Commonplace Book IX

It’s a sign of respect and connection to learn the name of someone else, a sign of disrespect to ignore it. And yet, the average American can name over a hundred corporate logos and ten plants. Is it a surprise that we have accepted a political system that grants personhood to corporations, and no status at all for wild rice and redwoods? Learning the names of plants and animals is a powerful act of support for them. When we learn their names and their gifts, it opens the door to reciprocity.
– Robin Wall Kimmerer

Anybody who lives in Presence predominantly contributes to a change in the world
and what I call a new Earth.
– Eckhart Tolle

The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time. They have the mystery of ferns that disappeared a million years ago into the coal of the carboniferous era. They carry their own light and shade. The vainest, most slap-happy and irreverent of men, in the presence of redwoods, goes under a spell of wonder and respect. Respect–that’s the word. One feels the need to bow to unquestioned sovereigns. I have known these great ones since my earliest childhood, have lived among them, camped and slept against their warm monster bodies, and no amount of association has bred contempt in me.
– John Steinbeck

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood in every spring
there is a different green.
– J.R.R. Tolkien

We’re not fighting for a merely “livable” planet.

We’re fighting for a riotous, wild, gorgeous, generous, miraculous, and life-cradling planet. And for a society that works for everyone.
– Peter Kalmus

I hope you’ve someone who looks for you when you’re lost.
– Wonder

This is how I voted today /
I went to the woods and dug a hole under fern in leaf rot and luminous fungi /
into which I pressed my mouth and screamed a long hot uncreated vowel containing the first and last letters of every alphabet /
I signed my vote with my tears /
it was ratified by planetary silence /
groans of Adam’s first wife from far below /
heaved out of the groundlessness where she is gowned in seamless glistening mycellia /
only then did I realize what I’d voted for /
the abolition of Republicans and Democrats /
the downfall of spires and hierarchies /
the dissolution of superpacs and $50,000 a plate dinner parties in Hollywood and the Hamptons /
the deconstruction of the Constitution into a single proto-Hebraic rune inscribed on a cavern wall somewhere under the vast and indecipherable border between Mexico and Arizona /
the overthrow of male and female hegemony /
the annihilation of both capitalism and socialism /
the eradication of black and white by a rainbow of tears /
the renaissance of family farms and local small-business collectives /
spawning an exquisite tapestry of bio-regional economies where no mention is ever made of “government” /
where politics evaporates into folk music story-telling fermented cabbage useful tools and the gentle heroics of mere listening /
I voted for the mule that Jesus rode into the city proclaiming forgiveness of all debts /
which is the same mule Laotzu rode out beyond the wall of China /
which is also the mule that Rumi sat backwards on /
stumbling Westward into exile /
gazing Eastward toward eternal loss /
that mule I tell you will be president! /
I voted to compost and manure the floor of the Senate /
entangling every politician in a web of hemp moss mushrooms and deer pellets /
I voted to turn the dome of Congress all abuzz into a giant hummingbird feeder /
I voted for the reclamation of all human skin with musky forests of golden fur /
My vote was the sound of Yes in every tongue /
the co-whispering of all leaves /
the council of trees /
the un-clink of gold and emeralds returning to veins in stone /
the echo of a primal Sigh that meant to sing the color green but accidentally created the stars.
– Fred LaMotte

One Vote
by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

After reading a letter from his mother, Harry T. Burn cast the deciding vote to ratify the 19th amendment of the U.S. Constitution

My parents are from countries
where mangoes grow wild and bold
and eagles cry the sky in arcs and dips.
America loved this bird too and made

it clutch olives and arrows. Some think
if an eaglet falls, the mother will swoop
down to catch it. It won’t. The eagle must fly
on its own accord by first testing the air-slide

over each pinfeather. Even in a letter of wind,
a mother holds so much power. After the pipping
of the egg, after the branching—an eagle is on
its own. Must make the choice on its own

no matter what its been taught. Some forget
that pound for pound, eagle feathers are stronger
than an airplane wing. And even one letter, one
vote can make the difference for every bright thing.

Since it’s much more difficult to create something than to destroy it, the seeds of life are the most powerful bits of matter in the world. We could blow the planet to bits but would be better off learning what every seed knows by heart: the secret of how to begin again.
– George Gorman

Every time we sit down at the page, we’re beginners.
– Claire Vaye Watkins

If the literature we are reading does not wake us,
why then do we read it?
– Franz Kafka

How to Read a Landscape
and be aware of a few
simple rules—
Water is, eventually, at the lowest point
and land will, eventually, bend to it
and it’ll usually, eventually, reach bigger water downstream.
Watch the trees, even if you don’t know their names
look at the bark and where they usually stand
and what they gather around, look!
Thickets are thickets
and a pain in the ass
but they tend to border something beautiful
isn’t that how it usually is?
you’ll see.
Notice. The land
makes sense if you pay it attention.
It isn’t ours to write, but to read.
– Michael Garrigan

Gosh America is a big, diverse, and beautiful country.
– Bill McKibben

Trust the overthinker who tells you they love you. They have, most assuredly, thought of every reason not to.
– LK Pilgrim

Among the Welsh there are certain individuals called Awenyddion who behave as if they are possessed… When you consult them about some problem, they immediately go into a trance and lose control of their senses… They do not answer the question put to them in a logical way. Words stream from their mouths, incoherently and apparently meaningless and lacking any sense at all, but all the same well expressed: and if you listen carefully to what they say you will receive the solution to your problem. When it is all over, they will recover from their trance, as if they were ordinary people waking from a heavy sleep, but you have to give them a good shake before they regain control of themselves… and when they do return to their senses they can remember nothing of what they have said in the interval… They seem to receive this gift of divination through visions which they see in their dreams. Some of them have the impression that honey or sugary milk is being smeared on their mouths [amrita/soma].
– Giraldus Cambrensis, Description of Wales

I cling to the world made by the artists
because the other is full of horror,
and I can see no remedy for it.
– Anaïs Nin diaries 1931-1936

If you pray for anything in life, pray for the capacity to experience pure Devotion, for it is the flint that sparks the flame of pure Truth that opens the mind, heart and soul to surrender to the supreme light of pure Divinity. When devotion is sincere and pure, it is impossible for pure Divinity to resist, for it is through the innocent surrender of a pure open heart that She can reveal more of Her own supreme Divinity to Herself.
– Lucia and Lawrence [lorn] Hoff, The Incredible Reality of YOU: A Spiritual Guide to the Awakening of Consciousness

Last night my grandma
came back, told me my heart
had been cold, reached into
my chest and grabbed
snowball after snowball,
throwing them all as far
away from my body
as she possibly could.
– Andrea Gibson

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
You may succeed with another blow,
Success is failure turned inside out–
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.
– John Greenleaf Whittier

Whenever you are in awe of an enlightened being, remember to be in awe of your own potential too. Because ultimately there is no difference.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

You did not understand what I am. I am love.
– Frida Kahlo

Am I not among the early risers
and the long-distance walkers?

Have I not stood, amazed, as I consider
the perfection of the morning star
above the peaks of the houses, and the crowns of the trees
blue in the first light?

Do I not see how the trees tremble, as though
sheets of water flowed over them
though it is only wind, that common thing,
free to everyone, and everything?

Have I not thought, for years, what it would be
worthy to do, and then gone off, barefoot and with a silver pail,
to gather blueberries,
thus coming, as I think, upon a right answer?

– Mary Oliver

Rev. Jim Rigby:

It is easy to get discouraged these days so from time to time I like to turn to the humans who seemed to have found deeper roots for living. We don’t have to take their word for it because they are not trying to get us to believe something, they are leading us deeper into our own perceptions.

People like Buddha or Jesus are not teaching because they want us to worship them. They have a concern for the human condition. Buddha stepped out of the role that had been prepared for him as a ruler because when he thought about his own death he realized the meaning of our lives can’t come from from what we accomplish or possess.

I am pretty certain that when Martin Luther King was in prison he drew comfort from the words of Buddha. I believe this because his famous quote, “Darkness cannot cast out darkness only light can do that. Hate cannot cast out hate, only love can do that,” actually comes from a great sermon by the Buddha known as the Dhammapada. People like Dr. King and Gandhi saw times of oppression not as signals to despair, but as a cue to teach.

When Jesus took his followers out to a lake and had them study the birds and plants he was introducing them to their larger life. His followers were an occupied persecuted people. When he told them they were the light of the world he was reminding them that before they were occupied and humiliated captives of the Roman Empire, they were majestic manifestations of the universe. When we remember that many of the people listening to those words were enslaved and oppressed, we realize Jesus was not denying their political situation, but empowering them to remember that human consciousness is like a miraculous light shining out of the darkness of the material world and so none of us can be reduced to worthlessness.

People like Einstein and Van Gogh seem to realize the universe is being expressed through them. For Einstein the universe spoke in numbers, for Van Gogh it spoke in intuitions of color and vibrance. We usually remember Rev. Martin Neimuller for his comment that “they came for the communists and I did nothing because I wasn’t a communist…. And when they came for me there was not one left to speak.” He gave a sermon reminding his congregation they were the light of the world even as the Nazi moved in to arrest hm. He told them not to be afraid to let their light shine.

Darkness is not our enemy. Darkness is the material source out of which the light of human genius shines. Truth, goodness and beauty do not exist independently in the world. They must be “born” into the world through human beings. It is very understandable for any of us would get discouraged these days but if we can remember that we are also cosmic events we can realize darkness is not our signal to despair, it is our cue to shine.

It is exactly because the Buddha was a human being that countless buddhas are possible.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

If you aren’t careful, you’ll spend your whole life doing nothing besides waiting for your ordinary-person hopes to someday be fulfilled.
– Kodo Sawaki Roshi

Embracing Tao, you become embraced.
Supple, breathing gently, you become reborn.
Clearing your vision, you become clear.
– Taoist proverb

Today we are all doing penance every day. We’re working hard, trying to make money to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table, trying to maintain a good relationship or marriage, trying to keep our children safe and happy and educated, trying to keep the world from blowing itself up. We don’t need any more penance. We need some joy, an ideal, encouragement, a philosophy worthy of us, a real community, neighbors to keep us from having to go it alone. We need our own religion: our sources of inspiration, hope, and healing.
– Thomas Moore

I’m only interested in people engaged
in a project of self-transformation.
– Susan Sontag

Time is living me.
– Jorge Luis Borges

My idea of hell is a crowded
and oppressive domestic life.
Some people love that.
It’s absolutely my worst nightmare.
– Donna Tartt

Every one of us is a member of the cosmic 0.0000000…00000001%, the infinitesimally small fraction of matter that gets to be, for a fleeting moment, sentient, to hold within ourselves a toy model of all existence and gaze at it in wonder.
– RT @mims

Aikido, often translated as “the way of harmonious spirit,” is another Japanese tradition with links to Mongolia. Japanese martial arts master Morihei Ueshiba formed a deep connection with Mongolia. Already a legend among martial-arts masters, he accompanied Onisaburo Deguchi, the head of the shamanistic Omoto-kyo sect, to Mongolia in 1924. It is reported that he and Deguchi encountered Mongolian shamans there.
The following year, Ueshiba returned to Japan, and experienced a great spiritual transformation while spending time in the mountains. He stated that “a golden spirit sprang up from the ground, veiled my body, and changed my body into a golden one.” After this shamanistic initiation experience, Ueshiba’s martial arts skill achieved new, transcendental heights, and he changed his direction to a compassionate form of self-defense, using an attacker’s force to disarm and subdue him without harm. This form of martial arts is well-known today as aikido.
– Kevin Turner, Sky Shamans of Mongolia

Mind is a reflex to experience…

Awareness reflects What Is experienced…

Where do you seek me, my son?
Look-I am right inside you!
I am not found in the temple nor the mosque, not in Mecca nor the highest heaven.
I am not found in prayer nor ritual, not in yoga nor renunciation.
If your yearning is pure you will see me in an instant, you will meet me this moment.
Kabir says, “0 seeker, I am right here as the breath within the breath.”
– Kabir

The whole global human family has been through many generations of trauma; perpetrators and/or receivers. It’s traumatizing.
Our work is collective. We have to overcome the trauma… We are bound to find a way out
– Pat McCabe

I read a book one day
and my whole life was changed.
– Orhan Pamuk

give us a new form of art—
an art
that pulls the Republic by its hair out of the mud
– Mayakovsky

All you have to do is learn how to transform your garbage into flowers.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.
– MLK, Jr., 1967

They thought they had you figured out but there are levels to you, dimensions unseen to those operating in assumptions.
– Dr. Thema

Night after Night
Her Purple traffic
Strews the landing – with Opal Bales –
Merchantmen – poise upon Horizons –
Dip – and vanish like Orioles!

297, 1862
– Emily Dickson

You can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd, but you can be happy if you’ve a mind to.
– Roger Miller

Get mad, go mad, or find beauty are the three main arteries to the heart of the sublime.
– Airea D. Matthews

Today we use 100 million barrels of oil every single day. There are no politics to change that. There are no rules to keep that oil in the ground. So we can’t save the world by playing by the rules.
– Greta Thunberg

LaRue Owen:
I am saddened and disappointed that some friends–from both sides of the aisle–have adopted the philosophies of “all’s fair in love and war,” and “take no prisoners.” I’m no Constitutional scholar, but when our Founders put in the words “…to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity…”– I don’t think they meant that in love and war (and politics) we are not bound by rules of fair play, or that any method of achieving goals is acceptable, or that acting in your own selfish interest is justifiable.

It is esp difficult during crisis to be kind. Or, especially easy. Depending.

Looking back (yesterday was my late Mother’s birthday, so a lot of looking back) I see that I only remember people who were kind: when our country fell apart and we had to leave

Pls be kind to others.
– Ilya Kaminsky

before you trust the advice of someone who sounds on point online: ask them how many times they have failed. ask them how many collectives they’ve been part of. ask them how many experiments in transformation they have attempted. It is too easy, to point & offer from a distance.
– Zaina

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence.
– Mother

Whence all this hurry to arrive at a state? Are you not already face-to-face with the eternal mystery? Take it easy for a while; just watch the snow falling or the kettle boiling, and not so much hurry.
– Alan Watts

Medicine and sickness heal each other.
The whole world is medicine.
Where do you find yourself?”
– Yunmen Wenyan

The world is its own magic.
– Shunryu Suzuki

Intimacy is an informant. Not the kind of informant
that shares inappropriate information, but the kind
that tells us exactly what we need to know. If we allow
ourselves to listen close, it whispers everything we are
hiding from ourselves and each other. It shines a bright
light on our unresolved shadow, exposing all the layers
of armor that prevent us from being truly present with
each other. Intimacy is surely ‘in-to-me-see,’ but it is
also the only way to uncover the obstructions to true
connection. Because we can only connect with another
to the depths that we connect with ourselves. If we are a
step back from our own hearts, we will always be a step
back from everyone else’s, too.
– Jeff Brown

let’s call it ecstatic holarchy…Carl Jung meets Emma Goldman in the Kalahari, whirling with Rumi. Victor and Edith Turner celebrate it. Martin Luther King Jr shouts, ecstatic: “Spiritual revolution!!”
– Jose G. Soler

Chapter 14 – Grapes of of Wrath
The western land, nervous under the beginning
change. The Western States, nervous as horses before
a thunder storm. The great owners, nervous, sensing
a change, knowing nothing of the nature of the change. The great owners, striking at the immediate thing, the widening government, the growing labor unity; striking at new taxes, at plans; not knowing these things are results, not causes. Results, not causes; results, not causes. The causes lie deep and simply the causes are a hunger in a stomach, multiplied
a million times; a hunger in a single soul, hunger for joy and some security, multiplied a million times; muscles and mind aching to grow, to work, to create, multiplied a million
times. The last clear definite function of man muscles ach- ing to work, minds aching to create beyond the single need this is man. To build a wall, to build a house, a dam, and in the wall and house and dam to put something of Manself, and to Manself take back something of the wall, the house, the dam; to take hard muscles from the lifting, to take the clear lines and form from conceiving. For man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments. This you may say of man when theo- ries change and crash, when schools, philosophies, when nar- row dark alleys of thought, national, religious, economic,

grow and disintegrate, man reaches, stumbles forward, pain- fully, mistakenly sometimes. Having stepped forward, he may slip back, but only half a step, never the full step back. This you may say and know it and know it. This you may know when the bombs plummet out of the black planes on the market place, when prisoners are stuck like pigs, when the crushed bodies drain filthily in the dust. You may know it in this way. If the step were not being taken, if the stumbling-forward ache were not alive, the bombs would not fall, the throats would not be cut. Fear the time when the bombs stop falling while the bombers live for every bomb
is proof that the spirit has not died. And fear the time when the strikes stop while the great owners live for every little beaten strike is proof that the step is being taken. And this you can know fear the time when Manself will not suffer and die for a concept, for this one quality is the foundation of Manself, and this one quality is man, distinctive in the universe.
The Western States nervous under the beginning change. Texas and Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas, New Mexico, Arizona, California. A single family moved from the land. Pa borrowed money from the bank, and now the bank wants the land. The land company that’s the bank when it has land wants tractors, not families on the land. Is a tractor bad? Is the power that turns the long furrows wrong? If this tractor were ours it would be good not mine, but ours. If our trac- tor turned the long furrows of our land, it would be good. Not my land, but ours. We could love that tractor then as
we have loved this land when it was ours. But this tractor does two things it turns the land and turns us off the land. There is little difference between this tractor and a tank. The
206 The Grapes of Wrath
people are driven, intimidated, hurt by both. We must think about this.
One man, one family driven from the land; this rusty car creaking along the highway to the west. I lost my land, a single tractor took my land. I am alone and I am bewildered.

And in the night one family camps in a ditch and another family pulls in and the tents come out. The two men squat
on their hams and the women and children listen. Here is the node, you who hate change and fear revolution. Keep these two squatting men apart; make them hate, fear, suspect each other. Here is the anlage of the thing you fear. This is the zygote. For here “I lost my land” is changed; a cell is split and from its splitting grows the thing you hate “We lost our land.” The danger is here, for two men are not as lonely and perplexed as one. And from this first u we” there grows a still more dangerous thing: “I have a little food” plus “I have none.” If from this problem the sum is “We have a little food,” the thing is on its way, the movement has direction. Only a little multiplication now, and this land, this tractor are ours. The two men squatting in a ditch, the little fire, the side- meat stewing in a single pot, the silent, stone-eyed women; behind, the children listening with their souls to words their minds do not understand. The night draws down. The baby has a cold. Here, take this blanket. It’s wool. It was my moth- er’s blanket take it for the baby. This is the thing to bomb. This is the beginning from “I” to “we.”
If you who own the things people must have could under- stand this, you might preserve yourself. If you could sepa- rate causes from results, if you could know that Paine, Marx, Jefferson, Lenin, were results, not causes, you might survive. But that you cannot know. For the quality of owning freezes you forever into “I,” and cuts you off forever from the “we.”

The Western States are nervous under the beginning change. Need is the stimulus to concept, concept to action. A half-million people moving over the country; a million more restive, ready to move; ten million more feeling the first nervousness.
And tractors turning the multiple furrows in the vacant land.

I know so many folks who have been in quarantine for years because of physical illness, mental illness, or disability. May this moment in time lead us towards more collective empathy. Loneliness is so damn lonely. Understanding means so much.
– Andrea Gibson

You see, she says slowly, I was always desired.
But now I am valued.
That is a different thing, I find.
– Hilary Mantel

That universal field of Intelligence can be sensed, to some degree, as the Aliveness of the watching Presence in the space around you right now…
– Lucia and Lawrence [lorn] Hoff, The Incredible Reality of YOU: A Spiritual Guide to the Awakening of Consciousness

Why should poetry have to make sense?
– Charlie Chaplin

If you can feel that staying human is worth while,
even when it can’t have any result whatever,
you’ve beaten them.
– George Orwell, 1984

Conspirituality presents an escapist reflex. It says that the answer to unclear data and developing science is not more data, more time, more patience, and more scientific inquiry. The answer, it says, is in some kind of miraculous paradigm shift signified by words like “transformation”, “quantum”, and “dimensional”. These words must not be defined in the discourse, because they function not to inform but to enthral. It’s crucial that no one knows what “transformation” actually means: this increases its emotional weight.

Given this, it’s interesting that the conspirituality demographic also presents a purification fetish. They worry about chemicals in the soil and the body. They speak poignantly about the effects of toxicity, and about how scientific contrivances mask root problems. But at the same time, they do not seem to recognize the self-medicating effects of believing that the pandemic is a spiritual opportunity, or that the immune system is invulnerable, or that human suffering is a precursor for collective enlightenment.

Meanwhile, epidemiologists and first responders have a never-ending job ahead of them. They don’t have time to get high on their own supply.
– Matthew Remski

If you want to be reborn,
let yourself die.
If you want to be given everything,
give everything up.
– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

I discovered that I am tired of being a person.
Not just tired of being the person I was,
but any person at all.
– Susan Sontag

Brown Circle
by Louise Glück
My mother wants to know
why, if I hate
family so much,
I went ahead and
had one. I don’t
answer my mother.
What I hated
was being a child,
having no choice about
what people I loved.
I don’t love my son
the way I meant to love him.
I thought I’d be
the lover of orchids who finds
red trillium growing
in the pine shade, and doesn’t
touch it, doesn’t need
to possess it. What I am
is the scientist,
who comes to that flower
with a magnifying glass
and doesn’t leave, though
the sun burns a brown
circle of grass around
the flower. Which is
more or less the way
my mother loved me.
I must learn
to forgive my mother,
now that I am helpless
to spare my son.

Nuclear weapons are the scourge of the earth; to mine for them, manufacture them, deploy them, use them, is a curse against God, the human family, and the earth itself.
– Philip Berrigan

The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior
is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge,
while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse.
– Carlos Castaneda

This or that flat stone flung in adieu,
Made all the words line up and mourn for you.
– Nicole Caruso Garcia

Love means to learn to look at yourself.
– Czeslaw Milosz

two people who were once very close can
without blame
or grand betrayal
become strangers.
perhaps this is the saddest thing in the world.
– Warsan Shire

I don’ t want to learn anything
from the failure of this love.
– Susan Sontag

My home is my hole
is warm and full of light. Tight
muscles, clinched fist. You feel me?
– Malcolm Tariq

When a person becomes the keeper of an image, it requires a vow that is strange. This is because the significance of the image is only revealed in the act of preserving it.
– Fanny Howe

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.
– Isaac Asimov

The distance you kept during my struggle…

I’m gonna need you to double it during my success.
– Chelsea Gomez

And what then is this soul in Nature? This spirit too, this Kshara, this enjoyer of our mutable existence, is the Purushottama; it is he in his eternal multiplicity, that is the Gita’s answer. “It is an eternal portion of me that becomes the Jiva in a world of Jivas.” This is an epithet, a statement of immense bearing and consequence. For it means that each soul, each being in its spiritual reality is the very Divine, however partial its actual manifestation of him in Nature. And it means too, if words have any sense, that each manifesting spirit, each of the many, is an eternal individual, an eternal unborn and undying power of the one Existence.

We call this manifesting spirit the Jiva, because it appears here as if a living creature in a world of living creatures, and we speak of this spirit in man as the human soul and think of it in the terms of humanity only. But in truth it is something greater than its present appearance and not bound to its humanity: it was a lesser manifestation than the human in its past, it can become something much greater than mental [hu]man in its future. And when this soul rises above all ignorant limitation, then it puts on its divine nature of which its humanity is only a temporary veil, a thing of partial and incomplete significance. The individual spirit exists and ever existed beyond in the Eternal, for it is itself everlasting, sana ̄tana. It is evidently this idea of the eternal individual which leads the Gita to avoid any expression at all suggestive of a complete dissolution, laya, and to speak rather of the highest state of the soul as a dwelling in the Purushottama, nivasis.yasi mayyeva.

If when speaking of the one Self of all it seems to use the language of Adwaita, yet this enduring truth of the eternal individual, mama ̄m ̇ s ́ah. sana ̄tanah., adds something which brings in a qualification and appears almost to accept the seeing of the Visishtadwaita, — though we must not therefore leap at once to the conclusion that that alone is the Gita’s philosophy or that its doctrine is identical with the later doctrine of Ramanuja. Still this much is clear that there is an eternal, a real and not only an illusive principle of multiplicity in the spiritual being of the one divine Existence.

This eternal individual is not other than or in any way really separate from the Divine Purusha. It is the Lord himself, the Ishwara who by virtue of the eternal multiplicity of his oneness — is not all existence a rendering of that truth of the Infinite? — exists for ever as the immortal soul within us and has taken up this body and goes forth from the transient framework when it is cast away to disappear into the elements of Nature. He brings in with him and cultivates for the enjoyment of the objects of mind and sense the subjective powers of Prakriti, mind and the five senses, and in his going forth too he goes taking them as the wind takes the perfumes from a vase. But the identity of the Lord and the soul in mutable Nature is hidden from us by outward appearance and lost in the crowding mobile deceptions of that Nature. And those who allow themselves to be governed by the figures of Nature, the figure of humanity or any other form, will never see it, but will ignore and despise the Divine lodged in the human body. Their ignorance cannot perceive him in his coming in and his going forth or in his staying and enjoying and assumption of quality, but sees only what is there visible to the mind and senses, not the greater truth which can only be glimpsed by the eye of knowledge. Never can they have sight of him, even if they strive to do so, until they learn to put away the limitations of the outward consciousness and build in themselves their spiritual being, create for it, as it were, a form in their nature. [Hu]Man, to know himself, must be kr.ta ̄tma ̄, formed and complete in the spiritual mould, enlightened in the spiritual vision.

