale activists were no more eager than their sexist male counterparts to emphasize the system of patriarchy and the way it works. For to do so would have automatically exposed the notion that men were all-powerful and women powerless, that all men were oppressive and women always and only victims. By placing the blame for the perpetuation of sexism solely on men, these women could maintain their own allegiance to patriarchy, their own lust for power. They masked their longing to be dominators by taking on the mantle of victimhood.
Like many visionary radical feminists I challenged the misguided notion, put forward by women who were simply fed up with male exploitation and oppression, that men were “the enemy.” As early as 1984 I included a chapter with the title “Men: Comrades in Struggle” in my book Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center urging advocates of feminist politics to challenge any rhetoric which placed the sole blame for perpetuating patriarchy and male domination onto men:
Separatist ideology encourages women to ignore the negative impact of sexism on male personhood. It stresses polarization between the sexes. According to Joy Justice, separatists believe that there are “two basic perspectives” on the issue of naming the victims of sexism: “There is the perspective that men oppress women. And there is the perspective that people are people, and we are all hurt by rigid sex roles.”…Both perspectives accurately describe our predicament. Men do oppress women. People are hurt by rigid sexist role patterns, These two realities coexist. Male oppression of women cannot be excused by the recognition that there are ways men are hurt by rigid sexist roles. Feminist activists should acknowledge that hurt, and work to change it—it exists. It does not erase or lessen male responsibility for supporting and perpetuating their power under patriarchy to exploit and oppress women in a manner far more grievous than the serious psychological stress and emotional pain caused by male conformity to rigid sexist role patterns.
Throughout this essay I stressed that feminist advocates collude in the pain of men wounded by patriarchy when they falsely represent men as always and only powerful, as always and only gaining privileges from their blind obedience to patriarchy. I emphasized that patriarchal ideology brainwashes men to believe that their domination of women is beneficial when it is not:
Often feminist activists affirm this logic when we should be constantly naming these acts as expressions of perverted power relations, general lack of control of one’s actions, emotional powerlessness, extreme irrationality, and in many cases, outright insanity. Passive male absorption of sexist ideology enables men to falsely interpret this disturbed behavior positively. As long as men are brainwashed to equate violent domination and abuse of women with privilege, they will have no understanding of the damage done to themselves or to others, and no motivation to change.
Patriarchy demands of men that they become and remain emotional cripples. Since it is a system that denies men full access to their freedom of will, it is difficult for any man of any class to rebel against patriarchy, to be disloyal to the patriarchal parent, be that parent female or male.
The man who has been my primary bond for more than twelve years was traumatized by the patriarchal dynamics in his family of origin. When I met him he was in his twenties. While his formative years had been spent in the company of a violent, alcoholic dad, his circumstances changed when he was twelve and he began to live alone with his mother.
In the early years of our relationship he talked openly about his hostility and rage toward his abusing dad. He was not interested in forgiving him or understanding the circumstances that had shaped and influenced his dad’s life, either in his childhood or in his working life as a military man. In the early years of our relationship he was extremely critical of male domination of women and children. Although he did not use the word “patriarchy,” he understood its meaning and he opposed it. His gentle, quiet manner often led folks to ignore him, counting him among the weak and the powerless. By the age of thirty he began to assume a more macho persona, embracing the dominator model that he had once critiqued. Donning the mantle of patriarch, he gained greater respect and visibility. More women were drawn to him. He was noticed more in public spheres. His criticism of male domination ceased. And indeed he begin to mouth patriarchal rhetoric, saying the kind of sexist stuff that would have appalled him in the past.
These changes in his thinking and behavior were triggered by his desire to be accepted and affirmed in a patriarchal workplace and rationalized by his desire to get ahead. His story is not unusual. Boys brutalized and victimized by patriarchy more often than not become patriarchal, embodying the abusive patriarchal masculinity that they once clearly recognized as evil. Few men brutally abused as boys in the name of patriarchal maleness courageously resist the brainwashing and remain true to themselves. Most males conform to patriarchy in one way or another.
Indeed, radical feminist critique of patriarchy has practically been silenced in our culture. It has become a subcultural discourse available only to well-educated elites. Even in those circles, using the word “patriarchy” is regarded as passé. Often in my lectures when I use the phrase “imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy” to describe our nation’s political system, audiences laugh. No one has ever explained why accurately naming this system is funny. The laughter is itself a weapon of patriarchal terrorism. It functions as a disclaimer, discounting the significance of what is being named. It suggests that the words themselves are problematic and not the system they describe. I interpret this laughter as the audience’s way of showing discomfort with being asked to ally themselves with an anti-patriarchal disobedient critique. This laughter reminds me that if I dare to challenge patriarchy openly, I risk not being taken seriously.
Citizens in this nation fear challenging patriarchy even as they lack overt awareness that they are fearful, so deeply embedded in our collective unconscious are the rules of patriarchy. I often tell audiences that if we were to go door-to-door asking if we should end male violence against women, most people would give their unequivocal support. Then if you told them we can only stop male violence against women by ending male domination, by eradicating patriarchy, they would begin to hesitate, to change their position. Despite the many gains of contemporary feminist movement—greater equality for women in the workforce, more tolerance for the relinquishing of rigid gender roles—patriarchy as a system remains intact, and many people continue to believe that it is needed if humans are to survive as a species. This belief seems ironic, given that patriarchal methods of organizing nations, especially the insistence on violence as a means of social control, has actually led to the slaughter of millions of people on the planet.
Until we can collectively acknowledge the damage patriarchy causes and the suffering it creates, we cannot address male pain. We cannot demand for men the right to be whole, to be givers and sustainers of life. Obviously some patriarchal men are reliable and even benevolent caretakers and providers, but still they are imprisoned by a system that undermines their mental health.
Patriarchy promotes insanity. It is at the root of the psychological ills troubling men in our nation. Nevertheless there is no mass concern for the plight of men. In Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man, Susan Faludi includes very little discussion of patriarchy:
Ask feminists to diagnose men’s problems and you will often get a very clear explanation: men are in crisis because women are properly challenging male dominance. Women are asking men to share the public reins and men can’t bear it. Ask antifeminists and you will get a diagnosis that is, in one respect, similar. Men are troubled, many conservative pundits say, because women have gone far beyond their demands for equal treatment and are now trying to take power and control away from men…The underlying message: men cannot be men, only eunuchs, if they are not in control. Both the feminist and antifeminist views are rooted in a peculiarly modern American perception that to be a man means to be at the controls and at all times to feel yourself in control.
Faludi never interrogates the notion of control. She never considers that the notion that men were somehow in control, in power, and satisfied with their lives before contemporary feminist movement is false.
Patriarchy as a system has denied males access to full emotional well-being, which is not the same as feeling rewarded, successful, or powerful because of one’s capacity to assert control over others. To truly address male pain and male crisis we must as a nation be willing to expose the harsh reality that patriarchy has damaged men in the past and continues to damage them in the present. If patriarchy were truly rewarding to men, the violence and addiction in family life that is so all-pervasive would not exist. This violence was not created by feminism. If patriarchy were rewarding, the overwhelming dissatisfaction most men feel in their work lives—a dissatisfaction extensively documented in the work of Studs Terkel and echoed in Faludi’s treatise—would not exist.
In many ways Stiffed was yet another betrayal of American men because Faludi spends so much time trying not to challenge patriarchy that she fails to highlight the necessity of ending patriarchy if we are to liberate men. Rather she writes:
Instead of wondering why men resist women’s struggle for a freer and healthier life, I began to wonder why men refrain from engaging in their own struggle. Why, despite a crescendo of random tantrums, have they offered no methodical, reasoned response to their predicament: Given the untenable and insulting nature of the demands placed on men to prove themselves in our culture, why don’t men revolt?…Why haven’t men responded to the series of betrayals in their own lives—to the failures of their fathers to make good on their promises–with something coequal to feminism?
Note that Faludi does not dare risk either the ire of feminist females by suggesting that men can find salvation in feminist movement or rejection by potential male readers who are solidly antifeminist by suggesting that they have something to gain from engaging feminism. So far in our nation visionary feminist movement is the only struggle for justice that emphasizes the need to end patriarchy. No mass body of women has challenged patriarchy and neither has any group of men come together to lead the struggle. The crisis facing men is not the crisis of masculinity, it is the crisis of patriarchal masculinity. Until we make this distinction clear, men will continue to fear that any critique of patriarchy represents a threat. Distinguishing political patriarchy, which he sees as largely committed to ending sexism, therapist Terrence Real makes clear that the patriarchy damaging us all is embedded in our psyches: Psychological patriarchy is the dynamic between those qualities deemed “masculine” and “feminine” in which half of our human traits are exalted while the other half is devalued. Both men and women participate in this tortured value system.
Psychological patriarchy is a “dance of contempt,” a perverse form of connection that replaces true intimacy with complex, covert layers of dominance and submission, collusion and manipulation. It is the unacknowledged paradigm of relationships that has suffused Western civilization generation after generation, deforming both sexes, and destroying the passionate bond between them.
By highlighting psychological patriarchy, we see that everyone is implicated and we are freed from the misperception that men are the enemy. To end patriarchy we must challenge both its psychological and its concrete manifestations in daily life. There are folks who are able to critique patriarchy but unable to act in an antipatriarchal manner.
To end male pain, to respond effectively to male crisis, we have to name the problem. We have to both acknowledge that the problem is patriarchy and work to end patriarchy. Terrence Real offers this valuable insight:
“The reclamation of wholeness is a process even more fraught for men than it has been for women, more difficult and more profoundly threatening to the culture at large.”

If men are to reclaim the essential goodness of male being, if they are to regain the space of openheartedness and emotional expressiveness that is the foundation of well-being, we must envision alternatives to patriarchal masculinity. We must all change.
– Bell Hooks

Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

I think tribalism is a mental prison…and pride of identity coupled with arrogance is one of the leading factors that limit one’s ability to abandon it.
– Duop Chak Wuol

Ari Annona:
It is absolutely critical for us to be true to our own selves, to love ourselves, and to act with a clear conscience and a willing heart. No one else can weave the part of the tapestry that our particular being is here to weave, and no one else can determine for us what part we are to play. The journey is the way, and we discover it as we go.

Reading something from beginning to end. That is reading with love.
– Gilles Deleuze

Soul is that sacred Other whose purposes each person has been uniquely designed to serve. Even though the soul is at our very core, soul appears to the conscious self as mysteriously other. Spirit is the ultimate Other that encompasses all that exists. Nature, as the universe itself, is either synonymous with spirit or is immanent spirit. What all three have in common – soul, spirit, nature – is their wild Otherness, the fact that they are indisputably beyond what we can create or control or claim as possessions. We belong to and serve the Other. We are here to serve the soul. Spirit creates us. We don’t own the land, the land owns us.
– Bill Plotkin

Can we walk that thin line between constant change and continuation? And in the middle of this flux, feel gratitude but not hold on? Gratitude greases the joints to let us let go, and at the same time to stop and realize we received something. Gratitude is the most developed and mature of human emotions.
– Natalie Goldberg

The sorrow, grief, and rage you feel is a measure of your humanity and your evolutionary maturity. As your heart breaks open there will be room for the world to heal.
– Joanna Macy

At the edge, the certainty of borders gives way. We are more subject to invasions, less able to mobilize defenses, less sure of who we really are, even as we may be perceived by others as a person of character. The dislocation of self from center to indefinite edge merges us more with the world, so that we can feel blest by everything.
– James Hillman

After despair, many hopes flourish
just as after rain
thousands of roses open.
Surrender to the Almighty –
and be led into life.
– Rumi

Lyna Rose:
Dear God,
May I pause my ego today to learn from others today.
May I set my biases behind me so that my heart may openly face what is in front of me.
And so it is.

What is so clearly true of the nervous apparatus of animal life can scarcely be otherwise than true of that which ministers to the automatic activity of the mind … Any sequence of mental action which has been frequently repeated tends to perpetuate itself; so that we find ourselves automatically prompted to think, feel, or do what we have been before accustomed to think, feel, or do, under like circumstances, without any consciously formed purpose, or anticipation of results.
Habit is thus the enormous fly-wheel of society, its most precious conservative agent. It alone is what keeps us all within the bounds of ordinance, and saves the children of fortune from the envious uprisings of the poor. It alone prevents the hardest and most repulsive walks of life from being deserted by those brought up to tread therein. It keeps the fisherman and the deck-hand at sea through the winter; it holds the miner in his darkness, and nails the countryman to his log cabin and his lonely farm through all the months of snow; it protects us from invasion by the natives of the desert and the frozen zone. It dooms us all to fight out the battle of life upon the lines of our nurture or our early choice and to make the best of a pursuit that disagrees, because there is no other for which we are fitted, and it is too late to begin again. It keeps different social strata from mixing.
– William James

I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me.
– Anaïs Nin

Men who have made these discoveries before us are not our masters, but our guides.
– Schopenhauer

Matt Licata:
It can be helpful to conceive of psychological and meditative aspects of a full-spectrum inquiry. While theoretically we can speak about these as two separate processes, in practice they interpenetrate as our inquiry unfolds, with a full range of influences spanning intrapsychic, intersubjective, neurobiological, and cultural-historic dimensions.
Psychological inquiry is oriented in our capacity to reflect on our experience; to take a perspective on the narratives, feelings, and impulses that organize the ways we see ourselves, others, and the world. It is focused upon the content of our experience, the unfolding of that content and the specific meaning it has for us, and how we make sense of our lives, especially in the context of our interpersonal relationships.
Meditative inquiry is not as oriented in understanding experience, but in exploring and resting in its actual nature. It is a pure, phenomenological inquiry where we infuse warm, spacious, accepting awareness into the core of whatever arises in our immediate experience as it unfolds moment by moment in the here and now.
Here, we discover how much space there truly is around and inside a thought, an emotion, a mood. Our experience is made of space. We are made of space. Not an empty space, but a space that is overflowing with qualities of warmth, kindness, presence, and love.
Learning to access, regulate, and integrate our experience, both on our own and with the shared nervous system of another – making sense and exploring its unfolding meaning – is the heart of psychological inquiry, especially as it relates to experience which has previously been dissociated, disowned, or only partially metabolized. To provide sanctuary and safe passage for the lost and buried members of the inner family is a profound act of self-compassion.
Entering into non-interpretive, intimate attunement with the nature of our experience, as it unfolds in each here and now moment – without any agenda to understand, shift, transform, or heal it – is the essence of meditative inquiry. To begin to discover, in an embodied way, that what arises in consciousness – and consciousness itself – are weaved of the same substance, crafted of the same particles of warm, spacious luminosity. From this perspective, difficult, disturbing, and confusing experience does not arise to be healed, but to be held, to be permeated with and soaked in loving awareness.
The invitation of this inquiry is intimacy, without fusion. To allow ourselves to care deeply, to be willing to get messy, to stay with states of not-knowing, to enter into the body and the heart and take the risk to see what is there. To set aside our fantasies of invulnerability, mastery, and power and lay ourselves at the feet of the mystery. To see that life would never ask us to “master” it, but to become, dance, and play as its humble servant.
And to then rest in unstructured, open being. Explore, and then rest. And then explore, and then rest. Sort of like an ocean or a star.

We should not strike other people for their mistakes. We should not look on people’s mistakes with hatred. In the words of an ancient, ‘When we do not see others’ wrongness or our rightness, we are naturally respected by seniors and admired by juniors.’ At the same time, we should not imitate the wrongs of others. We should practice our own virtue. The Buddha prevented wrongdoing, but not out of hatred.
– Dogen, Ju-Undo-Shiki (“Rules for the Hall of Heavy Cloud”), Shobogenzo, Book 1, page 38

Surazeus Simon Seamount:
Man grows wise using hands to change this world,
learning to think beyond moment of need
when four fingers with one opposing thumb
hold objects to study colors and shapes
and learn essence of why they may exist,
by touch expanding conscience of his mind
– Hermead I 239-43

Surazeus Simon Seamount:
Apparition of the Self
Poets generate an apparition of the self when they write poems and stories, an apparition that partially resembles their real self of organic flesh. Poets will invent incidents to illustrate universal concepts.
In his essay “The Defense of Poetry” the poet Sir Philip Sidney wrote, “But the poet…nothing affirmeth, and therefore never lieth. The poet never maketh any circles about your imagination, to conjure you to believe for true what he writeth.”
There are living human beings and there is the Eidolon or Idol or Apparition that our minds conjure when we read text. Poets assemble words so their spell conjures the Eidolon of Humanity in the Personality of a character.
When we use names like Hamlet or Jesus or Achilles the Eidolon of their character appears because we have a shared set of stories about that “person”. There is no living person of organic material with that name but we “see” them when we read their stories ensorceled in text.
Every character in a poem or story is an Eidolon.
In his book “Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human” the gnostic critic Harold Bloom wrote, “There is no ‘real’ Hamlet as there is no ‘real’ Shakespeare: the character, like the writer, is a reflecting pool, a spacious mirror in which we needs must see ourselves.” He also argued that “…the representation of human character and personality remains always the supreme literary value, whether in drama, lyric or narrative.”
The character of Hamlet is an Eidolon and not a real human being, and the text of poetry conjures an apparition that may or may not resemble the author.
However, it is interesting to note that the story of Hamlet in the play published under the name of Shakespeare matches hundreds of details in the life of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.
Every single play published under the name of Shakespeare contains hundreds of details in people and events that match the life of Oxford.
I wonder, did Shakespeare write 36 plays as thinly disguised biographies about Oxford, or did Oxford write 36 plays as thinly disguised autobiographies about events of his own life?
I get the impression that Oxford would review an event in his life where he made mistakes, then write a play presenting himself as a character making those mistakes, and then kill the apparition of himself.
I see this in Hamlet, Romeo, Anthony, Othello, Lear, and other characters.
Poets are living organic people who write spells in text that conjure apparitions of the self.

To the dulled mind, nature is leaden.
To the illumined mind, the whole world
burns and sparkles with light.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

[…] there is far more to human intelligence than its ability to navigate the arid landscape of objective reasoning. If we were seeking a truer indicator of intelligence, we might agree that its primary function is to help us live intelligently. This is not flattering to our culture but, when all is said and done, any other measurement amounts to delusion […] The ability to reason, to understand the world abstractly, to synthesize information about it – all of these are wonderful strengths. But you can’t live intelligently if you habitually rely on symbolic representation and abstract reasoning. Neither of those abilities has the power to unlock your life’s passion for you, or reveal to your children the love you feel for them, or soften your heart into wonder, or enable you to dance to rock ’n’ roll, play soccer or enjoy theater. Reason can’t pay attention to the subtle pulse of the Present, or feel the way it is drifting through you. Reason can’t help you feel your connectedness to all that is. Reason can’t help you feel wholeness. And all of these things reason can’t do are clearly indispensable in enabling you to live intelligently. As I have mentioned, because the abstract thinking of the head cuts itself off from the body, it cuts itself off from what the body knows – and what the body most deeply knows is that it is of the world and is sustained by the world and belongs to it. When head-based thinking rejects the body, it rejects that intimate understanding. Blind to wholeness, it is not even aware of that deficiency – so it sees no need to compensate for it. When we rely on disembodied knowing to investigate the world around us, it can only reveal a mechanical world made of bits and pieces; we think we are seeing reality, but we are actually seeing what remains of the world when its wholeness is obliterated.
– Philip Shepherd, Radical Wholeness

First Snow by Mary Oliver
The snow
began here
this morning and all day
continued, its white
rhetoric everywhere
calling us back to why, how,
whence such beauty and what
the meaning; such
an oracular fever! flowing
past windows, an energy it seemed
would never ebb, never settle
less than lovely! and only now,
deep into night,
it has finally ended.
The silence
is immense,
and the heavens still hold
a million candles, nowhere
the familiar things:
stars, the moon,
the darkness we expect
and nightly turn from. Trees
glitter like castles
of ribbons, the broad fields
smolder with light, a passing
creekbed lies
heaped with shining hills;
and though the questions
that have assailed us all day
remain — not a single
answer has been found –
walking out now
into the silence and the light
under the trees,
and through the fields,
feels like one.

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

people like us

There are more like us. All over the world
There are confused people, who can’t remember
The name of their dog when they wake up, and people
Who love God but can’t remember where

He was when they went to sleep. It’s
All right. The world cleanses itself this way.
A wrong number occurs to you in the middle
Of the night, you dial it, it rings just in time

To save the house. And the second-story man
Gets the wrong address, where the insomniac lives,
And he’s lonely, and they talk, and the thief
Goes back to college. Even in graduate school,

You can wander into the wrong classroom,
And hear great poems lovingly spoken
By the wrong professor. And you find your soul,
And greatness has a defender, and even in death you’re safe.

– Robert Bly

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.
– Hermann Hesse, from Trees, Reflections and Poems

Let people realize clearly that every time they threaten someone or humiliate or unnecessarily hurt or dominate or reject another human being, they become forces for the creation of psychopathology, even if these be small forces. Let them recognize that every person who is kind, helpful, decent, psychologically democratic, affectionate, and warm, is a psychotheraputic force.
– Abraham H. Maslow

There is a longing that burns at the root of spiritual practice. This is the fire that fuels your journey. The romantic suffering you pretend to have grown out of, that remains coiled like a serpent beneath the veneer of maturity. You have studied the sacred texts. You know that separation from your divine source is an illusion. You subscribe to the philosophy that there is nowhere to go and nothing to attain, because you are already there and you already possess it.

But what about this yearning? What about the way a poem by Rilke or Rumi breaks open your heart and triggers a sorrow that could consume you if you gave in to it? You’re pretty sure this is not a matter of mere psychology. It has little to do with unresolved issues of childhood abandonment, or codependent tendencies to falsely place the source of your wholeness outside yourself. The longing is your recognition of the deepest truth that God is love and that this is all you want. Every lesser desire melts when it comes near that flame.
– Mirabai Starr

At the bottom of her heart, however, she was waiting for something to happen. Like shipwrecked sailors, she turned despairing eyes upon the solitude of her life, seeking afar off some white sail in the mists of the horizon. She did not know what this chance would be, what wind would bring it her, towards what shore it would drive her, if it would be a shallop or a three-decker, laden with anguish or full of bliss to the portholes. But each morning, as she awoke, she hoped it would come that day; she listened to every sound, sprang up with a start, wondered that it did not come; then at sunset, always more saddened, she longed for the morrow.
– Gustave Flaubert

There are significant moments in everyone’s day that can make literature. That’s what you ought to write about.
– Raymond Carver

A poem can’t free us from the struggle for existence, but it can uncover desires and appetites buried under the accumulating emergencies of our lives, the fabricated wants and needs we have urged on us, have accepted as our own. It’s not a philosophical or psychological blueprint; it’s an instrument for embodied experience. But we seek that experience, or recognise it when it is offered to us, because it reminds us in some way of our need. After that re-arousal of desire, the task of acting on that truth, or making love, or meeting our needs, is ours.
– Adrienne Rich

When philosophy is not consumed in a novel, when we can underline this phrase with a pencil, and cut out that exhortation with a pair of scissors and paste the whole into a system, it is safe to say that there is something wrong with the philosophy or with the novel or both.
– Virginia Woolf

One of the sad things today is that so many people are frightened by the wonder of their own presence. They are dying to tie themselves into a system, a role, or to an image, or to a predetermined identity that other people have actually settled on for them. This identity may be totally at variance with the wild energies that are rising inside in their souls. Many of us get very afraid and we eventually compromise. We settle for something that is safe, rather than engaging the danger and the wildness that is in our own hearts.
– John O’Donohue

Let your discontentment be a catalyst to change your life. Disappointment is actually precisely what we need.
– Chögyam Trungpa

It’s one thing to find your ‘center’ while detaching from the world. It’s a whole other thing to find it at the heart of the world.
For years, I left the world to find my ‘self’. This was an essential step, because I was not yet self-connected enough to find my center in the heart of society. I was too light, too soft, too traumatized.
But then I came to realize that if I couldn’t hold to my center in the world, then I didn’t have much of a center. If all it took was a few days in the marketplace, on urban streets, dealing with humanity, before I had to run back to the woods to find myself, then what had I found? A very fragile, hollow center.
And so the work continued, this time in the world itself. No easy feat, because of my trauma history and the often unconscious ways of society, but the truest work I have ever done.
Because now I can sit in the middle of hell, and continue to feel my core. Because now I can stand amid the fires of distraction, and sustain my focus.
It’s one thing to find our center while we are hiding from the world. It’s quite another to find it in the heart of the everything.
Whatever you do, come back to the world at some point on the journey. Because the center you find there, is the real one. Because the wholly grail is you, unstoppably solid in the heart of the madness.

What makes me the same person throughout my life, and a different person from you? And what is the importance of these facts?
I believe that most of us have false beliefs about our own nature, and our identity over time, and that, when we see the truth, we ought to change some of our beliefs about what we have reason to do.
– Derek Parfit

Jeff Brown:
Security is a funny thing. We long for it, but it is all too often an illusion, one that covers over our authentic path, one we pay the ultimate price for. Security is a sick-cure for what ails us on the deepest levels. What we really long for is a life that is infused with purpose and connection. I know many people who promised themselves that they would live their ‘real-life’ after retiring from the quest for security. When they arrived ‘there’, they were either entirely exhausted from decades of falsity, or they had forgotten the ‘real-life’ that called them. This is what happens when we bury our precious life below mountains of obligation and distraction. We can’t get out from under them. We are only here for the blink of an eye. Better to substitute the illusion of sick-cure-ity for something authentic and alive. Better to live true.

Each young person is pregnant with a precise knowledge that already resides within them, and education at a deep level means to “lead out” what is trying to be born from within. The job of a true teacher is to help awaken the inner pupil that has its own way of being and unique way of perceiving the world.
– Michael Meade, The Genius Myth

Oh, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains! That we should, with joy, pleasance revel and applause, transform ourselves into beasts!
– Shakespeare

You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.
– Vincent van Gogh

Mighty Entrepreneur
…The justifying rhetoric proposes that [we] have become entrepreneurs, free to enhance our livelihood through enterprise. This not quite how it works. In the United Kingdom, for example, self-employed contractors, on average, are now paid less than they were in 1995.

Neoliberalism turns the oppressed worker into a free contractor, an entrepreneur of the self. Today, everyone is a self exploiting worker in their own enterprise. Every individual is a master and a slave in one. This also means that class struggle has become an internal struggle with oneself. Today, anyone who fails to succeed blames themselves and feels ashamed. People see themselves, not society, as the problem.
– Byung-Chul Han

A war of all against all was not, as Thomas Hobbes proposed, our condition in the ‘state of nature’, but, driven by the intense competition encouraged by this fake self-employment, it is in danger of becoming our destiny. It develops into a war against ourselves.
– George Monbiot, Out of the Wreckage

Robin Moore:
Every spiritual teaching, every spiritual teacher is the root of your suffering.
They and the teaching implies there is someone, something here happening that can be improved upon. You could be more compassionate, more loving, more at peace, closer to the divine or oneness. And when you cannot be these things, what is that?
Nothing needs liberating from anything. Nothing needs to be awakened, nothing needs enlightening..
You cannot make yourself better…. There are not two ✌️ of you.

The truth is, I don’t even recognize myself. All I’ve ever wanted to do is leave. Did you know space is like an ocean? Weightless. Waves of light like steam or kelp caught in your arms; stroke to stroke to patient stroke. And nothing. How much I’ve wanted all that nothing. Where I’m going, we don’t need space suits. I’ve got these hand-me-downs; a command module as spotless and smooth as an operating theater. Here’s the thing: none of us ever turns out right. We’re left here, as perfect as can be, listening to background strings and hiding our scars as if they were wedding rings. You want to know how I did it, little brother? I breathe water. I steeled myself; honed down on the very edge of the world. You were afraid to drop off, but I was always falling: the alleyway, the stairs, down a long, golden strand of hair. Everything is about departure. Don’t look for me anymore. I’m leaving my apartment and its beautiful staircase. The pure metaphor of it. Anti-parallel wrought-iron railing; stairs like base pairs just large enough to grasp. Once, I crawled up the whole damn thing. Once, I was in love with someone just like me.
– Matthew Minicucci

Shadow-work when you are no longer addicted to the drama of it all is a whole other journey. Things take time … you wait, watch and remain centered through the dark night. And when the abyss looks back at you, you acknowledge it with a nod and move on.
The lack of movement, intensity, drama or the need to experience, understand or interpret it all can be terrifying …But it´s a very different space.
The curtain has dropped… there´s isn´t a big sparkly reveal. Or a monster I need to slash or tame.
Just me – and Time – and Space. And lots and lots of Possibility.
– Dr. Bairavee Balasubramaniam PhD

Following your intuition is a cliché. And at times, it can be a damaging one. The way you perceive energy depends so much upon your level of awareness and how you interact with the world.
It takes work to discern between a deeper soul-longing and a karmic trigger [or hyperdimensional interference]. Or between the circumstances that warrant a flight-or-fight impulse and conditioned evasion / aggression.
What we see and perceive – or even understand as ´our intuition´ or ´gut feeling´ really depends on what we’re able to see in the first place.
And of course .. there is the work in being able to differentiate between seeing a thing for what it is – or seeing it as what you want, need or assume it to be.
Whilst it is important to be true to your truth and (where appropriate) to be vocal in its expression … it is equally important to consider that:
– you may not be at the level of awareness to question what you see.
– you may not want to see things as they really are.
It helps to be open, fluid and flexible to multiple truths. Part of the human growth process comes from outgrowing that which you were conditioned to believe to be the absolute, immutable truth.
Plus .. You may choose to see the same thing in a different way tomorrow, compared to how you see it today.
That´s how quickly a shift in perception can occur.
– Bairavee Balasubramaniam

There is no difference between buddhas and sentient beings other than their scope of mind. What is called mind, consciousness, or awareness, is of a single identity. The mind of a sentient being is limited. The mind of a buddha is all-pervasive. So develop a scope of mind that is like the sky, which has no limit to the east, west, north, or south.
– Shri Singha

He felt that there is a loose balance of good and evil, and that the art of living consists in getting the greatest good out of the greatest evil.
– Machado de Assis, Brazilian author

Even if there were no God

Some days, I think,
“What was God thinking?”
Of course,
I think too much,
but then you knew that.
We all do.

Some days, though I listen, I cannot hear God speaking.

Some days, I think there is no plan.
I think, “No one has given it a thought,
this incomprehensible explosion
that started it all
will end in darkness.

On these days,
when I wear pain and doubt like Mala beads,
reciting the reasons
for sadness,
like an unholy mantra
I know I must stop my mind!

I must use the Vajra sword
of stillness
to keep listening,
stop asking these questions.

In stillness,
I let these other voices fade away,
the ravens and the gulls
the children playing on the beach.
deeper into stillness
I can feel in my heart again,
time is an illusion and that
from that first light…
all this dazzling complexity
the whole surreal paradoxical dance
stretching to infinity
… is all a single thought of God.

the sound of the waves
is like God’s voice
like a mother speaking softly,
tenderly saying, “Where does it hurt?”
The warm sunlight
reflecting from the bay
is like a father’s strong embrace,
gently saying, “Get up now, there is work to be done.”

jerusalem is at center of the israel-palestine conflict. the biblical poet wrote: “by the rivers of babylon, there we sat down, and there we wept, when we remembered zion”. the jewish memory of the land of jerusalem is steeped in age-old history and blessed in exilic tears. but consider this: no other historial experience could have prepared a nation to better understand, respect and even cherish another nation’s deep longing for the land of their ancestors. as the biblical poet also said: because you were slaves you shall have no slaves. in other words: because we wept for jerusalem, we must also hear the cry of the palestinians. this land is wholly jewish and wholly palestinian and therefore both nations belong to every stone, to every olive tree and to every evening breeze that lives in the city. i add my voice to those of us who believe that peace will prevail, and jerusalem will be the shared capital of her two beloved children.
– hune margulies

For among these winters there is one so endlessly winter
that only by wintering through it will your heart survive.
– Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus

Common sense will tell us that the power which hath endeavoured to subdue us, is of all others the most improper to defend us.
– Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

There is not a particle of life which does not bear poetry within it.
– Gustave Flaubert

I see nobody on the road,’ said Alice. ‘I only wish I had such eyes,’ the King remarked in a fretful tone. ‘To be able to see Nobody! And at that distance, too! Why, it’s as much as I can do to see real people, by this light!
– Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.
– Adyashanti

To see if you’re aware of impermanence or not, check whether your plans are long or short term. To see if you perceive samsara as flawed or not, check how strong is your attachments. To see if you’ll attain liberation in the future or not, check whether your conduct is good or bad. To see if you’ve given rise to loving kindness and compassion or not, check how you take care of those in need. To see if you’ve tamed the demon of anger or not, check how much hatred you feel towards your enemies. To see if you’ve dispelled the obscuring demon of ignorance or not, check how much you cling in hope and fear. To see if you’ve purified the three poisons or not, check how free from grasping you’ve become. You’ll know your Dharma practice has become the path or not by thoroughly examining your own mind.
– Chokgyur Lingpa

It’s not in the menu,
it’s in eating and
digesting the food
that fulfillment is found.

It’s not in spiritual learning,
it’s in the stilling of the mind
and cooling of the heart
that fulfillment is found.
– Nithya Shanti

As soon as you start thinking that this year could’ve been better, please remember the mountains and the valleys and the setbacks and the triumphs that got you to the exact patch of land that you inhabit now. Feel your feet hover over the ground and bask in the texture across your toes, whatever it may be. This. Here. Now. None of it was accidental nor in vain. You are forever stretching, growing, breathing, evolving. You are not to be wrapped up in yesterday, not matter how comfortable the cloth may be.
– Julie Faulkner

Thoughts are not the truth, and ultimately they are not even yours. They are only voices, sounds, suggestions, opinions of the mind, coming and going all the time, like a flock of birds singing, every bird singing a different tune; a different opinion, suggestion, perspective. You are not the birds; you are the wide open space in which the birds can sing, the awareness that holds the birds, the silence underneath and inbetween.
Do not try to silence the bi…rds (for that makes them sing even louder) or destroy them (for they are only parts of yourself longing for love) but allow them to sing, and fly, for that is your power, and your freedom. The “I am a failure” bird can sing, and the “I am a waste of space” bird can sing, and the “I am the most wonderful bird” bird can sing, and all their inbetween friends can sing, and you are a giant nest of awareness, a bird sanctuary, never defined by the chorus of opinions, nor at war with it, the great I AM, undefinable.
– Jeff Foster

Now all of the individual ‘things’ or ‘beings’ into which the world is wrought are sparks of the Divine Soul variously clothed upon with flesh, leaves, or that harder tissue called rock, water, etc. Now we observe that, in cold mountain altitudes, Spirit is but thinly and plainly clothed. As we descend down their many sides to the valleys, the clothing of all plants and beasts and of the forms of rock becomes more abundant and complicated. When a portion of Spirit clothes… itself with a sheet of lichen tissue . . . , we say that is a low form of life. Yet is it more or less radically Divine than another portion of Spirit that has gathered garments of leaf and fairy flower and adorned them with all the colors of Light, though we say that the latter creature is of a higher form of life? All of these varied forms, high and low, are simply portions of God radiated from Him as a sun, and made terrestrial by the clothes they wear, and by the modifications of a corresponding kind in the God essence itself.
– John Muir

The question may seem so vast that it leads to despair. Yet there are rare historical moments to which such a question can perhaps be applied. These are moments of convergence, when numerous developments enter a period of similar qualitative change, before diverging into a multiplicity of new terms. Few of those who live through such a moment can grasp the full significance of the qualitative change taking place: but everybody is aware of the times changing: the future, instead of offering continuity, appears to advance towards them.
– John Berger

Always go a little further into the water than you are capable of being in and when you don’t feel your feet are quiet touching the bottom you are just about in the right place to do something exciting.
– David Bowie

Lin-Manuel Miranda:
Those knots in your stomach won’t go away on their own.

Some are Gordian, and require a lil work each day.

Some will dissolve upon closer inspection.

Like the day, they are yours to unravel, at your pace.


Lin-Manuel Miranda:
Those knots in your stomach: still there.
Some are brand new.
Some are gathering dust.
Rest always loosens ‘em a little.
Rest now.


The spiritual journey is not about growing more certain about the world, but embracing more and more the mystery at the heart of everything. In a world where so many people are so very certain about the nature of things, especially in religious circles about who God includes and excludes, I believe unknowing calls us to a radical humility.
– Christine Valters Paintner, PhD

Trying to change ourselves doesn’t work in the long run because we’re resisting our own energy. Self-improvement can have temporary results, but lasting transformation occurs only when we honour ourselves as the source of wisdom and compassion.
– Pema Chödrön

A guitar gone crazy
O My God!
What sort of night is this?

A mystic night
A night of black magic…
A night of a thousand bliss
And a night of a thousand blues…
Honey, look
Through the window…
And you’ll see a guitar playing
In the voice of a Nightingale…
Oh, never has my eyes seen
A night with so much magic…
A night that a
Guitar lost her mind…
A night that a
Guitar gone crazy…
Peep through
A pinhole my Sun girl…
And you’ll see a guitar playing
In the ears of a snoring night…
And playing in the
Wake of a sleepy moon…
Play, play
O, wild, wild guitar…
But what sort of
Magic is this, o Cinderella?
For never has
My eyes seen…
A night with so much wonder
A night that a guitar caught fire
A night that a guitar gone crazy…
Open your door
O snow girl…
And you’ll see a guitar
Burning at your doorstep…
Playing in the wings
Of a Snowy owl…
And playing in the
Heart of a butterfly…
Oh, was that not a black magic?
Maybe in a night so dark…
A night I’ll never forget
A night that a guitar gone wild
A night that a guitar gone crazy…
All rights reserved
– Emeghara Collins

It is our mind, and that alone, that chains us or sets us free.
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

The first task of the Bodhisattva is caring for one’s own state of being.
– Reggie Ray

We need acts of restoration, not only for polluted waters and degraded lands, but also for our relationship to the world. We need to restore honor to the way we live, so that when we walk through the world we don’t have to avert our eyes with shame, so that we can hold our heads up high and receive the respectful acknowledgment of the rest of the earth’s beings.
– Robin Wall Kimmerer

Sussi Køber:

A tough snowberry

Hanging in the winter sun

A light on my way

In our culture we are taught that hopes are good. But really our hopes are often based on fears. Take a moment and think about your greatest fear. Aren’t they the opposite sides of the same coin, both of which generate tension? I hope for love, and I fear loneliness. I hope for success, and I fear poverty. I hope for praise, and I fear criticism … in dividing all experiences into good and bad, the stresses of wanting and fearing are locked together in a cycle of suffering.
– Lama Tsultrim Allione, Feeding Your Demons.

Robert Moss:
A high tolerance for ambiguity, I’ve observed, is a characteristic of highly creative people. This increases our ability to think outside the box, make connections others can’t see, and escape from either/or choices..We grow our tolerance for ambiguity when we share dreams in the right way and receive feedback from multiple perspectives – and find that every viewpoint has something to offer. Active dreamers are capable of checking all the boxes when given multiple choices.

Fa Hsing Jeff Miles:


A cup with silence,

A cup with kindness,

A cup with joy,…
A cup that’s true;
A cup that’s filled

As much with tea

As it is filled

With love for you.

Whenever you become anxious or stressed, outer purpose has taken over, and you lost sight of your inner purpose. You have forgotten that your state of consciousness is primary, all else secondary.
– Eckhart Tolle

Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depth of their hearts where neither sin nor knowledge could reach, the core of reality, the person that each one is in the eyes of the divine. If only they could see themselves as they really are, if only we could see each other that way all the time, there would be no more need for war; for hatred, for greed, for cruelty. I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other.
– Thomas Merton

There is a dark, invisible workmanship drawing us on to make our life larger and larger,” said the poet, David Whyte. But we must let it happen to us. Get out of its way, stop avoiding our own soul. Because to make a life of unrepeatable artistry, grounded in service; one that is congruent and as such, soul-centered and actualizing — the life only you can came here to make — you must, as Rumi wrote, “give that longing your full attention.

Never underestimate the long-term consequences of your actions. For as long as the mind has the obscurration of grasping at an inherently existing “me”, then there will be karma. No matter how far on the path one is, no matter how realised one is, no matter how many miraculous powers one has attained, for as long as there is even a subtle trace of this obscurration, karma is there.
That is why Padmasambhava, an enlightened being not even affected by it, had skilfully told ordinary beings, “My realization is higher than the sky, but my observance of karma is finer than grains of flour.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

Zazen means putting into practice that which cannot be thought with thinking.
– Kodo Sawaki

Matt Brennecke:
Sometimes I forget how solar powered my soul is until a sunny day comes along and brings me out of my funk.

The psyche is not individual, but is derived from the nation, from the collectivity, from humanity even. In some way or other we are part of a single, all-embracing psyche, a single “greatest man”, the homo maximus.
– C. G. Jung

Hannah Hennebert:
The problems we face in the world, as a whole, are collective, but they must be solved individually. Unless we change into a better version of ourselves, the world will continue to manifest our spiritual wounds in the physical world.

A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them.
– C. G. Jung

I know that man is capable of great deeds. But if he isn’t capable of great emotion, well, he leaves me cold.
– Albert Camus

This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.
– John Muir

Leviticus 19:33-34 ESV
“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
Exodus 22:21 ESV
“You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
Exodus 23:9 ESV
“You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
Malachi 3:5 ESV
“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.
Matthew 25:35 ESV
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
Deuteronomy 27:19 ESV
“‘Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
Jeremiah 7:5-7 ESV / 2,238 helpful votes
“For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever.
Exodus 12:49 ESV
There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you.”
Leviticus 25:35 ESV
“If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you.
Hebrews 13:2 ESV
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Deuteronomy 24:19-22 ESV
“When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over them again. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this.
Zechariah 7:9-10 ESV
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”
Leviticus 24:22 ESV / 1,538 helpful votes
You shall have the same rule for the sojourner and for the native, for I am the Lord your God.”
Genesis 12:1 ESV
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
Psalm 146:9 ESV
The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
Leviticus 23:22 ESV
“And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.”
Exodus 20:10 ESV
But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.
Deuteronomy 10:18-19 ESV
He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
Matthew 25:31-46 ESV
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, …
Deuteronomy 24:14 ESV
“You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns.
Ezekiel 22:7 ESV
Father and mother are treated with contempt in you; the sojourner suffers extortion in your midst; the fatherless and the widow are wronged in you.
James 1:27 ESV
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Deuteronomy 10:19 ESV
Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
Leviticus 19:9-10 ESV
“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.
Deuteronomy 10:18 ESV
He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.
Galatians 3:28 ESV
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Genesis 12:10 ESV
Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.
Leviticus 19:10 ESV
And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.
Deuteronomy 14:28-29 ESV / 1,115 helpful votes
“At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.
Numbers 9:14 ESV
“You shall have one statute, both for the sojourner and for the native.”
Deuteronomy 10:17-19 ESV
For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
Jeremiah 22:3-5 ESV
Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. For if you will indeed obey this word, then there shall enter the gates of this house kings who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their servants and their people. But if you will not obey these words, I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that this house shall become a desolation.
Jeremiah 22:3 ESV
Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.
Deuteronomy 26:12-13 ESV
“When you have finished paying all the tithe of your produce in the third year, which is the year of tithing, giving it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your towns and be filled, then you shall say before the Lord your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion out of my house, and moreover, I have given it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all your commandment that you have commanded me. I have not transgressed any of your commandments, nor have I forgotten them.
Leviticus 19:33 ESV
“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.
Deuteronomy 24:19-21 ESV
“When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over them again. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.
Zechariah 7:10 ESV
Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”
Galatians 5:14 ESV
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
James 2:2-15 ESV
For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? …
Galatians 2:10 ESV
Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.
Matthew 2:13-15 ESV
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
Luke 10:29-42 ESV
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. …
Ezekiel 47:21-23 ESV
“So you shall divide this land among you according to the tribes of Israel. You shall allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the sojourners who reside among you and have had children among you. They shall be to you as native-born children of Israel. With you they shall be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. In whatever tribe the sojourner resides, there you shall assign him his inheritance, declares the Lord God.
Deuteronomy 26:10-13 ESV
And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which you, O Lord, have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the Lord your God and worship before the Lord your God. And you shall rejoice in all the good that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the sojourner who is among you. “When you have finished paying all the tithe of your produce in the third year, which is the year of tithing, giving it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your towns and be filled, then you shall say before the Lord your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion out of my house, and moreover, I have given it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all your commandment that you have commanded me. I have not transgressed any of your commandments, nor have I forgotten them.
Deuteronomy 16:9-15 ESV
“You shall count seven weeks. Begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain. Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the Lord your God blesses you. And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite who is within your towns, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are among you, at the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell there. You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt; and you shall be careful to observe these statutes. “You shall keep the Feast of Booths seven days, when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing floor and your winepress. …
Numbers 15:15-16 ESV
For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you, a statute forever throughout your generations. You and the sojourner shall be alike before the Lord. One law and one rule shall be for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you.”
Deuteronomy 24:17-18 ESV
“You shall not pervert the justice due to the sojourner or to the fatherless, or take a widow’s garment in pledge, but you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this.
Ezekiel 47:22 ESV
You shall allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the sojourners who reside among you and have had children among you. They shall be to you as native-born children of Israel. With you they shall be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.
1 Peter 2:11 ESV
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
Deuteronomy 24:14-15 ESV
“You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns. You shall give him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets (for he is poor and counts on it), lest he cry against you to the Lord, and you be guilty of sin.
Micah 6:8 ESV
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

I’ve become a mold hollowed by my sufferings: all to be filled by my heart, which has slipped its casing completely, pouring itself into the contours of my being.
– Mark Nepo, Things That Join the Sea and the Sky

The journey is into the wilderness of your greater life. The wilderness is your soul. To merge with your destiny, you must locate, liberate, and live what is truly wild.
The soul is here to live its joy. The uninitiated ego is here to keep things familiar, safe, and predictable. Which path will you choose?
– Bill Plotkin (excerpt from Soulcraft)

Contemplation is a mental discipline and gift that detaches us—neurologically and spiritually—from our addiction to our habitual way of thinking, to stop identifying solely with our small binary, dualistic mind, which strips things down to two choices and then usually identifies with only one of them. The dualistic mind does not have the capacity to hold the big questions of life like love, death, suffering, sexuality, God, or anything infinite. How do we learn contemplative consciousness—this deep, mysterious, and life-giving way of seeing, of being with, reality?
– Richard Rohr

The poem is a little myth of man’s capacity of making life meaningful. And in the end, the poem is not a thing we see—it is, rather, a light by which we may see—and what we see is life.
– Robert Penn Warren

Anita Limbu Moktan:
We have come a long way, from a simple unicellular organism known as the amoeba to a multi-cellular, multi-faceted, multi-lingual, multi-talented and awfully multi-stressed homo sapien known as Man.

Fa Hsing Jeff Miles:

Older than words,
Older than time,
The falling rain
Tells its story
With a new voice
In each moment.

The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent & respectable Stranger, but the oppressed & persecuted of all Nations & Religions; whom we shall wellcome to a participation of all our rights & previleges…
– George Washington, 1783

Let the mind be like the sky.
Leave it alone as if it had no object.
– Machig Labdron

Among Tibetans there is a saying that a person who thinks he is better or above others because he is wiser, more capable, more knowledgeable or learned is like someone sitting on the highest peak of the highest mountain. And what is it like on the peak of that mountain? It is very cold there. It’s very hard. It’s very lonely and nothing grows there. On the other hand, the person who cultivates humility and puts himself in a lower position is said to enjoy living on the fertile land of the planes.
– Khandro Rinpoche

I Wonder
I wonder what would happen if
I treated everyone like I was in love
with them, whether I like them or not…
and whether they respond or not and no matter
what they say or do to me and even if I see
things in them which are ugly twisted petty
cruel vain deceitful indifferent, just accept
all that and turn my attention to some small
weak tender hidden part and keep my eyes on
that until it shines like a beam of light
like a bonfire I can warm my hands by and trust
it to burn away all the waste which is not
never was my business to meddle with.
– Derek Tasker

When we truly listen to another, a resonance opens in our hearts, even if we have a conceptual reaction that closes doors between us; it is the human connection that speaks to us. If we are committed to suspending judgment, we find ourselves listening deeply.
– Judith Simmer-Brown, PhD

I think I’ve just substituted literature and art for religion.
– Karl Ove Knausgaard

The world gets older, without getting either better or worse and so does literature.
– Harold Bloom

If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.
– Gail Sheehy

Blaming and arguing are forms of violence… Anger always accelerates the damage.
– Thich Naht Hanh

Many healers, who are tied to protocol and dogma, end up pushing talent out of this field by making younger individuals wrong for what they naturally know. Yes, so much of our wisdom comes as a result of the work done by our elders. Yes, we must respect and honor bodies of wisdom that have been developed before our time. No, it doesn’t give you a right to shut our capacity down. Everything is interconnected. All modalities can have value and interplay beautifully. Each modality in the world was created or channeled by another human, so what makes our young innovation so threatening? Lift us up, please.
– Carli Romero

Rests always sound well.
– Arnold Schoenberg

David Bedrick:
Balance has never been my thing. I’m more likely to move between worlds and states, from intense attention to fine detail to enjoying a blurry peripheral vision of perspective and feeling; from fierce unyielding commitments to periods of such letting go that I hardly believe I have ever formed attachments to anything; from dark moods that take me down, lasting days or even years, to a child-like silliness and play that only grows as I age; from g…rand ambitions for myself and the world to a surrender to life as simply a series of moments where no accomplishment really matters at all.
No, for me balance would be like suggesting a bat hunt at least a little during the day or that a fish spend part of its time on land. I am more like a wave than a solid state, learning to love the diversity within as well as without.

Without a faith in intelligence, critical education and the power to resist, humanity will be powerless to challenge the threat that fascism and right-wing populism pose to the world. All forms of fascism aim at destroying standards of truth, empathy, informed reason and the institutions that make them possible. The current struggle against a nascent fascism in the United States is not only a struggle over economic structures or the commanding heights of corporate power. It is also a struggle over visions, ideas, consciousness and the power to shift the culture itself.
Progressives need to formulate a new language, alternative cultural spheres and fresh narratives about freedom, the power of collective struggle, empathy, solidarity and the promise of a real socialist democracy. We need a new vision that refuses to equate capitalism and democracy, normalize greed and excessive competition, and accept self-interest as the highest form of motivation. We need a language, vision and understanding of power to enable the conditions in which education is linked to social change and the capacity to promote human agency through the registers of cooperation, compassion, care, love, equality and a respect for difference.
– Henry Giroux

I believe our task is to develop a moral and aesthetic imagination deep enough and wide enough to encompass the contradictions of our time and history, the tremendous loss and tragedy as well as greatness and nobility, an imagination capable of recognizing that where there is light there is shadow, that out of hubris and fall can come moral regeneration, out of suffering and death, resurrection and rebirth.
– Richard Tarnas

THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
– Thomas Paine

So, my fellow Americans, whatever you may believe, whether you prefer one party or no party, our collective future depends on your willingness to uphold your obligations as a citizen. To vote. To speak out. To stand up for others, especially the weak, especially the vulnerable, knowing that each of us is only here because somebody, somewhere, stood up for us. To stay active in our public life so it reflects the goodness and decency and optimism that I see in the American people every single day.
– President Barack Obama

An education of decolonization needs to take place broadly. Political and social education within school systems to replace the mindless brainwashing and creation of consumers.’
– John Bailes / One Heart Zen

Don’t be afraid to be confused.
Try to remain permanently confused.
Anything is possible.
Stay open, forever, so open it hurts,
and then open up some more,…
until the day you die,
world without end, amen.
– George Saunders

It’s so tempting at times to withdraw and watch life go by, but it’s through relationship that we come alive and heal.
– Mark Nepo, Things That Join the Sea and the Sky

See it as a dream ~
Always recognize the dreamlike qualities of life and reduce attachment and aversion. Practice good-heartedness toward all beings. Be loving and compassionate, no matter what others do to you. What they will do will not matter so much when you see it as a dream. The trick is to have positive intention during the dream. This is the essential point. This is true spirituality
– Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.
– Steve Jobs⠀

The thing I really want to emphasize is … when you have a dream, it doesn’t often come at you screaming in your face, ‘This is who you are, this is what you must be for the rest of your life.’ Sometimes a dream almost whispers. And I’ve always said to my kids, the hardest thing to listen to—your instincts, your human personal intuition—always whispers; it never shouts. So you have to, every day of your lives, be ready to hear what whispers in your ear.
– Steven Spielberg

It is not enough to be compassionate. You must act. There are two aspects to action. One is to overcome the distortions and afflictions of your own mind, that …is, in terms of calming and eventually dispelling fear. This is action out of compassion. The other is more social, more public. When something needs to be done in the world to rectify the wrongs, if one is really concerned with benefiting others, one needs to be engaged, involved.
– His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Mind can sometimes be like a crystal, and become coloured by its surroundings. There is a high chance that you could reflect the qualities or shortcomings of the friends whose company that you keep.
If you associate with the malevolent, the selfish, the rancorous, the intolerant, and the arrogant, their faults could affect you. If so, maybe it would be better if you keep your distance from such friends.
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

People ought to saunter in the mountains – not hike! […] These mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them.
– John Muir

O poorest country, this is not your name.
You should be called beacon. You should
be called flame.
– Danielle Legros Georges

Solitude isn’t loneliness. Solitude is when the entire serene universe seems to surround and hold you quietly.
– Victoria Erickson

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
– Rob Siltanen

There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.
– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

How we know we are really practicing is in our ability to not know
– Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

Dreaming is the day job of novelists, but sharing our dreams is a still more important task for us. We cannot be novelists without this sense of sharing something.
– Haruki Murakami

Poem for the Poorest Country in the Western Hemisphere
by Danielle Legros Georges
O poorest country, this is not your name.
You should be called beacon. You should
be called flame. Almond and bougainvillea,
garden and green mountain, villa and hut,

girl with red ribbons in her hair,
books under arm, charmed by the light

of morning, charcoal seller in black skirt,
encircled by dead trees. You, country,
are merchant woman and eager clerk,
grandfather at the gate, at the crossroads

with the flashlight, with all in sight.

Lauren Worsh:

Pouring through — ancient salve!
Nectar of my heart again flowing.
We never understood the depth of our crisis. This era birthing through our hearts this very moment — whose threshold we find ourselves on — sings arrival of a healing for the Human Heart we’d not dared to invest with hope.

Until now.
We’d come to think recycling the misery was the only loyal and true way to be. That suffering equaled devotion.
That ecstasy was betrayal.
(How else to explain this interminable era of terror and grief?)
But we came also to wake up from that confusion.
Past tense bleeds into the heart of this moment and melts. It all melts in love. Every tiniest sip of bitterness received as high medicine, and returned to the River in joy.
We are here. We have come home

There are thousands of channels in our consciousness; it is up to us to choose the channel.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Joseph Wooten:
The President has showed us with clarity who he is…
Now the more important question is…
Who are WE?

Mistrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful . . . the hangman and the bloodhound look out of their faces. Mistrust all who talk much of their justice! Verily, their souls lack more than honey.
– Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Discourse lives, as it were, beyond itself, in a living impulse toward the object; if we detach ourselves completely from this impulse all we have left is the naked corpse of the word, from which we can learn nothing at all about the social situation or the fate of a given word in life.
– M. M. Bakhtin, Discourse in the Novel

the wordworthian allusion
don’t miss the subtlety
of the wordsworthian allusion
the gods change their names with us…
but not to themselves
i have heard it said…
albeit in tones so low
sometimes sneeringly
that all’s a delusion
but we stand
and laugh and forgive
all the while… darkly in ignorance
of nature’s tightly held secret
emmaus never happened….
emmaus always happens
a metaphoric condensation
into one parabolic afternoon
imperfect as it is
take the little black book to your heart
treasure its gift
treasure its myths
as trajectories of particles
by insignificant itinerant scribblers
weak and faulty mortals…
yet they put in motion an invisible cause
take nature as your tutor
merge your spirit into absolute silence
let every thought
lapse away into mere nothingness
let life throb through your veins
the same life
which runs deep
in the sap of the plants and trees
and should god not exist… worship the sun
should the sun not exist
worship nature
and if nature does not exist… worship the stars
ahh… don’t miss the subtlety
of the wordsworthian allusion
the gods change their names with us
but not to themselves
a poem by ivan kireevskii

Tis not in numbers but in unity that our great strength lies
– Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

The language of poetry specializes in doubt. Without the doubters, everyone is cut off at the first question. Poetry does not presume to know, but is angling to get a glimpse of what is gradually coming into view; it aims to rightly identify what is looming; it intends to interrogate whatever is already in place. Poetry, whose definition remains evasive by necessity, advocates the lost road; and beyond speech—waiting, listening, and silence.
– C.D. Wright

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
– Carl Sagan

The way people treat us is their karma. The way we react is our own.
– Trulshik Rinpoche

Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained.
– Helen Keller

Working on this elusive Mu is like working on making the shy forest animals come to you. You must sit still as a rock, forgetting that you have a human body.
– Jan Chozen Bays

The old threads are unraveling,
Get your needles ready.
We are stitching a new quilt
of humanity.
Bring your old t-shirts,…
worn out jeans, scarves,
antique gowns, aprons,
old pockets of plenty
who have held Earth’s treasures,
stones, feathers, leaves,
love notes on paper.
Each stitch
A mindful meditation.
Each piece of material
A story.
The more color the better,
so call in the tribes.
Threads of browns, whites,
reds, oranges
Women from all nations
start stitching.
Let’s recycle the hate, the abuse,
the fear, the judgment.
Turn it over, wash it clean,
ring it out to dry.
It’s a revolution
of recycled wears.
Threads of greens, blues, purples
Colorful threads
of peace, kindness,
respect, compassion
are being stitched
from one continent to the next
over forests, oceans, mountains.
The work is hard
Your fingers may bleed.
But each cloth stitched together
Brings together a community.
A world, our future world
Under one colorful quilt.
The new quilt of humanity.
– Julia Myers

We shouldn’t trust any writing on wildness that is entirely sober and lacks questions
– Martin Shaw

women´s original marriage is always to the wild.
– Martin Shaw

I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.
– Walt Whitman

Life is an adventure, it’s not a package tour.
– Eckhart Tolle

Life is a repeated cycle of getting lost and then finding yourself again. There are many smaller cycles within that cycle where you get lost to a smaller degree and then remember yourself again. Sometimes you do it to yourself on purpose, consciously or unconsciously. Every time you get lost it is so that you can learn something or experience something from a different perspective.
– Jay Woodman

George Orwell — ‘Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it. This is an illusion, and one should recognise it as such…’

I said: O Heart, what is this moon? Heart beckoned:
For now, it’s not for you to know. Say nothing.
– Rumi

There was something shameful about surviving sorrow. You were corrupted. She was corrupted. She was no good anymore. She was inauthentic, apocryphal. She wanted to be a seeker and to travel further and further. But after sorrow, such traveling is not a climbing but a sinking to a depth leached of light at which you are unfit to endure. And yet you endure there.
– Joy Williams

Ramana Maharshi:
Questioner: How are we to treat others?
Ramana Maharshi: There are no others.

Composing is a slowed-down improvisation; often one cannot write fast enough to keep up with the stream of ideas.
– Arnold Schoenberg

The poets are finally the only people who know the truth about us. Soldiers don’t. Statesmen don’t. Priests don’t. Union leaders don’t. Only poets.
– James Baldwin

Bonnie Ann Burnett:
I am not suited for the masses, neither to be among them nor to consume them. Nor is isolation my stillpoint. To know a bit of soil and rock, decipher the loca…l dialogue of breezes, shadows and bugs, to have spent enough time among them that, one quiet day, they label me as local, this would be my stillpoint. But stillness alone is death. I seek Life. From stillness into movement, from silence into song, from solitude to like-souled minds, here is where I find Life. I am an edgewalker, one who prefers the outer edge of unpeopledness more than the inner edge of the opposed.

Early on in my practice, Munindra said to me, ‘The Buddha’s enlightenment solved the Buddha’s problem, now you solve yours.’ This was very important for me. It felt like the first time someone looked me in the eye and basically said, ‘You can do it. You can solve your problem.’
– Sharon Salzberg

Too much sanity may be madness and the maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be.
– Miguel de Cervantes

It is certain that the labors of these early workers in the field of natural knowledge were brought to a standstill by the decay and disruption of the Roman Empire, the consequent disorganisation of society, and the diversion of men’s thoughts from sublunary matters to the problems of the supernatural world suggested by Christian dogma in the Middle Ages. And, notwithstanding sporadic attempts to recall men to the investigation of nature, here and there, it was not until the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries that physical science made a new start, founding itself, at first, altogether upon that which had been done by the Greeks. Indeed, it must be admitted that the men of the Renaissance, though standing on the shoulders of the old philosophers, were a long time before they saw as much as their forerunners had done.
– Thomas Henry Huxley, The Advance of Science in the Last Half-Century

Only he who has no use for the empire is fit to be entrusted with it.
– Zhuangzi, The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu

The puzzled ones, the Americans, go through their lives
Buying what they are told to buy,
Pursuing their love affairs with the automobile,
Baseball and football, romance and beauty,
Enthusiastic as trained seals, going into debt, struggling —
True believers in liberty, and also security,
And of course sex — cheating on each other
For the most part only a little, mostly avoiding violence
Except at a vast blue distance, as between bombsight and earth,
Or on the violent screen, which they adore.
Those who are not Americans think Americans are happy
Because they are so filthy rich, but not so.
They are mostly puzzled and at a loss
As if someone pulled the floor out from under them,
They’d like to believe in God, or something, and they do try.
You can see it in their white faces at the supermarket and the gas station— Not the immigrant faces, they know what they want,
Not the blacks, whose faces are hurt and proud —
The white faces, lipsticked, shaven, we do try
To keep smiling, for when we’re smiling, the whole world
Smiles with us, but we feel we’ve lost
That loving feeling. Clouds ride by above us,
Rivers flow, toilets work, traffic lights work, barring floods, fires
And earthquakes, houses and streets appear stable
So what is it, this moon-shaped blankness?
What the hell is it? America is perplexed.
We would fix it if we knew what was broken.
“Fix” by Alicia Suskin Ostriker, from No Heaven

Last night, the stars on the water were trap doors. The crows
with their charred wings are complaining to a hawk. It’s time
to pack up the sunsets the dawns and move on.
– Richard Jackson

So much of what we dream flickers out before we can
name it. Even the sun has been frozen on the next street.
Every word only reveals a past that never seems real.
Sometimes we just stare at the ground as if it were
a grave we could rent for a while. Sometimes we don’t
understand how all that grief fits beside us on the stoop.
There should be some sort of metaphor that lifts us away.
We should see the sky open up or the stars descend.
There are birds migrating, but we don’t hear them, cars
on their way to futures made of a throw of the dice.
The pigeons here bring no messages. A few flies
stitch the air. Sometimes a poem knows no way out
unless truth becomes just a homeless character in it.
– Richard Jackson

What you must realize, what you must even come to praise, is the fact that there is no right way that is going to become apparent to you once and for all. The most blinding illumination that strikes and perhaps radically changes your life will be so attenuated and obscured by doubts and dailiness that you may one day come to suspect the truth of that moment at all. The calling that seemed so clear will be lost in echoes of questionings and indecision; the church that seemed to save you will fester with egos, complacencies, banalities; the deepest love of your life will work itself like a thorn in your heart until all you can think of is plucking it out. Wisdom is accepting the truth of this. Courage is persisting with life in spite of it. And faith is finding yourself, in the deepest part of your soul, in the very heart of who you are, moved to praise it.
– Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer

By seeing that all the pleasures and luxuries of this world do not last, that they are hollow and futile, attachment naturally decreases. One gains a spontaneous taste for liberation and enlightenment. One can then embark on the path without any turning back. Manjushri said, “If you are attached to this life, you are not a practitioner. If you are attached to samsaric existence, you have no renunciation. If you are attached to selfish aims, you have no bodhicitta. If you have any attachment at all, you don’t have the view.
– Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche

Stoop, then, or you will be beaten to your knees. Stoop voluntarily, and you may save a remnant. You have depended on metal and power and they have sustained you as far as they could. You have ignored mind and morale and they have failed you.
– Isaac Asimov, Second Foundation

If I cried out, who
in the hierarchies of angels
would hear me?
And if one of them should suddenly
take me to his heart,
I would perish in the power of his being.
For beauty is but the beginning of terror.
We can barely endure it
and are awed
when it declines to destroy us.
– R.M. Rilke, from the First Duino Elegy

To be wild isn’t about being childish or primitive, nor does it manifest as manic rebellion or self-damaging alienation.
Marks of wildness: love of nature, delight in silence, a voice free to say spontaneous things, exuberant curiosity in the face of the unknown.
– Robert Bly

What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other’s folly – that is the first law of nature.
– Voltaire

Can a few thousand human beings armed with nothing but audacity and purpose bring to halt the mighty freight train of government, industry, power, war and that overwhelming vision of a future charged by pride and ambition? The only answer we know is the most comforting and terrifying of answers: anything is possible.
– EA, Down The River, Of Protest

A new cultural narrative is emerging — one that unites humanity in our interdependence with the wider community of life. This new and ancient story of interbeing with life (and as life) is driving people and communities around the world to create diverse, locally adapted, thriving cultures in global collaboration. Regenerative cultural patterns are beginning to emerge as an “expression of life in the process of transforming itself.
– Daniel Christian Wahl

The dominant invades the entire picture, as it were. In this way I seek to individualize the color, because I have come to believe that there is a living world of each color and I express these worlds.
– Yves Klein

I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.
– Anaïs Nin

Blue has no dimensions, it is beyond dimensions, whereas the other colours are not….All colours arouse specific associative ideas, psychologically material or tangible, while blue suggests at most the sea and sky, and they, after all, are in actual, visible nature what is most abstract.
– Yves Klein

I wouldn’t waste my time sitting in that house listening to what he has to say.
– Representative Maxine Waters announcing she’s skipping the State of the Union


Tara You I bow to
Woman with the perfect power
To endow with triple suchness
And bring them all to peace;
Holy being, highest of women,
Woman supreme, swiftest woman,
Come and smash the massive crowd,
Demons of trouble
Demons of evil
Demons of sickness
Crush them

The individual is handicapped, by coming face-to-face, with a conspiracy so monstrous, he cannot believe it exists. The American mind, simply has not come to a realization of the evil, which has been introduced into our midst… It rejects even the assumption that human creatures could espouse a philosophy, which must ultimately destroy all that is good and decent.
– FBI Director, J Edgar Hoover, 1956

It seems reasonable to believe — and I do believe — that the more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race. Wonder and humility are wholesome emotions, and they do not exist side by side with a lust for destruction.
– Rachel Carson

The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens into that primeval cosmic night that was soul long before there was a conscious ego and will be soul far beyond what a conscious ego could ever reach.
– Carl Jung

sing to me as I lay dying ∙
sing to me, for I fade away ∙
your voice is like a soft rain falling ∙
somehow, you washed the pain away –
sing ∙ don’t stop ∙ for I am failing ∙
soon to wing an empty wind ∙
sing, and stop my heart from flailing ∙
sing to ease the darkness in ∙
and when I’m gone ∙ sing on ∙ sing on —

Gunilla Norris:
Not all creative projects need to be long and arduous. They can be the creation of a delicious meal, a spontaneous drawing, a joke, a letter to the editor, or the rearrangement of the living room furniture. Any intention to bring something lovely into being just ‘cause will brighten our days.

Poems are porous constructs: here life flows and seeps in and out, incalculably strong-headed, recognizable and in the most foreign shape.
– Paul Celan, Microliths

The Capacity of Speech
by Austin Smith
It is easy to be decent to speechless things.
To hang houses for the purple martins
To nest in. To bed down the horses under
The great white wing of the year’s first snow.
To ensure the dog and cat are comfortable.
To set out suet for the backyard birds.
To put the poorly-shot, wounded deer down.
To nurse its orphaned fawn until its spots
Are gone. To sweep the spider into the glass
And tap it out into the grass. To blow out
The candle and save the moth from flame.
To trap the black bear and set it free.
To throw the thrashing brook trout back.
How easy it is to be decent
To things that lack the capacity of speech,
To feed and shelter whatever will never
Beg us or thank us or make us ashamed.

Many complain that the words of the wise are always merely parables and of no use in daily life, which is the only life we have. When the sage says: “Go over,” he does not mean that we should cross over to some actual place, which we could do anyhow if the labor were worth it; he means some fabulous yonder, something unknown to us, something too that he cannot designate more precisely, and therefore cannot help us here in the very least. All these parables really set out to say merely that the incomprehensible is incomprehensible, and we know that already. But the cares we have to struggle with every day: that is a different matter.

Concerning this a man once said: “Why such reluctance? If you only followed the parables you yourselves would become parables and with that rid yourself of all your daily cares.”
Another said: “I bet that is also a parable.”
The first said: “You have won.”
The second said: “But unfortunately only in parable.”
The first said: “No, in reality: in parable you have lost.”
– Franz Kafka, Parables and Paradoxes

Love, too, a leveler, a dying all its own,
the parts left behind not to be replaced,
a loss ongoing, and every day increased,
like rising in the night, at 3:00 am,
to watch the snow or the dead leaf fall,
the rings around the streetlight in the rain,
and then the rain, the red fist in the heart
opening and closing almost without me.
– Stanley Plumly

Thomas Moore:
Polarization is the curse of our times and all times. Tame it. Step One: Notice it, think about it, hold back.

The range of what we think and do
is limited by what we fail to notice.
And because we fail to notice
that we fail to notice
there is little we can do
to change
until we notice
how failing to notice
shapes our thoughts and deeds.
– Daniel Goleman

New Orleans and the moon have always seemed to me to have an understanding between them, an intimacy of sisters grown old together, no longer needing more than a speechless look to communicate their feelings to each other. This lunar atmosphere of the city draws me back whenever the waves of energy which removed me to more vital towns have spent themselves and a time of recession is called for. Each time I have felt some rather profound psychic wound, a loss or a failure, I have returned to this city. At such periods I would seem to belong there and no place else in the country.
– Tennessee Williams

There is a charming quality, is there not, […] in this silence; for hearts that are wounded, as mine is, a novelist whom you will read in time to come asserts that there is no remedy but silence and shadow. And you see this, my boy, there comes in all our lives a time, towards which you still have far to go, when the weary eyes can endure but one kind of light, the light which a fine evening like this prepares for us in the stillroom for darkness, when the ears can listen to no music save what the moonlight breathes through the flute of silence.
– Marcel Proust

So: what’s your story? When you’re alone, when it’s quiet and your mind wanders, what surfaces, over and over despite your best efforts? Psychologists call these ‘intrusive memories,’ the invisible switchboard operations that ensure we never get over our childhoods. I call them ‘golden stories.’ Not because they’re pleasant, necessarily, but because they burn bright.
Imagine that every one of your memories is represented by a Polaroid in a photo album. Flip through the album, and you’ll find that some of the Polaroids are faded, unrecognizable, but others burn bright. These are the golden stories. It doesn’t matter if they’re fragmented or confusing or strange or blissful or even wrong. Maybe it’s a whispered conversation between your parents that you overheard at twelve years old, yet your parents swear that conversation never took place. Still, the memory surfaces.
Our golden stories are rich with emotional consequence, which is why our bodies preserve them as precious matter. What is memory, after all, but the most devoted of teachers, nudging us backward so that we may move forward as fuller, more aware human beings?
– Felicia Rose Chavez

I don’t want to return, at least not as a human being. I’d rather be a tree, or a bunch of kudzu or even a moth. I’d rather be a school of fish. ‘A whole school?’ I can hear my sister asking. ‘Why not just one fish?’ Because one fish in a school is the same as the whole school, but different, and I want to know what that feels like. Plus I love the way they swim in gestures.
– Abigail Thomas

[She] turned to [him], as though to another survivor from drowning. ‘This is really all I need,’ she thought, ‘one moment only with someone who feels as I do.’
– Penelope Fitzgerald

They say the winter days
are short,
but this one–
as soon as it grows light,
it grows dark!
– Izumi Shikibu

What seems most difficult for some people to understand is that haiku is a genre of poetry, not merely a form.
Indeed, the great majority of haiku now published in English does not follow a set syllabic form, but pay greater attention to another aspect of haiku form, its internal structure. Haiku are generally composed of two parts with a caesura or pause between them. When the images comprising the two parts are well chosen, this pause allows for internal comparison between the images. When the poem is written in three lines, the pause usually occurs at the end of either the first or the second line. This produces two parts of unequal length, which preserves the asymmetry that is an important characteristic of Japanese haiku form. Kôji Kawamoto has named these two parts the ‘base’ and the ‘sumperimposed part.’ According to Kawamoto, the base of the poem provides interest while the superposed part provides significance.
– Lee Gurga

Winter solitude–
in a world of one colour
the sound of wind
– Bashō

Inspiration is not the exclusive privilege of poets or artists generally. There is, has been, and will always be a certain group of people whom inspiration visits. It’s made up of all those who’ve consciously chosen their calling and do their job with love and imagination. It may include doctors, teachers, gardeners — and I could list a hundred more professions. Their work becomes one continuous adventure as long as they manage to keep discovering new challenges in it. Difficulties and setbacks never quell their curiosity. A swarm of new questions emerges from every problem they solve. Whatever inspiration is, it’s born from a continuous ‘I don’t know.’
– Wisława Szymborska

Eternal God out of whose mind came this great universe we bless thee. Help us to seek that which is high, noble and good. Help us in the moment of difficult decision. Help us to work with renewed vigor for a warless world, a better distribution of wealth, and a brotherhood that transcends race or color.
– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I no longer expect perfect offerings before I take
someone into my heart. Nor do I ask myself to live up
to an illusory standard of perfection before I accept
myself. Because our humanness is not built on some
objectively flawless foundation. Because we cannot
grow as individuals if we are only moved by perfected
action. We grow in increments, learning as we go,
improving as we can. Perfectionism is incongruent
with the natural pace of change. This is not to say that
we should be satisfied with the lowest standard, but to
acknowledge that we will not develop as individuals
or as a species if we do not celebrate our little victories
along the way. If we keep demanding perfection,
we just perpetuate our collective shame. Better to
pat ourselves, and others, on the back for every step
forward, however humble it may be. We are not
striving to become perfect. We are striving to become
real, to show up for our life in every respect, flaws and
– JEFF BROWN, Spiritual Graffiti

An intellectual? Yes. And never deny it. An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself. I like this, because I am happy to be both halves, the watcher and the watched. “Can they be brought together?” This is a practical question. We must get down to it. “I despise intelligence” really means: “I cannot bear my doubts.”
– Albert Camus

If Congress refuse to listen to and grant what women ask, there is but one course left then to pursue. What is there left for women to do but to become the mothers of the future government?
– Victoria Claflin Woodhull

You don’t retire from a calling. You retire from a job. A calling is indistinguishable from that which breathes you. You do it, until your very last breath.

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.
– Michelangelo

May your gravity be lightened by grace
– John O’Donohue, A Blessing For Equilibrium

Kailin Yong:
Reverse Lullaby To The World

Time to wake up, sleepy one
We’ve been asleep for way too long
Our muscles are stiff, our visions blurry
Time to rise, sleepy one
It’s not your fault that you fell asleep so quickly so deeply
The world is a scary place

But it’s about to change
We are about to change
And we need you and all of us to be
Wide awake

There is hope if people will begin to awaken that spiritual part of themselves, that heartfelt knowledge that we are caretakers of this planet.
– Brooke Medicine Eagle

Know ye not then the Riddling of the Bards?
Confusion, and illusion, and relation,
Elusion, and occasion, and evasion?
– Alfred Lord Tennyson

Sonnet 87
by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Farewell! thou art too dear for my possessing,
And like enough thou know’st thy estimate,
The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing;
My bonds in thee are all determinate.
For how do I hold thee but by thy granting?
And for that riches where is my deserving?
The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting,
And so my patent back again is swerving.
Thy self thou gavest, thy own worth then not knowing,
Or me to whom thou gav’st it else mistaking;
So thy great gift, upon misprision growing,
Comes home again, on better judgement making.
Thus have I had thee, as a dream doth flatter,
In sleep a king, but waking no such matter.

Art is not a reflection of reality, it is the reality of a reflection.
– Jean-Luc Godard

I treated Art as the supreme reality and life as a mere mode of fiction.
– Oscar Wilde

You should learn the art of becoming enriched through opposites. Escaping the opposite is a sign of weakness.
– Osho

So don’t ever desire a peace which can be disturbed by someone. This kind of peace is of no use, in fact it will be trouble. The truth is that it will become the cause of even greater turmoil.
– Osho

Those interested in perpetuating present conditions are always in tears about the marvellous past that is about to disappear, without having so much as a smile for the young future…Let us not forget that our lack of imagination always depopulates the future; for us it is only an abstraction; each one of us secretly deplores the absence there of the one who was himself. But the humanity of tomorrow will be living in its flesh and in its conscious liberty; that time will be its present and it will in turn prefer it. New relations of flesh and sentiment of which we have no conception will arise between the sexes; already, indeed, there have appeared between men and women friendships, rivalries, complicities, comradeships – chaste or sensual – which past centuries could not have conceived.
– Simone de Beauvoir

Technology… the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it.
– Max Frisch

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Deluded people say deluded things about other people. We can view this as suffering. It also negatively reflects on them. At the same time, we have to hold people accountable for their words. Whether it is Trump or an associate, unskillful speech harms those who engage in it. It can also sow unwholesome seeds of doubt in others.
Practice this: 

1. Is it true?

2. Is it kind?

3. Is it beneficial?

4. Is it necessary?

5. Is it the right time? 

(The Five Gatekeepers of Speech)

I want you to stop running from thing to thing to thing, and to sit down at the table, to offer the people you love something humble and nourishing, like soup and bread, like a story, like a hand holding another hand while you pray. We live in a world that values us for how fast we go, for how much we accomplish, for how much life we can pack into one day. But I’m coming to believe it’s in the in-between spaces that our lives change, and that the real beauty lies there.
– Shauna Niequist

via James Crews:
“I want to tell you
you were loved with all I had, recklessly,
and with abandon…”
Turning to poems on this snowy day, and I came across this one by Rebecca Foust from a new anthology, How Lovely the Ruins, edited by Elizabeth Alexander.
by Rebecca Foust
letter to my transgender daughter
I made soup tonight, with cabbage, chard
and thyme picked outside our back door.
For this moment the room is warm and light,
and I can presume you safe somewhere.
I know the night lives inside you. I know grave,
sad errors were made, dividing you, and hiding
you from you inside. I know a girl like you
was knifed last week, another set aflame.
I know I lack the words, or all the words I say
are wrong. I know I’ll call and you won’t answer,
and still I’ll call. I want to tell you
you were loved with all I had, recklessly,
and with abandon, loved the way the cabbage
in my garden near-inverts itself, splayed
to catch each last ray of sun. And how
the feeling furling-in only makes the heart
more dense and green. Tonight it seems like
something one could bear.
Guess what, Dad and I finally figured out Pandora,
and after all those years of silence, our old music
fills the air. It fills the air, and somehow, here,
at this instant and for this instant only
—perhaps three bars—what I recall
equals all I feel, and I remember all the words.

People Like Us
by Robert Bly
There are more like us. All over the world
There are confused people, who can’t remember
The name of their dog when they wake up, and people
Who love God but can’t remember where
He was when they went to sleep. It’s
All right. The world cleanses itself this way.
A wrong number occurs to you in the middle
Of the night, you dial it, it rings just in time
To save the house. And the second-story man
Gets the wrong address, where the insomniac lives,
And he’s lonely , and they talk, and the thief
Goes back to college. Even in graduate school,
You can wander into the wrong classroom,
And hear great poems lovingly spoken
By the wrong professor. And you find your soul
And greatness has a defender, and even in death
you’re safe

Learning a Dead Language
by W.S. Merwin
There is nothing for you to say. You must
Learn first to listen. Because it is dead
It will not come to you of itself, nor would you
Of yourself master it. You must therefore
Learn to be still when it is imparted,
And, though you may not yet understand, to remember.
What you remember is saved. To understand
The least thing fully you would have to perceive
The whole grammar in all its accidence
And all its system, in the perfect singleness
Of intention it has because it is dead.
You can only learn a part at a time.
What you are given to remember
Has been saved from death’s dullness by
Remembering. The unique intention
Of a language whose speech has died is order
Incomplete only where someone has forgotten.
You will find that that order helps you to remember.
What you come to remember becomes yourself.
Learning will be to cultivate the awareness
Of that governing order, now pure of the passions
It composed; till, seeking it in itself,
You may find at last the passion that composed it,
Hear it both in its speech and in yourself.
What you remember saves you. To remember
Is not to rehearse, but to hear what never
Has fallen silent. So your learning is,
From the dead, order, and what sense of yourself
Is memorable, what passion may be heard
When there is nothing for you to say.

Maggie Smith
There are fish in the black trenches
of the sea that look like rocks.
Their poison shouldn’t trouble me.
They are so deep, we’ll never touch.
But I think of them. If it is paranoid
to believe there is a trench in me
the doctor’s haven’t dragged,
a cave no one’s plumbed with light,
then fine, I’m paranoid. But whatever
plaques and tangles, whatever cells
wait deadly with their terrible hunger
must be disguised. You should know
the most venomous fish lives
in the shallows. It also looks like a rock.

Jeff Brown:
I am not interested in enlightenment if it means detachment from the emotional body, the earth plane, the challenges of being human. I am interested in enrealment, because it means that my most spiritual moments are inclusive, arising right in the heart of all that is human: joy and sorrow, shopping list and unity consciousness, fresh mangoes and stale bread. Enrealment is about living in all aspects of reality simultaneously rather than only those realms that feel the most comfortable. We are not just the light, or the mind, or the emptiness, or perpetual positivity. We are the everything. It’s ALL God, even the dust that falls off my awakening heart.

I am convinced that unconditional love is the most powerful known stimulant of the immune system. If I told patients to raise their blood levels of immune globulins or killer T cells, no one would know how. But if I can teach them to love themselves and others fully, the same changes happen automatically.
The truth is: love heals.
– Bernie Siegel

Peter Capofreddi:
To raise a child in a culture of greed without protecting the child from the influence of this culture–this is abuse. Why do you leave your children in front of the television?

My Ancestry DNA results came in.
Just as I suspected, my great great grandfather
was a monarch butterfly.
Much of who I am is still wriggling under a stone.
I am part larva, but part hummingbird too.
There is dinosaur tar in my bone marrow.
My golden hair sprang out of a meadow in Palestine.
Genghis Khan is my fourth cousin,
but I didn’t get his dimples.
My loins are loaded with banyan seeds from Sri Lanka,
but I descended from Ravanna, not Ram.
My uncle is a mastodon.
There are traces of white people in my saliva.
3.7 billion years ago I swirled in golden dust,
dreaming of a planet overgrown with lingams and yonis.
More recently, say 60,000 B.C.
I walked on hairy paws across a land bridge
joining Sweden to Botswana.
I am the bastard of the sun and moon.
I can no longer hide my heritage of raindrops and cougar scat.
I am made of your grandmother’s tears.
You conquered rival tribesmen of your own color,
chained them together, marched them naked to the coast,
and sold them to colonials from Savannah.
I was that brother you sold, I was the slave trader,
I was the chain.
Admit it, you have wings, vast and golden,
like mine, like mine.
You have sweat, black and salty,
like mine, like mine.
You have secrets silently singing in your blood,
like mine, like mine.
Don’t pretend that earth is not one family.
Don’t pretend we never hung from the same branch.
Don’t pretend we don’t ripen on each other’s breath.
Don’t pretend we didn’t come here to forgive.
– Fred Lamotte

When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
– “Revolution of Values,” 1967

Again we have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that Capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifice. The fact is that capitalism was built on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor – both black and white, both here and abroad.
– “The Three Evils of Society,” 1967

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
– “Beyond Vietnam,” 1967

Where the glacier meets the sky, the land ceases to be earthly, and the earth becomes one with the heavens; no sorrows live there anymore, and therefore joy is not necessary; beauty alone reigns there, beyond all demands.
– Halldór Laxness

Communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social, and the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism but in a higher synthesis. It is found in a higher synthesis that combines the truths of both.
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I Am Happy Living Simply
by Marina Tsvetaeva
Translated by Ilya Kaminsky and Jean Valentine
I am happy living simply:
like a clock, or a calendar.
Worldly pilgrim, thin,
wise—as any creature. To know
the spirit is my beloved. To come to things—swift
as a ray of light, or a look.
To live as I write: spare—the way
God asks me—and friends do not.

If you remember me, then I don’t care if everyone else forgets.
– Haruki Murakami

Unless one lives and loves in the trenches, it is difficult to remember that the war against dehumanization is ceaseless.
– Audre Lorde

I am learning to see. I don’t know why it is, but everything enters me more deeply and doesn’t stop where it once used to. I have an interior that I never knew of. Everything passes into it now. I don’t know what happens there.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Nithya Shanti:
Argue for your limitations and sure enough they are yours. Affirm your absolute freedom and it is yours.

A moment that should have lasted forever and forever
Long over –
it came and went before I knew it existed.
I think I know what it means,
But every time I start to explain it, I forget the words.
– Charles Wright
A Short History of the Shadow

Do Not Rock The Boat
by Margo Stebbing
Do not rock the boat
unless you learn how to conjugate the verbs:
I, You, We, They: break
He, She, It: breaks
I: am breaking
You, We, They: are breaking. He, She, It: is breaking
I, You, We, They: have broken
He, She, It: has broken
I, You, We, They, He, She, It: broke
I, He, She, It: was breaking
You, We, They: were breaking
I, You, We, They, He, She, It: had broken.
Do not rock the boat
unless you first look at the weather conditions
under your own boat: gale storm,
forty foot waves, weaponized white fragility.
It is easier to play victim than to do the work of accountability:
“You are too angry! If only you
said things in a nicer way, you would
have more allies, meaning:
it’s your fault that We don’t dismantle
white supremacy.
Love is the answer, talking about
racism is divisive.”
Without conjugating into this kind of love:
“Justice is what love looks like in public”.
Do not rock the boat
unless you are ready to back up a march.
Pink pussy hats are fun for white ladies,
but where are you the rest of the
364 days of the year?
Why do you try to silence women of color
or their allies, because They are tired
of sugar coating
the truth to spoon-feed You?
Why does your fragility take presidence
over how and when social justice issues
are addressed without your permission?
Why does, He, She, They,
not develop their capacity for hearing
un-whitewashed truth from people of color?
Why does He, She, They, get
to define the terms of anti-racism work?
Do not rock the boat
unless you are prepared to lose your friends
because to speak truth may be out of their
comfort zone and they will reject you to
preserve their bubble at all costs.
Do not post photos of black young men and women
shot by police more than once a year.
Do not share posts by unapologetic
women of color. Do not talk
about everyday racism that is not about the KKK,
but about the way He, She,
They clutch their purses on the street,
the way that black names are rejected
from the pile of job applications,
the way that I, He, She, is
followed by a sales clerk in a store,
or that He, She, They edge me out
of counter space in Starbucks
because Their white privilege is unchecked.
Do not rock the boat
because it is cool but because you see
my oppression is connected to yours.
Because you see that white supremacy
is the system we all swim in, and though
it is not your fault for creating it,
it is your fault for not dismantling it.
Because unless you are dismantling it,
you are complicit in it. Because after
400 years, and only one year of hearing
about white privilege, He, She, They
are sick of hearing about it already.
Because though it is easier to stay in denial,
it will eat away your soul, like sugar
will rot your teeth, like dry rot can
stay undetected until the whole
house collapses. He, She, It breaks.
We all break together.
Do not rock the boat
unless you learn to conjugate the verbs.
You’ve probably heard people talk about active and passive voice.
In active voice, the verb indicates that the subject of the sentence is the one
doing the action.
In passive voice, the subject is the
recipient of the action done
by someone/something else.
A conjugated verb is a well-explained verb.
I, You, We, They: flinch. He, She, It: flinches.
You, We, They: are flinching.
I, You, We, They: develop new capacity
for these times.
I, You, We: are made for these times.
I, We, He, She, It cannot positive think
our way out of it.
I, You, He, She, We have to walk our prayers
all the way into it.
Do not rock the boat unless you have
learned to conjugate the verbs.

May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.
– Peter Marshall

Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

Have you not noticed that love is silence? It may be while holding the hand of another, or looking lovingly at a child, or taking in the beauty of an evening. Love has no past or future, and so it is with this extraordinary state of silence.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

I long for you as the watchman longs for the end of night.
– Sinead, speaking to her God

The person who, being truly on the Way, falls upon hard times in the world will not, as a consequence, turn to that friend who offers him refuge and comfort and encourages his old self to survive. Rather, he will seek out someone who will faithfully and inexorably help him to risk himself, so that he may endure the suffering and pass courageously through it, thus making of it a ‘raft that leads to the far shore.’
“Only to the extent that a person exposes himself willingly over and over again to annihilation, can that which is indestructible arise within him.”
“In this lies the dignity of daring.”
“Thus, the aim of practice is not to develop an attitude which allows a man to acquire a state of harmony and peace wherein nothing can ever trouble him. On the contrary, practice should teach him to let himself be assaulted, perturbed, moved, insulted, broke and battered–that is to say, it should enable him to dare to let go his futile hankering after harmony, sure ease of pain, and a comfortable life in order that he may discover, in doing battle with the forces that oppose him, that which awaits him beyond the world of opposites.”
“The first necessity is that we should have the courage to face life and encounter all that is most perilous in the world.”
“When this is possible, meditation itself becomes the means by which we accept and welcome the demons which arise from the unconscious–a process very different from the practice of concentration on some objects as a protection against such forces. Only if we venture repeatedly through zones of annihilation, can our contact with what is Divine, with what is beyond annihilation, become firm and stable.”
“The more a person learns wholeheartedly to confront a world and way of living that threatens him with isolation, the more are the depths of the Ground of Being revealed and the possibilities of new life and Becoming opened for him.
– Karlfried Graf Durckheim

Our heartfelt attempts, clumsy as they are, are the seeds that restore the world.
– Mark Nepo, Things That Join the Sea and the Sky

I find more pleasure in wandering the fields than in musing among my silent neighbours who are insensible to everything but toiling and talking of it and that to no purpose.
– John Clare

True nonviolent resistance is not unrealistic submission to evil power. It is rather a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love, in the faith that it is better to be the recipient of violence than the inflictor of it, since the latter only multiplies the existence of violence and bitterness in the universe, while the former may develop a sense of shame in the opponent, and thereby bring about a transformation and change of heart.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Luis Cernuda:
Love doesn’t take just this or that form,
It never really stays in any being;
We are all equally vile and dreamy.
Pleasure that never dies,
Kisses that never die,
I find them in no one but you, my earth.

Catie Curtis:
A couple years ago on MLK Day, I sat in the green room at Avogadro’s Number (Ft. Collins, CO) with Liz Barnez and we paraphrased some parts of MLK’s Beyond Vietnam speech to use in a song. We moved phrases around to create a new verse to the song “Passing Through” which Mark Erelli and I wrote. Here is the verse– if you happen to know Passing Through you can sing it out loud! I just love the sentiment.
Shall we tell our kids the odds are just too great?
Shall we tell them the struggle’s just too hard?
Or send a message of hope that we can make the right choice
And transform the jangling discord of our world in to love
We are faced with the face that tomorrow is today
We have bowed before the alter of retaliation and hate
We must dedicate ourselves to making this world new
We are only passing through
Passing through, passing through
We are only passing through
Passing through passing through
We are only passing through.

Waylon Lewis:
Life is stressful. It’s busy. We fill the space. We have to breathe. We have to apologize. We have to remember to be kind when we don’t have time. Hardest of all, we have to be kind to ourselves. As they say in Buddhism, if we lose our mind, come back. We will lose our minds. We won’t, ever, be perfect. All we can do is get back up and come back to this moment and do our best, and better. And sometimes our best, and better, means giving ourselves a break, or being kind to someone else, or finding our joy in a moment of gap, instead of filling the space. ⠀

When we look at modern man, we have to face the fact that modern man suffers from a kind of poverty of spirit, which stands in glaring contrast with a scientific and technological abundance. We’ve learned to fly the air as birds, we’ve learned to swim the sea as fish, yet we haven’t learned to walk the Earth as brothers and sisters.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Robin Moore:
The more spiritual you are the further away from enlightenment.

Namdak Dupka:
You have power over your mind not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.

Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world.
– Eckhart Tolle

In the winter the world gets sharp.
Beautiful things happen.
– Peter Fiore

Stephen Hatch:
Each day offers us a unique, one-of-a-kind beauty that will never again appear in exactly the same way. However, it acquires semi-permanence when it shapeshifts and comes to dwell within our memory, where we are able to transform it into a living work of art.

one of the abiding and foundational statements concerning the evil of racism was martin luther king’s 1963 “letter from birmingham jail”. i regard king as a biblical prophet , and even more so, a beautiful poet. in this extraordinary letter, king mentions martin buber: ” a ny law that uplifts human personality is just. a ny law that degrades human personality is unjust. segregation, to use the terminology of the jewish philosopher martin buber, substitutes an “I – it” relationship for an “I – thou” relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful.” in august of 1957, king, eleanor roosevelt and rev. james pike wrote a letter to buber urging him to sign a declaration against apartheid in south africa. buber did, and so did many of his colleagues and disciples. in 1965, buber and other professors at the hebrew university wrote a grateful letter to president lindon johnson: “ we are taking the liberty to express our deep satisfaction that d r. martin luther king jr. is now again a free man and can continue his righteous fight for the equality of his people.” it is my belief that this dialogue of words and deeds between martin luther king and martin buber proves that the truth of humanity can never be defeated. not even during times of seeming despair.
– hune margulies

What art seeks to disturb is monotony of type, slavery of custom, tyranny of habit, and the reduction of man to the level of a machine.
– Oscar Wilde

Nithya Shanti:
Put Aside the Menus
To study spiritual teachings and teachers one after another without wholeheartedly practicing the lessons is like reading one menu after another without actually chewing, tasting and digesting any of the food. How will our profound hunger be satiated in this way?
Whatever you know, however little or seemingly incomplete, practice it without hesitation, guilt, comparisons, postponements and delay. Walk and the way will appear. Everything responds to earnestness and sincerity.
Let inner silence be your guide. Let a heart full of gratitude, love and light be ever by your side. Let persistence and perseverance ignite the flame of aspiration which burns away all obstructions and hindrances.
Enough wandering. Enough skimming through enticing menus which leave us unfulfilled. Let us put an end to this ancient hunger. This is the best possible use of this life.

It is in our collective behavior that we are the most mysterious. We won’t be able to construct machines like ourselves until we’ve understood this, and we’re not even close. All we know is the phenomenon: we spend our time sending messages to each other, talking and trying to listen at the same time, exchanging information. This seems to be our most urgent biological function; it is what we do with our lives. By the time we reach the end, each of us has taken in a staggering store, enough to exhaust any computer, much of it incomprehensible, and we generally manage to put out even more than we take in. Information is our source of energy; we are driven by it. It has become a tremendous enterprise, a kind of energy system on its own. All 3 billion of us are being connected by telephones, radios, television sets, airplanes, satellites, harangues on public-address systems, newspapers, magazines, leaflets dropped from great heights, words got in edgewise. We are becoming a grid, a circuitry around the earth. If we keep at it, we will become a computer to end all computers, capable of fusing all the thoughts of the world into a syncytium.
– Lewis Thomas

Lisa Baughn:
I want the internet to transform capitalism but it’s happening the other way around.

Someone once said to me, “I didn’t realize my attitude could hurt you.” I responded, “Inside of me is a vulnerability no different from the weakest among us, no less fragile than a child. Indeed, I am not ashamed to bleed, to cry. But not only hurt, inside of me is also a mountain and a stone, unable to be touched by wounding words and cruelty. I hold with Maya Angelou, who said, “We are all human; therefore, nothing human can be alien to us.”
– David Bedrick

In the blue
He pronounced a name for a shadow tree.
And your beloved name
Recount and deposit his syllables.
– Paul Celan

Someone is standing at the door. Someone is waving from the car.
This day and that one sinking to brightness and the blue
evening wall before that, and a seed that fell from a star
becoming, as you will say, one day, all we will become.
– David Baker, Metastasis

The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.
– Alan Watts

Remember the emphasis on the heart. The mind lives in doubt & the heart lives in trust. When you trust, suddenly you become centered.
– Osho

A delicious-smelling messenger of all that is good and wild and proper and holy in this world.
To be in the presence of one so mind-bendingly wonderful clears away a great deal of nonsense.
The heart recalibrates in a fraction of second. You remember exactly what you stand for.
– Martin Shaw

One possible way to escape this unbearable state of uncertainty and the paralyzing feeling of one’s own insignificance is the very trait which became so prominent in Calvinism: the development of a frantic activity and a striving to do something. Activity in this sense assumes a compulsory quality: the individual has to be active in order to overcome his feeling of doubt and powerlessness. This kind of effort and activity is not the result of inner strength and self-confidence; it is a desperate escape from anxiety.
– Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom

This is what happens when you accept ‘The Real World’. Your horizons shrink and your outlook only permits for a very narrow spectrum of possibilities. You may feel deeply unfulfilled by these possibilities and frustrated with the life that has been presented to you, but you don’t believe there’s anything you can do about it.
As a result, your attitude becomes one of, “This is life. This is how the world works. I’ve just got to adapt to it and do the best I can to get by.” Your life then becomes one of boredom, where you have an inability to express who you truly are or what you’re really here to do.
But is ‘The Real World’ all there is to life?
– Joe Barnes

Belle Sanjiti Heywood:
I rejoice in how many great Teachers are giving teachings around the world this year at Rigpa Centres. 
That is what Bodhisattvas and Buddhas and Mahasiddhas do: they teach, they build bridges, they pacify, they increase, they gather, they subdue, they heal, they mend.. they make the Dharma and Sangha flourish… they never abandon beings or the teachings, but instead they go where is needed to benefit beings indefatigably. 
Instead of pointing fingers, blaming and increasing… schisms or pain or confusion, the bring the nectar of truth and blessings to any suffering and confusion.
I rejoice in this great gathering of enlightened activity.

If people are hostile towards a Dharma practitioner who has done nothing wrong, it is like they are sending him on the path of patience.
– Zurchung Sherab Drakpa

Whenever an answer, a solution, or a creative idea is needed, stop thinking for a moment by focusing your attention on your inner energy field. Become aware of the stillness.
– Eckhart Tolle

When our mind is racing and noisy, outward calm is only a pretense. But when we can find space and calm inside, then without effort we radiate peace and joy. We are able to help others and create a more healing environment around us, without uttering a single word.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.
– Anne Lamott

I guess there was always some “me” inside that small and, later, somewhat bigger shell around which “everything” was happening. Inside that shell the entity which one calls “I” never changed and never stopped watching what was going on outside. I am not trying to hint at pearls inside. What I am saying is that the passage of time does not much affect that entity. To get a low grade, to operate a milling machine, to be beaten up at an interrogation, or to lecture on Callimachus in a classroom is essentially the same. This is what makes one feel a bit astonished when one grows up and finds oneself tackling the tasks that are supposed to be handled by grownups. The dissatisfaction of a child with his parents’ control over him and the panic of an adult confronting a responsibility are of the same nature.
– Joseph Brodsky

I am that uncontrollable,
fear in a mesh of moonrock’s lapis soup.
We demons are in love and afoot….
– Amy King

The places where water comes together with other water. Those places stand out in my mind like holy places.
– Raymond Carver

Solitude is very different from a ‘time-out’ from our busy lives. Solitude is the very ground from which community grows. Whenever we pray alone, study, read, write, or simply spend quiet time away from the places where we interact with each other directly, we are potentially opened for a deeper intimacy with each other.
– Henri Nouwen

I stood willingly and gladly in the characters of everything – other people, trees, clouds. And this is what I learned, that the world’s otherness is antidote to confusion – that standing within this otherness – the beauty and the mystery of the world, out in the fields or deep inside books – can re-dignify the worst-stung heart.
– Mary Oliver

The West is not in the West. It is a project, not a place.
– Edouard Glissant

Poor, oppressed, drugged brains are blown clear in the mountain winds.
– John Muir

A huge structural problem with America right now: how powerful you are is mostly based on how loud you are.
But real leadership is all about how you hold your mind when it’s quiet.
We have to disempower the noise, but we’re all so addicted to it.
– Ethan Nichtern

We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Beyond Vietnam

This was another of our fears: that Life wouldn’t turn out to be like Literature.
– Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending


Yes and a big old Nope.

We have the power to say “Yes” to creativity, curiousity, and asking good questions. We have the strength and ability to say, “Yes,” to welcoming the stranger and to embracing the other. Let us affirm generosity, compassion, human dignity, good parenting, civil conversation, and the best of who we are as individuals and as a community.
But let us also, clearly and in good conscience say, “Nope” to all that harms, divides, disempowers or elevates the worst of who we are as individuals or as a community. What we need is here, and we can do this hard thing.
Please share with someone who needs a little encouragement today.

Illuminated Manuscript for the Resistance – By Carrie Newcomer

The Moon is, as Paul Éluard would say, exploding with silence.
– Clarice Lispector, Soulstorm

How easy it is, Doctor, to be a philosopher on paper, and how difficult in real life!
– Anton Chekhov, The Seagull

In Her Voice

Until you have been a caged bird,
you cannot truly appreciate the grace of flight,
nor know what it is in your heart to sing a song
from the branch of freedom.

Until you have been beaten down,
you cannot truly appreciate what it is to rise,
and to rise up on the behalf of others.

Until you can hold your fists when others let them fly,
Until you can let the tears come like angels to save
you from your own bitterness,
Until you can package your wounds in colorful wrappings
and glossy ribbons and give them away

to those who have nothing,
Until then, you have not found your own longing.
So, keep going.
Let this world be your place of dark beauty.
Let your heart find its point of breaking.
Earn your joy.
Earn it with all the might of your soul!
But, never forget –
“Don’t you dare ever let me think that you have forgotten!”

It has been there all along.

– Jamie K. Reaser

For Maya Angelou, with deep appreciation for her gifts
From “Portraits” (a work in progress)

believe that language and imagination, far from alienating us from nature, are our most powerful and natural tools for re-engaging with it.
– Richard Mabey

The mind can forget what the body, defined by each breath, subject to the heart beating, does not.
– Susan Griffin, A Chorus of Stones: The Private Life of War

To regret one’s own experiences is to arrest one’s own development. To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one’s own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.
– Oscar Wilde, De Profundis

O, I was so bright about you, / my songbird, once. Now, cattails immolated / in the frozen swamp are about all I have time for.
– John Ashbery

There is no way of knowing
What I tell you about love is true.
Go by the signs.
– Frank Stanford

Although [she] has little to do with your story, / she is, in a sense, the entire story.
– Stephen Dobyns

… I am an image in a ball of glass. The world is suspended there, and I in it.
– Nan Shepherd

I’m photographing myself out there. Not myself physically, but mentally. It’s my take on the world.
– Jean-Luc Godard

I am, each day,
typing out the God
my typewriter believes in.
Very quick. Very intense,
like a wolf at a live heart.
– Anne Sexton

It’s not like I’m all into nostalgia and history, it’s just that I can’t stand the way things are now.
– Novala Takemoto

As usual, I was thinking about the moments of the past, / letting my memory rush over them like water / rushing over the stones on the bottom of a stream.
– Billy Collins

The way you practice emergence is through longing.
– Lisa Robertson

the lost women
Lucille Clifton, 1936 – 2010
i need to know their names
those women i would have walked with
jauntily the way men go in groups
swinging their arms, and the ones
those sweating women whom i would have joined
after a hard game to chew the fat
what would we have called each other laughing
joking into our beer? where are my gangs,
my teams, my mislaid sisters?
all the women who could have known me,
where in the world are their names?

Autobiography of Eve
Ansel Elkins
Wearing nothing but snakeskin
boots, I blazed a footpath, the first
radical road out of that old kingdom
toward a new unknown.
When I came to those great flaming gates
of burning gold,
I stood alone in terror at the threshold
between Paradise and Earth.
There I heard a mysterious echo:
my own voice
singing to me from across the forbidden
side. I shook awake—
at once alive in a blaze of green fire.
Let it be known: I did not fall from grace.
I leapt
to freedom.

Slowly the west reaches for clothes of new colors
which it passes to a row of ancient trees.
You look, and soon these two worlds both leave you.
One part climbs toward heaven, one sinks to earth.
Leaving you, not really belonging to either:
not so helplessly dark as that house that is silent,
not so unswervingly given to the eternal as that thing
that turns to a star each night and climbs.
Leaving you, your own life – timid and standing high and growing;
So that, sometimes blocked in, and sometimes reaching out, one
moment your life is a stone in you, and the next…a star.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.
– Audre Lorde

Whether you like it or not,
your genes have a political past,
your skin, a political cast,
your eyes, a political slant.
Whatever you say reverberates,
whatever you don’t say speaks for itself.
So either way you’re talking politics.
– Wisława Szymborska

Poetry is the mathematics of writing and closely kin to music.
– John Steinbeck

Compassion sometimes can be self-destructive.
I carried it to the point of self-destruction, and I learned that it was a sin too.
– Anaïs Nin, from a letter to Rupert Pole written c. January 1953

I came into the world under the sign of Saturn — the star of the slowest revolution, the planet of detours and delays.
– Walter Benjamin

I tell you what’s really ridiculous—going into a bookstore and there’s all these books about yourself.
In a way, it feels like you’re already dead.
– Thom Yorke

Any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety.
– James Baldwin

I urge you to please notice when you are happy.
– Kurt Vonnegut

The true and durable path into and through experience involves being true to the actual givens of your lives. True to your own solitude, true to your own secret knowledge. Because oddly enough, it is that intimate, deeply personal knowledge that links us most vitally and keeps us most reliably connected to one another.
– Seamus Heaney

I’m noticing that the strangeness is not receding, the strangeness seems to be accelerating.
– Terrence McKenna

To the Book
by W. S. Merwin
Go on then
in your own time
this is as far
as I will take you
I am leaving your words with you
as though they had been yours
all the time
of course you are not finished
how can you be finished
when the morning begins again
or the moon cries
even the words are not finished
though they may claim to be
never mind
I will not be
listening when they say
how you should be
different in some way
you will be able to tell them
that the fault was all mine
whoever I was
when I made you up

Ethan Nichtern:
Was feeling like Trump’s awful era might be the end of participatory democracy in the US.
But it might actually be the start of it.

Robert Kaplan:
Ask yourself
What are you
Willing to
Give up
That’s how you’ll know
What you want

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
– Galway Kinnell

Robert Kaplan:
Ask yourself
What are you
Willing to
Give up
That’s how you’ll know
What you want

Surely the true path is to dive deep into nature.
– Vincent Van Gogh

Do you realize that people don’t know how to read Kafka simply because they want to decipher him? Instead of letting themselves be carried away by his unequaled imagination, they look for allegories — and come up with nothing but clichés: life is absurd (or it is not absurd), God is beyond reach (or within reach), etc. You can understand nothing about art, particularly modern art, if you do not understand that imagination is a value in itself.
– Milan Kundera

a poem of god and seltzer water.
by hune margulies
all last year i was almost sure
that there were such things as afternoons.
but here is the funny part:
there are no such things!
every time i look
it is always now.
and i’m disappointed.
i loved afternoon teas.
even though i never drink tea.
i loved afternoon walks.
especially to show off my new sandals.
i loved afternoon love making.
even if it was at night!
nights are beautiful too.
without afternoons
it would be interminable mornings.
imagine that!
but last year i realized
there are no such things as afternoons.
i think i will miss them.
and the interminable mornings.
but now i drink alone.
as my ancestors did.
reading a thoughtful tango poem.
and blasting a very silly kleizmer tune.
i love this snowy winter afternoon.
afternoons are beautiful.
the best spring i’ve ever had
was in the middle of winter.
i remember every little detail.
especially of things which never happened.
pan con manteca for three meals a day.
sweet plenty in the little we had.
i used to mix seltzer in my dad’s wine.
just to pretend it will last longer.
i decided to be in love.
in the middle of autumn.
and how many dreams spread over that bread!
kind of sad when the seltzer ran out.
i remember the names of the girls.
i hope they remember mine.
my mom was always right.
oh god, how funny she always was.
speaking of god:
he came early into my life.
i asked him for more seltzer for dad’s wine.
but i guess somethings he just can’t do.
but i did love my autumns and springs.
how can i not be sad for what i lost forever?
but the word god still hovers around me.
i think that’s a good thing.
– hune margulies

If you’re determined to think of yourself as limited, fearful, vulnerable, or scarred by past experience, know only that you have chosen to do so, and that the opportunity to experience yourself differently is always available.
– Mingyur Rinpoche

There is a big difference between claiming responsibility for events, experiences and lessons that we have chosen, and claiming responsibility for every experience of victimhood we have. The ‘everything happens for a reason’ mantra arrived as a necessary counter-balance to the idea that we are ALWAYS victims in situations, because, surely, we are not. But, like all reactive mantras, it went too far in one direction and ignored situations where suffering was needless. Yes, everything happens for a reason, but its not always a good one. There is always some degree of misguided action on this planet, there is always some amount of choiceless suffering and damage. And since we can’t know why something happened to someone else, its always better to just move from compassion when confronted with their hardship. Let them decide if the reason was a good one. It’s not for me, or you, to say.

No matter how many words and concepts are used to describe and point at the nature of mind, the nature of mind is beyond words and concepts. Only it can know itself.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

Principles for the development of a complete mind: Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses – especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.
– Leonardo da Vinci

The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And the habit into character.
So, watch the thought and its ways with care
And let it spring from love
Born out of concern for all Beings.
As the shadow follows the body,
As we think, so we become.
– Dhammapada

As we acquire true knowledge,
things do not become more comprehensible,
but more mysterious.
– Will Durant

Never regret thy fall,
O Icarus of the fearless flight
For the greatest tragedy of them all
Is never to feel the burning light.
– Oscar Wilde

A world is to be fought for, sung, and built: Love must imagine the world.
– Muriel Rukeyser

I notice that being itself is inexpressibly beautiful, I ache for all of us beings to be well, and I will do what I can to help this happen.
– Zen teacher Sarah Bender

And from the site of “the accidental poet”:
“to the seeds,
to the beginnings; to one clear word for which
there is no disguise and no alternative.
let us speak…
thoughts on accidents. the japanese hold the myth of the “happy accident,” the happening that changes life in a way that is unpredicted; something like that butterfly flapping its wings in south america. then there are those that leave you wounded, broken on a backstreet with just your dreams. these may heal to new growth. and then there are those of a nuclear nature, a fusion of souls of atoms, a furnace of entangled protons or a wild uncontained dance of photons burning tunnels in the rock of the real.
and some believe, and i do not counter, that there are no accidents at all.

Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.
– Anne Lamott

If you really want to know your mind, the body will always give you a truthful reflection, so look at the emotion, or rather feel it in your body. If there is an apparent conflict between them, the thought will be the lie, the emotion will be the truth.
– Eckhart Tolle

Desire and attachment will not change overnight, but desire becomes less ordinary as we redirect our worldly yearning toward the aspiration to become enlightened for the benefit of others. At the same time, we don’t abandon the ordinary objects of our desires – relationships, wealth, fame – but our attachment to them lessens as we contemplate their impermanence. Not rejecting them, rejoicing in our fortune when they arise, yet recognizing that they won’t last, we begin to build qualities of spiritual maturity. As our attachment slowly decreases, harmful actions that would normally result from attachment are reduced. We create less negative karma, more fortunate karma, and the mind’s positive qualities gradually increase.
– Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche

This Psalms Tell It like it is.
Psalm 73
1 Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong
5 They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.
7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
their evil imaginations have no limits
8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to the
meade and drink up waters in abundance.
11 They say, “How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?”
12 This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.
15 If I had spoken out like that,
I would have betrayed your children.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.

Whether you believe it or not, everything that this mind decides or comes to a conclusion [about] is incorrect. This is what Buddha said. Everything that is decided, perceived, projected, imagined, has no base. It’s an assumption, it’s sort of a very good educated guess job, most of the time.
– Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche

Even if you’ve read through countless books
You’re better off sticking to a single phrase
If anyone asks which one, tell him:
“Know your own mind just as it is”
– Ryokan

It is well known that no-one has ever been able to explain satisfactorily the meaning of the syntagm: ʻI love youʼ, so much so that one might think that it has a performative character — that its meaning coincides, that is, with the act of its utterance.
– Giorgio Agamben

No person, no matter how important society deems their relationship to you, has the right to denounce you for who you are.
– Tyler Oakley

There are moments when one has to choose between living one’s own life, fully, entirely, completely-or dragging out some false, shallow, degrading existence that the world in its hypocrisy demands.
– Oscar Wilde

Hidden, even purposefully concealed,
Behind the clouds there is a Mountain.
Always walking with, not against or away from.
All rests within its gentle, graceful, and elegant wisdom.
Kotatsu Roko
Prospect Hill

Listen to the elegance of mountains walking.
A gentle breeze, a terrifying wind.
Touching the deep blue sky she brings down blessings
Sunyata, luminous, formless, empty.
Listen, listen, listen…
Sooth our heart.
Kotatsu Roko
Prospect Hill

Show me your heart mind.
The one that is no place else.
Only each one of us can cover this ground.
Once entered the mountain wind continuously sings
This compassionate love song.
Attainment, achievement, mastery
No longer visible anywhere.
Only Love
Kotatsu Roko
Prospect Hill

Exactly where we are
uncontained by measurement,
This is true, right, and sincere.
A vow to accept ourselves, others, this,
Exactly as we Is.
Inconceivable, wondrous, subtle Love
Avalokitesvara is born of this Vow,
We all are!.
Kotatsu Roko
Prospect Hill

Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.
– Ursula K LeGuin

Those who build walls are their own prisoners. I’m going to go fulfill my proper function in the social organism. I’m going to unbuild walls.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

I certainly wasn’t happy. Happiness has to do with reason, and only reason earns it. What I was given was the thing you can’t earn, and can’t keep, and often don’t even recognize at the time; I mean joy.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

All of us have to learn how to invent our lives, make them up, imagine them. We need to be taught these skills; we need guides to show us how. If we don’t, our lives get made up for us by other people.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

If you see a whole thing – it seems that it’s always beautiful. Planets, lives… But up close a world’s all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life’s a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

A Few Words to a Young Writer by Ursula le Guin:
Socrates said, “The misuse of language induces evil in the soul.” He wasn’t talking about grammar. To misuse language is to use it the way politicians and advertisers do, for profit, without taking responsibility for what the words mean. Language used as a means to get power or make money goes wrong: it lies. Language used as an end in itself, to sing a poem or tell a story, goes right, goes towards the truth.

A writer is a person who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it. Writers know words are their way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight. By using words well they strengthen their souls. Story-tellers and poets spend their lives learning that skill and art of using words well. And their words make the souls of their readers stronger, brighter, deeper.

Ethan Nichtern:
There’s not one man who wouldn’t benefit from empowering women.
There’s not one white person who wouldn’t benefit from empowering people of color.
There’s not one straight person who wouldn’t benefit from empowering queer people.
It’s called Interdependence.

Initiation is not a predictable process. It moves forward fitfully, through moments of clear seeing, dramatic episodes of feeling, subtle intuitions, vague contemplative states. Dreams arrive, bringing guidance we frequently cannot accept. Years pass, during which we know that we are involved in something that cannot be easily named. We wake up to a sense of confusion, know that we are in dangerous conflict, cannot define the nature of what troubles us. All change is like this. It circles around, snakes back on itself, finds detours, leads us on a merry chase, starts us out it seems all over again from where we were in the first place. And then suddenly, when we least expect it, something opens a door, discovers a threshold, shoves us across.
– Kim Chernin in Reinventing Eve

Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind..
– Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

Insanity is coasting through life in a miserable existence when you have a caged lion locked inside and the key to release it.
– Morgan Freeman

One of my teachers at Columbia was Joseph Brodsky, who’s a Russian poet, wonderful, amazing poet, who was exiled from the Soviet Union for being a poet. And he said look, he said, you Americans, you are so naïve. You think evil is going to come into your houses wearing big black boots. It doesn’t come like that. Look at the language. It begins in the language.
– Marie Howe

The greatest lie ever told about love is that it sets you free.
– Zadie Smith, On Beauty

Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.
– Mahatma Gandhi

Lay Negativity Aside
At all times and in all situations, examine your mindstream moment by moment: are thoughts positive or negative? When you recognize a thought to have negative content, be aware of its potential for harm and lay it aside. This is crucial. Otherwise, when negative thoughts start to take shape, if you let them take hold, who knows where you’ll wind up in the end?
– Patrul Rinpoche

Do you love me enough that I may be weak with you? Everyone loves strength, but do you love me for my weakness? That is the real test.
– Alain de Botton

Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.
– Francis Bacon, born on this day in 1561

Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well ordered mind than a man’s ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his own company.
– Lucius Annaeus Seneca (BCE 3-65 CE)

A good memoir is about how one understands life, not the life.
– Ira Sukrungruang

To all that is brief and fragile
superficial, unstable,
To all that lacks foundation
argument or principles;
To all that is light,
fleeting, changing, finite
To smoke spirals,
wand roses,
To sea foam
and mists of oblivion…
To all that is light in weight
for itinerants on this transient earth
Somber, raving
with transitory words
and vaporous bubbly wines
I toast in breakable glasses.
– Maria Eugenia Baz Ferreira

In his extreme youth Stoner had thought of love as an absolute state of being to which, if one were lucky, one might find access; in his maturity he had decided it was the heaven of a false religion, toward which one ought to gaze with an amused disbelief, a gently familiar contempt, and an embarrassed nostalgia. Now in his middle age he began to know that it was neither a state of grace nor an illusion; he saw it as a human act of becoming, a condition that was invented and modified moment by moment and day by day, by the will and intelligence and the heart.
– John Williams, Stoner

In order to understand the way our brains behave, we can observe our emotions and their effects. In the past, it seemed as though science and spirituality were opposed to each other. However, it’s not a useful division to maintain, because the one tradition deals with knowledge of the material world and the other with the inner world of the mind; we need to know about both.
– The Dalai Lama

When you are up against a wall, put down roots like a tree, until clarity comes from deeper sources to see over that wall and grow.
– Carl Gustav Jung

Ethan Nichtern:
If your reasons for meditating include *both* self-care and the desire to help others, you are on the right track.

Being content with fewer desires is the greatest asset that one can have. Those who are able to maintain such a disposition are truly rich people even if they do not own a single asset, because only they can attain the ultimate, perfect happiness.
– Khenpo Tsultrim Lodro

Again I resume the long
lesson: how small a thing
can be pleasing, how little
in this hard world it takes
to satisfy the mind
and bring it to its rest.
– Wendell Berry

Water Night
If you open your eyes,
night opens doors of musk,…
the secret kingdom of the water opens
flowing from the center of the night.
And if you close your eyes,
a river fills you from within,
flows forward, darkens you:
night brings its wetness to beaches in your soul.
– Octavio Paz

Ideologies are simple ideas, disguised as science or philosophy, but purport to explain the complexity of the world and offer remedies that will perfect it. Ideologues are people who pretend they know how to ‘make the world a better place’ before they’ve taken care of their own chaos within.
– Norman Doidge

Robin Moore:
When it comes to linear development of an actual person it’s rather hard to confirm because we can’t actually establish a point in space and time to set of from or anyone to actually arrive…..or leave..

Ethan Nichtern:
There’s not one man who wouldn’t benefit from empowering women.
There’s not one white person who wouldn’t benefit from empowering people of color.
There’s not o…ne straight person who wouldn’t benefit from empowering queer people.
It’s called Interdependence.

martin buber and dialogical philosophy were deemed proponents of religious anarchism. this is the religious-anarchist proposal: we should imitate no saint nor follow any prophet, for we ourselves ought be the prophets and the prophecy, and also the poet and the deeds of poetry. ultimately, it is in our dialogue with the beings of life that we find our own salvation, for it is in the between of the meeting between i and thou that we create both the source of being and the traditions it wants us to live by. how do we dialogue with the source of being? through the embrace of our neighbor.
– hune margulies

Nithya Shanti:
The world is suffering today from too much knowledge. Virtue has not increased in proportion to the advance of knowledge. This is the root cause of misery in human society. Of the two tires of the vehicle that man is riding, the tire of knowledge is full and the tire of virtue is flat; it can be filled by the conscious practice of mantra. You cannot go far on a flat tire.
~ Sathya Sai Baba
I found this teaching very helpful. It is a reminder that instead of endlessly reading books and learning new things, what may be needed is more inner silence.
One of the effective ways to access this inner silence is by inwardly repeating a mantra that inspires us. It could be in any language, the name of a favorite diety, a quality or anything that is meaningful to us.
The word “Peace” or the phrase “Thank you” can also be an effective mantra. Repeating it all day long in the background can take the mind away from discursive thoughts and lead to an exquisite inner joy and a beautiful inner stillness.

Robin Moore:
Stop saying and thinking you are not that….
Stop saying and thinking you are this..
Then what happens..
What’s left?

Mountain spirits are among humanity’s greatest allies in the changes that you face, though you don’t yet realize it.
– Conversations with the Sidhe, David Spangler

We cannot assume the sacredness nor spiritual livingness of the earth or accept it as a new ideology or as a sentimentally pleasing idea. We must experience that life and sacredness, if it is there, in relationship to our own and to that ultimate mystery we call God. We must experience it in our lives, in our practice, in the flesh of our cultural creativity. (…) The spirituality of the earth is more than a slogan. It is an invitation to initiation, to the death of what we have been and the birth of something new.
– David Spangler

Don’t just be aware of the connections, he said, but heighten those connections. Send your energy and love through them to bless and enhance others. And where possible and appropriate, build new connections through which emergence and creativity may take place. Then you are in alignment with the intelligence that moves within and through all things. Then you are manifesting planetary consciousness.
– Apprenticed to Spirit, David Spangler

a wisdom of stars and forests, landscapes and living creatures, a wisdom of the connection between all things.
– “Conversations with the Sidhe”, David Spangler

We are born into this world not as exiles from our “true home”, not as students seeking to learn and then graduate to a better place, not as debtors working to pay off past obligations, but as generative sources of life, Light, and sacredness. We come in love to be caretakers and partners with the world to help foster her life. We come carrying a sacred flame within us to kindle the sacred potentials within the world.
– David Spangler, Journey into Fire

Humans are creatures who walk in two worlds, and trace upon the wall of their cave the wonders and nightmare experiences of their spiritual pilgrimage.
– Morris West

I was always going to the bookcase for another sip of the divine specific.
– Virginia Woolf, The Waves

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,…
For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,
And weep afresh love’s long since cancelled woe,
And moan th’ expense of many a vanished sight.
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er
The sad account of fore-bemoanèd moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end.
– Shakespeare

How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
What old December’s bareness everywhere!
And yet this time removed was summer’s time,…
The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,
Like widowed wombs after their lords’ decease:
Yet this abundant issue seemed to me
But hope of orphans, and unfathered fruit,
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And, thou away, the very birds are mute;
Or, if they sing, ‘tis with so dull a cheer,
That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.
– Shakespeare

If you have any self-respect,
A heart in your chest,
Brains in your head,
And some sympathy for yourself,
Regret your past actions,…
And improve your whole behavior.
It is time! It is very late!
– Shabkar

Going after a dream has a price. It may mean abandoning our habits,
it may make us go through hardships, or it may lead us to disappointment.
But however costly, it is never as high as the price paid by people who live in his/her comfort zone
– The Zahir, Paulo Coelho

We will not know our own injustice if we cannot imagine justice. We will not be free if we do not imagine freedom. We cannot demand that anyone try to attain justice and freedom who has not had a chance to imagine them as attainable.
– Ursula K LeGuin

What is the use of a realization that fails to reduce your disturbing emotions?
– Guru Rinpoche

I’ve come to see that poems can be self-critical and self-forgiving, too.
– Henri Cole

Particular care and attention must be given to that delicate plant ‘individuality’ if it is to grow and develop.
– Carl Gustav Jung

Amy Ferris:
A friend of mine lost her job this week. She had that job for over 10 years, and she posted about it; about how scared and depressed and frightened and worried she was, and someone, I don’t know who this person is, commented, wrote: It’s a blessing, something better will come along, chin up.
Well, I just wanna say this, my two cents, before taxes:
Chip up my fucking ass.