The Yogins who have this eye of knowledge, see the Divine Being we are in their own endless reality, their own eternity of spirit. Illumined, they see the Lord in themselves and are delivered from the crude material limitation, from the form of mental personality, from the transient life formulation: they dwell immortal in the truth of the self and spirit. But they see him too not only in themselves, but in all the cosmos. In the light of the sun that illumines all this world they witness the light of the Godhead which is in us; the light in the moon and in fire is the light of the Divine. It is the Divine who has entered into this form of earth and is the spirit of its material force and sustains by his might these multitudes. The Divine is the godhead of Soma who by the rasa, the sap in the Earth-mother, nourishes the plants and trees that clothe her surface. The Divine and no other is the flame of life that sustains the physical body of living creatures and turns its food into sustenance of their vital force. He is lodged in the heart of every breathing thing; from him are memory and knowledge and the debates of the reason. He is that which is known by all the Vedas and by all forms of knowing; he is the knower of Veda and the maker of Vedanta. In other words, the Divine is at once the Soul of matter and the Soul of life and the Soul of mind as well as the Soul of the supramental light that is beyond mind and its limited reasoning intelligence.

Thus the Divine is manifest in a double soul of his mystery, a twofold power, dva ̄v imau; he supports at once the spirit of mutable things that is all these existences, ks.arah. sarva ̄n.i bhu ̄ta ̄ni, and the immutable spirit that stands above them in his imperturbable immobility of eternal silence and calm. And it is by the force of the Divine in them that the mind and heart and will of man are so powerfully drawn in different directions by these two spirits as if by opposing and incompatible attractions one insistent to annul the other. But the Divine is neither wholly the Kshara, nor wholly the Akshara. He is greater than the immutable Self and he is much greater than the Soul of mutable things. If he is capable of being both at once, it is because he is other than they, anyah., the Purushottama above all cosmos and yet extended in the world and extended in the Veda, in self-knowledge and in cosmic experience. And whoever thus knows and sees him as the Purushottama, is no longer bewildered whether by the world-appearance or by the separate attraction of these two apparent contraries. These at first confront each other here in him as a positive of the cosmic action and as its negative in the Self who has no part in an action that belongs or seems to belong entirely to the ignorance of Nature. Or again they challenge his consciousness as a positive of pure, indeterminable, stable, eternal self-existence and as its negative of a world of elusive determinations and relations, ideas and forms, perpetual unstable becoming and the creating and uncreating tangle of action and evolution, birth and death, appearance and disappearance. He embraces and escapes them, overcomes their opposition and becomes all- knowing, sarvavid, a whole-knower. He sees the entire sense both of the self and of things; he restores the integral reality of the Divine…He loves, worships, cleaves to and adores the supreme Self of his and all existence, the one Lord of his and all energies, the close and far-off Eternal in and beyond the world. And he does this too with no single side or portion of himself, exclusive spiritualised mind, blinding light of the heart intense but divorced from largeness, or sole aspiration of the will in works, but in all the perfectly illumined ways of his being and his becoming, his soul and his nature. Divine in the equality of his imperturbable self-existence, one in it with all objects and creatures, he brings that boundless equality, that deep oneness down into his mind and heart and life and body and founds on it in an indivisible integrality the trinity of divine love, divine works and divine knowledge. This is the Gita’s way of salvation.

And is that not too after all the real Adwaita which makes no least scission in the one eternal Existence? This utmost undividing Monism sees the one as the one even in the multiplicities of Nature, in all aspects, as much in the reality of self and of cosmos as in that greatest reality of the supracosmic which is the source of self and the truth of the cosmos and is not bound either by any affirmation of universal becoming or by any universal or absolute negation.

That at least is the Adwaita of the Gita. This is the most secret Shastra, says the Teacher to Arjuna; this is the supreme teaching and science which leads us into the heart of the highest mystery of existence. Absolutely to know it, to seize it in knowledge and feeling and force and experience is to be perfected in the transformed understanding, divinely satisfied in heart and successful in the supreme sense and objective of all will and action and works. It is the way to be immortal, to rise towards the highest divine nature and to assume the eternal Dharma.
– Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita

I was going to die, sooner or later,
whether or not I had even spoken myself.
My silences had not protected me.
Your silences will not protect you….
What are the words you do not yet have?
What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day
and attempt to make your own,
until you will sicken and die of them,
still in silence?
We have been socialized to respect fear more
than our own need for language.
– Audre Lorde

That’s me in the corner
That’s me with my lap
losing my revision
I thought that I saw it saving
I thought that I clicked to save
I think I thought I pressed CONTROL-S
– James Tate Hill

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
– Galatians 5:13

We only become what we are by the radical
and deep-seated refusal
of that which others have made of us.
– Jean-Paul Sartre

Sarah Corbett: Activism needs introverts

When your neighbor is ill-treated, you ought to make the calamity your own. Share then in his tears …Has a poor man come into your house? …There is no rich and poor in Christ. Be not ashamed of him because of his external dress, but receive him because of his inward faith …Be of the same mind in his case.
– St. John Chrysostom

Forget tramping alone in the woods. You are hopelessly lost within minutes, and even indoors, whenever you find yourself in an unfamiliar building, you will walk down the wrong corridor or take the wrong elevator, not to speak of smaller enclosed spaces such as restaurants, for whenever you go to the men’s room in a restaurant that has more than one dining area, you will inevitably make a wrong turn on your way back and wind up spending several minutes searching for your table. Most other people, your wife included, with her unerring inner compass, seem to be able to get around without difficulty. They know where they are, where they have been, and where they are going, but you know nothing, you are forever lost in the moment, in the void of each successive moment that engulfs you, with no idea where true north is, since the four cardinal points do not exist for you, have never existed for you. A minor infirmity until now, with no dramatic consequences to speak of, but that doesn’t mean a day won’t come when you accidentally walk off the edge of a cliff.
– Paul Auster

Tilopa told Naropa:
Theory is like a patch.
It will wear and fall off.

In the shadow of your deepest sufferings lies a healer, working her alchemy, concocting her medicine.
– David Bedrick

But in humility, consider others as more important than yourselves.
– Philippians 2:3

Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.
– Arthur Schopenhauer

I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert.
– Psalm 102:6

I am not sad that black Americans are rebelling; this was not only inevitable but eminently desirable. Without this magnificent ferment among Negroes, the old evasions and procrastinations would have continued indefinitely.
– Martin Luther King Jr. (1969)

Refuse attention to things, let things come and go. Desires and thoughts are also things. Disregard them. Since immemorial time, the dust of events was covering the clear mirror of your mind, so that only memories you could see. Brush off the dust before it has time to settle; this will lay bare the old layers until the true nature of your mind is discovered. It is all very simple and comparatively easy; be earnest and patient, that is all. Dispassion, detachment, freedom from desire and fear, from all self-concern, mere awareness, free from memory and expectation, this is the state of mind to which discovery can happen. After all, liberation is but the freedom to discover.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

We live in a world of finger pointing today. Fingers can point at things but they are primarily made for the crafting of beauty in the world. When we are spending all day pointing them at others we are not making beauty. When we are not making beauty the world starves in a sort of poverty of the soul. We feel empty and lonely. And, from that deep, spiritual lack, we act badly. And then the fingers point at us. And so it goes two ways: if we behave well then no one needs to stop their crafting to point at us. And, if we do less pointing, and more feeding the world with the beauty we make, there will be less need for finger pointing. And so applause, another fine use of the hand, to all of the crafters, knitters, felters, sewers, hide tanners, jewelers out there for feeding us with the real thing, the real food our starving senses need.
– Tad Hargrave

All men are capable of reason. That is the fundamental principle of democracy. Because everybody’s mind is capable of true knowledge, you don’t have to have a special authority, or a special revelation telling you that this is the way things should be.
– Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

We want to live as people chosen, blessed, and broken, and thus become food for the world.
– Henri Nouwen

Sometimes a sea change.

Sometimes a light flips on
and things that seemed tolerable just
yesterday seem unacceptable today.

Sometimes a long-simmering spirit
is suddenly brought to boil.

Sometimes centuries-old stories are instantly toppled.

Sometimes the #NewStory
looks like an empty pedestal,
a shattered statue.

Invisible blossoming.
Infinite potential.
– Drew Dellinger

…In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.
– Rainer Maria Rilke


Don’t say ′′ I am you “, if you can’t sit with another’s pain like it’s your own.

Don’t give me your opinion when there’s confusion in my mind, silence can be more powerful than many words.

Don’t ask me to forgive before I’m even able to see where my wounds are gently calling my attention. I don’t need any further pressure, but space to embrace them.

Don’t give me a sermon on how everything is a reflection of me if you can’t be an empty mirror while talking. My personal judgement and guilt thank you lovingly
Love doesn’t judge, doesn’t push, doesn’t analyze.
Love listens in silence, understands and allows.
Compassion knows I need the space to process, make mistakes, get madly angry, before I can let go, forget and forgive.

Don’t take for granted how easy it is for someone to overcome something you’ve already gone through. You might find that you have to learn through them too.

Humility is a sign of wisdom, true kindness is a sign of true power.

I love you Thank you. Thank you.

– Shakti Catherine Maggi

I really love America. I just don’t know how to get there anymore.
– John Prine

If you’re happy in a dream… does that count?
– Arundhati Roy

My speaking is meant to shake you awake, not to tell you how to dream better.
– Adyashanti

Dharmas exist in the manner of dreams, illusions, echoes, or moons in water.
– Yeshe Tsöndrü

There are moments when you sense that you must live carefully: it’s as if the protective layers have been removed, habitual as clothing, you are left naked, exposed, vulnerable, and the event that has been stalking you, following you outside your field of vision, is close, but you don’t know where it’s coming from.”
– Sergei Lebedev

My uncle in East Germany
points to the unicorn in the painting
and explains it is now extinct.
We correct him, say such a creature
never existed. He does not argue,
but we know he does not believe us.
He is certain power and gentleness
must have gone hand in hand
once. A prisoner of war
even after the war was over,
my uncle needs to believe in something
that could not be captured except by love,
whose single luminous horn
redeemed the murderous forest
and, dipped into foul water,
would turn it pure. This world,
this terrible world we live in,
is not the only possible one,
his eighty-year-old eyes insist,
dry wells that fill so easily now.
– Lisel Mueller

I keep on thinking.
If I sit here for long enough,
A line, one true line,
Will rise like some miraculous fish to the surface,
Brilliant and lithe in the late sunlight,
And offer itself into my hands.
I keep thinking that as the weeks go by,
and the waters never change.
– Charles Wright

I took no pride in my solitude;
but I was dependent on it.
The darkness of the room was like sunlight to me.
– Charles Bukowski

I board the airplane to see my parents. They live far away and long ago
And some years into the future; you never met such wry time machines
In your life. Sometimes they will be about to pass the marmalade when
Suddenly it is late 1941 and they are in college and kissing on the train;
But then as you slather your toast it is 1967 and a war wants to eat their
Son or 2012 and they are at that son’s wake or 1929 and a father comes
Home without his job, or it is a week ago, and do you think that Federer
Is the finest tennis player ever, or Laver, or Don Budge? It happens that
Fast. It’s unnerving and glorious and confusing and perfect and I would
Sit with them every afternoon, if I could, and say tell me tell me tell me,
Tell me every moment of your whole lives, don’t leave me here without
Your grace and humor and the extraordinary gleaming jar of marmalade
From which come all your stories. Next year in Ireland . . . says my mother,
And my dad grins, and I want to kneel and beg the Lord for this moment
Again and again always, the inarguable yes of their bodies, the resonance
Of their endurance, the hunch and hollow of their shoulders, the reverent
Geography of their faces, the lean song of my father’s hands on the table.
– Brian Doyle

In the green morning, before
Love was destiny,
The sun was king,
And God was famous.

The merry, the musical,
The jolly, the magical,
The feast, the feast of feasts, the festival
Suddenly ended

As the sky descended
But there was only the feeling,
In all the dark falling,
Of fragrance and of freshness, of birth and beginning.

– Delmore Schwartz

The records I used to listen to and still love, you can’t make a record that sounds that way. Brian Wilson, he made all his records with four tracks, but you couldn’t make his records if you had a hundred tracks today.
– Bob Dylan

God comes to you disguised as your life.
Blessings often arrive as trouble.

In French, the word blesser means to wound
and relates to the Old English bletsian—
to sprinkle with blood.

And in Sanskrit there is a phrase,
a phrase to carry with you
wherever you go:
sarvam annam:
everything is food.
Every last thing.

– Teddy Macker

And then came the day
when I knew to stop asking
to be anywhere else,

when somehow I no longer
believed any other garden
was better than this one,

when I wanted only
these weeds and this field.
There will come a day,

I am sure, when I forget.
But today, oh the freedom
of being utterly tethered

to this very here with no
other dream, no plan
for other plots, just

a song on my lips
that I sometimes
know how to sing

and sometimes
have to hush to hear
how it goes.

– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

I Have News for You
There are people who do not see a broken playground swing
as a symbol of ruined childhood

and there are people who don’t interpret the behavior
of a fly in a motel room as a mocking representation of their thought process.

There are people who don’t walk past an empty swimming pool
and think about past pleasures unrecoverable

and then stand there blocking the sidewalk for other pedestrians.
I have read about a town somewhere in California where human beings

do not send their sinuous feeder roots
deep into the potting soil of others’ emotional lives

as if they were greedy six-year-olds
sucking the last half-inch of milkshake up through a noisy straw;

and other persons in the Midwest who can kiss without
debating the imperialist baggage of heterosexuality.

Do you see that creamy, lemon-yellow moon?
There are some people, unlike me and you,

who do not yearn after fame or love or quantities of money as
unattainable as that moon;
thus, they do not later
have to waste more time
defaming the object of their former ardor.

Or consequently run and crucify themselves
in some solitary midnight Starbucks Golgotha.

I have news for you—
there are people who get up in the morning and cross a room

and open a window to let the sweet breeze in
and let it touch them all over their faces and bodies.

“Walk on the bridge, don’t build on it,” said Buddha. On the bridge between lives and between worlds, we want to be ready to change our perspective…

Normally I didn’t see a great deal. I didn’t hear a great deal either. I didn’t pay attention. Strictly speaking I wasn’t there. Strictly speaking I believe I’ve never been anywhere.
– Samuel Beckett, The End

In Absentia
The roof of my mouth
is on fire, a dome of stars for the people
poured like cream into my coffee dark roasted
into a day
without the myth of greatness.

Who are we but a people mainlining
the american dream like street corner junkies. Is this
awakening, all this white anti-racism
to be trusted? I see it but am afraid
to walk on that fragile ice. Dare I?

This day that will forgo the gatherings, the fireworks,
the backyard BBQ’s except by those in their longing, or in a perilous game of chicken with immune system hubris,
the bent aperture of individualization, oh mighty
bootstraps, the meme of capitalization and bereft

of Community. Beloved or not. Roll the dice.
We eat our chicken wings alone with a fervent prayer
that a family member who possibly was exposed will overcome.
I sing that old song with new meaning. I am not what I once
was, nor you, nor this country. We sing in absentia.

Finally, let that old myth die a good, or a bad death— either
way, let its stars & the stripes like jail bars bequeath
us a new reckoning, a visioning of us not in comfort but
in humility. To begin again. Without performative smoke
and mirrors, starting with a night losing her fireworks,

and all that innocence that always wants the last word,
and all that distancing that is not social, but revving the motor to claim a place behind the line.
Red Rover, Red Rover, send not the ‘good people’, but the
committed people right over. They sing and still believe.
– Margo Stebbing

It is poetry that changes everything.
– Bell Hooks

I loved her against reason,
against promise, against peace,
against hope, against happiness,
against all discouragement that could be.
– Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

May the day come soon when we have a president who loves our country & shows it—not with tanks & cruelty, but by upholding the constitution, embracing diversity, welcoming refugees & working every day to increase equality, strengthen democracy & better lives.
Happy 4th of July!
– Michael Beschloss, historian

If you have ever seen a counsellor or therapist you know that the focus seems to go automatically to your childhood and your parents, or to your personal style or lack of it, or to your ideas and your conjured personal myths. It goes automatically to you. The reality that psychology and self help grant you is the reality between your ears, as they say, your interior life, your Own True Self. At the end of the counselling session you are released back into the sorrows and consternations and, yes, madnesses of the culture that went a long way towards giving you your personal limp and ache in the first place, a culture as utterly unchanged by your personal improvement as it was inured to your personal misfortune.

In a culture like ours, so unsure of itself, so without a shared understanding of life for its people, there are subtle, enduring consequences that look like personal inadequacy, failure of will, inability or unwillingness to live deeply. But what I’ve seen over twenty five years of working with people convinces me that these problems or struggles are not bad psychology, worse parenting or lousy personality development.

What we suffer from most is culture failure, amnesia of ancestry and deep family story, phantom or sham rites of passage, no instruction on how to live with each other or with the world around us or with our dead or with our history.

Any counsel worthy of the name should have culture at its core. Any counsel worthy of the name should begin to make a place in personal life for the rumoured, scattered story of who you come from where, and why. Counsel well done and honest makes a home for the orphan wisdom of personal life in the life of the world. It tries to ask the questions that the Sufi poet Rumi asked of himself eight centuries ago, and it tries to answer them:

“All day long I think about it, and at night I say it: Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? Who hears with my ear, and speaks with my tongue? And what is the soul?”
– Stephen Jenkinson, Orphan Wisdom

May the day come soon when we have a president who loves our country & shows it—not with tanks & cruelty, but by upholding the constitution, embracing diversity, welcoming refugees & working every day to increase equality, strengthen democracy & better lives.
– Michael Beschloss, historian

Every book is the wreck of a perfect idea.
– Iris Murdoch, The Black Prince

Those who seek the truth by means of intellect and learning, only get further and further away from it.

Los que buscan la verdad por medio del intelecto y el aprendizaje, solo se alejan cada vez más de ella.
– Huang Po

If someone does bad, do not condemn him. Explain things in such a way that he does not become angry. Something that encourages violence does not last long. Although you may be correct in your censure, your very correctness does not last long if you use harsh words.
– Dogen

In art the search for a content
which is collectively understandable
is false;
the content will always be individual.
– Piet Mondrian

If you pray for anything in life, pray for the capacity to experience pure Devotion, for it is the flint that sparks the flame of pure Truth that opens the mind, heart and soul to surrender to the supreme light of pure Divinity. When devotion is sincere and pure, it is impossible for pure Divinity to resist, for it is through the innocent surrender of a pure open heart that She can reveal more of Her own supreme Divinity to Herself.
– Lucia and Lawrence [lorn] Hoff, The Incredible Reality of YOU: A Spiritual Guide to the Awakening of Consciousness

God is indeed dead.
He died of self-horror
when He saw the creature He had made
in His own image.
– Irving Layton

We must conclude that nothing is outside of God. This applies not only to the sefirot [Divine emanations] but to everything that exists, large and small—they exist solely through the divine energy that flows to them and clothes itself in them…. This is the secret meaning of the verse: “You enliven everything.” So divinity flows and inheres in each thing that exists. This is the secret meaning of the verse: “God’s presence fills the entire world.” Contemplating this, you are humbled, your thoughts purified. (Or Yaqar 15:203a)

Each of us emerges from Ein Sof (Limitless, Infinity) and is included in it. We live through its dissemination. It is the perpetuation of existence…. This process is like a revolving wheel, first descending then ascending. It is all one and the same, nothing is separate from it. Though life branches out further and further, everything is joined to Ein Sof, included and abiding in it. Delve into this. Flashes of intuition will come and go, and you will discover a secret here. If you are deserving, you will understand the mystery of God on your own. (Shi’ur Qomah, 16d-17a)

– Rabbi Moses Cordovero

you wonder astonished: Who am I? I am a mustard seed in the middle of the sphere of the moon, which itself is a mustard seed within the next sphere. So it is with that sphere and all it contains in relation to the next sphere. So it is with all the spheres-one inside the other-and all of them are a mustard seed within the further expanses. And all of these are a mustard seed within further expanses. Your awe is invigorated; the love in your soul expands.
– Rabbi Moses Cordovero

And in the depths of music, I didn’t find the answer,
And again there was silence, and again the ghost
of summer.
– Anna Akhmatova

This problem cannot be solved collectively, because the masses are not changed
unless the individual changes.
At the same time, even the best-looking solution cannot be forced upon him,
since it is a good solution only
when it is combined with a natural process
of development. It is therefore
a hopeless undertaking to stake everything
on collective recipes and procedures.

The bettering of a general ill begins
with the individual, and then only when
he makes himself and not others responsible. This is naturally only possible in freedom,
but not under a rule of force,
whether this be exercised
by a self-elected tyrant
or by one thrown up by the mob.
– C.G. Jung

Many of us in this time have lost the inner substance of our lives…but in spite of this forgetting, there is still a part of us that is deep and intimate with the world. We remember it by feel. We experience it as a murmur in the night, a restlessness we can’t name.
– Linda Hogan

No poetic phantasy
but a biological reality,
a fact: I am an entity
like bird, insect, plant
or sea-plant cell;
I live; I am alive.
– H.D.

So little lies between you and the earth and the sky. One look & you know that simply to survive every possible ally is needed–even most humble insect or reptile. You realize you will be speaking with all of them if you intend to last out the year.
– Leslie Marmon Silko

When your mind changes, the world changes. And when we respond differently to the world, the world responds differently to us.
– David Loy

Future generations are not going to ask us what political party were you in. They are going to ask what did you do about it, when you knew the glaciers were melting.
– Martin Sheen

Some things scratch the surface while others strike at your soul.
– Gianna Perada

I am sorry. I mean for no one to come to such harm. But vulnerability in a man. I find it very appealing. Forgive me. I do not mean to intrude. Whereas cowardice is commonplace. Among men. Vulnerability it’s a rarity.
– C.D. Wright

A colorful fish gets into trouble,
gets out of it again, then looks at a tree.
People love that story.
They never get tired of it.
– Kilgore Trout

All love is vanquished
by a succeeding love.
– Ovid

Ahavah means “love” in Hebrew. The Jewish mystics remark on the affinity between the word ahavah, “love,” and “echad,” one. The numerical value of their letters is the same: 13.

Oneness, unity, is the aspiration of love, and love emerges from a perception of unity. Love comes out of a sense of God’s unity pervading all things.
– Rabbi Julian Sinclair

You must face annihilation over and over again
to find what is indestructible in yourself.
– Pema Chodron

A man is not called wise because he talks and talks again; but if he is peaceful, loving and fearless then he is in truth called wise.
– Teachings of the Buddha, Dhammapada

It is very nearly impossible, after all, to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind.
– James Baldwin, They Can’t Turn Back

He stood at the window of the empty cafe
and watched the activites in the square
and he said that it was good
that God kept the truths of life from the young
as they were starting out
or else they’d have no heart to start at all.
– Cormac McCarthy

Art stays. Outside time. And inside it.

Art inhabits time, and lives beyond it, despite it;

Real art takes us, steeps us, both firmly into the present—and frees us, takes us, directly out of it. Beyond time.

“Time out of mind.”

– Marian Haddad

We were given bluebirds. Have you
thought about that? Something wanted
us to find some kind of happiness
flitting about in our being. Imagine
the foresight! Humans with our
befuddling ache for something other
than the miracles all around us.
What can you do with a bluebird
other than say, “Oh! This day is so
much better now.” That wasn’t
a question, actually. Because it’s
simply true. True like the branch on
which the bluebird perches, or the fence
post beside the old orchard with tart
heirloom apples.
What if a bluebird perched on your
heart? Yes, imagine that! Imagine
what could become of this
unhappy miracled world.
– Jamie K. Reaser

On The Mockingbird Singing
In The Morning In The Barrio
A Few Blocks From The Boardwalk
On The Beach In Venice, California
– Terry Blackhawk

Above the bougainvillea, coming unstuck
from this stuccoed urban maze,
a mockingbird is doing the best he can
to make something from the nothing
that precedes him. The voice
climbs, tumbles, and I wonder
if he is riding or falling from
the edge of his song,
this song he doesn’t own
just as a surfer’s not master
of the wave, no matter
the moves. Mock soloist,
our bird creates his own company.
He’s a manic one-man birdband
conducting himself in early morning excess
beyond the hanging fuchsia
whose ruby silence
is preferable, perhaps, to his cacophony
but he’s at it again now, letting go
or hanging on, his wheezing
takeoff like a whip
snapping, a carnival
toy to twirl in the air–
and in fact he rises, up for a moment,
whirligig, wings a-windup,
then back to the branch
and his aphoristic repetitions,
the song gone a bit obsessive
and bizarre. And we who
grouse at his intrusions
blinking from sleep ruffled
for all we know by the latest passing
boombox–what else to do
but love the wild
array of him, how he tunes
himself up and gets it all
in, this fly-right-up clown, with his
step-right up patter, saying
towhee and titmouse, meaning meadow
and glen, whatever it is, shape it,
take it, to what (to-whee!) to what is given.