We all need to mourn and grieve the dreams and the jobs and the men and the women and the babies and the children we all wished for and hoped for and prayed for and had and lost.
We all need that.

This, then, is the ultimate paradox of thought: to want to discover something that thought itself cannot think.
– Soren Kierkegaard

We only gain merit and psychological development by accepting ourselves as we are, and by being serious enough to live the life we are entrusted with.
– C.G. Jung

Neither too bright nor totally stupid
I was what I was. A mixture
Of oil and vinegar
A sausage of angel and beast.
– Nicanor Parra

Zazen is sitting in a quiet room, absolutely still,
in the exact and proper position, without uttering a word,
and continuing to sit peacefully, facing a wall,
and nothing more. Every day.
– Taisen Deshimaru (Zen swordmaster)

success is the worst possible thing that could happen to a man like you,”she said,
because the shiny shoes, and flattery
and the self-lubricating slime of af…fluence would mean

you’d never have to face your failure as a human being.
‘There was a rude remark’
I could have made back to her right then
and I watched it go by like a bright blue sailboat
on a long gray river of silence,
watching it until it disappeared around the bend
while I smiled and listened to her talk,
thinking it was good to let myself be stabbed by her little spears,
because I wanted to see what I was made of
besides fear and the desire to be liked
by every person on the goddamn face of the earth—
To tell the truth, I felt a certain satisfaction in taking it,
letting her believe that I was just a little bird
opening my mouth and swallowing
the medicine she wanted to administer
—a mixture of good advice combined with slow-acting poison.
Is it strange to say that there was something beautiful
in the sight of her running wild, cut loose in an
epileptic fit of telling the truth?
And anyway, she was right about me,
that I am prone to certain misconceptions,
that I should never get so big or fat
that I can’t look down and see my own naked dirty feet,
which is why I kept smiling and smiling as she talked—
It was a beautiful day. I felt like crying.
I knew that if I could succeed at being demolished,
I could succeed at anything.
– Tony Hoagland, “Patience” from “What Narcissism Means To Me”

We all need nourishment for our psyche. It is impossible to find such nourishment in urban tenements without a patch of green or a blossoming tree. We need a relationship with nature.
– C.G. Jung

Please bring strange things.
Please come bringing new things.
Let very old things come into your hands.
Let what you do not know come into your eyes.
Let desert sand harden your feet.
Let the arch of your feet be the mountains.
Let the paths of your fingertips be your maps
and the ways you go be the lines on your palms.
Let there be deep snow in your inbreathing
and your outbreath be the shining of ice.
May your mouth contain the shapes of strange words.
May you smell food cooking you have not eaten.
May the spring of a foreign river be your navel.
May your soul be at home where there are no houses.
Walk carefully, well loved one,
walk mindfully, well loved one,
walk fearlessly, well loved one.
Return with us, return to us,
be always coming home.
– Ursula Le Guin
Always Coming Home

At every moment you choose yourself. But do you choose your self? Body and soul contain a thousand possibilities out of which you can build many I’s. But in one of them is there a congruence of the elector and the elected. Only one – which you will never find until you have excluded all those superficial and fleeting possibilities of being and doing with which you toy, out of curiosity or wonder or greed, and which hinder you from casting anchor in the experience of the mystery of life, and the consciousness of the talent entrusted to you which is your I.
– Dag Hammarskjöld

I want to get up early one more morning,
before sunrise. Before the birds, even.
I want to throw cold water on my face
and be at my work table
when the sky lightens and smoke
begins to rise from the chimneys
of the other houses.
I want to see the waves break
on this rocky beach, not just hear them
break as I did all night in my sleep.
I want to see again the ships
that pass through the Strait from every
seafaring country in the world –
old, dirty freighters just barely moving along,
and the swift new cargo vessels
painted every colour under the sun
that cut the water as they pass
I want to keep an eye out for them.
And for the little boat that plies
the water between the ships
and the pilot station near the lighthouse.
I want to see them take a man off the ship
and put another up on board.
I want to spend the day watching this happen
and reach my own conclusions.
I hate to seem greedy – I have so much
to be thankful for already.
But I want to get up early one more morning, at least.
And go to my place with some coffee and wait.
Just wait, to see what’s going to happen.
– Raymond Carver
Where Water Comes Together with Other Water

Despite everything, we are good people, who can hardly live in this world that continues almost entirely at our expense. The best thing is to keep on moving arms and legs, and watch the waves, almost as though moving forward. In this way, despair turns quickly over to happiness, and back to despair again. And, if you reach the beach, walk back across it like everything is fine, toward your family who would not like to see the abyss you have just swum over.
– Joanna Walsh

This is. And thou art. There is no safety. There is no end. The word must be heard in silence. There must be darkness to see the stars. The dance is always danced above the hollow place, above the terrible abyss.
– Ursula K. Le Guin, The Farthest Shore

I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process – an integral function of the universe.
– Richard Buckminster Fuller

My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

Every object rightly seen unlocks a new faculty of the Soul.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Everything we write
will be used against us
or against those we love.
These are the terms,
take them or leave them….
Poetry never stood a chance
of standing outside history.
– Adrienne Rich, North American Time

Tad Hargrave:
Eventually, you are likely to come to see yourself as you understand yourself to be seen.

Everything is real
– Gary Snyder

Basically, John [David Spangler’s mentor in the subtle planes] avoided defining God, saying that the Sacred was to be tasted and experienced and known from within the experience of a person’s life rather than captured in an image like an animal in a theological zoo. He said once: ‘Through love, God takes the form you most need in the moment for your well-being and your growth. God can be as personal as the most intimate lover or the most trusted and helpful friend and as vast and distant as the most impersonal force blowing like wind through the corridors of the stars’.
– David Spangler, Apprenticed to Spirit

I don’t think humans can live at a speed determined by machines without becoming machines.
– Pico Iyer

But find your silence. Claim your silence. Demand your silence from a world that demands you have none. Have the courage to sit in that uncomfortable sea of nothingness where you finally have to face all the things you wish didn’t exist but do. It is essential to your well being and functioning. Find your place(s), whether it be that one clean room in your house; that one spot beneath a tree in your backyard; the nature place that takes ten minutes to drive to; or the river f…lowing behind your house. Model to the next generation that this time of review and silence is not an indication of laziness or selfishness; It is an indication of wisdom and sophistication, and ultimately, efficacy. We–a society so obsessed with noise, news clips, action, arguments, debates, anger, confrontation, stimulation and busy-ness–must recreate ourselves and re-carve a place of silence (some might call it prayer) in our lives. It is a great healing measure for the wounded world outside of us, and the wounded world within us. WE CAN HEAL.

Another Night in the Ruins
How many nights must it take…
one such as me to learn
that we aren’t, after all, made
from that bird that flies out of its ashes,
that for us
as we go up in flames, our one work
to open ourselves, to be
the flames?
– Galway Kinnell, A New Selected Poems

The inescapability of poverty weighs so heavily on a person that he or she abandons long-term planning entirely, because the short-term needs are so great and the long-term gains so implausible.
– The Atlantic

Don’t write yourself in between worlds, rise up against multiple meanings, trust the trail of tears and learn to live.
– Paul Celan

Thomas Moore:
We need developments in soul to match technological progress.

Old Geezer:
The quickest way to change the world is to like it the way it is.
– A.R. Ammons
What do you think?

I think, Tehanu said in her soft, strange voice, that when I die, I can breathe back the breath that made me live. I can give back to the world all that I didn’t do. All that I might have been and couldn’t be. All the choices I didn’t make. All the things I lost and spent and wasted. I can give them back to the world. To the lives that haven’t been lived yet. That will be my gift back to the world that gave me the life I did live, the love I loved, the breath I breathed.
– Ursula K. Le Guin, The Other Wind

Lyna Rose:
Everything you grow through tries
to bring the best out of you.

I had friends, but I was spending a great deal of my time alone and for me that was vital because there’s an awful lot you learn about yourself when you’re alone.
– Kate Bush

It is our suffering that brings us together. It is not love. Love does not obey the mind, and turns to hate when forced. The bond that binds us is beyond choice. We are brothers. We are brothers in what we share. In pain, which each of us must suffer alone, in hunger, in poverty, in hope, we know our brotherhood. We know it, because we have had to learn it. We know that there is no help for us but from one another, that no hand will save us if we do not reach out our hand. And the hand that you reach out is empty, as mine is. You have nothing. You possess nothing. You own nothing. You are free. All you have is what you are, and what you give.
– Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed

You thought, as a boy, that a mage is one who can do anything. So I thought, once. So did we all. And the truth is that as a man’s real power grows and his knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower: until at last he chooses nothing, but does only and wholly what he *must* do . . .
– Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea

Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake. It is not easy. It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one. The road goes upward towards the light; but the laden traveler may never reach the end of it.
– Ursula K. Le Guin, The Tombs of Atuan

I saw you pull the planets out of orbit
I saw you push a wave back to sea
I watched you quench a fire with the sweat swept from your skin and then …
I heard you sing a song of victory
It sounded like the voices of a hundred thousand birds
Who had never known the confines of a cage
It sounded like the heartbeat of a warrior at rest
Sustained by both harmony and rage
It sounded like the weeping of a nation gone to war
Over something it was unprepared to fight
It was only then I realized there’s no victory in song
But in the singing, there is glory, there is might
We sat together, silently, overlooking Eden
Relying on the rhythm of the soil
To sustain us for a while, to give our hearts a rest
From the cadence of our sanctioned mortal coil
It sounded like the thundering of hoofbeats on the earth Running for the sake of joy and speed
It sounded like the tolling of the frogs on the banks
A volley of aural symmetry
It sounded like the whisper in absolute dark
Of the leaves, caressing summer’s night
From the stillness of the forest came the howling of the wolves
Singing in their glory and their might
They sang of distant galaxies,
Expanding towards each other
’Til they collide – no they combine,
Into a perfect integer
Prime, indivisible, Euclidean and whole
Encompassing all others
One consciousness, one soul
It would sound like the ticking of an atomic clock Synchronicity, polyphony, five-one
It would sound like a prayer in the darkness
A Hail-Mary, a goodbye, an endrun
It would sound like an explosion of red giants and black holes The harmonics of the Northern Lights
The whole sky above and tectonic plates below
Would be vibrating in their glory and their might
– Harpeth Rising

The mind I love must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody’s fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind.
– Katherine Mansfield, Notebooks

America was one of the great products of the Enlightenment: a kind of grand experiment of Enlightenment ideas. It was here that political philosophers first deployed the notion of a society dedicated to the common good, a society of rights and obligations, a society of “we the people.” It was here, as a bequest of the Enlightenment, that modern democracy began.
– Neal Gabler, Moyers & Company

I rhyme
To see myself, to set the darkness echoing.
– Seamus Heaney, Personal Helicon

Loaves and Fishes
This is not
the age of information.
This is not
the age of information.
Forget the news,
and the radio,
and the blurred screen.
This is the time
of loaves
and fishes.
People are hungry
and one good word
is bread
for a thousand.
– David Whyte

If there is any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not deter or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.
– William Penn

The beloved appears as a sign, a ‘soul’; the beloved expresses a possible world unknown to us, implying, enveloping, imprisoning a world that must be deciphered, that is, interpreted. What is involved, here, is a plurality of worlds; the pluralism of love does not concern only the multiplicity of loved beings, but the multiplicity of souls or worlds in each of them.
– Gilles Deleuze, Proust and Sign

All minds evolved to comprehend reality and thereby survive.
More than any fantasy or faith, reason, empowers –
– E.M.

Like the global ecosystem, the ecology of the psyche dictates that we can’t quite get rid of things. We push feelings into unconsciousness, but they remain implicit, having impact on our unconscious waking process and emerging in the evening. We can suppress, medicate and ignore our dreams, but when we do so we may be risking missing out on ultimately necessary and catalytic experiences required at times for personal development.

Prior research (Malinowski 2015) has confirmed the relevance of ‘dream rebound’. When we suppress waking thoughts, they show up in our dreams. A recent study builds on that prior work to look at whether there is a difference in dream rebound for suppressors of positive versus negative emotions, whether this affects sleep quality, and relates to experiencing depression, anxiety or stress.
– How Suppressed Emotions Enter Our Dreams

The fanciful idea of a self is a contraction, a limitation of wholeness, real being. Without the notion of an individual there is no sensation of separateness and we feel a oneness with all things..
The moment you see your helplessness, that nothing works, you come to a point of surrender, a stand still where you are in communion with Silence, ultimate truth. It is This Reality which transforms your mind.
– Jean Klein

Do you know, darling? When you became involved with others you quite possibly stepped down a level or two, but if you become involved with me, you will be throwing yourself into the abyss.
– Franz Kafka, Letters to Milena Jesenská, 1920

I believe poetry has very little to do with memory.
– Nick Flynn

Poets are the dreams of gods, and in each and every age someone hath sung unknowingly the message and the promise from the lotus-gardens beyond the sunset.
– H.P. Lovecraft

She told me it was important that I read her poems in order to understand her current preoccupations, her attempt to ‘report from the frontier’ of old age.
– Zoe Carpenter remembers URSULA K. LE GUIN

Each one of us is alone in the world. It takes great courage to meet the full force of your aloneness. Most of the activity in society is subconsciously designed to quell the voice crying in the wilderness within you. The mystic Thomas a Kempis said that when you go out into the world, you return having lost some of yourself. Until you learn to inhabit your aloneness, the lonely distraction and noise of society will seduce you into false belonging, with which y…ou will only become empty and weary. When you face your aloneness, something begins to happen. Gradually, the sense of bleakness changes into a sense of true belonging. This is a slow and open-ended transition but it is utterly vital in order to come into rhythm with your own individuality. In a sense this is the endless task of finding your true home within your life. It is not narcissistic, for as soon as you rest in the house of your own heart, doors and windows begin to open outwards to the world. No longer on the run from your aloneness, your connections with others become real and creative. You no longer need to covertly scrape affirmation from others or from projects outside yourself. This is slow work; it takes years to bring your mind home.
– John O’Donohue

There is new life in the soil for every man. There is healing in the trees for tired minds and for our overburdened spirits, there is strength in the hills, if only we will lift up our eyes. Remember that nature is your great restorer.
– Calvin Coolidge

What fresh hell is this?
– Dorothy Parker

It was as though an amnesia lasting billions of years was being lifted from me layer by layer. The more I remembered, the larger I became. Wave after wave of awakening was pushing back the edges of my being . To remember more was to become more.
– Christopher M. Bache, Existence and the Intelligence of the Universe: Insights from a Psychedelic Communion

A toast to the Dorje Dradul of Mukpo Dong
It is amazing how fearful I am when facing you. I always was and may always be. Here I am again–a simple request to make a toast to you–has roused that fear again.

As I sit at the feet of the most profound, the most brilliant, the most just, the most powerful, the most all victorious person I have ever known, and may ever know for lifetimes,
Why should I be so afraid of that cosmic mirror you always hold up?
Without you I would never have learned what that quivering heart is all about and that is where the stroke of Ashe begins.
It is in that moment of fear that werma and drala begin to gather and their horses begin to stir.
I sometimes hear the sound of the harnesses, the clinking of the crystal armour, the stomping of the horses’ hooves, all that energy preparing for descent into my heart and all hearts in that one, quivering moment.
Here we are in Nova Scotia.
Believe it or not, along these craggy, ocean worn shores, there are chrysanthemums growing.
It worked! Your smile produced them petal by petal,
And our tears of longing helped them grow.
Why are you not presently with us?
You are, I say, always, always, always with us, which makes me cry more.
Will my tears produce future warriors?
That is my aspiration, that is my offering.
I love you so much, I miss you so terribly
From the pain of that heartbreak I cry Ki Ki, So So
And I vow to perpetuate your world.
To the Dorje Dradul
-Trudy Sable (This is a toast that was offered some years ago at a meeting in Halifax, Lady Diana presiding.) posted by Chronicles of CTR

Seeing so many booksellers in one place is like taking a bath with a warm glass of milk in one hand and a glass of whiskey in the other. I think at this point you’re performing a kind of civilizational duty, like the monks during the Middle Ages. You’re all that stands between us and complete darkness.
– Gary Shteyngart at American Booksellers Winter Institute

I am lost – absorbed – captivated with the divine and unfathomable loveliness and grandeur of Nature. Somehow I feel separated from the mass of mankind, and I do not know whether I can return to the ordinary modes of feeling and thinking or not.
– John Muir

I didn’t like him, but I felt pity for him, which is often the first step toward liking anyone.
– Hanya Yanagihara, The People in the Trees

We have to keep company with supposedly bad characters if we are to survive and not succumb to mental atrophy. People of good character, so called, are the ones who end up boring us to death.
– Thomas Bernhard, Extinction

The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related that it is difficult to class them separately. One step above the sublime makes the ridiculous, and one step above the ridiculous makes the sublime again…
– Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason: Part 2, 1795

Certain things happen to each person. Those things interrupt the daily flow of time and life in order to open us to something greater. Unfortunately they are felt initially as painful loses, as illnesses, as experiences of danger or rejection that put us in a separate place. We have to be separated from everyone else in order to learn who we actually are. The process of that is initiation.
– Michael Meade

Cinema leads images back to the homeland of gesture. According to the beautiful definition implicit in Beckett’s Traum und Nacht, it is the dream of a gesture. The duty of the director is to introduce into this dream the element of awakening.
– Giorgio Agamben (Notes on Gesture)

José Luis G. Soler:
some day in the future, we will not need astrological charts, it will be a normal accepted fact in human culture, as usual as breathing, to communicate with the gods directly…as it used to happen in our remote past: “imaginal astrology”

José Luis G. Soler:
I’m a “retro-progressive” (Salvador Paniker).
Let’s go back/move forward to practical wild religion.
Octavio Paz: “Again and again Novalis affirms that poetry is something like religion in a wild state and that religion is merely practical poetry, poetry lived and made act.

Mythology, in other words, is not an outmoded quaintness of the past, but a living complex of archetypal, dynamic images, native to, and eloquent of, some constant, fundamental stratum of the human psyche. And that stratum is the source of the vital energies of our being. Out of it proceed all the fate-creating drives and fears of our lives. While our educated, modern waking-consciousness has been going forward on the wheels and wings of progress, this recalcitrant, dream-creating, wish-creating, under-consciousness has been holding to its primeval companions all the time, the demons and the gods.
– Joseph Campbell

Don’t think. Look!
– Ludwig Wittgenstein

It is said in Buddhist tradition the heavens are filled with buddhas and bodhisattvas; filled with all the men and women who have come before us and practiced and have died and have left their bodies. All of these beings are there and the only thing they want to do is to help us [wake up]. That’s why they’re there. The only thing that prevents them from helping us, is us. According to our tradition we have to at least ask [for help]. We have to say, “Okay, I admit it. In thi…s situation, I can’t do it. If I take another step I’ll make it even worse, so I definitely need some outside intervention. Could you give me a hand here?”
And you don’t even have to name it. If you feel like you’re a Buddhist, you can ask the Buddha. If you feel like you are Christian, you can ask Christ. It doesn’t make that much difference. Whatever is your link to something bigger than yourself, that is it.
I’m talking about a tool that one can use in one’s life, especially if you want to do something other than build yourself up and try to be more inflated and more secure and more comfortable and grandiose. If we want something else, we definitely need outside help, and it is available.
– Reggie Ray, 1999

We must love ourselves more than they hate us.
– Ernie Paniccioli

Banish the word ‘struggle’ from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. We are the ones we have been waiting for.
– Hopi Elders

It is when you lose sight of yourself, that you lose your way. To keep your truth in sight you must keep yourself in sight and the world to you should be a mirror to reflect to you your image; the world should be a mirror that you reflect upon.
– C. JoyBell C

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters; how well they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
– W. H. Auden

like the sky I’ve been too quiet everyone’s forgotten I’m here.
– Kaveh Akbar

I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world.
– Albert Camus

The warrior’s duty is to generate warmth and compassion for others.
– Chögyam Trungpa

Cynthia Cruz
But, I have not been honest with you,
And how can you love me
if you don’t know me.
Here, things are strange in that
people seem happy. Or,
the people I know: they almost died,
so now their lives are new, they have another one.
How do I say what I need to say in a poem.
I want to make this poem prettier.
If it’s more beautiful, if I am
more beautiful, then
you will love me. But that, too, is a lie.
I’m better than I was, but also,
I am not: I eat normal food
but only in carefully regimented increments.
I want to be thinner, smaller.
Spectral, even. And that’s a death wish,
isn’t it, the death drive.
I have begun documenting
everything for an art project or maybe
something smaller, and darker.
Truth is the antidote
for shame and shame
is what I carry with me

Whatever you find yourself thinking, let that thought rise and settle, without any constraint. Don’t grasp at it, feed it, or indulge it; don’t cling to it and don’t try to solidify it. Neither follow thoughts nor invite them; be like the ocean looking at its own waves, or the sky gazing down on the clouds that pass through it.
– Sogyal Rinpoche

When I am the lone listener to the antiphony of crickets
and the two wild tribes of cicadas and let my mind
wander to its bogs, its sloughs, where no endorphins fire,
I will think on occasion how all memory is longing

for the lost energies of innocence.

- R. T. Smith

In the Morning
Do you know mornings that refuse
to fully release
the night’s dreams?
I do.
I’ve learned to apprentice to them,
their want for me to re-member
that I am alive in other places,
that what we most long for can find
us when we are still.
A small white feather drifted, downward,
falling in gentle swinging motions, coming
from the clear blue sky onto land
that we had stood on together, side by side,
so very long ago,
I could remember the texture of the warm
soil under my bare feet,
and the view of the side-sprawling mountains
on the salty-blue horizon that we had
walked towards with an intent to be
something else,
and I wondered
how the white dove you had gifted me
found me again.
– Jamie K. Reaser

What is born will die, What has been gathered will be dispersed, What has been accumulated will be exhausted, What has been built up will collapse, And what has been high will be brought low.
– Sogyal Rinpoche

Fa Hsing Jeff Miles:
The sea of life
Is ancient and deep,
Birth and death
Merely waves
On the surface;
Immersing myself
In the quiet depths,
I find peace
In the stillness within.

Unless the eye catch fire,
The God will not be seen.
Unless the ear catch fire
The God will not be heard.
Unless the tongue catch fire
The God will not be named.
Unless the heart catch fire,
The God will not be loved.
Unless the mind catch fire,
The God will not be known.
– Blake

Here we are, Lord, ashamed of what humanity, made in your image and likeness, is capable of doing. Remember us in your mercy.
– Pope Francis

Andrew Sweeny:
‘Warrior of the Meek’ is an idea I’m borrowing from buddhist master Chogyam Trungpa. I like the term because it contains both the fierce aspect of a warrior (the ability to make war) and the gentle (the ability to make peace). Justice cannot exist without mercy, or meekness. As Peterson has pointed out, the biblical word ‘meek’ does not actually mean passive or submissive: a meek person is one who ‘keeps his sword in his sheath’. Such a person is not without the potential for violence. However, the warrior of the meek will do everything in his or her power to avoid violent revolution, and will bypasses violent impulsive action in favour of listening and dialogue. The the warrior of the meek aspires to be victorious over war.

When the bible says ‘the meek shall inhered the earth’ this is close, but different from Marx and Engels maxim: “Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!”. Both the biblical and the Marxist injunction promise a future liberation, but different ways to get there. A warrior of the meek begins with the oppressor within, not the oppressor without. We cannot have any meaningful victory over tyranny or find heaven on earth, until we have seen and tamed our own inner tyrant. This is much more radical than mere social protest, and much more difficult. We have to fight against our own spiritual possession by the dark archetype, or the inner dictator/tyrant, before we are competent enough to make any real change.

We are fragmented into so many different aspects. We don´t know who we really are, or what aspects of ourselves we should identify with or believe in. So many contradictory voices, dictates, and feelings fight for control over our inner lives that we find ourselves scattered everywhere, in all directions, leaving nobody at home. Meditation, then, is bringing the mind home.
– Sogyal Rinpoche

All equally experience suffering and happiness; I must protect others just as I do myself. The body has lots of parts, like arms, and they should be protected as a whole; likewise I should protect the whole world, which is differentiated but has the same nature of suffering and happiness.
My suffering is hard for me to bear because it is painful to me and I am attached to my own welfare. It is exactly like this for others; their suffering is just as real and hurtful. I should alleviate the suffering of others because it is suffering, exactly like my own suffering. I should care for others because they are living beings with feelings just like my own.
What is so special about me that I find it reasonable to work only for my own happiness? Fear and pain are abhorrent both to others and to myself, then what is so special about me that I protect myself and not others?
If I don’t protect others because I am not feeling their pain, I also don’t feel pain that my body will have in the future but I take great care to protect against that. I might imagine that my future self is the same as my present self, but this is false; my present self is gone before my future self appears. If I think that each should ward off only their own suffering, then why does the hand protect the foot?
We can see that our behavior is inappropriate, but we still may justify it as naturally arising from grasping and attachment. But we should resist with all of our might that which is inappropriate.
There is no truly existent person, so all sufferings are ownerless and of a kind. They should be warded off or alleviated simply because they hurt. Everyone agrees, so if they are to be warded off they must be warded off for all. Or, if not, then this goes for me as well as everyone else.
– Shantideva’s BCA 8.90-103

It takes three things
to attain a sense of significant being:
A Soul,
and a Moment.
And the three
are always here.
– Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

True, we love life, not because we are used to living but because we are used to loving. There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Where there is no hope
we must invent it.
– Albert Camus

Beneath heaven’s vault
remember always walking
through halls of cloud
down aisles of sunlight
or through high hedges

of the green rain

walk in the world

high-heeled with swirl of cape

hand at the sword-hilt

of your pride

Keep a tall throat
Remain aghast at life
Enter each day
as upon a stage
lighted and waiting
for your step
Crave upward as flame
have keenness in the nostril
Give your eyes
to agony or rapture
Train your hands
as birds to be
brooding or nimble
Move your body
as the horses
sweeping on slender hooves
over crag and prairie
with fleeing manes
and aloofness of their limbs
Take earth for your own large room
and the floor of earth
carpeted with sunlight
and hung round with silver wind
for your dancing place
– May Swenson

You love the beauty that you can see and touch and handle, the beauty that you can destroy, and do destroy, but of the unseen beauty of life, of the unseen beauty of a higher life, you know nothing.
– Oscar Wilde

I am a part of the great whole, and I can never escape. But I can deny my connections, break them, and become a fragment, then I am wretched.
What we want is to destroy our false, inorganic connections, especially those related to money, and re-establish the living organic connections, with the cosmos, the sun and earth, with mankind and nation and family. Start with the sun, and the rest will slowly, slowly follow.”
– D. H. Lawrence

Silence, words into foolishness fading,
Silence prolonged, of thought so secret
We hush the sheep-bells and the loud cicada.
And your black agate eyes, wide open, mirror
The released firebird beating his way
Down a whirled avenue of blues and yellows.
Should I not weep? Profuse the berries of love,
The speckled fish, the filberts and white ivy
Which you, with a half-smile, bestow
On your delectable broad land of promise
For me, who never before went gay in plumes.
− Robert Graves

The Wisdom of a Broken Heart
‘I was attending a talk by a Tibetan Buddhist monk at a local meditation center. he was young, not yet thirty, but already highly respected as a scholar and spiritual adept. After talking about overcoming obstacles such as depression and anxiety, he was asked about how we can manage our emotions in a world of ever-increasing danger and uncertainty, how to cope with feelings of paralyzing dread about our safety and the future of the planet. The monk said, “When you are filled with fear, anxiety, or other difficult emotions, the first thing you should always do is make friends with them.” Rather than fighting off unpleasant feelings, it is always best to soften, open, and invite them. Fighting wastes valuable time. Allowing them acknowledges the reality of that particular moment and makes it easier to address your circumstances intelligently. For example, if you’re walking down a dark street trying to pretend you’re not afraid, you might miss the valuable signals fear offers you when you tune in and open to it.
And so it is with a broken heart, or any other problem, really. You may have been taught to attack a problem when you encounter it, either by trying to fix it right away or else eradicating it. I’m not suggesting that this is never a good idea, but there is another option which is not often thought of, which is to extend the hand of friendship to your situation. This is an extraordinary thing to do. Making friends with your broken heart, instead of trying to mend it or banish it, begins by simply making room for it to exist. You could even invite it to sit down with you, since you’ve probably been hating it or trying to ignore it. When grief and disappointment threaten to overwhelm you, instead of bemoaning them, turning away, or shrinking in fear of them, you could feel them. Instead of trying to shout them down, either by talking yourself out of what you’re feeling (It’s all his fault, anyway), making up a story about what it all means (I always attract the wrong guys), or collapsing on the couch with a bottle of gin (to deaden the pain), invite in your feelings and get to know them…
This process is really, really hard, so you need to appreciate yourself and what you are going through. So many problems result from the inability simply to be kind to yourself. Please develop some sympathy for yourself, which is different from self-pity or self-indulgence. Imagine if you knew that your best friend or your child or your mom was going through what you are experiencing – wouldn’t your heart ache for her? Wouldn’t you feel that if only there were something you could do to help, you would do it? Wouldn’t you think about her night and day with kindness, hoping for her to find peace?
Ask yourself honestly: have you felt these things about yourself?
If you have, that is wonderful; you are a great friend. If you haven’t, you could try to offer kindness to yourself.’
– Susan Piver, The Wisdom of a Broken Heart: An Uncommon Guide to Healing, Insight and Love.

Ask yourself: Is there joy, ease and lightness in what I am doing? If there isn’t, then time is covering up the present moment, and life is perceived as a burden or a struggle.
– Eckhart Tolle

When all thoughts
Are exhausted
I slip into the woods
And gather
A pile of shepherd’s purse.
Like the little stream
Making its way
Through the mossy crevices
I, too, quietly
Turn clear and transparent.
– Ryokan (1758-1831)

Mythology—and therefore civilization—is a poetic, supernormal image, conceived, like all poetry, in depth, but susceptible of interpretation on various levels. The shallowest minds see in it the local scenery; the deepest, the foreground of the void; and between are all the stages of the Way from the ethnic to the elementary idea, the local to the universal being, which is Everyman, as he both knows and is afraid to know. For the human mind in its polarity of the male and female modes of experience, in its passages from infancy to adulthood and old age, in its toughness and tenderness, and in its continuing dialogue with the world, is the ultimate mythogenetic zone—the creator and the destroyer, the slave and yet the master, of all the gods.
– Joseph Campbell

Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.
― Thomas Aquinas

Ozay Tulku Rinpoche:
Your belief is as real or unreal as you want it to be, if you pass the test of belief then you are given the certificate of true faith, which is a power unto itself, then you are meddling in the divine territory, know thyself and know who is god.

Literature cannot be a compensation for history, but it can point to an absence.
– Elias Khoury

JFK: Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. Mythology distracts us everywhere. For the great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie: deliberate, contrived, and dishonest. But the myth: persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.

In the story of the Buddha, Mara actually appeared in personified form, as a shadowy male figure. But later, as Buddhism developed, the maras were identified as inner blockages like emotional upheaval and pride, which inhibit full awakening. Being able to identify our maras (demons) as they show up is the first step in working with them. If we don’t recognize them, they will take over unnoticed.
– Lama Tsultrim Allione, from her book Feeding Your Demons.

The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss – an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. – is sure to be noticed.
– Søren Kierkegaard

Fish don’t hold the sacred liquid in cups! They swim the huge fluid freedom.
– Rumi

As Socrates tells it, your story begins the moment Eros enters you. That incursion is the biggest risk of your life. How you handle it is an index of the quality, wisdom, and decorum of the things inside you. As you handle it you come into contact with what is inside you, in a sudden and startling way. You perceive what you are, what you lack, what you could be.
– Anne Carson

The application of mindfulness has to be precise. If we cling to our practice, we create stagnation.
– Chogyam Trungpa

Thomas Moore:
Develop good taste in ideas. Don’t accept junk food of the mind.

To believe that our beliefs are permanent truths that encompass reality is a sad arrogance. To let go of that belief is to find safety. – Ursala Le Guinn From Lao Tsu: Tao Te Ching.

From her translation;
To bear and not to own;
to act and not lay claim;
to do the work and let it go;
for just letting it go
is what makes it stay.

You would have broken my wings,
but the very fact that you knew I had wings,
set some seal on my bitter heart, my heart
broke and fluttered and sang.
You would have snared me,
and scattered the strands of my nest
– H.D.

Doing Good
When good is done, it attracts goodness faster than a magnet attracts iron. Nothing will ever hinder the accumulating of good.
– Dogen Zenji

Late Prayer
Jane Hirshfield
Tenderness does not choose its own uses.
It goes out to everything equally,

circling rabbit and hawk.

Look: in the iron bucket,

a single nail, a single ruby–

all the heavens and hells.

They rattle in the heart and make one sound.

The inner world is the world of your requirements and your energies and your structure and your possibilities that meets the outer world. And the outer world is the field of your incarnation. That’s where you are. You’ve got to keep both going. As Novalis said, ‘The seat of the soul is there where the inner and outer worlds meet.
– Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

There is meaning in the natural rhythms of dying and living, winter and spring, bones and leaves. Even in times of bewilderment or despair, there is the steadfast ground underfoot—pine duff, baked clay, stone turned red in the rain. I am trying to understand this, the power of water, air, earth, and time to bring gladness gradually from grief and to restore meaning to lives that seem empty or unmoored.
– Kathleen Dean Moore, from the book Wild Comfort

Entering the threshold is not a matter of going into literal woods, though that may help. It is a matter of mind, of leaving the trail of convention and norm, whether in the city or the wild.
– Jane Hirshfield, Writing and the Threshold Life

The words we read and words we write never say exactly what we mean. The people we love are never just as we desire them. The two symbola never perfectly match. Eros is in between.
– Anne Carson

The creative self [asks] the surrender of ordinary conceptions of identity and will for a broader kind of intimacy and allegiance.
– Jane Hirshfield, Writing and the Threshold Life

If part of you wants to expand and part of you wants to stay small, it can create almost unbearable tension. Give voice to both. Be especially brutality honest about the part of you that doesn’t want to deal with it.
– Lila Harris

The problem with convenience and efficiency is that, in the effort to make the shortest path between us and the things we want, the privilege of accountability is lost.
If you consider the time it takes an individual to gather raw materials, which are often living organisms, the honour & grief that is felt in their losses to our ecosystems, the lifetime courtship of the tools and material’s ways, the apprenticeship to the land which enables it all, then you have a life which is interwoven with its art.
You have a person who is beholden to their place in the world and you can trace a path across their wounds and wrinkles to their love of a thing, which they will protect, and which will feed you with its long history, beauty and richness. A person like this thinks twice about ‘developing’ an unblemished piece of land.
– Toko-pa Turner, Belonging

You thought, as a boy, that a mage is one who can do anything. So I thought, once. So did we all. And the truth is that as a man’s real power grows and his knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower: until at last he chooses nothing, but does only and wholly what he *must *do . . .
– Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea

From that time forth he believed that the wise man is one who never sets himself apart from other living things, whether they have speech or not, and in later years he strove long to learn what can be learned, in silence, from the eyes of animals, the flight of birds, the great slow gestures of trees.
– Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea

Eternal play of
Black and White
Right and wrong
Good and Evil
Eternal dance
How could one be without the other?
How would we know one from the other?
The creative tension
longing for transcendence
for merging
It is in the crisis we grow
Grow or die
The longing for wholeness
Ecstasy of love fulfilled
Ecstasy of creation
She and He
Two opposite atoms merging
releasing force
to build or destroy
Shiva dancing
A dialogue between us
can we take a higher road and see it
as a shared passion
A relationship
spiritual child
joining and dividing
The dance of creation
A parental pair of
ten thousand things
The emptiness leaden with all possibilities
The nature’s lesson
of not interfering
of simply being
not doing
Simply allowing the dance
to dance
Abraham’s God
Advising love your evil
Do not resist but merge and
you will find heaven
The Awaken One’s message of
unconditional acceptance
of com-passion
saying only yes
to the other
Will make you whole
Will set you free
Beyond the black and white
Beyond bad and good
Beyond wrong and right
Beyond illusion of two
It will take you
the eternal dance…
– Y. Rommel

If, then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say: in the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.
– Leo Tolstoy

Thoroughly unprepared, we take the step into the afternoon of life. Worse still, we take this step with the false presupposition that our truths and our ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning, for what was great in the morning will be little at evening and what in the morning was true, at evening will have become a lie.
– C.G. Jung

We now live in a culture that understands too many things too precisely and in too small a way, rendering our lives and our world too predictable and controllable, too sterile, too artless. We would be much healthier if we could regularly imagine the impossible, be open to surprise and unexpected discovery, and change course, turning on a dime, especially when something alluring crosses our path.
– Bill Plotkin & Animas Valley Institute

…here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

– e. e. cummings

Jaz Allen-Sutton:
The night speaks a language that I don’t understand
And as I turn to leave it
Go inside
And put a light on
I can’t
I’m captured by a foreign moon

Carl Jung: We are men and not gods. The meaning of human development is to be found in the fulfilment of this life.

I am a psychologist and empiricist, and for me the meaning of life does not lie in annulling it for the sake of an alleged “possibility of transcendental existence” which nobody knows how to envisage.

We are men and not gods. The meaning of human development is to be found in the fulfilment of this life.

It is rich enough in marvels. And not in detachment from this world.

How can I fulfil the meaning of my life if the goal I set myself is the “disappearance of individual consciousness”?

What am I without this individual consciousness of mine?

Even what I have called the “self” functions only by virtue of an ego which hears the voice of that greater being.
– Carl G. Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 381

I am astonished, disappointed, pleased with myself. I am distressed, depressed, rapturous. I am all these things at once, and cannot add up the sum. I am incapable of determining ultimate worth or worthlessness; I have no judgment about myself and my life. There is nothing I am quite sure about. I have no definite convictions – not about anything, really. I know only that I was born and exist, and it seems to me that I have been carried along. I exist on the foundation or something I do not know.
– C.G. Jung

He began to see the truth, that Ged had neither lost nor won but, naming the shadow of his death with his own name, had made himself whole: a man: who, knowing his whole true self, cannot be used or possessed by any power other than himself, and whose life therefore is lived for life’s sake and never in the service of ruin, or pain, or hatred, or the dark. In the Creation of Ea, which is the oldest song, it is said, ‘Only in silence the word, only in dark the light, only in dying life: bright the hawk’s flight on the empty sky.
― Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea

The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real … for a moment at least … that long magic moment before we wake.
Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?
We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.
They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to middle Earth.
― George R.R. Martin

José Marti:

I Cultivate a White Rose

I cultivate a white rose
In July as in January
For the sincere friend
Who gives me his hand frankly.

And for the cruel person who tears out
the heart with which I live,
I cultivate neither nettles nor thorns:
I cultivate a white rose.

Each critical turning point in life has a little death in it and a chance to deepen and become wiser about the path we have been given. Whether the occasion involves a little death or a great awakening, the wisest thing is to become oneself. The great moments of life and each brush with death conspire to uncover the core meaning and inner essence of the living soul.
– Michael Meade

Zen never returns because zen never leaves
What never leaves is always there
I take a book down from the shelf
– ’Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson

I do not care to know your various theories about God. What is the use of discussing all the subtle doctrines about the soul? Do good and be good. And this will take you to freedom and to whatever truth there is.
– Shakyamuni Buddha

It is up to you to find the intrinsic cheerfulness which exists in you.
– Chögyam Trungpa

Chogyam Trungpa ~ You are already good, and you can transmit that goodness to others

God is the name by which I designate all things which cross my willful path violently and recklessly, all things which upset my subjective views, plans and intentions and change the course of my life for better or worse.
– C. G. Jung

You go down to the bottom of the sea, where the water isn’t even blue anymore, where the sky is only a memory and you float there in the silence. And you stay there and you decide that you’ll die for them.
Only then do they start coming out. They come, and they greet you, and they judge the love you have for them.
If it’s sincere, if it’s pure, they’ll be with you and take you away forever.
– Le Grand Bleu by Luc Besson

Did you really say that your dreams have nothing to do with reality? Your real problems begin when your reality has nothing to do with dreams.
– Robert Moss

Matt Haig:
Reading isn’t important because it helps get you a job. It’s important because it gives you room to exist beyond the reality you’re given. Reading makes the world better. It is how humans merge. How minds connect. Dreams. Empathy. Understanding. Escape. Reading is love in action.

Acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it brings something entirely new into this world. That peace, a subtle energy vibration, is consciousness.
– Eckhart Tolle

The most we can do is dream the myth onwards and give it a modern dress.
– Carl Gustav Jung

Eye cannot see It,
Tongue cannot utter It,
Mind cannot grasp It.
There is no way to learn or to teach It.
It is different from the known,…

Beyond the unknown.

In this all the ancient masters agree.
– Upanishads

The life that I could still live, I should live, and the thoughts that I could still think, I should think.
– Carl Gustav Jung

Fred LaMotte:
Where would we be

without our darkness?

There are subtle layers

of radiance in the night.

The Goddess is black,…
but every particle of
her flesh is a rainbow.
She is breathless,
but the mighty river of
her stillness flows
through each inhalation.
Perhaps our love is
her trembling emptiness
and our loss is her
invitation to return.
Where would we be
without the Motherhood
of silence?

– Fragmentary Blue, by Robert Frost
Why make so much of fragmentary blue
In here and there a bird, or butterfly,
Or flower, or wearing-stone, or open eye,…

When heaven presents in sheets the solid hue?
Since earth is earth, perhaps, not heaven (as yet)-
Though some savants make earth include the sky;
And blue so far above us comes so high,
It only gives our wish for blue a whet.

tree is a self: it is ‘unseen shaping’ more than it is leaves or bark, roots or cellulose or fruit…What this means is that we must address trees as we must address all things, confronting them in the awareness that we are in the presence of numinous mystery.
– Brian Swimme

The inner life of the human depends immediately on the outer world of nature…
– Thomas Berry, The Great Work

A Beggar Who Has Chanced Upon a Treasure
The ground of primal wisdom
Where the truth beyond all concepts is beheld
Is reached more easily by humans than by gods….

The essence also of the deep path of the Vajrayāna

Is more easily attained by those who find a human form.

The basis of the Dharma of both great and lesser vehicles

Is said to be supremely noble—

This human state endowed with freedoms and advantages.
Just like a beggar who has chanced upon a treasure of great price,
Reflect with joy upon your freedoms and advantages.
In doubt and apprehension that you might be dreaming,
Implement the sacred Dharma—
Source of happiness and benefit in this and future lives!
– Finding Rest in the Nature of the Mind
by Longchenpa, pages 9–10

True repentance cultivates the wisdom prior to ego, prior to deep ignorance. If we are not in touch with this wisdom, we will continue to repeat the same mistakes. To recognize this and decide that we will not live from ego is the true meaning of the formless repentance.
– Shodo Harada

Water talks; earth talks.
But they are heard only
by those people
whose hearts
are open.

– Rumi

Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.
– Eckhart Tolle

In non-domesticated energy (Quechua: Salka) is the salvation of the world.
– (Thoreau)

There is a beauty in being rejected, misunderstood, unseen and unsupported by people. It teaches you to rely on God for everything.
– Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Olena Kalytiak Davis
Lately, I am capable only of small things.

Is it enough
to feel the heart swimming?
Jim is fine. Our first
garden is thick with spinach
and white radish. Strangely,
it is summer
but also winter and fall.
In response to your asking:
I fill the hours
then lick them shut.
Today, not a single word, but the birds
quietly nodding
as if someone had suggested
moving on.
What is that perfect thing
some one who once believed in God said?
Please don’t misunderstand:
We still suffer, but we are happy.

A friend is a loved one who awakens your life in order to free the wild possibilities within you.
– John O’Donohue

The most desolate solitude seems preferable to the society of wicked men.
– Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Justin Von Bujdoss:
There was a time in my life when out of hubris I used to think that traditional dharma was the most important kind of dharma that there can be. That somehow traditional dharma was the most reliable.
After some time, some practice and a wide range of examination I’ve come to question the utility of designating any particular form of dharma as ‘traditional’. Dharma is always in flux; always changing; always in a state of unpredictable phase change. This is what makes it exceedingly beautiful.
In fact, to my mind at least, there seems like nothing more painful and limiting than to feel the need to sift through the past with the hubris implied in having the ability to presume that one can distinguish what traditional dharma really should be, while denying the reality of what might be existing in ones life right now.
The thought of such endeavors leave me with the image of people trying to hold water in cupped hands; that which is attempted to be contained always escapes.

Moving through the world is inevitably complicated, while being in the world by its nature is simple.
– Mark Nepo, Things That Join the Sea and the Sky

The mystic Thomas a Kempis said that when you go out into the world, you return having lost some of yourself. Until you learn to inhabit your aloneness, the lonely distraction and noise of society will seduce you into false belonging, with which you will only become empty and weary. When you face your aloneness, something begins to happen. Gradually, the sense of bleakness changes into a sense of true belonging.
– John O’Donohue, poet,… priest, intuitive mystic

State of the Union

It would be a good night to find
something intelligent to read, to
have an honest conversation with
someone, to listen to somebody’s
needs, without judging, to be thankful,

and determined, to plot the course
of hope.

don’t waste your time on ignorance.
– Eric C.

What kind of governance is apt to arise among a people if specificity of place becomes unimportant, or if empirical witness is no more to be trusted than imagining a place, a flight of fancy?
– Barry Lopez

A person isn’t who they are during the last conversation you had with them – they’re who they’ve been throughout your whole relationship.
– Rilke

What she thought was that cures of all sorts exist in the natural world. It’s every nook and cranny lay filled with physic and restorative to bind up rents from the outside. Even the most hidden root or web served some use. And there were spirits rising from within to knit sturdy scar over the backsides of wounds. Either way, though, you had to work at it, and they’d both fail you if you doubted them too much.
– Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain

As people of color, we can hear, we can feel, when the language is weaponized against us.
– Claudia Rankine

My alma mater was books, a good library…. I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.
– Malcolm X

Robert Kaplan:
Should you sit upon a cloud you would not see the boundary line between one country and another, nor the boundary stone between a farm and a farm. It is a pity you cannot sit upon a cloud.
– Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Justin Von Bujdoss:
There was a time in my life when out of hubris I used to think that traditional dharma was the most important kind of dharma that there can be. That somehow traditional dharma was the most reliable.
After some time, some practice and a wide range of examination I’ve come to question the utility of designating any particular form of dharma as ‘traditional’. Dharma is always in flux; always changing; always in a state of unpredictable phase change. This is what makes it exceedingly beautiful.
In fact, to my mind at least, there seems like nothing more painful and limiting than to feel the need to sift through the past with the hubris implied in having the ability to presume that one can distinguish what traditional dharma really should be, while denying the reality of what might be existing in ones life right now.
The thought of such endeavors leave me with the image of people trying to hold water in cupped hands; that which is attempted to be contained always escapes.

Moving through the world is inevitably complicated, while being in the world by its nature is simple.
– Mark Nepo, Things That Join the Sea and the Sky

The mystic Thomas a Kempis said that when you go out into the world, you return having lost some of yourself. Until you learn to inhabit your aloneness, the lonely distraction and noise of society will seduce you into false belonging, with which you will only become empty and weary. When you face your aloneness, something begins to happen. Gradually, the sense of bleakness changes into a sense of true belonging.
– John O’Donohue, poet,… priest, intuitive mystic

Our nature imposes on us a certain pattern of development which we must follow if we are to fulfill our best capacities: We must know the truth and we must love the truth we know and we must act according to the measure of our love.
– Thomas Merton, Ascent to Truth

Thomas Moore:
One of the clearest signs of spiritual maturity is a benign and witty sense of humor.

Yolanda Rommel:
do not talk to me about “love”
when my heart is raging
do not preach about “love”
when the world is coming apart…
do not talk to me about “love”
being all… preaching gods
of all colors and names
goddesses and universe
when chains are getting tighter…
do not preach it is all illusion
I heard it all
and people still bleed on the streets…
do not preach to me…
I heard it all…

A very great vision is needed and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky.
– Crazy Horse

I have come to see that our problem is that we don’t know what happiness is. We confuse it with a life uncluttered by feelings of anxiety, rage, doubt, and sadness. But happiness is something entirely different. It’s the ability to receive the pleasant without grasping and the unpleasant without condemning.
– Mark Epstein.

Such hierarchies are wrecked by any phenomenology that takes seriously our immediate sensory experience. For our senses disclose to us a wild-flowering proliferation of entities and elements, in which humans are thoroughly immersed. While this diversity of sensuous forms certainly displays some sort of reckless order, we find ourselves in the midst of, rather than on top of, this order… Does the human intellect, or ‘reason,’ really spring us free of our inherence in the depths of this wild proliferation of forms? Or on the contrary, is the human intellect rooted in, and secretly borne by, our forgotten contact with the multiple nonhuman shapes that surround us?
– David Abrams

When in the midst of complication, we’re asked to return to direct living, which means: to say what is true when it is true, and to hold things gently.
– Mark Nepo, Things That Join the Sea and the Sky

Always an echo

What if we ran
Beyond the high moment –
Dream Pages Quiet?

The Word would branch
And our eyes wrote lightning
On the heads of the gamblers.

We, however, are not,
From the vague fingerprints
In the the and our soul.

Once Shore, pebbles and gone.
Flaming span
For that just anomalous.

Always an echo, that you!
– Brigitta Huemer

On poetry and uncertain subjects
Jack Underwood
The Poetry Society
We all encounter stalling moments …

of uncertainty when the strategies 

we have developed for ourselves

and each other fail to console
the overwhelming complexity

and unpredictability of being alive

with everything else on earth. 

At these times we tend to look
upwards in the hope that God, 

or the seemingly omniscient physics 

of the universe, will disclose to
the Truth, the reason, the theory, its ointment
Imagine! The old, old universe,
arranging itself legibly into a puzzle
that our small brains might be qualified
to solve with the knowledge we can accrue
from our small corner of its tablecloth.
But poems use language so unstably
they remind us that the concept
of meaning in the universe belongs only to us,
and not, in fact, to the universe itself.

Thomas Moore:
One of the clearest signs of spiritual maturity is a benign and witty sense of humor.

Where love rules, there is no will to power, and where power predominates, love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.
– C.G. Jung

Blessed are the weird for they are the freest of all.

A person cannot get rid of himself in favor of an artificial personality without psychic pain.
– Carl Jung

Only in quiet waters things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.
– Hans Margolius

The breathing body, as it experiences and inhabits the world, is very different from the objectified body diagrammed in physiology textbooks, with its separable ‘systems’ (the circulatory system, the digestive system, the respiratory system, etc.) laid bare on each page. The body I here speak about is very different from the body we have been taught to see and even feel, very different, finally, from that complex machine whose broken parts or stuck systems are diagnosed by our medical doctors and ‘repaired’ by our medical technologies. Underneath the anatomized and mechanical body that we have learned to conceive, prior indeed to all our conceptions, dwells the body as it actually experiences things, this poised and animate power that initiates all our projects and suffers all our passions.
– David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous

Everyone knows bees sting and ghosts haunt and giving your robes away humiliates your rivals. That the enemies are barbarians. That wise men swim through the rock of the earth; that houses breed filth, airstrips attract airplanes, tornadoes punish, ancestors watch, and you can buy a shorter stay in purgatory. The black rock is holy, or the scroll; or the pangolin is holy, the quetzal is holy, this tree, water, rock, stone, cow, cross, or mountain, and it’s all true. The Red Sox. Or nothing at all is holy, as everyone intelligent knows.
– Annie Dillard

Frank LaRue Owen:
I dream and breathe poetry. It’s natural. It’s like a body function I don’t have any choice about. Breathing, sleeping, pissing. Writing a novel is a whole other matter. Daily seppuku, even on days you don’t write because you left some part of yourself “over there” in that world or time-state to which you have to travel to “see,” absorb, and tell the story. I find the whole thing a bit terrifying because some part of you has to live it to do it well. And, depending upon the subject, that can feel like a nightly guillotine.

Sleep on your back with your face up. When the jaguar comes look it in the eye so it knows you are not meat.
– Eduardo Kohn, How Forests Think
If the worlds experienced by humans are so diverse, how much more diverse, still, must be the life-worlds of other animals–of wolves, or owls, or a community of bees! And yet, despite this multiplicity, it would seem that there are basic structures of the life-world that are shared, elements that are common to different cultures and even, we may suspect, to different species. Husserl’s writings seem to suggest that life-world has various layers, that underneath the layer of diverse cultural life-world there reposes a deeper, more unitary life-world, always already there beneath all our cultural acquisitions, a vast and continually overlooked dimension that nevertheless supports and sustains all our diverse and discontinuous worldviews.
– David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous

The life-world is the world of our immediately lived experience, as we live it, prior to all our thoughts about it. It is that which is present to us in our everyday tasks and enjoyments–reality as it engages us before being analyzed by our theories and our science…
The life world is thus peripherally present in any thought or activity we undertake. Yet whenever we attempt to explain this world conceptually, we seem to forget our active participation within it. Striving to represent the world, we inevitably forfeit its direct presence. It was Husserl’s genius to realize that the assumption of objectivity had led to an almost total eclipse of the life-world in the modern era, to a nearly complete forgetting of this living dimension in which all of our endeavors are rooted. In their striving to attain a finished blueprint of the world, the sciences had become frightfully estranged from our direct human experience. Their many specialized and technical discourses had lost an obvious relevance to the sensuous world of our ordinary engagements. The consequent impoverishment of language, the loss of a common discourse tuned to the qualitative nuances of living experience, was leading, Husserl felt, to a clear crisis in European civilization. Oblivious to the quality-laden life-world upon which they themselves depend for their own meaning and existence, the Western sciences, and the technologies that accompany them, were beginning to blindly overrun the experiential world–even, in there errancy, threatening to obliterate the world-of-life entirely.

- David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous

The breathing body, as it experiences and inhabits the world, is very different from the objectified body diagrammed in physiology textbooks, with its separable ‘systems’ (the circulatory system, the digestive system, the respiratory system, etc.) laid bare on each page. The body I here speak about is very different from the body we have been taught to see and even feel, very different, finally, from that complex machine whose broken parts or stuck systems are diagnosed by our medical doctors and ‘repaired’ by our medical technologies. Underneath the anatomized and mechanical body that we have learned to conceive, prior indeed to all our conceptions, dwells the body as it actually experiences things, this poised and animate power that initiates all our projects and suffers all our passions.
– David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous

Such hierarchies are wrecked by any phenomenology that takes seriously our immediate sensory experience. For our senses disclose to us a wild-flowering proliferation of entities and elements, in which humans are thoroughly immersed. While this diversity of sensuous forms certainly displays some sort of reckless order, we find ourselves in the midst of, rather than on top of, this order… Does the human intellect, or ‘reason,’ really spring us free of our inherence in the depths of this wild proliferation of forms? Or on the contrary, is the human intellect rooted in, and secretly borne by, our forgotten contact with the multiple nonhuman shapes that surround us?
– David Abrams, The Spell of the Sensuous, The Ecology of Magic

Hierarchy, Separation, and the Other:
Ultimately, to acknowledge the life of the body, and to affirm our solidarity with this physical form, is to acknowledge our existence as one of the earth’s animals, and so to remember and rejuvenate the organic basis of our thoughts and our intelligence. According to the central current of Western philosophical tradition, from its source in Athens up until the present moment, human beings alone are possessed of an incorporeal intellect, a ‘rational soul’ or mind which, by virtue of its affinity with an eternal or divine dimension outside the bodily world, sets us radically apart from, or above, all other forms of life. In Aristotle’s writings, for instance, while plants are endowed with a vegetal soul (which enables nourishment, growth, and reproduction), and whole animals possess, in addition to the vegetal soul, an animal soul (which provides sensation and locomotion), these souls remain inseparable from the earthly world of generation and decay. Humans, however, possess along with these other souls a rational soul, or intellect, which alone provides access to the less corruptible spheres and has affinities with the divine ‘Unmoved Mover’ himself. In Descartes’s hands, two thousand years later, this hierarchical continuum of living forms, commonly called ‘the Great Chain of Being,’ was polarized into a thorough dichotomy between mechanical, unthinking matter (including minerals, plants, and animals), as well as the human body) and pure, thinking mind (the exclusive province of humans and God). Since humans alone are a mixture of extended matter and thinking mind, we alone are able to feel and experience our body’s mechanical sensations. Meanwhile, all other organisms, consisting solely of extended matter, are in truth nothing more than automatons, incapable of actual experience, unable to feel pleasure or suffer pain. Hence, we humans need have no scruples about manipulating, exploiting, or experimenting upon other animals in any manner we see fit.

Curiously, such arguments for human specialness have regularly been utilized by human groups to justify the exploitation not just of other organisms, but of other humans as well (other nations, other races, or simply the ‘other’ sex); armed with such arguments, one hd only to demonstrate that these others were not fully human, or were ‘closer to the animals,’ in order to establish one’s right of dominion. According to Aristotle, for example, women are deficient in the rational soul, and hence ‘the relation of male to female is naturally tht of superior to the inferior–of the ruling to the ruled.’ Such justifications for social exploitation draw their force from the prior hierarchicalization of the natural landscape, from that hierarchical ordering that locates ‘humans,’ by virtue of our incorporeal intellect, above and apart from all other, ‘merely corporeal,’ entities.
Such hierarchies are wrecked by any phenomenology that takes seriously our immediate sensory experience. For our senses disclose to us a wild-flowering proliferation of entities and elements, in which humans are thoroughly immersed. While this diversity of sensuous forms certainly displays some sort of reckless order, we find ourselves in the midst of, rather than on top of, this order… Does the human intellect, or ‘reason,’ really spring us free of our inherence in the depths of this wild proliferation of forms? Or on the contrary, is the human intellect rooted in, and secretly borne by, our forgotten contact with the multiple nonhuman shapes that surround us?
– David Abrams, The Spell of the Sensuous, The Ecology of Magic

At times it seems to me that I am living my life backwards, and that at the approach of old age my real youth will begin. My soul was born covered with wrinkles—wrinkles my ancestors and parents most assiduously put there and that I had the greatest trouble removing.
– André Gide

The troubadours were at once theologians, musicians and poets. They had wonderful voices and prodigious memories. At the special meetings of their fraternity, held here or in remote woods and valleys, they wore red cloaks embroidered at the shoulder with a white dove. The dove was a primary symbol of the hidden church of the Grail or the Church of the Holy Spirit. But it was also the symbol of the mystical tradition of Kabbalah which was known as “The Voice of the Dove”. I believe that these two traditions were closely connected with each other.
– Anne Baring

The Old Order has been based on the principle of power. The new one will be based on the principle of relationship. The time of transition from an old paradigm to a new one is challenging and dangerous because the old one is so deeply established in the collective psyche and in the governments of nations and their unconscious political leaders. Yet there is great hope for a different future carried in the hearts of those who are working to establish the new vision and raise our level of consciousness to a more enlightened level.

Awakening in the Holy Spirit means embracing a new image of Spirit that includes Nature and all planetary life. It means recovering a very ancient understanding that the Cosmos has a Soul and an Intelligence and that Divine Spirit is immanent or present in every particle of matter: every stone, flower, tree and blade of grass. We are all engaged in a profound process of transformation that is manifesting as a new planetary consciousness which recognizes that we are part of a Sacred Web of Life, a Web of Life that might be called both Holy Spirit and Holy Grail. If we could hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and listen to her Wisdom we would awaken to the sacredness and divinity of life. We would begin to see matter and our bodies in a different light. We would treat them with greater respect. Once, long ago, the world was experienced as alive with Spirit. Nature was part of a sacred cosmic whole. We need urgently to recover that vision if we are to respond to the challenge of this crucial time of choice and heal our neglected soul, our culture and our raped and vandalised planet. It is a wonderful time to be alive.
– Anne Baring

There is a trough in waves,
A low spot
Where horizon disappears
And only sky
And water
Are our company.
And there we lose our way
We rest, knowing the wave will bring us
To its crest again.
There we may drown
If we let fear
Hold us within its grip and shake us
Side to side,
And leave us flailing, torn, disoriented.
But if we rest there
In the trough,
Are silent,
Being with
The low part of the wave,

Then time alone
Will bring us to another
Where we can see
Horizon, see the land again,
Regain our sense
Of where
We are,
And where we need to swim.
– Judy Brown

I believe there are no fences we can build around the vision of God to contain it or explain it. Instead, I think vision is a wild truth. It appears as it will to whomever it will. It arises in many different forms to many different people of many different walks of life. It has come to you, to me, and to countless others through the centuries. Vision is not a private club for the initiated few, but a wide spiritual sea on which any person may sail.
– Steven Charleston -The Four Vision Quests of Jesus

Labyrinths are an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The Labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.
– John Bailes

We are here essentially to risk ourselves in the world.
We are a form of invitation to others
and to otherness,

we are meant to hazard ourselves for the right thing,
for the right woman or the right man,
for a son or a daughter,
for the right work or for a gift given against all the odds.
And in all this continual risking
the most profound courage may be found
in the simple willingness to allow
ourselves to be happy along the way.
– David Whyte

The troubadours were at once theologians, musicians and poets. They had wonderful voices and prodigious memories. At the special meetings of their fraternity, held here or in remote woods and valleys, they wore red cloaks embroidered at the shoulder with a white dove. The dove was a primary symbol of the hidden church of the Grail or the Church of the Holy Spirit. But it was also the symbol of the mystical tradition of Kabbalah which was known as “The Voice of the Dove”. I believe that these two traditions were closely connected with each other.
– Anne Baring

Thomas Moore:
The belief that you have been victimized may lead to a feeling of purity that clouds your humanity and your very soul.

Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Love schedules its appearances / according to no clock of ours.
– Paul Batchelor

It is failure that guides evolution; perfection provides no incentive for improvement, and nothing is perfect.
– Colson Whitehead, The Intuitionist

I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.
– Frederick Douglass

A blue sheen
radiates from my clothes.
Jangling tambourines of ice.
I close my eyes.
There is a soundless world
there is a crack
where dead people
are smuggled across the border.
– Tomas Tranströmer
translated by Robin Fulton
The Sad Gondola
the vale of soul-making

There is nothing more difficult to achieve than a passionate, sincere, quiet faith.
– Andrei Tarkovsky, Time Within Time

…Synaesthetic perception is the rule, and we are unaware of it only because scientific knowledge shifts the center of gravity of experience, so that we have unlearned how to see, hear, and generally speaking, feel, in order to deduce, from our bodily organization and the world as the physicist conceives it, what we are to see, hear, and feel.
– Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Phenomenology of Perception

Find meaning. Distinguish melancholy from sadness. Go out for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a romantic walk in the park, spring at its most spectacular moment, flowers and smells and outstanding poetical imagery smoothly transferring you into another world. It doesn’t have to be a walk during which you’ll have multiple life epiphanies and discover meanings no other brain ever managed to encounter. Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but ‘steal’ some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be.
– Albert Camus, Notebooks 1951-1959

The diabolical thing about melancholy is not that it makes you ill but that it makes you conceited and shortsighted; yes almost arrogant. You lapse into bad taste, thinking of yourself as Heine’s Atlas, whose shoulders support all the world’s puzzles and agonies, as if thousands, lost in the same maze, did not endure the same agonies.
– Hermann Hesse, Peter Camenzind

Step Back and Let Go
Even when you are clearly correct and others are mistaken, it is harmful to argue and defeat them. It is best to step back, neither trying to correct others nor conceding mistaken views. If you don’t react competitively, and let go of the conflict, others will also let go of it without harboring ill will. Above all, this is something you should keep in mind.
– Dogen Zenji

Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The brain-disease model overlooks four fundamental truths: (1) our capacity to destroy one another is matched by our capacity to heal one another. Restoring relationships and community is central to restoring well-being; (2) language gives us the power to change ourselves and others by communicating our experiences, helping us to define what we know, and finding a common sense of meaning; (3) we have the ability to regulate our own physiology, including some of the so-called involuntary functions of the body and brain, through such basic activities as breathing, moving, and touching; and (4) we can change social conditions to create environments in which children and adults can feel safe and where they can thrive.
– Bessel A. van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.
– Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The mind can forget what the body, defined by each breath, subject to the heart beating, does not.
– Susan Griffin, A Chorus of Stones: The Private Life of War

The first ten million years were the worst, said Marvin, and the second ten million years, they were the worst too. The third ten million years I didn’t enjoy at all. After that I went into a bit of a decline.
– Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

As long as you keep secrets and suppress information, you are fundamentally at war with yourself…The critical issue is allowing yourself to know what you know. That takes an enormous amount of courage.
- Bessel A. van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

What she thought was that cures of all sorts exist in the natural world. It’s every nook and cranny lay filled with physic and restorative to bind up rents fro…m the outside. Even the most hidden root or web served some use. And there were spirits rising from within to knit sturdy scar over the backsides of wounds. Either way, though, you had to work at it, and they’d both fail you if you doubted them too much.
– Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain

People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them.
– Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the deep green woods.
– John Muir

Two people talking, form a community…Talking and listening are ultimately the same thing.
Reminding us that literacy is an incredibly nascent invention and still far from universal, Ursula K. Le Guin considers the singular and immutable power of spoken conversation in fostering a profound mutuality by syncing our essential vibrations:
Speech connects us so immediately and vitally because it is a physical, bodily process, to begin with. Not a mental or spiritual one, wherev…er it may end.
If you mount two clock pendulums side by side on the wall, they will gradually begin to swing together. They synchronise each other by picking up tiny vibrations they each transmit through the wall.
Any two things that oscillate at about the same interval, if they’re physically near each other, will gradually tend to lock in and pulse at exactly the same interval.
Things are lazy. It takes less energy to pulse cooperatively than to pulse in opposition. Physicists call this beautiful, economical laziness mutual phase locking, or entrainment.
All living beings are oscillators. We vibrate. Amoeba or human, we pulse, move rhythmically, change rhythmically; we keep time… That constant, delicate, complex throbbing is the process of life itself made visible.
We huge many-celled creatures have to coordinate millions of different oscillation frequencies, and interactions among frequencies, in our bodies and our environment. Most of the coordination is effected by synchronising the pulses, by getting the beats into a master rhythm, by entrainment…
Like the two pendulums, though through more complex processes, two people together can mutually phase-lock.
Successful human relationship involves entrainment — getting in sync. If it doesn’t, the relationship is either uncomfortable or disastrous.
This entrainment, Le Guin argues, occurs organically and constantly, often below our conscious awareness and beyond willful intention:
Consider deliberately sychronised actions like singing, chanting, rowing, marching, dancing, playing music; consider sexual rhythms (courtship and foreplay are devices for getting into sync). Consider how the infant and the mother are linked: the milk comes before the baby cries…We entrain one another all the time…
Listening is not a reaction, it is a connection. Listening to a conversation or a story, we don’t so much respond as join in — become part of the action… physically getting in time and tune.

I loved my friend.
He went away from me.
There’s nothing more to say.
The poem ends,
Soft as it began ―…
I loved my friend.
– Langston Hughes

I’ve found nobility to be a matter of staying true to the process of erosion that wears away what no longer works.
– Mark Nepo, Things That Join the Sea and the Sky

Matt Licata
At times, the emissaries of the dark
surge to resume their rightful place
in the inner ecology of the heart.
They contain an eruption of light, …
but it is a light not understood
in a world that has forgotten.
Contradictory, chaotic,
and beyond resolution,
yet overflowing with
wisdom nature.
Like a black sun, or a rose 
with poisonous thorns.
What appears as obstacle 
is revealed as path. 
Inside the symptom 
the cure is hidden.

The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.
– Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time

Looking back, I see I’m attracted by subjects who are individualistic, who don’t like joining movements, who have carved out their own ways, who have remarkable minds.
– Hermione Lee

We have to think and see how we can fundamentally change our education system so that we can train people to develop warm-heartedness early on in order to create a healthier society. I don’t mean we need to change the whole system, just improve it. We need to encourage an understanding that inner peace comes from relying on human values like, love, compassion, tolerance and honesty, and that peace in the world relies on individuals finding inner peace.
– The Dalai Lama

I seem, like everything else, to be a center, a sort of vortex, at which the whole energy of the universe realizes itself.. Each one of us, not only human beings but every leaf, every weed, exists in the way it does, only because everything else around it does. The individual and the universe are inseparable.
– Alan Watts

Bottom line: remember who you were and the way you were being when you had what you wanted. And come back to that. Maybe with a bit more sobriety and groundedness.
Trust what’s opening up for you is actually even greater than you could have known. This loss is only temporary.
– Ali Shanti

Fred LaMotte:
The radical act is to be present. The revolution is to breathe. Stars and flowers do not shout.

One of the strongest needs of the soul is for community, but community from the soul point of view is a little different from its social forms. Soul yearns for attachment, for variety in personality, for intimacy and peculiarity. So it is these qualities in community that the soul seeks out, and not like-mindedness and uniformity.
– Thomas Moore , Care of the Soul

Buddha said: I consider the positions of kings and rulers as that of dust motes. I observe treasures of gold and gems as so many bricks and pebbles. I look upon the finest silken robes as tattered rags. I see myriad worlds of the universe as small seeds of fruit, and the greatest lake in India as a drop of oil on my foot. I perceive the teachings of the world to be the illusion of magicians. I discern the highest conception of emancipation as a golden brocade in a dream, and view the holy path of the illuminated ones as flowers appearing in one’s eyes. I see meditation as a pillar of a mountain, Nirvana as a nightmare of daytime. I look upon the judgment of right and wrong as the serpentine dance of a dragon, and the rise and fall of beliefs as but traces left by the four seasons.

My teaching is not a philosophy. It is the result of direct experience… My teaching is a means of practice, not something to hold onto or worship. My teaching is like a raft used to cross the river. Only a fool would carry the raft around after he had already reached the other shore of liberation.
– Shakia Muni Buddha.

At night, I open the window and ask the moon to come and press its face against mine.
Breathe into me.
Close the language-door and open the love-window.
The moon won’t use the door, only the window.
– Rumi

It is precisely this lingering assumption of a self-subsistent, disembodied, transcendental ego that Merleau-Ponty rejects. If this body is my presence in the world, if it is the body that alone enables me to enter into relations with other presences, if without these eyes, this voice, or these hands I would be unable to see, to taste, and to touch things, or to be touched by them–if without this body, in other words, there would be no possibility of experience–then the bo…dy itself is the true subject of experience. Merleau-Ponty begins then, by identifying the subject–the experiencing ‘self’–with the bodily organism.
It is indeed a radical move. Most of us are accustomed to consider the self, our innermost essence, as something incorporeal. Yet consider: Without this body, without this tongue or these ears, you could neither speak nor hear another’s voice. Nor could you have anything to speak about, or even reflect on, or to think, since without any contact, any encounter, without any glimmer of sensory experience, there could be nothing to question or to know. The living body is thus the very possibility of contact, not just with others but with oneself–the very possibility of reflection, of thought, of knowledge. The common notion of the experiencing self, or mind, as an immaterial phantom ultimately independent of the body can only be a mirage: Merleau-Ponty invites us to recognize, at heart of even our most abstract cogitations, the sensuous and sentient life of the body itself.
– David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous

Freedom is not following a river.
Freedom is following a river,
though, if you want to.
It is deciding now by what happens now.
It is knowing that luck makes a difference.

No leader is free; no follower is free –
the rest of us can often be free.
Most of the world are living by
creeds too odd, chancy, and habit-forming
to be worth arguing about by reason.

If you are oppressed, wake up about
four in the morning: most places,
you can usually be free some of the time
if you wake up before other people.
– William Stafford
The Way It Is
3 quarks daily

When practiced to its fullest, mindful eating turns a simple meal into a spiritual experience, giving us a deep appreciation of all that went into the meal’s creation as well a deep understanding of the relationship between the food on our table, our own health, and our planet’s health.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.
– Rumi

Every time your fear is invited up, every time you recognize it and smile at it, your fear will lose some of its strength.

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello you who made
the morning
and spread it over the fields.
Watch, now,
how I start the day
in happiness,
in kindness.
– Mary Oliver
(1935 to pres., American Poet)

The way to get back to yourself is to literally get still and be alone and to drown out the voices of the world so that you can find your own way, because your own way is always right here. … You can spend all the years of your life looking outside of yourself for the answers to ‘why am I here?’ and ‘what am I really supposed do?’ but only when you are conscious enough to connect to the stillness can you really find the answers.
– Oprah Winfrey, media mogul, philanthropist

Let us keep ourselves open to the power that carries our life in every moment…that we may be filled with silent gratefulness.

If you desire the self get out of the self.
Leave that shallow stream behind and flow into the river deep and wide.
Don’t be the ox pulling the plow,
Turn with the stars that wheel above you.
– Rumi

What you are, the world is. And without your transformation, there can be no transformation of the world.

The coward lives in constant terror of space: afraid of darkness bc he can’t see anything; afraid of silence bc he can’t hear anything. The setting sun world teaches you to wear a suit of armor to protect yourself. From what? Space. The challenge is to step out of the cocoon, to step out into space by being brave and gentle.
– Chogyam Trungpa

Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest.

Refinement of attention is only achieved through a gentle and persistent letting go; it is never attained
by the brute force of sheer willpower.
– Ajahn Brahm (1951 to pres., British Theravada Buddhist monk

Only if we become calm as earth, fluid as water, and blazing as fire will we able to rise to the task of peacemaking.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
– John Quincy Adams

The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.

I teach my sighs to lengthen into songs.

One of the sad things today is that so many people are frightened by the wonder of their own presence.
They are dying to tie themselves into a system, a role, or to an image, or to a predetermined identity that other people have actually settled on for them.
This identity may be totally at variance with the wild energies that are rising inside in their souls.
Many of us get very afraid and we eventually compromise.
We settle for something that is safe, rather than engaging the danger and the wildness that is in our own hearts.
– John O’Donohue (1956-2008, Irish Poet, Priest, Philosopher)

You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die. Or when. You can decide how you’re going to live. Now.

Marilyn Robertson
On the way to the post office this morning,
I thought about the odd things we believe.
Things we swear by, pray to, put our trust in,
or wear printed on the back of a T-shirt.
Tarot cards. Crystal balls.
Runes and rattlesnakes.
First stars, second sight—
not to mention elves and Armageddon.
Just look at me, believing that someone
might have written me a letter,
that the world is in good hands,
that a man once walked out of a stone-cold tomb
into the light of day, leaving
poor old Death completely in the dark.

I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.
– Dorothy Day

Sam Hamill:
From my windows on this hill,
Fidalgo Bay, green islands, pale blue sky
and, far off, Koma Kulshan, crowned
with icy snow—first and only words
I know in the Lummi tongue.
Thirty-five years in the woods,
watching the tree-trunks thicken.
And now this view, this vision.

The poem, the song, the picture, is only water drawn from the well of the people, and it should be given back to them in a cup of beauty so that they may drink -and in drinking understand themselves.
– Federico Garcia Lorca

Nithya Shanti:
Each of us inhabits an entirely different universe. The frequency of our thoughts determines the frequency of our universe. Similar thoughts, similar universe (not same). No thoughts, no us, no them, no universe. Meditation is being at home inside, outside and beyond all possible universes.

Love your enemy. Certainly these are great words, words lifted to cosmic proportions. Many would go on to say that Jesus was an impractical idealist who never quite came down to earth. Nevertheless, Jesus has become the practical realist. Far from being the pious injunction of a utopian dreamer, this command is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. Yes, it is love that will save our world, love even for enemies.
– Martin Luther King

The harshest measure of any society is a lack of character in its leaders. But the even sadder consequence is the effect a leader’s lack of character has on so…ciety. Of course, the most frequent victims are the poor and disaffected, the underserved, the voiceless and powerless – those who depend on the character of leaders to bring comfort from their afflictions and give them a voice. Lack of character results in a weak leader, and a weak leader is a threat to the survival of those to whom he or she is responsible.
– Joseph Marshall III

— each one went therefore into prayerful trance,
seeking out and counting their permissions …
finding, in time, to a heart,

that they had none –
none –
— with vacuous, gravity-hammered smiles
and straining, false earnesty,
they offered a groveling thanks
to the oppressor,
for their liberty –
– E.M.

Neither Buddhism nor psychotherapy seeks to eradicate the ego. To do so would render us either helpless or psychotic. We need our egos to navigate the world, to regulate our instincts, to exercise our executive function, and to meditate the conflicting demands of self and other…..The ego-enhancing aspects of both of these approaches are not to be minimized. But ego enhancement, by itself, can get us only so far.
– Mark Epstein, M.D.

Gunilla Norris:
Repairing and restoring are very different to my mind. Repair seems to be more about function. Something is broken and needs fixing for it to work again. Restoring is more thoughtful. It is bringing something back to itself, to its original essence. We need both restoring and repairing, and we need the discernment to know the difference. This seems especially crucial now in our civic life. And often that needed change begins in our personal lives.

Out of this darkness a new world can arise, not to be constructed by our minds so much as to emerge from our dreams. Even though we cannot see clearly how it’s going to turn out, we are still called to let the future into our imagination. We will never be able to build what we have not first cherished in our hearts.
– Joanna Macy

The one thing that everybody wants is to be free not to be managed, threatened, directed, restrained, obliged, fearful, administered, they want none of these things they all want to feel free … The only thing that any one wants now is to be free, to be let alone, to live their life as they can, but not to be watched, controlled and scared, no no, not.
– Gertrude Stein

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restor’d and sorrows end.
– William Shakespeare

Thomas Merton: When I am liberated by silence, when I am no longer involved in the measurement of life, but in the living of it …

When I am liberated by silence,
when I am no longer involved…
in the measurement of life, but in the living of it,
I can discover a form of prayer in which
there is effectively no distraction.
My whole life becomes a prayer.
My whole silence is full of prayer.
The world of silence in which I am immersed
contributes to my prayer.
– Thomas Merton

Life can be read as a continuous upheaval of knowledge and equilibrium in the attempt to gather meaning. During the gradual process of growth we must at some po…int lose our identity as individuals: we lose ourselves in life, in outer reality. But much of what we find outside is self-constructed. When I am ready to risk my life to possess someone — even to the point of committing the most vile actions — I certainly forsake objective reality, but I gain a new understanding of myself. Those who go through this experience abolish the world’s truth and substitute an hallucinatory image; and they seldom realize that those emotionally overwhelming forms that appear to come from outside are precisely their own.
– Aldo Carotenuto, Eros and Pathos: Shades of Love and Suffering

That the ten thousand things advance and confirm the self is called enlightenment
– Dogen

Only by affirming the animateness of perceived things do we allow our words to emerge directly from the depths of our ongoing reciprocity with the world.
– David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous

The best-known connection between footfall, knowledge and memory is the Aboriginal Australian vision of the Songlines. According to this cosmogony, the world wa…s created in an epoch known as the Dreamtime, when the Ancestors emerged to find the earth a black, flat, featureless terrain. They began to walk out across this non-place, and as they walked they broke through the crust of the earth and released the sleeping life beneath it, so that the landscape sprang up into being with each pace. As Bruce Chatwin explained in his flawed but influential account, ‘each totemic ancestor, while travelling through the country, was thought to have scattered a trail of words and musical notes along the line of his footprints’. Depending on where they fell, these foot-notes became linked with particular features of the landscape. Thus the world was covered by ‘Dreaming-tracks’ that ‘lay over the land as “ways” of communication’, each track having its corresponding Song…. To sing out was–-and still is, just about, for the Songs survive, though more and more of them slip away with each generation–-therefore to find one’s way, and storytelling was indivisible from wayfaring.
– Robert Macfarlane

…Synaesthetic perception is the rule, and we are unaware of it only because scientific knowledge shifts the center of gravity of experience, so that we have unlearned how to see, hear, and generally speaking, feel, in order to deduce, from our bodily organization and the world as the physicist conceives it, what we are to see, hear, and feel.
– Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Phenomenology of Perception

A true vocation requires shedding anything that would impede or obscure the call. A true pilgrimage requires letting go of the very things most people try to hold onto. In seeking after what the soul desires we become pilgrims with no home but the path the soul would have us follow. As the old proverb says, “Before you begin the journey, you own the journey. Once you have begun, the journey owns you.” After all, what good is a dream that doesn’t test the mettle of the dreamer? What good is a path that doesn’t carry us to the edge of our capacity and then beyond that place? A true calling involves a great exposure before it can become a genuine refuge.
– Michael Meade

We will not order our lives to align with the fevered imaginings of heatstricken, addled Iron Age goat herders.
– Bill Ferro

Wholeness is not the same as unity or oneness. Wholeness comes from differentiation and maintains that differentiation to generate a flow of energy that supports interconnectedness and organization. Its purpose is to enhance and promote emergence. Wholeness is created and maintained by the power to hold oneself in being and simultaneously to give oneself away. Wholeness emerges from a creative tension and engagement between the part and the whole. The universe unfolds from… such tension. Oneness, on the other hand, the unity of all that is, is the mystery on which all things rest. It is the rest state that complements the drive to create wholes.’ [John]
Oneness for John was the preexisting state – the generative mystery of the Sacred – that allowed all things to be. For a person to attune to it was good when that attunement enhanced that individual’s capacities to participate in life, but John didn’t see it as a destination. ‘Oneness is’, John would say, ‘but wholeness isn’t. Wholeness must be intended and brought about. That is what the fundamental creative intelligence within the universe is always seeking to do, for the growth and unfoldment of the universe depend on it. Oneness is a sense of shared identity that opens your heart and mind to connect with all other beings. It lets you know that the universe is your home. Wholeness, on the other hand, brings that universe – or at least your part of it – into being.
– David Spangler, Apprenticed to Spirit

José Luis G. Soler:
“Magical realism”…? That’s kind of redundant. 
Again and again in my life, I’ve been shown how Reality is inexhaustible magic.
We’ve been trapped for a long time in the reverse spell of reductionist materialism…

Blue Ridges
I wonder, who else has stood here, right
here, and thought: this is my good company,
this is my solace, this is a mountain, there must…
be something more to us than form.
I wonder.
– Jamie K. Reaser

We live in a very precious, rich reality, and we are very beautiful magical beings but we know neither who we are nor the kingdom we live in. We are in a form of sleep, living through concepts and belief systems that do not allow us to perceive who we really are. This work is about removing these veils and barriers and transforming our consciousness so we can recover and integrate our true essence and experience the richness of who we are and the kingdom that we are in.
– Faisal Muqaddam

Knowing our issues is not the same as healing our issues. In fact, knowing is often a willful act, entirely incongruent with the experience of surrender required to heal. I have known many who could watch and name their patterns and issues—almost like they had done a science experiment on their own consciousness— but nothing changed, because they refused to come back down into their bodies and move their feelings through to transformation. It’s safe up there, above the fray, …witnessing the pain-body without actually engaging it. Yet the key to the transformation of challenging patterns and wounds is to heal them from the inside out. Not to analyze them, not to watch them like an astronomer staring at a faraway planet through a telescope, but to jump right into the heart of them, encouraging their expression and release, stitching them into new possibilities with the thread of love. You want to live a holy life? Heal your heart. That’s the best meditation of all.

Slang. courage; nerve; determination.

Slang. vigor; verve; pep.

The life that I could still live, I should live, and the thoughts that I could still think, I should think.
– Carl Gustav Jung.

The whole creation was designed as a test for man. By our conduct in this world we disclose whether we want the Lord or His gifts. God will not tell you that you should desire Him above all else, because He wants your love to be freely given, without “prompting.”
– Paramahansa Yogananda

If you want to totally free yourself from suffering, it is important to distinguish what to do from what not to do since you can not hope to taste the fruit of beneficial actions that you have not done, nor escape the consequences of your own harmful actions. After death, you will follow the course traced by your actions, good and bad. Now that you have a choice between two paths, one that leads up and one that leads down, do not act in a way opposed to your deepest wishes. Practice all possible beneficial actions, even the smallest. Doesn’t the accumulation of little drops end up filling a large jar?
– Jetsun Mingyur Paldron

I’ve grown impatient with the kind of debate we used to have about whether the optimists are right or the pessimists are right.
Neither are right.
There… is too much bad news to justify complacency. 
There is too much good news to justify despair. ”
– Donella Meadows, Author, Environmental Scientist

I have a hunch that if we leave the planning of world peace to women, we shall have it.
– Lin Yutang

You see Her as black because you are far away from Her. Go near and you will find Her devoid of all color. The water of a lake appears black from a distance. Go near and take the water in your hand, and you will see that it has no color at all. Similarly, the sky looks blue from a distance. But look at the atmosphere near you; it has no color. The nearer you come to God, the more you will realize that He has neither name nor form. If you move away from the Divine Mother, you will find Her blue, like the grass-flower. Is Shyama male or female? A man once saw the image of the Divine Mother wearing a sacred thread. He said to the worshipper: “What? You have put the sacred thread around the Mother’s neck!” The worshipper said: “Brother, I see that you have truly known the Mother. But I have not yet been able to find out whether She is male or female; that is why I have put the sacred thread on Her image.”
. . .
That which is Shyama is also Brahman. That which has form, again, is without form. That which has attributes, again, has no attributes. Brahman is Shakti; Shakti is Brahman. They are not two. These are only two aspects, male and female, of the same Reality, Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute.
… Purusha and Prakriti. Whatever you perceive in the universe is the outcome of this union. Take the image of Shiva and Kali. Kali stands on the bosom of Shiva; Shiva lies on the ground like a corpse. Prakriti performs all Her activities in conjunction with Purusha. Thus She creates, preserves, and destroys. That is also the meaning of the conjoined images of Radha and Krishna. On account of that union, again, the images are slightly inclined toward each other.
To denote this union, Sri Krishna wears a pearl in His nose, Radha a blue stone in Hers. Radha has a fair complexion, bright as the pearl. Sri Krishna’s is blue. For this reason Radha wears the blue stone. Further, Krishna’s apparel is yellow, and Radha’s blue.
. . .
That which is Brahman is verily Shakti. I address That, again, as the Mother. I call It Brahman when It is inactive, and Shakti when It creates, preserves and destroys. It is like water, sometimes still and sometimes covered with waves.
That which is the Real is also called Brahman. It has another name: Kala, Time. There is a saying, “O brother, how many things come into being in Time and disappear in Time!”
That which sports with Kala is called Kali. She is the Primal Energy. Kala and Kali, Brahman and Shakti, are indivisible.
He who is Brahman is the Adyashakti, the Primal Energy. When inactive He is called Brahman, the Purusha; He is called Shakti, or Prakriti, when engaged in creation, preservation, and destruction.
. . .
If you are aware of the Male Principle, you cannot ignore the Female Principle. He who is aware of the father must also think of the mother.
. . .
My Mother! Who is my Mother? Ah, She is the Mother of the Universe. It is She who creates and preserves the world, who always protects Her children, and who grants whatever they desire: dharma, artha, kama, moksha.
– Sri Ramakrishna

Otherworldly philosophies end up doing more damage to the planet (and human psyches) than the existential conditions they seek to transcend.
– Gary Snyder

Perhaps your hunger to belong is…the echo and reverberation of your invisible heritage. You are from somewhere else, where you were known, embraced and sheltered.
This is also the secret root from which all longing grows.
Something in you knows, perhaps remembers, that eternal belonging liberates longing into its surest and most potent creativity.

This is why your longing is often wiser than your conventional sense of appropriateness, safety and truth.
Your longing desires to take you towards the absolute realization of all the possibilities that sleep in the clay of your heart; it knows your eternal potential, and it will not rest until it is awakened.
– John O’Donohue, from Eternal Echoes

(“The Song of No-Mind”):
As the nature of things is silent originally, it does not say ‘I am blue’ or ‘I am yellow.’ People say this is good or this is bad and their mind distinguishes. If your mind is the same as clouds and water, you are free, even though you live in the world. If your mind does not name or distinguish things, nothing good or bad arises. Foolish men try to put differentiation out of their mind, yet they do not put their mind out of their mind, while wise men try to put their mind out of their mind, yet they do not put their differentiated mind out of their mind. As mind is forgotten, the differentiated mind becomes silent by itself; as the differentiated mind is silent, mind does not arise. This is the real No-Mind.
– Master Baegun Gyeonghan (1298 ~ 1374)

We the people here on earth are the real power, when we have love in our hearts and magic in our souls.
– Victor Villasenor

The life-world is the world of our immediately lived experience, as we live it, prior to all our thoughts about it. It is that which is present to us in our everyday tasks and enjoyments–reality as it engages us before being analyzed by our theories and our science…
The life world is thus peripherally present in any thought or activity we undertake. Yet whenever we attempt to explain this world conceptually, we seem to forget our active participation within it. Striving …to represent the world, we inevitably forfeit its direct presence. It was Husserl’s genius to realize that the assumption of objectivity had led to an almost total eclipse of the life-world in the modern era, to a nearly complete forgetting of this living dimension in which all of our endeavors are rooted. In their striving to attain a finished blueprint of the world, the sciences had become frightfully estranged from our direct human experience. Their many specialized and technical discourses had lost an obvious relevance to the sensuous world of our ordinary engagements. The consequent impoverishment of language, the loss of a common discourse tuned to the qualitative nuances of living experience, was leading, Husserl felt, to a clear crisis in European civilization. Oblivious to the quality-laden life-world upon which they themselves depend for their own meaning and existence, the Western sciences, and the technologies that accompany them, were beginning to blindly overrun the experiential world–even, in there errancy, threatening to obliterate the world-of-life entirely.
– David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous

If you cannot find a good companion to walk with, walk alone, like an elephant roaming the jungle. It is better to be alone than to be with those who will hinder your progress.
– Dhammapada

Just by calling yourself Michael, or Laurie, or Jean, or whatever, you are deadening yourself. You made yourself into an object, something unchanging, and ended up cut off from the dynamism that is your being. The concepts arise to describe actual differentiations and contrasts in our perception. But the concepts become so concrete that they seem real. And because they determine how we experience ourselves and the world, our experience tends to continually reinforce the idea…s we already have. So the concepts that constitute our knowledge become our reality. Even your idea of what God is, is a notion in your mind, which you learned from your parents. So you never really see what God is, because you already know. The issue here is the belief that you know. You believe that you know who you are, you believe that you know the world, you believe that you know what existence is. What you actually know is your own mind. You don’t know existence. You have lost the mystery that you live in. We all lose the mystery that we are, the mystery that surrounds us, the mystery that brings us wonder, freshness, and freedom. We have made our world into a fossil. We have turned Being, mystery, God, into dead fossils. And we are looking for a new fossil that will make us feel alive and happy. We call these new fossils spiritual or psychological insights. Why not question all the fossils instead of running around looking for new ones?
– A. H. Almaas, Diamond Heart Book Four

We could have little gaps in the claustrophobic game of dualism, and clarity could shine through. Therefore even an ordinary ‘unenlightened’ woman or situation… could suddenly manifest as the dakini. The world is not as solid as we think it is, and the more we are open to the gaps, the more wisdom can shine through and the more the play of the dakini energy can be experienced. The primary way to relax the ego’s grasp is to practice meditation.
– Lama Tsultrim Allione

God tries us in all ways, the Master said. “He exposes our weaknesses, that we may become aware of them and transmute them into strengths. He may send us ordeals that appear insupportable; He may sometimes seem almost to be pushing us away. But the clever devotee will say: No, Lord, I want Thee. Nothing shall deter me in my search. My heartfelt prayer is this: Never put me through the test of obliviousness of Thy presence.
– Paramahansa Yogananda

Let a new earth rise. Let another world be born.
– Margaret Walker

Being respectful to children, empathizing with them, listening when they speak, and showing them kindness is not ‘coddling,’ ‘spoiling,’ or treating them like ‘special snowflakes.’ It’s just treating children like human beings.
– Rebecca Eames

Spring Creek
Standing at ease in the current,
 watching my thoughts stream by, 
seventeen thousand thoughts in a day.
 If I grasp one the river stops flowing.
Those horses on the walls of the Chauvet cave,
twenty thousand years before the pharaohs—
unsurpassed and thoroughly modern—
before Homer, Heraclitus, or Pollock. Do we think of pigeons as lowly
because they crowd our trees and the empty spring sky?
I saw one torn apart by a hawk—one bird—
and at that moment I grieved. My grief is here with my joy now,
 wingtip to talon, they circle, 
one closer at first, then the other.
– Dan Gerber

Seek patience
and passion
in equal amounts.
Patience alone…
will not build the temple.
Passion alone
will destroy its walls.
– Maya Angelo

Once you elevate yourself to the rank of a cultural institution, you’re in for a lot of trouble.
– Saul Bellow

If trying to become a better person through do’s and don’ts only increases our anxiety, setting a to-be list will trigger a different perspective. We can be anything we want or anything we’re allowed to be in that precise moment, and if we don’t feel comfortable with that, we can become something else. Something, not someone—it’s not a typo.
Whenever we feel the need to ground ourselves, all we need to look for is an object that reminds us of the temporal world—a soothing anchor.
I’ll be a keyboard. Or a piano.
“A messy perfectionist.”
This is the way my mom would describe me. Since I’ve always been a mess, I applied a sort of overcorrection to myself. I suppose it worked great, but it also built up sturdy walls along the perimeter of what I was good at. My equation was: I try this, I can do this well, I’m gonna do this forever. Or I try this, I fail, I’m never trying to do this again.
This is the way it used to be until ages ago (let’s say until 2017), but now I’m way different.
I’ve started to learn piano. After two weeks I can proudly tell you that I play with the grace of a drunken T-rex on LSD. Am I good at it? Hell, no. Am I going to quit? Hell, no. In my “Mary had a little lamb” state of mind, I just smile and feel small. I’m so small nobody’s going to blame me for my mess—and when I say nobody, I mean not even my self-judging mind.
I’ll be a map.
When I feel lost, I look for pinpoints and borders. I try to locate the emergency exits.
The idea of exploring myself more becomes frightening; I need boundaries and levees to prevent me from overflowing. Now I’ve decided to be both: a map and a mapmaker. I’ll oversee my different atlases (happiness peaks, sadness deserts, loneliness seas, mountains of obstacles, lakes of tranquil contemplation) and complete them with the geography of my own evolution.
I’ll be a puppy.
I’ll be fueled by my goofy curiosity, sniff the world with a wet nose, and train my senses to experience life in a brand new way. I’ll find my own playful language and dig around at the root of things. I know nobody is going to take me out for a walk, so I must reward myself with some self-taught discipline.
What I know (or what I think I know) won’t interfere with the things I’ll learn—it’s called shoshin, a word from Zen Buddhism that could be translated as the beginner’s mind. To adopt this point of view means to keep my mind and heart in a constant spring mood, when seeds of ideas start to flourish. I want to be open-minded, happily exposed, and generously, lovingly, pawing at people.
I’ll be a shelter.
I’ll spread my wings gently and cover someone who’s getting wet in the pouring rain. Why? I don’t really need a reason why.
Having no outcome is my outcome. It’s a metamorphosis where everything is included and nothing is lost. Look how becoming a shelter transforms our body, how we were meant to harbor wrecked souls. Remember not to overdo this or we risk emotional burnout, but in the meantime enjoy being a beacon light.
When trying to fix others’ problems, our senses are sharper and our view is more expansive. Moreover, becoming a shelter will help us viscerally understand what a “good shelter” is, in case we need one ourselves.
I’ll be a dictionary.
Labels give me skin rashes.
This is why I’m inviting us all not to run away from definitions, but to become all of them. Sounds ambitious, huh?
Become a whole dictionary, with our own words describing our own world in our own way. The idea of becoming a dictionary is particularly intriguing if we’re facing hard times communicating with others. It’s like offering our presence along with a kind of user manual. It’s not necessary to become an easier, reader-friendly version of ourselves, but we can try to give heroes who want to know us better, a key to open our sturdy doors.
I’ll be an optical illusion.
We tend to see what we want to see in others, while others tend to do the same.
We know what we know through contrasts and analogies, but analogies build up fast, require less energy and give us a vague sense of comfort because we see ourselves in something. Then comes confirmation bias: when we’d like something to be true, odds are we’ll embrace information confirming that view—no matter if we end up ignoring every concept that casts doubt on it.
Optical illusions are a kind of tilted reality where our data becomes irrelevant, our mind becomes a liar, and our senses keep on finding different meanings.
According to Gestalt Psychology our brain tries to conjure symmetry where there’s none, sometimes leading to overthinking and rumination. We can embrace the multitude of things we are and are not, let them live together, and simultaneously stop playing tricks on our brain.
Instead of becoming obsessed by defining my personal perimeter in order to give the world a reassuring picture of me that never changes, I’ll embrace my contrasts and my analogies—never mind if they leave the audience with a dizzy feeling from an epic yin-yang emotional booze.
I’ll be a poet.
People nowadays seem to be obsessed with the idea of being creative and showing their art everywhere. To become a poet, we don’t even have to write a single line. Instead, we can focus on building our poetry muscles. Let them naturally become stronger by looking at our daily routine from our personal inspiration cliff.
What’s an inspiration cliff? It’s our strategic observing point. High enough to give ourselves a wider perspective, close enough to earth not to lose touch with details. It can be a physical spot near home or work, or an inspiring place inside our mind.
Poetry starts spilling over, encouraged by flaws and life’s blemishes. Our toast landing buttered side down on the floor is not going to be a catastrophe anymore, but a chance to feel struck by the art of seeing. Poetry is for the seer. Literally, not metaphorically.
I’ll be a present.
One that people will welcome, unexpected. A thought dressed in a gown. Here and now. I’ll fight my instinct to live in the past or in the future, ditching the moment. I want to be a present-present, a gift that comes perfectly at the right time and enjoys being discovered.
I’ll be a temple.
I won’t treat my body like an emotional dump and we should all do the same. Our thoughts deserve respect. Welcome people who carry pure intentions, dare juggling jesters to pull off their masks, challenge our intuition without doubting ourselves.
I said temple, not religion. Because we don’t need to be adored; we don’t need followers. This is not Instagram—it’s our life. This is not Klout; no scores will determine our greatness. All we need is genuine respect.
I’ll be a soap bubble.
There are those days when everything turns grey. Concrete is everywhere around us and inside us. We’ve come to the wrong neighborhood of mind. It seems dangerous. It feels uncomfortable.
Let go and gently float away by becoming a colorful soap bubble. If we’re able to visualize ourselves like a soap bubble, we’ll be able to rise above the misery and see the little rainbow that ripples across ourselves.
I’ll be like helium.
Just laugh. We don’t even need a reason. Pitch our voice differently, even that voice in our head. If our mind gets too serious about something, force it to adopt another pitch. Our voice will become less threatening than a Care Bear meeting.
I’ll be a train.
I’ve set a pattern that moves me from A to B. I can hear some background noises, people chatting, someone’s humming to their favorite song, children are playing. Have I missed my stop? I started to think there were no more options for me, because that rail line was safe and reliable. I’ll rearrange my trip according to my needs, and I’ll pursue new routes before pursuing new destinations.
I’ll be an empty cup.
Sometimes we feel drained to the core and the bright side of anything seems impossible to reach with our fingers. Good news: it’s time to embrace the void that sometimes devours us. That monster is only trouble if we don’t pay attention to what it’s saying.
To feel and be empty are prerequisites to filling up with something better, something new, or just… something.
I’ll be an overflowing cup.
No, we aren’t lucky. We deserve this. Say it. I can’t hear you!
We feel the right person at the right time, our heart is a magnet that attracts good things, and those good things attract good people and whoa—we don’t even dare to say it aloud, but we are happy.
I’ll stop questioning the reasons, put all those “whys” in a garbage bag and take out the emotional trash.
It’s time to tell people that happiness exists indeed, but I’ll eventually do this carefully. I’ll try not to slap their faces with my tsunami of joy, or they’ll recoil. I’ll grab their hands and lead them to the virtual cinema of my story, and explain where a positive attitude made the difference.
If we’re going up, take others with us.
I’ll be a harvest.
Now you’re an abundance ambassador. Have you ever considered that the word “abundance” includes the word “dance?”
Think of each of our lives as a dance of chances. Seeds dance through the season to sprout and our daily life is crammed with those seeds which are going to be flowers. Blossom out, spread ourselves through the world.
From time to time, we should sit in a comfortable corner of our mind with a soft blanket of gratitude and enjoy the fact we’ve become a harvest. We spend so much time worrying about things that we forget to praise ourselves when we survive obstacles. This doesn’t mean become self-absorbed or egotistical, but to feel the relief of being.
So what’s the benefit of having a to-be list instead of a to-do list?
The more we do, the more our beings are squeezed. They become what we do and expose us to sadness, emptiness, and depression.
Because when our “to-be” is a label glued to our “to-do,” we cannot separate the two of them when things don’t go the way we hope. If I am what I do (and as a copywriter, I know what I’m talking about), whenever I make a mistake I do feel like I’m a mistake myself.
If we have a thick catalog of “things” we want to be, our heart heals with the magic of our imagination, like it used to do when we were a child. With a major upgrade.
Maybe we used to picture ourselves as an astronaut or a ballet dancer, but now we don’t really need to daydream about hard to achieve goals.
Say we’re in a meeting. We want our voice to be heard, but in an assertive, not overwhelming way. Here we are, a stone falling into clear water. Endless ripples of consciousness embrace the audience.
But hey! Someone is feeling sad! Let’s become a fluffy blanket. Somehow we think that we should focus on emotional shades all the time and treat things for what they are—inanimate objects.
Plot twist: we are the ones who can give things a soul, like a happy extension of what we are. And if something feels wrong, we can become something else for a while, learning a new pattern from that object or exploring a new trajectory.
Extra bonus if you sang this instead of just reading it—it means you’re ready to be a radio.
You can be anything you want to be.
– Freddie Mercury.
Author: Viviana Giovannini Leveghi

Balance is key. In everything you do. Dance all night long and practice yoga the next day. Drink wine but don’t forget your green juice. Eat chocolate when your heart wants it and kale salad when your body needs it. Wear high heels on Saturday and walk barefoot on Sunday. Go shopping at the mall and then sit down and meditate in your bedroom. Live high and low. Move and stay still. Embrace all sides of who you are and live your authentic truth! Be brave and bold and spontaneous and loud and let that complement your abilities to find silence and patience and modesty and peace. Aim for balance. Make your own rules and don’t let anybody tell you how to live according to theirs.
– Rachel Brathen

What chiseling is to sculpture, reading is to the soul.
– Phil Cousineau

The emergence and blossoming of understanding, love, and intelligence has nothing to do with any tradition, no matter how ancient or impressive–it has nothing to do with time. It happens on its own when a human being questions, wonders, inquires, listens, and looks without getting stuck in fear, pleasure, and pain. When self-concern is quiet, in abeyance, heaven and earth are open.
– Toni Packer

That it’s rough out there and chancy is no surprise. Every live thing is a survivor on a kind of extended emergency bivouac. But at the same time we are also created. In the Koran, Allah asks “the heaven and the earth, and all in between, thinkest thou I made them in jest?” It’s a good question. What do we think of the created universe, spanning an unthinkable void with an unthinkable profusion of forms? Or what do we think of nothingness, those sickening reaches of time in either direction?
– Annie Dillard

Divinity is not playful. The universe was not made in jest but in solemn, incomprehensible earnest. By a power that is unfathomably secret, and holy, and fleet. There is nothing to be done about it, but ignore it, or see. And then you walk fearlessly, eating what you must, growing wherever you can, like the monk on the road who knows precisely how vulnerable he is, who takes no comfort among death-forgetting men, and who carries his vision of vastness and might around in his tunic like a live coal which neither burns nor warms him, but with which he will not part.
– Annie Dillard

Like the sea, we are always in motion. The waves loom in our dreams and in our nightmares through all of time, their rhythms pulsing through us. They move across a faint horizon, the rush of love and the surge of grief, the respite of peace and then fear again, the heart that beats and then lies still, the rise and fall and rise and fall of all of it, the incoming and the outgoing, the infinite procession of life. And the ocean wraps the earth, a reminder. The mysteries come forward in waves.
– Susan Casey

Yolanda Rommel:
have said it
nothing left
heart beat

At once it struck me, what quality went to form a Man of Achievement, especially in literature, and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously- I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties. Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.
– John Keats

Isn’t it grand, isn’t it good, that language has only one word for everything we associate with love–from utter sanctity to the most fleshly lust? The result is perfect clarity in ambiguity, for love cannot be disembodied even in its most sanctified forms, nor is it without sanctity even in its most fleshly … Caritas is assuredly found in the most admirable and most depraved passions. Irresolute? But in God’s name, leave the meaning of love unresolved/unresolved–that is life and humanity, and it would betray a dreary lack of subtlety to worry about it.
– Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain

Real change will only happen when we fall in love with our planet. Only love can show us how to live in harmony with nature and each other.. When we recognize the virtues and talents of the Earth, we feel connected to her, and love is born. We want to be connected. That is the meaning of love: to be at one. When you love someone, you want to take care of them as you would take care of yourself..
– Thich Nhat Hanh

by David Whyte
Rest is the essence of giving and receiving; an act of remembering, imaginatively and intellectually but also physiologically and physically. To rest is to give up on the already exhausted will as the prime motivator of endeavor, with its endless outward need to reward itself through established goals.
To rest is to give up on worrying and fretting and the sense that there is something wrong with the world unless we are there to put it right; to rest is to fall back literally or figuratively from outer targets…
We are rested when we are a living exchange between what lies inside and what lies outside, when we are an intriguing conversation between the potential that lies in our imagination and the possibilities for making that internal image real in the world…
When we give and take in an easy foundational way we are closest to the authentic self, and closest to that self when we are most rested.
To rest is not self indulgent, to rest is to prepare to give the best of ourselves, and to perhaps, most importantly, arrive at a place where we are able to understand what we have already been given.
In the first state of rest is the sense of stopping, of giving up on what we have been doing or how we have been being.
In the second, is the sense of slowly coming home, the physical journey into the body’s un-coerced and un-bullied self, as if trying to remember the way or even the destination itself.
In the third state is a sense of healing and self-forgiveness and of arrival.
In the fourth state, deep in the primal exchange of the breath, is the give and the take…
The fifth stage of deep rest is a sense of absolute readiness and presence…
Rested, we are ready for the world but not held hostage by it, rested we care again for the right things and the right people in the right way. In rest we reestablish the goals that make us more generous, more courageous, more of an invitation, someone we want to remember, and someone others would want to remember too.
– David Whyte

When we speak of Nature it is wrong to forget that we are ourselves a part of Nature. We ought to view ourselves with the same curiosity and openness with which we study a tree, the sky or a thought, because we too are linked to the entire Universe.
– Henri Matisse

And who among us is not neurotic, and has never complained that they are not understood? Why did you come here, to this place, if not in the hope of being understood, of being in some small way comprehended by your peers, and embraced by them in a fellowship of shared secrets? I don’t know about you, but I just want to be held.
– Mary Ruefle

Silent friend of many distances, feel
how your breath enlarges all of space.
Let your presence ring out like a bell
into the night. What feeds upon your face
grows mighty from the nourishment thus offered.
Move through transformation, out and in.
What is the deepest loss that you have suffered?
If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine.
In this immeasurable darkness, be the power
that rounds your senses in their magic ring,
the sense of their mysterious encounter.
And if the earthly no longer knows your name,
whisper to the silent earth: I’m flowing.
To the flashing water say: I am.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Keep two pieces of paper in your pockets at all times. One that says ‘I am a speck of dust.’ And the other, ‘The world was created for me.
– Rabbi Bunim of P’shiskha

Light is the most important person in the picture.
– Claude Monet

Everything I need to know I learned in the forest.
– Vandana Shiv

How good is our Heavenly Father in granting us such friends as these plant-creatures, filling us wherever we go with pleasure so deep, so pure, so endless!
– John Muir

I have seafoam in my veins, I understand the language of waves.
– Jean Cocteau

The light will work its own good work If only we will trust it…
– from Tai Shi Chih’s Prayer in the Nien Fo Book, the Prayer book of Amida Shu

Again I resume the long lesson: how small a thing can be pleasing, how little in this hard world it takes to satisfy the mind and bring it to its rest.
– Wendell Berry

Poetry is the mouth that speaks, when all other mouths are silent.
– Glenis Redmond

The reason our sentient, percipient, & thinking ego is met nowhere within our scientific world picture can be easily indicated in 7 words: because it is itself that world picture. It is identical with the whole & cannot be contained in it as part of it.
– Irwin Schrodinger

OVER THE PAST TWO HUNDRED YEARS, industrial civilization has been relentlessly undermining Earth’s chemistry, water cycles, atmosphere, soils, oceans, and thermal balance. Plainly said, we have been shutting down the major life systems of our planet.
Compounding the ecological crisis are decaying economies, ethnic and class conflict, and worldwide warfare.
Entwined with, and perhaps underlying, these devastations are epidemic failures in individual human development.
True adulthood, or psychological maturity, has become an uncommon achievement in Western and Westernized societies, and genuine elderhood nearly nonexistent.
Interwoven with arrested personal development, and perhaps inseparable from it, our everyday lives have drifted vast distances from our species’ original intimacy with the natural world and from our own uniquely individual natures, our souls…
My beginning premise with soulcraft is that a more mature human society requires more mature human individuals…
My second premise is that nature (including our own deeper nature, soul) has always provided and still provides the best template for human maturation…
A third premise is that every human being has a unique and mystical relationship to the wild world and that the conscious discovery and cultivation of that relationship is at the core of true adulthood.
In contemporary society, we think of maturity simply in terms of hard work and practical responsibilities.
I believe, in contrast, that true adulthood is rooted in transpersonal experience — in a mystic affiliation with nature, experienced as a sacred calling — that is then embodied in soul-infused work and mature responsibilities.
This mystical affiliation is the very core of maturity, and it is precisely what mainstream Western society has overlooked — or actively suppressed and expelled.
Although perhaps perceived by some as radical, this third premise is not the least bit original.
Western civilization has buried most traces of the mystical roots of maturity, yet this knowledge has been at the heart of every indigenous tradition known to us, past and present, including those from which our own societies have emerged.
Our way into the future requires new cultural forms more than older ones, but there is at least one thread of the human story that I’m confident will continue, and this is the numinous or visionary calling at the core of the mature human heart…
– Bill Plotkin, Ph.D.

It is incredible when I see both the level of support – and the level of opposition I find in my work. Anyone operating with the new codes of consciousness finds the same dichotomy because it threathens the old way of playing the game, and those who position themselves as its custodians.
Those who – in other words – are most likely to resist new codes because it requires them to give up their (perceived) source of power, wisdom, authority and control. Or wish to attain such authority.
As someone commented recently ´praise and blame are two sides of the same coin´. One has to learn to accept one with the same equanimity as the other, especially when walking on the edges of mainstream spiritual practice.
The purpose of the work is to light a torch, which the next person lights … and so on ..and so forth. It is really not about me as a person, but what energies I represent and bring into sacred space and ceremony. And those who do that work – realizing that it truly is not about us as individuals – but we leave behind for others – are more receptive to it.
Being discerning and grounded in your path with Spirit is not enough. The Universe will continue to test you through external triggers to see if you are true to that process – and yourself.
I am not someone who suffers fools or pretends to. My work takes the approach of the Crone, or the one who practices Bone Medicine. And it is truly not for everyone.
It is elitist in many ways because it requires an individual to take responsibility for their own energy, state of mind and inner process of discernment.
There is no hand-holding, there is no encouragement of developing dependency, or any form of pedestalization.
Help is given, but without strings attached. The energy exchange is clearly stated.
Truth is communicated, without the sugar-coating.
A pure point of focus.
(My ego would be far happier if I could play that game… but thankfully it is not in the driver´s seat)
Some people prefer a gentler approach, and that is valid. Because they may be addressing different kinds of issues. No one approach covers all things or appeals to all people.
I encourage people to spend their energy finding the approach that works for them, rather than making demands on healers to fit their set expectations. I would encourage healers to be truthful in their approach, energy and method. And to not wear a mask to fit what is expected of them.
We can only heal this world by allowing those masks to drop and in recognizing who we are. And accepting that some will enjoy it, others will seek to fling their poop at it.
– Dr. Bairavee Balasubramaniam PhD

To keep the body in good health is a duty … otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.
– Buddha

My reputation as a ladies’ man was a joke that caused me to laugh bitterly through the ten thousand nights I spent alone.
– Leonard Cohen

When our laws, our leaders, or our government are out of alignment with our ideals, then the dissent of ordinary Americans may prove to be one of the truest expressions of patriotism,’ Obama said in Independence, Missouri, in June 2008. Love of country, like all other forms of love, requires that you tell those you care about not simply what they want to hear but what they need to hear.
– Ta-Nehisi Coates

The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.
– William Shakespeare

The other two, slight air and purging fire,
Are both with thee, wherever I abide;
The first my thought, the other my desire,
These present-absent with swift motion slide.
For when these quicker elements are gone
In tender embassy of love to thee,
My life, being made of four, with two alone
Sinks down to death, oppressed with melancholy;
Until life’s composition be recured
By those swift messengers returned from thee,
Who even but now come back again, assured
Of thy fair health, recounting it to me:
This told, I joy; but then no longer glad,
I send them back again and straight grow sad.
– William Shakespeare

Once you stop clinging and let things be, you’ll be free. You’ll transform everything… And you’ll be at peace wherever you are.
– Bodhidharma

Yes, son, make your way, make your
By your skills, hard work, and determination,
forge your path.
Never make excuses, never give up, never

quit getting up.

But build your home with your heart, feed

your mind with your questions, find your

meaning in what you share.
for a friend…
– Eric C.

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.
– Tony Robbins

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.
– Tony Robbins

I recover my tenderness by long looking.
By midnight I love everything alive.
Who took the darkness from the air?
I’m wet with another life.
Yea, I have gone and stayed.
– Theodor Roethke

All those who actually live the mysteries of life haven’t the time to write, and all those who have the time don’t live them! D’you see?
– Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

The dignity of the artist lies in his duty of keeping awake the sense of wonder in the world. In this long vigil he often has to vary his methods of stimulation; but in this long vigil he is also himself striving against a continual tendency to sleep.
– Marc Chagall

Poets love
Poetry has just one reality: suffering.
Baudelaire attests to it. Ovid would approve
of such declarations.

And this, on the other hand, guarantees

the endangered survival of an art

read by few and apparently

detested by many

as a disorder of the conscience, a remnant

from times much older than ours now

in which science claims to enjoy

an endless monopoly on magic.
– José Emilio Pacheco

Let us do something, while we have the chance! It is not every day that we are needed. Not indeed that we personally are needed. Others would meet the case equally well, if not better. To all mankind they were addressed, those cries for help still ringing in our ears! But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it, before it is too late!
– Samuel Beckett

She dresses wholly in white, and her mind is said to be perfectly wonderful.
– Mabel Loomis Todd on Emily Dickinson

Always an echo
What if we ran
Beyond the high moment –
Dream Pages Quiet?
The Word would branch
And our eyes wrote lightning
On the heads of the gamblers.
We, however, are not,
From the vague fingerprints
In the the and our soul.
Once Shore, pebbles and gone.
Flaming span
For that just anomalous.
Always an echo, that you!
– Brigitta Huemer

my thoughts on holocaust memorial day: the god all religions have proclaimed: bestower of miracles and comforter to the suffering, is a god of whom we cannot bear witness. but that ought to be of no existential consequence, for it is our own human grace to be witnesses of each other. we must conceive a new poetry to speak of the presence of god in the midst of human history. after the holocaust of so many good people, if it is our will to continue to pray to a god of love, we must realize that we are the prayers we pray, and we are the ones who must answer our prayers. and if we continue to worship a god who seems indifferent to the faith that pleads to him, we should understand that we are the ones who must not be indifferent to the neighbor that pleads to us.
– hune margulies

Message from the Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers:
Instead of traveling to a goal out there, you will voyage deeper into yourself. Your mother’s grandmother knew how to do this. Your ancestors from long ago knew how to do this. They knew the power of the feminine principle… and because you carry their DNA in your body, this wisdom and this way of being is within you.

Call on it. Call it up. Invite your ancestors in. As the yang based habits and the decaying institutions on our planet begin to crumble, look up. A breeze is stirring. Feel the sun on your wings.

It’s alright if this suffering goes on for years. It’s alright if the hawk never finds his own nest. It’s alright if we never receive the love we want.
It’s alright if we listen to the sitar for hours. It doesn’t matter how softly the musician plays. Sooner or later the melody will say it all.
It’s alright if we can’t remain cheerful all day.
The task we have accepted is to go down
to renew our friendship with the ruined things.
It’s alright if people think we are idiots.
It’s alright if we lie face down on the earth.
– Robert Bly
. .. . .. .
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
– T. S. Eliot

Melissa Kristl:
Once I was given an old tuppence. I brought it out one night to stop a fight. It fell and was lost somewhere in the commotion. We searched for it awhile, and when I thought it was gone forever my friend, with a twinkle in his eye, pulled it out from behind my ear. But in the end I eventually I lost them both.
Here’s a poem by Billy Collins for all things that are lost and only retrieved through memory’s safekeeping.
There was no art in losing that coin
you gave me for luck, the one with the profile
of an emperor on one side and a palm on the other.
It rode for days in a pocket
of my black pants, the paint-speckled ones,
past storefronts, gas stations and playgrounds,
and then it was gone, as lost as the lost
theorems of Pythagoras, or the Medea by Ovid,
which also slipped through the bars of time,
and as ungraspable as the sin that landed him–
forever out of favor with Augustus–
on a cold rock on the coast of the Black Sea,
where eventually he died, but not before
writing a poem about the fish of those waters,
into which, as we know, he was never transformed,
nor into a flower, a tree, or a stream,
nor into a star like Julius Caesar,
not even into a small bird that could wing it back to Rome.

When it’s late at night and branches
are banging against the windows,
you might think that love is just a matter
of leaping out of the frying pan of yourself
into the fire of someone else,
but it’s a little more complicated than that.
It’s more like trading the two birds
who might be hiding in that bush
for the one you are not holding in your hand.
A wise man once said that love
was like forcing a horse to drink
but then everyone stopped thinking of him as wise.
Let us be clear about something.
Love is not as simple as getting up
on the wrong side of the bed wearing the emperor’s clothes.
No, it’s more like the way the pen
feels after it has defeated the sword.
It’s a little like the penny saved or the nine dropped stitches.
You look at me through the halo of the last candle
and tell me love is an ill wind
that has no turning, a road that blows no good,
but I am here to remind you,
as our shadows tremble on the walls,
that love is the early bird who is better late than never.

This world is not made of shades of grey.
It is made of colours like azure and coral and emerald and
marigold. But it insists on painting everything in black and white
and fitting it into boxes that it understands. Do not do that to
yourself. Paint your personality a million different colours. Leave
them scratching their heads, unsure of how to handle the magic
that you are.
– Nikita Gill, Colours

Stereotypes can be prisons.
– Hans Grube

The expectation to be something we are not, whether temporarily or permanently, is a form of aggression toward our selves.

The best thing we can do is nurture ourselves and our circumstances just as they are. Listen to yourself and do not try to force yourself or your situation to be something it is not.

When you give yourself a break, you create space. Allowing things to be, just as they are, without judgment or expectation, gives you room to breathe. And that is good for clarity. You may find things start to get better, if you let them.

– Namdak Dupka

A blessing for Shabbat
Blessing in the Chaos

To all that is chaotic
in you
let there come silence
Let there be
a calming
of the clamoring
a stilling
of the voices that
have laid their claim
on you
that have made their
home in you
that go with you even to the
holy places
but will not
let you rest
will not let you
hear your life
with wholeness
or feel the grace
that fashioned you
Let what distracts you
Let what divides you
Let there come an end
to what diminishes
and demeans,
and let depart
all that keeps you
in its cage
Let there be
an opening
Into the quiet
that lies beneath
the chaos
where you find
the peace
you did not think
and see what
within the storm

– Jan Richardson

A sagacious student does not depend on his teachers words, but uses his own experience to find the truth.
– Bodhidharma

Extreme fear can neither fight nor fly.
– William Shakespeare

Ultimately, nobility is the moment of grace, however fleeting, when nothing remains between our soul and the rest of life.
– Mark Nepo: Things That Join the Sea and the Sky

Stories come to us like new senses
a wave and an ash tree were sisters
they had been separated since they were children
but they went on believing in each other
though each was sure that the other must be lost
they cherished traits of themselves that they thought of
as family resemblances features they held in common
the sheen of the wave fluttered in remembrance
of the undersides of the leaves of the ash tree
in summer air and the limbs of the ash tree
recalled the wave as the breeze lifted it
and they wrote to each other every day
without knowing where to send the letters
some of which have come to light only now
revealing in their old but familiar language
a view of the world we could not have guessed at
but that we always wanted to believe
– W.S. Merwin

The basis for true change is freedom from negativity. And that’s what acceptance implies: no negativity about what is. And then you see what this moment requires: what is it that is required now so that life can express itself more fully?
– Eckhart Tolle

There is no individual liberation without abandoning harm to others.
There is no awakening of bodhicitta without compassion for others.
One is not a practitioner of secret mantra without pure vision.
There is no realization without destroying delusions.
– Dudjom Rinpoche

Fred LaMotte:
God is so whole
and so fiercely
in love with us,
she embraces even
what we think is “wrong.”
She has mud between her toes.
She doesn’t mind
what you eat
if you are truly hungry.
She hugs people
right away without
even noticing
what color they are
or which party
they belong to.
She pitches her
blue tent on the sidewalk
and spends all night
leaning her head
on the addict’s shoulder.
When the young entrepreneur
opens his own shop
she says, ”Well done! Hire me!”
She knows who lost
every Superbowl
and reads carefully
with blazing eyes
every placard
at the Women’s March.
To the Christian,
she says, “Yes!”
To the Muslim,”Yes!”
To the Atheist, “Yes! Yes!”
She walks barefoot
through the Confederate cemetery
weeping with compassion.
She is a dolphin swimming
back and forth
across the Atlantic,
tracing and retracing
slave ship routes,
crying the lost names.
Even if you don’t
pray to her,
She prays to you.
When you adopt a stray
from an alley in San Franciso,
she takes the form
of the bacon-flavored
squeaking hedgehog
you give him for his
first act of kindness.
She breaks all
the commandments
to bring your heart home,
yet embraces each dot
and tittle of the scriptures.
Her smile is her wound.
O She loves you fiercely!
All of you.
Even what you hate.
Sitting quietly beside
this sandbox, the earth,
she doesn’t interfere
in our sand-throwing tantrum.
She just sings
through flowers, clouds,
robins, teardrops,
until we listen.

Jimmy Santiago Baca:

I feel foolish,
like those silly robins jumping on the ditch boughs
when I run by them.
Those robins do not have the grand style of the red tailed hawk,
no design, no dream, just robins acting stupid.
They’ve never smoked cigarettes, drank whiskey, consumed drugs
as I have.
In their mindless
fluttering about
filled with nonsense,
they tell me how they
love the Great Spirit,
scold me not to be self-pitying,
to open my life
and make this day a bough on a tree
leaning over infinity, where eternity flows forward
and with day the river runs
carrying all that falls in it.
Be happy Jimmy, they chirp,
Jimmy, be silly, make this day a tree
leaning over the river eternity
and fuss about in its branches.