The Lama of the Crystal Monastery appears to be a very happy man, and yet I wonder how he feels about his isolation in the silences of Tsakang, which he has not left in eight years now and, because of his legs, may never leave again. Since Jang-bu seems uncomfortable with the Lama or with himself or perhaps with us, I tell him not to inquire on this point if it seems to him impertinent, but after a moment Jang-bu does so. And this holy man of great directness and simplicity, big white teeth shining, laughs out loud in an infectious way at Jang-bu’s question. Indicating his twisted legs without a trace of self-pity or bitterness, as if they belonged to all of us, he casts his arms wide to the sky and the snow mountains, the high sun and dancing sheep, and cries, “Of course I am happy here! It’s wonderful! Especially when I have no choice!
– Peter Matthiessen

An entire species that through its hard labor has given birth to its next self-expression – a fully conscious Soul, green to its roots, feet firmly planted on the Earth but now transparent to the Creative Intelligence that everywhere presses in upon it.
– Christopher Bache

This is how quantum physics shows that we cannot decompose the world into independently existing elementary units. As we shift our attention from macroscopic objects to atoms and subatomic particles, nature does not show us any isolated building-blocks, but rather appears as a complex web of relationships between the various parts of a unified whole.
– Fritjof Capra, The Web of Life

Americans are forever searching
for love in forms it never takes,
in places it can never be.
It must have something to do
with the vanished frontier.
– Kurt Vonnegut

You know a nation is alienated from nature when they carve the faces of four presidents onto a sacred Lakota mountain and are more excited about a fireworks display than a lunar eclipse happening that same evening. There is no sanity to be found apart from nature. There is nothing of value that does not find some manifestation in nature. Whatever is meant by the word “sacred” is not found apart from, but is shining THROUGH, the earth, wind, fire of our ordinary experience.
– Jim Rigby

THE LAW of sacrifice is the common divine action that was thrown out into the world in its beginning as a symbol of the solidarity of the universe. It is by the attraction of this law that a divinising principle, a saving power descends to limit and correct and gradually to eliminate the errors of an egoistic and self-divided creation. This descent, this sacrifice of the Purusha, the Divine Soul submitting itself to Force and Matter so that it may inform and illuminate them, is the seed of redemption of this world of Inconscience and Ignorance. “For with sacrifice as their companion,” says the Gita, “the All-Father created these peoples.” The acceptance of the law of sacrifice is a practical recognition by the ego that it is neither alone in the world nor chief in the world. It is its admission that, even in this much fragmented existence, there is beyond itself and behind that which is not its own egoistic person, something greater and completer, a diviner All which demands from it subordination and service. Indeed, sacrifice is imposed and, where need be, compelled by the universal World-Force; it takes it even from those who do not consciously recognise the law, — inevitably, because this is the intrinsic nature of things. Our ignorance or our false egoistic view of life can make no difference to this eternal bedrock truth of Nature. For this is the truth in Nature, that this ego which thinks itself a separate independent being and claims to live for itself, is not and cannot be independent nor separate, nor can it live to itself even if it would, but rather all are linked together by a secret Oneness. Each existence is continually giving out perforce from its stock; out of its mental receipts from Nature or its vital and physical assets and acquisitions and belongings a stream goes to all that is around it. And always again it receives something from its environment gratis or in return for its voluntary or involuntary tribute. For it is only by this giving and receiving that it can effect its own growth while at the same time it helps the sum of things.
– Sri Aurobindo

Poem by Rev. Mark Sandlin:

If your god
causes you to hurt others;
to turn an indifferent eye
to the hungry and homeless;
to belittle, berate, and bully others —
if it causes you
to feel superior to others;
to discount, dismiss and disavow science —
if it encourages you
to damn those
who are not like you
to a fiery pit
and allows you
to claim your god is
all-knowing, and
as you do it,
that is no god,
that is the worst parts
of your humanity
wrapped up
in visions of grandeur.

Let a new earth rise. Let another world be born. Let a
bloody peace be written in the sky. Let a second
generation full of courage issue forth; let a people
loving freedom come to growth. Let a beauty full of
healing and a strength of final clenching be the pulsing
in our spirits and our blood. Let the martial songs
be written, let the dirges disappear. Let a race of men now
rise and take control.
– Margaret Walker


In a composite Nation like ours, made up of almost every variety of the human family, there should be, as before the Law, no rich, no poor, no high, no low, no black, no white, but one country, one citizenship equal rights and a common destiny for all. A government that cannot or does not protect the humblest citizen in his right to life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness, should be reformed or overthrown, without delay.”
“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to them, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which they are the constant victim. To them, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to them, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.”
“Power and those in control concede nothing … without a demand. They never have and never will… Each and every one of us must keep demanding, must keep fighting, must keep thundering, must keep plowing, must keep on keeping things struggling, must speak out and speak up until justice is served because where there is no justice there is no peace.”
“The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion.”
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle.”
“I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ; I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial, and hypocritical Christianity of this land. Indeed, I can see no reason, but the most deceitful one, for calling the religion of this land Christianity. I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, and the grossest of all libels.”
“American slaveholders must prepare, not only to be excluded from the communion of British Christians, but peremptorily driven from the platform of every philanthropic association. Let them be hemmed in on every side. Let them be placed beyond the pale of respectability, and, standing out separated, alone in their infamy, let the storm gather over them, and its hottest bolts descend. Our justification is ample:—the slaveholder is a human-stealer.”
“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”
“Education means emancipation. It means light and liberty. It means the uplifting of the human soul into the glorious light of truth, the light by which human beings can only be made free.”
“I will unite with anyone to do good, but with no one to do harm.”
(Paraphrased for gender inclusivity)

Fall in love with some activity, and do it!
Nobody ever figures out what life is all about,
and it doesn’t matter. Explore the world.
Nearly everything is really interesting
if you go into it deeply enough.
Work as hard and as much as you want to
on the things you like to do the best.
Don’t think about what you want to be,
but what you want to do.
Keep up some kind of a minimum
with other things
so that society doesn’t stop you
from doing anything at all.
– Richard P. Feynman

I’m not calm; I am fire, I am living, I am color. I am essence, I am pleasure, I am rebellion. I am instinct, I am skin, I am revolution. I can be anything but calm.
– Frida Kahlo

No matter how many poems I write
I cannot undo my complicity,
I cannot reverse the sea of gravestones,
and my poems will never be an apology
worth a single life taken
by our collective national ignorance,
greed and irrational fear.
– CA Conrad

when we can’t read people’s silence we fill it with our worst fears.
– sea orphan

May we not become enemies
of our own happiness.
– Anand Bakshi

The strangeness of Time.
Not in its passing, which can seem infinite,
like a tunnel whose end you can’t see,
whose beginning you’ve forgotten,
but in the sudden realization
that something finite, has passed, and is irretrievable.
– Joyce Carol Oates

The first condition of nonviolence is justice all round in every department of life.
– Gandhi

The crisis is not political; the crisis is not economic, nor religious, but the crisis is in consciousness, in our minds, in our hearts, in our brain. The crisis is there.
– J. Krishnamurti

Words are events, they do things, change things. They transform both speaker and hearer; they feed energy back and forth and amplify it. They feed understanding or emotion back and forth and amplify it.
– Ursula le Guin

One of the hallmarks of the ungrounded spiritual movement is this statement: “There is only THIS moment.” It is often made by spiritual teachers who are dissociating from their unresolved history- self-avoidance masquerading as enlightenment. We can understand the value of this way of thinking- it calls us out of our worry mind, our habitual consciousness- and reminds us to be here, now. But it doesn’t work- at least not for very long. Because “this moment” actually includes and encompasses every moment before. The past is not behind us, as many of us wish it was- it is deep within us, encoded in our cells, somatized as memory and unresolved trauma. It fully informs our lens on reality. In most cases, the “power of now” is just a dissociative construct. Because most of us are still influenced, and ruled by, the power of “then.” The answer is not to pretend we are present, when all we have done is fled or momentarily suspended our past. That’s not true presence. That’s not true healing. The answer is to own, embody and resolve the “then”, so that our experience of the moment both honors our history and recognizes the ways our moment is informed by our past. It is to recognize that past and present are intrinsic to each other. The mystery begins with our history.
– Jeff Brown, Grounded Spirituality

My soul an ant
running through
God’s fingers trying
to find stability in
a palm already
pressed against
the Devil’s.
– Rachel “Raych” Jackson

You have not only altered and malformed your winged and four-legged cousins; you have done it to yourselves. You have changed men into chairmen of boards, into office workers, into time-clock punchers. You have changed your women into housewives, truly fearful creatures. I was once invited to the house of one. ‘Watch the ashes, don’t smoke, you’ll stain the curtains. Watch the goldfish bowl, don’t lean your head against the wallpaper; your hair may be greasy. Don’t spill liquor on that table: it has a delicate finish. You should have wiped your boots; the floor was just varnished. Don’t don’t don’t…’ That is crazy…you live in prisons you have built for yourselves, calling them ‘homes, offices, factories.
– John Fire Lame Deer

Leave your mind alone, that is all. Don’t go along with it. After all, there is no such thing as mind apart from thoughts which come and go obeying their own laws, not yours. They dominate you only because you are interested in them.


Reality is not a concept, nor the manifestation of a concept. It has nothing to do with concepts. Concern yourself with your mind, remove its distortions and impurities. Once you have had the taste of your own self, you will find it everywhere and at all times. Therefore it is so important that you should come to it. Once you know it, you will never lose it.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaja

Fulfilling kinds of interaction are not just about pushing each other around. Instead, they communicate through circuits of intimate relationships, along with through the larger interactions of living fields of community, work, belief, or interest. Living fields are not only mechanisms of causes and effects but sophisticated webs of communicative potentials, bargains and dramas – not only concerned with specific goals but with longer-term cooperative agreements of the living system. And no matter how small or different its ways of being, every living field is more of a democracy than a machine. As Bayo Akomolafe says, Is it possible that my sense of self, my I -ness, is the collaboration of ecosystems of sentient communities of cells, bacteria, and microbes? That the composite ecologies and aliens that I am made up of have their own lives and hopes and meanings and yearnings and politics? And that their symbiosis occasions the ‘I’ of ‘my’ self, a thin sliver of awareness that works with these revenant communities?
– George Gorman

Empathy isn’t just something that happens to us – a meteor shower of synapses firing across the brain – it’s also a choice we make: to pay attention, to extend ourselves. It’s made of exertion, that dowdier cousin of impulse. Sometimes we care for another because we know we should, or because it’s asked for, but this doesn’t make our caring hollow. This confession of effort chafes against the notion that empathy should always rise unbidden, that genuine means the same thing as unwilled, that intentionality is the enemy of love. But I believe in intention and I believe in work. I believe in waking up in the middle of the night and packing our bags and leaving our worst selves for our better ones.
– Leslie Jamison

We are all meant to be mothers of God, for God is always needing to be born.
– Meister Eckhart

Two more words to let go:
never and always,
and through the space they leave
I look out on possibility where categories
become boulders beside the trail.

Walking this life of chance and surprise,
synchronicity – no walled-in box
of beginning and ending – I am
learning to hold abstraction

as the unreality is is, to see
the details in death, then go
on to whatever happens
I can’t begin to imagine.

– Jeanne Lohmann

José Luis G. Soler:
in my heart.
don’t give me 5
Gee, give me

You are at once both the quiet
and the confusion of my heart.
– Franz Kafka

Art is born out of an ill-designed world.
– Andrei Tarkovsky

Silence is true wisdom’s best reply.
– Euripides

George Gorman:
Like eyes
Poetry doesn’t require words
Only meanings
Qualitative variety fans through hearts and minds =as it fans through the universe. As scientists are fond of saying, nature is parsimonious. So why shouldn’t nature’s habits and human habits be informed by similar drifts of deep poetry as our own? And those characteristics that enable us to bridge gaps between one another – curiosity, emotional sympathy, respect and honesty – are the same kinds of processes that develop the satisfying relationships of a termite mound, a coral reef, or a forest more sympathetically attuned than any existing city. (Who knows what’s past of futuring?)
Communicational freedoms in cellular and behavioral interactions enable organisms, species and ecosystems to work flexibly through the collaborative politics of cocreating workable agreements of sympathetic cooperation. Communication allows for the freedom of inherent unpredictability, even in tightly-knit associations like a digestive system, or a musical band. This penchant for multiplying both distinctions (like who is playing what position on the team) and sympathies is also essential. The evolution of multicellular organisms is a great example of this, with steady increases in cell diversity, body parts and varieties of experience, on the one hand, together with the growth of coordinately collaborating participants. Welcome to the living world.

To be seriously alive is to have scars.
– John Steinbeck

Peace of mind
comes from not wanting
to change others.
– Gerald G. Jampolsky

for the embattled
there is no place
that cannot be
nor is
– Audre Lorde

Life is very short
and what we have to do
must be done in the now.

– Audre Lorde

In our modern lives, we are often multitasking, which makes our minds chaotic. In such a state, it becomes impossible to have liberty and the pursuit of internal happiness. Shamatha shows us how fragmented we are, how our actions fail to meet our intentions, how we don’t take care of our own welfare. Self-awareness alone is not a cure, but by enabling us to see our own pain, it helps us have some distance from our mental habits.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

If i view time as an ecology, as a set of relationships, then I don’t want to deny or turn away from relationships I may form with the present or the past or the future just because I don’t like the images they’re presenting. The “power” to transform the past, the present, or the future lies in my capacity to form a transformative relationship with them. It’s by accepting what’s there that I gain the means to engage with it and perhaps change it.
In this process, I want to understand that the images of the future that I hold or that others present to me are only part of the interrelationships from which the actual, experienced future will emerge. I can imagine what tomorrow may be like, but I haven’t experienced it yet. And the experience may turn out to be different than what I’m experiencing.
This is the point of seeing it as an ecology, and the reason John refused to make prophecies. The “revealed” or experienced future is the product of a number of factors all interacting with each other: the past, the present, the images of the future, the inertia or momentum of events leading to certain consequences, our relationships, the fields of subtle energy we create, and so on. Simply sharing an image of the future in the form of a prophecy doesn’t begin to cover the complexity of this ecology of interrelationships and variables.
Furthermore, in this ecology, I am an actor. I can contribute, for I am part of the consciousness and subtle energy of the world and of humanity. I may be a small part, but I’m a part nonetheless.
In a simple tether-ball, linear system, energy input equals energy output; action equals consequence. If I hit the ball hard, it will spin around and come back at me hard. If I hit the ball softly, it will move only a small amount and may not spin around and come back to me at all.
But in a complex system, we are dealing with non-linear dynamics in which the relationship between input and output can be counterintuitive. A small input may have a huge effect; this is the idea behind the notion that the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings in China can cause a hurricane in the Atlantic. Conversely, a large impact may disperse quickly through the system and have little effet at all.
The ecology of time – indeed, the ecology of life, being, and consciousness itself here on earth – is a non-linear dynamical system. This is why each person is important, because any of us at any time through our actions or our thoughts might just be the butterfly whose wings change the world…
– David Spangler, Facing the Future

“The Zen master Ikkyu was once asked to write the distillation of the highest wisdom. He wrote only one word: ‘Attention.’

The visitor was displeased. ‘Is that all?’

So Ikkyu obliged him. Two words now.

‘Attention. Attention.’ ”

– Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation

Something broke in me and left me with a nerve split in two. In the beginning the extremities linked to the cut hurt me so badly that I paled in pain and perplexity. However the split places gradually scarred over. Until coldly, I no longer hurt. I changed, without planning to. I used to look at you from my inside outward and from the inside of you, which because of love, I could guess. After the scarring I started to look at you from the outside in. And also to see myself from the outside in: I had transformed myself into a heap of facts and actions whose only root was in the domain of logic. At first I couldn’t associate me with myself. Where am I? I wondered. And the one who answered was a stranger who told me coldly and categorically: you are yourself.
– Clarice Lispector, A Breath of Life

The Buddhists say
there are 121 states of consciousness.
Of these, only three involve misery or suffering.
Most of us spend our time moving back and forth
between these three.
– Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation

Life is too long to say anything definitely;
always “say perhaps.
– Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

It isn’t possible to love and part.
You will wish that it was.
You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it,
but you can never pull it out of you.
I know by experience that the poets are right:
love is eternal.
– E.M. Forster, A Room with a View

Write a little every day, without hope,
without despair.
– Isak Dinesen

Respect human life as long as you can; but respect more the life of humanity.
– Sri Aurobindo

Algae Becoming Multicellular

Algae were among the first organisms to form unbreakable multicellular alliances. Some algal microbes took the bacterial discovery that cooperation could be more fruitful than competition and ran with it (figuratively). As one of the first multicellulars, seaweeds developed four cell-types, while sponges, the simplest animals, have ten (which is not suggesting that sponges are smarter than seaweed). There is no more important or mysterious turning point in the story of evolution than those processes of forming the first multicellular bodies. But even unicellular types of algae have a greater bias toward association than their more freewheeling protozoal counterparts. Microbial algae had explored their capacity for intimate connections long before they began to unbreakably bond by forming themselves into the first visible (to us) bodies (as seaweed). Thus the living had already gotten the idea of the joys of multicellular association through collaboratively creating large bacterial and algal mats (as well as more complex collective organisms such as stromatalites), most of which included microbial photosynthesizers. But to become truly unified as a single cohesive multicellular organism, those algal microbes who loved teamwork still had to clear the hurdle of committing to a lifelong association that would cohere, in the sense of each cell becoming so intimately joined with the rest in that “body” that it could no longer live apart from that interdependent community of intimate coordination as a seaweed.

So, in concert with the Cambrian Explosion of 600,000 years ago that was the first great radiation of multicellular animals throughout the seas, algal seaweeds were developing both the “whys” and the “hows” of multiple cellular cohabitation in a single body through the intimate communication of billions or trillions of cellular individuals. Yet why would those cellular individuals sacrifice so much of their freedom for an unbreakable membership in such a tightly-knit megalopolis of multicellular intimacy? They must have 1)really loved the experience of creative collaboration, 2)been truly rewarded through some kind of feedback from the whole multicellular identity and/or 3)found a more interesting new kind of “freedom” and/or “love” in the developmental dances of intimate cooperation. While they were also developing sexual reproducation for sun-eaters.

These first cocreations of multicellular coherence are fascinating. Having a body-identity was a very new life process for formerly freewheeling microorganisms. And as no one has proven that all of the subtle creative details required to form a visible seaweed happened through a cascade of lucky accidents combined with deterministic physical causes alone, why not wonder if those diminutive pioneers were deliberately using their deeply felt biosentience to help them develop great cooperative commitments? Some of this must have involved valuing and maintaining a new kind of trust between all of the cells producing these first macroscopic bodies. Nobody forced mutual devotion to an intimate to happen. They must have wanted to do this. (Maybe some day we’ll learn to trust one another that way. As the earliest Christians were hoping.) Of course the structural aspects of coordinating differently specialized cells into a single body were physical processes, yet the procedural experiences of cellular interaction were still felt processes depending on shared agreements.

So maybe the early algae put so much energy into becoming so intimately well-coordinated because that was an excitingly creative adventure just starting for all of the living. As people got really excited by the innovative possibilities of creating new urbanized living centers of cities and nations together, those microbial innovators were also co-actively building much larger and more tightly-knit living systems. Yet those weavers of some of the first macroscopic forms of the living were sacrificing a lot of their freedom as single-celled individuals for the sake of the greater “common good” of being multicellularly committed to one another. This must have felt worth it, even as a new improvisation, or it wouldn’t have gone on. Was it the same sort of pursuit that often motivates people to sacrifice some freedoms for more loving ways of being alive? Though impending danger or the rule of force can bind us with others for a while, there is nothing better for connecting individuals in happy ways than love.
This may leave some by the wayside, but I’ve just gotta wonder if those creative primordial phototropes might have done this so well because of the increasing amount of love their multicellular togetherness was generating as they intimately committed themselves to one another – and to the whole evolution of large-bodied life forms. Because it felt so good to experience their lives as an intimate process of loving cooperation.
– George Gorman

Who can bear Kali rushing into the system in her fierce force and burning godhead? Only the [hu]man whom Krishna already possesses.
– Sri Aurobindo

You can’t live in this world
but there’s nowhere
else to go.
– Jack Kerouac

The joy of God is secret and wonderful; it is a mystery and a rapture at which common sense makes mouths of mockery; but the soul that has once tasted it, can never renounce, whatever worldly disrepute, torture and affliction it may bring us.
– Sri Aurobindo

I am caught in musing—
how life is a swift motion,
a continuous flowing, changing,
and how one is always saying goodbye
and going places.
– Sylvia Plath

Every winter I try
to catch as many
‘fuck yous’ on my
tongue as I can. It’s
the feminist in me.
– Andrea Gibson

In a poem, language remains itself
yet is also made to feel different,
even sacred, like a spell.
How this happens is the mystery of each poem,
and maybe its deepest meaning.
Coming upon a word, having it rise up
out of the preconscious, intuitive dream-state
and into the poem, either to begin
or somewhere along the way or even, blissfully,
at the end, is the special reward of being a poet,
and a reader of poetry.
By being placed into the machine of a poem,
language can become alive again.
t is both what it is and what it means,
but also something that is greater
than the ordinary.
– Matthew Zapruder

Whatever it is, / I cannot understand it, / although gratitude / stubbornly overcomes me / until I’m reduced to tears.
– SaigyÅ

The Kabbalists also call this non-dimensional level of reality the domain of yechidah, which means “singularity”.
It is a singularity in that whatever particular is right in front of your face contains every other particular in reality. Literally everything is in everything. Every particular that ever was, is, and will be is in each and every other particular. Whatever the experience is, it is a singular experience. It is all right here, right now without even being a here or a now.

The implications of this realization are enormous, because it means that everything that ever was, is, and will be is right here, right now. This is the kind of perception that begins to open up. Basically, the non-dimensional truth of Adam Kadmon collapses all concepts of “distance”. It erases the concept that there is a distance between moments in time or between points in space or between particular people. So you can have experiences like being somebody else, being animals, or being somewhere else, because it is happening right here. Everything happens in parallel but interpenetrating realities.
– Zvi Ish-Shalom, The Kedumah Experience: The Primordial Torah

Art is about emotion;
if art needs to be explained
it is no longer art.
– Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Sometimes true:

Go to where the silence is and say something.
– Amy Goodman, investigative journalist, columnist and author

I have found it easier to identify
with the characters who verge upon hysteria,
who were frightened of life,
who were desperate
to reach out to another person.
But these seemingly fragile people
are the strong people really.
– Tennessee Williams

Linearity does not come naturally to me.
It kills my imagination. Nothing happens.
No bell rings. No moment of here and now.
No moment that says yes.
Without these, I am not alive.
I prefer the pleasure of the journey
through the spiral. Relax. Enjoy the spiral.
If you miss something on the first round,
don’t worry. You might pick it up
on the second—or third—or ninth.
It doesn’t matter. Relax. Timing is everything.
If the bell does ring, it will resonate
through all the rungs of your spiral.
If it doesn’t ring, it is the wrong spiral—
or the wrong time— or there is no bell.
– Marion Woodman

You are a function
of what the whole universe is doing
in the same way that a wave is a function
of what the whole ocean is doing.
– Alan W. Watts

The seeds of creative resolution can be developing at different levels simultaneously. Evolving on one level in no way limits that of another. In fact, the flowering on one level is the manifestation of potential on all levels. It is only our inability to focus on several things simultaneously that keeps the flow of our energy from going to many different levels and dimensions within us.
– Rudi

The bud
stands for all things,
even 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

The constant happiness is curiosity.
– Alice Munro

I did not know for some time whether I loved Krishna best or Kali; when I loved Kali, it was loving myself, but when I loved Krishna, I loved another, and still it was myself with whom I was in love. Therefore I came to love Krishna better even than Kali.
– Sri Aurobindo

To the soul that has hold of the highest beatitude, life cannot be an evil or a sorrowful illusion; rather all life becomes the rippling love and laughter of a divine Lover and Playfellow.
– Sri Aurobindo

This morning I am wonderfully peaceful.
Just like a storm that has spent itself.
– Virginia Woolf

Q]: How do you write silence?