We who write, we who bear witness, must often hear our hearts cry out against us, complaining because of their hidden things, and I know not but he who speaks of wisdom may not sometimes in the change that is coming upon the world, have to fear the anger of the people of Faery, whose country is the heart of the world—‘The Land of the Living Heart.’ Who can keep always to the little pathway between speech and silence, where one meets none but discreet revelations? And surely, at whatever risk, we must cry out that imagination is always seeking to remake the world according to the impulses and the patterns in that great Mind, and that great Memory? Can there be anything so important as to cry out that what we call romance, poetry, intellectual beauty, is the only signal that the supreme Enchanter, or some one in His councils, is speaking of what has been, and shall be again, in the consummation of time?
– William Butler Yeats, Ideas of Good and Evil (1901)

Mind’s centrifuge spins in self-defense.
Attempts to spare the core from engulfment
by noise shocks sales extortions hate;
and drowning by social media. Centrifuge

plays a centrifugue, its own idio-
synchronized music, which insulates,
and which also helps mind evade ego,
culture’s target. A not-you seems

to glide in the fugue. Glowing
multi-colored rain falls. “Starwater,”
it’s called by locals, although
there is no locality. The fogged

not-you folds itself into an unbounded
flow of other disengaged personas.
Soon sadly your non-self hears a noise,
recognizes it as name, and everything’s

recalled, ego re-established. The
spinning and its spun music cease.
Your tense sense of the world resumes.
Out of digital Hades comes the flood again.
– Hans Ostrom

The ‘coward’ lives in constant fear of space: afraid of darkness because he can’t see anything, afraid of silence because he can’t hear anything. The setting-sun world teaches you to wear a suit of armor to protect yourself. But what are you protecting yourself from? Space. The challenge of warriorship is to step out of the cocoon, to step out into space, by being brave and at the same time gentle.
– Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche

Amy Ferris:
Breakfast at Epiphany’s:
Fuck yes.
I am a care-giver; not a caretaker. And yes, I care fully, boldly, audaciously, full-on all-in, and if I care about you, love you – I will stand with you & stand by you, and stand for you and champion you & holy mother of god, I will support the shit out of you and root you on and tell the world about you – all that grand stuff – and, yes, if you hurt me, betray me, use me, abuse me, break my heart – you break it, you buy it – well, then, a whole different story.
But yes, yes… I am a care-giver.

I am whispering dreams I am howling revolution.
– Janis Ian

I am clearing a space
here, where the trees stand back.
I am making a circle so open

the moon will fall in love

and stroke these grasses with her silver.
I am setting stones in the four directions,
stones that have called my name
from mountaintops and riverbeds, canyons and mesas.
Here I will stand with my hands empty,
mind gaping under the moon.
I know there is another way to live.
When I find it, the angels
will cry out in rapture,
each cell of my body
will be a rose, a star.
If something seized my life tonight,
if a sudden wind swept through me,
changing everything,
I would not resist.
I am ready for whatever comes.
But I think it will be
something small, an animal
padding out from the shadows,
or a word spoken so softly
I hear it inside.
It is dark out here, and cold.
The moon is stone.
I am alone with my longing.
Nothing is happening
but the next breath.
– Morgan Farley

Bairavee Balasubramaniam:
We will never find true commonality and understanding if we feel the need to hide our differences. That creates a tenuous patch-work of ice-thin agreements on the surface, frail and exposed to the perpetual risk of breakage.
That being said, peace is difficult to find when we only focus on what keeps us apart. As with all things, it is a delicate balance.
But the moment we censure, silence, ridicule or to try to delegitimize a view because it makes us feel uncomfortable about what we take for granted, we fall further away from the desired unity that spirituality preaches.
Unity is not homogeneity. The Universe is proof of that.
The Sky Priestess

Deng Ming-Dao
You breathe twelve to twenty times a minute. Your heart beats sixty to one hundred times a minute. You blink fifteen to twenty times a minute. You swallow four to six times per minute. You have an estimated thirty-five to forty-eight thoughts per minute.
In the meantime, your blood, lymph, and hormones are flowing, your organs are functioning, millions of cells are in operation, your biome is teeming with activity, and your subconscious is busy with numerous actions including: memory, processing every daily activity, coordinating all your autonomic requirements, growth, homeostasis, motivation, and a sleep-clock. We’re in constant motion at all times!
Air, water, food, light, earth, gravity, and society are necessary for us to live. To refine the idea of constant movement, then, we are in an ongoing interchange with our environment. We take in all that we need to live.
We give out the waste we no longer need and that will swiftly poison us if we don’t expel them. The least we can do is to try to live lightly and to take only what we need. To do more is to strip-mine the very beauty that keeps us alive.
Therefore, we cannot escape the outer, and we have no life without the inner. What is contrary to that? Blockage, resistance, and withholding. Everything would work if we would let it proceed naturally.
Breath. And listen.

Peter Himmelman:
Ease alone isn’t what we want to fill our days with. What we truly want is for time to push against us, to pressure us, to create a tension that leaves us cognizant of the fleeting nature of time itself —and then to do something of a higher value with our time. What we crave most are those moments when we are lost in the midst of purposeful engagement.

Peter Himmelman:
And the days fly in circles just like doves. A man is just the sum of what he loves…

Nithya Shanti:
Sometimes when we face difficulties or a series of unwanted things happen, it is not because we are doing something wrong, it is because we are doing something right.
Sometimes when we are on the threshold of a major breakthrough in any dimension of our life, when we have been really sincere, we have been doing our utmost, applying ourselves and have built up plenty of juicy momentum – that’s when everything seemingly gets derailed.
Understand why this happens. Understand two things actually…
1. Evaluation is meaningless
Our mind is notoriously inept at evaluating our progress. It tells us we have made a whole lot of progress when actually only our pride has swelled up. It tells us we are stagnating or slipping backwards when actually an immense foundation is getting created for an unbelievably magnificent superstructure.
Evaluting our progress is always a bad idea. Often we are growing most when from the minds perspective nothing is happening. An example would be sitting in meditation and feeling bored, restless and distracted. The mind tells us that was a total waste of time and we just aren’t cut out for this sort of thing.
The truth is, in the many moments of simply noticing the arisen mental and emotional states of boredom and restlessness during that meditation, we developed the priceless capacity for metacognition – being aware of our own thinking. But the mind assures us we should never meditate again. That it is a royal waste of time!
In fact, right this moment, we could be on the precipice of a major breakthrough. There is NO WAY our mind will recognize or even admit this. It does not want to acknowledge that there are higher states of consciousness possible beyond its automatic, reactive, cynical, distracted, thinking mechanism.
Yet many, many, seemingly ordinary, run of the mill, non-spiritual, even depressed people have had huge awakenings out of the blue! They have awoke into a permanent non-symbolic, non-conceptual, non-dual state without ever suspecting such a thing could even exist!
So the point is this: Don’t believe the mind’s evaluation of who you are, what you are, where you are and how far along you are. It is reliably wrong, not just a bit, grossly wrong, on all those parameters.
2. Not good enough, yet.
This is universe based on polarities. Everything has its counterbalancing opposite. It is a universe where every state is in homeostasis or perfect equilibrium. This means that whenever we are about to shift from a lower energy and consciousness state to a higher frequency state (where oppositites harmonize and dance together), there is bound to be an equal an opposite pull to KEEP US in the same state.
Sometimes the very last line of defence is the “underservability” card. This is when the mind assures us that we aren’t good enough, pure enough, kind enough, knowledgeable enough, mindful enough, patient enough, disciplined enough, loving enough, earnest enough, genetically gifted enough, wise enough, anything and everything enough to DESERVE anything but our current lot.
Enough is enough!
Refuse to entertain this malicious allegation. Discard it. Ignore it. Don’t even bother arguing with it. It’s a total hoax. A total spam. No reply is necessary. Like no reply is ever required or needed for those obvious phishing and scam emails promising us ten million dollars for nothing!
When the Buddha was just about to get enlightened, Mara – the personification of every last remaining shadow of his immense luminosity – along with a mighty hoard of demons and troublemakers mocked and challenged him in the most ridiculous way: “What right do you have to sit at this place!”
The Buddha didn’t answer. He smiled and lightly touched his fingers to the ground, as if to say, “let the Earth decide”. This Earth that had witnessed his countless lifetimes of selfless sacrifice. That had seen him give up possessions, attachments and even life and limbs to save and support others. This is known as the “Bhumi-sparsh mudra” or “Prithvi-sakhshi mudra” (Earth touching / Earth as witness pose of the Buddha).
In that moment the great Earth trembled and shook. A great chasm opened up and swallowed up Mara’s entire retinue. Mara beat a hasty retreat. Never again was he able to sway or delude the Buddha. Though he continued to cloud the minds of those around him until they too woke up to his ways.
This story may or may not be factual, but it conveys an important psychological truth. That when all else fails, the underservability card is played. And we have been falling for it again and again and again and again.
Enough is enough!
Tell yourself boldly, “I am the favorite child of the universe and deserve ALL that is good.”
Declare, “I am as I am. I need to be no different. Nothing is out of place except in my imagination!”
Roar, “I Am That. All Is Source. God and I Are One. Life and I Are One. Infinity Is My Playground. I Am Awake Within This Dream.”
Let there be no room for evaluation. No room for self doubt. No opportunity for flagellation.
Just do your best and leave the rest. Just offer your best and take a rest. Drop every possible weight off your chest.
You deserve ALL that is good. It is your inheritance. The Earth is witness.
How very wonderful!!

The greatest gift is the passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles.
– Elizabeth Hardwick

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche ~ When ego began, nirvana, the other side of the same coin, began also. Without ego, there could be no such thing as nirvana or liberation, since a free state without relativity would be the case. So, as ego develops, freedom and imprisonment begin to exist; and that relative situation contains the basic quality of ignorance. ~ The Sanity we are Born With

Yes, we all want to use our gifts to heal an ailing world, but I would write even if the country were not on fire.
– Tayari Jones

I miss our country.
I miss normal and days of non-crisis.
I will be so grateful when we take our country back, every single day.
Future generations will read about this frightening and tragic time we are living now


The 10 days preceding the Tibetan new year are a time of obstacles and dense, depressive energy where habitual patterns are really heavy. It’s called dön season and it just started. Be kind to yourselves and others!
– Ethan Nichten

We all want to manifest our callings, but timing is everything. I learned this the hard way. I always knew I would write, but I didn’t understand that I needed to build the foundation first. So, I sat down to write, time and again, and I couldn’t quite find it. I knew there was a writer living in there somewhere, but I couldn’t find him. I needed a little more time, a little more suffering, a lot more lessons. I hadn’t lived enough to manifest him.
In this driven world, we are often pushed to manifest too early. We are shamed for our uncertainty, insulted for our confusion, called lazy and selfish. But some callings need time to be cultivated. Some gifts cannot be opened too quickly. We have to craft them first, over time, in the fires of lived experience.
If you have a calling living inside of you, don’t rush to manifest it. Trust your own instincts as to the steps you need to take. Build the inner foundation you will need to see it through. Better to offer this ailing world one remarkable thing, than a hundred fragments of possibility. We need what you have to offer desperately.

You do not know exactly where you are going, and you cannot go back to the place from which you came. It is perfectly natural to feel afraid, and fear only needs to be felt anyway. In every Now, a billion possible futures are born and die, a billion possible lives are lived to completion or not, and you walk here at the Origin. Stay close to life at the place where it happens. Look back only to celebrate your innocence.
You can expect to feel groundless sometime…s, for everything will be falling into uncertainty as you walk. Do not resist the urge to know, but do not seek your sanctuary there either. For there is actual safety in falling; you can only fall more deeply into yourself.
Some may call this journey a risk, but the only true risk is to live in complacency. The only true pain is the unwillingness to feel it. You will lose the old securities, but you will soon discover that they were never, ever real.
Tired of the lies, nauseated by the easy answers, your old path will fall away, and your new path will be forged with every step. Your only guide will be the heart, and the breaths, and the sound of your own life (closer now), and a wisdom forged in glorious doubt.
Your heart may be pounding, your legs may be trembling, you may feel more insecure than ever, but you are alive, my love, you are alive.
– Jeff Foster

Michael Bazzett:
Sometimes I punctuate questions
with periods, because I think
it can be useful to disrupt
pre-existing patterns, don’t you.

Living myths are always nearby waiting to be rediscovered. They are able to reveal truths that shed light upon the past as well as illuminate the present moment in time. Myths are intended to break the spell of time and release us from the immediate pressures and limitations of daily life. The great narratives of the eternal dramas of life are intended to dispel the blindness created by the rapid passing of things at the surface of the world. Myth speaks to the esoteric part…s within us that are also the extraordinary things about us. The archetypal dramas that constitute mythic narrations are living vehicles of creation intended to reconnect us to that which is most noble and imaginative within our souls. Hearing or reading a mythic story awakens the myth already living inside each of us. As the story enters us, we enter the timeless territory of myth. Being in such a mythic condition allows us to reconnect to the core imagination at the center of our soul. We become mythic again, a knowing participant in our own story and a seeker of the greater knowledge found near the source of all stories, at the ever-present origins of life.
– Michael Meade

I’ve often lost myself, in order to find the burn that keeps everything awake.
The artist, and particularly the poet, is always an anarchist in the best sense of the word… must heed only the call that arises within…from three strong voices: the voice of death with all its foreboding, the voice of love and the voice of art.
Let’s entwine ourselves as one, our mouth broken, our soul bitten by love, so time discovers us safely destroyed.
– Federico García Lorca, 20th century Spanish poet and playwright

Now I become myself. It’s taken
Time, many years and places,
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people’s faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there, …

Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!…..
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the Sun!
– May Sarton

Andrew Sweeny:
today (in this time of inversion) the apparently radical are the orthodox and most afraid of being, and the middle way is most despised

If Stradivarius had possessed the means of mass production, he would have been the Steve Jobs of the 18th Century.
– John Perry Barlow

Mark Nepo:
Kindness is love that has no direction, though it needs to come through us to water the world.
– from Things That Join the Sea and the Sky

Robert Moss:
Never forget that you have the power to step into another story. Of course this requires you to wake up to the fact that you are always living a story. If you don’t know that, chances are you are living the wrong story, maybe one strapped around you by other people’s expectations, definitions and disappointments.

Thomas Moore:
The sacred is often found in deep layers of the ordinary, like dedication to humanity in a simple job.

Jeff Brown:
There is a time to adventure heartily into new possibilities, but there is also a need for quiet integration time on the self-creation journey. We can have all the peak experiences we want but the real work happens between the peaks, while laying down and integrating on the valley floor. Growers are inch worms. Lasting transformation is an incremental process, one soul-step at a time. This may frustrate us, but it’s the only way to craft an awareness that is authentic and sustainable.
Whatever you do, take time to pause and rest on the healing and self-creation journey. Those who are constantly jumping into new experiences seldom integrate their progress. Similarly, those who are endlessly processing their triggers seldom grow. Because sustainable transformation requires something more than intensity and process- it requires regeneration, integration and…. celebration. Celebration of the courage it took to get this far. Celebration of your steps forward. Don’t wait until the ‘end’ to celebrate your achievement. Celebrate it now.

Simba… Let me tell you something that my father told me… Look at the stars. The great kings of the past look down on us from those stars.* ~ Mufasa: Lion King
Lords Prayer, from the original Aramaic.
O Birther! Father- Mother of the Cosmos
Focus your light within us – make it useful.
Create your reign of unity now-
through our fiery hearts and willing hands
Help us love beyond our ideals
and sprout acts of compassion for all creatures.
Animate the earth within us: we then
feel the Wisdom underneath supporting all.
Untangle the knots within
so that we can mend our hearts’ simple ties to each other.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back from our true purpose.
Out of you, the astonishing fire,
Returning light and sound to the cosmos.
Translation by Neil Douglas-Klotz: Prayers of the Cosmos

.. suppose we are walking [quietly taking each gentle step with reverence] to a sacred place. …. I propose that we walk this way every time we walk on the earth. The earth is sacred and we touch her with each step. We should be very respectful, because we are walking on our mother. If we walk like that, then every step will be grounding, every step will be nourishing.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Nithya Shanti:
One of the most potent cord cutting, attachment slashing, delusion smashing, clarity conferring teachings ever revealed to humanity comes from a spectacular book of non-dual teachings called A Course in Miracles (ACIM).
God did not make this world.
The ego did.
There is nothing in this world that I want.

All our literatures are leavings.
– Gary Snyder, Practice of the Wild

A world without open country would be universal jail.
– Ed Abbey

Gabriele Mistral translated by Ursula K. Le Guin:

What You Loved
Life of my life, what you loved I sing.

If you’re near, if you’re listening,

think of me now in the evening:

shadow in shadows, hear me sing.
Life of my life, I can’t be still.
What is a story we never tell?
How can you find me unless I call?
Life of my life, I haven’t changed,
not turned aside and not estranged.
Come to me as the shadows grow long,
come, life of my life, if you know the song
you used to know, if you know my name.
I and the song are still the same.
Beyond time or place I keep the faith.
Follow a path or follow no path,
never fearing the night, the wind,
call to me, come to me, now at the end,
walk with me, life of my life, my friend.
* * * * *
Her Selected Poems of Mistral is published by University of New Mexico Press

You say such clever things to people, but you do not apply them to yourself.
The faults within you are the ones to be exposed.
– Padampa Sangye

– Keorapetse Kgositsile
If destroying all the maps known
would erase all the boundaries

from the face of this earth

I would say let us
make a bonfire

to reclaim and sing
the human person
Refugee is an ominous load
even for a child to carry
for some children
words like home
could not carry any possible meaning
must carry dimensions of brutality and terror
past the most hideous nightmare
anyone could experience or imagine
Empty their young eyes
deprived of a vision of any future
they should have been entitled to
since they did not choose to be born
where and when they were
Empty their young bellies
extended and rounded by malnutrition
and growling like the well-fed dogs of some
with pretensions to concerns about human rights
Can you see them now
stumble from nowhere
to no
the premature daily death of their young dreams
what staggering memories frighten and abort
the hope that should have been
an indelible inscription in their young eyes
I should just borrow
the rememberer’s voice again
while I can and say:
to have a home is not a favour

How much would it suck if American Buddhism was known as “That cool spiritual trend with awesome quotes that happened while the country descended into fascism?
– Ethan Nichtern

Buddhism is Not Stirring Things Up
Becoming a Buddha does not tear a sentient being to bits, or rob him of anything, or deprive him of something. It is simply his letting go. The karmic consequences of our good and bad actions are what we are training with. That is, we try not to set karmic consequences into motion or stir things up.
Once the true face of our karma has been made clear to us, then we understand what “refraining” really means, for this refraining is what Buddha Nature is: it is being impermanent, it is being subject to causality, and it is being free, because it is letting go.
– Dogen Zenji

Nature expects a full-grown man to accept the two black voids, fore and aft, as solidly as he accepts the extraordinary visions in between. Imagination, the supreme delight of the immortal and the immature, should be limited. In order to enjoy life, we should not enjoy it too much.
– Vladimir Nabokov, Speak Memory

Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it towards others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will be in our troubled world.
– Etty Hillesum

While much psychology emphasizes the familial causes of angst in humans, the cultural component carries as much weight, for culture is the family of family. If the family of the family has various sicknesses, then all families within that culture will have to struggle with the same malaises.

There is a saying, cultura cura, culture cures. If culture is a healer, the families learn how to heal; they will struggle less, be more reparative, far less wounding, far more graceful and loving. In a culture where the predator rules, all new life needing to be born, all old life needing to be gone, is unable to move and the soul-lives of its citizenry are frozen with both fear and spiritual famine.
– Clarissa Pinkola Estés

The marks of wildness are a love of nature, a delight in silence, a voice free to say spontaneous things, and an exuberant curiosity in the face of the unknown.
– Robert Bly

To be alive: not just the carcass
But the spark.
That’s crudely put, but . . .
If we’re not supposed to dance,

Why all this music?
Time to shut up.
Voltaire said the secret
Of being boring
Is to say everything.
And yet I held
Back about love
All those years:
Talking about death
Insistently, even
As I was alive;
Talking about loss
As if all was loss,
As if the world
Did not return
Each morning.
As if the beloved
Didn’t long for us.
No wonder I go on
So. I go on so
Because of the wonder.
– Gregory Orr

I’ve loved always this one lone hill
and here, before it, this windswept copse
that blocks from my sight the far horizon. But lost
in thought, sitting here, I can see beyond our
hills and trees, and I feel some further calm,
some extrahuman quiet rise and nearly overwhelm
my awful heart. Now the winds blow and rush
across the leaves, and in that long sustaining shoosh
I hear that longer silence—and all time stops—
eons living and dead, present and past,
and the hundred thousand sounds that well
from that vast ocean—and I go sweetly under.
– Giacomo Leopardi

August tenth: Another reason for the brevity of haiku is that the more words the more distance, the more silence the more proximity.
– Robert Spiess

He wonders if it is possible for decades to seem like the sun speared by the trees at dusk, like when you walk to your car and your breath is a vapor in the winter chill, lifting like a prayer.
– Doug Ramspeck

A house is its own kind of envelope.
This is the letter that slips behind the mantel.
– Christine Poreba

That winter I watched the Red Cedar’s currents
burbling under tiers of ice, constellations of frost
occasional fish-glint—but I bent toward that
which I could hear, ear pressed as if
to a pulse. You’re carrying something?
How far has it come? Muffled answers

issued forth that only a drowner
could distinguish. I stepped back from the shore.
If colors are indeed the works and sufferings
of light, I reckon water’s must be sound.
– Chris Dombroski

Le sujet n’est rien, la lumière est tout
(The subject is nothing, light is everything)
– Léonard Missone

Oh, I am sick. I fade, I fall,
I curse this month, all it wants
to be. Its lot is the same
each time, unthawed.
Yet it taunts.
Dreamer month!
Another is just as warm,
as firm, as close to sweat and sigh
as I was, and this month
knows it. This month
sits close-lipped
and wise before the fire.
– Jill Osier, February

I wanted to capture the moment, but as soon as it was over, I realised I’d been so intent on the little rectangular screen that I hadn’t really … It might have been better just to sit and watch, to take in the experience and hope it stayed with me. But that’s the trouble: you can’t rely on your memory to preserve a life of small, happy events. It’s the moments of high emotion that come back to you; the humiliations and the rows, the separation.
– David Steward

You can pretend for a long time, but one day it all falls away and you are alone. We are alone in the most beautiful place in the world…
– Jean Rhys

I was taking a class on the French philosopher, Derrida, and since the apartment was cold and dark, I’d take my book outside and sit in the sun in the driveway to read. Derrida’s philosophy was hard to understand, but it seemed like he was saying that even though I thought I knew what I was saying with my words, that wasn’t true. The problem was, once my words entered the world, their meaning was filtered through the unique experience and understanding of each person who heard or read them. At that point they didn’t really belong to me anymore.

The more I read, the more I realized the meaning of my words had never been my own. Their meaning had come from people who taught me how to say and write them. And yet they were the basis of my beliefs… . I thought about all that as I wandered around my little apartment … If my words weren’t my own, and yet they defined me, how could I really know who I was?
– Zoe Murdock, Living Alone with Derrida, Sleep is a Beautiful Colour

and what if you could see me well enough
to find that place where all I ever am
is Floating World
– John Burnside

Fair Winds Blown
A quilt instills a depth to own,
where time suspends a reach well blown.,
with history clearing what’s been blurred,

against tomorrow’s written word.
And thus it is a cherished thread,
that wraps around a body fed.,
in earnest tone for what is shared,
across the ages as life is bared.
For captured cloth is given rise,
when sewn to be a sweet surprise.,
where form ascends within each piece,
to be a higher power feast.
So watch the days as fair winds blow,
against the stories you think you know.,
and bid this life a warmth of heart,
within each quilted piece of art.
– Amber MacKay

And when all the wars are over, a butterfly will still be beautiful.
– Ruskin Bond

Some of the old optimism was a little superficial and now it must be tempered with a solid realism.
– Martin Luther King Jr. (1967)

For Whom Do You Practice?
If we wish to live well in the world, not just amble along through life without any examination of our being, then we must engage in the effort to find meaning in our lives. In order to do this, we have to find a way to balance our own interiority with an empathic recognition of others.
– Eido Frances Carney,
 The Way of Ryokan

Perhaps the intellectual surrender is so complete because the forces we hoped would make the world a more civilised place – personal freedoms, democracy, material advance, technological power – are in truth paving the way to its destruction. The powers we most trusted have betrayed us; that which we believed would save us now threatens to devour us.
For some, the tension is resolved by rejecting the evidence, which is to say, by discarding the Enlightenment. For others, the response is to denigrate calls to heed the danger as a loss of faith in humanity, as if anguish for the Earth were a romantic illusion or superstitious regression.
Yet the Earth scientists continue to haunt us, following us around like wailing apparitions while we hurry on with our lives, turning around occasionally with irritation to hold up the crucifix of Progress.
– Clive Hamilton

You suppose you are the trouble
But you are the cure
You suppose that you are the lock on the door
But you are the key that opens it
It’s too bad that you want to be someone else

You don’t see your own face,

your own beauty…

Yet, no face is more beautiful than yours.

– Rumi

Gunilla Norris:
Repairing and restoring are very different to my mind. Repair seems to be more about function. Something is broken and needs fixing for it to work again. Restoring is more thoughtful. It is bringing something back to itself, to its original essence. We need both restoring and repairing, and we need the discernment to know the difference. This seems especially crucial now in our civic life. And often that needed change begins in our personal lives.

The reason our sentient, percipient, & thinking ego is met nowhere within our scientific world picture can be easily indicated in 7 words: because it is itself that world picture. It is identical with the whole & cannot be contained in it as part of it.
– Irwin Schrodinger

José Luis G. Soler:
the freedom of fluidity:
not bound by boundaries
but not denying them

The greatest joy of any apprentice is to find a question that will engage them for a lifetime. If the edges of knowledge are always beyond her reach, she can rest in the sweet humility of not-knowing while being continually enriched by the gifts of discovery.
– Toko-pa Turner, Belonging

Fred LaMotte:
In his final sermon
Buddha didn’t speak.
He just held up
a tiny flower until
someone smiled.

Jesus didn’t preach

any religion at all.

He said, “Behold

the lilies of the field!”

That was enough

for anyone whose

eye was open.

Dante saw the whole

empyrean, hosts

and hosts of angels,

in the petals of a rose.

Wonder in silence

beyond thought,

your breath a stream

of unborn stars.

Friend, all that stands

between you and 

this world of miracles 

is your mind.

They tell us to wear masks, repress and hide our true feelings, teach us to adapt our personalities to the marketplace, and then they expect healthy functioning. Is that even possible from below a mask? Can it be any surprise that humans are depressed and act out in hurtful ways when they have been conditioned to distort their truths, bury their feelings, grin and bear it? If we want humans to act empathically, we have to model it to them as a society. If we want humans to stop hurting others, we have to support healthy emotional release so that they do not accumulate toxic feelings. If we want humans to move from their most heartfelt authenticity, we have to stop shaming and shunning their genuine expression. If we want humans to move from love, we must love them first. We can’t teach repression and disguise on a society wide level, and then expect loving, compassionate behavior. It’s entirely ridiculous. – Spiritual Graffiti

Seamus Heaney
So, sing on,
Dear shut-eyed one, dear far-voiced veteran,
Sing yourself to where the singing comes from,
Ardent and cut off like our blind neighbour

Ethan Nichtern:
If you are avoiding meditation practice, then what else are you avoiding to help take care of yourself? Meditation is usually a litmus test for how we are conducting the rest of life.

If I dedicate my life wholeheartedly and fully to alleviating the suffering of this world
with no thought whatsoever of any afterlife, or any reward,
then when I do die, and if there is another life, 
I can think of no better way of having prepared for it. 
And if there is not another life, 
then I have done whatever I’ve been humanly possible to do, here and now. 
And that’s the kind of position I would have now.

– Stephen Batchelor

Fred LaMotte:
I called my wandering
fierceness home
and stepped into
my shadow.
I swallowed the night,
it did not swallow me.

I did not become 

more angry.

I became joy!

– ’twas agriculture, the illusion of plenty, and just plain wrong food that made’m sick and drove’m mad
– E.M.

What happened? The stone kicked out of the mountains.
Who awoke? You and me.
Language, language. With Star. Next to earth.
Poorer. Open. Homelandy.
Where was it? Gen. Unverklungen.
With the stone, we went with us.
Heart and heart. Too hard.
Get harder. Be easier.
– Paul Celan

Making Peace
A voice from the dark called out,…

‘The poets must give us

imagination of peace, to oust the intense, familiar

imagination of disaster. Peace, not only

the absence of war.’

But peace, like a poem,

is not there ahead of itself,

can’t be imagined before it is made,

can’t be known except
in the words of its making,

grammar of justice,

syntax of mutual aid.

A feeling towards it,

dimly sensing a rhythm, is all we have

until we begin to utter its metaphors,

learning them as we speak.

A line of peace might appear

if we restructured the sentence our lives are making,

revoked its reaffirmation of profit and power,

questioned our needs, allowed
long pauses . . .

A cadence of peace might balance its weight

on that different fulcrum; peace, a presence,

an energy field more intense than war,

might pulse then,

stanza by stanza into the world,

each act of living

one of its words, each word
a vibration of light—facets

of the forming crystal.

A boy told me
if he roller-skated fast enough
his loneliness couldn’t catch up to him,

the best reason I ever heard
for trying to be a champion.

What I wonder tonight
pedaling hard down King William Street
is if it translates to bicycles.

A victory! To leave your loneliness
panting behind you on some street corner
while you float free into a cloud of sudden azaleas,
pink petals that have never felt loneliness,
no matter how slowly they fell.
– Naomi Shihab Nye

Belle Sanjiti Heywood:
We are all living very different lives.
Learning different lessons. Dealing with different karmic circumstances. Experiencing different influences and capacities. Just as a cat is a cat and can’t do all that a human can do, each and every human is also quite unique. I can’t necessarily do what you can do and you can’t or wouldn’t want to do what I can do. There is not one standard of success but sometimes it seems like there is a mythical benchmark and we hold ourselves and others to some kind of standard or mold.
But if we reflect on this with some quietude and discernment, firstly in relation to ourself, we can see that we live the life that we can live, and that we aren’t and can’t live like someone else. We are definitely unique, and yet not separate or special.
Therefore, we can then see there is no need to compare or compete.

Buddhism Without A Book
Joanne Kyger
Well, you had to find it some
where another person passed simplicity

on to you, the practice of some syllables

the position of a seated body and you believe

a lineage of recognition of ‘mind’
not perfect, but intimate
with suffering
and the futility of maintaining
those troublesome states
of fear and hate
“Try this
Lift the corners of your mouth slightly
and take three breaths
this is known as mouth yoga”* (*Yvonne Rand)
It has nothing to do with smiling
It has nothing to do with happiness

You will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love.
– Cheryl Strayed, American novelist

you go for a walk inside the mist of a five am green field. a peacock hops her way to a fruit. kingfishers boast their deep blue chests. in the field across cows eat yummy grass and farmers slowly till the land for spring onions and purple spinach. the breezes are fresh and enticing as the sky becomes slowly lighter. and then you stop to look at the new day sun smiling broadly in his orange face. your best friend smiles and hugs you. some say there are no words to describe. i say there are as many words as five am stars in the misty sky of malar. i’m just trying to say with words what grace is. see? it is amazing.
– hune margulies

The only people who can still strike us as normal are those we don’t yet know very well.
– Maria Popova

Yes, I was the brilliance floating over the snow
and I was the song in the summer leaves, but this was
only the first trick…

But don’t stop there, stay with me: listen.

If I was the song that entered your heart
then I was the music of your heart, that you wanted and needed,
and thus wilderness bloomed that, with all its
followers: gardeners, lovers, people who weep
for the death of rivers.

And this was my true task, to be the
music of the body. Do you understand? for truly the body needs
a song, a spirit, a soul. And no less, to make this work,
the soul has need of a body,
and I am both of the earth and I am of the inexplicable
beauty of heaven
where I fly so easily, so welcome, yes,
and this is why I have been sent, to teach this to your heart.
– Mary Oliver

The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the coloured arrows from a Fourth of July rocket.
– Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Martin Shaw:
Hey kid.
There is an old Russian story that very early every morning, the Firebird sweeps low through the forest, with her majestic head bent as if she is listening for something precious. I think her procession through the woods is the arrival of dawn itself.
Some believe—okay, I believe—she remembers a time when humans used to offer loving, inventive and passionate words to her. She flies low to catch just a moment of such gorgeousness in her fine and praiseworthy feathers.
As the years go by, her heart aches at the absence of such love-speech. Lifetime after lifetime, nobody comes. Or if they do, the speech is false somehow, and we sense it—hopefully we sense it. There are plenty of glittering traps under the snow of the false singers.
No one speaks to her in her old names.
Well, I think some of us are a little like her. I do.
Even after all the therapy, and divorces, and psychologising, and the bracing cold showers of rationality, somewhere we remember the old coo-call, and we sweep through the lonely glades for even an echo of the sound. We want to be beheld in the old way, even—or especially—in a climate of absolute amnesia to such a deep yearning.
So the dad asks her if she’s ever felt glimpsed like that. Why would such a thing matter? Then they talk about Firebird feelings, and flap their wings.
She also seems to know that she’s talking about something dangerous and alive. And that there’s a kind of contract with loneliness that is signed if you agree to take the shape that such things call forth in you. At least sometimes.
Some grown ups have become suspicious of romantic love. Yes, it’s very powerful. It has consequence.
But the gods forgive lovers. And so should we. Handled well, and given the tempering of time, it is an enormous gift to the world beyond this one. All the horses of your little heart will bend their head to fresh water when it arrives. Nothing else is quite the same. And there is more at stake than just the desire of the lovers. It can be a libation. That desire goes somewhere holy.
The gods absolutely adore it, like catnip, like an exquisite tequila, like you and I adore Aslan, like wood smoke on a crisp October day, like the melodious chant of bells at a summering Dartmoor wedding. It gives them delight. It’s an altar.
So it’s for more than us for a start. That really changes the perspective. It can be devotional.
Do you remember dad’s friend Robert? The white-haired old man? He wrote a poem for his wife and some of the lines are here:
“I know how much ruin love can bring
But at night I hang around the orchard
Hoping to catch one breath from the lovers’ tree”.
People use this ghastly word “projection”. Scratch that. The word Jung used before he came up with that was much better: rapport.
It’s not what we smother them in from our own fevered imaginings, but what radiates through them from the Other World. What stands behind them. We behold, bear witness, not fantasise.
The air is full of birds of all shapes and sizes, hurtling about. Over the years, you will see and admire many flashing feathers and big characters that swoop overhead and sometimes block out the sun. Others have a lovely poetic chirp, and do little pirouettes to attract your attention. Some will twirl around pretending they have a broken wing. Some really do.
It’s good to see all this life occurring all around. We can spend many years just grooving around in all this activity and liveliness.
But one day, maybe when you are much older— and this is the deepest of the things we’re talking about—something else may happen. You will notice a bird that flies at your altitude. They may not have the same patterning on the wing, but they fly at the same height. They fly alongside. They really, truly do. This is the moment. This is the moment. This is the moment.
This is the moment that the Firebird bends her noble head for.
Dear one, you should know that this is as rare as one of her feathers. Almost a rumour. Something a handsome priest may murmur to you. But no. It does exist. I know—I’ve glimpsed it.
This is called Amor. And the moment you experience it, you realise that the loneliness of your years without it is the debt paid for its arrival.
If you don’t know a little about loneliness I’m not quite sure you can really know Amor.
Prepare. Preparing well means that you can absorb the intensities rather than be completely flattened by them.
That’s not to say rationality has a great deal of say. But, if the courtship is true (and be prepared for many false starts in this regard, I’m afraid—it’s called an educated heart), then you can rise to meet it, like the prow of some northern ship on the nine waves, not cowed and half crazed with want.
Become mighty and settled in yourself. Or at least pretend and work up slowly.
This usually takes a long time, but the seeds are tickling away under the soil from very early on, jiggling about. Know the animal you are and you will be a little less likely to be seduced by the detritus of the world.
Some enlightened souls will tell you that you can have the experience of Amor entirely on your own, in complete containment. I don’t think so. Risk is part of it; visibility is part of it; contact is part of it.
No one is complete. No one can absolutely provide everything you ever longed for. But that’s not really the point. It shouldn’t make them small, but rather, interesting. But it is the compass of your heart that will give you the discernment between the swooping and the steady.
He loves her more than all of Persia.

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
– W.B. Yeats

Isn’t it plain the sheets of moss, except that
they have no tongues, could lecture
all day if they wanted about
spiritual patience?
– Mary Oliver, from Landscape

Anyone who attempts to do both, to adjust to his group and at the same time pursue his individual goal, becomes neurotic.
– C.G. Jung

For a good practitioner, everything is favourable.
For a bad practitioner, everything is unfavourable.
– Khenpo Sodargye

I stood willingly and gladly in the characters of everything—other people, trees, clouds. And this is what I learned, that the world’s otherness is antidote to confusion—that standing within this otherness—the beauty and the mystery of the world, out in the fields or deep inside books—can re-dignify the worst-stung heart.
– Mary Oliver

You have to go to considerable trouble to live differently from the way the world wants you to live. That’s what I’ve discovered about writing. The world doesn’t want you to do a damn thing. If you wait unit you got time to write a novel, or time to write a story, or time to read the hundred thousands of books you should have already read—if you wait for the time, you will never do it. Cause there ain’t no time; world don’t want you to do that. World wants you to go to the zoo and eat cotton candy, preferably seven days a week.
– Harry Crews

When I at last find a home.
– Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

I’m a poet,
(that’s first)
a dabbler ·
a tinker ·
a virtuous fool
and a pretty good thinker –

There are no enlightened beings. Completely delusional construct that is rooted in mastery-seeking and feelings-avoidant patriarchal spirituality. There is just awakening… or not..
– Jeff Brown

STANDING AT THE EDGE “Just as there are plant or animal species that can only thrive along the edges, at the extreme border of things, there are human virtues that can flourish only as we approach the limits of our endurance, our understanding, our capacity to experience beauty…or to love. Joan Halifax has given us a flower on a precipice that invites us to lean out from our comfort zones–and into our true nature.”
– Clark Strand, author of Waking Up to the Dark: Ancient Wisdom for a Sleepless Age

There is a valid distinction between works of creative vitality and a music business product.
– Ralph Joseph Gleason

The medical profession right now is doing what? We’re feasting on selling disease. And we are so successful on selling sickness that there are not enough dollars in this country to pay for it.
– Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., M.D., preventive medicine specialist

There’s a point, around the age of twenty, when you have to choose whether to be like everybody else the rest of your life, or to make a virtue of your peculiarities.”
– Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed

David Bedrick:
I know a woman who adores whales. She listens to their music, roots for Green Peace boats, educates herself and others, weeps over their deaths. Her life, in part, revolves around these magnificent creatures. Dear friends, find you “whales” – what activates your heart and soul with a simple, “I must do something about this.” Whatever it is, take that task as your calling.

In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.
[The Minotaur]
– Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays

Reason divides
heart crosses
( the friend )
– Yolanda Rommel

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.
– Albert Camus

Nicholas Pierotti:
Why don’t I hang out with rich people,
They make me sick in my shoes,
They all have really nice houses,
And I’ve got nothing to lose.

It’s fine to learn from people, but we have to be careful not to Godjectify them. Nothing will disempower you more on the path than perpetually projecting God wisdom onto others. Not only because they may disappoint you, but because its all too easy to get locked into the safety of a seeker role this way. Finders don’t spend their lives looking for wisdom in others. They come to realize that they can only find it within. It’s a fine line between strengthening and weakening projections. Yes, others know a little something, but when it comes to your own path, only you can know what steps to take. You are the crafter of your own reality- don’t hand your tools to anyone else.
– Jeff Brown

I find that if I ready scholarly books from cover to cover, I die a little inside. On the other hand, if instead of reading from start to finish I use the book to learn the symbolic language of the Soul, trace a meaning to a mythological symbol I want to know, like bull or swan or bee for instance, and start with the index and then riding my mystic vehicle, follow the intuitive trace to its Source within me and around me, dance the Dance of Life of having identified with my Soul, which often leads to other books and other symbols, I spring back to life and everything conspires to my success, the Universe opens its mystic memory dimension and my dream-visions and intuitive insights are revelation of wisdom I seek, and this intimate direct experience of union with my Soul is not only helpful, insightful but as important, enlivening and lastingly healing.
– Marek Peter Kaziniec

The mind makes its daily pilgrimage
Through riff-raff moments. Then,
Back into the caprice case to dream
In a circle, a pony goes round.
The circle’s association: There’s a center
To almost everything but never
Any certainty. Nothing is
More malleable than a moment. We were
Only yesterday breathing in a sea.
Some summer sun
Asked us over and over we went. The sand was hot.
We were only yesterday tender hearted
Waiting. To be something.
A spring. And then someone says, Sit down,
We have a heart for you to forget. A mind to suffer
With. So, experience. So, the circus tent.
– Mary Jo Bang
from February Elegy

When you are trying to proceed on the path, you should not be looking for external signs of accomplishment, such as auspicious dreams, or visions, or clairvoyance, or other signs of power.
The real sign of accomplishment is the decreasing of your disturbing emotions, and that your mind is becoming more peaceful.
– Yangthang Rinpoche

We have not overcome our condition, and yet we know it better. We know that we live in contradiction, but we also know that we must refuse this contradiction and do what is needed to reduce it. Our task as humans is to find the few principles that will calm the infinite anguish of free souls. We must mend what has been torn apart, make justice imaginable again in a world so obviously unjust, give happiness a meaning once more to peoples poisoned by the misery of the century. Naturally, it is a superhuman task. But superhuman is the term for tasks we take a long time to accomplish, that’s all.

Let us know our aims then, holding fast to the mind, even if force puts on a thoughtful or a comfortable face in order to seduce us. The first thing is not to despair. Let us not listen too much to those who proclaim that the world is at an end. Civilizations do not die so easily, and even if our world were to collapse, it would not have been the first. It is indeed true that we live in tragic times. But too many people confuse tragedy with despair. “Tragedy,” D. H. Lawrence said, “ought to be a great kick at misery.” This is a healthy and immediately applicable thought. There are many things today deserving such a kick.
– Albert Camus

Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy.
– Albert Einstein

When you get into your car, shut the door and be there for just half a minute. Breathe, feel the energy inside your body, look around at the sky, the trees. The mind might tell you, ‘I don’t have time.’ But that’s the mind talking to you. Even the busiest person has time for 30 seconds of space.
– Eckhart Tolle

But your eyes do not see the beauty. Otherwise, you would realize that,head to foot, you are living inside the one you ask about.
– Rumi

Do not forget me. Keep forever the world suspended, desirable, refused, that enchanted thing I had given you.
– Hélène Cixous, Savoir

BOOKS ARE TO READ, but that is by no means the end of it.
The way they are bound, the paper they are printed on, the smell of them (especially if they are either very new or very old), the way the words are fitted to the page, the look of them in the bookcase—sometimes lined up straight as West Point cadets, sometimes leaning against each other for support or lying flat so you have to tip your head sideways to see them properly… Even though you suspect you will probably never get around to them, it is an honor just to have them on your shelves.
Something of what they contain gets into the air you breathe. They are like money in the bank, which is a comfort even though you never spend it. They are prepared to give you all they’ve got at a moment’s notice, but are in no special hurry about it. In the meanwhile they are holding their tongues, even the most loquacious of them, even the most passionate.
They are giving you their eloquent and inexhaustible silence. They are giving you time to find your way to them. Maybe they are giving you time, with or without them, just to find your way.
– Frederick Buechner

The spectacular truth is—and this is something that your DNA has known all along—the very atoms of your body—the iron, calcium, phosphorus, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and on and on—were initially forged in long-dead stars. This is why, when you stand outside under a moonless, country sky, you feel some ineffable tugging at your innards. We are star stuff. Keep looking up.
– Neil deGrasse Tyson

When I search the past for you,
Sometimes I think you are like
St. Francis, whose flesh went out
Like a happy cloud from him,
And merged with every lover–
– Kenneth Rexroth

I feel a nonspecific longing / for alignment with a purpose longer / than my life, something to be faithful to / when everything else is over.
– Marjorie Stelmach

And every night of this thinking is a long night of this thinking.
– Pageeta Sharma

I have dreamed so much of you,
Walked so often, talked so often with you,
Loved your shadow so much.
Nothing is left me of you.
Nothing is left of me but a shadow among shadows,
A being a hundred times more shadowy than a shadow,
A shadowy being who comes, and comes again, in your sunlit life.
– Robert Desnos

Love is a gift / that springs from an unlit spot. Resin and rue. / Even when I’m in the dark I’m in the dark with you.
– Alice Fulton

Why don’t typewriters make little hearts?????
– Anne Sexton

February, month of despair, with a skewered heart in the center.
– Margaret Atwood

We get it wrong about each other
all the time, Heart and I. Most often,
by evening we’ve reconciled.
– Marjorie Stelmach

Once, she had hoped to marry
a man whose name was spread
clear across the horizon
where the strands of fence wire
stapled to every lonesome post
strummed like dulcimers by the wind,
a breeze that broadcast so easily
the white secrets of thistle seed
and might deliver her out of here.
– Allen Braden, Purple Thistle

In your sonnets memory is your personal landscape, and the land (or river) serves as memory.
– Allen Braden

Days will be blue elsewhere with their own purpose.
– John Ashbery

It was one of those bitter mornings when the whole of Nature is shiny, brittle, and hard, like crystal. The trees, decked out in frost, seem to have sweated ice; the earth resounds beneath one’s feet; the tiniest sounds carry a long way in the dry air; the blue sky is bright as a mirror, and the sun moves through space in icy brilliance, casting on the frozen world rays which bestow no warmth upon anything
– Guy de Maupassant

We have become nightingales singing us out of fear / Splashing the failed places with light.
– Sonia Sanchez

We wait for transparency in darkened
geographies, a strange dawn glinting, sewn
with odor of apricots. A postponed
departure does not mean there will be no
journey. Who cares if the metaphors are
endless? We’ll keep digging. We’re beyond stars.
– Simone Muench and Dean Rader

Fog drifts across the lake highway. Wipers can’t sweep it aside. He wishes that he could vanish into it like red taillights.
– Stuart Dybek

I’ve loved always this one lone hill
and here, before it, this windswept copse
that blocks from my sight the far horizon. But lost
in thought, sitting here, I can see beyond our
hills and trees, and I feel some further calm,
some extrahuman quiet rise and nearly overwhelm
my awful heart. Now the winds blow and rush
across the leaves, and in that long sustaining shoosh
I hear that longer silence—and all time stops—
eons living and dead, present and past,
and the hundred thousand sounds that well
from that vast ocean—and I go sweetly under.
– Giacomo Leopardi

Waking up to this, already; letting it be; the way.
The popular notion of homeostasis–if the reader can excuse the incongruity of having the words ‘popular’ and ‘homeostasis’ in the same sentence–conjures up the ideas of ‘equilibrium’ and ‘balance.’ But we do not want equilibrium when we are dealing with life, because thermodynamically-speaking equilibrium means zero thermal difference and death. … We do not want to use ‘balance’ either, because it conjures up stagnation and boredom! For years, I used to define ‘homeostasis’ by saying that it corresponded to a neutral state but a state in which the operations of life felt as if they were upregulated to well-being. The forceful projection into the future was signified by the underlying feeling of well-being. …
I recently encountered a kindred view in the formulations of John Torday, who also rejects the quai-static view of homeostasis, the maintenance of a status quo view. He embraces a view of homeostasis as a driver of evolution, a way into the creation of a protected cellular space within which catalytic cycles can do their job and literally come to life.
– Antonio Damasio, The Strange Order of Things

Human civilization has reached a fork in the road we have long traveled. One of two paths must be chosen. Both lead us into the unknown. But one leads toward the destruction of the climate balance on which we depend, the depletion of irreplaceable resources that sustain us, the degradation of uniquely human values, and the possibility that civilization as we know it would come to an end. The other leads to the future.
– Al Gore, an excerpt from The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change

Swear by what the Sages spoke
Round the Mareotic Lake
That the Witch of Atlas knew,
Spoke and set the cocks a-crow.
Swear by those horsemen, by those women,
Complexion and form prove superhuman,
That pale, long visaged company
That airs an immortality
Completeness of their passions won;
Now they ride the wintry dawn
Where Ben Bulben sets the scene.
Here’s the gist of what they mean.
Many times man lives and dies
Between his two eternities,
That of race and that of soul,
And ancient Ireland knew it all.
Whether man dies in his bed
Or the rifle knocks him dead,
A brief parting from those dear
Is the worst man has to fear.
Though grave-diggers’ toil is long,
Sharp their spades, their muscle strong,
They but thrust their buried men
Back in the human mind again.
You that Mitchel’s prayer have heard
`Send war in our time, O Lord!’
Know that when all words are said
And a man is fighting mad,
Something drops from eyes long blind
He completes his partial mind,
For an instant stands at ease,
Laughs aloud, his heart at peace,
Even the wisest man grows tense
With some sort of violence
Before he can accomplish fate
Know his work or choose his mate.
Poet and sculptor do the work
Nor let the modish painter shirk
What his great forefathers did,
Bring the soul of man to God,
Make him fill the cradles right.
Measurement began our might:
Forms a stark Egyptian thought,
Forms that gentler Phidias wrought.
Michael Angelo left a proof
On the Sistine Chapel roof,
Where but half-awakened Adam
Can disturb globe-trotting Madam
Till her bowels are in heat,
Proof that there’s a purpose set
Before the secret working mind:
Profane perfection of mankind.
Quattrocento put in paint,
On backgrounds for a God or Saint,
Gardens where a soul’s at ease;
Where everything that meets the eye
Flowers and grass and cloudless sky
Resemble forms that are, or seem
When sleepers wake and yet still dream,
And when it’s vanished still declare,
With only bed and bedstead there,
That Heavens had opened.
Gyres run on;
When that greater dream had gone
Calvert and Wilson, Blake and Claude
Prepared a rest for the people of God,
Palmer’s phrase, but after that
Confusion fell upon our thought.
Irish poets learn your trade
Sing whatever is well made,
Scorn the sort now growing up
All out of shape from toe to top,
Their unremembering hearts and heads
Base-born products of base beds.
Sing the peasantry, and then
Hard-riding country gentlemen,
The holiness of monks, and after
Porter-drinkers’ randy laughter;
Sing the lords and ladies gay
That were beaten into the clay
Through seven heroic centuries;
Cast your mind on other days
That we in coming days may be
Still the indomitable Irishry.
Under bare Ben Bulben’s head
In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid,
An ancestor was rector there
Long years ago; a church stands near,
By the road an ancient Cross.
No marble, no conventional phrase,
On limestone quarried near the spot
By his command these words are cut:
Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!
– W. B. Yeats, Under Ben Bulben

When you feel tired you should not force yourself to meditate upon something. When you meditate you should just rest in the natural state. The nature of mind is the conscious awareness that recognizes all mental arisings. This conscious mind is like pure water. The mental arisings are like earth. If your awareness is weak the water mixes with the earth and becomes muddy. This muddy mind is unbearable and people therefore commit suicide. Your awareness must prevail with clarity, then you will not cling to the mental arisings. If you just leave them be they are like a pebble in water, if you cling to them they are like earth making your mind cloudy.
Thus do not cling to your thoughts, do not grasp at their reality. This life is like a dream. Do not believe in its reality. Preserve the conscious knowing awareness and let go of thoughts, then they will not affect you. Habituate the natural state. At times pray to Tara and recite her mantra. Tara should appear in your mind, then ordinary fixations will subside. If the thoughts do not mix with your mind, they are not harmful even if they arise. If you do not grasp at them they are rendered powerless. If you grasp at them they will wear you out. The actual mind can not be tired, the fixation to thoughts make you weary.

When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.
– Audre Lorde

Peter Capofreddi:
Industrial civilizations do not evolve into spacefaring civilizations. They evolve into toxic waste heaps, poison water and air, refugee crises and global thermonuclear war. Star Trek was propaganda for the oil companies, to sell us their toxic vision of the future.

Industrial civilizations do not evolve into spacefaring civilizations. They evolve into toxic waste heaps, poison water and air, refugee crises and global thermonuclear war. Star Trek is propaganda for the oil companies, to sell us an unsustainable way of life. “Reach for the stars,” they chant, as they destroy the planet.

When we’re motivated from fear, it can feel very powerful, but it’s a very weak force as far as transformation is concerned.
– Adyashanti

When your consciousness has become ripe in true zazen-pure like clear water, like a serene mountain lake, not moved by any wind-then anything may serve as a medium for realization…
– Matsuo Basho

The principle underlying capitalistic society and the principle of love are incompatible.
– Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

Thoughts of a Solitary Farmhouse
Franz Wright
And not to feel bad about dying.
Not to take it so personally—
it is only
the force we exert all our lives
to exclude death from our thoughts
that confronts us, when it does arrive,
as the horror of being excluded— . . .
something like that, the Canadian wind
coming in off Lake Erie
rattling the windows, horizontal snow
appearing out of nowhere
across the black highway and fields like billions of white bees.

Foreign Song
Katie Ford
To bomb them,
we mustn’t have heard their music

or known their waterless night watch,

we mustn’t have seen how already

the desert was under constant death bells

ringing over sleeping cribs and dry wells.

We couldn’t have wanted

this eavesdropping
of names we’ve never pronounced

praying themselves towards death.

I try to believe in us—

we must not 
have heard

their music.


There is a time to stop traveling…
to get off other people’s subways
to halt airplanes from landing in your life

A time to refuel yourself.

A time to be snowbound within your own private space

where the only number you dial is your own…..

Five Poems
Elena Isaeva
Translated by Fiona Bell
We were sorting apricots—
Making jam for winter,
And we spent this Sunday
Both leisurely and productively.
Seeking a little fresh air by the window,
I removed the yellow foam from the bubbling jam,
And suddenly realized
Why all this had to be so.
I knew, I was certain, that this jam
Would hear its fair share of quarrels,
Intelligent conversations,
And philosophical proofs.
It will easily be eaten over talk
Of the exiled and the slain.
And Mama will surely tell us:
“Poets need to eat, too!”
We’ll eat the jam, perhaps failing to notice
How brilliantly it gleams, like amber.
“Look around, for God’s sake!
Terrible things are happening in Russia…”
My friend will pick up an apricot
And stick it neatly in her mouth:
“You know, he doesn’t appreciate me at all.
He’s a bastard,” she will quietly conclude.
Strange and awful things are happening in the motherland…
But how cozy we are, in this little house!
There is happiness in a full cup:
Sipping from it, I nearly swallow up all my sorrows.
And I will smuggle these tightly-sealed jars
Into the hospital,
Where my cherished and beloved friends
Will not be healing, but rather, rotting.
And one of them, exhausted,
As if sharing a simple revelation,
Will tell me: “Good jam.”
And I’ll say, “I made it myself.”
The church is crowded—it’s been crowded lately.
The candles are crackling, jumping gleefully around me.
Oh, God, the path to you is long and grueling
For a simple woman like me.
I long to see you, to discover you reborn,
To feel my soul’s pain melt away, like the frost in spring.
Forgiveness—the most wonderful word!—
Hovers above our poor sinners’ heads.
Forgive me for not lying down on the dusty road
Next to your feet, for rejecting your grace.
I couldn’t go a day living like Rachel,
Watching Leah jealously
As she bears your sons,
Roasts meat on the stove,
And pleases you at night…
Even though, in her arms, you cry about me.
My fate is better by far—it’s different.
I have a husband and a son. I have the starry, quiet evening.
And as I watch the stars, unblinking,
I burn them with my gaze.
As if to save my soul from languishing in the desert,
My baby giggles at a shiny compact mirror.
Forgive me…perhaps, out of pride,
Between the two of us, I chose myself.
What a lovely, quiet day.
The sunshine has made us lazy,
Here, there, and everywhere.
A child digs in a sandbox,
And, in the distance, a dog barks.
My soul feels lighter today,
As if expecting a miracle.
And how momentous, that on this swaying, humming tree,
Resin trickles from a branch down the trunk,
That these strawberries on the table
Glisten with wetness,
And that in this shimmering, sweltering world of ours,
The past is reduced to ashes.
And everything I’ve lived through,
Doesn’t seem to matter anymore.
A woman—such a happy woman!—
Tells me, with frightening omniscience,
That this birch, that man over there,
And God in heaven, are all one.
I stand here and listen, blinking,
But I can’t wrap my head around it.
You are mine! No God, no birch tree, can compare to you.
You breathe life into life itself.
But the woman repeats, in the name of Mary,
That I have not yet affirmed my faith,
And that when the truth finally stands before me,
That God lives in everything—in man, in birds, in stones,
Then everything will become perfectly clear to me,
Including who to love. That will become blessedly, blissfully clear.
…But, renouncing this divine perfection,
I choose a lesser bliss,
Not pitying my soul in the least:
I watch you walk away, along the avenue.

Let us play a prayer
in private or in public
may it be brief,

to its point

instant relief.

Let us play it 

in such a manner

as not to heed

demons which feed

upon dreaded fear.

Oh Lord, oh lord all might be

the source of our creation

the means of our destruction

the breathe of life and death

observing all that’s going on

Oh Lord…. Oh lord all might be

if you be attached or detached

if you give us a hand or a push

Hold your breathe

serve your mercy

deliver us from here

so we may arise again

not so much in fear

not so much in pain

not so eager to complain.

Rid us of defeat

rid us of victory

End of Story.

Learning To Read
Franz Wright
If I had to look up every fifth or sixth word,
so what. I looked them up.
I had nowhere important to be.
My father was unavailable, and my mother
looked like she was about to break,
and not into blossom, every time I spoke.
My favorite was the Iliad. True,
I had trouble pronouncing the names
but when was I going to pronounce them, and
to whom?
My stepfather maybe?
Number one, he could barely speak English;
two, he had sufficient intent
to smirk or knock me down
without any prompting from me.
Loneliness, boredom and terror
my motivation
fiercely fuelled.
I get down on my knees and thank God for them.
Du Fu, the Psalms, Whitman, Rilke.
Life has taught me
to understand books.

Listen, I’ve light
in my eyes
and on my skin
the warmth of a star,
so strange
is this

that I

can barely comprehend it:

I think
I’ll lift my face to it…


everything alive

(and everything’s

alive) is turning

into something else

as at the heart

of some annihilating

or is it creating


that’s burning,
unseeably, always

burning at such speeds

as eyes cannot

detect, just try

to observe your own face

growing old

in the mirror, or

is it beginning

to be born?

- Franz Wright

In the ringing silence of the desert, with the body fatigued by lack of food, my thoughts drop away and I feel broken open. I can’t help but surrender. My experience is primal, as if an ancient eco-psychology from our evolutionary past buried in my DNA, has been roused. I am now apprenticed to the Land, empty handed, alone and hungry, asking to be guided.
– Dr Kabir Bavikatt

You are wildly absent, yes, and everywhere.
– Sue Goyette, This Fear of Being Forgotten

And we the people are so vulnerable. Our bodies are shot with mortality. Our legs are fear and our arms are time. These chill humors seep through our capillaries, weighting each cell with an icy dab of nonbeing, and that dab grows and swells and sucks the cell dry. That is why physical courage is so important – it fills, as it were, the holes – and why it is so invigorating. The least brave act, chance taken and passage won, makes you feel loud as a child.
– Annie Dillard

Use loneliness. Its ache creates urgency to reconnect with the world. Take that aching and use it to propel you deeper into your need for expression – to speak, to say who you are.
– Natalie Goldberg

Thomas Moore:
When you picture your country or your planet, don’t imagine competing groups. Think community.

A dangerous thought:
By acknowledging the reality of the psyche and making it a co-determining ethical factor in our lives, we offend against the spirit of convention which for centuries has regulated psychical life from the outside by means of institutions as well as by reason. Not that unreasoning instinct rebels of itself against firmly established order; by the strict logic of its own inner laws it is itself of the firmest structure imaginable and, in addition, the creative foundations of all binding order. But just because this foundation is creative, all order which proceeds from it—even the most ‘divine’ form— is a phase, a stepping stone. Despite appearances to the contrary, the establishment of order and the dissolution of what has been established are beyond human control. The secret is that only that which can destroy itself is truly alive.
– Carl Jung

Fred LaMotte:
I wish I could show you
the ancient starlight
pouring into your body
through this breath.
I wish I could reveal

the power of your heartbeat,

one now, one now,

and the stillness between,

turning the world.

I want to share the whisper 

of an alder leaf, 

the chime of a raindrop,

the song that threads 
your dreams

through the silent

emptiness of night
what they long to tell.

For the wind and sky,

for the moon in her falling snow,

for the fur of this, my touch,

who you strive to become

is not nearly so lovely

as who you Are.

Left to our own devices, we would be constantly driven. Even when we stop, we are still thinking of what must be done next. Especially now, in this age of devastating environmental and social collapse, there are those of us who feel an unrelenting urgency to attend to the world “before it’s too late.” But the great paradox is that it’s this condition of rushing anxiously ahead that got us into trouble in the first place.
As many aboriginal cultures view it, time is more circular in pattern; not like the Western linear comprehension of time as past-present-future, but flexible to the individual at the centre of that “time-circle.” In the Australian Aboriginal Dreaming, the past and future are embedded in the present. One’s embodiment is the ground into which all continuity flows, so the past can be just as influenced as the future by one’s way of going in the here and now.
If we are going to come back into the rhythm of nature, we have to slow down. If we imagine the world as our own body, speaking to us in loud, desperate pleas, the first thing we have to do is listen. We must acknowledge the limitations that have brought us to this terrifying precipice. We don’t know what we don’t know, and instead of pushing through our injury and confusion, we need to surrender the rush and show up instead with our heartbreak to encounter what is becoming. Be hospitable to what stillness has to offer. Cherish the opportunity to sink into the eternal, which is available to be bathed in at any given moment.
– Toko-pa

— A boundless heart! —
Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.

Even as a mother protects with her life

Her child, her only child,

So with a boundless heart

Should one cherish all living beings;

Radiating kindness over the entire world:

Spreading upwards to the skies,

And downwards to the depths;

Outwards and unbounded,

Freed from hatred and ill-will.

Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down

Free from drowsiness,

One should sustain this recollection.