[A]: a) in stanza breaks b) through white space c) sonic negations, reduplications, cancellings out d) by intent listening: silence is audible even within sound
– Maureen N. McLane

There is a limit to the amount of misery
and disarray you will put up with, for love,
just as there is a limit to the amount of mess
you can stand around a house.
You can’t know the limit beforehand,
but you will know when you’ve reached it.
– Alice Munro

The divine Friend of all creatures conceals His friendliness in the mask of an enemy till He has made us ready for the highest heavens; then, as in Kurukshetra, the terrible form of the Master of strife, suffering and destruction is withdrawn and the sweet face, the tenderness, the oft-clasped body of Krishna shine out on the shaken soul and purified eyes of his eternal comrade and playmate.
– Sri Aurobindo

He needed to find a pen
and list the reasons for living.
– Hanif Kureishi, The Black Album

Living in Krishna, even enmity becomes a play of love and the wrestling of brothers.
– Sri Aurobindo

Science denial is a threat to our common future.
– Larry Schweiger

The ability to ask beautiful questions, often in very unbeautiful moments, is one of the greatest disciplines of a human life. A beautiful question starts to shape your identity as much by asking it as it does by having it answered.
– David Whyte

When I think of where I’ve come from
or even try to measure as any kind of
distance these places, all the various
people, and all the ways in which I re –
member them, so that even the skin I
touched or was myself fact of, inside,
could see through like a hole in the wall
or listen to, it must have been, to what
was going on in there, even if I was still
too dumb to know anything – When I think
of the miles and miles of roads, or meals,
of telephone wires even, or even of water
poured out in endless streams down streaks
of black sky or the dirt roads washed clean,
or myriad, salty tears and suddenly it’s spring
again, or it was – Even when I think about
all those I treated so poorly, names, places,
their waiting uselessly for me in the rain and
I never came, was never really there at all,
was moving so confusedly, so fast, so driven
like a car along some empty highway passing,
passing other cars – When I try to think of
things, of what’s happened, of what a life is
and was, my life, when I wonder what it meant,
the sad days passing, the continuing, echoing deaths,
all the painful, belligerent news, and the dog still
waiting to be fed, the closeness of you sleeping, voices,
presences, of children, of our own grown children,
the shining, bright sun, the smell of the air just now,
each physical moment, passing, passing, it’s what
it always is or ever was, just then, just there.
– Robert Creeley

There are so many voices inside me. The voice of the visionary anarchist, the voice of the fiscal conservative, the Christian mystic, the non-dualist, the lover, the warrior, the fallen monk, the narcissistic nine year old throwing his dish of spinach out the window. Which one is me? How do they ever reach a consensus? They don’t. They just buzz around the wild flowers, drunk on nectar. I am the meadow.
– Fred LaMotte

I studied the world’s great religions.
I devoured the long, dense tomes of philosophers.
I did what the gods and gurus said I should do.
I was a good boy yet I found no comfort, no home.
Only second-hand thoughts from second-hand people
and a brief respite from a terrible nostalgia.
In the name of spirituality I fell into denial.
I denied anger and called it peace.
I denied shame and called it power.
I denied sexuality and called it purity.
I denied my humanity and called it Awareness.
I denied desire itself and proclaimed myself enlightened.
Now, I find my home in simplicity.
I have been humbled. I know nothing.
I see a cloud and hot tears stream down my face.
Or the face of an old friend, it shocks me with its perfection.
Or a lamppost on my evening walk,
bowing to me with its perfect incandescent light.
All things pull me back to God, I cannot prevent it.
I use human language but I am not quite human.
I am a sparrow at dawn. My song is my home.
My body is my temple. My altar is loss and the strange relief of grieving.
I find solace in the utter lack of solace.
I find rest in my own restless desire for life.
My love, may I sit beside you now?
Will you share with me what’s on your heart?
(I am as lost as you are).
Will you give me your tears, your shudders and your trembling?
Shall I hold you until it stops, and if it never stops shall I hold you?
Will you hold me too?
Shall we look after each other, as the end draws near?
Yes, shall we look after each other?
Oh God. Oh God. I have found my true religion.
Simple. Human. Kindness.
– Jeff Foster

the gift you carry for others is not an attempt to save the world but to fully belong to it…
— bill plotkin

What am I living for
and what am I dying for
are the same question.
– Margaret Atwood

All I want is silence, for myself and for the selves I used to be.
– Alejandra Pizarnik, Extracting the Stone of Madness: Poems 1962-1972, translated by Yvette Siegert

Such unhappiness and loneliness as I felt today must be counteracted by work, or I shall go mad.
– Patricia Highsmith, diary 1962

To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear,
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.
– Joy Harjo

The words that came were the bloated kind one used to satisfy the unknowable and therefore impossible expectations of others.
– Jamel Brinkley

Rev. Mark Sandlin:
…we must work for a society structured in a way that promotes our ability to care for all people, a society that enables us to lift up the founding concept that all are created equally and should be treated that way, a society that values sustainability not just of resources but of humanity over profit.

As I read the Book of Genesis, God didn’t give Adam and Eve a whole planet.
He gave them a manageable piece of property, for the sake of discussion let’s say 200 acres.
I suggest to you Adams and Eves that you set as your goals the putting of some small part of the planet into something like safe and sane and decent order.
There’s a lot of cleaning up to do.
There’s a lot of rebuilding to do, both spiritual and physical.
And, again, there’s going to be a lot of happiness. Don’t forget to notice!
What painters and sculptors and writers do, incidentally, is put very small properties indeed into good order, as best they can.
A painter thinks, “I can’t fix the whole planet, but I can at least make this square of canvas what it ought to be.” And a sculptor thinks the same about a lump of clay or marble. A writer thinks the same about a piece of paper, conventionally eleven inches long and eight and a half inches wide.
We’re talking about something less than 200 acres, aren’t we?
– Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear,
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.
– Joy Harjo

Many times I’ve lost myself
in order to search for the burn that keeps things awake …
– Federico Garcia Lorca
translated by Pablo Medina and Mark Statman

Start by doing what’s necessary;
then do what’s possible;
and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
– St. Francis of Assisi

Gratitude to Old Teachers
When we stride or stroll across the frozen lake,
We place our feet where they have never been.
We walk upon the unwalked. But we are uneasy.
Who is down there but our old teachers?
Water that once could take no human weight-
We were students then-holds up our feet,
And goes on ahead of us for a mile.
Beneath us the teachers, and around us the stillness.
– Robert Bly

In any predicament you can notice that you are alive. Considering the vastness of the universe this is an unlikely event and you can rejoice and take delight in this occurrence, even if times are not hard and no stars are going nova in your neighborhood…

The hard bits of life might not be the ones you are dreading. The good bits might be the ones that are always available – a slant of light through the garden and then the rain, running inside to get dry, cooking for friends, the sound of a bird in the early morning when you can’t get back to sleep, the act of impulsively giving something away when you have almost nothing.

When you are present in your own life it extends infinitely in every direction.

– John Tarrant

Opus Dei
– Adélia Prado (trans. by Ellen Doré Watson)

Butterflies don’t give up,
they have no idea their name is unbecoming.
The seasons follow each other flawlessly
and still you’re afraid to admit
…………..there’s no sin in saying
O Beauty, thou art my joy.
Loosen up,
…………..Jonathan is just a man.
If you so much as curl your lip
his lance is back in business.
An insect exhausts reason utterly,
wisely grinding up sums.
One drop of sap can kill a man—
that’s why you should surrender to anything

that makes you that beautiful when you laugh.
……………………………..This is not comic opera.
It’s just a not-knowing shot through with lightning.
…………..If Jonathan turns out to be God, you’re right
…………..and if not, you’re still right
…………..because you believe it
and no one can be blamed for loving.

In reality, every reader is, while he is reading, the reader of his own self. The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument which he offers to the reader to enable him to discern what, without this book, he would perhaps never have experienced in himself. And the recognition by the reader in his own self of what the book says is the proof of its veracity.
– Marcel Proust

He never complained. He seemed to have no instinct for the making much of oneself that complaining requires.
– Wendell Berry

The course of every intellectual, if he pursues his journey long and unflinchingly enough, ends in the obvious, from which the non-intellectuals have never stirred.
– Aldous Huxley

Let us transcend the Cartesian notion of “Government”
– Nicholas Pierotti

Amazingly, we take for granted that instinct for survival, fear of death, must separate us from the happiness of pure and uninterpreted experience, in which body, mind, and nature are the same. This retreat from wonder, the backing away like lobsters into safe crannies, the desperate instinct that our life passes unlived, is reflected in proliferation without joy, corrosive money rot, the gross befouling of the earth and air and water from which we came.
– Peter Matthiessen

When sorrow lays us low
for a second we are saved
by humble windfalls
of mindfulness or memory:
the taste of a fruit, the taste of water,
that face given back to us by a dream,
the first jasmine of November,
the endless yearning of the compass,
a book we thought was lost,
the throb of a hexameter,
the slight key that opens a house to us,
the smell of a library, or of sandalwood,
the former name of a street,
the colors of a map,
an unforeseen etymology,
the smoothness of a filed fingernail,
the date we were looking for,
the twelve dark bell-strokes, tolling as we count,
a sudden physical pain.

Eight million Shinto deities
travel secretly throughout the earth.
Those modest gods touch us —
touch us and move on.
– Jorge Luis Borges

In praise of slow, quiet, simple ways /

I pin my hopes to quiet processes and small circles, in which vital and transforming events take place.

– Rufus Jones (Quaker Theologian)

It might be the wisest of us who, in the waning years, decides to face the end with a tempered mind filled with unanswerable questions instead of questionable answers.
– James Scott Smith

Monks take a vow of obedience…It means a loving listening: listening to the Word of God that comes to us moment by moment…The opposite of that obedience is absurdity, which means being deaf to life’s challenges and meaning. We have the choice in our life between living with this loving listening or finding everything absurd…So the next time you say, “This is absurd,” you might consider the more helpful question, “To what am I deaf here?”
– David Steindl-Rast~ from THE MUSIC OF SILENCE

(My students) think when you’re a writer, especially a creative writer, that you write something and it’s perfect and you hit send and it goes out to the world. They really don’t understand what a process it is …
– Jesmyn Ward

There’s a standoff all across the great divide
With friends and family members on both sides
If someone struck a match it would combust
Scorching everyone, both Them and Us
It’s raining dirty words and disrespect
It’s not having any positive effect
The bridges have collapsed because of rust
We can’t reach each other, Them and Us
We’ve got our earplugs in and our blinders on
And we wonder where have all the flowers gone
Where once there was a garden cool and lush
All that’s left here now is Them and Us
And I’ve never felt so lonely in this world
As I do when all the banners are unfurled
And the airwaves are just spewing all that stuff
About Us and Them, look what it’s done to us
Our differences are few but overblown
And it sometimes leads to punches being thrown
There seems to be a few things to discuss
But you can’t say a word to Them or Us
We write them off because of how they vote
We write them off ‘cause they came on a boat
We turn our backs with contempt and with disgust
At every one of Them who isn’t Us
We identify them by the clothes they wear
We identify them by their skin and hair
And we look for any reason not to trust
Whatever about Them is not like Us
And I’ve never felt so lonely in this world
As I do when all the banners are unfurled
And the airwaves are just spewing all that stuff
About Us and Them, look what it’s done to us
Thoughtful, decent people turning mean
If only all our gods could intervene
There must be some controls they could adjust
Maybe they could make us whole, Them and Us
And I’ve never felt so lonely in this world
As I do when all the banners are unfurled
And the airwaves are just spewing all that stuff
About Us and Them, look what it’s done to us
– Chuck Brodsky

I have wandered the Thames
from Richmond Hill to Kensington for the order nature gives my mind
and of the shorter roads have sought the longer one to climb.
– James Ragan

When a book is done, he has his own life and you forget about him. He goes and lives alone; he takes an apartment.
– Oriana Fallaci

sonnet for the long second act
your body is still a miracle thirst
quenched with water across dry tongue and lips
or cocoa butter ashy legs immersed
till shine seen sheen the mind too cups and dips
from its favorite rivers figures and facts
slant stories of orbiting protests or
protons around daughters or suns :: it backs
up or opens wide to joy’s gush downpour
the floods the heart pumps hip hop doo wop dub
veins mining the mud for poetry’s o
cell after cell drinks ringgold colors mulled
cool cascades of calla lilies :: swallow
and bathe breathe believe through drought you survive
like the passage schooled you till rains arrive
—after alexis pauline gumbs
– Evie Shockley

All my life I’ve looked for this slow light, this smallish light
Starting to seep, coppery blue,
out of the upper right-hand corner of things,
Down through the trees and off the back yard,
Rising and falling at the same time, now rising, now falling,
Inside the lapis lazuli of late afternoon.
– Charles Wright

When years have passed
because they can’t stay in jars,
and time, like a child,
has grown from fear to knowledge,
there will still be some backyard fence,
or dreamlike porch swing,
where we can meet
and make the familiar hum.
We won’t wait for wishes.
They will find us.
By a tree where nothing haunts us
they will pop up from the ground.
Songs will go forth like rain
from the spirits that guard us.
Days tease the rememberings.
Nights kiss what’s forgotten.
Places get lonely sometimes,
not knowing what they’re waiting for
but always keeping watch.
Even happy places can get lonely
watching some fly away,
though not when luring a child’s heart
away from too much trying.
Some places you remember
still long for how it felt
when you and your touch was
still full of what you left.
While the places where some
found one another,
can hold those feelings
until a soul comes looking.
– George Gorman

What a peculiar privilege has this little agitation of the brain which we call “thought.”
– David Hume

Do not embrace misdirection.
– Nicholas Pierotti

If one day you become sick of words, as happens to us all, and you grow tired of hearing them, of saying them; if whichever you choose seems worn out, dull, disabled; if you feel nauseated when you hear ‘horrible’ or ‘divine’ for some everyday occurrence – you’ll not be cured, obviously, by alphabet soup.

You must do the following: cook a plate of al dente spaghetti dressed with the simplest seasoning – garlic, oil and chili. Over the pasta toss in this mixture, grate a layer of Parmesan cheese. To the right of the deep plate full of the spaghetti thus prepared, place an open book. To the left, place an open book. In front of it a full glass of red wine. Any other company is not recommended. Turn the pages of each book at random, but they must both be poetry. Only good poets cure us of an overindulgence in words. Only simple essential food cures us of gluttony.
– Héctor Abad Faciolince

Tiny Traveler
Remote in the distance, she
carries a message,
Ever soaring to heights I
cannot see,
Beating wings carry the tiny
body ever higher,
Effortlessly lifting, higher and
Calling as she rises,
Calling one note,
Always, hope.
High aloft, she disappears from
urgent now, The note sounds.
Gently a downy feather descends,
Essentially a reminder from
a tiny traveler,
See? I have not forgotten,
The tiny feather remaining,
Carefully preserved in my heart.
– Elizabeth Holmes

It appears to me that no one can ever have made a seriously artistic attempt without becoming conscious of an immense increase—a kind of revelation—of freedom. One perceives, in that case—by the light of a heavenly ray—that the province of art is all life, all feeling, all observation, all vision.
– Henry James

To glimpse one’s own true nature is a kind of homegoing, to a place East of the Sun, West of the Moon – the homegoing that needs no home, like that waterfall on the upper Suli Gad that turns to mist before touching the earth and rises once again to the sky.
– Peter Matthiessen

A poet spends his life in repeated projects, over and over again attempting to build or to dream the world in which he lives. But more than that he realizes that this world is at once his and everybody’s.
– Thomas Merton, The Geography Of Lograire

The sacred is not the shining thing at the end of the journey awaiting disclosure; the sacred is the journey: the celebrated departure and tearful goodbyes, the blue skies of optimism that dip in the welcoming horizons, the hint of grey in foreboding clouds, the obstacles that pepper the road with treacherous texture, the marauding doubts that steal your steps, the hallucinated masquerade that tortures your sleep, the glimpsed finish line, the exhausted arrival, and the morning after homecomings when the meaning of home needs to be reiterated again and again. One does not approach the sacred: the approach is the sacred.

You might say then: well, why not just get to the point and say that the sacred is “everything”? Why go through the trouble of being specific? It is because to speak of “everything” is a lingusitic convenience that risks reinforcing the image of a static container world filled with static things with static properties. Such a world couldn’t permit the sacred to exist. Instead the “world” we live with/in is so ecstatically indeterminate in its becoming, so relationally fluid, so processually entangled, so exceeding in its promiscuity, that one must often hesitate to name it, to think of it as a “world” with finished “things”. And that there is the “sacred”, the radical incompleteness that haunts “things” and engulfs them in a murmuration of becoming that is too complex for language to represent. The fugitivity of all bodies-in-their-ongoingness. The wound on heaven’s flesh. The masquerading figure just outside the fortified walls of conviction and celebrated arrivals that dances a coded message to you: “How about we undertake a new journey?
– Bayo Akomolafe

For the first time in recorded human history, we have the fate of the whole planet in our hands.
– Chrissie Hynde

The piano stands there in the dark
like a boy with an orchid.
– CD Wright

Everything must be an invitation to wisdom … everything! Every sight, sound, word, gesture, leaf, cup of coffee … everything must provoke inquiry, questioning, investigation. This is the outer meaning of seeing the entire world as the wisdom mandala (and one usually missed). The wisdom mandala seduces you by invitation into perfect questioning. The disciple who is sincere can, and must, question EVERYTHING … most especially themselves. The true yogin makes the continual fire offering of appearance into inquiry … psychological, philosophical, spiritual, yogic inquiry. This is how you imbibe the meaning of ‘tongpa’ — so often reductionisticly translated as ’emptiness,’ but actually having the grammatical nature of being a verb … the way great wisdom is emptying the structure of everything and allowing the appearance of everything.
– tk

Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.
– Margaret Atwood

Begin with the reverse hypothesis, like Copernicus and Einstein. You are depressed because you should be. In fact, you’d be deranged if you were not depressed. Consider the only adults who are never depressed: chuckleheads, California surfers, & fundamentalist Christians who believe they have had a personal encounter with Jesus and are saved for once and all. Would you trade your depression to become any of these?
– Walker Percy, The Last Self Help Book

Just don’t seek from another
Or you’ll be far estranged from self.
I now go on alone
Meeting it everywhere
It now is just what I am
I now am not it.
You must comprehend in this way
To merge with thusness.

– Dongshan (771-853)

Jane Roberts:

The inner self is not remote – not divorced from your most intimate desires and affairs, but instead communicating through your own smallest gesture, through your smallest ideal.

When the inner self is alerted (to a problem), it will immediately try to remedy the situation by an influx of self-corrective measures.

On occasion, when a problematic situation gets out of hand, the inner self will bypass those restrictive areas of the conscious mind, and solve the problem by shooting forth energy in other layers of activity.


She is the daughter of the Earth.
She is her Mother’s child.
She is the embodiment of tender love.
She is the Nurturer.
She is Nature itself.
She is the bestower of life.
She is tenderness.
She tends to the fallen male
for she knows that he is her fallen Father
and he is her fallen Son.
What else can she do but love him
and tend to him.
And wait until he recognizes her
and remembers
who he is.


I am God the Mother
I am God the Father.
I am Christ.
I am Magdalene.
I am.
– Leonard Jacobson, Bridging Heaven & Earth

Life is not the way it’s supposed to be.
It’s the way it is. The way you deal with it
makes the difference.
– Virginia Satir

He doesn’t have any family, he’s a writer.
– Julio Cortázar, Hopscotch

Adore here your Sacred Mother Earth where great souls have come together on the seashore to offer their pranams. Come oh! Aryans, come non Aryans, come Hindus and Muslims. Come come oh Englishmen, come Christians, come oh Brahmins purify your heart, hold the hands of the down-trodden and out-castes. Remove all ills and disrespect. Come quickly for the coronation of the Mother.
– Rabindranath Tagore

In the Seventies, people discussed the first two paradigms and tried to imagine what the next one would be like. Generally, they agreed that the new paradigm would be neither matriarchal nor patriarchal; it would be androgynous. Rather than tribal or hierarchical, the structures of such a society would be ecological.
– Marion Woodman, Dancing in the Flames: The Dark Goddess in the Transformation of Consciousness

Bhairava and the Goddess: Tradition, Gender and Transgression

…A transgressive sacrality that would do justice to the empirical data of the avowedly male-centered tradition of goddess worship that we have been analyzing and interpreting till now, and yet be operative from the perspective of both the sexes, would necessarily have to focus on the theme and goal of androgyny and bisexuality. In traditional societies, whether Brahmanical or tribal, where there is a clear demarcation and even opposition between the socio-religious roles and psycho-physical characteristics attributed to the male and the female, such ‘gender confusion’ is a mode of transgression that is equally applicable to either and both of the sexes.

However, this return to an inner often invisible androgyny seems far removed from the increasing trend towards the blurring of the (roles of the) sexes so visible in contemporary (Western) culture. The androgynous ideal (ardhanārīśvara) in such traditional societies is not achieved through a simple loss of masculine (or feminine) traits but rather presupposes their exaggeration and subsequent negation. It is the tantric “hero” (vīra), exemplified above by the virile Hindu king, and not the ordinary male devotee, who seeks to identify himself with the Goddess. Likewise, the dūtī of the kulayāga who enables and facilitates his goal by identifying herself wholly with her partner, as the incarnation of Bhairava, is portrayed by the tantric texts as the very flower of womanhood. Bisexuality constitutes a separation and maximization of both the male and the female poles, with a view to their eventual reunification and ultimate transcendence.

It cannot be denied, however, that it is the same leveling trend in contemporary culture—in particular, the rise of the feminist movement—that has facilitated the appreciation of this hidden dimension of the feminine not just in archaic and primitive religions but also in the even more exclusively male-centered traditions of monotheism. The resurgence of the Goddess in our midst—as the repository of the ultimate secret of not just female but also of male identity—could well result in the emergence of a new understanding and experience of gender that will be tainted neither by the religio-cultural biases of tradition nor by the sweeping and often exaggerated claims of a feminist activism dictated solely by the socio-political needs of the moment. As her public guardian, Bhairava may well have served as the instrument of the Goddess’ domestication and subordination; but as her partner in transgression, he still offers us the secret of their mutual liberation.
– Elizabeth Chalier-Visuvalingam, Bhairava and the Goddess: Tradition, Gender and Transgression

God is so beautiful that it doesn’t make any difference whether he exists or not.
– Allen Ginsburg

America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.
– Oscar Wilde

We are dying from overthinking. We are slowly killing ourselves by thinking about everything. Think. Think. Think. You can never trust the human mind anyway. It’s a death trap.
– Anthony Hopkins

Jose Luis Soler:
– You are not serious in your spirituality, it’s wishy-washy, watered down eclecticism…one should dig one hole and one hole only to find water!
– Forgive me , oh true believer. Did you know that practically speaking, it’s easier to find water digging many holes at once…? 😉
I’m just a Baul a heart, a poor troubadour madly in love with the Mother Mystery…

Bauls belong to an unorthodox devotional tradition, influenced by Hinduism, Buddhism, Bengali Vaisnavism and Sufi Islam, yet distinctly different from them.

Bauls neither identify with any organized religion nor with the caste system, special deities, temples or sacred places. Their emphasis lies on the importance of a person’s physical body as the place where God resides. Bauls are admired for this freedom from convention as well as their music and poetry. Baul poetry, music, song and dance are devoted to finding humankinds relationship to God, and to achieving spiritual liberation.

Know how to be wrong,
the world is full of people who are right.
That’s why it rots.
– Louis-Ferdinand Celine

So many institutions of our society need reinventing. The time has come for a new dream. That’s what being a revolutionary is.
– Grace Lee Boggs

An onion makes us
weep because it loves us,
though that too is a defense
mechanism. I think beauty
is when a person is so afraid
of losing something, they cry.
– Dave Harris

All paradises, all utopias are designed by who is not there, by the people who are not allowed in.
– Toni Morrison

Please understand that rights to clean air, clean water, nutritious whole foods and access to green spaces are essential civil rights. You see where exploitation got you with my people. Don’t continue to commit the inhumane sins of the past against nature. Yes, there’s already been a shit ton of damage done to us and the wild world, but there’s time to make things right. You can begin now.
– J. Drew Lanham

All too often, freedom is confused with escape. As ‘freedom from’ something… freedom from society, freedom from family, freedom from authority. This was my idea of freedom for many years, but then it began to feel like a strangely constricted little prison. One where I could only feel free if I was running from or to something. One where I needed a very particular set of circumstances to make me feel safe. And then it occurred to me that I didn’t know a thing about freedom. I had escaped, but I wasn’t free. Because real freedom isn’t an act of rebellion. It’s not a flight of fancy. It’s about finding freedom at the heart of the everything. It’s about feeling free everywhere.
– Jeff Brown

Freedom becomes manifest only when individual needs and interests are imagined together with those of greater communities in a precarious, tense, even paradoxical balance. Only this integrating freedom can unfold the power necessary to reconcile humankind with the natural world.
– Andreas Weber, Enlivenment

An imperturbable demeanor comes from perfect patience.

Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune and misfortune at their own private pace like a clock during thunderstorm.
– Robert Louis Stevenson

Stuff That Needs To Be Said

The Problem With American Christianity Isn’t Jesus

“I meet thousands of people every year who rightly recoil against Christianity in America, who are fully sickened by its insidious influence in our political system; who see it as a toxic presence in our nation—one that serves only to divide and perpetuate inequity and inflict injury.

Yet, it’s almost universally true, that these same people recognize that the problem with American Christianity isn’t Jesus.

They’re usually really cool with him.

That’s because they know what Jesus actually said and did.

Most people outside Christianity know that Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Luke 16:13)

That’s why they can’t understand so many American Christians’ myopic fixation with capitalism; their obsession with accruing wealth and protecting the economy and having more—and why any proposed move toward systemic equity or generosity is immediately labeled “Socialism,” loudly condemned, and dismissed out of hand.

Non-Christians know that Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Matthew 6:18-20)

Because of this, they can’t reconcile how many professed followers of Jesus are so afflicted with materialism; so burdened to have more and better; why they live beyond their means, why they are addicted to upsizing—and why they imagine someone else having more, automatically means them having less.

People who are exasperated with American Christianity, know that Jesus taught a parable about professed believers, who showed disregard for the poor and foreigner and the imprisoned, and who were condemned by God because of it:

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ (Matthew 25:44-45).

This is why they’re rightly incredulous at so many American Christians’ cruelty toward migrants and their callousness toward outsiders and their resistance to help those with less than they have—whether food or health insurance or opportunity. They recognize the sharp disconnect, of supposed disciples of this hospitable, effusively-generous Jesus, treating people in need as lazy, seeing foreigners as a threat, blaming the poor for their plight.

Non-believers know that the Bible records Jesus saying, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

This rightly makes them wonder how so many American Christians have shrunken down the expansive, planet-sized love of God, into a nationalistic, America First tribalism that resents Muslims and refuses to acknowledge the value of black lives and nurtures antisemitism. They know that this white, MAGA, exclusionary religion would be unrecognizable to a Middle Eastern, Jewish Jesus, whose ministry knew no barriers, whose love made no walls, and whose table was always expanding.

People who have no use for so much of American Christianity, know that Jesus said, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1).