This is said to be the sublime abiding.
– from the Karaniya Metta Sutta, trans.
from the Pali by the Amaravati Sangha

Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before.
– Audre Lorde

Cezanne’s Doubt:
If I paint all the little blues and all the little browns, I capture and convey his glance. Who gives a damn if they have any idea how one can sadden a mouth or make a cheek smile by wedding a shaded green to a red.” One’s personality is seen and grasped in one’s glance, which is, however, no more than a combination of colors. Other minds are given to us only as incarnate, as belonging to faces and gestures. Countering with the distinctions of soul and body, thought and vision is of no use here, for Cezanne returns to just that primordial experience from which these notions are derived and in which they are inseparable. The painter who conceptualizes and seeks the expression first misses the mystery— renewed every time we look at someone—of a person’s appearing in nature. In La peal de chagrin Balzac describes a “tablecloth white as a layer of fresh-fallen snow, upon which ,the place settings rose symmetrically, crowned with blond rolls.” “All through my youth,” said Cezanne, “I wanted to paint that, that tablecloth of fresh-fallen snow…. Now I know that one must only want to paint ‘rose, symmetrically, the place settings’ and ‘blond rolls.’ If I paint ‘crowned’ I’m done for, you understand? But if I really balance and shade my place settings and rolls as they are in nature, you can be sure the crowns, the snow and the whole shebang will be there.

– Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Andrew Sweeny:
I haven’t been cursed by an overly empirical mind. Therefore, I can make wild leaps of intuitional thinking, without being overly apologetic. Also, because I discovered long ago, that poetics are the ultimate revolutionary gesture, to restore us to sanity. A Tibetan master once yelled at his son saying something like: ‘You’ll never get enlightened if you remain so bloody rational.

Jazz Rasool “The fundamental problem of the computing metaphor is that it fails to recognise other systems of intelligence not based on neurons. The body has intelligence in the immune system as well as the gut and at molecular levels where there are no neurons in sight. Historically, billions of years ago, our ancestral cells had no DNA or even a nucleus. The cells then were effectively pure chemical data with simple membranes as processors or filters. Over time nucleic components traffic across membranes created a ‘pay as you go’ intelligence. Mankind is always trying to be clever as well as artistic either to win power and authority or to appeal to our sense of beauty or mystery. Sometimes we just need to not be trying to colonise intellectual territory but instead must experience and accept that the real world is not built from our models. Our models are built from the real world..and even then an infinitesimally small part of it.”

O TIme! who know’st a lenient hand to lay
Softest on sorrow’s wound, and slowly thence,
Lulling to sad repose the weary sense,
The faint pang stealest unperceived away;
On Thee I rest my only hope at last,

And think, when thou hast dried the bitter tear

That flows in vain o’er all my soul held dear,

I may look back on many a sorrow past,

And meet life’s peaceful evening with a smile;

As some lone bird, at day’s departing hour,

Sings in the sunbeam, of the transient shower

Forgetful, though its wings are wet the while:

Yet ah! how much must that poor heart endure,

Which hopes from thee, and thee alone, a cure!
Time And Grief
– William Lisle Bowles (1762-1850)

Nicholas Pierotti:
When I see cockroaches in my kitchen I think of government and corporations

In the dark sky, the moon comes out, and it is soothing. Can we, in the darkness, be that moonbeam of cool, sentient kindness? Can we manifest that?
I believe we can, and it has happened. That is the inspiration of Shambhala: a community that, in the darkness, is able to find the light within and shine it.
May we be a community that is able to be kind to each other. May we create a culture based on this. As a Shambhala community, may we extend this out to the world. May the moonlight of kindness extend around the whole world, soothing the pain and suffering. May this come from the core of our being.
– Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.
– Harriet Beecher Stowe

There are mothers.
There are birthmothers.
And there are stepmothers.
There are adoptive mothers
and there are soul mothers.

There are real life mothers

and there are heavenly mothers.

There are deceased mothers and mothers alive.

There are mothers of darkness and mothers of light.

And there are mothers of Heavens and of Earth.

There are mother goddesses and the holy womb.

There are angelic mothers of saints and The mother of God.

There are always mothers.

Mothers upon mothers upon mothers.

Earthly mothers.
Holy mothers.

I am told they are all in me.

It takes a while to see.

But in a luminous moment I do.

– Mette Welhaven Næss

Shakti who is in Herself pure blissful Consciousness (Cidrupini) is also the Mother of Nature and is Nature itself born of the creative play of Her thought.”
Shakti and Shâkta, Arthur Avalon.
– (Sir John Woodroffe)

Don’t judge! Oh goodness, we are judging all the time. And thank God for that- it keeps us from walking down the wrong paths, making unhealthy decisions, destroying our lives. Even those who criticize judgment are judging. It’s fundamental to the human experience. Perhaps the real question is not IF we are judging (or discerning, if you prefer), but WHY we are judging? Is it benevolently or malevolently intended? Are we judging in a forward-moving effort to distinguish unhealthy from healthy, or are we judging as a reflection of an unresolved superiority complex? Are we judging because we have a need to call out the madness of the world, or as a direct reflection of it? Where are we coming FROM?
– Jeff Brown

The glorification of busy will destroy us. Without space for healing, without time for reflection, without an opportunity to surrender, we risk a complete disconnect from the authentic self. We burn out on the fuels of willfulness, and eventually cannot find our way back to center. And when we lose contact with our core, we are ripe for the picking by the unconscious media and other market forces. After all, consumerism preys on the uncentered. The farther we are from our intuitive knowing, the more easily manipulated we are. The more likely we are to make decisions and affix to goals that don’t serve our healing and transformation. To combat this, we have to form the conscious intention to prioritize our inner life. To notice our breath, our bodies, our feelings. To step back from the fires of overwhelm and remember ourselves. It may feel counter-intuitive in a culture that is speed-addicted, but the slower we move, the faster we return home. It is particularly helpful to remember this as the pressure-filled holiday season approaches.
– Jeff Brown

I can’t possibly know what the most traumatized among us have experienced, nor do I have some simple healing solutiog] transform their suffering. We are only just beginning to understand the nature of trauma on this planet. We are only just beginning to understand that we are ALL trauma-survivors, to one degree or another. We are only just beginning to listen to the real story of our lives, after generations of denial, victim-bashing, ungrounded attempts to ‘rise above’ it.
But I do know that we need their voice, more than ever, to save this species.
In the survivalist world that we come from, the most traumatized individuals were the most shamed and shunned. It was survival of the ‘fittest’, authenticity and healing be damned. If you could punch your way through the pain and accumulate, you were deemed a success. It didn’t matter what your inner world or personal life looked like, so long as you championed the material world.
But that way of being is coming to an end. It is no longer serving us. Those in denial around their pain, those focused exclusively on mastery and material achievement, those who imagine themselves ‘self-determined’ (while negating all who have contributed to their ‘success’), are actually destroying our species and the planet that houses us. We can no longer live in a world that defines success in comparative terms. We can no longer inhabit a reality where our greatest success stories are those who fled their pain the fastest, hiding their unhealed brokenness behind an over-compensatory materialism. I am not fooled by the egoic accumulators of the world. They are merely lost children, confusing their bottomless quest for worldly validation with healthy self-regard. They will never find peace, in this way. It is a soulless path.
It is time for a world that champions the survival of the truest. That stands down the accumulators and elevates the authenticators. A world where success is not measured by our ability to out-achieve our neighbor, but by our ability to remain heartfully connected to each other. That honors those who have the courage to feel and acknowledge their victimhood, to share their painful story, to invite all of us to self-reveal. That celebrates those who are brave enough to own their uniqueness in the face of judgment and ridicule. This is the only world that can last.
In this next-step world, those who have suffered the most will be our greatest teachers. It has been so artificial for so long, that we need the trauma-speakers to save us. Because they are the closest to the truth of all of our lives. Because they are reminders of our misplaced humanness. Because they are the most connected to the feelings that we are all burying- the individual cries for relief, the ancestral unresolveds that thread through each generation. It may seem counter-intuitive in this conditioned world, but those who have the courage to own their pain, are actually the ones we need the most.
So next time you feel tempted to turn away from someone who wants to share their horribly painful story, stop. Just stop. Ask yourself why you are so eager to go- are they reminding you of something you don’t want to feel within yourself?
Then listen close to them, and let them whisper your heart back to life.
– Jeff Brown

Mastery is patriarchy’s self-avoidance mask, the way that they bypass the messiness of reality under the guise of perfection. We aren’t here to master one path- we are here to weave with the everything.
– Jeff Brown

Sexual assault against women is an epidemic of epic proportions. More than half of the women I have known well, have been assaulted in one form or another. If any other form of dysfunction impacted that many people, we would declare a state of emergency. It is perhaps the most socially acceptable epidemic on this planet. And it has to stop. Women can no longer live with these secrets, nor can they walk this earth fearful of where they step. But they cannot do it alone. Awakening men must join them. We must stand firmly beside them, and stand down those unconscious men who frighten and assault our sisters. We must make a conscious choice not to shun women, but to shun those men who belittle and abuse them. This is the next step, one that holds the key to world transformation. Because if half the planet is denied basic protections, the entire planet is lost. May recent events be a true, never-to-be-forgotten call to action for awakening men everywhere. Courageously confront and transform the aggressor that lives within you. Give him no place to hide. It is not shameful to acknowledge your violent conditioning. It is shameful to act upon it. Make another choice. Stand beside your sisters. Stand down your unconscious brothers. Make love your lasting legacy.
– Jeff Brown

A work in progress quickly becomes feral. It reverts to a wild state overnight. It is barely domesticated, a mustang on which you one day fastened a halter, but which now you cannot catch. It is a lion you cage in your study. As the work grows, it gets harder to control; it is a lion growing in strength. You must visit it every day and reassert your mastery over it. If you skip a day, you are, quite rightly, afraid to open the door to its room. You enter it with bravura, holding a chair at the thing and shouting ‘Simba!’
– Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

Torment through the edge of night, can round an abstract scene just right., with distance scraping hands and knee, across a landscape yet to be. For cast amid the rolling green, of soft prevail that dawns serene., love entwines poetic view, with diction favored by just a few. Yet time eclipes mortal bone, where tidings fly on soft atone., and thus a pardon stands to find, a piece of love’s enchanted mind.
– Amber MacKay

I hope that our very suffering now, our crowded presence in this nest that we have largely fouled, will bring us together politically and religiously. The Earth and its life systems, on which we all entirely depend, still have the potential to convert us to a universal maturity. We all breathe the same air and drink the same water. There are no Native, Hindu, Jewish, Christian, or Muslim versions of the universal elements. The periodic table is the same in every country, or as Shakespeare and musician Mandisa expressed it, we all bleed the same. Animals do not care whether they are on the Mexican or the American side of our delusional wall.
– Richard Rohr

Don Quijote so buried himself in his books that he read all night from sundown to dawn, and all day from sunup to dusk, until with virtually no sleep and so much reading he dried out his brain and lost his sanity. He filled his imagination full to bursting with everything he read in his books, from witchcraft to duels, battles, challenges, wounds, flirtations, love affairs, anguish, and impossible foolishness.
– Don Quijote, Miguel de Cervantes

The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.
– Harper Lee

Good Hours
Robert Frost, 1874 – 1963
I had for my winter evening walk—
No one at all with whom to talk,
But I had the cottages in a row
Up to their shining eyes in snow.
And I thought I had the folk within:
I had the sound of a violin;
I had a glimpse through curtain laces
Of youthful forms and youthful faces.
I had such company outward bound.
I went till there were no cottages found.
I turned and repented, but coming back
I saw no window but that was black.
Over the snow my creaking feet
Disturbed the slumbering village street
Like profanation, by your leave,
At ten o’clock of a winter eve.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
– John Quincy Adams

The poet is the man of metaphor: while the philosopher is interested only in the truth of meaning, beyond even signs and names, and the sophist manipulates empty signs. The poet plays on the multiplicity of signifieds.
– Jacques Derrida

Everything is argued over in this world. Apart from only one thing that is not argued over. Nobody argues about democracy. Democracy is there as if it was some sort of saint in the altar from whom miracles are no longer expected. But it’s there as a reference. A reference. Democracy. And no one attends to the matter that the democracy in which we live is a democracy taken captive, conditioned, amputated. Because the power, the power of the citizen, the power of each one of us, is limited, in the political sphere, I repeat, in the political sphere, to remove a government that we do not like and replace it with another one that perhaps we might like in the future. Nothing else. But the big decisions are taken in a different sphere, and we all know which one that is. The big international financial organizations, the IMFs, the World Trade Organization, the World Banks, the OECDs. Of all – not one of these entities is democratic. And so, how can we keep talking about democracy, if those who effectively govern the world are not chosen democratically by the people? Who chooses the representatives of each country in those organizations? Your respective peoples? No. Where then is the democracy?
– José Saramago

Geography is an accident. The place you are born is simply the first place you flee.
– Daniel Alarcõn, Abraham Lincoln Has Been Shot

This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.
– Theodore Roosevelt

[Westerners].. are still so uneducated that we actually need laws from without, and a task-master or Father above, to show us what is good and the right thing to do. And because we are still such barbarians, any trust in the laws of human nature seems to us a dangerous and unethical naturalism.

– C.G. Jung

Winter re-minds me of Nin and Neruda:
You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then… you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it… And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. And some never awaken.
– Anaïs Nin, from The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934

The Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
– Romans 8:26

I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.
– Audre Lorde

Every day, the want for friendship has us make our way in the dark, speeding by everything, aware of nothing until the smallest element of life floods our heart.
– Mark Nepo, Things That Join the Sea and the Sky

Just as our body needs nutritious food for health, the mind needs the nutritious food of wisdom and compassion.
However, just as our body will become ill if it is fed poison, the mind will become ill if it is fed the poison of ignorance, anger, and desire.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

…I want to insist that freedom neither overcomes nor eludes power; rather, it requires for its sustenance that we take the full measure of power’s range and appearances—the powers that situate, constrain, and produce subjects as well as the will to power entailed in practicing freedom. Here again, freedom emerges as that which is never achieved; instead, it is a permanent struggle against what will otherwise be done to and for us. “How is freedom measured in individuals and peoples?” Nietzsche asks, and answers, “according to the resistance which must be overcome, according to the exertion required. to remain on top … The free man is a warrior.
– Wendy Brown

No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.
– Pope Francis

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

The more you make your thoughts and beliefs into your identity, the more cut off you are from the spiritual dimension within yourself.
– Eckhart Tolle

Peter Himmelman:
Oh sweep me away, long past the day; the flowers and clay, the sticks and the chains. How fortunate we, daring to see, the way to be free is all in our brains.

Lord, turn my eyes away from gazing at worthless things, and revive me by your ways.
– David in Psalm 119:37 ISV

Turn off the television. Start using your mind to think your own thoughts about God and yourself and the world. Learn what the saints and sages have to teach. Be kind to your neighbors. Pray with me, Lord, turn my eyes away from gazing at worthless things and revive me by your ways.
– Peter Capofreddi

Fa-yen,a Chinese Zen teacher, overheard four monks arguing about subjectivity and objectivity. He joined them and said: “There is a big stone. Do you consider it to be inside or outside your mind?”
One of the monks replied: “From the Buddhist viewpoint everything is an objectification of mind, so I would say that the stone is inside my mind.”
“Your head must feel very heavy,” observed Fa-yen, “if you are carrying around a stone like that in your mind.”

Two monks were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was falling. Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.
“Come on, girl,”said the first monk. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.
The second monk did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. “We monks don’t go near females,” he said. “It is dangerous. Why did you do that?”
“I left the girl there,: the first monk said. “Are you still carrying her?”

Wealthy patrons invited Ikkyu to a banquet. Ikkyu arrived dressed in hisbeggar’s robes. The host, not recognizing him, chased him away. Ikkyu went home, changed into his ceremonial robe of purple brocade, and returned. With great respect, he was received into the banquet room.There, he put his robe on the cushion, saying, “I expect you invited the robe since you showed me away a little while ago,” and left.

Patience is a mind that is able to accept fully and happily, whatever occurs. ….. Being patient means to welcome wholeheartedly whatever arises having given up the idea that things should be other than what they are.
– Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there’s no free lunch. Writing is work. It’s also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but ­essentially you’re on your own. Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.
– Margaret Atwood

My one fear is that tomorrow I may die without having come to know myself.
– Sadegh Hedayat

I call possibility a content inscribed in the present constitution of the world (that is, the immanence of possibilities). Possibility is not one, it is always plural: the possibilities inscribed in the present composition of the world are not infinite, but many. The field of possibility is not infinite because the possible is limited by the inscribed impossibilities of the present. Nevertheless, it is plural, a field of bifurcations. When facing an alternative between different possibilities, the organism enters into vibration, then proceeds making a choice that corresponds to its potency.
I call potency the subjective energy that deploys the possibilities and actualizes them. Potency is the energy that transforms the possibilities into actualities.
– Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi

We are living in the greatest revolution in history – a huge spontaneous upheaval of the entire human race: not the revolution planned and carried out by any particular party, race, or nation, but a deep elemental boiling over of all the inner contradictions that have ever been in man, a revelation of the chaotic forces inside everybody. This is not something we have chosen, nor is it something we are free to avoid.
“This revolution is a profound spiritual crisis of the who…le world, manifested largely in desperation, cynicism, violence, conflict, self-contradiction, ambivalence, fear AND hope, doubt AND belief, creation AND destructiveness, progress AND regression, obsessive attachments to images, idols, slogans, programs that only dull the general anguish for a moment until it bursts out everywhere in a still more acute form.
“We do not know if we are building a fabulously wonderful world or destroying all that we have ever had, all that we have achieved! All the inner force of man is boiling and bursting out, the good together with the evil, the good poisoned by evil and fighting it, the evil pretending to be good and revealing itself in the most dreadful crimes, justified and rationalized by the purest and most innocent intentions.
– Thomas Merton, 1966

Ari Annona:
do we realize the seriousness of NOT understanding the danger inherent in not taking the time to really get “old outdated old-fashioned values/cultural stories”?
Derrida stated that post-modernism leads to uncapped violence, and he was absolutely right.
the movement forward requires an integration of ALL that has preceded our present, NOT an annihilation and obscuration of it.

Jay McDaniel posts:
For many post-Christians and disillusioned Christians, the Franciscan writer Richard Rohr offers a way to reclaim Christianity, seeing it — not as an imposing tribe of people aimed at dominating the world — but as a Christ-centered invitation to stillness, humility, and a loving embrace of the inter-subjectivity of all things. For him, God is like a circle dance: a flow, a community, not a particle but a relationship. Rohr is one of the best voices for… open and relational thinking we have today — albeit without the least interest in fostering a new way of thinking called “open and relational” thinking. He is an antidote to that tendency within open and relational circles to foster a new tribalism under the rubric of “right belief” and “right worldview.” He helps process thinkers and many others reclaim what they – we – already want to be about: beauty, justice, silence, intuition, connection, and hope.

In these downbeat times, we need as much hope and courage as we do vision and analysis; we must accent the best of each other even as we point out the vicious effects of our racial divide and pernicious consequences of our maldistribution of wealth and power. We simply cannot enter the twenty-first century at each other’s throats, even as we acknowledge the weighty forces of racism, patriarchy, economic inequality, homophobia, and ecological abuse on our necks. We are at a c…rucial crossroad in the history of this nation–and we either hang together by combating these forces that divide and degrade us or we hang separately. Do we have the intelligence, humor, imagination, courage, tolerance, love, respect, and will to meet the challenge? Time will tell. None of us alone can save the nation or world. But each of us can make a positive difference if we commit ourselves to do so.”
– Cornel West, Race Matters

Every string of nature’s breezy harp is touched to answer thy sighs. The green oak and cedar—the dark pine, the yellow and silvery-barked willow—each majestic old tree; hath its own peculiar tone and whisper for thine ear.
– Elizabeth J. Eames

Following Jesus means being willing to constantly question systems, even religious ones, when they promote anything above loving others.
– Rev. Mark Sandlin

You are joy, looking for a way to express. It’s not just that your purpose is joy, it is that you are joy. You are love and joy and freedom and clarity expressing. Energy—frolicking and eager—that’s who you are. And so, if you’re always reaching for alignment with that, you’re always on your path, and your path will take you into all kinds of places.
– Abraham-Hicks

Monologue is in fact a dialogue with silence.
– Max Picard

Nowadays, philosophical reflection no longer spreads its wings but must tread the earth wearily, amazed at its own variety, its own potential for barbarism. Reason must confront its own violence in the new extremes of naturalism and artificialism which seem capable of producing once and for all man’s world alienation in a way that far exceeds the anticipations of nineteenth-century historicism and relativism.
– John O’Neill, Translators Introduction to The Prose of the World, Maurice Merleau Ponty

Fred LaMotte:
Cherish the joy of children. Protect them. Banish every instrument of war.

Frankie Zelnick:
All I want for my birthday is for the President of the United States to be even one tenth as brave, poised, eloquent, passionate, hardworking, and inspiring as the Teenagers of the United States.

I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety
In order to be light and free.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

I think people who vibrate at the same frequency, vibrate toward each other. They call it ~ in science ~ sympathetic vibrations.
– Erykah Badu

Mysticism For Beginners
Adam Zagajewski
Translated by Clare Cavanagh
The day was mild, the light was generous.
The German on the café terrace

held a small book on his lap.

I caught sight of the title:

Mysticism for Beginners.

Suddenly I understood that the swallows

patrolling the streets of Montepulciano

with their shrill whistles,

and the hushed talk of timid travelers

from Eastern, so-called Central Europe,

and the white herons standing—
yesterday? the day before?—

like nuns in fields of rice,

and the dusk, slow and systematic,

erasing the outlines of medieval houses,

and olive trees on little hills,

abandoned to the wind and heat,

and the head of the Unknown Princess

that I saw and admired in the Louvre,

and stained-glass windows like butterfly wings

sprinkled with pollen,

and the little nightingale practicing

its speech beside the highway,

and any journey, any kind of trip,

are only mysticism for beginners,

the elementary course, prelude

to a test that’s been


This anxiety about the overlaid societal fantasy about the ‘wasteland of age,’ will pass. It will instead be replaced by daily gratitude for the wild-lands of age, untrod as yet, yours to make truly yours in all its beauty, in all your beauty as a burgeoning older person of grace and guts. For every soul who has lived long… there are ten more who are so poignantly poised to listen … and to learn the ways.
– Clarissa Pinkola Estés

I make no distinction between emotional and spiritual transformation. You can’t mature on one thread, without maturing in the other. Those who keep them separate- just like those who remove other aspects of our humanness (stories, personal identifications, feelings, ego, the body) from the ‘spiritual’ field- are not just perpetuating great suffering- they are initiating it. If you look at almost all the madness that occurs in the ‘spiritual’ community, it comes from this fund…amental split between our humanness and our spiritual life. Once you accept that dichotomy, anything goes because perpetrators can always fall back on the argument that their actions do not reflect their true essence. Bullshit, that is. If anything reflects your stage of development spiritually, its your behavior. You can’t call yourself enlightened, if you are a self-serving ass. You are either aligned, or you’re not.
– Jeff Brown

Nowadays, philosophical reflection no longer spreads its wings but must tread the earth wearily, amazed at its own variety, its own potential for barbarism. Reason must confront its own violence in the new extremes of naturalism and artificialism which seem capable of producing once and for all man’s world alienation in a way that far exceeds the anticipations of nineteenth-century historicism and relativism.
– John O’Neill, Translators Introduction to The Prose of the World, Maurice Merleau Ponty

Pay attention to the gentle ones, the ones who can hold your gaze with no discomfort, the ones who smile to themselves while sitting alone in a coffeeshop, the ones who walk as if floating. Take them in and marvel at them. Simply marvel. It takes an extraordinary person to carry themselves as if they do not live in hell.
– Douangdeuane Bunyavong

Unless mind is tamed within,
Outer enemies will be inexhaustible.
If you tame the anger within,
All enemies on earth will be pacified.
– Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye

Put your sword back in its place, Jesus said to him, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.
– Jesus, Matthew 26:52

The only sadnesses that are dangerous and unhealthy are the ones that we carry around in public in order to drown them out with the noise; like diseases that are treated superficially and foolishly, they just withdraw and after a short interval break out again all the more terribly; and gather inside us and are life, are life that is unlived, rejected, lost, life that we can die of.
– Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Personal evolution then becomes like nature; instead of being a struggle, our process, uninterrupted and undisturbed, becomes unfolding growth. Wilderness is a leaderless teacher; there is no one preaching change to us. The only personal transformations that occur arise from within ourselves.
– Steven Harper.

Don’t try to steer the river.
– Deepak Chopra

Your priorities are what you do each day.
– Joshua Fields Millburn

Ari Annona:
Mythological and cosmological stories provide for us what the late James HIllman called “necessary fictions.”
The symbolism of the cross represents the place where the immanent (embodied and immediate) and the transcendent (spiritual and timeless) meet.
The place where HU (GOD)- MAN (humanity) comes into BEing (HU-man BEings).

The heart chakra is aligned with the center of the cross where the animal drives (lower three chakras) meet with higher spiritual aspirations (upper three chakras), where we must wrestle/mediate between hatred and love, between annihilation (of self and /or other) and allowance/compassion.
This is the place where we mediate everything, and often feel the most conflicted in out human journey (from our first birth from the flesh (biological BEings) into our second birth in the spiritual (consciousness purified through an inner maturation process of arriving at love/compassion in the heart).
Of course it’s all symbolic, but it reflects an inner process that we all go through (unless we are stuck and act entirely from in either the lower chakras~ too materialistic, OR the upper ones~ too disembodied/ungrounded).
The balancing of these proclivities of consciousness can be achieved through a tending to one’s body and Psyche/inner process (practices of Ayurveda, meditation, prayer, feeding the body well, exercising, yoga, breathing all help)…
in a nutshell, conscious and directed *self-care* leads to more balance and equanimity.

the black sheep are the artists, visionaries and healers of our culture, because they are the ones willing to call into question those places which feel stale, obsolete, or without integrity. The black sheep stirs up the good kind of trouble. Her very life is a confrontation with all that has been assumed as tradition. Her being different serves to bring the family or group to consciousness where it has been living too long in the dark. As the idiom implies, she is the wayward one in the flock. Her life’s destiny is to stand apart. But paradoxically, it’s only when she honors that apartness that she finally fits in.
– from Belonging by Toko-pa Turner

Jill Blythe:
People who love you will help you into your future. People who hate you will keep you in your past.

Village life inherently fostered a sense of safety, inclusivity, purpose, acceptance, and importance. These essential elements of thriving were built in.
Now? We’re being forced to create all of that for ourselves within a society that has physically and energetically restructured itself around a whole new set of priorities. It’s a profits before people model, which threatens the wellbeing of nearly everything we mothers are wired to protect.
– Beth Berry

Only when we wrestle to keep the endangered language of beauty and sensitivity alive do we have a chance at becoming necessary to the urgency of our times.
– from Belonging by Toko-pa Turner

Buddhism is a big roof. But, from my perspective, this roof is not one to hide under. It is one to gather under and then to go into the ‘marketplace’ with boon-bestowing hands.
– Roshi Joan Halifax

We are a part of the memories of evolution
These memories carry knowledge
These memories carry identity
Beneath race, gender, class, age
Beneath citizen, business, state, religion…

We are human beings

And these memories are trying to remind us

“Human beings, human beings,

It’s time to rise up, remember who we are!”
– John Trudell

Perfectionism is one of the great pillars of patriarchy, used to stem the rise of the wild feminine…it is an impossible standard that, when we strive for it, guarantees our failure because it’s ultimately unreachable. Perfection is a counterfeit form of beauty which, as you’re strengthening your instincts, will ring with dissonance despite its seductive surface.
– from Belonging by Toko-pa Turner

The changes we dread most may contain our salvation.
– Barbara Kingsolver

Some moments are nice, some are nicer, some are even worth writing about.
– Charles Bukowski

Someone is writing a poem. Words are being set down in a force field. It’s as if the words themselves have magnetic charges; they veer together or in polarity, they swerve against each other. Part of the force field, the charge, is the working history of the words themselves, how someone has known them, used them, doubted and relied on them in a life. Part of the movement among the words belongs to sound—the guttural, the liquid, the choppy, the drawn-out, the breathy, the visceral, the downlight. The theater of any poem is a collection of decisions about space and time—how are these words to lie on the page, with what pauses, what headlong motion, what phrasing, how can they meet the breath of the someone who comes along to read them? And in part the field is charged by the way images swim into the brain through written language: swan, kettle, icicle, ashes, scab, tamarack, tractor, veil, slime, teeth, freckle.
– Adrienne Rich, Someone is Writing a Poem

Ethan Nichtern:
These students are making me feel that any of us mindful/spiritual folks need to be willing to put *way* more on the line than we have up until now in order to create the country and world they deserve.

Peter Capofreddi
It continues to amaze me that people are so fixated on the ideological system that they fail to see the plain evidence before their eyes.
The birds are dying.
The ecosystem is collapsing.
Why are you not alarmed?
There is no time for games and shows. The economic system is indifferent to human, animal and plant life and works only to enrich capital. We must stop the system before it destroys the planet.

Drew Dellinger:
“The poets were born prematurely,
the politicians behind time
and the theater-people on time.”
– Ianthi Theocharidou

Anthology of Cypriot Poetry (1974)

Elijah Morton:
“Wheel, nowadays, yas meets someone who tinks ‘is own toughts an’ plaise ‘is own toone, and yas label him! Yas calls him a “sociopath”, or “anti-social”, or some other jimble-jamble, but at the same time yas travel forever to go to see untouched, untrammelled wildernesses all ov’r dis wirld, and yas see the remote homesteads, and the tiny huts along d’river, and think,
“Wow, they was so free, they was.
They just DID that, they did.”
And that’s the way a whole lot of ‘em chose to live, before the cities sucked ‘em in.”
They was fiercely independent.”
“‘an now, it’s a goddam diagnosis.”
“Ya know—groupthink ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Fact is, yer smarter than that, way smarter.”
“an’ it ain’ because it’s easy,
’s because it’s hard – real hard” –
He threw down the hammer he had been loosely waving about, and turned on a work-worn heel.
Looking back—stressed, sad, and defiant, he said,
“We don’t know who we been and
we don’t know who we are, anymore.”
– E.M.

Be a nuisance where it counts; Do your part to inform and stimulate the public to join your action. Be depressed, discouraged, and disappointed at failure and the disheartening effects of ignorance, greed, corruption and bad politics—but never give up.
– Marjory Stoneman Douglas

John O’Donohue
When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in

On the mind like an endless, increasing weight.
The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.
Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.
The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.
You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken in the race of days.
At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.
You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself…
– John O’Donohue

I could chew this quiet
for breakfast
drink a cup of rain
for lunch
pull up the moon shadows
like a blanket
slide my back down the bed
of O’Keefe’s mountain
could pull on this day
an adobe-colored dress
red cactus flower ribbons
spilling over my shoulders
these agave gloves could
shape my fingers
expand my veins into
dessert arroyos
furrow my flesh
into a buffalo hide
I could drop my worn soles
into the ground
breathe the land in
through these unwrapped feet
the cedar flutes
of the ancestors
the blue door
to my heart
– Valerie A Szarek

Few realize that political action offers little solution to the world’s major problems. Few understand that the elite have created political parties in order to prevent real change from ever taking place. The political arena is merely the “sty” in which two or more mutually hostile agencies, created by the same hidden hand, get the chance to pummel one another. As alternative researcher Juri Lina so brilliantly put it: When the left wing Freemason is finished, the right wing Freemason takes over.
– R. Buckminster Fuller
Critical Path

I think I can remember
being dead. Many times, in winter,
I approached Zeus. Tell me, I would ask him,
how can I endure the earth?
– Louise Glück

The word continues to fall
in splendor around us
Window half shadow window half moon
back yard like a book of snow
That holds nothing and that nothing holds
Immaculate text
not too prescient not too true.
– Charles Wright
from Silent Journal

Anywhere – and, it follows, nowhere – can be a place. As long as we are there, to think and talk, to listen and respond. The world, once conscious of itself in the form of human making, is a vast concert hall. What sounds there is not the divine music of celestial spheres, as the ancient Greek mathematicians believed, but the sound of one human after another issuing the daily plea: to be heard, to be understood, to be accommodated.
– Mark Kingwell

Wayfarer / We are like two cups of water / That God poured in a vase…
– Hafiz ~ The Gift

He wonders whose words
He will baptize himself in today
– Marlin Figgins, from “The Lost Boy is Romantic

Without the desire / to fall back into the firefly light, the poets withheld / their voices with the weight of their wild / and gnawing desires
– Adam Clay

I sleep. I dream. I make up things that I would never say. I say them very quietly
– Richard Siken, Meanwhile, Crush

We live by tunneling for we are people buried alive,’ Anne Carson tells us, in her prose poem ‘On Orchids.’ If she’s right, and we are ‘buried alive,’ with language, images, ads, advice, warnings, etc., the prose poem mirrors this state of being. It presents the eye with the visual equivalent of being buried in layers of stuff. And yet, at the same time, it offers a way out—those slim tunnels between the relentless lines of babble.
– John Bradley, Whatchamacallit & Me

For the Greeks, memory was ‘the waker of longing’.
– J. D. McClatchy

do you recall hibiscus winter / blooms coral with pause not déjà vu memory?
– Stephanie Roberts, Canadian Goose Summer

After all, Eros teaches a poet.
– Euripides

Tad Hargrave:
Tolkien was right: You can’t use the ring of power to undo the ring of power.
We are trying to build a new conscious economy. The old suicide economy isn’t working.
But in making something new – we must always be careful to not just recreate the old one.
And I think J.R.R. Tolkien has some important words about this.
“We are going to inherit the earth. There is not the slightest doubt about that. The bourgeoisie may blast and burn its own world before it finally leaves the stage of history. We are not afraid of ruins. We who ploughed the prairies and built the cities can build again, only better next time. We carry a new world, here in our hearts. That world is growing this minute.”
– Durruti
The core thesis of Tolkien’s Lord of the Ring series was that the centralization of power was the problem. That the question was not ‘could we find someone nicer to rule Mordor?’ but that the ring and Mordor had to be destroyed.
We are faced with a Circle of Destruction that is destroying the Web of Life.
Here are 34 thoughts I have about the Circle of Destruction . . .
1. The concentration of power is the problem.
2. The more you help the Circle to expand the greater are your rewards. The more you thwart the Circle’s expansion the greater is your punishment.
3. The goal of the Circle is to be in the absolute center – to be on top.
4. The power of those in the center comes by creating the illusion of legitimacy in their authority and their right to rule.
5. While you’re inside the Circle you have two basic choices of how to live: you can submit or you can rebel.
6. The closer you get to the center the more you are convinced that the circle you are spreading is not, in fact, a circle of destruction but a circle of virtue
7. For the Circle to continue to spread those inside it must see the Circle as not only normal but natural:
8. You must never question how the goal of expanding the circle – or the process of it.
9. Violence is allowed to flow from the center out but not from the margins back inside.
10. Those on the margins experience incredible violence.
11. Because of this structure, the power will never be equally distributed.
12. Because of this structure, the Circle will never achieve its stated goals of just, thriving and sustainable communities full of healthy and happy people.
13. The closer you go inwards – the less diversity there is.
14. The closer you are to the center the more “important” you are seen as.
15. The closer you are to the center, the more valuable your property becomes. The reverse of this is also true: the closer you are to the periphery the less valuable your life becomes
16. The most efficient way for those at the center to expand their power is to grow the circle
17. The closer you are to the center – the less of any real idea you have about what is going on at the margins.
18. The larger the Circle becomes the harder it is to see.
19. The closer you are to the center of the circle the more spoiled you become.
20. The longer you are in the Circle the less human you become.
21. The longer you live in the Circle – the more you lose.
22. The closer you are to the center the safer you feel.
23. On a finite world – there’s a point where those in the center will have exhausted all of the frontiers – then they turn their eyes back on the Circle.
24. The center is a bottomless pit.
25. In order to slow the growth of the circle you may use the avenues provided to those within the circle (e.g. letter writing, voting, demonstrating, writing books, signing petitions, building groovy eco villages etc.).
26. In order to stop the growth of the circle you must use avenues that are not provided (or permitted) to those within the circle
27. The Circle can’t be redeemed.
28. The Circle cannot be used for good.
29. The Circle of Destruction and the Web of Life cannot peacefully co-exist. Those in the center will stop only when they must.
30. It is okay to defend ourselves.
31. Violence is not the problem. Violence is used as a synonym for: abuse, exploitation, theft, rape etc. There are forms of violence that are none of these things.
32. The goal isn’t the end of violence (impossible) but the establishing of right relationships with each other.
33. The Institutions of the Circle of Destruction (as well as the actions of those who act on its behalf) are inseparable from the mindset.
34. The goal is not the destruction of the Circle of Destruction but the resurrection of the Web of Life, the rebirth of community.

I greet you from the other side of sorrow and despair with a love so vast and shattered it will reach you everywhere.
– Leonard Cohen

Let me state this as clearly as I can: The fight we are engaged in is not Democrats versus Republicans. It’s not big government versus small government. It’s not traditional Left versus traditional Right. The more this fight is viewed in partisan terms, the less power and legitimacy it has.
The fight we are engaged in is a fight for democracy against authoritarianism, for inclusion against exclusion, for tolerance against hate, for a fair economy against one rigged by and for those with great power and wealth. We must fight this and win this together — Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. This is the only way we can reclaim our democracy, our economy, and our fundamental values.
– Robert Reich

It was his fate, his peculiarity, whether he wished it or not, to come out thus on a spit of land which the sea is slowly eating away, and there to stand, like a desolate sea-bird, alone. It was his power, his gift, suddenly to shed all superfluities, to shrink and diminish so that he looked barer and felt sparer, even physically, yet lost none of his intensity of mind.
– Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

Chogyam Trungpa ~ Awareness Is The Basics Of Good Conduct
For a dharmic person, good conduct is a sense of mindfulness and awareness: whatever you are doing, you should try to see it as an extension of your sitting practice, your general sense of awareness and refraining from too much, unnecessary activity….You could look at yourself and smile. You could be awake and aware and, at the same time, on the spot. Constant sunrise happens. Your reflect that yourself, and you always look awake and aware of what you are doing. That is good conduct. You respect yourself and you respect the sacredness of your whole being, your whole existence. When you have that kind of self-respect, you don’t spill your tea or put your shoes on the wrong feet. You appreciate the weather, your coffee, your tea, your clothes, your shower. There is a tremendous sense that for the first time you have become a real human being and you can actually appreciate the world around you. That appreciation comes from being aware.
– Chögyam Trungpa

Coming back to the breath is not a small matter. You actually have to let go of yourself to do it. It’s ingenious. It seems so unassuming. I mean, it’s so simple. “Just pay attention to your breath.” But when you think about it, the whole dharma is in that practice of coming back to the breath.
– Reggie Ray

Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Let your awareness rest upon it, How still they are, how deeply rooted in Being. Allow nature to teach you stillness.
– Eckhart Tolle

Edna St. Vincent Millay (today is her birthday)

Conscientious Objector

I shall die, but
that is all that I shall do for Death.
I hear him leading his horse out of the stall;
I hear the clatter on the barn-floor.
He is in haste; he has business in Cuba,
business in the Balkans, many calls to make this morning.
But I will not hold the bridle
while he clinches the girth.
And he may mount by himself:
I will not give him a leg up.

Though he flick my shoulders with his whip,
I will not tell him which way the fox ran.
With his hoof on my breast, I will not tell him where
the black boy hides in the swamp.
I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death;
I am not on his pay-roll.

I will not tell him the whereabout of my friends
nor of my enemies either.
Though he promise me much,
I will not map him the route to any man’s door.
Am I a spy in the land of the living,
that I should deliver men to Death?
Brother, the password and the plans of our city
are safe with me; never through me Shall you be overcome.

Like dreams, myths are productions of the human imagination. Their images, consequently—though derived from the material world and its supposed history—are, like dreams, revelations of the deepest hopes, desires and fears, potentialities and conflicts, of the human will—which in turn is moved by the energies of the organs of the body operating variously against each other and in concert. Every myth, that is to say, whether or not by intention, is psychologically symbolic. Its narratives and images are to be read, therefore, not literally, but as metaphors.
– Joseph Campbell, The Inner Reaches of Outer Space
Courtesy of the Joseph Campbell Foundation

Archaic Torso of Apollo
Rainer Maria Rilke
We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,

like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise

the curved breast could not dazzle you so,
nor could 
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs

to that dark center where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced

beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders

and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur:

would not, from all the borders of itself,

burst like a star: for here there is no place

that does not see you. You must change your life.

There is an inner wisdom that has long been lost. Not only has it been long lost but when it pokes its head into our awareness we have all learned to shun it, deny it, and to discount it. That inner wisdom is not a book, as our present intellect would have us believe. It is not a bank of knowledge, or a storehouse of formulas. It is a living dimension of our very selves, and in its livingness it is in the moment, so that in order for us to tap that ancient deep inner wisdom we must engage it directly in its aliveness, we must be willing to be present with it on its terms, we must be willing to let it teach us its language rather than demanding that it speak in our own.
– Eligios S. Gallegos, PhD., Discoverer of the Personal Totem Pole Process

If there were nothing but thought in you, you wouldn’t even know you are thinking. You would be like a dreamer who doesn’t know he is dreaming. When you know you are dreaming, you are awake within the dream.
– Eckhart Tolle

Few realize that political action offers little solution to the world’s major problems. Few understand that the elite have created political parties in order to prevent real change from ever taking place. The political arena is merely the “sty” in which two or more mutually hostile agencies, created by the same hidden hand, get the chance to pummel one another. As alternative researcher Juri Lina so brilliantly put it: When the left wing Freemason is finished, the right wing Freemason takes over.
– R. Buckminster Fuller
Critical Path

I’ve come to understand that the best one can hope for as a human is to have a relationship with that emptiness where God would be if God were available, but God isn’t.
– Anne Carson

Despite the common desire to rise to the top, moments of essential change can depend upon a willingness to descend.
– Michael Meade

The point at any turning point in life, is not to avoid trouble at all costs, but to find the right trouble to be in; for when in trouble we are closer to inner resources we did not know we had and nearer to the knowing spirit that brought us to life.
– Michael Meade

I am circling around God, around the ancient tower,
and I have been circling for a thousand years,
and I still don’t know if I am a falcon, or a storm, 
or a great song.
– Rilke

When we no longer see other people’s children as our own, war is not far.
– Chinese proverb

Fred LaMotte:
You don’t need any more
spiritual teachers.
You need to dance with the angels
in your body, every atom
threaded by this breath

to a distant star.

You are made of light that took

ten billion years to get here,

and you’re waiting to meet

someone wiser?

Glut your eye on the darshan

of a daffodil.

Let all that touches teach you.

Take off your shoes and

press bare soles on thawed mulch

of old September oak leaves.

Now gaze up and welcome

cloudless blues into your chest.

Were you not created for a kiss

that is deeper inside you

than your soul?

Let that Otherness be

the dark bruise of longing

in each heartbeat

The Shame House – The Crucible of Friendship & Village-Making (Part I)
by Tad Hargrave
“You talk a lot about restorative justice,” I said to him.
He nodded and leaned over the old, pool table to take a shot. He was losing badly. I was polishing chalking up my cue tip and smiling. “I really thought you’d be better at pool. You seem to be good at everything.”
He shrugged. “Can’t be good at everything. You’re a very fine player. A pleasure to lose to someone so skilled.” His cue glanced off the side of the white ball sending it spiraling into the corner pocket. He narrowed his eyes at the corner pocket and said to it, “I wasn’t talking to you…”
“I mention it because … I don’t feel like most of my friends in the past or communities I’ve been a part of have even known what that was. It felt like so much of it was rooted in punitive justice.”
“Then they might not have been friends and those might not have been communities,” he said.
I stood up slowly from readying myself to the game winning shot. “What do you mean?”
“Well, I don’t think you can get there from here. I don’t think it’s possible to have a friendship or a community if the fundamental orientation is punitive justice. To the extent that that’s there, there is no friendship. There is no community.”
“So, what is there?” I asked. I was standing there, holding my pool cool in front of me.
He shrugged, “Convenience? Proximity? A marketplace of prejudice. A gathering of habits. A constant affirmation that ‘we’re the right ones, the good ones and that everyone else is a fraud’. Come on now, put me out of my misery.” He pointed to the table.
I took the shot and sank all four of his remaining balls. He whistled. “I ain’t seen a shot like that in a long time. Very nicely done. Can I buy you a drink?”
I nodded.
He walked over to the bar and came back with a beer and sat down at our table with it.
“Let’s imagine that this table is divided in half between you and me and this,” he put the salt and pepper shakers in the center of the table about an inch apart. “The only way to get from one side to the other is through these two – this narrow gate. On your side we’ve got every person for themselves at the worst and a sort of tit for tat, quid pro quo at best – you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. None of that is community. At the worst you’ve got isolation and individualism and, at best, you’ve got a scene – people with some shared interests or points of view. Everyone loves the same artist. They all share the same political or religious beliefs. On my side of the table, you’ve got a real, honest to god community.”
“So, what’s this?” I asked pointing at the gap between the salt and pepper.
“That’s the crucible,” he said.
I cocked my head. I’d heard the word but didn’t know what it meant.
“You ever seen metal getting melted down in a pot and then poured out into some sort of mold?” he asked.
I nodded.
“Well, that pot is the crucible. Something very hard is put into it and it’s melted down and then poured out to take a new form. There’s an immense amount of heat involved in this.”
I sat there with both hands around my beer, trying to imagine what such a crucible might be for people.
“Like a fight?” I asked.
“Depends on how long you’re willing to stay in the crucible. But yes, conflict, grief, loss, anger… all of those things can become crucibles for a relationship or a community to become something worth the name. No crucible? No community. No crucible? No friendship. Until then you’re aquaintances or pals. It’s a scene. That’s it.”
“So, what does restorative justice have to do with this?”
“Restorative justice, in its understanding and structure, is the crucible.”
“So what’s punitive justice?” I asked.
“The guarantee that it never happens.”
I shook my head. I was trying to find the thread.
He took my napkin from under my cutlery. “Imagine this is you,” he said. “Punitive justice is this…” he ripped a tear into the napkin, crumpled it up and flicked it off the table. “Now, get that for me would you?” I reached down, picked it up and put it back on the table. “Do you feel me son? Punishment is throwing people away. It’s the same disposability culture that fills up our landfills,” he leaned forward and whispered. “And guess who else saw what just happened.”
I looked around the bar but no one seemed to be looking in our direction. I looked back at him and, very slowly, he dragged the napkin dispenser into the center of my side of the table. “And guess how they feel?”
“Yup. They just learned something. If I make a mistake like that, then I’m out. And they don’t want to be out of the scene. So, what do they do?”
“Try to follow the rules?”
He dragged the knife and fork close to the center of my side. “And they try to figure out who has the power in that scene and wonder how to please them. They start towing the party line. Honesty stops. And the games begin. The game becomes, ‘How do I get to the inner circle?’ And do you know what the fastest way to the inner circle is?” he asked as he began to pull out some napkins and lay them out onto the table until there were a dozen or so. He paused as I took in the sight and then he took one of them, crumpled it up and began to use it to push the other napkins off the table. “They begin to call out their peers. They do everything they can to prove to the people in power in that community that they get it, that they’re down with the scene. They don’t do it because they really believe, they do it because they’re scared and they’re trying to protect themselves. It becomes a game of who can be the most radical, who can be the most conservative, the most religious, who can be the most… whatever matters to that particular scene. When they have questions about what’s going down in the scene, they don’t ask. When they have doubts, they don’t express them. Everyone is terrified. It’s the Emperor’s New Clothes. And that. Ain’t. Community.”
I sat there in silence, gathering up the napkins. I’d seen this play out dozens of times. I’d been the napkin thrown off the table. I’d been the napkin throwing others off the table. I’d been the knife and fork.
“Nothing on this side of the table will ever be community. A friendship ain’t a friendship over here. It’s not until, as a pair or as a community, you’ve gone through some kind of ordeal together that changes you. It could be making something together. It could be a community that gets hit by a flood or tornado and everyone comes together in the face of it to recover. That’s what makes a community. It’s all just pleasantries or punishments before that time. And the urge for punishment further fractures whatever bonds of trust and kinship there might be. Punishment makes this,” he tapped on my side of the table, “Much more fragile. Of course, the rhetoric is that they’re trying to make the community safer by kicking those people out. They’re trying to cleanse it and keep it pure. But, the end result is fragility. The end result is something that can’t take a hit. It can’t bounce back. It’s brittle. It breaks easy and often and then people gather around the shared and build new scenes based on those grievances and it begins all over again. The urge to punish kills the capacity for true friendship or community to appear. You never get to the crucible because, to allow this one,” he held up a napkin. “Into the crucible? Are you kidding me? This one would taint it. This one is dirty. This one don’t belong with us.” He threw it over the side of the table again. “And then the conflict is gone. We all agree again. Or at least we pretend to. Eggshells man. Everyone’s walking around on eggshells. Is any of this familiar to you, son?”
“Too familiar,” I said and took a sip of my beer. “Fuck.”
“Fuck indeed. If someone is deeply steeped in punitive justice as a world view, this strict binary of good and bad, right and wrong then it’s only a matter or time or circumstance until their guns turn on you. Mark my words. You’ll think you’re ‘in’. You couldn’t be more in,” he crumpled up a ball of paper and put it beside the royal triad, glinting metal, holding court in the middle of my side of the table. “You are the favoured one. You’re the poster child of this scene. But then? You misstep. You ask the wrong question to the wrong person. You fuck up.” He flicked the napkin off the table. “That’s all it took. And you look back up from the floor and you cry out, ‘I thought we were friends!’ but the truth appears. You never really were. The friendship, if it had been real, would have appeared in that moment. But its absence now tells you all you need to know about the reality of its presence then. They were just people who agreed with you and you with them. You benefitted each other in some way. They from your support and you from theirs. It was only ever a trade of sorts. ‘I give you my support if you give me your love, or power or whatever’. That’s all it was. It was a sham but you didn’t see it, maybe you couldn’t see it, until you’re lying down there more broken than you knew you could be. And the worst part is, all you want is to be back on the table. They just threw you under the bus, and all you want is to get a seat on it. Why? Because we don’t even know there’s something else to want. We have never seen real friendship. We’ve never seen a real community and we don’t know what it takes to get there. It’s not that so many friendships fall apart. It’s that they never really became friendships. It’s not that so many communities fall apart. It’s that the never deserved the name in the first place.”
He pointed at the space between the salt and pepper shaker. I stared at it. Rumi’s words about the field came to me. This space between the black and the white. More than anything I wanted to be on the other side of the table and yet, more than anything, that crucible terrified me. I couldn’t figure out why I felt such fear about it. And then I saw it. I had seen the landfills. I had seen the scrap heaps. I had seen trash littering the streets. I’d seen the throw away people living on those streets. No, the crucible of village-making didn’t terrify me because of what it was but because I had never seen one in my life. It was utterly unknown to me.

Outside History
Eavan Boland
These are outsiders, always. These stars—
these iron inklings of an Irish January,
whose light happened
thousands of years before
our pain did; they are, they have always been
outside history.
They keep their distance. Under them remains
a place where you found
you were human, and
a landscape in which you know you are mortal.
And a time to choose between them.
I have chosen:
Out of myth in history I move to be
part of that ordeal
who darkness is
only now reaching me from those fields,
those rivers, those roads clotted as
firmaments with the dead.
How slowly they die
as we kneel beside them, whisper in their ear.
And we are too late. We are always too late.

Being a lyric poet is like being given your own giant scroll. You unroll it and discover that it’s blank, but it has the potential to be a star chart. As a poet, you put the stars on it yourself. Each time you write a poem you’re making a meaning, placing a point of light on this blank chart, dotting it over time with your own meanings, your own stars. You’re making an image of a night sky on the scroll. Most people, I hope, are given their charts with a few stable stars already in place—the North Star, Orion, and so forth. But mine was blank
– Gregory Orr

To find what is speakable in my heart will take all night.
– Bobby Rogers

Do not think I am forgetful of you. You would not believe me if you knew how often you are in my heart and mind…”
– Katherine Mansfield, in a letter to Virginia Woolf

Water follows me home like a ghost.
La grisaille with long feathery arms
lets me in.
‘Whereto next?’ it whispers,
and white birds fill my heart
with longing.
“How much room is there for memory,
in the loose girdle of soft rain?”
I want to tell you, too late,
it can hold a hurricane,
if you open the windows and pick up
the broken birds.
Save the ones you can save,
and bury the others. That is love.
It is hopeless,
and yet,
I go, I went, and I keep returning.
– Jelle Cauwenberghs

(noun) An untranslatable Russian word, ostranenie is known as the act of encouraging people to see the beauty and familiar in the unusual and wild. It is the process of defamiliarizing something in order to understand it in a profound level.

A haiku poet can live the life of an animal, plant, or stone, without living a stone, plant, or animal life.
– Robert Spiess

What Matters
Somewhere within you there is a love story
longing to find its way into the world.
It wants the tip of your tongue, or

the tip of your pen,

or your finger tips on the keyboard,

or all of these possibilities.
And, the day will come – maybe it is today –
when you have to let it out. When you
have to tell the world, in your own unfamiliar
voice, that a little something once broke your
heart wide open and left you unmercifully
stranded in the life you are living now, an
apprentice to a moment when something caught
your eye, seized your soul, and never let go.
And, everything matters because of it.
How old were you?
Where were you?
What was the form of your betrothed?
Oh, yes, people will stare and adjust themselves
in their chairs, or shift their weight from one
foot to the other if they are standing.
They might offer an uncomfortable silence as
advice because love has become a four-letter
word when spoken in front of an audience.
But, don’t stop.
Life depends on this. This is what matters. This
terrible melancholy of fate that placed a love story
within you. Leave the voices of fear behind, drifting
away across escarpments and surface waters.
Claim this life; this life that you can save. Capture
the memory of what brought you alive. Then. Then.
In that moment when you suddenly became a human
fully inhabiting this place that offers us otherness,
release it into the world: your love story.
I’m going to plead with you, maybe a little, actually
a lot, because this is what matters.
Once upon a time, a toad gave me a reason to live.
And, I’m standing here now because of it.
Because, I came here to tell you a love story.
A story about how falling in love with the
other-than-human world enables us to live out
our humanity.
This is what matters. You are listening.
– Jamie K. Reaser

People use drugs, legal and illegal, because their lives are intolerably painful or dull. They hate their work and find no rest in their leisure. They are estranged from their families and their neighbors. It should tell us something that in healthy societies drug use is celebrative, convivial, and occasional, whereas among us it is lonely, shameful, and addictive. We need drugs, apparently, because we have lost each other.
– Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays

if it is not in my heart,
I can’t do it.
I won’t follow ignorance,
I won’t settle with indifference.
I can be one of the best people

you’ll ever meet,

and one of the worst.

I’ve seen things of absolute beauty,

and I’ve made awful mistakes.

I have loved without restraint,

and I’ve been imperfect.

I have stood up for what I believed,

I’ve been knocked down.

I have kissed the fire,

and stood alone in the rain.

I have prayed, I have cursed,

I have flown, I have crawled.

I have seen through the eyes of God,

I have been the thorn.

I have been my own worst enemy,

I have been the storm.
I am an old man who believes,
a friend who won’t desert you.
the brother without a name,
who sees faces in tears….
if it’s not in my heart,
I won’t do it.
– Eric Cockrell

A letter from Albert Einstein to his daughter…
This universal force is LOVE.
When scientists looked for a unified theory of the universe they forgot the most powerful unseen force.
Love is Light, that enlightens those who give and receive it.
Love is gravity, because it makes some people feel attracted to others.
Love is power, because it multiplies the best we have, and allows humanity not to be extinguished in their blind selfishness. Love unfolds and reveals.
For love we live and die.
Love is God and God is Love.
This force explains everything and gives meaning to life. This is the variable that we have ignored for too long, maybe because we are afraid of love because it is the only energy in the universe that man has not learned to drive at will.
To give visibility to love, I made a simple substitution in my most famous equation.
If instead of E = mc2, we accept that the energy to heal the world can be obtained through love multiplied by the speed of light squared, we arrive at the conclusion that love is the most powerful force there is, because it has no limits.
After the failure of humanity in the use and control of the other forces of the universe that have turned against us, it is urgent that we nourish ourselves with another kind of energy…
If we want our species to survive, if we are to find meaning in life, if we want to save the world and every sentient being that inhabits it, love is the one and only answer.
Perhaps we are not yet ready to make a bomb of love, a device powerful enough to entirely destroy the hate, selfishness and greed that devastate the planet.
However, each individual carries within them a small but powerful generator of love whose energy is waiting to be released.
When we learn to give and receive this universal energy, dear Lieserl, we will have affirmed that love conquers all, is able to transcend everything and anything, because love is the quintessence of life.
I deeply regret not having been able to express what is in my heart, which has quietly beaten for you all my life. Maybe it’s too late to apologize, but as time is relative, I need to tell you that I love you and thanks to you I have reached the ultimate answer! “.
Your father,
Albert Einstein

Few are those who shed tears
of gratitude.
There are so many tears
of misery,
but those few who shed
tears out of love,
they are like lighthouses
for this planet.
They are the purifiers of the world.
They purify their families,
their traditions,
their towns and villages,
they re-purify this earth.
If you sit in meditation,
if you sing with your heart,
you think that vibration just
remains with you?
No, it goes all over, everywhere.
You purify the whole atmosphere.
Such moments of gratitude
are a blessing for all humanity.
Such moments of deep love
make our life worth living.
– Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

I have a small hut, no walls, no roof but
winter’s wind does not freeze and summer’s
rain does not dampen;
the earth and sky fit nicely on its front porch.
God is an escape, Buddha a contrivance, if
you forget names and forms your eyes will
still perceive the
wonder of fern fronds uncurling.
Non-conceptual meditation is not a better idea
or any sort of path at all; when the clouds come,
pregnant with rain
and without intentionality – the showering!
– t.k.

Land of Free
I can’t breathe the cry
through the land of freedom
grows across the hills
across the concrete maze of cities


I can’t breathe cries the earth

strangled by the twisted iron snakes

concrete mask across her brilliant

shimmering in the sun face
I can’t breathe
cries the dark eyed child
hunted by a cold stare of a passer by

I can’t breathe 
a fish in the stream choking

I can’t breathe 
a bird in the cloud of smoke

I can’t breathe

a heart longing for a song

loud and clear 
I can’t breathe…
the last gasp 
of the land of free…

– Yolanda Rommel

Gunilla Norris:
At the core of each of us is a pure innocence we came into life with. It is an eternal spark that, no matter what we do or do not do, still remains in tact somewhere buried in all our levels of socialization and life experiences. Do you suppose that when we stumble forward on dark nights of the soul, innocent lights–firefly signals, somehow light the path, and we find by going where we need to go?

Robert Moss:
The best living room is a well-furnished mind.

R.M. Drake:
choose love, forever,
my sweet people.
the love of self.
the love of good company—
of good health 
and of good wine.
choose love, forever,
my sweet people.
over hate,
over self-doubt
and criticism of neighbor—
choose love.
choose love, forever,
my sweet people.
over confusion,
manipulation and the
corruption of man
and woman.
choose love, always love.
I wouldn’t spend
much time
doing anything else.

When religion becomes a mere artificial facade to justify a social or economic system–when religion hands over its rites and language completely to political propagandists, and when prayer becomes the vehicle for a purely secular ideological program, then religion does tend to become an opiate. It deadens the spirit enough to permit the substitution of a superficial fiction and mythology for this truth of life. And this brings about the alienation of the believer, so that his religious zeal becomes political fanaticism. His faith in God, while preserving it traditional formulas, becomes in fact faith in his own nation, class or race. His ethic ceases to be the law of God and of love, and becomes the law that might-makes-right: established privilege justifies everything. God is the status quo.
– Thomas Merton, “Contemplative Prayer,” 1971

Lyna Rose:
Free-falling creativity is the ultimate prescription for a jovial soul.

Cherish your doubts.
They are the seeds of Mystery.
Embrace your sadness.
Great joy lies within.
Turn to face your fears.
At their core lies peace beyond words.
Celebrate your boredom.
It is radically alive.
Hold your grief.
Let it break your heart wide open.
Befriend your anger.
Know it intimately as the power that burns suns.
Acknowledge your pain.
It is the body’s plea for kind attention.
All feelings are deeply intelligent.
Get out of their way.
Let them do
their sacred work.
– Jeff Foster

You have to grow
from the inside out.
None can teach you,
none can make you spiritual.
There is no other teacher
but your own soul.
– Swami Vivekenanda

The Third Wish: New Dawn – Rachel Dacus
One morning I saw the new world
amid the exploding news and rockets of rage
that combusted every line in a newspaper.
I saw it out a window on an icy November dawn
as I stood looking down at a parking lot
below my bedroom where trucks were backing up,
turning, and with great dusty clatter, leaving.
Their beeps and grinding roared
into my room, and yet a stillness hovered
in the pale shapes of people loading them with food,
shadows caught in the soft light of a descending moon.

And I then saw it, as if I were dreaming
in a boat on a rocking sea and having a vision.
An entirely new earth was unfolding inside this one.
More trucks came and unloaded vegetables
and fruits the volunteers had rescued
from a grocery’s waste. The noise built.
More people shouted as they packed the crates
full of greens to ferry to dank pavements
where some of our neighbors still live
in the old, want-filled world.

As these shadows worked, white rays
from the east softened the concrete buildings,
as if this newest world was dawning in golden white.
There, simple care upwells from flayed humanity.
One by one, we take up our places
as the ancient moon sails down the blue-back sky.
This old room where I live dwindled
as I watched. My shoulders rounded
in praise and I turned away to dress
and find my place.

No one can cultivate a . . . satisfying life without being at peace with him or herself. An adequate understanding of spirituality consists in filling out what we mean by peace, which is much more than the absence of war. Inner peace is closely related to care for ecology and for the common good because, lived out authentically, it is reflected in a balanced lifestyle together with a capacity for wonder which takes us to a deeper understanding of life. Nature is filled with words of love, but how can we listen to them amid constant noise, interminable and nerve-wracking distractions, or the cult of appearances? Many people today sense a profound imbalance which drives them to frenetic activity and makes them feel busy, in a constant hurry which in turn leads them to ride rough-shod over everything around them. This too affects how they treat the environment. An integral ecology includes taking time to recover a serene harmony with creation, reflecting on our lifestyle and our ideals, and contemplating the Creator who lives among us and surrounds us, whose presence ‘must not be contrived but found, uncovered.
– Pope Francis

The fruitional state of the dharmakaya is already present within us. It is the very nature of our own minds. Yet we do not realize this. We take emptiness as the path and meditate on it, thinking that there is some other buddhahood to be attained, that the three kayas and five wisdoms have yet to be achieved.
– Dakpo Tashi Namgyal

…But what would that be like
feeling the tide rise
out of the numbness inside
toward the place to which we go
washing over our worries of money,

the illusion of being ahead,

the grief of being behind,

our limbs young
rising from such a depth?
What would that be like
even in this century
driving toward work with the others,
moving down the roads
among the thousands swimming upstream,
as if growing toward arrival,
feeling the currents of the great desire,
carrying time toward tomorrow?
Tomorrow seen today, for itself,
the sea where all the rivers meet, unbound,
unbroken for a thousand miles, the surface
of a great silence, the movement of a moment
left completely to itself, to find ourselves adrift,
safe in our unknowing, our very own,
our great tide, our great receiving, our
wordless, fiery, unspoken,
hardly remembered, gift of true longing.
– David Whyte

…Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

As they say ‘to be in the world, but not of the world.’ You can go to the Himalayas and miss it completely, and you can be stuck in the middle of New York and be very spiritual. I mean, I noticed in certain places, like New York, it brings out a certain thing in myself. If I go to some place like Switzerland, I find a lot of uptight people because they’re living amongst so much beauty there’s no urgency in trying to find the beauty within themselves. If you’re stuck in New York you have to somehow look within yourself – otherwise you’d go crackers. So, in a way, it’s good to be able to go in and out of both situations. Most people think when the world gets itself together we’ll all be okay. I don’t see that situation arriving. I think one by one, we all free ourselves from the chains we have chained ourselves to. But I don’t think that suddenly some magic happens and the whole lot of us will all be liberated in one throw.
– George Harrison

If you lack the wealth of contentment in your mind,
You will think that you need all kinds of useless things,
And you will end up even worse than an ordinary person,
Because you won’t manage even a single session of practice.
So set your mind on freedom from the need for anything at all.
– Chatral Rinpoche

As the discoverer of a poetry
that had no subject but subjectivity,
Wordsworth permanently both
saved and ruined poetry.
– Harold Bloom

Different men seek happiness in different ways and by different means.
– Aristotle

Not wanting to better yourself is fecklessness.
– Alice Munro

If we want a future of prosperity for all, we need to keep our compass pointing toward “true North”, in the direction of authentic values.
– Pope Francis

The Four ‘Faults’ of Natural Awareness
So close you can’t see it.
So deep you can’t fathom it.
So simple you can’t believe it.

So good you can’t accept it.
~ Kalu Rinpoche

At times I throw out flotation devices, such as words in our language, or the names of ancestors, for us to hold onto.
– Robert Sullivan

Not a cruel song, no, no, not cruel at all. This song Is sweet. It is sweet. The heart dies of this sweetness.
– Brigit Pegeen Kelly

Only we humans worry about the future, regret the past, and blame ourselves for the present.
– Rick Hanson

endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering
– Ben Okri

Love is a grinning mockery, because, poor blossom, we plucked it from its stem on the tree of Life, and expected it to keep on blooming in our civilised vase on the table.
– D. H. Lawrence

A poet’s state of mind is seeing the world with a double exposure.
– Yehuda Amichai

You just don’t sit down and write one day, you go out and get a job. Go out and meet people. You gotta have some life experience. You gotta have a well to dip into.
– Frank Bill

But people can’t, unhappily, invent their mooring posts, their lovers and their friends, anymore than they can invent their parents. Life gives these and also takes them away and the great difficulty is to say Yes to life.
– James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room

If you think someone is beautiful and aglow, tell them. For they might feel dark and lonely, and you will quiet their demons.

– Mark Nepo, Things That Join the Sea and the Sky

A real haiku’s gotta be as simple as porridge and yet make you see the real thing, like the greatest haiku of them all probably is the one that goes ‘The sparrow hops along the veranda, with wet feet.’ By Shiki. You see the wet footprints like a vision in your mind and yet in those few words you also see all the rain that’s been falling that day and almost smell the wet pine needles.
– Jack, The Dharma Bums

How happy is the little Stone
That rambles in the Road alone.
And doesn’t care about Careers
And Exigencies never fears–
Whose Coat of elemental Brown…
A passing Universe put on,
And independent as the Sun
Associates or glows alone.
Fulfilling absolute Decree
in casual simplicity–
– Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

My Teacher

Nature is my teacher.

She never asks me anything,
never says a word.

In her class: no assignments,
deadlines, or requirements.

Benign, indifferent,
she doesn’t care what I do.

All she does is wait.

– David Budbill, Happy Life

Sometimes, life feels like a competition of being-hard-on-oneself; a marathon of self-severity and unkind dialogue with our poor soul. We have proven what we were capable of. We have proven that we can reclaim our freedom, our passion, our soul, our purpose, our heart. But can we prove that we can be the kindest ones to ourselves? I have proved the world that I can make it on my own.
But can I now prove that I can let love enter me and never leave the garden of my soul?
– Lyna Rose

When you reach to help someone who is stuck, you might free the flight of their soul. And they will return when you least expect, to bring you something from the sky.
– Mark Nepo, Things That Join the Sea and the Sky

At a job interview at a university, three men sitting across from me at a table. On my CV it says that I am currently working on a book about the color blue. I have been saying this for years without writing a word. It is, perhaps, my way of making my life feel ‘in progress’ rather than a sleeve of ash falling off a lit cigarette. One of the men asks, Why blue? People ask me this question often. I never know how to respond. We don’t get to choose what or whom we love, I want to say. We just don’t get to choose.
– Maggie Nelson, Bluets

Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.
– Erica Jong

Young men of this class never do anything for themselves that they can get other people to do for them, and it is the infatuation, the devotion, the superstition of others that keeps them going. These others in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred are women.
– Henry James, Washington Square

The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.
– Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture

Everything in modern city life is calculated to keep man from entering into himself and thinking about spiritual things. Even with the best of intentions a spiritual man finds himself exhausted and deadened and debased by the constant noise of machines and loudspeakers, the dead air and the glaring lights of offices and shops, the everlasting suggestion of advertising and propaganda. The whole mechanism of modern life is geared for a flight from God and from the spirit into the wilderness of neurosis.
– Thomas Merton

Mark Nepo:
Never underestimate the strength of your kindness to suture the torn.
– from Things That Join the Sea and the Sky

Mark Nepo:
Inside every utterance-reduced-to-a-quote is food from the gods wrapped in a struggle, carried by someone awakened to life.
– from Things That Join the Sea and the Sky

The mere passage of time makes us all exiles.
– Joyce Carol Oates

A man has been lonely for so long, he fears he is becoming but an apparition, a ghost of who he once was. He takes up wearing a black suit and hat and studying Zen Buddhism with a black-haired woman who has mastered the art of drinking tea. She is one of the few on earth who only drinks tea when she drinks tea. She performs the drinking of tea when she is drinking tea before large audiences. When one is drinking tea, the woman explains, there is no woman, no tea, there is only the drinking of tea. Often while sipping tea and listening to the instructions on the drinking of tea, the man closes his eyes and tries to fully experience the drinking of tea. But he always fails. Instead he dreams of the black-haired woman as an unrobed woman who only makes love when she makes love. He pictures her first removing his hat, then slowly unbuttoning him from the dark coat of his life. She lifts him to her lips like a china cup and sips so slowly, a one night stand lasts 49 days and nights. In the end there is no woman, no tea, no man. Just thinking of it, he barely remembers his own name. In this way he attains enlightenment.
– Nin Andrews

I’ve made a small hole in the silence, a tiny one, /Just big enough for a word.
– Charles Wright

Landscapes shift and move, ‘collapse and cohere’, as we traverse them. This makes the static representation of place, catching the essence (or Genius) of the landscape impossible. [Vernon] Lee [in Genius Loci: Notes on Places] sees a similar impossibility in the capturing of beauty: ‘something—and that the very essence—always escapes, perhaps because real beauty is as much a thing in time—a thing like music, a succession, a series—as in space.’ The same is true for haunting—it too is a series, a continuation of feeling and experience that it is hard to catch the essence of. The conception of landscape, as well as haunting, is fluid and experienced by and through the body.
– Ruth Heholt and Niamh Downing

Moon of the soul, accompany me now,
Shine on the colosseums of my sense,
Be in the tabernacle of my brow.
My dark will make, reflecting from your stones,
The single beam of all my life intense.
– Stanley Kunitz, Vita Nuova

Paying attention, which is a form of love, may just be the most holy thing we can do.

Thomas Moore:
If you need to demonize someone, your heart is blocked with emotional and spiritual plaque.

…thinking is to be a corrective in our life — it’s not supposed to be a center of our life. Living is supposed to be the center of our life, being is supposed to be the center.
– Ray Bradbury

All beings, including each one of us, enemy and friend alike, exist in patterns of mutuality, interconnectedness, co-responsibility and ultimately in unity.
– Roshi Joan Halifax

What I want is to open up. I want to know what’s inside me. I want everybody to open up. I’m like an imbecile with a can-opener in his hand, wondering where to begin – to open up the earth. I know that underneath the mess everything is marvelous. I’m sure of it.

I know it because I feel so marvelous myself most of the time. And when I feel that way everybody seems marvelous … everybody and everything … even pebbles and pieces of cardboard … a match stick lying in the gutter . . . anything . . . a goat’s beard, if you like. That’s what I want to write about … and then we’re all going to see clearly, see what a staggering, wonderful, beautiful world it is.
– Henry Miller

You know that the antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest?
“The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness.”
“You are so tired through and through because a good half of what you do here in this organization has nothing to do with your true powers, or the place you have reached in your life. You are only half here, and half here will kill you after a while. You need
something to which you can give your full powers. You know what that is; I don’t have to tell you.”
You must do something heartfelt, and you must do it soon. Let go of all this effort, and let yourself down, however
awkwardly, into the waters of the work you want for yourself.
– David Whyte quoting David Steindl-Rast in the book
Crossing the Unknown Sea.

Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.
– Toni Morrison, Beloved

Marc David:
We can have a broken body, a disease, an eating disorder – and still be “whole” – still be a lovable, deserving, connected, spiritual human being on Earth. We are spiritual beings having an earthly experience.

Marc David:
We’re such Multi-Dimensional beings. We, as humans, can function on so many different levels, so many roles, so many frequencies. We can be cosmic, we can hang in the gutter, we can be pure, dirty, brilliant, insane, logical, there’s some who experience us as love, while others might simply see our darkness. The question is: can we be big enough to embrace all of our own humanity?

I am one of those overeducated library types who might be expected to look down her nose at self-help books — but the whole bookstore is a self-help section to me. When something needs to be fixed, when I need something to change, my first and abiding instinct is to read. I think I can read my way to a solution. Or at least an evasion.
– Lauren F. Winner, Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis

Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche:
Only through compassion can we pacify our own aggression and understand the aggression of others. We can regard others as the same as ourselves because we know how painful it is to be angry, how painful it is to be human. We can feel compassion without expecting others to change overnight, because we know we have not changed overnight. If others sense our compassion, and see that it is not self-righteous or judgmental, then they will be touched; their anger will be pacified and their wisdom will blossom.

& When We Woke
by Aracelis Girmay
It rained all night. It did not rain.
I strapped my life to a buoy—& sent it out.
& was hoping for a city whose people sing
from their windows or rooftops,
about the beauty of their children
& their children’s eyes, & the color of the fields
when it is dusk. & was hoping for a city
as free as the rain, whose people roam
wherever they want, free as any real, free thing is free.
Joyful. Green. & was hoping
for a city of 100 old women whose bones
are thick & big in their worker hands
beautiful as old doors. & when we woke,
dear reader, we’d landed in a city of 100 old women
telling their daughters things. & when we turned
to walk away, because we did not think we were citizens
of this strange & holy place, you & I, the hundred old
women said, No, No! You are one of us! We are your
mothers! You! You! Too! Come & listen to our secrets.
We are telling every person with a face!
& they stood us in a line facing the sea,
(because that is the direction we came from)
& behind us there was another line of women
& another, & we sang songs. & we filled the songs
with our mothers’ names. & we filled the songs
with trees for our mothers to stand under,
& good water for our mothers to drink. & we filled
the songs with beds for our mothers to lay down in
& rest. We filled the songs with rest. & good food
for our mothers to eat. We made them a place
in our singing, & we faced the sea.
We are still making them a place
in our singing. Do you understand?
We make them a place where they can walk freely,
untouched by knives or the police who patrol
the borders of countries like little & fake hatred-gods
who patrol the land though the land says, I go on
& on, so far, you lose your eye on me.
We make our mothers a place in our singing & our place
does not have a flag or, even, one language.
Do you understand? We sing like this for days,
standing in lines & lines & lines, facing the sea.
The sea knows what to do. We sing like this for days
until our throats are torn with singing. Do you understand?
We must build houses for our mothers in our poems. I am not sure,
but think, This is my wisest song.

I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size.) I like gardens, trees, and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humor (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late (when possible.) I do not travel much.
– JRR Tolkien

It might be possible, Septimus thought, looking at England from the train window, as they left Newhaven, it might be possible that the world itself is without meaning.
– Virginia Woolf

I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.
– David Foster Wallace

Many still, small voices, as well as the noon thunder, are calling, ‘Come higher’ . . . The whole world is enriched, beautified by a stratum – an atmosphere – of Godlike souls, and it is ignorance alone that banks human love into narrow gutter channels and stagnant pools, making it selfish and impure, when it should be boundless as air and light, blending with all the world, keeping sight of our impartial Father who is the fountain sun of all the love that is rayed down to earth.
– John Muir

It’s lovely to know the world can’t interfere with the inside of your head.
– Frank McCourt

Javck Kerouac:

Privately, for me, it should be a calm home life to offset the restless mental life….otherwise I’d burn out quick, like Wolfe.
From Windblown World

Ren Katherine Powell:
anecdoche. n. a conversation in which everyone is talking but nobody is listening, simply overlaying disconnected words like a game of Scrabble, with each player borrowing bits of other anecdotes as a way to increase their own score, until we all run out of things to say.
How much of your day is filled with this crap?

As long as our orientation is toward perfection or success we will never learn about unconditional friendship with ourselves.
– Pema Chodron

Joan Halifax:
Compassion is the path not only out of empathic distress—it’s also the path out of the toxic aspects of the other five edge states: pathological altruism, burnout, moral suffering, and horizontal hostility and vertical violence. Why? Because compassion calls forth our best human capacities—attention, concern, insight, and action—in a way that no other response does.

In today’s materialistic world there is a risk of people becoming slaves to money, as though they were simply cogs in a huge money-making machine. This does nothing for human dignity, freedom, and genuine well-being. Wealth should serve humanity, and not the other way around.
– Dalai Lama

The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.
– Albert Einstein

Following your own star means isolation, not knowing where to go, having to find out a completely new way for yourself instead of just going on the trodden path everybody else runs along. That’s why there’s always been a tendency in humans to project the uniqueness and the greatness of their own inner self onto outer personalities and become the servants, the devoted servants, admirers, and imitators of outer personalities. It is much easier to admire a great personality and become a pupil or follower of a guru or a religious prophet, or an admirer of a big, official personality – a President of the United States – or live your life for some military general whom you admire. That is much easier than following your own star. (p. 71)
– Marie-Louise von Franz, The Way of the Dream

When each of us learns to appreciate the critical importance of ethics and makes inner values like compassion and patience an integral part of our basic outlook on life, the effects will be far-reaching.
– Dalai Lama

David Bedrick:
What Does Power Look Like? A fist, a soft touch, a shout, a whisper, ferocity, vulnerability, persistence, letting go, anger, tears, facing your enemy, running away, immovability, surrender.

When you study the Dharma, please do so with a willingness to admit, “I do have some faults. They are mine, and I am also the one who needs to change them.”
Once we face ourselves with this type of sincerity, the door is wide open to genuine progress, by quickly taming our own minds.
– Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche

Sorrow Is Not My Name
by Ross Gay
—after Gwendolyn Brooks
No matter the pull toward brink. No
matter the florid, deep sleep awaits.
There is a time for everything. Look,
just this morning a vulture
nodded his red, grizzled head at me,
and I looked at him, admiring
the sickle of his beak.
Then the wind kicked up, and,
after arranging that good suit of feathers
he up and took off.
Just like that. And to boot,
there are, on this planet alone, something like two
million naturally occurring sweet things,
some with names so generous as to kick
the steel from my knees: agave, persimmon,
stick ball, the purple okra I bought for two bucks
at the market. Think of that. The long night,
the skeleton in the mirror, the man behind me
on the bus taking notes, yeah, yeah.
But look; my niece is running through a field
calling my name. My neighbor sings like an angel
and at the end of my block is a basketball court.
I remember. My color’s green. I’m spring.

If you are trying to transform a brutalized society into one where people can live in dignity and hope, you begin with the empowering of the most powerless. You build from the ground up. You begin by stopping the torture and killing of the unprotected, by feeding the hungry so that they have the energy to think about what they want beyond food.
– poet Adrienne Rich, 1983

Orthodoxy means not thinking — not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness
– George Orwell, 1984

Love me wholesomely, or not at all.
This means…
Knocking me off my high-horse
Because I’ll always do the same
For you.
– Brooklynn Bosworth

On the day when it will be possible for woman to love not in her weakness but in her strength, not to escape herself but to find herself, not to abase herself but to assert herself–on that day love will become for her, as for man, a source of life and not of mortal danger.
– Simone de Beauvoir

Cosmos is a Greek word for the order of the universe. It is, in a way, the opposite of Chaos. It implies the deep interconnectedness of all things. It conveys awe for the intricate and subtle way in which the universe is put together.
– Carl Sagan

The middle beast, a tremor of trepidation in his voice, said “You aren’t from a dark planet, are you?
No, Calvin shook his head firmly, “We’re-we’re shadowed, but we’re fighting the shadow.
– from A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle

The technology of a time is always going to inform the writing, talking, explaining, remembering.
– Walter Mosley

An honorable human relationship—that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word ‘love’—is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of refining the truths they can tell each other.
– Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets and Silence

Stop weaving and see how the pattern improves.
– Rumi

People are addicted to their beliefs. When you try to change someone’s belief, they act like an addict.
– Dr. Siegel

I do not fix my problems. I fix my thinking then problems fix themselves.
– Louise Hay

Nithya Shanti:
How to be unhappy all the time?
Expect. (Everything to be the way you want)
How to be happy all the time?
Accept. (Everything as a sacred opportunity)

The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.
– Joseph Priestley

Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused.
– Paulo Coelho

The very relationship with the other is the relationship with the future.
– Levinas

Andrew Sweeny:
Today we believe we are too enlightened to serve Gods, and yet we serve movie stars and ideologies. We go to stadiums and worship to rock stars, and yet we believe ourselves to beyond religion. We might not ‘believe’ in religion, but we enact it out regardless, despite ourselves. In truth, we want godly beings to rule over us – maybe even more than we want ‘equal rights’. We may ‘believe’ in equality, but we still tremble and bow to a person of greater rank – even if that person is particularly terrible politician who we loath. The mystical aura still hangs over those in power.
As an illustration of the intractable nature of religion: some of my students worship in the church of heavy metal music. They engage in a series of communal exercises (going to concerts) and contemplations of heavy metal music (listening to songs); they wear costumes and esoteric signs of membership (tattoos, for instance). And even if they consider themselves to be non-conformists, they conform strictly to the dogmatic rules of the church of heavy metal music, with its temples, or concert halls, and its theological principals. They have a history as well: there is an official hierarchy of great bands, as well as multitude of heretical subgroups.

Education and knowledge by themselves do not bring inner peace to individuals, families or the society in which they live. But education combined with warmheartedness, a sense of concern for the well-being of others, has much more positive results. If you have a great deal of knowledge, but you’re governed by negative emotions, then you tend to use your knowledge in negative ways. Therefore, while you are learning, don’t forget the importance of warmheartedness.
– Dalai Lama

As it is, we are merely bolting our lives—gulping down undigested experiences as fast as we can stuff them in—because awareness of our own existence is so superficial and so narrow that nothing seems to us more boring than simple being. If I ask you what you did, saw, heard, smelled, touched and tasted yesterday, I am likely to get nothing more than the thin, sketchy outline of the few things that you noticed, and of those only what you thought worth remembering. Is it surprising that an existence so experienced seems so empty and bare that its hunger for an infinite future is insatiable? But suppose you could answer, “It would take me forever to tell you, and I am much too interested in what’s happening now.” How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such a fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself as anything less than a god? And, when you consider that this incalculably subtle organism is inseparable from the still more marvelous patterns of its environment—from the minutest electrical designs to the whole company of the galaxies—how is it conceivable that this incarnation of all eternity can be bored with being?
– Alan Watts

There are certain tangles I refuse to un-comb because I suspect a nymph may be sheltering in the discreet bough of an idea, or a leafy cluster of syntax. If I straighten everything out then she may have no home any more. I couldn’t bear that. Certain ideas or turns of phrase are shards of moonlight, or the hot flank of a tiger.”.
– Martin Shaw

Rainer Maria Rilke:
Early Spring
Harshness vanished. A sudden softness
has replaced the meadows’ wintry grey.
Little rivulets of water changed
their singing accents. Tendernesses,
hesitantly reach toward the earth
from space, and country lanes are showing
these unexpected subtle risings
that find expression in the empty trees.

Listen, I don’t care what you say about my race, creed or religion, Fatty, but don’t tell me I’m not sensitive to beauty. That’s my Achilles heel, and don’t you forget it. To me, everything is beautiful. Show me a pink sunset, and I’m limp, by God. Anything. Peter Pan. Even before the curtain goes up at Peter Pan I’m a goddam puddle of tears.
– J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey

“Song of Childhood”
When the child was a child
It walked with its arms swinging,
wanted the brook to be a river,
the river to be a torrent,
and this puddle to be the sea.
When the child was a child,
it didn’t know that it was a child,
everything was soulful,
and all souls were one.
When the child was a child,
it had no opinion about anything,
had no habits,
it often sat cross-legged,
took off running,
had a cowlick in its hair,
and made no faces when photographed.
When the child was a child,
It was the time for these questions:
Why am I me, and why not you?
Why am I here, and why not there?
When did time begin, and where does space end?
Is life under the sun not just a dream?
Is what I see and hear and smell
not just an illusion of a world before the world?
Given the facts of evil and people.
does evil really exist?
How can it be that I, who I am,
didn’t exist before I came to be,
and that, someday, I, who I am,
will no longer be who I am?
When the child was a child,
It choked on spinach, on peas, on rice pudding,
and on steamed cauliflower,
and eats all of those now, and not just because it has to.
When the child was a child,
it awoke once in a strange bed,
and now does so again and again.
Many people, then, seemed beautiful,
and now only a few do, by sheer luck.
It had visualized a clear image of Paradise,
and now can at most guess,
could not conceive of nothingness,
and shudders today at the thought.
When the child was a child,
It played with enthusiasm,
and, now, has just as much excitement as then,
but only when it concerns its work.
When the child was a child,
It was enough for it to eat an apple, … bread,
And so it is even now.
When the child was a child,
Berries filled its hand as only berries do,
and do even now,
Fresh walnuts made its tongue raw,
and do even now,
it had, on every mountaintop,
the longing for a higher mountain yet,
and in every city,
the longing for an even greater city,
and that is still so,
It reached for cherries in topmost branches of trees
with an elation it still has today,
has a shyness in front of strangers,
and has that even now.
It awaited the first snow,
And waits that way even now.
When the child was a child,
It threw a stick like a lance against a tree,
And it quivers there still today.
– Peter Handke (From The Film “Wings of Desire”, dir. Wim Wenders, 1987)

Of pain you could wish only one thing: that it should stop. Nothing in the world was so bad as physical pain. In the face of pain there are no heroes.
– George Orwell, 1984

John Lennon:
My function in society is to be an artist. Art is a functional part of society. If you don’t have artists, you don’t have society. We’re not some kind of decadent strip show that appears on the side. We’re as important as prime ministers or policemen.

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled man.
To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said,
“It made a difference for that one.”
– Loren Eiseley

It has been said repeatedly that one can never, try as he will, get around to the front of the universe. Man is destined to see only its far side, to realize nature only in retreat.
– Loren Eiseley
The Star Thrower

1. Avoid fried meats, which angry up the blood.
2. If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.
3. Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move.
4. Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in society. The social rumble ain’t restful.
5. Avoid running at all times.
6. Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.
– Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige

Cinema is a language. It can say things—big, abstract things. And I love that about it. I’m not always good with words. Some people are poets and have a beautiful way of saying things with words. But cinema is its own language. And with it you can say so many things, because you’ve got time and sequences. You’ve got dialogue. You’ve got music. You’ve got sound effects. You have so many tools. And you can express a feeling and a thought that can’t be conveyed any other way. Its a magical medium. For me, it’s so beautiful to think about these pictures and sounds flowing together in time and in sequence, making something that can be done only through cinema. Its not just words or music—it’s a whole range of elements coming together and making something that didn’t exist before. It’s telling stories. It’s devising a world, an experience, that people cannot have unless they see that film. When I catch an idea for a film, I fall in love with the way cinema can express it. I like a story that holds abstractions, and that’s what cinema can do.
– David Lynch, Catching the Big Fish

Half of life is lost in charming others. The other half is lost in going through anxieties caused by others. Leave this play; you have played enough.
– Rumi

Presently I am living inside a tenderness.
– Mary Ann Samyn

When you sit with a friend in pain,
when their world no longer makes sense;
when confusion rages and
no rest is to be found.
Just for a moment,
will you resist the temptation
to make things better,
to reassure them,
to provide answers,
even to heal them?
Will you offer your stillness, your listening,
your presence, and the warmth
of your immediacy?
Will you hold them in your heart,
with the same tenderness
of a mother holding her little one?
Will you embrace them where they are,
without needing them to change or transform
according to your own needs and schedule?
Will you stay close,
holding your own impatience
and discomfort near?
Will you look into their eyes
and see yourself?
Will you stay in the inferno of healing
with them, trusting in disintegration,
knowing that you are only witnessing
the falling away of an old dream?
Sometimes in doing nothing
everything is undone,
and love is revealed to be
the only true medicine.
– Matt Licata & Jeff Foster

Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting.
– Aldous Huxley

For the love of a tree..
She went out on a limb.
For the love of the sea..
She rocked the boat.
For the love of the earth…
She dug deeper.

For the love of community..

She mended fences.

For the love of the stars..
She let her light shine.

For the love of spirit..
She nurtured her soul.
For the love of a good time..

She sowed seeds of happiness.

For the love of the Goddess..

She drew down the moon.

For the love of nature..

She made compost.
For the love of a good meal..

She gave thanks.

For the love of family..
She reconciled differences.

For the love of creativity..

She entertained new possibilities.

For the love of her enemies..

She suspended judgment.

For the love of herself..

She acknowledged her worth.

And the world was richer for her.

- Charlotte Tall Mountain

Today’s Love Post
I choose love.
I do not march to the caustic drum-beat of this presidency that snares us

with fear of brown-skin, hijabs, and those who don’t wear crosses.

I will not place my mind in a narrow track.

I choose to see others as good, as trustworthy.

I refuse to call anyone evil or enemy.

I see every person as reaching for love on whatever level they can.
I am not controllable by the preaching of fear.

I scrub those assaults from my cells.

I am not susceptible to the thunderous voices that tries to crucify my softness.

I believe in the power of kindness.

I subscribe to the power of inclusiveness.

I believe in yes, and…
I refuse to decree curses.

I choose love as my superpower.

Our standing together creates a riverbank that cannot erode.

No matter what.
When I open my heart I have no need for walls.
– Valerie A. szarek

Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.
– Mark Twain

Often the best moments of our lives arise within the pauses,
Between our endless hurrying.
Slow down.
Enjoy your coffee for here.
Eat sitting down.

Don’t text and walk or drive.

Just text fully.

Communicate fully.

Eat fully.

Be fully. 
Live fully.

Love fully. 
Feel fully.

It’s all just one pause away.

Multitasking takes us away from the magic of this moment.




It’s not too late to fall in love with your life.
– Waylon Lewis

Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson
It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour’d of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Friends disappear
or they are powerless.
This is what misfortune means
an acid test of friendship.
I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
– Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides

The entire environment (all that I can see; even what I sense is beyond what I can see) informs my decisions. It is almost like invisible tendrils of information are connecting me to every molecule of what appears to surround me.
And yet I (the person) have no thoughts. The “thinker” is gone.
Thoughts and words only occur in response to something someone says or asks of me. “My” nervous system” is as big and wide as all that I can see. Everything that surrounds the apparent “me” is really just “one mind” and its intelligence permeates everything. It is one great Mind trying to know itSelf, to experience itSelf. Objects are not “hard” and “concrete” in form, but rather “fluid” even though they do not move.
There is almost a “jelly” nature of the mind that hides behind all forms. The steel of a lamppost simply hides the fluid nature of Its own mind.
Never is any part of the environment further away than “My Self.
Every part of the environment seems to want to embrace and love every other part of it Self. Therefore, “My” arms surround and comfort all that I “see”.
“My” embrace encompasses all that I see. God is hugging Himself.
It is truly wondrous.
– M. C. Vancouver, BC, Canada

Don’t think. Don’t get lost in your thoughts.
Your thoughts are a veil on the face of the Moon.
That Moon is your heart, and those thoughts cover your heart.
So let them go, just let them fall into the water.
– Rumi

Intellect Is A Shackle
O my child, intellect is a shackle
on the foot of one who walks the Path.
The intellect is a chain, the heart may be deceptive,
and even your soul is a veil—
Love isn’t the work of the tender and gentle;
Love is the work of wrestlers.
Love is a cloud that scatters pearls.
Love doesn’t need me to translate; it translates for itself.
Love is its qiblah.
– Rumi

Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.
– Mark Twain

You are never “missing out” on life.
Life is here, where you are.
You feel happy when you are fully present, friend,
and your attention is not split between this and that,
half of you over here, half of you longing to be ‘there’,
whatever ‘there’ means to you.
The contentment you seek
will never be found through seeking it.
Contentment means loving where you are.
It means drenching your present moment with curiosity,
and acceptance, and gratitude, and loving even
the parts of you that cannot love, the parts of you
that don’t know ‘how’ to love, or feel too unworthy…
This bigger happiness embraces
even our temporary unhappiness.
It is vast like the sky, as wide as the oceans.
It is our true nature.
And when we stop looking for it,
when we fall to our knees in surrender,
we realise, it is here.
So close, so intimate,
never absent, never missing,
never at a distance.
It is the love we always sought.
It is Home.
– Jeff Foster

In my short time on this planet, I have known great sorrow, plunged into the depths of oceanic despair, been thrown so deeply into my loneliness that I thought I would never return. I have tasted the ecstatic joys of meditation, the fierce intimacy of love, the savage pains of heartbreak, the excitement of unexpected success and the blows of sudden failure. There were times when I thought I’d never make it, times when my dreams had been shattered so thoroughly I couldn’t imagine how life could ever go on. Yet it went on, and sometimes I found humility within the devastation, and out of the ashes of imagined futures often grew new and present joys, and no experience was ever wasted.
I have come to trust life completely, trust even the times when I forget how to trust at all, trust that life doesn’t always go according to plan, because there is no plan, only life, and even the times of great uncertainty hold supreme intelligence, and sometimes you have to fall to stand more fearlessly, with greater kindness.
And somehow I am always held, in a way I cannot explain and do not want to. I may be crushed yet again before too long, I may experience further seemingly insurmountable challenges and heartbreaks, but somehow I am always held. Somehow I am always held.
– Jeff Foster

I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable.
– Joseph Addison

If we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
– Howard Zinn

Ms. Brock-Broido called her style something simpler: “feral.”
She opened her first collection, “A Hunger” (1988), with the fanciful, ornately wrapped “Domestic Mysticism.” In its third stanza she wrote:

This work of mine, the kind of work that takes no arms to do
Is least noble of all. It’s peopled by Wizards, the Forlorn,
The Awkward, the Blinkers, the Spoon-Fingered, Agnostic Lispers,
Stutterers of Prayer, the Flatulent, the Closet Weepers.
The Charlatans. I am one of those.

Her most recent book, “Stay, Illusion” (2013), was a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry.

Melissa La Flamme:
When I am hungry for soulful, grounded inspiration, I turn to women artists like Ursula K. Le Guin, Virginia Woolf, and Naomi Shihab Nye:
“We’re in the world, not against it. It doesn’t work to try to stand outside things and run them, that way. It just doesn’t work, it goes against life. There is a way but you have to follow it. The world is, no matter how we think it ought to be. You have to be with it. You have to let it be.”
“Insofar as one denies what is, one is possessed by what is not, the compulsions, the fantasies, the terrors that flock to fill the void.”
– Ursula K. Le Guin, from The Lathe of Heaven
“I need solitude. I need space. I need air. I need the empty fields round me; and my legs pounding along roads; and sleep; and animal existence.”
– Virginia Woolf
by Naomi Shihab Nye
When they say Don’t I know you?
Say no.
When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
before answering.
Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.
If they say We should get together,
say why?
It’s not that you don’t love them anymore.
You’re trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.
When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven’t seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don’t start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.
Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.

Listen up, old bad-karma Patrul, You dweller-in-distraction.
For ages now you’ve been Beguiled, entranced, and fooled by appearances. Are you aware of that? Are you? Right this very instant, when you’re Under the spell of mistaken perception You’ve got to watch out. Don’t let yourself get carried away by this fake and empty life.
Your mind is spinning around About carrying out a lot of useless projects: It’s a waste! Give it up! Thinking about the hundred plans you want to accomplish, With never enough time to finish them, Just weighs down your mind. You’re completely distracted By all these projects, which never come to an end, But keep spreading out more, like ripples in water. Don’t be a fool: for once, just sit tight.
Listening to the teachings — you’ve already heard hundreds of teachings, But when you haven’t grasped the meaning of even one teaching, What’s the point of more listening?
– Patrul Rinpoche

He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.
– Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Silence itself— the things one declines to say, or is forbidden to name, the discretion that is required between different speakers— is less the absolute limit of discourse, the other side from which it is separated by a strict boundary, than an element that functions alongside the things said, with them and in relation to them within over-all strategies. There is no binary division to be made between what one says and what one does not say; we must try to determine the different ways of not saying such things, how those who can and those who cannot speak of them are distributed, which type of discourse is authorized, or which form of discretion is required in either case. There is not one but many silences, and they are an integral part of the strategies that underlie and permeate discourses.
– Michel Foucault, The Will to Know

“Call It What You Will”
I step out the door
and gaze east at the
dream-heavy clouds.
At my back,
without looking,
I feel the Thunderers
will pay a visit tonight;
mountain gods incarnate as sound.
Their offering: Purification.
My feet-on-earth
feel the quickening Spring pulse;
green spirits returning
in meadow
on branch
at shoreline
along flowered lane and budding path
bending light
leaning toward the Sun
and human shoulders passing by.
These unseen tributaries of renewal
are known differently for their gifts.
If I were Iroquois: orenda would flow from my lips.
If I were Algonquian: manitou.
If I were Yoruban, I would say ‘an orisha of nature had spoken to me.’
As spiritual orphan,
exiled from those from whom I hail,
I can only reach deep
into languages I don’t speak;
to even older spiritual ancestors
who wash their hands
clap three times
and pay homage to the realm of kami.
The only replacement it would seem:
remain silent
ponder the earth’s flowing numen
and realize the dialogue
is with an enlivening force
that precedes all words and names.
May The Force Be With You.
– Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen

A friend of mine once said about the Gods we worship.
“Same Same,” he said

Old Blind Wolf
Miserable lunk.
A Dharma failure each day.
Back to the cushion.

This Mind? Don’t Ask Me!
A strange look my way.
Don’t ask me how this mind works!
I’m not a buddha!

The Great Catastrophe
Eight-billion people
but so few bodhisattvas —
I weep for the world.

All Life Is Investment
We don’t need altars.
The focus of our Heart-Mind
demonstrates worship.
– Frank LaRue Owen | Pure Land Poetry

…When loneliness comes stalking, go into the fields, consider
the orderliness of the world. Notice
something you have never noticed before,
like the tambourine sound of the snow-cricket

whose pale green body is no longer than your thumb.
Stare hard at the hummingbird, in the summer rain,
shaking the water-sparks from its wings.
Let grief be your sister, she will wither or not.
Rise up from the stump of sorrow, and be green also,
like the diligent leaves.
A lifetime isn’t long enough for the beauty of this world
and the responsibilities of your life.
Scatter your flowers over the graves, and walk away.
Be good-natured and untidy in your exuberance.
In the glare of your mind, be modest.
And beholden to what is tactile, and thrilling…
– Mary Oliver

However, if one’s mind is unattached, one becomes a Buddha. Even a “good” or positive state of mind is useless. Even though such a condition of mind can create a heavenly future life, it is still limited. As soon as one reaches heaven, he immediately begins descending to the hellish or animal realms in successive re-births. If no intention is held in the mind, then there is no place to be born again. One’s mind is so pure and unconfused, it cannot go to the dark places. This pure and quiescent mind is the way of Buddha.
– Master Kyongho

Letter to My Father
October 2017
You once said: My reward for this life will be a thousand pounds of dirt shoveled in my face. You were wrong. You are seven pounds of ashes in a box, a Puerto Rican flag wrapped around you, next to a red brick from the house in Utuado where you were born, all crammed together on my bookshelf. You taught me there is no God, no life after this life, so I know you are not watching me type this letter over my shoulder.
When I was a boy, you were God. I watched from the seventh floor of the projects as you walked down into the street to stop a public execution. A big man caught a small man stealing his car, and everyone in Brooklyn heard the car alarm wail of the condemned: He’s killing me. At a word from you, the executioner’s hand slipped from the hair of the thief. The kid was high, was all you said when you came back to us.
When I was a boy, and you were God, we flew to Puerto Rico. You said: My grandfather was the mayor of Utuado. His name was Buenaventura. That means good fortune. I believed in your grandfather’s name. I heard the tree frogs chanting to each other all night. I saw banana leaf and elephant palm sprouting from the mountain’s belly. I gnawed the mango’s pit, and the sweet yellow hair stuck between my teeth. I said to you: You came from another planet. How did you do it? You said: Every morning, just before I woke up, I saw the mountains.
Every morning, I see the mountains. In Utuado, three sisters,
all in their seventies, all bedridden, all Pentecostales who only left the house for church, lay sleeping on mattresses spread across the floor when the hurricane gutted the mountain the way a butcher slices open a dangled pig, and a rolling wall of mud buried them, leaving the fourth sister to stagger into the street, screaming like an unheeded prophet about the end of the world. In Utuado, a man who cultivated a garden
of aguacate and carambola, feeding the avocado and star fruit to his nieces from New York, saw the trees in his garden beheaded all at once like the soldiers of a beaten army, and so hanged himself. In Utuado, a welder and a handyman rigged a pulley with a shopping cart to ferry rice and beans across the river where the bridge collapsed, witnessed the cart swaying above so many hands, then raised a sign that told
the helicopters: Campamento los Olvidados: Camp of the Forgotten.
Los olvidados wait seven hours in line for a government meal of Skittles and Vienna sausage, or a tarp to cover the bones of a house with no roof, as the fungus grows on their skin from sleeping on mattresses drenched with the spit of the hurricane. They drink the brown water, waiting for microscopic monsters in their bellies to visit plagues upon them. A nurse says: These people are going to have an epidemic. These people are going to die. The president flips rolls of paper towels to a crowd at a church in Guaynabo, Zeus lobbing thunderbolts on the locked ward of his delusions. Down the block, cousin Ricardo, Bernice’s boy, says that somebody stole his can of diesel. I heard somebody ask you once what Puerto Rico needed to be free. And you said: Tres pulgadas de sangre en la calle: Three inches of blood in the street. Now, three inches of mud flow through the streets of Utuado, and troops patrol the town, as if guarding the vein of copper in the ground, as if a shovel digging graves in the backyard might strike the ore below, as if la brigada swinging machetes to clear the road might remember the last uprising.
I know you are not God. I have the proof: seven pounds of ashes in a box on my bookshelf. Gods do not die, and yet I want you to be God again. Stride from the crowd to seize the president’s arm before another roll of paper towels sails away. Thunder Spanish obscenities in his face. Banish him to a roofless rainstorm in Utuado, so he unravels, one soaked sheet after another, till there is nothing left but his cardboard heart.
I promised myself I would stop talking to you, white box of gray grit. You were deaf even before you died. Hear my promise now: I will take you to the mountains, where houses lost like ships at sea rise blue and yellow from the mud. I will open my hands. I will scatter your ashes in Utuado.

When a thought arises, it brings another with it, and then another, in an endless sequence. It is this chain which has deceived us from beginningless time, and if we do not break it, it will continue to deceive us in the future.
– Dudjom Rinpoche

Again, traveller, you have come a long way led

by that star.

But the kingdom of the wish is at the other end

of the night.

May you fare well, companero, let us journey

together joyfully,

Living on catastrophe, eating the pure light.
– Thomas McGrath

I am: yet what I am none cares or knows,
My friends forsake me like a memory lost;
I am the self-consumer of my woes,
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shades in love and death’s oblivion lost;

And yet I am! and live with shadows tost
Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life nor joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems;
And e’en the dearest – that I loved the best –
Are strange – nay, rather stranger than the rest.
I long for scenes where man has never trod;
A place where woman never smiled or wept;
There to abide with my creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept:
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie;
The grass below – above the vaulted sky.
I Am
by John Clare (1793-1864)

Fred LaMotte
DROPPED ( A poem from ‘Wounded Bud’)
The Beloved is known for loose behavior,
laughing, sighing, dropping things.
You fall from his open palm, he picks you up;
and if you have wounds and bruises,
he’ll play music through them. You exist
through the craft of God’s exquisite mistakes.
O Broken One, with your hollow places,
don’t you want to become his flute?

Talk health. The dreary, never-ending tale
Of mortal maladies is worn and stale;
You cannot charm or interest or please
By harping on that minor chord, disease.
Say you are well, or all is well with you,

And God shall hear your words and make them true.
– Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Love is the capacity to take care, to protect, to nourish. If you are not capable of generating that kind of energy toward yourself- if you are not capable of taking care of yourself, of nourishing yourself, of protecting yourself- it is very difficult to take care of another person. In the Buddhist teaching, it’s clear that to love oneself is the foundation of the love of other people. Love is a practice. Love is truly a practice.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Music is the shorthand of emotion.
– Leo Tolstoy

David Bedrick:
As a counselor, I hold a radical belief that what lies in the shadow- what is disowned, disavowed, or denied – can flower into something magnificent. Over the years, I have seen anger flower into genuine power; I have seen vengeance flower into a profound sense of justice; I have seen judgment flower into genuine authority and the capacity to see clearly; and I have seen fear flower into sensitivity and tenderness. Even on a purely physical level, I have seen limps flower into a new way of walking; I have seen tumors flower into amazing creativity; I have seen arthritis flower into exquisite self-love; and I have seen stomach aches flower into massive changes in someone’s status quo. We begin by letting go of seeing these disturbances as “negative,” but we can proceed by watering the soil of the seeds in these qualities with a humbling faith that nature doesn’t arise in error.

Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.
– Brené Brown

If you are not afraid of the voices inside you, you will not fear the critics outside you.
– Natalie Goldberg

It’s actually quite fun when you look at what you do, what you eat, how you live, and think, ‘Is this what I’m going to do the rest of my life, or would it be interesting to try to make a change?
– Paul McCartney

I would have loved you
even if you were weak,
I would have loved you

even if you were sick and dying,

I would have loved you

even if you were lying to me,

I would have loved you

even if you were the wrong one.
My love is a purifier,
It heals and cleanses deep down;
It kills the traits that should die
and gives life to the weak but life-changing
traits that must be given life;
Revelation should have come with age,
But darkness hovered daily around you
Light couldn’t gain access.
You were a rare gem from Mother Earth,
But alas, you knew not whom you were;
I still wouldn’t know if you now know
because I have travelled very far now.
We are now like two opposite poles,
Yet I think this shouldn’t have been,
But then what should be don’t always be,
How then could I have known what shouldn’t have?
We were like aliens to each other,
Yet this too shouldn’t have been;
I guess a Divine Hand was setting us apart
because we were unequally yoked
where we should have been well balanced
on life’s unchanging balance.
I regretted then, yet not now
For I am in good hands with an angel.
I would have loved you
even if you didn’t know my worth,
I would have loved you
even if you didn’t know your worth,
I would have loved you
even if everyone said “NO”,
I would have been the fool to love you the way you fantasised,
But those dangerous traits of yours said “NO”.
– John Jave Akhimien

José Luis G. Soler:
The warriors of
the Mother
Armed with
Intoxicating tenderness

When you read a short story, you come out a little more aware and a little more in love with the world around you.
– George Saunders

If we are to come together across the entrenched divisions and disillusionment that many people are feeling, our starting point is clear: engage as equals. More insights on ways to bridge divides from Transformation.

You know beauty is not in the pretty. It is in the ugly. The poets say beauty is a terrible thing. A treachery. They say the same thing about love, the poets do. Because it’s like when we say we love, if we really love, then what we love is the seemingly unloveable. Not the human ideal but the human disaster. In each one of us. Otherwise it’s like saying we have faith and are full of hope when everything seems to be going our way. Or like being courageous when we aren’t afraid. Nothing phenomenal ever came from that.
– Melissa La Flamme

little more to say
my only child, my son,
I’ve little to say, but that I’m sorry ·
sorry for every way I may have led you astray –
I tried desperately to teach you to think,
though my own thought is edgeless
and ever-flawed –
I left every window open ·
every door ajar,
to allow for your wandering, yet…
yet the culture, the culture ·
alien to me ·
naïve and primitive as it is ·
human culture is a devouring tide ·
a whirlpool of cascading error ·
a maelstrom of distraction,
and illusion
that pulls down even the strongest minds,
often into overwhelming, festering chronic fear ·
often into a parallel madness ·
a civil, passive, obedient madness,
but madness, nonetheless –
fear nothing, my beloved son ·
practice courage in all things ·
I can say that ·
I know that much –
fear nothing ·
for death, and worse, is just a breath away –
think well · as deeply as you can ·
be thorough in your thinking ·
practice curiosity ·
dismiss all icons ·
believe not easily nor much ·
knowledge is a fluid, not a rock –
o, I know you’re confused · I know ·
at your age, I had left this culture
and lived as wild for years ·
you know the story ·
I am, the story ·
I was not confused ·
you know that story, too –
and yes, most of human history
is incomplete and entirely untrue ·
it has always been so ·
we pay for that, all of us,
every day, we pay –
we are forever paying the debts of liars ·
shamans and charlatans ·
a thousand ancient liars
remembered, in error –
the narcissistic prophets
with god in their ear ·
the credit-card phone healers ·
the self-forgiving priests ·
the holy hypocrites ·
the wordy truth-sellers ·
they have ever been with us –
be kind, but do not listen ·
they often deeply believe their own lies –
did I mention, madness?
and yes…
science is by far the most potent power we have –
yet science, is out of control,
and has been so
since that burning box of promises
was opened long ago –
o, I want you to think, and well ·
yet how can we think well
when the data we have
is a tangle of lies, eh?
when the so-called great and holy men
of the past are either fictions, frauds,
or time-polished hypocrites? –
criminals in soft disguise –
how can we think, with lies?
I have little more to say before I go
and leave this world to you and yours,
but that I cannot suppress my shame,
and I am sorry to leave you
with so many debts, to pay —
– E.M.

You False Masters of Serenity
Damn all you
false masters of serenity,
gurus of the happy.
is what it means
to be alive and free.
– David Budbill, from Moment to Moment

May we not neglect the silence
printed in the center of our being.
It will not fail us.
– Thomas Merton

The right way to wholeness is made up of fateful detours and wrong turnings.
– Carl Gustav Jung

So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall.
– Roald Dahl

Amy Ferris:
This is what I know.
Life is fucking short.
In a moment, on a dime, in a flash. Boom.
Do not take shit from anyone.
Don’t let anyone take away your shine.
Don’t say yes when every bone in your body is saying no.
Don’t say no when every bit of you is saying go for it.
Take risks.
Take walks.
Take chances.
Take your time.
Take your meds.
Take. Receive.
Let all that good shit in.
Stand up for every single thing and every single person you believe in, especially – especially – if folks are telling you to stay quiet, in the background, out of view.
Be loud.
Be messy.
Be noisy.
Don’t stay quiet, it’ll eat away at you.
Don’t let anyone keep you from speaking the truth – speak the truth, your truth, and if folks don’t wanna believe you or hear it; if they dismiss you – tell them to fuck off.
Be kind, being nice carries too much of a burden.
Be good. Goodness multiplies.
Be love. Love is fucking contagious. Spread love. Spread it everywhere.
Be generous. Generosity has no expiration date.
Be inclusive. Remember when you weren’t included and it ripped away at you, hurt your heart – made you think you weren’t good enough, lovable, wanted… be inclusive. Inclusivity reaps dividends.
Do not go to the end of the line. Start a new line.
Do not wait to be loved.
Love yourself right now, this minute.
And mostly what I know,
what I really know:
anyone who doesn’t love you,
want you, like you, respect you,
value you, hold you close & dear;
think the world of you,
anyone who dismisses you,
excludes you,
doesn’t give you the kudos
or credit you deserve,
anyone who mistreats you-
does not deserve the privilege of you.
You are not an afterthought.
You are not a maybe.
You are not plan b.
You are not second tier.
You are not an almost.
You are not a probably.
You are not disposable.
You are not replaceable.
You are not a raincheck.
No more crumbs, people.
No more fucking crumbs.
Beginning of story.

There was never a more innocent time;
it was you that was innocent.

One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion.
– Simone de Beauvoir

You will fail at some point in your life. Accept it. You will lose. You will embarrass yourself. You will suck at something.
– Denzel Washington

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

When you sit with a friend in pain,
when their world no longer makes sense;
when confusion rages and
no rest is to be found.
Just for a moment,
will you resist the temptation
to make things better,
to reassure them,
to provide answers,
even to heal them?
Will you offer your stillness, your listening,
your presence, and the warmth
of your immediacy?
Will you hold them in your heart,
with the same tenderness
of a mother holding her little one?
Will you embrace them where they are,
without needing them to change or transform
according to your own needs and schedule?
Will you stay close,
holding your own impatience
and discomfort near?
Will you look into their eyes
and see yourself?
Will you stay in the inferno of healing
with them, trusting in disintegration,
knowing that you are only witnessing
the falling away of an old dream?
Sometimes in doing nothing
everything is undone,
and love is revealed to be
the only true medicine.
– Matt Licata & Jeff Foster

Sometimes, when you heal, your body gets all better.
Infections leave. Wounds disappear.
You feel happier. Brighter. More positive.
Sometimes, healing looks very, very different.
An infection stays. An old pain resurfaces.
You don’t feel ‘healed’ at all. You feel worse than ever!
Powerful and uncomfortable feelings emerge!
Rage. Deep sorrow. Terrors you never knew were in you!
(Ah, but they were, friend, they were…)
This is healing, too. This falling apart.
The image of ‘healing’ has been shattered.
The image was false.
Trust. Trust the energies that are moving through you now.
You may feel ‘worse’, yes, but you are getting better at living.
You are experiencing a deeper kind of healing,
one which doesn’t match the mind’s fantasies.
This is a reintegration. A death… and a rebirth.
Darkness emerging into light.
All the bits you ran away from,
coming to you now
for love and acceptance.
Throw away your childhood fantasies of healing.
Fall apart. Lose the future.
Die into the Now.
Break apart for love.
You are whole, even though
your dreams have been shattered.
This is true healing, then:
Recontacting the Wholeness that you are.
– Jeff Foster

We have to act in the world as dynamos of that divine electricity and send it thrilling and radiating through [hu]mankind, so that wherever one of us stands, hundreds around may become full of his light and force, full of God and full of Ananda. Churches, Orders, theologies, philosophies have failed to save [hu]mankind because they have busied themselves with intellectual creeds, dogmas, rites and institutions, with a ̄ca ̄ras ́uddhi and dars ́ana, as if these could save [hu]mankind, and have neglected the one thing needful, the power and purification of the soul.
– Sri Aurobindo

The farthest point is often the
nearest heart. We are too often
bound by what we think we are,
and what life has told us that we
can be.

We lose our childhood, our sense

of awe and wonder. We are beaten

by our need for acceptance, and our

foolish pride’s need for success.

Then, as we grow older, we begin to

lose things. The ground we’re standing

on is no longer firm. The illusions we

have followed begin to dissipate.

And the value of small moments, and

tiny miracles, becomes clearer.

It is then, and only then, that we realize

that each breath is eternity. And that the

only things that we own, are what we

choose to give. We take nothing with

us but our understanding… and a deep

sense of gratitude.
– Eric Cockrell

As for me, I am a watercolor.
I wash off.
– Anne Sexton

I keep writing about the ordinary because for me it’s the home of the extraordinary.
– Philip Levine

I needed these reminders, right now.
I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction.
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. I believe that even amid today’s mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men. I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will proclaim the rule of the land. ‘And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid.’ I still believe that We Shall overcome!
This faith can give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, we will know that we are living in the creative turmoil of a genuine civilization struggling to be born…
– Reverend Martin Luther King’s Acceptance Speech, on the occasion of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, December 10, 1964

Fred LaMotte:
When my heart softens
it has no circumference.
This is power.
When my mind wanders
free from control

it achieves true discipline.

Wherever I meander

there’s an amber stillness

at the center 
of some flowering,

some silent laughter

that has no name.

This is the fragrance of

Om mani padme hum,

the sound

of the Effortless.

Freedom’s Pledge
if I could break the last restraint,
I’d bring the cup of kindness.
if I could but hear every voice,

I’d answer in a moment.

if I could but tear down every wall,

I’d build bridges from the pieces.

if I could feel every tear,

I’d give them all a name.

if I could reach every hungry person,

I’d give them all a plate.

if I could reach every homeless person,

I’d give them all a blanket.

if I could encounter every returning soldier,

I’d listen to their story.

if I could help the unemployed,

I’d give them all a job.

if I could help the working poor,

I’d pay them a living wage.

if I could do anything for the disabled,

I’d give them respect.

if I could stand for those discriminated


I’d fight for their equality.

if I could face the victims of our wars,

I’d ask for their forgiveness.

if I could walk with the children who fear,

I’d disarm ignorance.

if I could face the crooked who would

I’d remove them from office.

if I could make a mark before I die,

it would be the mark of love…

if I could do anything to save this planet,

I’d gladly give my life.
– Eric Cockrell

When hit by boredom, let yourself be crushed by it; submerge, hit bottom. In general, with things unpleasant, the rule is: The sooner you hit bottom, the faster you surface. The idea here is to exact a full look at the worst. The reason boredom deserves such scrutiny is that it represents pure, undiluted time in all its repetitive, redundant, monotonous splendor.

Boredom is your window on the properties of time that one tends to ignore to the likely peril of one’s mental equilibrium. It is your window on time’s infinity. Once this window opens, don’t try to shut it; on the contrary, throw it wide open.
– Joseph Brodsky

Of course time is running out. It always
has been a creek heading east, the freight
of water with its surprising heaviness
following the slant of the land, its destiny.
What is lovelier than a creek or riverine thicket?
Say it is an unknown benefactor who gave us
birds and Mozart, the mystery of trees and water
and all living things borrowing time.
Would I still love the creek if I lasted forever?
– Jim Harrison
from The Debtors
the hammock papers

Black holes ain’t as black as they are painted. They are not the eternal prisons they were once thought. Things can get out of a black hole both on the outside and possibly to another universe. So if you feel you are in a black hole, don’t give up — there’s a way out.
– Stephen Hawking

We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe.
– Stephen Hawking

It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.
– Steven Hawking

I no longer have nightmares at all. Literature has appeased my anxieties.
– Jorge Semprún

Anything you want to ask a teacher, ask yourself,
and wait for the answer in silence.
– Byron Katie

What I Know: 1. What you don’t know, you’re not supposed to know yet. 2. More will be revealed. 3 Crisis means to sift. Let it all fall away and you’ll be left with what matters. 4.What matters most cannot be taken away. 5. Just do the next right thing one thing at a time. That’ll take you all the way home.
– Glennon Doyle

There is something in the human spirit that will survive and prevail, there is a tiny and brilliant light burning in the heart of man that will not go out no matter how dark the world becomes.
– Leo Tolstoy

The Wise Prime Minister
There is the story of a prime minister of a great country who used to go to a teacher in the forest and all the teacher would say to him is, “All is well and unfolding as it should.” This was the entire teaching. Then there would be silence. The prime minister of the country went to this teacher for five years. He didn’t understand what was going on, but he had faith in the teacher and in God and in himself. So he just kept repeating “All is well and unfolding as it should.”
One day he became totally immersed in consciousness. He lost the body-mind idea, transcended the I-thought and became absolutely free, became radiantly happy, inner joy, inner bliss.
One day the head chef of the palace caught his wife kissing one of the cooks in the kitchen and he became angry, he became upset. He wanted to kill her, but before he did anything, he went to the prime minister and he said, “Prime minister, what can you do to help me? I caught my wife with another man. I want to kill her. What should I do?” And the prime minister said, “Don’t worry. All is well and unfolding as it should.” And the chef got upset. He got mad and went away, saying to himself, “How can he tell me that? I asked him for help and all he told me was, All is well.”
Now it happened that the chief of the guards of the palace was due a promotion. And somebody else got promoted in his place. And he became upset. And he decided to see the prime minister to ask his advice. He told the prime minister what happened and the prime minister just smiled and he said, “Don’t worry. All is well and unfolding as it should.” And the chief of the guards said, “What?” And he went away angry, mumbling to himself. He happened to bump into the chef whose wife had been unfaithful. And they related their stories to each other. And he said, “The prime minister told me the same thing. Lets fix him good. Lets plan to do something to him. What can we do?”
They happened to pass the royal barber shop and the king was taking his royal shave. The barber slipped with the razor and cut the king’s neck. Blood was flowing all over the place. And they ran in and helped bandage the kings neck. When they left, they came up with a plan. And they ran to the prime minister and they said, “Prime minister, our king has cut himself shaving and he’s in extreme pain. What do you think of that?” And the prime minister said, “All is well and everything is unfolding as it should.” That’s what they wanted to hear!
So they ran to the king and they said, “Your Majesty, we told the prime minister about your terrible accident, and he didn’t even care. All he did was say, “All is well,” laughing, and “everything is unfolding as it should.” And the king says, “What! Bring him to me!” And the palace guards brought him to the king. And the king looked the prime minister in the face and he said, “Look at my neck, it’s bandaged and it hurts like hell. What do you think of that?” The prime minister merely said, “Your Majesty, all is well and everything is unfolding as it should.” And the king got real angry and he said, “Put him in the dungeon!” So he threw the prime minister in the dungeon.
Now it was Wednesday afternoon, and normally every Wednesday afternoon the king went horseback riding with the prime minister. But of course the prime minister was in the dungeon so he went horseback riding by himself.
Now the forest had a tribe of Goddess worshippers. And this was the time of year when they captured someone and sacrificed that person to their Goddess as that was their custom. So the chief of the tribe said, “Go bring me a pure person for the sacrifice.” So they searched and they searched and they couldn’t find anybody. Then they saw the king coming. They grabbed the king. They didn’t care who he was, and took him to the tribe. And the chief looked at him and he said, “Take off his clothes.” Which they did. Then he saw the cut in his neck bandaged. And he said to his guards, “How dare you bring me a person like this? Can’t you see he’s impure? He has a cut in his neck. We only sacrifice a pure person. Get rid of him.”
They took him back to the forest and let him go. Now the king was running back to the palace and he thought this over. And he realized that if he had not cut himself, he would have been sacrificed. And he sent for the prime minister and told him this story. He said, “You were right. If it weren’t for the cut in my neck, I would have been sacrificed to the Goddess.” And the prime minister said, “Not only that, Your Majesty, but I usually go riding with you. They would have caught us both and I would have been sacrificed if you didn’t throw me in the dungeon. So I must thank you for saving my life!”
So you see the moral of the story?
No matter how things may look, no matter how things may appear, every situation in this world has a beginning, a middle and an end, but all is well and everything is unfolding as it should.
Take a look at your life, all of the times that you interfered with the condition be-cause you didn’t believe it was the right condition. And you caused problems for yourself and for all concerned. Everything will always work out. There are no mistakes. You have to feel that. You have to have faith in yourself and in the powers that be. While you are working in this world, do not react to things. For you are only seeing a partial story.
It’s like the example of the keyhole I give you. A person looks through a keyhole and they see one part of the picture. They see somebody stabbing somebody else with a knife, and that’s horrible, very bad. But let’s imagine they open the door and they see the whole picture. They will probably see that in a previous life the man who was being stabbed, stabbed the person who is stabbing him. And now in this life the same thing is happening to him. And when he looks further, he will see the one being stabbed and the one who is doing the stabbing both laughing. For nothing has happened to them at all in
reality. So you see, we always get a partial picture. We never get the whole truth. This is why we are told not to react! This is why we are told, whenever a situation confronts us, act from the point of wisdom by not reacting. Yet, your body will do something. When I say to not react, I mean mentally.
First, if you do not react mentally, and you are at peace with yourself, your body will take the right course of action in order to transcend that situation and you will not have to go through it again. But say you react, and you seem to get your way and win, whatever the situation is. This simply means that you have put your karma in abeyance for awhile. The results have not hit you yet. You stopped them, for awhile. But according to the law of karma, you’re going to have to go through it at one time or another. If you do not react mentally, divine right action will take place and you will transcend and not have to go through that experience. This is the way to live in the world.
– Sri Robert Adams

Don’t bother about being modern. Unfortunately it is the one thing that, whatever you do, you cannot avoid.
– Salvador Dalí

I love sleep. My life has a tendency to fall apart when I’m awake.
– Ernest Hemingway

Any kind of creative activity is likely to be stressful. The more anxiety, the more you feel that you are headed in the right direction. Easiness, relaxation, comfort—these are not conditions that usually accompany serious work.
– Joyce Carol Oates

Marc David:
It’s time to access the wisdom of the greatest nutrition consultant on the planet – you.