This is why they stand fully sickened watching a president’s tear gassed, Bible-wielding photo op; showy displays of staged White House prayer meetings; and politicians who tweet scripture verses that show up nowhere else in their lives or legislation.

Incredulous outsiders, know that Jesus taught that the greatest commandment, the very pinnacle of incarnating his life in ours was to, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind—and to love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

Knowing this, they understandably can’t fathom why so many American Christians not only refuse to love their transgender neighbor, their black neighbor, their Muslim neighbor, their sick neighbor, their undocumented neighbor—but seem intent on causing them harm. It defies explanation.

Jesus himself said that he was bringing good news for the poor, the imprisoned, the vulnerable, the oppressed—and until American Christianity passionately and powerfully ushers in these things, it isn’t making good on the promise.

The people who have a problem with American Christianity, know that the problem with American Christianity isn’t Jesus—it’s that so many professed Christians in America simply refuse to listen to him.

If they were to let the actual words of Jesus take root in the deepest recesses of their hearts, they’d transform a movement that has become such a source of injury and such a perpetuator of pain and such an incubator of injustice—into an unstoppable revolution of love that simply could not be denied.

If more American Christians listened to Jesus, they’d reject the white supremacy, toxic nationalism, and ugly xenophobia of America First.
If more American Christians listened to Jesus, they’d be hopelessly burdened to make sure everyone has enough to be whole and healthy, whether they were born here or not.
If more American Christians listened to Jesus, they’d find generosity rising up like yeast in the dough, overcoming the selfishness and individualism America is so defined by right now.
If more American Christians listened to Jesus, they’d immediately reject Donald Trump and hollow, exclusionary MAGA religiosity, because it bears no resemblance to him.
If more American Christians listened to Jesus, they’d be the first ones wearing masks in a pandemic, the first ones opposing children taken from their parents, the first ones demanding refuge for exhausted foreigners fleeing violence, the first ones opposing police brutality, the first ones declaring that Black Lives Matter.

Those of you who are sickened by this version of American Christianity, who recognize it as a perversion of its namesake, who can’t comprehend how it passes as a movement of Jesus—and who so desire something redemptive to take its place:

Take heart.

Many of us are with you

So is Jesus.


george orwell said that saints ought to be be held guilty until proven innocent. i agree. for there is a primordial relationship with sources of being, and often times saints distort that event by creating religions that celebrate their own image and likeness. my view is that zen is a primordial spirituality, and buddhism is an attempt to codify and institutionalize the original awakening. same is the case in regards to sufism and islam, the poetry of the hebrew prophets and normative judaism, the sermon in the mount and institutional christianity, and other attempts at covering that which should be dis-covered. to recover primordiality, what buber called moments of inception, or zen calls beginners mind, is a primary task of all genuine spiritual life.
– hune margulies

“God sees everything,” or the logic of morphic resonance that knows that any change that happens in one place creates a field that allows the same kind of change to happen elsewhere. Acts of kindness strengthen the field of kindness, acts of love strengthen the field of love, acts of hate strengthen the field of hate.
– Charles Eisenstien

For my best poems were all written when I felt the worst.
When I was happy, I didn’t write anything.
– Langston Hughes

Being happy means being able to perceive yourself without fear.
– Walter Benjamin

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
– Howard Thurman

It’s our authentic concern for the community of all beings that keeps us
from being too self-oriented.

We become unconflicted and spiritually clear enough so that we can actually contribute
and participate in life in a way
that’s much more aligned with Truth.
– Adyashanti, The Way of Liberating Insight

When I tune in to the inner landscape of the United States and its “subtle” environment, I am presented with a diverse set of perceptions. Though it may not seem like it watching the news, there is a great deal of good energy active in this country. To draw on former President Bush’s statement, there are more, many more, than a “thousand points of Light” working to bring healing and wholeness into being. But at the same time, there is an undercurrent of pain and trauma that is pervasive. It is not just located in the black community. Whites share it, Native Americans share it, Asian and Latino Americans share it, we all share it. It is a reservoir of soul-damage that afflicts us in so many ways. Some of it is very ancient and can be traced back to our human experiences in other lands, other cultures, and other, now dead, civilizations—a karma of human violence and suffering—and some of it is specific to North America and the histories of colonization and nation-building here in the United States and in Canada.

It is soul-damage that replicates itself unless we are willing to put our “fierce attention” upon it, as I wrote in my last David’s Desk, to see it, recognize it, confront it, and heal it. As long as this pain is there, this trauma is there, none of us are truly safe. And let me be clear: by “safe,” I don’t mean simply being protected from harm—though that is certainly important. I definitely don’t mean cowering behind walls, whether physical, mental, or emotional in nature. I mean feeling confident in one’s right and ability to grow and expand. I mean feeling able to explore one’s potentials. I mean feeling relaxed and willing to expose oneself to the world, for creativity and growth demand vulnerability. I mean feeling a foundation of support that let’s you take the kind of chances that success often requires. I mean not being afraid of making mistakes from which you can learn.

I mean being able to breathe.

I do not see us succeeding as a nation, fulfilling the promise of the American ideals of freedom and equality, much less keeping us safe, until this trauma is dealt with and healed. It is a challenge for all of us, and we work it out in how we draw love and compassion, listening and caring into our lives in dealing with each other.

There are many ways of reaching into and healing this collective trauma, but at this historical moment, the Black Lives Matter movement is a powerful lens for doing so. It brings the trauma to the surface in specific, addressable ways. Yes, I know all the arguments for saying “All Lives Matter,” and in a universal way, this is true. But if I’m a therapist and you come to me with your specific problem and needs, it’s not helpful for me to respond to you saying, “Well, everyone has problems and needs.” This may be true, but it doesn’t help you and it doesn’t help me focus my energy to meet the challenge you have brought me. I can’t heal what I won’t recognize in its specificity. I can’t help “everyone,” but perhaps I can help you, and in helping you, I contribute to helping everyone.
– David Spangler

Men who had started out
to retrieve their own ancient privileges
and liberties saw themselves
all of a sudden confronted with the enormous task of liberating people at large, who had never
possessed those privileges and liberties.
– Hannah Arendt, Revolution and Freedom

Nostalgia is decadent.
– David Hockney

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

I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:
How are you?
– Hafiz

In the shared quiet, an invitation arises like a white dove lifting from
a limb and taking flight.
Come and live in truth.
Take your place in the flow of grace.
Draw aside the veil you thought would always separate your heart from love.
All you ever longed for is before you in this moment if you dare draw in a breath and whisper “yes.”
– Danna Faulds

I feel like my entire life has been a protest.
– Viola Davis

The only pain that can be avoided
is the pain that comes from trying
to avoid unavoidable pain.
– R.D. Laing


Swallows, tree frogs, unborn children,
all singing, “Thank you!”
The rainbow weeping,
running its colors into one
pure light around your precious body,
and even this light whispering
“Thank you, thank you”
as you fall asleep tonight,
remembering flecks of gold
on a broken tea cup,
the ancient glow in her eyes
over a candle,
discarded roses, fallen feathers
in a drain pipe, slivers
of crystal from a mossy stone
glanced in the woods,
the bones of a rabbit that crows
left in your sunlit birdbath,
all mingled somehow
in a single inward kiss
on your darkening brow.
When you close your eyes and
simply listen,
as only you can listen
with the silence you’ve been given
just for this,
what are they murmuring?
“We are what listens.
We are what looks.
Thank you
for breathing us.

– Fred LaMotte

Hubble photo of clustered stars

If knowing someone makes that person stay with you forever, not knowing someone does the same trick: death does not take the dead away; it only grows them more deeply into you.
– Yiyun Li

In case was any ambiguity, let the record reflect that I have no fucks to give about respectability politics. I am tired of pretending that we should be polite about calling out a violent, oppressive system that is responsible for mass killing, enslavement, exploitation, and methodical disadvantaging of millions of people.
– Dr. Crystal M. Fleming, How to Be Less Stupid About Race

Of all our feelings the only one which doesn’t belong to us is hope. Hope belongs to life, it’s life itself defending itself.
– Cortázar

To be a poet in a destitute time means: to attend, singing, to the trace of the fugitive god. This is why the poet in the time of the world’s night utters the holy.
– Martin Heidegger

I gaze on myself
In the stream’s emerald flow
Or sit on a boulder by a cliff.
My mind, a lonely cloud,
Leans on nothing,
Needs nothing
From the world and its endless events.
– Han Shan

—then Dante adds…
“and in every part of our life
place is given for certain things”:

a memory of the good of things before,
a knowledge of good things present,
and foresight of things yet to be made good—

ennobling song, truth’s clarion,
beauty renderd lasting in the mind,
obedience to our common cause

that music that to orders larger than
restoreth man.


It is possible to perceive ourselves as tiny individuals lost in a hopeless political struggle; or, it is possible to perceive ourselves as small cells vital to the healing of the common body.

It is possible to perceive our lives as isolated and powerless; or, it is possible to perceive our lives as personal stages upon which the struggle for human dignity is being played out.

It is possible to perceive ourselves as born into a time of meaningless cruelty and ignorance; or, it is possible to perceive ourselves as members of a noble band who throughout history has been marching one painful inch at a time toward a better and more joyful future for all humankind.

We have a choice in which of those two “worlds” we will live this day.
– Jim Rigby

by Margaret Gibson

Wanting to be that place where inner
and outer meet, this morning
I’m listening to the river inside,
also to the river out the window,
river of sun and branch shadow, muskrat and mallard, heron,
………..and the rattled cry
of the kingfisher. Out there is a tree whose roots the river
………..has washed so often the tree stretches beyond itself, its
………..spirit like mine, leaning out over the water, held only
by the poised astonishment
of being here. This morning, listening
to the river inside, I’m sinking into a stillness
where what can’t be said stirs beneath
currents of image and memory, below strata
of muons and quarks, now rushes, now hushes
and pools, now casts a net of bright light
so loosely woven there’s a constellation
float on the surface of the river, so still
I can almost hear it weave in and out—
interstellar, intercellular— and isn’t it
truly all one, one world, no in or out, no here
or there, seamless, as a lily about to open
from just here into everywhere, is. Just is.
Restful lily. Lucky lily. To bloom must feel
like a river’s brightening at daybreak,
or a slow kiss, a throb in the elapse of time,
a shudder of heron shadow flying over
shallows that are merely the apparent
skim of a depth whose bottomless surface
seeps everywhere, bloom and retraction,
an anchored flow
………..that upholds city
and cathedral, bridge and gate,
Orion, odd toad in the Amazon, blue dragonfly,
what it is to love . . . Spoil a river, you spoil all this.

Your conflicts, all the difficult things, the problematic situations in your life are not chance or haphazard. They are actually yours. They are specifically yours, designed specifically for you by
a part of you that loves you more than anything else. The part of you that loves you more than anything else has created roadblocks to lead you to yourself. You are not going to go in the right direction unless there is something pricking you in the side, telling you, “Look here! This way!” That part of you loves you so much that it doesn’t want you to lose the chance. It will go to
extreme measures to wake you up, it will make you suffer greatly if you don’t listen. What else can it do? That is its purpose…
– A.H. Almaas

Bruce Cockburn:
Everything you do, everything you say
Whether false or true in some kind of way, touches something
Everything you take, everything you leave
Every move you make
Pulls the fabric of the weave of everything
Call it the Sundance

Sam Knights:
stop using the phrase “build back better” and start using the phrase “we need to fundamentally change every part of our current society and that means a definitive split with the capitalist mindset”.

Eisenhower once said: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

It’s time to cut the Pentagon budget by 10% and invest in human needs.
– Bernie Sanders

We know how to organize warfare, but do we know how to act when confronted with peace?
– Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Dr. Thema:
We are not only healing from what we’ve directly experienced but also the unhealed wounds of those who raised us. Interrupting these cycles is difficult, sacred work.

We become spiritually mature because of those challenging us and giving us a hard time. We generally don’t grow much from those nice to us.
– Haemin Sunim

Train your mind to see something good in everything.
– Buddhist proverb

Dr. Thema:
I hope you find or create spaces, where breath, truth, and care flows consistently.

carve out space for yourself.

to grow.
to learn.
to recalibrate.
to rest.
to reset
to bloom.

may blooming always remain the goal.

Pay attention to the gap — the gap between two thoughts, the brief, silent space between words in a conversation, between the notes of a piano or flute, or the gap between the in-breath and out-breath.
– Eckhart Tolle

Go beyond likes and dislikes, passion and desire, sensuousness and lust, grief and fear, free yourself from attachment.
– Gautama Buddha

Nourish your body with healthy food, and exercise. Nourish your mind with good literature, art, and company. Nourish your spirit with silence, stillness, and prayer.
– Sister Stan

Ethan Nichtern:

Simple Buddhist take on what’s wrong with our world:

On the ultimate level, we’ve created an economic/political system that empowers self-absorption, rather than diminishes it.

On the relative level, this manifests as white supremacy, patriarchy, and disregard for the planet.

Incessant mental noise prevents you from finding that realm of inner stillness that is inseparable from Being.
– Eckhart Tolle

dear god
i come from two countries
one is thirsty
the other is on fire
both need water.

later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered
– Warsan Shire

Last year, I realized one day that every poem I was writing, or attempting to write, had global warming and its consequences either as its overt or implied theme.
– C.K. Williams

Cheryl Strayed:
Knock, knock, New Zealand: Will you please let me in?

Though much is taken, much abides; and though / 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.
– Tennyson, “Ulysses”

But the problem is a real one, not a mere intellectual game. Because today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups . . . So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing. It is my job to create universes, as the basis of one novel after another. And I have to build them in such a way that they do not fall apart two days later.

But I consider that the matter of defining what is real – that is a serious topic, even a vital topic. And in there somewhere is the other topic, the definition of the authentic human. Because the bombardment of pseudo-realities begins to produce inauthentic humans very quickly, spurious humans – as fake as the data pressing at them from all sides. My two topics are really one topic; they unite at this point. Fake realities will create fake humans. Or, fake humans will generate fake realities and then sell them to other humans, turning them, eventually, into forgeries of themselves. So we wind up with fake humans inventing fake realities and then peddling them to other fake humans. It is just a very large version of Disneyland.

The authentic human being is one of us who instinctively knows what he should not do, and, in addition, he will balk at doing it. He will refuse to do it, even if this brings down dread consequences to him and to those whom he loves. This, to me, is the ultimately heroic trait of ordinary people; they say no to the tyrant and they calmly take the consequences of this resistance. Their deeds may be small, and almost always unnoticed, unmarked by history. Their names are not remembered, nor did these authentic humans expect their names to be remembered. I see their authenticity in an odd way: not in their willingness to perform great heroic deeds but in their quiet refusals. In essence, they cannot be compelled to be what they are not.
– Philip K. Dick

Some seek nonduality, others duality. They do not know the Truth, which is the same at all times and everywhere, which is devoid of both duality and nonduality.
– Avadhūta Gīta

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

In those years, people will say, we lost track
of the meaning of we, of you
we found ourselves
reduced to I
and the whole thing became
silly, ironic, terrible:
we were trying to live a personal life
and yes, that was the only life
we could bear witness to
But the great dark birds of history screamed and plunged
into our personal weather
They were headed somewhere else but their beaks and pinions drove
along the shore, through the rags of fog
where we stood, saying I
– Adrienne Rich

O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and in rest we shall be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be our strength; By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray Thee, to Thy presence, where we may be still and know that Thou art God.
– John Wallace Suter, Jr.

Anger & hate are not the same thing. Anger can be channeled into positive action. Hate only destroys.
– Laurence Overmire

There is a popular theory that Hollywood has a bias for bleeding heart liberals, but that is just one possible explanation. Another possibility is that people who can’t empathize with other peoples’ pain just make crummy actors.
– Rev. Jim Rigby

Todd Rundgren:
It doesn’t have to be music….be creative..have fun…

It’s different for you and me.
You study, you become enlightened;
I study, I become confused.
– Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

In the slanting sun of late afternoon the shadows of great branches reached from across the river, and the trees took the river in their arms. The shadows continued up the bank, until they included us.
– Norman Maclean

Sophia (then called Sirach) was the source of Solomon’s wisdom in the Old Testament. Speaking of her in The Wisdom of Solomon, he said:
Wisdom reaches from one end of creation to another mightily, and sweetly does she order all things.
She is more beautiful than the sun and above all the order of the stars; being compared with the light, she is found before it.
For Gnostic Christians, Sophia was a feminine aspect of God, the bride of Christ, and the Holy Spirit in the Trinity (Father, Mother, Son).
In the Vedic canon, Sophia is Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom and the arts. As in the Gnostic approach, nature (Prakriti) is seen as born and thus of feminine origin.
However, in the Christian approach, coming down into the world came to be seen as fallen. She lost favour in most branches.
Today, Sophia lives on in philosophy, our worldview. Yet true wisdom comes from our inner intelligence recognizing itself in the world around us and in the nature of life itself. I am a devotee.
– Davidya

Genuine heroism for man is the power to support contradictions, no matter how glaring or hopeless they may seem.
– Ernest Becker

Allow yourself to be broken, friend.
Be ground to dust in this time of crisis and made new.
Let yourself be rendered soft, open, childlike, grateful.
Be humbled in the face of the maelstrom.
We are always in crisis.
We live in permanent crisis.
Crisis is the way and the truth and the life.
The only permanence, friend:
Death and rebirth. Death and rebirth. World without end.
Terrible and ancient energies have been swirling deep in the Unconscious for so long.
These energies were here long, long ago, aeons before the current form of “crisis”.
These circumstances have not created them, only invited them to emerge.
They are emerging now. The vast terrors of the deep. A profound, volcanic rage that could tear universes asunder. Longings, yearnings, dark desires, unspeakable.
An awesome grief. Yes, the grief of knowing that we are all going to die. All of us.
Maybe not today. Maybe not this year. Maybe not this decade.
But one day. One day, death will come.
Yes, the fear of death, rumbling underneath all.
Wild thoughts and majestic feelings of the night we ignore in times of “normality”.
And then normality shatters, rots, decays, turns to dust, because it must.
And a part of us wants to run.
Wants to rush to conclusions, false hope, empty positivity, a new world.
“This is all for the best! We are headed towards the light! A great and wonderful transformation is happening! How beautiful it all is!”
But we skip the night at our peril.
Bless the sun, yes, but surrender to the moon. Bow to the grief in your guts that’s been longing to be felt for decades. Turn, finally, to the anxiety that’s always been lodged in your belly and chest, without trying to fix it, or change it, or get rid of it, or transform it.
Drop the “positive” façade and embrace the night.
After a lifetime of running, make room in yourself for the dread, the powerlessness, the dark mystery of it all, and your wonderful unknowing, and the miracle of existence itself.
Yes, behold the miracle of life, right where you are.
Bless each breath, each movement of your lungs.
In, out. In, out.
Turn to face the terror and the ecstasy.
In, out. In, out.
One moment at a time, digest the undigested.
In, out. In, out.
You will find no internal enemy.
No truly ‘dark’ thing here.
You will find only a lost little child inside, crying, “Mother? Father? Are you there? I am scared. I don’t know what’s happening. I cannot hold myself today. Will you hold me?”
We may very well be in the early stages of a mass transformation of consciousness.
We may be undergoing a global awakening.
This may all be for the “best”, ultimately.
I don’t know.
But there are horrors to face and feel, too. There is the night-time to pass through. Great terrors rumbling inside all of us, only waiting for our compassionate attention.
By all means, keep busy. Fill your time. Start new projects. Find ways to relax and recharge and help your fellow humans.
Stay positive, wash your hands, do what you can to strengthen the immune system.
But don’t forget to surrender to the horror of it all.
Don’t forget the night-time. The pulsating, swirling, mysterium tremendum of existence.
The emptiness and the despair.
The overwhelming shock and awe of life itself. Each and every moment of it.
And death rumbling underneath it all, all our projects, big and small.
And life is intertwined with death, always, and death renders each moment of life exquisitely fragile, precious, naked, whole.
And there is a little child inside of you, utterly bewildered by it all.
Will you take their hand?
– Jeff Foster

Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee:
In order to free our world from its present nightmare of materialism and exploitation, we need a new story—a story of oneness and interdependence, of cooperation rather than competition.
But to make this transition we need a power, the magic that belongs to life itself. How can we find this magic to give birth to a new story of oneness, of the earth as a living, self-sustaining whole, full of beauty and wonder?”

Whether we notice it or not, each of us lives on a threshold, breath to breath, image to image, word to word, sensation to sensation. Watching the mind, one sees how each perception arises, then comes a gap, then the next perception. To stay mindfully in that gap allows for the possibility of a response that is more appropriate, rather than a quick, habitual reaction. If I stub my toe, there’s a sliver of a threshold I balance on before I either react angrily and call myself clumsy, allowing name-calling to shadow the moment and dump me into a bad mood. Or I might say ouch! and choose a response that is fresh, innovative, creative. I might even laugh! That threshold interval is where freedom of response is possible.
To live alertly, on a threshold, pretty clearly reveals that we have no idea what’s coming next. Writing a poem is like that, too. You think you know where it’s going, and there’s a turn. Openness, uncertainty, not-knowing—are all parts of living on the threshold, or living as a threshold. We think of thresholds as borders we cross from one way of life into another, but we are thresholds by nature. We’re the meeting place between inner and outer, the point where they open to each other.
– Margaret Gibson

A Place in the Country
by Toi Derricotte
We like the houses here.
We circle the lake turning
into dark cleavages, dense-packed gleamings.
We could live here, we say.
We’re smiling, but thinking
of the houses at the last resort:
The real estate agent looked surprised
when she saw Bruce’s face; then flipped
quickly through the glossy pictures—
I’m sure you won’t like this one;
I can tell it’s not your kind.
Our house in Essex Fells
took a year to sell and sold
to a black family. A friend explained,
once a house is owned
by black people, they’re the only ones
they’ll show it to. Do we want to live
some place with a view
overlooking the politics?
When we pass
an exit named “Negro Mountain,”
Bruce smiles and jerks the wheel
as if we almost missed our turn.
Why must everything we want
come by stealth? Why is every road
in this bright country furnished
with its history of hatred? Yet
we keep smiling, driven
by a desire beyond the logic
of if we can afford it,
and whether we would love
or hate it if we did buy.

Ram Dass:
Treat everyone you meet
like God in Drag.

To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is itself to succumb to the violence of our times.
– Thomas Merton

There is a brokenness
out of which comes the unbroken,
a shatteredness
out of which blooms the unshatterable.
There is a sorrow
beyond all grief which leads to joy
and a fragility
out of whose depths emerges strength.
There is a hollow space
too vast for words
through which we pass with each loss,
out of whose darkness
we are sanctioned into being.
There is a cry deeper than all sound
whose serrated edges cut the heart
as we break open to the place inside
which is unbreakable and whole,
while learning to sing.
– Rashanil Rea

When we as humans begin to tune our hearts and minds back towards these relationships with food and seed and land… that spectrum of diversity will return again.
– Rowen M White

To love. To be loved.
To never forget your own insignificance.
To never get used to the unspeakable violence
and the vulgar disparity of life around you.
To seek joy in the saddest places.
To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify
what is complicated or complicate what is simple.
To respect strength, never power.
Above all, to watch. To try and understand.
To never look away. And never, never to forget.
– Arundhati Roy

All that matters is faith, expressed through love.
– Galatians 5:6

When acting from the authentic self one becomes more fluent, more capable of powerful intervention, more capable of sustaining high levels of activity than before they were acting from this deeper place.
– Mac Macartney

But in the end, stories are about one person
saying to another: This is the way it feels to me.
Can you understand what I’m saying?
Does it feel this way to you?
– Kazuo Ishiguro in his Nobel prize (2017) acceptance speech

Some stories have to be written because no one would believe the absurdity of it all.
– Shannon L. Alder

Emptying our ego in surrender dissolves the resistance in our heart-opening us up to God’s grace and presence in the stillness of our breath.
– Bob Holmes

Walking With Wisdom
Being always precedes becoming and doing.
Take time to be, to breathe, to dwell.
Take time becoming fully aware
in this eternal present moment.
Take your time with eternity.
Soak in the grace of well-being, wholeness, and belonging,
of life awakening within you.
Feel the stirring of peace, quietness, and hope
Quickening in your spirit.
And let the rivers of life
flow through you
as you walk in the Spirit
with God
this day.
– Bob Holmes

Was not writing poetry a secret transaction.
a voice answering a voice?
– Virginia Woolf, Orlando

To release patterns of tension and trauma from the fascia and the nervous system, MOVE differently, do things that fire the nerves in wholly novel patterns. Do things that challenge the limits of your muscles, of your resiliency, of your thought, of your feeling.
Cultivate a sense that allows you to orient to that zone of development, beyond the edges of your comfort, but where you still have the capacity to respond with presence.
Physical strength training is an exceptional practice for building this capacity. But here’s the thing: we’re looking for a new kind of challenge. It’s less about lifting heavy things than it is about developing a new way of paying attention as you explore different ways of moving and meeting edges and challenging your muscles, nerves, heart… Lifting heavier weights (without better attention) is just more blunt force, and it’s not going to dissolve armoring, it’s going to build more layers of it.
What’s needed is subtlety.
To effectively introduce potentials for release of trauma from our systems, we must train imaginatively, not by rote.
It’s the QUALITY of ATTENTION that matters. What you do to train doesn’t matter, as long as it involves your bodymind fully and explores novel experiences, and keeps breaching the boundaries of the known.
I like lifting heavy things (well… heavy is relative ☺️) so for me that’s one of the ways I cultivate subtlety of sense. It’s just that the actual routine (which isn’t really a routine) changes every time. I work off of my existing “vocabulary” of postures and exercises and movement practices, but I don’t plan. I discover.
Something new is always emerging, some quality of experience, an awareness of a sentience in the cells, gently directing.
Any challenge that introduces you to new subtleties in your movement through space and time awakens SENSE. Appropriate challenge fires nerves in new patterns that shake loose the rigid trauma patterning that armors the human nervous system via the fascia.
Through rigid identity structure we freeze our fascia over time into patterns that dramatically limit movement and life potentials. (This is much of what we call aging, this progressive freezing of our assets. Locking them in to unnecessary patterns of limitation.)
We ask the fascia to perform an endless holding pattern to keep us from having to feel the imprints of trauma and insecurity that are both our inheritance and the result of our developmental journey in a culture that is relationally imbalanced & exploitative.
But no matter how deep those grooves, how long-established those patterns of fascial tension, the original fluid crystalline nature of fascia remains.
Fascia is literally plasma by nature.
A liquid crystalline responsive connective tissue matrix.
It is sculpted by our primary energetic tones, and has the capacity to continue being responsive moment by moment to whatever symphony of tones we are exploring.
– via Lauren Worsh

Dare to dream! If you did not have the capability to make your wildest wishes come true, your mind would not have the capacity to conjure such ideas in the first place. There is no limitation on what you can potentially achieve, except for the limitation you choose to impose on your own imagination. What you believe to be possible will always come to pass – to the extent that you deem it possible. It really is as simple as that.
– Anthon St. Maarten

I’m really very fond of you, he said.
I don’t like fond.
It sounds like something you would tell a dog.
Give me love, or nothing.
Throw your fond in a pond, I said.
– Alice Walker

Tenderness does not choose its own uses.
– Jane Hirshfield, Late Prayer

Whensoever there is the fading of the Dharma and the uprising of unrighteousness, then I loose myself forth into birth.
For the deliverance of the good, for the destruction of the evil-doers, for the enthroning of the Right, I am born from age to age.
Bhagavad Gita
– Sri Aurobindo

In a Dark Time
In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood—
A lord of nature weeping to a tree.
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.
What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.
That place among the rocks—is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.
A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is—
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.
Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.
– Theodore Roethke

James Baldwin:
I am what time, circumstance, history,
have made of me, certainly, but I am also,
much more than that. So are we all..


Biological organisms embody the passionate values of their processes of self-direction, as they use these to qualitatively shape their lives. Dogs don’t just seem “loyal,” they really are. We don’t entirely project our own stubbornness onto mules, our cunning onto weasels, or our sense of beauty onto roses. These organisms have developed such characteristics through their own felt values.

As Katherine Peil Kaufmann said in a private message, “I think science totally dropped the ball on ‘value’ and we are left with post-modern constructionism, moral relativism, and Marx’s accurate critique of ‘value’ in terms of money – when it is actually emotional capital that runs the show. To my mind, the way forward begins with the naturalistic spirituality that comes with understanding, appreciating and acting upon the universal biological information delivered within emotional feelings.” For emotion is at the root of character. A wolf may fight to the death to save a comrade while a leopard might not. Some plant species typically risk budding and blooming much earlier in the spring than others. Temperamental preferences have become formalized over millions of years into predictable structures and behaviors. In every field of life, value-direction becomes identity as passionate tendencies become character traits.

As long as a set of character traits works for an individual or a species, it’s not usually questioned. Judgments are automatic and unproblematic. But when there are significant changes in the environment or a living system mutates in some way, things can get dicey. Ethical dilemmas arise that cannot be resolved in habitual ways. Creatures are forced by ambiguous situations to intuitively feel what is most relevant (which now needs to happen with the human species as a whole), both personally, and collectively, at times.

A good sense of relevance combines enduring aims with immediate sensitivities to changing circumstances. So a fluidly felt sense of relevance is the resilient core of any successful process of self-motion or cooperation. People like certain things because they feel meaningful, and the explanations often come after the sense of value. Plus the give and take of value-directed intentions and attentions are not confined to relations between living organisms. The skilled sculptor must adapt herself to the stone’s influence if she wants to influence it in meaningful ways. The painter doesn’t only express himself through the pigments he uses since they also speak through him. We don’t just use our tools, houses, environments, we have emotional relationships with them. The same is true of the bee and its hive, the fish and its reef or the spider and its web.

Such sympathies, not just imagined by poets, are dependant on felt biases inherent in personal existence. However we choose to explain or ignore these character traits of both mind and body, they are deeply akin to the feelings coordinating the immediacies of physical focus with the continuity of an ongoing identity. As with a melody or a spoken sentence, these emotive shapings of temporal experience cannot be reduced to an analysis of component parts without losing the feel of what’s going on. When living minds function as influential forces of nature, then a morphing organism who wants to keep hold of a new mutant ability will tend to conserve that innovation. Not the Lamarkianism that says genes don’t matter, but the kind that the most well value-directed often tend to survive and happily propagate.

When a friend calls and says, “I need to talk to you,” no mechanical force is involved. The value of a friendship is invoked and there is a choice as to how to respond. Such questions of value not only arise in the intimate parts of a life but also in business deals, participatory citizenship, artistic interplay and the exchange of scientific information – all of which depend on the passionate powers of steering factors such as trust and desire, without which a particular interaction becomes far less worthwhile. And if such feelings could have been explained away by physical causes, this would have happened. We still need our feelings to understand and participate with the living, so instead of forcing ourselves and our kids to ignore their feelings through the factory-like compulsions of modern education and economies, we can focus a little bit more on what our feelings are for.

Katherine Peil Kaufmann advises us to:
“Reduce the environmental conditions that elicit bad feelings (for bodily self-preservation) and increase those that trigger good feelings (for mindful self-development)….Like primary colors, these basic emotions are relatively hardwired, emerging within the first six months of life (Izard, 1971), and are reflected in common facial expressions across the human family (Eckman, 1993)….basic distress signals tell us – universally – what bad stuff to avoid, which environmental conditions we should individually and collectively act to reduce, both locally and globally….On the other hand…the basic feeling of joy holds the appraisal of novel opportunity and beneficial growth (mentally and socially) – as our primary custodian of the self-developmental imperative.”

Because development is important to the living. A good sense of accomplishment occurs in the fulfillment of a real desire, as when a kid yearns to play music and then really starts learning how. And all of the living believe in the value of an accomplishment, as when a baby first learns to walk or a bird to fly. Every wilderness on earth bears witness to the natural flair of living minds for relevant high drama, for beautiful self-expression, and for cutting-edge innovation. Humanity didn’t spring full-blown from the head of Zeus when it comes to living passionately. There are no meaningful quests or fulfillments without caring deeply about what feels best to you and to yours.
– George Gorman

The most painful state of being
is remembering the future.
– Søren Kierkegaard

A fire does not need to be called warm or red.
– Lydia Davis

The whole planet is riddled with misplaced aggression. It’s more popular than strawberry cheesecake. People are so overcome with repressed rage, that it simply has to leak out somewhere, often in the direction of innocents. Sometimes it comes through as physical violence, and more often in the form of emotional abuse, passive aggression, scapegoating and persecution. And none of this will change, until we learn how to deal with our unresolved emotions from an early age. Until society normalizes the sharing of our woundedness, and normalizes techniques for healthy release. Until we learn how easily humans are traumatized, and create conditions that prevent it. We do this, and we change the world. We don’t do this, and we are doomed to destroy each other (and our planet). Because all that trauma forces us to repress our memories and dissociate from reality. It compels us to choose paths that are not amenable to healing and wholeness. It turns us into a splintered symphony of suffering. And in a splintered state, we can’t help but do damage to ourselves and others. To break the cycle, we have to get to the roots of our aggression: our unresolved pain and anger. We have to fully own what we are carrying. We have to heal this humanity.
– Jeff Brown

One doesn’t always have to speak.
– Hannah Arendt

From the beginning we have never lacked the supreme state of bodhi and we receive it and use it forever. But because we can’t perceive it directly, we beget random intellectual ideas and chase after these as if they were real things, vainly passing by the great state of truth.
– Dogen (Bendowa)

I hated the devil and was sick with his temptations and tortures; and I could not tell why the voice in his departing words was so sweet that when he returned often and offered himself to me, it was with sorrow I refused him. Then I discovered it was Krishna at His tricks and my hate was changed into laughter.
– Sri Aurobindo


D[aimon]: After all, who says it’s not
your God, not your devil, the one who speaks to you?
– Luis Cernuda

I want a literature not made from literature.
– Bhanu Kapil, Ban en Banlieue

Do not fight against pain;
do not fight against irritation or jealousy.
Embrace them with great tenderness,
as though you were embracing a little baby.
Your anger is yourself,
and you should not be violent toward it.
The same thing goes for all your emotions.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

You look back and see how hard you worked
and how poor you were,
and so incredibly anxious you were to succeed,
and all you can remember is how happy you were.
– Jack London, No mentor but myself

I like those old movies where tires and wheels run backwards on
horse-drawn carriages pursued by indians, or Model As driven by
thugs leaning out windows with tommy guns ablaze. Of late I feel a
cold blue wind through my life and need to go backwards myself to
the outback I once knew so well where there were too many mosqui-
toes, blackflies, curious bears, flowering berry trees of sugar plum
and chokeberry, and where sodden and hot with salty sweat I’d slide
into a cold river and drift along until I floated against a warm sandbar,
thinking of driving again the gravel backroads of America at
thirty-five miles per hour in order to see the ditches and gulleys, the
birds in the fields, the mountains and rivers, the skies that hold our
10,000 generations of mothers in the clouds waiting for us to fall
back into their arms again.
– Jim Harrison

You get the garden planted.
You get the roof fixed.
You take the dog to the vet.
You spend the day with a friend.
You learn to make a new kind of bread.
You hunt up photographs for someone
who thinks he needs them.
You certainly have to do the shopping
But you get through this aggravation
so you could get back to painting
Because that is the high spot.
The painting is like the thread that runs
through all the reasons
for all the other things that make one’s life.
– Georgia O’Keefe

Small acts of kindness share the stage with large acts of sacrifice.
– Madisyn Taylor

In the Jewish Synagogue at Newport
by Emma Lazarus – 1849-1887

Here, where the noises of the busy town,
The ocean’s plunge and roar can enter not,
We stand and gaze around with tearful awe,
And muse upon the consecrated spot.

No signs of life are here: the very prayers
Inscribed around are in a language dead;
The light of the “perpetual lamp” is spent
That an undying radiance was to shed.

What prayers were in this temple offered up,
Wrung from sad hearts that knew no joy on earth,
By these lone exiles of a thousand years,
From the fair sunrise land that gave them birth!

How as we gaze, in this new world of light,
Upon this relic of the days of old,
The present vanishes, and tropic bloom
And Eastern towns and temples we behold.

Again we see the patriarch with his flocks,
The purple seas, the hot blue sky o’erhead,
The slaves of Egypt, — omens, mysteries, —
Dark fleeing hosts by flaming angels led.

A wondrous light upon a sky-kissed mount,
A man who reads Jehovah’s written law,
‘Midst blinding glory and effulgence rare,
Unto a people prone with reverent awe.

The pride of luxury’s barbaric pomp,
In the rich court of royal Solomon —
Alas! we wake: one scene alone remains, —
The exiles by the streams of Babylon.

Our softened voices send us back again
But mournful echoes through the empty hall:
Our footsteps have a strange unnatural sound,
And with unwonted gentleness they fall.

The weary ones, the sad, the suffering,
All found their comfort in the holy place,
And children’s gladness and men’s gratitude
‘Took voice and mingled in the chant of praise.

The funeral and the marriage, now, alas!
We know not which is sadder to recall;
For youth and happiness have followed age,
And green grass lieth gently over all.

Nathless the sacred shrine is holy yet,
With its lone floors where reverent feet once trod.
Take off your shoes as by the burning bush,
Before the mystery of death and God.

I shall be a silent hallucination.
– Mikhail Bulgakov

I think we are wounded into poetry.
– James Cushing

The empathic sensitivities of feeling-speech make it possible for the associative matrices of the living to develop, become rewarding, and to endure. When people are hanging around and talking or happily working on something, their feelings are cooperatively shaping that conversational or collaborative process. With a felt sense of what is unspokenly going on you can tell that so-and-so is having a hard day and you can cut him some slack. And since the living have always been using the natural medium of such feeling-tones to help themselves evolve nucleated cells, multi-cellular organisms, world-altering symbiotic alliances such as coral and forests, along with complex societies and ecosystems of all kinds, then it’s true – as poet William Stafford puts it – that “Our job is to find out what the world is trying to be.” And empathy is how.

Emotional sympathy is the basis of how any organism coordinates its interactions with other members of its species, with important allies and with “neighbors” in general. Rather than being a coercive or insidious force, genuine sympathy evokes and reinforces latent tendencies. One bird flies off and a bunch of birds follow. The first bird doesn’t force the others to fly. Unlike the cat who can only watch enviously, the other birds were happily influenced by a sympathetic tug. When two whooping cranes are doing a mating dance, they are communicating about their potential rapport. A bunch of fish swim together because they like each other. When an infant mammal bonds with its mother, the strength of a good communicational relationship gives that child a much better chance of not only surviving but of leading a good life. And when thousands of birds are flying together in a flock, their cooperative processes of feeling-with enable them to overcome the deterministic likelihood that a lot of them would lose their associative coherence and bang into each other. That hardly ever happens.

Such feeling-tones are how we develop good relationships. We also do this when traveling in countries where we don’t speak the language yet somehow manage to connect quite well with some. All creatures establish their relations and alliances in this same way – which is why we can sometimes bond more deeply with a speechless infant or a pet than with anyone. Our emotions enable us to qualitatively resonate with what others are feeling, since we’re all expressing ourselves through our body states. As David Gelernter says, “’State of the body’ means facial expressions, tone of voice, gestures and so on” – gestures, that is, through which feeling-tones are expressed. And through feeling-speech we’re also sensing the character of others, a great bullshit-meter when it comes to what’s going on and how to decide.
– George Gorman

Watch out for intellect,
because it knows so much it knows nothing
and leaves you hanging upside down,
mouthing knowledge as your heart
falls out of your mouth.
– Anne Sexton

The sadness of the world
has different ways of getting to people,
but it seems to succeed almost every time.
– Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Journey to the End of the Night

James Low:

In the land of dharmakaya
everything is dharmakaya
but if you make an hierarchy of dharmakayas; good dharmakaya, bad dharmakaya,
better dharmakaya, best dharmakaya
then you are living in the land of gold
but smearing all the gold with your shit.

If you love someone, tell them.

If someone’s music or writing or art changed you, tell them.

If someone’s kindness caught you when you were slipping, tell them.

If you’re afraid to say it out loud, write it down.

If you’re afraid to write it down, write it down anyway.
– Maggie Smith


You kick off your sandals
And shake out your hair
It’s torn where you’re dancing
It’s torn everywhere

It’s torn on the right
And it’s torn on the left
It’s torn in the centre
Which few can accept
– Leonard Cohen

Nothing is what it seems to be. The left is not the left anymore, the right is not the right — and there is nobody in the center. On one side, you have the shrieking of ‘cancel culture’ and the ‘woke left’—on the other the ‘deplorable right’ and the alt-right. It’s polarized, it’s nasty, and it’s a rigged game; it’s been been manufactured to to hijack your attention from more basic matters of truth and meaning. So better get out of the game altogether, I say, and join the Exodus.

It’s torn in on right, which has become quite demented. The right is no longer about good old fashioned values of church, nation, and family—but clown-like acts of subversion. And the alt-right are the most sneaky bastards you will ever meet, with their subversive social media campagnes and ‘meta-politics’. While they flirt with ‘identity politics’ and ‘race’; like the Joker they lust for chaos. Just take a look at the occultism of Steven Bannon and Alexander Dugin and gang, who would like to accelerate the chaos of the ‘dark age of kali yuga’, which means that everything must be destroyed before the next ‘savior’ Mussolini enters the colosseum on his white horse.

It’s torn on the ‘ left’— which has lost its connection to the working class and real issues of social fairness. The woke-left takes orders from the big nurse of the asylum; it has no mind of its own. One one hand, it is a bunch of ineffectual Hollywood stars singing ‘Imagine’—on the other hand it is viciously censorious, canceling, caricaturing, and condemning. And everybody knows that its virtue signalling is the opposite of real virtue, and that it feeds the fires of its codependent bedfellows on the alt-right. Leftist wokeism is just another high society parlour game; it is unmerciful and behaves like what Sigmund Freud called ‘the castrating mother’.

To summarize: the ‘woke left’ bows down to the castrating mother of faux compassion and the ‘alt right’ bows down to the tyrannical father of the mythical golden age. Politics has become neo-pagan quasi religion which uses the blindness and chaos magic of mobs, memes, algorithms, trolls, and bots. And if you spend any time on social media you cannot escape the fury of the marketing messages on both sides. It’s like Westeros in The Game of Thrones: the northern wall has collapsed and the dark messengers are upon us.

But here is the thing that ‘few can accept’: Its torn in the center too. While the woke-left and the clown right play their gleeful games in the lawless land of cyberspace, the liberal center is impotent. It doesn’t understand the fury of the archetypal forces at work—how irrational, how captured the population has become, how in need of religion people really are. The center’s nostalgia for modernism, for good old capitalism and scientific first principles, turns out to be ineffectual. The rational enlightenment has been lost to a pagan fury; furthermore, it had a fundamental misunderstanding of human nature and religion to begin with: a fantasy that human beings could become more and more rational through time.

And even Jordan Peterson—the last conservative liberal—with his ideas of the ‘sovereign’ individual, is sorely lacking in a vision of communitas and congregation. At least he has a critique of the enlightenment and understands the power of religious archetypes however. We actually do need good religion to counter bad religion — just as we need good science to counter bad science. The point is, there may never be a post-religious age.

Furthermore, people like Sam Harris, who never tire of talking about the ‘need to have decent and rational conversations’, seem really tone deaf. Rational conversations cannot prevent the tsunami that is coming. Something more radical is needed. And, by the way, the word ‘radical ‘means ‘going to the root’ — which is a precise description of what needs to be done in all areas of life today. The Exodus begins in the slow effort to restore our humanity, even as we are enslaved in Egypt, so to speak. A bottom up effort of growth is needed before the world ‘freedom’ can even be conceived of.
If a society has gone mad and has no compass and is run by clowns (and Kanye West may well end up being the next American president) then the Exodus is on the way. That means a break from academia, media, and government—as well as from the overlords of Google, facebook, and Twitter is inevitable. You — as an intelligent agent — are responsible for ending the tyranny of a democracy that can be purchased, an education system that has become a trap, and the marketing of your most intimate world on Facebook. You are responsible for ending the colonization of your limbic system and for abandoning the clown world—if you want to join the Exodus and move into the new world, that is.

We live in the age of counter-productivity that Ivan Illich predicted way back in the 1970’s. The media, governments, schools, and hospitals have become largely counterproductive to truth, democracy, learning, and health. It’s like in medieval times when the Church and its institutions were highly corrupt. The good news is that in dark ages of corruption there arise a dialectical luminaries of resistance—those great beings who opened the door for the Renaissance for instance, who lead the Exodus out of the dark ages.

However, before a new Renaissance is possible we have to leave behind the hysteria of the woke left and the chaos magic of the alt right. The first thing to do is throw out the entire simulacrum—renunciation is the beginning of truth seeking. Next we need to reinvent and rediscover (reinventio in John Vervaeke parlance) our own intimate world, which the pandemic has given many a wonderful opportunity to do. This is an education project, by definition, as Zak Stein so eloquently points out. (See Zak’s book: Education in a Time Between Worlds)

Let us throw out the old rages of outdated ideology as well — the left, the right, and the center — and privilege the whole. ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s’. And if Caesar has become a dangerous kind of lunatic, then an attitude of total distrust towards Rome is simply intelligent. We have to pay taxes to Caesar but we don’t have to believe in the ideology of Rome.

The point is, let us be be oriented towards the real. Leonard Cohen’s thesis, which I am fleshing out here, is that the left, the right, and the center are all torn—because they are partial. We need a whole vision, not a fragmented, one-sided one.

. . .

In our recent podcast Zak Stein made the case for the Exodus from social media. His point was —and I am paraphrasing here—we need to stop pretending that the crack-cocaine of social media is a necessary evil. It’s a pretty good point. Social media apps might be more dangerous than crack cocaine however: they are designed to keep us in the Hotel California—where you can check out but never leave— forever.

Unlike Zak, however, most of us are still on Facebook and Twitter—whiling away the time in Egypt waiting for the Exodus to come. Personally, I’m ready to leave anytime. If I really need to go on Facebook — as I sometimes need to go to the shopping mall or the police station or the morgue — then I can remember to open and close the door to those very dangerous worlds. We need to drop out and ‘log out’. Logging out can free so much time and attention. Do I really want to have my limbic system hijacked constantly for the lucrative benefit of a few boy pharos in silicon valley? The image of the child eating moluch in the film Metropolis comes to mind.

We need to draw lines between ourselves and the collective superego that social media represents, and which is designed to polarize us, to make us into drooling bots for ideology, to destroy the necessary intimacy that real communication affords. The exodus of social media would involve moving smart people to more defined, delineated spaces: not bubbles, but places where an educational intention is set: the intention being to raise consciousness and not to degrade it.

The promised land is the place where a real growth experience can occur: this requires intimacy, friendship, challenge, virtue, and wisdom—all those things which the social networks destroy. We need to find this ‘city on the hill’ where there is no more shouting between the woke left and the clown right, and no more futile search for the center.

I say bring on the liberation principle. Bring on the Exodus.

When you opened your eyes this morning,
you broke every law that made yesterday real.
Why insist on being who you were
before you took this breath?
Can you withdraw your kiss,
or send the ocean flowing back to mountain snow?
Bees don’t bring honey to flowers, whispering,
“Here’s the pollen I borrowed.”
Once the morning glory bleeds
hummingbird nectar,
she withers with contentment.
Die of sweetness,
be a pilgrim who never comes home.
You’ll kill the vineyard if you water it with wine.
Grapes don’t understand why you crushed them.
This bubbling stuff will never be juice again.
Once the madness starts, you must be choiceless.
Whose naked feet are dancing on you?
Mingle and ferment. Discard the skin.
Let your chest show hospitality
to a stranger’s heart.
Can you withdraw your kiss?
Juice is for children, Jesus loves wine.
– Fred LaMotte

In 2007 my mom died
and then my grandmother died,
my wife decided she didn’t want to be my wife anymore, I lost my dream job,
and people I thought were my friends
and colleagues in Buddhist practice
began attacking me in public over scandals that existed solely in their own minds.
Only one thing was clear by the end of the year. I was going to have to start all over again…

How does a real Zen master — as opposed to the cartoonlike figure invented by pop culture — deal with death, divorce, job loss, and personal discord? How does he perform the work of trying to help others get over their tough times while going through some pretty heavy shit
of his own? How do you sit and meditate
while your world crumbles all around you?
Is meditation a valid reaction or just a form
of spiritual escapism? These are all reasonable questions. They’re questions I asked myself
a lot that year…

I found myself becoming the very thing I had always hated – a religious authority figure,
a spiritual celebrity, a famous Zen master. People began to expect me – of all people –
to be the thing they envisioned a Buddhist master ought to be. But let me clue you in on a little secret, friends and neighbors. Not only am I not that thing, but no one is. No one. Not even what’s-his-face whose smiling mug graces the cover of every other issue of the big Buddhist rags by the checkout counter in your local new age bookshop.

I began to see that it was necessary to demonstrate that in a very clear and unambiguous way. Some folks have tried this before. But they usually try by pointing outward, away from themselves. There must be a hundred tell-all accounts of some spiritual teacher’s transgressions – their big cars, their drug habits, their bizarre sexual peccadilloes. The underlying assumption often seems to be that although that guy wasn’t the real deal, maybe somewhere out there someone is…

When Zen Buddhism and other forms of so-called Eastern wisdom first became trendy in the West in the sixties and seventies, many followers tended to see their teachers as supernatural creatures. Unlike Western religions, many Eastern spiritual traditions had this idea of the “enlightened being,” of which the teacher was supposed to be an example. This idea seemed to suggest that the teacher was a kind of Christ-like paranormal creature with powers and abilities far beyond those of ordinary people. Plenty of folks still make a bundle by playing the role of the spiritual superman. It’s a scam. It’s important to show that all of us in this Eastern spiritual master game are no more supernatural than any Catholic priest, rabbi, minister, shoe salesman, or fishmonger.

A lot of people out there have a vested interest in not having anyone say the kinds of things I’m going to say… Their livelihood depends on their followers believing that they’re something they are not. Maybe this will make it a little more difficult for some of those people to get rich that way. I certainly hope so. I guess that sounds mean. But the people who do that sort of thing are doing untold damage not only to their followers but to themselves as well. They would be better off if they had to get jobs at the local In-N-Out Burger instead.

To do the damage that needs to be done to the absurd idea of the Eastern spiritual master as superhuman, I’m focusing on the events in my own life in 2007 as specific examples of how Zen teaching and Zen practice are very much human activities performed by real people in the midst of real-life problems. Zen does not offer the kind of neat and pretty “ultimate solutions” promised by so many religions and cults. Instead, it is unrelentingly realistic. Yet it does provide an exceptionally practical way to deal with what life dishes out to all of us.