Woman, what would you be like seen from the sky?
My little plane sputters and coughs, I scramble
onto the wing. The wind whips across the fuselage.
Who needs a parachute? Wheat fields, a river,
your pastures rush toward me to embrace me.
– Stephen Dobyns

I found your old love letters,
Full of poems you never published,
Did it matter? They were only for me.
– Kenneth Rexroth

Nothing: a landscape, a glass of wine, a little loveless love, and the vague sadness caused by our understanding nothing and having lost the little we’re given.
– Álvaro de Campos

I took my Power in my Hand-
And went against the World-
‘Twas not so much as David-had-
But I-was twice as bold-
– Emily Dickinson

Dear one, you can dream
countless worlds without
falling into them.
Don’t cling to stories,
and don’t cling to the story

about not having a story.

Then you can play

in the bubbling sea

of silence

where the vacuum thrills

with virtual photons,

earth is born from your gaze,

and intimate bodies 
dance in emptiness.

It’s not that there isn’t any I,

but that trillions of I’s
sing and dissolve

in every ripple of the Void,

all of them crying,
– Fred LaMotte

José Luis G. Soler:
– Define patriarchy in one word
– Coercion. Political, psychological, religious coercion. But the androgynous Sleeping Beauty of relationship is waking up, at last…

Nearer to the earth’s heart,
Deeper within its silence:
Animals know this world
In a way we never will.
Stranded between time
Gone and time emerging,
We manage seldom
To be where we are:
Whereas they are always
Looking out from
The here and now.
May we learn to return
And rest in the beauty
Of animal being,
Learn to lean low,
Leave our locked minds,
And with freed senses
Feel the earth
Breathing with us.
May we learn to walk
Upon the earth
With all their confidence
And clear-eyed stillness
So that our minds
Might be baptized
In the name of the wind
And the light and the rain.
– John O’Donohue

Alison Rose Levy:
If you allow them to take it all away— all the democratic expressions which we have been blessed to live with— then you haven’t earned them because you haven’t learned their value— enough to devote yourself full time to protecting them.

Marc David:
Many people have been taught to believe that food is indeed the enemy. This is a powerfully toxic belief that can limit our metabolism, and our life.

‎Peter N Sherburn-Zimmer‎:
Bathe thy Borrowings
What is left:
A spring &
A petal of spring—

I hear – I see,

A fragrant stillness remains.

Zen is a lovable sword which cuts ego continuously.

A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says is never accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something that he can understand.
– Bertrand Russell

The Earth is blue as an orange
Never a mistake words don’t lie
They don’t give you to sing anymore.
The kiss of kisses
Fools and loves

Her mouth of alliance

All Secrets All smiles

And what vêtements garments

To believe her naked.
Wasps bloom green
Dawn goes around the neck
A window necklace
Wings Cover the leaves
You have all the sun joys
All the sun on the earth
On the paths of your beauty.
– Paul eluard

Zen is a art of unlearning

No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.
– Alan Watts

When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.
– Krishnamurti

As an artist I come to sing, but as a citizen, I will always speak for peace, and no one can silence me in this.
– Paul Robeson

Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.
– Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

I think of the word ‘panic’ and how it is related to the god Pan and his Springtime awakening of the Dionysian life forces each year. His more proper name is ‘Awe of the Eternal Time.’ My etymology dictionary says that the word ‘pan’ was used freely in Greece in the sense of ‘wholly, completely, of all, by all’. A Jungian analyst, Edward Edinger, says:
When the ego is identified with spirit, nature becomes demonic – witness the fact that Pan and Dionysus were recast as versions of the devil by Christian mentality.
– Cathy Woods, “A Personal Story of Awakening – Dissolution”

Beginner’s Folly
“Beginner’s Folly” refers to wanting to gather as much information as possible on a subject before allowing oneself to experience it wholeheartedly. Ultimately it is experiencing that transforms, not endless information.
It is like walking: learning and application need to proceed in equal strides for balanced growth that nourishes head, heart and hands (thinking, feeling and doing).
Learn. Apply. Reflect.
Learn. Apply. Reflect.
Learn. Apply. Reflect.
This rythmn is best.

The chance to find a pasque-flower is a right as inalienable as free speech.
– Aldo Leopold, Sand County Almanac

Corporate America vs. Human America
In some ways we are perhaps lucky. Because we can now see exactly what the world of the Corporations will actually look like. Disorganized autocratic government that takes it’s orders from corporate leaders. Lots of noise, pomp and posturing but the rich guys mostly get what they want. The delegates to the Constitutional Congress promoted the guidance by the economic elite. But they envisioned an ever expanding group, enlightened to pursue the common good and to build a platform for the common man to become more, much more. They must now be spinning in the graves at what their fellows have done to their beloved nation. What they have done to the enlightened guidance they left to us as a national legacy. They knew the dangers of religion dominated government and the need for an independent and free-thinking media. That’s why they included them in their legacy to us. Checks and balances were deemed by them to be the corner stone of a working democracy. And yet our latest President does all of the things that an authoritarian would pursue. Family in important posts and generals in others. At every turn he seeks to diminish the great gift to us, that is our legacy too.
We live within an authoritarian economy. With them in charge, of course they would prefer a structure like their creation, the vampire economy. They have at every opportunity advanced their self-serving philosophy, taken from us and given to them every advantage as they diminish our value as people. They have claimed as theirs every pool of money, every pool of the public’s money and realized that too many educated and smart people not in their control, is a bad thing for them. So education, healthcare not a profit center for them and independent thinking have become their targets to attack.
So I ask you “How democratic is your workplace?” If it’s like those I have worked in, not very. Their priorities are very different from ours. The look to build for themselves and everything else is just a hurtle to be jumped. But we as Progressives look to build a nation, a society and a humanity. That’s why they fear and hate us so much. I also see it as a badge of honor to be a Progressive. Because we are the future. We look to build a happy and advanced society for all. Because in that way by letting each of us to reach our potential, we become human beings. They look to build a perfect world for them and a dystopian one for us. And seek to keep us as intelligent animals. Capable of following their orders but not looking for more.
– RC Romine

Do not think that the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice non-attachment from your views in order to be open to receive other’s viewpoints. Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge. Be ready to learn throughout your entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

I know what I have given to you.
I do not know what you have received.
– Antonio Porchia
translated by W.S. Merwin

Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.
– Barbara Kingsolver⠀

Though others have appeared
In answer to my call
In ignorance and fear
I sabotaged them all
But from you I could not turn

Where I had turned before

My heart would only burn

If I tried to close the door
Maybe on a dare
But by some saving grace
You caught the desperate prayer
I sent hurtling through space
You must have heard that prayer
For through the dream you came
And I am falling into love
Like a moth into a flame
What a lucky heart
Burdened by the weight
Of a love too big to bear
And what a hopeless fate
To be in the tiger’s jaws
Having lost the chase
Dying into life
What a deep embrace
What a blessed life

As friendships grow closer, conflict becomes more difficult to avoid. And this is often a good thing. Because the closer we get to each other’s hearts, the more triggers rise into view. Because you can’t fully know someone until you ignite each other’s ire. Because you won’t know if a connection has legs, until it’s tested by conflict. And when it is, there is a choice to be made- walk away in disgust, or walk towards in an effort to deepen the connection. Conflict isn’t the adversary of connection. Fear of confrontation… is.
– Jeff Brown

If you yourself are at peace, then there is at least some peace in the world.
– Thomas Merton

If you are the morning, my tears are your morning dew.
If I am the traveler’s night, you are the dusk of my evening.
– Allama Iqbal

At one time in the world, there were woods that no one owned.
– Cormac McCarthy

Refuse to be an accomplice. Don’t lie—don’t keep your eyes shut.
– Simone Weil

Nothing was ever in tune. People just blindly grabbed at whatever there was: communism, health foods, zen, surfing, ballet, hypnotism, group encounters, biking, herbs, Catholicism, weight-lifting, travel, withdrawal, vegetarianism, India, painting, writing, sculpting, composing, conducting, backpacking, yoga, copulating, gambling, drinking, hanging around, frozen yogurt, Beethoven, Back, Buddha, Christ, TM, H, carrot juice, suicide, handmade suits, jet travel, New York City, and then it all evaporated and fell apart. People had to find things to do while waiting to die. I guess it was nice to have a choice.
– Charles Bukowski, Women

Because the relationship between self and world is reciprocal, it is not a matter of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the Earth, the Earth heals us. No need to wait. As we care enough to take risks, we loosen the grip of ego and begin to come home to our true nature. For in the co-arising nature of things, the world itself, if we are bold enough to love it, acts through us. It does not ask us to be pure or perfect, or wait until we are detached from all passions, but only to care to harness the sweet, pure intention of our deepest passions, and, as the early scripture of the Mother of the Buddhas says, “fly like a Bodhisattva.
– Joanna Macy

Thomas Moore:
At times of personal and social transformation, a long period of alchemical putrefaction induces a necessary fear and bitter reflection so that new life can rise.

The Doha of Sadness
By Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
The rain of the jnana-amrita of the ultimate lineage,
Always uncorrupted, you skillfully bestow upon my heart.

The only father guru, remembering you constantly,

I, Chogaym, your little son, remain in sadness.
In devotion firm as an unchanging mountain,
Truly seeing you alone as the Buddha,
In foreign lands, in sadness, with reverence,
I survive by the amrita of your blessings.
In the spotless mirror of mind,
Enjoying the dance of self-liberated yogic discipline,
Listening to the sad doha
I, Chogyam, the little child, am dying of sadness.
Tormented by the hot rays of the fire of passion,
Having completely burned up the fuel of alaya,
I have exhausted grasping for sophistries of liberation and confusion.
Isn’t this the kindness of the only father guru?
By the sharp blade of the weapon of aggression,
Thoroughly piercing the fixation of mind,
I have discovered the nature of penetrating insight.
My only father, you are very kind.
In the dark, narrow gorge of delusion,
Having aroused a hundred thousand turbulent waves of dharmata,
Free from accepting and rejecting, thoughts of I and other,
Isn’t this the kindness of the only father guru?
You, my only father guru, have gone far away.
My vajra brothers and sisters have wandered to the ends of the earth.
Only I, Chogyam, the little child, am left.
Still for the teachings of the profound and brilliant Practice Lineage,
I am willing to surrender my life in sadness.

Acts of compassion are eternal; they live forever shining their rays throughout the Universe.
– Chogyam Trungpa

Us and them’ is a fundamental fault line in our brains
– Robert Sapolsky

No, that is the great fallacy: the wisdom of old men. They do not grow wise. They grow careful.
– Ernest Hemingway

All oppression creates a state of war.
– Simone de Beauvoir

My soul desires are not motivated by scarcity. The soul holds expectations loosely and is not attached to the outcome. The soul takes her time, embraces the slow ripening of things, and savors what is to be learned from the process. I can take a deep breath and feel a sense of spaciousness around my soul desires.
– Christine Valters Paintner

Whether we comprehend it or not it is important to allow ourselves to be open to the idea that we could well have more potential than we ever dreamed. Our being is a brilliant pattern of energies, a spectrum of possibility… One of the most enlivening, exciting, and fulfilling discoveries we can make as human beings is finding that our emotions are actually reflections of our awakened, enlightened, potentialities.
– Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen

Chuck Brodsky:
Sometimes the most effective way to fight back is to make something beautiful

Gunilla Norris:
It’s important to push when we care about an issue or a project, but continual pushing doesn’t get us all the results we want. It is a paradox that giving things a rest opens new insights, creativity and new ways of doing things.

I feel ancient, as though I had
Lived many lives.
And may never now know
If I am a fool
Or have done what my karma demands.

- Gary Snyder

May the sun bring you new energy by day
May the moon softly restore you by night
May the rain wash away your worries
May the breeze blow new strength into your being

May you walk gently through the world and know its

beauty all the days of your life.
– Apache blessing

Theoretical understanding alone is simply not enough to overcome the psychological and biological habits that create so much headache and pain in daily life. For real transformation to occur, theory has to be applied through practice.
– Mingyur Rinpoche

The writer does not and should not have the last word. That belongs to the reader.
– Tobias Wolff

The quality of our relationships is what determines the quality of our lives.
– Esther Perel

Afternoons grow longer. Mountains wait.
Winds are hot with news of other struggles.
The north world listens and learns.
Migrant birds of all species, even grounded ones,
live to tell the story.
– Leticia Nieto

I wanted to grow up and just be a reader, just be someone who read.
– Lydia Davis

for Stephen Hawking
When we wake up brushed by panic in the dark
our pupils grope for the shape of things we know.
Photons loosed from slits like greyhounds at the track
reveal light’s doubleness in their cast shadows
that stripe a dimmed lab’s wall — particles no more —
and with a wave bid all certainties goodbye.
For what’s sure in a universe that dopplers
away like a siren’s midnight cry? They say
a flash seen from on and off a hurtling train
will explain why time dilates like a perfect
afternoon; predicts black holes where parallel lines
will meet, whose stark horizon even starlight,
bent in its tracks, can’t resist. If we can think
this far, might not our eyes adjust to the dark?
– Sarah Howe

Your search among books, word upon word, may lead you to depths of knowledge, but it is not the way to receive the reflection of your true self.
– Dogen

Man is a thinking reed but his great works are done when he is not calculating and thinking. “Childlikeness” has to be restored with long years of training in the art of self-forgetfulness.
When this is attained, man thinks yet he does not think. He thinks like the showers coming down from the sky; he thinks like the waves rolling on the ocean; he thinks like the stars illuminating the nightly heavens; he thinks like the green foliage shooting forth in the relaxing spring breeze. Indeed, he is the showers, the ocean, the stars, the foliage..
– D.T. Suzuki

Nicholas Pierotti:
The problem is politics. The solution is community.

If it be true that one’s best friend is that individual who can make us do our best, then the trail is the most powerful of all silent friends. It kindly compels us to do our best without one word of advice. It teaches us as though it taught us not.
– Enos Mills

Think of your body as a servant or a thing to carry you about,
Do not allow it to rest in idleness for a single moment.
Use it well, push your body, speech and mind to virtue.
– Chatral Rinpoche

Today a new sun rises for me; everything lives, everything is animated, everything seems to speak to me of my passion, everything invites me to cherish it.
– Anne De Lenclos

We monitor many frequencies. We listen always. Came a voice, out of the babel of tongues, speaking to us. It played us a mighty dub.
– William Gibson, sci-fi cyber-punk author, from the novel, Neuromancer

Andrew Sweeny:
A song should speak for itself, it requires no explanations. One shouldn’t need to speculate about what it is about, as I am doing here. A song belongs to the listener, not the singer-the singer cannot really hear his own song, in the same way he cannot see his own eyes. The singer is blindfolded, the audience tells him where the donkey is so to speak. He closes his eyes, he let’s go of his intellectual control, he feels the different parts, the head, the tale, the body of the song.
Songs are born before they are understood, they are ‘feeling’ expressions, rather than intellectual expressions-even if they contain highly abstract poetic ideas. A song can be profound, without the artist knowing why it is so-it can be prophetic, in other words. How else would you explain how a pimpled faced, no-nothing near adolescent like Bob Dylan could write such deep songs. The thing is: Bob Dylan didn’t write the songs. The ‘holy spirit’ open-ended up in his heart, and the songs poured through.
When you get older, you become more self-conscious. You have to constantly work, to access that eden of creativity, which is a place prior to conscious obsession. You have to keep yourself open, to avoid becoming habitual in your reactions. Youth is a time for play and experimentation-adulthood is a time for assimilation, for meditation, for understanding the shocks and crisis of youth. Most singers lose their song, because their being becomes crystallised. The lose access to that garden of Eden, they lose the key.
But for other artists, the grapes become wine. There is a deepening, in other words.
When I was younger, I had a sort of creative explosion, where I wrote hundreds of songs. At that time I didn’t really know what they were about, I just had feelings about them. Today I write more slowly, I am more careful, I know what I mean when I say something. I don’t beg the muse, I ask her gently-I don’t write out of desperation, but there is more joy involved.
If I compare my earlier work, to the later-I see this difference. When I was young, I was on fire. And I got burnt. And I lost the fire. But the fire never went away. It just became cool, blue, more intentional.
Free the prisoners is an album about freeing myself, not anybody else. I would dare tell anybody else how to free themselves, but I can testify to my own experience. The prisoners are the songs. They are the sea-gulls caught in the barbed wire that surrounds the ocean of the heart, they need to be released. The prison is the minds self-obsession, the bounded space, which doesn’t let the heart be free.
Leonard Cohen called this the crisis of a song. You don’t sing the blues, unless you are a prisoner, unless you are in crisis. You can’t know joy, unless you have seen the prison walls. You will just remain innocent, but not be wise. You have to lose consciousness to find it again.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet – CV
Let not my love be called idolatry,
Nor my beloved as an idol show,
Since all alike my songs and praises be

To one, of one, still such, and ever so.

Kind is my love to-day, to-morrow kind,

Still constant in a wondrous excellence;

Therefore my verse to constancy confined,

One thing expressing, leaves out difference.

Fair, kind, and true, is all my argument,

Fair, kind, and true, varying to other words;

And in this change is my invention spent,

Three themes in one, which wondrous scope affords.

Fair, kind, and true, have often lived alone,

Which three till now, never kept seat in one.

Your art is the Holy Ghost blowing through your soul.
– Jack Kerouac

David Bedrick:
Here’s a few reasons:
– So that we can respect illness (e.g., Yesterday I had a powerful headache, it took me away from the outer world with a power I never knew was in me.”)
- So that we can honor depression (e.g., “I used to have a corporate life, now I’ve been down for months wrestling with demons that most can’t see.”)
- So that we can value relationship conflict (e.g., “I used to get along with everyone, now I speak my truth and have learned to grow in the fire.”)
- So that we can accept failure (e.g., Once I valued progress, now I as I get closer to death, it’s no longer progress that I value, but the open moment of the heart.”)

Tweet of the Morning:
Nobody talks about Jesus’ miracle of having 12 close friends in his 30s.

Higher and farther. I see a bird, you and I are its wings. It takes us to a place beyond vision, on a journey with no end and no beginning, no intention, no objective. I do not speak to you, nor do you speak with me. We only hear the music of silence.
– Mahmoud Darwish

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the music of laughter break through your soul.
As the wind wants to make everything dance,
May your gravity be lightened by grace.
…As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.
As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May a sense of irony give you perspective.
As time remains free of all that it frames,
May fear or worry never put you in chains.
May your prayer of listening deepen enough
To hear in the distance the laughter of God.
– John O’Donohue

The hero is ridiculed because he is both too simple and too profound, for the modern intellect. The disembodied intellect cannot find the hero, and therefore he declares him dead. This is why are lost in the postmodern vacuum, without God or mystic friend to guide us.
– Andrew Sweeney

An ethical discourse which gives central place to empathy as emotional identification draws our attention away from questions of culture and power. Ethics isn’t just about single acts of evil or virtue. Evil is not overcome merely by identifying and correcting the dysfunction of individual brains. It’s inseparably bound in to what is made possible or impossible by structures of habit, belief, and advantage.
– Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury

The struggle to grow and live fully must involve descent as well as ascent. Downward movement personalizes and upward movement eternalizes. Thus, the genuine way is made by answering both the call to spirit and the pull of soul. Spirit continually calls us to awaken to a greater sense of self, while soul would have us connect more deeply to the world.
– Michael Meade

Once in a lifetime, perhaps, one escapes the actual confines of the flesh. Once in a lifetime, if one is lucky, one so merges with sunlight and air and running water that whole eons, the eons that mountains and deserts know, might pass in a single afternoon without discomfort. The mind has sunk away into its beginnings among old roots and the obscure tricklings and movings that stir inanimate things. Like the charmed fairy circle into which a man once stepped, and upon emergence learned that a whole century had passed in a single night, one can never quite define this secret; but it has something to do, I am sure, with common water. Its substance reaches everywhere; it touches the past and prepares the future, it moves under the poles and wanders thinly in the heights of air. It can assume forms of exquisite perfection in a snowflake, or strip the living to a single shining bone cast up by the sea.
Many years ago, in the course of some scientific investigations in a remote western country, I experienced, by chance, precisely the sort of curious absorption by water – the extension of shape by osmosis – at which I have been hinting. You have probably never experienced in yourself the meandering roots of a whole watershed or felt your outstretched fingers touching, by some kind of clairvoyant extension, the brooks of snow-line glaciers at the same time that you were flowing toward the Gulf over the eroded debris of worn-down mountains.
– Loren Eiseley
The Immense Journey

The supreme sign of a great practitioner is not that he sprouts a halo, has extraordinarily auspicious dreams, experiences bliss continuously, or can foresee our miserable futures. The supreme sign is that he no longer has any interest in material gain, fame, the respect of others, or being the centre of attention.
– Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

I say to everybody, love is what wakes you up in the morning, love is what makes you walk, and love is what makes you hope.
– Jerry Lewis

The dance of renewal, the dance that made the world, was always danced here at the edge of things, on the brink, on the foggy coast.
– Ursula K Le Guin

The mistake of mistakes is the apparently plausible notion that to say something one has to say something. But what the artist has to present is wordless. Art brings out and presents to the mind the living structure—lines of the cosmos: this presentation reveals to us the proportions of our being: this revelation sets our minds in harmony for a moment: and this harmony is the bath of life.
– Joseph Campbell

Lyna Rose:
When you will let your soul come forth, there will be nothing in this world that can stop it because it comes from beyond this world.
The soul generates more energy than the rest of our being so it is more powerful than this world if we let it be.

Reading isn’t important because it helps get you a job. It’s important because it gives you room to exist beyond the reality you’re given.
– Matt Haig

Andrew Sweeny:
When Beckett came to Paris, he decided to write in French. He felt he had become too proficient or ‘too good’ in English. Writing in a language that wasn’t his own created a dissonance that both deepened the writing and gave it freshness: the kind of freshness is sacrificed when when we get stuck in the repetitive grooves of cultural habit. Similarly, the Pianist Keith Jarrett, spent a great deal of time trying to compose with his left hand — to train himself, paradoxically, in innocence. Being an immigrant is just like that: living with your left hand when you are right handed, or visa versa.
When we are not a little awkward — when we know too much — we are in trouble. Unknowing, unlearning our mechanical reactivity, creates access to a well of creativity. True originality doesn’t really necessitate being avant-garde in any gross sense but rather touching ones ‘origin’ — fresh perception. Real originality or authorship means that our ordinary dogmas no longer give us any respite or pleasure. We only find pleasure in what arises from that deeper well. It is totally unfamiliar and yet is our own deep heart and home.

Fred LaMotte:
I know the world hurts.
But there is a very safe place
right here, where your breath
arises, your heartbeat
is born, and the moon drinks
all the light she needs
from the stream of your silence.
Rest here, don’t be afraid.
And don’t come alone.
Bring thousands with you.

Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.
– ALBERT EINSTEIN, letter to Harmann Huth, Dec. 27, 1930

I believe we need our educational system to engage students with issues of ethics and responsibility in science and technology. We should treat required arts and humanities courses not as some vague attempt to “broaden minds” but rather as a necessary discussion of morals, values, ethics and responsibility.
– Richard Lachman

Susan Griffin:
Yes! Yes and yes again yes. Education should not be reductive, that is should not narrow but rather should expand hearts and minds.

A statement endowed with five factors is well spoken,
not ill-spoken. It is blameless and unfaulted by knowledgeable people.
Which five?
It is spoken at the right time.
It is spoken affectionately.

It is spoken in truth.

It is spoken with mind of good-will. 
It is spoken beneficially.
What other five conditions must be established?
Do I speak at the right time or not?
Do I speak of facts or not?
Do I speak gently or harshly?
Do I speak profitable words or not?
Do I speak with a kindly heart, or inwardly malicious?
– Vaca sutta

Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.
– Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

Bairavee Balasubramaniam:
Developing your psychic gifts in a balanced manner requires discernment, sensitivity, groundedness, compassion and detachment.
That´s a very tough juggling act. And it´s easier to do that without too many people and attachments in life. It is little wonder that mystics left their worldly lives and sought solitude instead of seeking to practice in the muddy, messy world of the here-and-now.
That might have worked in the Piscean Era. But I doubt that will work in the Age of Aquarius.
When we are emotionally invested in situations, people, ways of life and political views – it becomes a lot harder for us to actually read psychic currents without distorting what we´re perceiving.
This is why – as I´ve been saying for the past few days – to check and double check what is presenting itself to you as your ´intuition´.
If you are emotionally invested in a situation, take a step back. Get someone neutral to offer a perspective.
It´s the same reason why readers find it difficult to read for themselves and/or family members.
Stick to the tangibles and let the psychic stuff take a back seat instead.

Let woman out of the home, let man into it, should be the aim of education. The home needs man, and the world outside needs woman.
– Pearl S. Buck

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.
– Bertrand Russell

I write because I have nothing else to do in the world: I was left over and there is no place for me in the world of men. I write because I’m desperate and I’m tired, I can no longer bear the routine of being me and if not for the always novelty that is writing, I would die symbolically every day. But I am prepared to slip out discretely through the back exit. I’ve experienced almost everything, including passion and its despair. And now I’d like to have what I would have been and never was.
– Clarice Lispector, The Hour of the Star (translated by Benjamin Moser)

Art still has truth, take refuge there.
– Matthew Arnold

We live in a superficial, media-driven culture that often seems uncomfortable with true depths of feeling. Indeed, it seems as if our culture has become increasingly intolerant of that acute sorrow, that intense mental anguish and deep remorse which may be defined as grief. We want to medicate such sorrow away. We want to divide it into recognizable stages so that grief can be labeled, tamed, and put behind us. But poets have always celebrated grief as one of the deepest human emotions. To grieve is to lament, to mourn, to let sorrow inhabit one’s very being.
Robert Frost liked to distinguish between grievances (complaints) and griefs (sorrows). He even suggested that grievances, which are propagandistic, should be restricted to prose, “leaving poetry free to go its way in tears.” Implicit in poetry is the notion that we are deepened by heartbreaks, that we are not so much diminished as enlarged by grief, by our refusal to vanish – to let others vanish – without leaving a verbal record. Poetry is a stubborn art. The poet is one who will not be reconciled, who is determined to leave a trace in words, to transform oceanic depths of feeling into the faithful nuances of art.
– Edward Hirsch

Read poetry every day of your life. Poetry is good because it flexes muscles you don’t use often enough. Poetry expands the senses and keeps them in prime condition. It keeps you aware of your nose, your eye, your ear, your tongue, your hand. And, above all, poetry is compacted metaphor or simile. Such metaphors, like Japanese paper flowers, may expand outward into gigantic shapes. Ideas lie everywhere through the poetry books, yet how rarely have I heard short story teachers recommending them for browsing.
What poetry? Any poetry that makes your hair stand up along your arms. Don’t force yourself too hard. Take it easy. Over the years you may catch up to, move even with, and pass T. S. Eliot on your way to other pastures. You say you don’t understand Dylan Thomas? Yes, but your ganglion does, and your secret wits, and all your unborn children. Read him, as you can read a horse with your eyes, set free and charging over an endless green meadow on a windy day.
– Ray Bradbury
Zen in the Art of Writing

For Calling the Spirit Back
Wandering the Earth in Its Human Feet
by Joy Harjo
Put down that bag of potato chips, that white bread, that bottle of pop.
Turn off that cellphone, computer, and remote control.
Open the door, then close it behind you.
Take a breath offered by friendly winds. They travel the earth gathering essences of plants to clean.
Give it back with gratitude.
If you sing it will give your spirit lift to fly to the stars’ ears and back.
Acknowledge this earth who has cared for you since you were a dream planting itself precisely within your parents’ desire.
Let your moccasin feet take you to the encampment of the guardians who have known you before time, who will be there after time. They sit before the fire that has been there without time.
Let the earth stabilize your postcolonial insecure jitters.
Be respectful of the small insects, birds and animal people who accompany you.
Ask their forgiveness for the harm we humans have brought down upon them.
Don’t worry.
The heart knows the way though there may be high-rises, interstates, checkpoints, armed soldiers, massacres, wars, and those who will despise you because they despise themselves.
The journey might take you a few hours, a day, a year, a few years, a hundred, a thousand or even more.
Watch your mind. Without training it might run away and leave your heart for the immense human feast set by the thieves of time.
Do not hold regrets.
When you find your way to the circle, to the fire kept burning by the keepers of your soul, you will be welcomed.
You must clean yourself with cedar, sage, or other healing plant.
Cut the ties you have to failure and shame.
Let go the pain you are holding in your mind, your shoulders, your heart, all the way to your feet. Let go the pain of your ancestors to make way for those who are heading in our direction.
Ask for forgiveness.
Call upon the help of those who love you. These helpers take many forms: animal, element, bird, angel, saint, stone, or ancestor.
Call your spirit back. It may be caught in corners and creases of shame, judgment, and human abuse.
You must call in a way that your spirit will want to return.
Speak to it as you would to a beloved child.
Welcome your spirit back from its wandering. It may return in pieces, in tatters. Gather them together. They will be happy to be found after being lost for so long.
Your spirit will need to sleep awhile after it is bathed and given clean clothes.
Now you can have a party. Invite everyone you know who loves and supports you. Keep room for those who have no place else to go.
Make a giveaway, and remember, keep the speeches short.
Then, you must do this: help the next person find their way through the dark.

For Keeps
by Joy Harjo
Sun makes the day new.
Tiny green plants emerge from earth.
Birds are singing the sky into place.
There is nowhere else I want to be but here.
I lean into the rhythm of your heart to see where it will take us.
We gallop into a warm, southern wind.
I link my legs to yours and we ride together,
Toward the ancient encampment of our relatives.
Where have you been? they ask.
And what has taken you so long?
That night after eating, singing, and dancing
We lay together under the stars.
We know ourselves to be part of mystery.
It is unspeakable.
It is everlasting.
It is for keeps.

by Peycho Kanev

It was something like a whispered signing
directed at you

A love letter from the wind—

In this world there are people who are so lonely that
each hand reaching out to them is like a candle in
a dark cave.


(Fairy tales tell us that we were born with a secret twin, a wild twin, and on the hour of its birth was sent into exile, abandoned in the forest. That a good life is one that seeks them out.)

Who is the wild twin?

I first caught the perfume of my wild twin by walking with muddy boots though wet grasses to my scrubby woodland den as a six year old. As the trees swirled I caught a scent and started to cry without understanding. I wove a pheasant feather in my hair. I hear it now in the owl court who hoot across the frost grass and moon touched lawns of my cottage. There’s more than book smarts in that chill delirium. These are not domestic tones, not corralled sounds, but loose as Dartmoor ponies on the hill. They give me ecstasy. Not safety, not contentment, certainly not ease, not peace, but ecstasy. It’s almost painful. Makes me restless. 

I also felt the wild twin when I lost the girl I loved the most. I felt it when attending the sickness of another. I felt it when exhausted, heart sore, bewildered and despairing. I felt it when I attended to the sorrows of life in all their radical, unruly agency. 

The wild twin is not unique to me, you have one, everyone has one. That’s the message from the old stories. That the day you were born a twin was thrown out the window, sent in exile. That it wanders the woods and the prairies and the cities, lonely in its whole body for you. It rooms in abandoned houses in south Chicago. Someone saw her once on a Dorset beach in winter. They are always asking after you. 

It lives in the feeling when the ruddy mud of the Nile squeezes between your toes, when moonlight slips from the mouth of a Heron, when you play cards with a delightful villain. It’s going to push you towards ruin on occasion, and has a lot of generosity towards kids. It will hide your laptop and send a thousand wild geese processing over your cabin in an October dusk. The wild twin is the glorious vintner of the blood-wine of your many private battles, and sells it in highly prized bottles to remote Armenian queens. It is incorrigible, melodramatic, and has only your best interests at heart. 

Know your twin and you will become distracted by fiery angels languishing round the water cooler, you will beat your palms to drums no one else can hear, and subtle ideas will fly from you. At least that’s what I hear. The wild twin doesn’t fetishise surety, embezzle guarantees or even really believes they exist. It hides chocolate in the pockets of your scruffy haired nephews and whispers forgiveness as it walks through the gardens we have neglected to tend. It hands us a spade.

I believe in the labour of becoming a human we have to earnestly search this character out, as it has something crucial for you with it. It has your life’s purpose tucked up in its pocket. If there was something you were here to do in these few, brief years, you can be sure that the wild twin is holding the key. 

Wildness attracts everybody, but appears to be in short supply. Not feral, not hooligan, not brawling, but the regal wild. The sophisticated wild. So you should be gathering by now that these words  are about locating your long abandoned twin and courting it home. We’re going to use two old fairy tales to do it. And note the word court. This is a protracted affair this locating, with the possibility of many missteps, bruised shins and hissed exchanges. Though they long for you, the twin may not broker relationship easily if you’ve been separated for many years, she wants to know you’re serious. We’ll cover the complexity of such a reunion as we go. They want to give you a bang on the ear and a kiss on the lips all at the same time.

– Martin Shaw, A book on this very thing, coming.

I didn’t need to understand the hypostatic unity of the Trinity; I just needed to turn my life over to whoever came up with redwood trees.
– Anne Lamott

To live on a day-to-day basis is insufficient for human beings; we need to transcend, transport, escape; we need meaning, understanding, and explanation; we need to see over-all patterns in our lives. We need hope, the sense of a future. And we need freedom (or, at least, the illusion of freedom) to get beyond ourselves, whether with telescopes and microscopes and our ever-burgeoning technology, or in states of mind that allow us to travel to other worlds, to rise above our immediate surroundings.

We may seek, too, a relaxing of inhibitions that makes it easier to bond with each other, or transports that make our consciousness of time and mortality easier to bear. We seek a holiday from our inner and outer restrictions, a more intense sense of the here and now, the beauty and value of the world we live in.
– Oliver Sacks

And: “Sometimes I open a book that’s so beautiful I have to shut it because it hurts me. I can’t stand it. It’s like, Oh no! Oh no! Oh no! This is going to drive me into my own heart.” 
– Marie Howe

No porters. No interpreter. No taxi.
You carried your own burden and very soon
your symptoms of creeping privilege disappeared.
– Seamus Heaney

Memory is a tough place. You were there.
— Claudia Rankine

Word of the day: “nefelibata” –– literally a “cloud-walker”; that is, a daydreamer, one who wanders lost in thought or wonder (Portuguese; poetic. From the Ancient Greek νεφελοβάτης, nephelobátēs, “one who walks the clouds”). 
Also–– esp. in art or literature––a rule-breaker.
– Robert Macfarlane

It seems to me that everything ever created—from the birthday cake a mother baked for her nine year-old daughter, to the most complex supercomputer—was done out of love for someone.
– Peter Himmelman

Imagining Starry
a rescuer, charted for recovery,
to speak against the daily sinking flame
& the shrinking waters of the mortal sea.

– Marie Ponsot (1921 – 2019)

The place of language is the place between me
and the world of presences I have lost
—complex country, not flat. Its elements free-
float, coherent for luck to come across;
its lines curve as in a mental orrery
implicit with stars in active orbit,
only their slowness or swiftness lost to sense.
The will dissolves here. It becomes the infinite
air of imagination that stirs immense
among losses and leaves me less desolate.
Breathing it I spot a sentence or a name,
a rescuer, charted for recovery,
to speak against the daily sinking flame
& the shrinking waters of the mortal sea.

What is this true meditation?  It is to make everything: coughing, swallowing, waving the arms, motion, stillness, words, action, the evil and the good, prosperity and shame, gain and loss, right and wrong, into one single koan.
– Hakuin Ekaku

I wanted to be like men wanted me to be:
an attempt at life;
a game of hide and seek with my being.
But I was made of nows,
and my feet level on the promissory earth
would not accept walking backwards
and went forward, forward,
mocking the ashes to reach the kiss
of new paths.
– Julia de Burgos

Unfaithful Love
Tom Prasada Rao & Cate Graves

Wish I could marry my muse
We’d have a nice little house
I’d set a table for two 
With flowers, with flowers

We could go out in the town
She’d wear a dress made of stars
I’d sing her my favorite songs 
For hours, and hours

She’s getting ready to leave me 
For her I’m never enough 
She comes and goes so easy
Oh my unfaithful love, o-o-o-oh
Unfaithful love, o-o-o-oh

I’ve been so lonely tonight
Almost can’t pick up my pen
And every word that I write 
Sounds wrong, so wrong

Maybe she’s out with some friends 
I’m sure they’re having some fun
With her the night never ends
She’s gone, she’s gone

She’s getting ready to leave me 
For her I’m never enough 
She comes and goes so easy
Oh my unfaithful love, o-o-o-oh
Unfaithful love, o-o-o-oh

I always come when she calls
There’s nowhere (else) I can go
She’s the most jealous of all
Even though, we both know

She’s getting ready to leave me 
For her I’m never enough 
She comes and goes so easy
Oh my unfaithful love, o-o-o-oh
Unfaithful love, o-o-o-oh
Unfaithful love, o-o-o-oh
Unfaithful love

Your name is not a song you will sing under your breath, your pronouns haven’t even been invented yet.
– Andrea Gibson

We Grew Up in Places That Are Gone
Why do we look
for sutures and siblings

in all the wrong places,
when Google gives us

22,950,000,000 results
for the word home?

Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life—and travel—leaves marks on you.
– Anthony Bourdain

Everything is as-it-is means this: We undergo all kinds of difficult and painful practices. We travel to all kinds of places and then discover that we didn’t have to do a thing. That things are as-they-as. It’s not that everything is as-it-is without us having tried anything. Everything is as-it-is after we’ve broken our bones trying everything.
– Ichitaro

I can’t separate poetry
from my life as a poet
If that means loving you past devastation
so be it.
– Sandra Simonds

It is easier to be in a state of acceptance when you are alone and not in relationship with anything other than yourself. But life is nothing but constant relationship: relationship with the environment, people, situations, work, play, as well as with your own inner experience. The question is, ‘How am I to be in relationship with all of life?’ Even if we have experienced the oneness of all existence, the One is still in constant relationship with itself. So, from where inside are we relating to all of the events of life?
“In any situation we are either relating from fear or love. If we are trying to control, manipulate, gain power over, dominate, be agreed with, be loved, be right, be a victim, etc., we are relating from fear. And since fear is a very weak force, although it can be experienced very strongly, we are diminished and dominated by it. Fear in all its varied forms is what fuels the dream state of sorrow and violence. Wherever it is motivating action, it is ultimately destructive and life numbing. This is not to say that one should not feel fear, only that to act or relate from fear is destructive. Simply because we feel fear does not mean that we need to act and relate from it. In fact, the more open we are to experiencing fear, the less it controls our actions.
Love does not fear fear, because Love is a much stronger force in the world. The remedy for fear is not courage, it is Love—although courage is sometimes necessary. Love will always conquer fear.
– Adyashanti

There is no correct way to be in the world. But there is always the possibility of acting from an undivided place, acting from a place of peace, so that your actions are expressions of peace, rather than expressions of anxiety, fear, or division.
– Adyashanti, Caring for The World

Something that tolls, isn’t it?

The sound of a very fine, slender glass.


I believe it to be white, and radiant.


But the liquid from a singing spring.

Yes, that’s it: a water-word.

The ethereal melody of a waterfall.

When the deep black of solitary nights descends, I take out my “cristallin,” and I place it down as a brilliant jewel, within reach of my blind eyes.

Next, I adorn it with other jewel-words from this language I use now, chosen with care from the shelves of my memory safe.

Words like “frisson.”

I like this word, it moves me. Because it is fragile, frisson. A little quivering animal that flutters like a warm heart in the hollow of a palm.

It is ephemeral.

It should be caressed softly, in such a way that it does not take fright and perish.

Frisson . . .

A breath that brushes. An invitation to embrace. “Come, let’s frisson.”

How tender it is! It needs a protective arm to keep it from flying away.

So there is clarity: “clarté.”

A grand word. Nobility, majesty!

And clarity was.

It flies like a flag.

Cristallin. Frisson. Clarté. A set of diamonds—diamants. Ouch—cutting, the word “diamant”! Dangerous. I don’t trust it. A deceiver, perhaps. Because of that grimace that manipulates my face when I deliver it. First, “dee-a”: my mouth labours as if it were being asked to bite into a hard, glacial metal; and then that “mant” just after, a pointless regret from my mouth as it closes again.

I mistrust “diamant.”

Mistrust. Mistrustful. Méfiant.

Diamant méfiant.

To clarté, I would sooner add something innocent. Muted. A delicate composition.

“Flamme,” perhaps.

You won’t find that innocent, of course. An innocent flame, that could seem unusual to you. Insolite.

Not bad! Unusual: “insolite” . . . Especially if we cut “in” from “solite” and quickly pronounce the “solite” part.


It’s a little extraterrestrial.

Now, you’re going to think that I have settled for sliding around in word association. Clarté/flamme, the light of day and of fire. And yet, if you listen, if you look closely, you will see how flame can move you beyond its meaning. It consumes itself in a single sound. The hint of a breeze on a candle and “flamme” is finished . . .

So frail!

But not the fragility of frisson; no, rather that of a burst of laughter.

A crystalline laugh.


Note that “clarté” is also compatible with the colour “azuré.” It’s a question of taste. Or mood.

In my opinion, flamme has more determination.

A revolt content with being a revolt. A blaze indifferent to the shadow that will follow.

I’ll admit that the “l” in “flamme” is sometimes awkward. It’s true. The sound is less pure for it. Like one teardrop too many.



The moment you remove the “l,” the word becomes . . . blurred. Doesn’t it? More like femme. Nothing to do with clarity now.

Meanwhile, “azuré” murmurs the balminess of a trembling sky.

Sugary, that word. Totally inoffensive.

Could anyone imagine azure screams? Or an azure anger? It would be inane—an ineptie.

“Ineptie.” Ugh! It’s like the cold skin of a cold grass snake.

Ineptie. Fit for the bin.

About three weeks I’ve been here.

At first, you think you’ll only manage to live for a few nights. You tell yourself that you’ll be crushed.

Walls too close. Faces too ugly. Dirty, cold, small, the world to which we are confined.

And then you surprise yourself by walking around to produce some distance.

By conversing alone, out loud, to hear your replies. By moving away from idleness. By distracting yourself from the wait.

You work on abandoning everything outside the self.

And you set about repopulating the void that is left.

Me, I learnt to speak with words. And even listen to them. I invite them to long, silent, complicit tête-a-têtes. Or gentle mutterings.

I sometimes court them when they seem wild. Or foreign. In those cases I’ll send them a few message-words to speak in my favour.

They yield, softened.

It can take time to tame a word.

But I am no longer in the world of time. That world stayed on the other side when I crossed over its threshold.

Time is unfaithful.


There are words that I caress as you might shine a creature’s coat. To make them purr within me. Some are so charming, so delicate, that I might almost crunch them when I say them aloud.

Chocolat. A taste of honey and milk in that word.

Pourpre. The sullen pout of a beautiful courtesan stripped of her purple velvet.

Other words are misshapen and ill-bred. They trip and knock together between my teeth. I take pity on their discomfort and overcome my revulsion. Because under its uncouth shell, the soul can burn with a thousand fires. As is the case among the living, beauty comes much more from meaning than expression.

Take “inextinguible,” for example—“inextinguishable.” Difficult to be called that, isn’t it, when it carries such passion?

A precarious word if ever there were. Not a single letter, not a sound in there that renders the permanent burning of desire. What is the point of “inex” in this word, I ask you? An absurd domestic evocation in the universe of the insatiable! And that “guible,” is it not of the worst taste?

But there are worse; utter disgraces of language.

“Jouir,” for example. “To come.” How obscene a name for such ecstasy! It is indecent to proclaim this word to the ears of a woman to whom you have just made love.

“As-tu joui?—Did you come?” The horror!

A flatulent sound in a song of joy.

A word that farts, literally.

As if you were moaning about some digestive problem.

It is ridiculously brief and smug.

And it’s that “i,” pronounced “ee,” trotting after the “ou” that completes its grotesque form. Ouiiiii! J’ai jouiiiii!


In these moments, you will notice, the language is afflicted with an appalling poverty. Orgasme is hardly better. A trombone bellowing in the peace of an alcove.

Did she have an ooorgaaasme?

Enough to bring on a period.

No, really, whatever my tolerance levels, that word, I simply cannot!


It can also happen that I don’t understand words which cross my mind like uninvited guests. Some are closed or impassive, others arrogant.

I vaguely remember meeting them on intellectual literary occasions, or in a few arduous lines of famous authors.

I utter them several times over to seduce them. That doesn’t always have the desired effect. The most obscure can even become scornful. They take on little superior airs that distress me. A sort of tribal opposition. As if they were reserved on principle for an intellectual elite.

I find that both humiliating and petit bourgeois.

I know that, as in the human world, words are arranged into social categories. There are aristocrat words and commoner words.

I know this.

Those that sprout in the mire and those that blossom in fancy private rooms.

Yet these considerations do not deter my curiosity a bit, nor lessen my fervour. I may not have studied at the top institutions but I hold no less worth as a self-taught man.

At around eighteen years old, I even learnt whole pages of the French dictionary, Le Petit Robert. From A, first letter and first vowel of the alphabet: abaisser, abandonner, abasourdir . . . moving through B: babiller, bâcler, badiner, then C: cabaner, câbler, cabosser . . .

To make it easier, I tried first to remember the verbs. I memorised their definitions and recited them by heart. It was very hard but I kept going.

After, I moved on to common nouns. That is how I discovered the enormity of a language and its meanings. But I did not know then that, years later, I would be haunted by these words I had mastered with such persistence. Nor that they would become my most faithful companions.

They could take everything, but they would never know what riches gleam in my mind.

As long as I have the capacity to think, no one can ever take away the words that belong to me.

My beloveds. My treasures.

Oh, of course, I have my favourites from which I never part. Some of them bring me the same renewed emotion, and I admit that I abuse them.

Listen, for example, to the verb “toucher.” There is nothing more to say: in “toucher” there is to touch.

This “tou,” meaning everything, this dear “cher,” it’s mad! You think this word and you feel warm skin beneath your hands.

Touch. Touching.

Perhaps it is the “ch” that makes contact.

That tactile whisper.

I touch her sweet face with my hands. She looks at me, smiles. Touched, touchée . . .

I like to fill my mouth with this word. I like to exhale it delicately.


It makes me long to be caressed.

It is a word of bold hands and epidermal excitement.

Bodily seduction.

“Baiser” is more intense, deeper. (Obviously. Not so far from “baisser.”)

But do not think that I am messing around with some facile play on words. Speak it aloud and you will see how it resonates, how heavy it is.

Baiser, that can only mean to fuck, clearly.

It’s a full word, in motion.

“Baiser” makes me a voyeur, makes me tense.

An erection produced from fantasy. The quivering desire of an offered woman.


I confess my penchant for licentious words but I fear their company. It seems to me that they should be shared so as not to be dirty. Otherwise, they leave splashes on you like an overripe fruit you planned to bite in secret but it sends dribbles down your chin.

Some words are more reserved, even frightened. I treat them with care. I use them sparingly. I force myself to be patient.

Others are vulnerable and nostalgic.

They come to me with an aftertaste of tears.

“Je t’aime” is of that sort.

Still other words are mischievous, as if spiced when spoken, or devious, switching from one meaning to another, ambivalent.

There are bitter words, black words, cold words. There are word scintillations, winks, sighs, and words like ancient temples with secret pasts, legends that cling to the first root, or brand new words, the youngest offspring of modern concepts, scientific discoveries, society’s daring.

There are encumbered words and defector words, gathered like the relics of journeys from one people to another.

There are words for playing. And words that live as long as a passing trend, dragging in disgrace the remains of a civilisation.

There are even words that mean nothing but suddenly start chattering. Almost makes you want to gag them so they’ll shut up. But they hum with memories like a hive. And their stings are painful.

We shouldn’t deceive ourselves, though: words are fragile. They are heroes with feet made of clay. We can easily harm them. So they lie between our sentences like kites with broken bones. And what would a bird be without flight?

Words become crushed from too often carrying our struggles.

From being held responsible instead of us.

Those are victim-words. Innocents delivering violence. Carried along by the muddy tides of lies. Debris words. There’s nothing to be done with them after. Nothing left in them to believe.

It’s a waste.

The words are so naïve. So transparent. They take on the hue poured over them. They are pure vials to be filled with care. Not thrown like common utensils, only to shock the thrower that they smash into shards and injure our lives.

Ah, my dear words, so dear! Each day, I bring tens of words to my tongue and give them form through my lips. The thing is, I do not want them to die from disuse, to be killed by oblivion.

I am responsible for my words.

And, in turn, they help me to stay alive.

Because, through immobility, I am afraid of turning to stone in the dark. Of drying up. Words are what make my blood course. They are the white water that nourishes me.

That’s good: nourish, “nourrit.” It contains “nous,” us. It contains warmth and trust. And “ris,” laughter. An image of a happy home on a schoolbook’s coated paper.


I endlessly repeat words that give courage. Words of tenderness. Torches of light.

Maman. Walk. Respire.

Singing springs.

Glouglouter. A gurgle lapping against a gorge, a throat.

Miaow. Miauler.

Words that are heard. Music that I compose, eyes closed on myself, music that reassures me.

Little children’s hands waving . . .

No, not the words that do harm. The fragments of sorrow that last and putrefy the skin.

Humid. Cockroach.

Betrayal. Non. Hate.

A woman’s name.

Die. Mourir.

Non. Ghosts stepping along a nightmare.

A whine.

Rumble: gronder. Gronder . . . In the hollow of “gronder,” like a shell pressed against an ear, rises the soft fury of the wind, the battering of a wave.

In “gronder,” man’s anger can be heard.

Softly. There . . . Softly.

I hold myself tight in my arms.

I turn into a ball, eyes blind with obscurity.

I draw a green meadow studded with little red flowers. A big sun like a gold button in a piece of blue sky. And trees. And a well . . . A child’s path to school. Onto the paper coming to life, stream stains drip. Down my cheeks runs a bottomless source flowing from a distant childhood.


Sun. Sky. Sleep. Infinite. Undreamt.

Emergency words.

Eternal. Smile.

Friends in words.

Tenderness. Ease. Cradle.

Letters. Sounds. Lovers’ caresses which wait there for me. Appease. Hands. Pearl. Oh! Perle . . . A spoken drop. The gentle corner of a mouth.

Hope. Désir. Imperious.

Impetuous words.

Rouge. Vivid. Blaze words.

Liberté. Regard. Horizon.




Yes. Peace. Love. Dream.

Oui. Paix. Aimer. Rêver.




translated from the French by Hannah Embleton-Smith

Stars burn clear all night. Do that yourself, and a spring will rise in the dark with water your deepest thirst is for.
– Rumi

It’s conversations, little conversations, that start big revolutions.
– Neale Donald Walsh

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
– Nelson Mandela

A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.
– Nelson Mandela

Arguments for centrism always feel, energetically, like they are infused with a fear of any imagination.

Fascism/Autocracy has a huge imagination. A nightmarish imagination, but it’s not a worldview afraid of vision.

Whatever overcomes fascism has to be visionary.
– Ethan Nichten

When we become fixed in our perceptions we lose our ability to fly.
– Mingyur Rinpoche

Dr. Barbara Franchi:
Julia Kristeva: moved to France from communist Bulgaria, wrote a 600-page thesis while founding & editing of journal Tel Quel…

Is there an academic journal today which is as influential as Tel Quel was in the 60s or Subaltern Studies in the 80s?
– Kerim Friedman

I arranged a meeting with someone to “walk and talk” with me along the canal and I feel like president bloody bartlett with a toddler on my back.
– Amy Liptrot

In the Hospital
My mother was in the hospital & everyone wanted to be my friend.
But I was busy making a list: good dog, bad citizen, short
skeleton, tall mocha. Typical Tuesday.
My mother was in the hospital & no one wanted to be her friend.
Everyone wanted to be soft cooing sympathies. Very reasonable
pigeons. No one had the tie & our solution to it
was to buy shinier watches. We were enamored with
what our wrists could declare. My mother was in the hospital
& I didn’t want to be her friend. Typical son. Tall latte, short tale,
bad plot, great wifi in the atypical café. My mother was in the hospital
& she didn’’t want to be her friend. She wanted to be the family
grocery list. Low-fat yogurt, firm tofu. She didn’t trust my father
to be it. You always forget something, she said, even when
I do the list for you. Even then.

I wanted my poem for us to suck on. Like an IV connected to the best ice tea in the world.
– Sarah Gambito

Colours were for Homer not facts but images: his words describing them are figurative words, borrowed from natural objects. There was no fixed terminology of color; and it lay with the genius of each true poet to choose a vocabulary for himself.
– W.E. Gladstone

Everybody was dissatisfied and everyone was restless. It was a restless and disturbed world.
– Gertrude Stein

To flirt with someone, I told them I have a “resting I-have-no-savings face.” I know: irresistible heartbreak over here.
– Natalie Eilbert

Life knocked me off my platforms
So I pulled out my first pair of boots
Bought on the street at Astor place
Before new york was run by suits
And I suited up for the long walk
Back to myself
Closer to the ground now
With sorrow
And stealth
– Ani Difranco

The lessons I learned from being bullied have stayed with me all these years. These days, my concern about disrespect is greatly amplified because incivility is on the rise. I have been sensitized not only by those childhood episodes but also by my experiences inhabiting a woman’s body, working in academia, and serving on various boards of directors. And more, I’m alarmed to observe the abuse that people in our nation endure because of the color of their skin, immigration status, physical abilities, or sexual orientation. It is especially disturbing to see others who are seen as threatening being socially marginalized and banned from our country.
I am concerned about what this is doing to the very fabric of our society, where dignity is not valued, disrespect is becoming normalized, and lack of civility seems to be eroding our moral sensibilities.

We’re born with our eyes closed and mouths open;
we spend the rest of our lives
trying to learn the opposite.
– Dale E. Turner

A writer is not interested in explaining reality; he’s interested in capturing it.
– Brendan Kennelly


in the midst
of every difficult
and everyday
way, you try to
make your
onward way,

sitting down
at the edge
of everything
that has made you
too tired
to take
another step,

there’s that
caught sight,
now here,
now gone

of a half imagined
wavering light
just among
the trees

just a gleam
or a wisp
of white gold
in the dying sun

a strange kind
of beckoning,

an ache
so intimately
as it is,
all of the doings
you have
so lovingly
as sins,

the place you
should have gone
all those years ago
still, it seems,
to invite you again,

simpler this time,
not too far away

touchable now,
and within reach

just a single step
on the other side
of what you always
come to call
in the end,

– David Whyte


rest easy, captain, the treasure’s found
no need to look
it was just where we expected it to be
it’s no longer the time of doing
it’s the time of the blossoming
of what was done
rest easy, your garden is here,
everything growing as you wished
the ships are all in harbor
the crew has grown old and found solace
no need for the musket
there are no betrayals
no disloyalty
there is only the green
the green you loved

– Jack Foley

..intellect is often poetry’s enemy, since it limits too much, since it lifts the poet into the bondage of aristocratic fineness, where he forgets that he might be eaten, suddenly, by ants…
– Federico García Lorca

Things to Think

Think in ways you’ve never thought before
If the phone rings, think of it as carrying a message
Larger than anything you’ve ever heard,
Vaster than a hundred lines of Yeats.

Think that someone may bring a bear to your door,
maybe wounded and deranged; or think that a moose
Has risen out of the lake, and he’s carrying on his antlers
A child of your own whom you’ve never seen.

When someone knocks on the door, think that he’s about
To give you something large: tell you you’re forgiven,
Or that it’s not necessary to work all the time, or that it’s
Been decided that if you lie down no one will die.

– Robert Bly

… Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair. Not because I have my head in the sand, but because joy is what the earth gives me daily and I must return the gift …

… I throw myself on the ground, pounding my firsts and grieving the assault on my medicine woods. I don’t know how to defeat the monster. I have no arsenal of weapons, no legions of fighters like those who followed Nanabozho into battle. I am not a warrior. I was raised by Strawberries, who even now are budding at my feet. Amid the Violets. And Yarrow. And Asters and Goldenrod that are just emerging, and the blades of Sweetgrass shining in the sun. In that moment, I know that I am not alone. I lie in the meadow surrounded by the legions who do stand with me. I may not know what to do, but they do, giving of their medicine gifts as they always do, to sustain the world. We are not powerless against the Windigo, they say. Remember that we already have everything we need. And so — we conspire …

– Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass

The Cart
by Ferron
The strap that holds the cart in rein
Has been let loose by wearing thin
By wearing thin, by biting through
The shift in power leans to you

And the cart is on a wheel

I’ve wept with joy for the things I’ve done
And I’ve wept as hard for what I left undone
For what I left undone
For what I couldn’t deem mine
For what I thought was yours
And so I drew the line

And the cart is on a wheel
And the wheel is on a hill

I heard someone fall
I saw another one flail
I saw an arm dig deep
Where there was no rail
Well there is no rail
And there’s no ‘because’
Though the body be strong
The Spirit is law

And the cart is on a wheel
And the wheel is on a hill
And the hill is shifting sand
And inside these laws we stand.

If we are lives and souls to keep
If we are Love, I hope we do not sleep
I hope we do not sleep
I hope we stay our ground
Hold fast to the Mother as she turns us ’round.

‘Cause the cart is on a wheel
And the wheel is on a hill
And the hill is shifting sand
And inside these laws we stand.

Hold fast to the Mother…hold fast…

Caress the detail, the divine detail.
– Vladimir Nabokov

It’s interesting that the term “helpless” so often carries an overtone of judgment. Unless you’re an infant or a puppy, it’s something of an insult. I wonder if this is a culturally-specific thing. Shame on you if you can’t straighten out what’s twisted in your world – can’t protect yourself. So, you “got caught”: got caught in the rain, got caught up in the war… It seems to imply a reflexive pronoun. You got yourself caught up in the mess. Why didn’t you run faster? Predict the future?
– Ren Powell


Poets map the territories of the soul
The mountain, valley, river, forest
Oceans of memory since the beginning of time

The usual, quaint, the odd and the curious
The forbidden places
Most dare never go

Rejected and shunned
For seeing what others don’t want to hear
They are the messengers

Divinely commissioned
Without them, the world has no word
To guide through the uncharted darkness

That shapes our destiny.

– Laurence Overmire

I think there is a need for something completely new. Something that is too different, too unexpected, to be accepted as yet.
– Colin Bruce

When you said people did you mean punish?
When you said friend did you mean fraud?
When you said thought did you mean terror?
When you said connection did you mean con?
When you said God did you mean greed?
When you said faith did you mean fanatic?
When you said hope did you mean hype?
When you said unity did you mean enmity?
When you said freedom did you mean forfeit?
When you said law did you mean lie?
When you said truth did you mean treason?
When you said feeling did you mean fool?
When you said together did you mean token?
When you said desire did you mean desert?
When you said sex did you mean savagery?
When you said need did you mean nought?
When you said blood did you mean bought?
When you said heart did you mean hard?
When you said head did you mean hide?
When you said health did you mean hurt?
When you said love did you mean loss?
When you said fate did you mean fight?
When you said destiny did you mean decimate?
When you said honor did you mean hunger?
When you said bread did you mean broke?
When you said feast did you mean fast?
When you said first did you mean forgotten?
When you said last did you mean least?
When you said woman did you mean wither?
When you said man did you mean master?
When you said mother did you mean smother?
When you said father did you mean fatal?
When you said sister did you mean surrender?
When you said brother did you mean brutal?
When you said fellow did you mean follow?
When you said couple did you mean capital?
When you said family did you mean failure?
When you said mankind did you mean market?
When you said society did you mean sickness?
When you said democracy did you mean indignity?
When you said equality did you mean empty?
When you said politics did you mean power?
When you said left did you mean lost?
When you said right did you mean might?
When you said republic did you mean rich?
When you said wealthy did you mean wall?
When you said poor did you mean prison?
When you said justice did you mean just us?
When you said immigrant did you mean enemy?
When you said refugee did you mean refusal?
When you said earth did you mean ownership?
When you said soil did you mean oil?
When you said community did you mean conflict?
When you said safety did you mean suspicion?
When you said security did you mean sabotage?
When you said army did you mean Armageddon?
When you said white did you mean welcome?
When you said black did you mean back?
When you said yellow did you mean yield?
When you said brown did you mean down?
When you said we did you mean war?
When you said you did you mean useless?
When you said she did you mean suffer?
When you said he did you mean horror?
When you said they did you mean threat?
When you said I did you mean island?
When you said tribe did you mean trouble?
When you said name did you mean nobody?
When you said news did you mean nonsense?
When you said media did you mean miasma?
When you said success did you mean sucker?
When you said fame did you mean game?
When you said ideal did you mean idol?
When you said yesterday did you mean travesty?
When you said today did you mean doomsday?
When you said tomorrow did you mean never?
When you said hear did you mean hush?
When you said listen did you mean limit?
When you said write did you mean wound?
When you said read did you mean retreat?
When you said literacy did you mean apathy?
When you said fiction did you mean forget?
When you said poetry did you mean passivity?
When you say art do you mean act?
– John Keene

The poet has an obligation to dissect his own corpse and reveal the symptoms of its illness to the world.
– Natsume Sosaki

The job of the poet is to make the reader cry. That’s the job.
– Michael S. Harper

…in the stillness, in the great peace that came over me, I heard the heart of the world beat. I know what the cure is: it is to give up, to relinquish, to surrender, so that our little hearts may beat in unison with the great heart of the world.
– Henry Miller

These Are The Words
by Patti Smith
Awake everyone, the dawn has come
Life is streaming from the sun
A garden blessed, the bird that sings
Nature gives us everything

Awake everyone, the time has come
To mend, to tend, our common home
To give our thanks, sow our seeds
Extend the hand to those in need

When the soul yearns for love
It comes flowing from above
Mercy, hope, humility
These are the words to live by every day

Walls will crumble, we arise
To work as one, abide, provide
Mercy, hope, humility
These are the words we whisper in our sleep

When in doubt the nights are long
Wear the smile, wear the sun
To comfort us when alone
Holding your heart, love will come

Walls will crumble as we abide
Restore the house, we shall provide
Love, compassion, unity
These are the words to live by every day

Awake everyone, the time has come
Life is streaming from the sun
Mercy, hope, humanity
These are the words
These are the words
These are the words

A Ritual to Read to Each Other
by William E. Stafford
If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dike.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give — yes or no, or maybe —
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.