In fact, I believe Zen practice and philosophy provide the only truly rational and realistic way to live a balanced and happy life. Some people don’t like it when I say that. They’d rather I told them that Zen was just one of many good ways to deal with stuff. But if I thought that way I wouldn’t be teaching and writing about Zen, and I probably wouldn’t even bother practicing it. This doesn’t mean I want everyone to convert to my way of thinking or that I want to destroy all other religions and philosophies. It only means that I’m not interested in teaching or even practicing anything other than the philosophy I believe to be the best in the world.

I had another question when I came back to America after eleven years: does real Buddhism exist in the West? After I returned I began to be invited to speak and practice at a lot of Buddhist centers around the country. I had the opportunity to see firsthand what went on in the name of Buddhism both in the places I visited and through the people who visited and contacted me and showed me the results of their practice. While I’ve found shining examples of the Buddha’s way in prisons and at heavy metal shows, I’ve also seen sad perversions of Buddhism in its very own temples and among those supposedly propagating the Way in America. Authentic Buddhism doesn’t always come packaged the way we imagine it should.

There is something very profound, perhaps we can even say holy, in every human being. We all have access to this something every moment of every day, but most of us will live our entire lives without even suspecting it exists. The Buddha was not full of shit when he said the cause of suffering could be uprooted and that you can put an end to it once and for all. There is a way out of this mess humanity has found itself in. It’s just that the answer to the cause of suffering — and the way to end it — are nothing at all like what you think they are or imagine they should be…

– Brad Warner, Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate

There is a future which is predictable,
programmed, scheduled, foreseeable.
But there is a future, l’avenir (to come)
which refers to someone who comes
whose arrival is totally unexpected.
For me, that is the real future.
That which is totally unpredictable.
The Other who comes without my being able
to anticipate their arrival.
So if there is a real future,
beyond the other known future,
it is l’avenir in that it is the coming of the Other
when I am completely unable to foresee their arrival.
– Jacques Derrida

Kyabjé Kangyur Rinpoche:

Patience is essentially the ability
to bear with suffering. It is the fertile soil
in which the flowers of Dharma
(in other words, the three disciplines) can grow and spread their perfume of good qualities. Encircling these flowers like a protective fence are the three kinds of patience.

The first is the patience to bear the sufferings and difficulties that occur while one is striving for the twofold goal: Buddhahood for one’s own sake and the accomplishment of the welfare of others.

The second kind of patience is the ability to put up with the injuries that others might inflict, while the third kind is the ability to confront, without fear or apprehension, the doctrine of emptiness and other profound teachings.

One of the difficulties in speaking out today grows out of the fact that there are those that are seeking to equate dissent with disloyalty. It is a dark day in our nation when high level authorities will seek to use every method to silence dissent.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

I can see all possible worlds when I look at only one of them. God—or myself—created all possible worlds, they coexist, but men can hardly glimpse even one.
– Alfred Jarry

Only the one who descends into the underworld rescues the Beloved.
– Soren Kierkegaard

Stupidity lies in wanting to draw conclusions.
– Gustave Flaubert

Starting the Evolution
Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche:

When Buddha Sakyamuni died,
his eighteen disciples quarreled
over doctrinal issues and founded eighteen separate schools. Why did they do that? Because each of them heard
and understood something different, sometimes contradictory to what the others had understood.
[We are in] a dualistic vision
in which everything seems solid to us, therefore, if I’m right (and of course I have it), then you can not have it.
People have different political beliefs,
follow different spiritual paths
and run every day with
but the spiritual path should help us
to get rid of this kind of problem,
otherwise we let ourselves be closed
in another system of restrictions.
Therefore, we should use our mind
to recognize our limitations
and understand that the problem
is not that we we are right,
and others do not have it,
only that we follow a dualistic vision.

Threat Landscape
by Rae Armantrout


Life began with general irritability,

then developed lateral suppression,

the ability to boost some signals
while tamping others down—


creating a high contrast world
with exaggerated peaks and troughs,

the threat landscape,

projected now on screens
by paid experts.


You’re right, Sasha.
I forgot.

The butterflies are frightening

with their abrupt approaches
and batty swerves.

They mix the outside in.

You’re right.
We don’t know what will happen.

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.
– Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

is a word that tempts us to think outwardly, to run bravely against opposing fire, to do something under besieging circumstance, and perhaps, above all, to be seen to do it in public, to show courage; to be celebrated in story, rewarded with medals, given the accolade, but a look at its linguistic origins leads us in a more interior direction and toward its original template, the old Norman French, Coeur, or heart. Courage is the measure of our heartfelt participation with life, with another, with a community, a work, a future.

To be courageous, is not necessarily to go anywhere or do anything except to make conscious those things we already feel deeply and then to live through the unending vulnerabilities of those consequences.

To be courageous is to seat our feelings deeply in the body and in the world: to live up to and into the necessities of relationships that often already exist, with things we find we already care deeply about: with a person, a future, a possibility in society, or with an unknown that begs us on and always has begged us on. Whether we stay or whether we go – to be courageous is to stay close to the way we are made.
– David Whyte

God is a vague notion that anything is possible.
– Joan Glass

All misery is created by the activity of the mind. Can you let go of words, ideas, attitudes and expectations? If so, then the Tao will loom into view. Can you smile and look inside? If so, then you will see that the truth is always available, always responsive.
– Laozi

You are to me a silent wind,
of no leaf stir or ocean rage,
that makes my million molecules dance
to endless songs of change.

You are to me a solemn star
intent on something unforeseen,
revealing wonders from afar
that only lovers dare receive.

You are to me a secret seed,
the dream of some age-spanning night,
wrought in wells of solitude
to flower on exultant heights.

You are to me a touch or word
of such hushed and exquisite breath
that all my senses are consumed
and to the clash of worlds grown deaf.

As if the silences of god
had swallowed up all sounds of strife,
as if a single, gentle nod
had given birth to worlds of light.

– George Gorman

This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.
Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.
If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.
– John O’Donohue


Sometimes you don’t get to be a Buddha.

Sometimes you just have to break. And feel.
You have to lose your precious ‘spiritual awakening’.
You just have to be a human being, feeling.

Sometimes old pain resurfaces. Old fear. Sorrow. Trauma.
The searing ache of the abandoned child.
The rage of a forgotten universe.

And suddenly, all of your spiritual insights crumble, all the beautiful spiritual words by the beautiful spiritual teachers, all the concepts and ideas about awakening and enlightenment, and the pure perfection of pure untainted awareness, and the selfless non-self self, and the path to glorious futures, and the wise guru, they suddenly are all meaningless, empty words, second-hand drivel, and dead to you.

What’s real, now, and alive, is the burning in the belly, the fire in the heart.
Unavoidable. Intense. So close. So present.

Sometimes you just have to feel. You have no choice.
And sense your feet on the ground.
And breathe into the discomfort.
And trust, and maybe trust that you cannot trust right now.
And take it moment by moment, by moment, by moment.

And know that nothing is working against you.

And awaken from your dream of how this moment ‘should’ be.
And throw away all your second-hand ideas about the path.

Sometimes your spirituality has to shatter,
so you can finally realise
this deeper spirituality
of feeling, presence, and feet-on-ground living,
and the sound of the birds singing in the distance,
and a total surrender to this one precious moment.

– Jeff Foster

~ Love is the expression of the one who loves, not of the one who is loved. Those who think they can love only the people they prefer do not love at all. Love discovers truths about individuals that others cannot see ~
– Soren Kierkegaard

History never really says goodbye.
History says, see you later.
– Eduardo Galeano

If we are to help heal the world, we need to remember that it is a sacred place. Our actions need to be positive statements, reminders that even in the worst times there is a world worth struggling for.
– Ram Dass

Writing poems is my way of celebrating
with the world
that I have not committed suicide
the evening before.
– Alice Walker

I’ve grown so tired of chasing lies
Mother of Muses, wherever you are
I’ve already outlived my life by far
Mother of Muses, unleash your wrath
Things I can’t see, they’re blocking my path
Show me your wisdom, tell me my fate
Put me upright, make me walk straight
Forge my identity from the inside out
You know what I’m talking about
Take me to the river, release your charms
Let me lay down a while in your sweet, loving arms
Wake me, shake me, free me from sin
Make me invisible, like the wind
Got a mind that ramble, got a mind that roam
I’m travelin’ light and I’m a-slow coming home
– Bob Dylan

I need solitude for my writing;
not ‘like a hermit’—
that wouldn’t be enough—
but like a dead man.
– Franz Kafka

The belief in a supernatural source of evil
is not necessary; men alone are quite capable
of every wickedness.
– Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes

The cradle rocks above an abyss,
and common sense tells us that our existence
is but a brief crack of light between two eternities
of darkness. Although the two are identical twins,
man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour).
– Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory

What need have I for this? What need have I for that? I am dancing at the feet of my Lord. All is bliss. All is bliss
– Mahavishnu Orchestra

God, please help me not be an asshole, is about as common a prayer as I pray in my life.
– Nadia Bolz-Weber

I respect scholars most of all. Although they struggle in a narrow space, they find truly creative ways of reading certain authors.
– Kenzaburo Oe

There was once a student who asked my father, “What is sanity?” GB hemmed and grumbled, he dissapproved of the question. After a few moments he said, “I suppose sanity is familiarity with your own epistemology.”

Something to think about…

What is ‘familiarity with your own epistemology’ in a world in which the structures that define and orient identity are pixilating?
– Nora Bateson

tk talking about perspective

1425 Fillipo Brunelleshi paints the first painting with perspective. This is the pivotal moment which changed everything in western history forever. Why? Because that is the moment we went from a God centred society to a human centred society. Prior to that everything was painted from the perspective of God. You can’t imagine how important this is. Prior to this point all of human beings were meant to focus on what is imagined to to be Gods perspective. How we know and see the world from the point of view of a human being replaces seeing the world from God’s point of view.

1905 Albert Einstein publishes his paper on electro-dynamics. There is some amazing essence in this paper that says in space time no observer in space time has a privileged over any other observer. For 500 years we have been developing the point of view humanism, the french revolution, the american revolution, we have been throwing away churches, throwing away aristocrats and kings and then Einstein comes along and says point of view, not just human point of view, is profoundly relative…

First perspective and the renaissance restructured God’s point of view, now we are destroying the human beings point of view… In painting you have Brach and Picasso where trying to show that there were multiple points of view existing at the same time, destructing the notion of a human point of view. In literature James Joyce destroys narrative… there was a way that literature was written which no longer holds at that point… In architecture you have Frank Lloyd who said ‘now we have destroyed the box. From this point forward architecture will serve the luminosity of living.’ … What is happening is that people like Kandinski are breaking down human perspective into abstract perspective.

Within the mythology of culture there is an effort taking place: first to be liberated from Gods point of view into a human point of view . Now there is the beginning of being liberated from the narrowness of a human point of view to a ahistorical perspective, non-perspective…

What has happened in western culture is that the entire culture is moving toward Dzochen. The living body itself wants to realise the non-dual bliss, the self liberating dynamic. The west is trying – more than the east – but without a method – to incarnate the good the true and the beautiful, which requires the non-conceptual. And quite frankly while exiles are trying to preserve archaic encrusted forms of political dharma, there is an incredible opportunity taking place in the transmissions of these methodologies to the west, but if you don’t understand your own culture you will miss it, you will consumerize it.

What has been the problem in the west? It is two fold and it has been understood by philosophers. There was an urge within the movements from god perspective, to human prospective to a-perspective—there was a movement to understand beyond perspective. In a sense what was wanted was something that is trans-perspective, beyond. But there is was no method for actually doing this with the mind.

Do not love half lovers
Do not entertain half friends
Do not indulge in works of the half talented
Do not live half a life
and do not die a half death
If you choose silence, then be silent
When you speak, do so until you are finished
Do not silence yourself to say something
And do not speak to be silent
If you accept, then express it bluntly
Do not mask it
If you refuse then be clear about it
for an ambiguous refusal is but a weak acceptance
Do not accept half a solution
Do not believe half truths
Do not dream half a dream
Do not fantasize about half hopes
Half a drink will not quench your thirst
Half a meal will not satiate your hunger
Half the way will get you no where
Half an idea will bear you no results
Your other half is not the one you love
It is you in another time yet in the same space
It is you when you are not
Half a life is a life you didn’t live,
A word you have not said
A smile you postponed
A love you have not had
A friendship you did not know
To reach and not arrive
Work and not work
Attend only to be absent
What makes you a stranger to them closest to you
and they strangers to you
The half is a mere moment of inability
but you are able for you are not half a being
You are a whole that exists to live a life
not half a life.
– Khalil Gibran

Love’s Philosophy

How dear is love to those who, changing
in such times as souls can change,
are cocreating and rearranging
their own conditions, dear and strange.

Certain ties remain undated.
While any soul can make it dawn,
still some constants dance elated,
though newscasters love black swans.

Thus do we outlive our souls,
encompassing limitless background,
even as fauns no rule controls
we flit this stormy world around.

So life escapes itself to see:
Though hedged by brambles love breaks free.
– George Gorman

Every time I write a book I put my feet in different shoes.
– Haruki Murakami

There’s a strain in the best of hearts
that is only relieved by the force of love,
not by satisfied ambition or by forms
of truth or beauty that console the mind.

The brave discomfort at the core
of all that lives is not explained
by tales of old sins, modern prides,
wars in heaven or earthly betrayals.

There’s a friction at the crux of each choice
that’s as old as what moves itself.
In nerves and loins we carry the spark
of life with the shock of death knotted.

There is this fire which lets us know
every need has its brother fear.
The choice is ours:
We are shaped by love or by doubt.
– George Gorman

The numinous silence of sacrament is the culminating point in worship.
– Rudolph Otto, The Idea of the Holy (1923)

Our mind is a treasure. But it’s very absorbent, so we must also be very discriminating
in what we hear, read, and see. And in the spiritual life, our fence is our ethics.
If we know we are living ethically to the best of our ability, the mind will become peaceful.
– Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

During this degenerate age in the outer world, there are many natural disasters due to the upsetting of the four elements. Also, demonic forces come with their many weapons to incite the fighting of wars. All of those forces have caused the world to come to ruin and led all to tremble – so terrified that their hair stands up on end. Still, the demonic forces find it necessary to come up with new types of weapons. If we were called on to confront them, there is no way we Dharma practitioners could defeat them. That is why we make supplication prayers to the three jewels, do the aspiration prayers, the offering prayers and the prayers of invocation. We are responsible for those activities. This is what I urge you to do.
– Chatral Rinpoche

None see God and live.
– Emily Dickinson

Let’s face it. We’re undone by each other.
And if we’re not, we’re missing something.
– Judith Butler

Beauty crowds me till I die.
– Emily Dickinson

Literature begins only when a third person is born
in us that strips us of the power to say ‘I’.
– Gilles Deleuze

There’s no one thing that’s true. It’s all true.
– Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls

I may be the wrong person for my life.
– Thomas McGuane

Gods always love the people who make ’em.
– Zora Neale Hurston

No people come into possession of a culture
without having paid a heavy price for it.
– James Baldwin

Everyone has Anger Toward God or the Universe

Our relationship with God is deep and unconscious. It is not what our conscious minds tell us it is or ought to be; it is how we feel about God in our guts. Unless you have worked it through, everyone has anger toward God or the universe, however you conceive of it. Everyone has suffered, felt abandoned and hurt, and has wondered in anger at God—where was the help, where was the support, where was the holding, where was the love, where was the blessing? Such feelings are hidden in many people behind their sense of themselves as God-fearing or God-believing. For such people, allegiance to God often covers more hatred of God than that of nonbelievers, since there is more reason to be angry at Him: “I believe in you—I know you’re there, so where are you? Paying attention to other people?” These feelings need to be brought to consciousness and worked through before we can consistently experience this loving presence as a force in our lives. Doing this means putting aside what the church told you your relationship with God is or should be, what you were told in the mosque or at temple, in order to really find out what your soul in its depths believes and feels about this intelligence we call God.
– A. H. Almaas, Facets of Unity

Say no longer that God is invisible. Do not speak thus, for what is more manifest than God? He has created all only that you may see it through the beings. For that is the miraculous power of God, to show Himself through all beings.
– The Corpus Hermetica

It is not down in any map; true places never are.
– Herman Melville

The Right Place
Some know what they want. Yes, maybe it is to be among the trees. Or, to be in a garden in some place where a garden is an act of defiance of something.

You advise: Try to find the right place for yourself.

But, I don’t think that’s it. I think we want to be found. I think we need to be found. That’s harder than finding, don’t you agree? To be found, you have to be still. You have to be vulnerable to something that wants you. It could be dangerous. You’re lucky if it is.

People are not alone, but they are lonely. The body has forgotten what it is made of. So has the spirit. I watched a meteor shower last night. I’m not going to go into the details, but that’s some of the stuff.

Here is a good place to be, especially when I take notice of the fact that I’m breathing and muster the gratitude for it. When was the last time you heard your breath? We were given ways of knowing that we are alive and well.

When I talk to the gods, they don’t say much. Why utter lies? I think they are well aware that we are not yet ready for the truth. It’s an interesting thought, that.

The experts say that when you are lost, you should just stay put. Sit. Wait. I haven’t been particularly good at waiting. Maybe that’s because, up until now, I hadn’t really realized what I was waiting for.
– Jamie K. Reaser

You can always tell when a person has worked in a restaurant. There’s an empathy that can only be cultivated by those who’ve stood between a hungry mouth and a $28 pork chop, a special understanding of the way a bunch of motley misfits can be a family. Service industry work develops the ‘soft skills’ recruiters talk about on LinkedIn — discipline, promptness, the ability to absorb criticism, and most important, how to read people like a book. The work is thankless and fun and messy, and the world would be a kinder place if more people tried it. With all due respect to my former professors, I’ve long believed I gained more knowledge in kitchens, bars, and dining rooms than any college could even hold.
– Anthony Bourdain

There are people that you will never win with, no
matter what you do. I call them “The Impossibles.” The
ones that always leave you feeling bad about yourself. I
have known many. Often members of our own family,
they are both the ones that we must avoid, and the ones
that are the most difficult to avoid. If we continue to
make an effort to connect, we are left feeling terrible
about ourselves. If we disconnect altogether, we are
left feeling guilty, selfish, perhaps responsible for their
isolation. Often we blame ourselves for the state of the
relationship, even though we rationally know that we
would have remained heartfully connected with them if
they had been respectful. We would have found a way,
if there was a way. We just would have. What gets lost
in the shame shuffle is the fact that some people are
truly impossible. Not just difficult, not just requiring
healthy boundaries, but impossible to maintain a
healthy rapport with. And their impossibility is not
lodged in our actions, or choices, or behaviors. It is
not a consequence of our imperfections, decisions, or
missteps. It is lodged in their own issues and limitations.
It is lodged in where they are at. They are simply
IMPOSSIBLE. And the sooner we face that, the sooner
we can live a life of unlimited possibility
– Jeff Brown

The Poet Dreams of the Mountain
by Mary Oliver
Sometimes I grow weary of the days with all their fits and starts.
I want to climb some old grey mountain, slowly, taking
the rest of my life to do it, resting often, sleeping
under the pines or, above them, on the unclothed rocks.
I want to see how many stars are still in the sky
that we have smothered for years now, forgiving it all,
and peaceful, knowing the last thing there is to know.
All that urgency! Not what the earth is about!
How silent the trees, their poetry being of themselves only.
I want to take slow steps, and think appropriate thoughts.
In ten thousand years, maybe, a piece of the mountain will fall.

Be melting snow.
Wash yourself of yourself.
A white flower grows in quietness.
Let your tongue become that flower.
– Rumi

If you see your path laid out in front of you — Step one, Step two, Step three — you only know one thing… it is not your path. Your path is created in the moment of action. If you can see it laid out in front of you, you can be sure it is someone else’s path. That is why you see it so clearly.
– Joseph Campbell

Any spiritual viewpoint that fails to address the great injuries perpetrated against marginalized and genuinely victimized individuals and groups is worthy of serious critique, and often active resistance.
– David Bedrick

Without religion we evolve into our ancestors. With religion we disappear into their heavens & hells.
– John Trudell

You will not know this for some time,
but the longing for something—
for someone—
is vastly superior to possession.
The strain of desire is the greatest sensation,
the ultimate folly of God.
I believe this is why we are always dissatisfied
with art and life and people and experience:
nothing can compete with our imaginations
and our strength of desire.
It is wise to always desire something,
to keep something of a flame,
an energy, to one’s life and heart.
– Tennessee Williams to James Grissom, Follies of God

Love is never any better than the lover.
Wicked people love wickedly,
violent people love violently,
weak people love weakly,
stupid people love stupidly,
but the love of a free man is never safe.
There is no gift for the beloved.
The lover alone possesses his gift of love.
– Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

We live in one global environment
with a huge number of ecological, economic,
social, and political pressures tearing at its only
dimly perceived, basically uninterpreted
and uncomprehended fabric.
Anyone with even a vague consciousness of this
whole is alarmed at how such remorselessly selfish
and narrow interests—patriotism, chauvinism, ethnic, religious, and racial hatreds—can in fact lead to mass destructiveness. The world simply cannot afford this many more times.
– Edward Said

Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature…understand them thoroughly.
– Salvador Dali

A single day is enough to make us a little larger…
– Paul Klee

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present , nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
– Romans 8:38 (JKV)

Most of us have developed intellectual capacities,
so-called intellectual capacities,
which are not really intellectual capacities at all;
we read so many books,
filled with what other people have said,
their many theories and ideas.
We think we are very intellectual
if we can quote innumerable books
by innumerable authors,
if we have read many different varieties of books,
and have the capacity to correlate and to explain.
But none of us, or very few, have original,
intellectual conception. Having cultivated
the intellect—so-called—every other capacity,
every other feeling, has been lost
and we have the problem of how to bring about a balance
in our lives so as to have not only the highest intellectual
capacity and be able to reason objectively,
to see things exactly as they are,
not to endlessly offer opinions about theories
and codes, but to think for ourselves,
to see for ourselves very closely the false and the true.
And this, it seems to me, is one of our difficulties:
the incapacity to see, not only outward things,
but also such inward life that one has,
if one has any at all.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

I may look like a beer salesman,
but I’m a poet.
– Theodore Roethke

by Eunice de Souza
This poem is for you.
It’s a reprieve.
It says
nothing in your little black heart
can frighten me,
I’ve looked too long
into my own.
Thank you for the gift
of your uncertainties.

If a man cannot remember the dream he sees, it means that his personal god is angry with him.
– Mesopotamian omen text 2nd millennium bce

I won’t quit to become someone’s old lady.
– Janis Joplin

There’s no problem so awful, that you can’t add some guilt to it and make it even worse.
– Erica Layne

I don’t work with plots.
I work with intuition, apprehension,
dreams, concepts.
– John Cheever

There are some things you learn best in calm,
and some in storm.
– Willa Cather

Chogyam Trungpa:
By being back to square one constantly,
we find lightheartedness in the ultimate sense.

Lama Tsultrim Allione:
Tara is generating, nurturing,
protective and transformative.
She has maternal wisdom
and an always-accessible quality.
People relate to her
as they do to the Madonna.

Learn how to see.
Realize that everything connects
to everything else.
– Leonardo da Vinci

With your supreme intelligence,
you realized the intention
Of the unsurpassable vehicle,
the tradition of Padmakara.
Guru of unequalled kindness,
I remember you from my heart.
I supplicate you—
bless me with your compassion.
I, Pema Trinley Palzang,
a performer of three activities,
From now on, will take control of my own discipline in thought and deed.
I make a firm commitment, as follows,
To avoid thoughtlessness and senselessness.

In physical conduct, I will not allow myself
to be rootless and hurried,
Incapable of being still,
carelessly following my every whim.
I will always hold my own space
And be adorned by the training
in pure discipline.

In speech, whether spiritual or secular,
I will choose meaningful words
And shun unconnected talk
of past events or boring discussions
concerning any of the three times.
I will always exert myself in dharmic recitations, proclamations, and readings.

In mind, I will not flutter back and forth
like a young bird on a branch.
Not getting absorbed
in discursive thoughts of good and bad,
I will meditate, cultivating forbearance
and relying on my own perceptions,
not those of others. I will reflect on how best
to benefit the teachings and beings.

In particular, the vital essence
of the thought of all victorious ones
Is the true nature—
the uncontrived, innate dharmakaya.
Without ever lapsing, I will sustain it with one taste in equipoise and post-meditation.

In sum, I will hold myself to the sublime, dharmic conduct of the three gates,
Not falling under the influence of others.
Arrogance, haughtiness,
or thoughts of self-aggrandizement—
whatever of these arises,
I will not let them move me in the slightest.
I will remain firm, dignified,
and fearless, like a mountain.

Until this collection of elements
has rotted away,
I will not waver from this way of being.
Of this way I will be a fearless warrior—
that will be my quality.
This is my vow, like an image carved in stone. May it be virtuous!
Gods and protectors,
work to help this come to pass!
May the virtuous signs of auspiciousness excellently blaze!

– The 16th Karmapa, Heart Advice of the Karmapa translated by Tyler Dewar

If we lack peace of mind, then what good does it do us to have youth, beauty, health, wealth, education, and worldly power?
– Tulku Thondup

Sometimes, I feel ready to burst from marble, to swim through stone to meet you and explode into the world together. To build something magnificent and imperfect and greater than the sum of its parts.
– Guante

Our age is one of guided missiles and unguided men.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Your suffering is never caused by the person you are blaming.
– Byron Katie

Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
– Margaret Atwood

Chrίsτίnα Sτrίgαs:
women supporting women is a damn beautiful thing.

Prescribing growth as the cure for the energy crisis has all the logic of prescribing increasing quantities of food as a remedy for obesity.
– Albert A. Bartlett

If what has happened in the one person were communicated directly to the other, all art would collapse, all the effects of art would disappear.
– Paul Valery

Poetry is our most sophisticated use of language, but it is also our most primitive. It has its source, deep under the layers of life, in the primordial self.
– Stanley Kunitz

The ego gets what it wants with words.
The soul finds what it needs in silence.
– Richard Rohr OFM

The Master stays behind;
that is why she is ahead.
She is detached from all things;
that is why she is one with them.
Because she has let go of herself,
she is perfectly fulfilled.
– Lao Tzu

Love does not want or fear anything.
– Eckhart Tolle

Everything began all over again immediately: arrival of manuscripts, requests, people’s stories, each person mercilessly pushing ahead his own little demand (for love, for gratitude): No sooner has she departed than the world deafens me with its continuance.
– Roland Barthes

Given that I did not play my part in harmony with others, how could I expect to change people?
– Zhuangzi

Most people don’t inhabit a living reality, but a conceptualized one.
– Eckhart Tolle

My way of expression is full of complications and mystery because that’s my perception of life.
– Abbas Kiarostami

Bruce Cockburn:
Sweet wind blowing off the bay
Sweeping the heat of the day away
Making the leaves of the palm trees sway
Down here tonight everything’s okay

How can a person have a sense of something if he does not have the germ of it within himself. What I am to understand must develop organically within me–and what I seem to learn is only nourishment–stimulation of the organism.’
– Novalis

Poems can’t help but be personal. Mine are certainly an accurate blueprint of the things I think about, if not a record of my daily life.
– Matthea Harvey

to be there for another even if it is only a few words, one letter once a month: the heart will know how to live.
– Paul Celan to Ingeborg Bachmann, tr. Wieland Hoban

cassidy hall:
Reminder: God is not a boy’s name.

Coming, going, the waterbirds, don’t leave a trace, don’t follow a path.
– Dōgen Zenji

Came down from my
ivory tower
And found no world

beware of me my love
beware of the silent one in the desert
of the traveller with the empty glass
and of the shadow of her shadow
– Alejandra Pizarnik

Everything is good when it is new— except friends.
– Persian Proverb

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin:
On a planet with enough for everyone an economy that requires the creation of scarcity is wrong and deciding you have enough is a radical action. Deciding you are enough even more so.

Last night I wept in a way I haven’t wept for some time. I wept until I aged myself. I watched it happen in the mirror. I watched the lines arrive around my eyes like engraved sunbursts; it was like watching flowers open in time-lapse on a windowsill.
– Maggie Nelson

Bree Newsome Bass:
Revolutions & mass uprisings can’t be micromanaged.

The reason I drink is to understand the yellow sky the great yellow sky, said Van Gogh. When he looked at the world he saw the nails that attach colours to things and he saw that the nails were in pain.
– Anne Carson

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin:
One thing I love about complex systems: no one controls them so surprises can happen, and new possibilities can emerge from millions of individual small efforts and actions

One thing I hate about complex systems: no one controls them, including me.

Politics distorts relationships –
Politics poisons Families –
Politics demeans Friendships –
Politics entombs Communities –
Politics feeds on Business –
Politics HATES Education –
Politics impoverishes Cities –
Politics corrupts States –
Politics corrupts Nations –
Politics consumes Nature –
Politics weaponizes Hope –
Politics breaks the Heart –
Politics nullifies Soul –
Politics supresses ART –
Politics hijacks Literature –
Politics witholds HEALTH –
Politics undermines FREEDOM –
Politics distracts Intelligence –
Politics subverts Democracy –
Politics corrupts the Republic –
Politics perverts the Law –
Politics destroys LOVE –
Politics is a LIARS GAME
– Elijah Morton

The odd American idea that giving money to political campaigns is free speech means that the very rich have far more free speech, and so in effect far more voting power, than other citizens.
– Timothy Snyder

To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.
– Timothy Snyder

wish to do nothing. Generic cynicism makes us feel hip and alternative even as we slip along with our fellow citizens into a morass of indifference. It is your ability to discern facts that makes you an individual, and our collective trust in common knowledge that makes us a society.
– Timothy Snyder

There is a need for fugitive study that goes beyond the limitations of calling out power, whether it be patriarchy, racism, anthropocentrism, sexism, or ableism. There is a need for an approach that understands the agonistic forces that impinge upon bodies, and which restores the self as a current within a larger force field of agency. We need an edge of departure that heeds an invitation to come down beneath the surface. To wade in the water.
– Bayo Akomolafe

All inquiry is meant for one purpose: to take you experientially into the Unknown as efficiently as possible. Once you get there, simply be still because the inquiry has delivered you to its destination. The rest is up to Grace. Do not hold onto any knowledge that comes your way. Even the greatest revelations must not be clung to, or you will end up with a head full of memories and a heart empty of substance. The truth is ever new, existing only in the now. The highest truth is beyond knowledge and experience. It is beyond time and space, and beyond beingness, consciousness, and oneness. Just remember that all direct path techniques are meant simply to undermine, to cut away, the one who is performing them. No matter what spiritual path you’ve walked or what teachings you’ve followed, they must lead you back to no path and no teaching. A true teaching is like a blazing fire that consumes itself. The teaching must not only consume you, but consume itself as well. All must be burned to ash, and then the ash must be burned. Then, and only then, is the Ultimate realized. True Enlightenment destroys enlightenment. As long as you can refer back to yourself and say, ‘I’m enlightened’, you’re not. Enlightenment is authentic only when there is no one left to be enlightened. Even to say ‘I am nobody’, is one too many. There’s a point when you intuitively realize that to be Free you have to give up your attachment to Freedom. You have to quit asking yourself: Is it still there? Am I okay? You have to decide to never look over your shoulder again to see if you’re free or if others know you’re free. You just have to let yourself burn there – no matter what. This isn’t something I can help you with. I can tell you what you need to do, but you have to do it. In the beginning, teachers can help a lot. But the deeper you go, all they can do is point, and clarify, and tell you what you need to do. Only you can take this step. Nobody can push you into this place.
– Adyashanti

What is it about the fundamentalist/dualistic mind that so fiercely adheres to the function of “sorting” one thing from another? One human over another? One ideology over another? One political party over another? One way of viewing notions of the eternal over another? I keep seeing and hearing that scene from The Help when Aibileen steps up into the face of Miss Hilly and asks, “Ain’t you tired, Miss Hilly? Ain’t you tired?”

Ain’t you tired of all the “sorting”?

I am.

– James Scott Smith

If we ourselves remain angry and then sing world peace,
it has little meaning. First, our individual self must learn peace.
This we can practice. Then we can teach the rest of the world.
– Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

What if
we remember the depth
of what it means to be human;
enter a portal
to stars
and earth’s core;
converse with trees and seas
imagine into sunbeams and streams
be dreamt into mountain and stag.

What if
we remember beauty,
our own and Others;
singing them by their own true names
and making a pilgrimage to remember our own;
a name given before birth,
remembered by the Others
such as soil and the milky way
in living image, symbol, metaphor, and myth;
a name not invited
by this current industrial extraction culture
where forests scream with the voices of animals burning
and whales swallow plastic as they feed;
swim off-course due to human created noise and greed
from the great forgetting and the great longing.

What if
we live singing our own true name
with all beings,

What if
we live from our unique place in the community of Allbeings,
singing our note with the cosmic symphony:
with iron atoms created from nebula collisions
-did you know there is one atom of iron in every human heart?-
with cyanobacteria creating the ozone over millions of years,
and painted lady butterflies pilgrimaging over generations;
each surrendering to Mystery’s love call, a different kind of Gravity.

What if
with that very note a heartcrack grief
opens us to The Holy
remembering love divine
in marrow married in our bones
in animate ozone offering breath
in sweet-scented wild mint meadows
in tears nourishing flower, hummingbird to nectar,
in moonblood to earth and water,
in sacred sage offerings.

What if
we remember praise, prayer
and celebration;
in so doing
makes all the difference
with Allbeings then, now and to come.


– Wendy Robertson Fyfe

Write constantly. It’s like playing a musical instrument. You won’t get there if you don’t practice. And the other piece of advice is don’t listen to me. Or anyone else. A writer has to find her or his own way…
– Mark Kurlansky

What is a meaningful life? It is to embrace a spiritual life for yourself, and to be of service to sentient beings.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

the principal preoccupation of religion is not god: it is death. the purpose of religion is not to deliver god to the people, or more generally, to bring god and the people together: the purpose of religion is to discredit the phenomenon of death. without this engagement with the denial of death our relationship with god would not require the invention of religions and the formulation of theologies. if not for the mystery of death we would relate to god simply as i-thou.
– hune margulies

Writers on Writing: Writers, particularly poets, always feel exiled in some way – people who don’t exactly feel at home, so they try to find a home in language.
– Natasha Tretheway

Mind precedes all mental states.
Mind is their chief;
they are all mind-wrought.
If with a pure mind a
person speaks or acts
happiness follows him
like his never-departing shadow.
– Dhammapada: Yamakavagga: Pairs (Dhp I), translated from the Pali by Acharya Buddharakkhita


Phenomena are
preceded by the heart,
ruled by the heart,
made of the heart.
If you speak or act
with a calm, bright heart,
then happiness follows you,
like a shadow
that never leaves.
– Dhammapada: Yamakavagga: Pairs” (Dhp I), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

I hold together what Christ has kept apart in himself and through his example in others, since the more the one half of my being strives toward the good, the more the other half journeys to Hell.
– Carl Jung

Hell is truth seen too late.
– Thomas Hobbes

Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion.
– Edward Abbey

We need to pay more attention to the inner values that are the key to our happiness.
– Dalai Lama XIV

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg:
In my experience, children are absolutely capable of understanding and making sense of complex topics, and we do them (and ourselves, often) a terrible disservice when we try to pretend that they aren’t.

Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.
– Henry David Thoreau

Just as our body needs nutritious food for health, the mind needs the food of wisdom and compassion. But if our body is fed poison it will become sick, so too will the mind if it is fed the poison of ignorance, anger, and desire.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

The definition of the not-good-enough mother
might be the simple failure to instill in the child
the capacity to love itself.
– Rachel Cusk

The most important tool the artist fashions
through constant practice is the faith in his ability
to produce miracles when they are needed.
Pictures must be miraculous;
the instant one is completed,
the intimacy between the creation and the creator
is ended. He is an outsider.
The picture must be for him,
as for anyone experiencing it later, a revelation,
an unexpected and unprecedented resolution
of an eternally familiar need.
– Mark Rothko

Cease attachment to
talking and thinking
and there is nothing you will not be able to know.
– Seng-ts’an

I think the main reason my marriages failed
is that I always loved too well but never wisely.
– Ava Gardner

The poet lights the light and fades away.
But the light goes on and on.
– Emily Dickinson

And who, my dear child, has taken the word
lovable out of your dictionary and mine,
and replaced it with perfect?
– Yiyun Li

Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche:

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.

Kindness is the best Medicine.
– Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche

Our capacity for insight
depends on the quality of our listening.

Rain of Prosperity

Among all the beliefs people may have about why some prosper and some don’t, the Indian master Padmasambhava taught that we can create prosperity. It starts in our minds, in our ability to imagine, combined with boundless kindness.

While singing the song, in a joyful and expansive frame of mind, we are to imagine that all realms and all worlds are covered with a gentle rain of precious gemstones, medicinal plants and delightful edibles. Everyone is satisfied. Every need is fulfilled. Most importantly, we image that everyone as well, everywhere, begin to share their resources with boundless kindness and wisdom.

You will notice the effect this song, the visualization and the mantra, when combined with your increasingly open mind, has on your life in several ways. The tight fist of stinginess loosens, generous kindness fills your mind more often, you are less prone to be dragged into frustration and regret. Most importantly, the growing sense of non-attachment makes it easier to simply be, at ease in whatever happens. You are welcome to sing along any time and, why not, let a little rain fall on your own front porch.

Granting every gift most eminent, giver of accomplishments,
Embodiments of the triple roots, wishfulfilling precious gems,
Guru Padma, master known as the Lotus-Born,
And all Dzambhala lords of the fourfold families,

Lords of wealth, and yakshas, the protectors of this world,
Millions of you, in a number that defies the reach of thought.
To you the whole assembly, deities of the mandala,
We bow in veneration, offer praise, and make this prayer:

Grant your inspiration, clear away all hindrances.
Please bestow accomplishments and increase prosperity.
While remaining present here, please fulfill activites.
In samsara and nirvana whatever is most excellent,

Goodness in our world, richness for all beings,
From the gods and humans, nagas and the yakshas too,
Foods and wealth and jewels, cloudbanks of all pleasing things,
Bright and steadfast horses, Animals for milk and wool,

Harvests of all grains and herbs, plants for every medicine,
Longer lifespans, perfect health, splendor and auspiciousness,
Family, Dharma lineage-holders, everything we may desire;
To sum up, in samsara and nirvana all exquisite, wonderful.

Without the slightest effort, bring it under our command.
Increase it like a swelling river, never-ending, limitless.
Let whatever we may wish for be fulfilled abundantly.
Let there be auspicious goodness, happiness for everyone!

– This sacred chant composed
by Padmasambhava was revealed
by Chokgyur Lingpa.
Dzambhala thangka designed
by Dzongsar Khyentse.
by Sascha Alexandra Aurora & Rodrigo Reijers.
Music by Tara Trinley Wangmo.
Translated from Tibetan
by Erik Pema Kunsang

Thus people can be light sources, without ever knowing, for years in the lives of others, while their own lives take different and hidden courses. Equally one can be…a monster, a cancer in the mind of someone one has half forgotten or even never met.
– Iris Murdoch, The Sea


We break free from the bonds of conditioned illusion when we no longer value them.
It really is ultimately that simple.
The moment you see the conditioned known and know that it is only sorrow and nothing else, and do not desire the cause of sorrow
(as most do), then there is nothing
to confine you.
Indeed, the only thing that ever confines us
in the endless cycle of sorrow is our allegiance to it. We can drop it all at once (because it is, after all, created entirely in our own minds)
but only when the unknown is our true and only desire without conditions or reservations.

Fighting one’s conditioned illusions
is like trying to remove the waves
in order to find the ocean.
Unreservedly commit to Truth,
and ask for nothing in return,
and the spell of conditioned illusion
will be broken.

I take my compliments
the same way I take my
coffee. I don’t drink coffee.
– Rudy Francisco

The photogenic energies of mythology are not just living in a mythic age, but are still present now, in the land; from the Earth’s geomantic layout, to the little things, like flowers, bugs and mushrooms. They all embody mythology and gave birth to this physical world. For example, on a mythological level, flowers have long been associated with the magic of fertility and the feminine, as symbolized in the flower’s vulva-like shape and its fruit-bearing ability. Flowers are seen as the peak expression of beauty, life and sensuality. As it turns out, this intuitive mythical understanding reflects a deeper reality we are only just coming to understand scientifically.

By Earth time, flowers evolved only recently (about 130 million years ago). But it was only through these flowering plants and their fruits, that early animals (our first mammalian ancestors) received enough special nutrients, hormones, bioflavonoids and other building blocks to make our relatively big brains. These nutrients were building blocks that were absent in non-flowering plants, but when available became the agents to evolve “higher” brain function. They evolved us. So when we look at a flower and think it is beautiful, and feel love for it, it is because it’s based on our ancient intimate relationship with them; we co-evolved with them. They gave birth to our consciousness, which enables us to wonder at their beauty! When we stare at flowers in wonder and awe, we’re looking at our creator and the source of our consciousness. This reflection is equally true of the stars or anything else in this world from which we can generate a feel of awe and wonder. We know in our bones that we have an ancient relationship with these beings that surround us in nature. And indeed, we are kin.

An ancient Vedic text tells us it was God Brahma, sitting on a Lotus, who dreamed the world into existence. As it turns out, this story is more factual than anyone could have imagined. It was recently discovered that the only known seed to be able to survive an ice age, hidden in the depths of ancient lake-beds, is the fore-mentioned Lotus, or White Water Lily, as we call it in North America. The Lotus seed can remain dormant and still grow after millennia. They have even found long extinct species, and grown them out! So, before the land has even emerged from the flooding that follows and ice age, just when the first rays of heat from the sun penetrate the waters and touch the lake bottom, the Lotus awakens. And makes its way up to emerge after thousands of years, as the first flowering being into the new world.
– Steven Martyn, Sacred Gardening: Seeds for the Reemergence of Co-Ceative Agriculture

In the practice of belonging, anger is essential. It shows us where our disagreements are with the status quo. It is the voice that needs to raise its volume because it feels unheard. It is up to us to listen to that voice, to dignify it first with our own attention. With enough practice, you will recognize your sacred disagreements sooner and not allow them to be swept under the rug, left to fester. Anger can become a sword of discernment, which doesn’t lash out to hurt another but is uncompromising in its defence of boundaries, teaching others to respect you as you respect yourself.
– Toko-pa Turner, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home

Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education; dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add that one must also be able to dance with the pen?
– Nietzsche

People love to talk but hate to listen. Listening is not merely not talking, though even that is beyond most of our powers; it means taking a vigorous, human interest in what is being told us. You can listen like a blank wall or like a splendid auditorium where every sound comes back fuller and richer.
– Alice Duer Miller

This post is a call to resist psychology’s flight to the light and to return it to its earlier occupation where psyche meant soul and the soul meant moving up AND going down into our depths.

It is a call to reawaken us to a psychology that honors Freud’s dictum – that dreams were the royal road and Jung’s further unfolding of the healing power of our dreaming world.

It is a call for a psychology that embraces its responsibility to study, teach about, and intervene on a culture that is barely waking up about the physical and psychic violence caused by social injustice.

It’s a call for a psychology that looks at the shadow side of our current issues, from addictions to depression, from abuse to trauma.

I write here today for those who don’t want quick fixes to their problems, but for those who want to learn to love themselves and their lives given their limited control and the sometimes slow pace of change.

I write her today for those who yearn for a love of humanity.

I write here today because shame has found its way into our ideas of healing, leading far too many to believe that something is wrong with them for behaving, feeling, seeing, hearing, or experiencing the world in ways as diverse and unique as human beings actually are.

– David Bedrick

Zen has been called the “religion before religion,” which is to say that anyone can practice, including those committed to another faith.

And that phrase evokes that natural religion of our early childhood, when heaven and a splendorous earth were one. But soon the child’s clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions and abstractions. Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. The sun glints through the pines, and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. After that day, at the bottom of each breath, there is a hollow place filled with longing.

We become seekers without knowing that we seek, and at first, we long for something “greater” than ourselves, something apart and far away. It is not a return to childhood, for childhood is not a truly enlightened state. Yet to seek one’s own true nature is “a way to lead you to your long lost home.” To practice Zen means to realize one’s existence moment after moment, rather than letting life unravel in regret of the past and daydreaming of the future. To “rest in the present” is a state of magical simplicity…out of the emptiness can come a true insight into our natural harmony all creation.

To travel this path, one need not be a ‘Zen Buddhist’, which is only another idea to be discarded like ‘enlightenment,’ and like ‘the Buddha’ and like ‘God.

– Peter Matthiessen

Song to Gabriel Hirsch
We first met in your home. Outside,
summer fire. Inside, Texas
summer ice, I was wiped out
by travel and illness, lying on a couch,
which made me a good height for you to talk to.
That I had a son with the same name
as you, struck you with wonder—me, too—
one name, one label, two beings. We said,
to each other, I think, whatever came into
our minds—put there by what the other
had just said—as if we threw,
one by one, taking turns, those
intensely dried paper flowers
of my childhood, into a glass of water,
and watched them uncurl, fast, uneven,
and bright—and tossed another. We were in
the present moment, so intensely in it
everything outside it took a step back,
out of the light, then another step back.
And that was where we met, next,
years later, in that light, you were so
intent, alert, alive, as if
in the grip of a fierce brightness, and moving
around in it, quick in its grip. I wish I had
been there, last week, to hear your best friend,
who had met you eye to eye—in what,
in your childhood, was the future—talk of how
extraordinary you were, my almost
unknown dear, your mother’s and father’s
dearest. You were wearing a cape, that first day,
a cloak of many colors, a cloud,
your hand on the shoulder of the wild creature of your life.
– Sharon Olds

The way our bodies are made, think about the intricacies, the way bone is surrounded by ligament, tendon, tissue, skin, the way blood flows, and air enters pathways to oxygenate our bodies, to give us breath, Nafas, the way the brain works, is formed—the way our eyes are set, and made, the way even adrenal glands refurbish our bodies, while we sleep, with what it takes to make us resilient, alive, awake, the way our feet are formed, metatarsals, calcaneus, cuboid, navicular; the way the bottom of my tibia, and its uppermost part, bends and curves forward, to fit, something like a golf ball, into the waiting bone above it, the way corpuscles and veins are mapped throughout the body, the cartography of blood and paths, tiny rivers that blood makes, routing its way through us, keeping us—-alive.

We are fearfully, and wonderfully, made.


The golden way is to be friends with the world and to regard the whole human family as one.
– Mahatma Gandhi

The pure nature of mind
– emptiness, lucidity
and intelligence without limit
– has always been inside us.

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

I have done nothing all summer but wait to be myself again.
– Georgia O’Keefe

I don’t believe in respecting everybody’s opinion. I don’t respect anybody’s opinion who thinks that I’m supposed to be kicked around and segregated. I don’t respect their opinion. But I respect them as a personality, a sacred personality with the image of God within them.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

Democracy is the name that has been assigned to a dream as well as to certain already existing realities that are lived, by many people, as a nightmare.
– Fred Moten

A creative writer must study carefully the works of his rivals, including the Almighty.
– Vladimir Nabokov

The work in process becomes the poet’s fate and determines his psychic development. It is not Goethe who creates Faust, but Faust which creates Goethe.
– Carl Gustav Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul

I will tell you, my daughter
of your worth
not your beauty
(Your beauty is given.
Every being is born beautiful)
Knowing your worth
can save your life.
Raising you on beauty alone,
you will be starved.
You will be raw.
You will be weak.
Always in need of someone telling
you how beautiful you are.
– Emotional Nutrition, Nayyirah Waheed

Newton was not the first of the age of reason. He was the last of the magicians…
– John Maynard Keynes

Become higher that all heights and lower than all depths. Sense as one within yourself the entire creation: fire, water, the dry and the moist. Conceive yourself to be in all places at the same time: in earth, in the sea, in heaven, that you are not yet born, that you are within the womb, that you are young, old, dead; that you are beyond death. Conceive all things at once: times , places, actions, qualities and quantities; then you can understand God.

21. But if you lock up your soul in your body, abase it and say: ‘i understand nothing; I can do nothing; I am afraid of the sea; I cannot reach heaven; I do not know who I was nor who I shall be.’
. . .
To be able to know and to will and to hope is the straight and easy way appropriate to each that will lead to the Supreme Good. When you take that road this Good will meet you everywhere and will be experienced everywhere, even where and when you do not expect it; when awake, asleep, in a ship, on the road, by night, by day, when speaking and when silent, for there is nothing which it is not.

22. Now do you say that God is invisible? Be careful. Who is more manifest than He? He has made all things for this reason: that through them you should see Him. This is the goodness (to agathon) of God; this is his excellence: that He is made manifest through all. Though you cannot see what is bodiless, Nous is seen in the act of contemplation. God in the act of creation. These things have been made clear to you Hermes thus far. Reflect on all other things in the same way within yourself and you will not be led astray.

– The Corpus Hermeticum

The foul and rotten come to be transformed
into what is rare and valuable.
The rare and valuable
into what is foul and rotten.
– Zhuangzi

Encourage your students to go to other teachers.

You should rejoice that they are encountering
the Dharma, teachers, teaching.
You should rejoice that someone
is doing your job for you. Some teachers
are so insecure about losing their students
that they create rules like
“if you receive this teaching,
you can not go to other teachers.”
This is clearly an omen of degenerated times,
worse than if women started giving birth
to babies with six legs.

If you have all the qualities and abilities
of a perfect teacher, there will be no issue.
But even the sixth-and seventh-century
tantric texts proclaim that the times
are degenerating and it is not possible
for a perfect guru to emerge.
If it was bad then,
what are the chances now,
several hundred years later,
that a perfect guru will emerge?
But those texts also say
that if you encounter someone
during degenerated times
who has even just one or two of these qualities,
especially respect for the law of karma
and trust in the triple gems
you should venerate that person
as the Buddha.

Devotion is the Dharma
Devotion is the sangha
Devotion is mother
Devotion is father
Devotion is master
Devotion is purifying
Devotion is merit
Devotion is the path
Devotion is the fruit
Devotion is the boat
Devotion is the other shore
Devotion is a wish-fulfilling jewel
Devotion is a spell
Devotion is blind
Devotion is awake
Devotion is direction
Devotion is the means
And devotion is the end

– Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, The Guru Drinks Bourbon?

Loving oneself requires kindness and tenderness towards oneself.

But, ultimately, the longer term project requires that you are also able to see your own beauty, intelligence, spirit, gifts, and life path.

These are what allow us to nurture the great human project – that of becoming our true selves.
– David Bedrick

Crush the eggshell of the mind and unfold your wings in the open sky. Destroy the hut of duality and inhabit the expansive mansion of pure awareness. There are no other enemies or obstacles to overcome and vanquish. Ignorance – dualistic thinking – is the great demon obstructing your path. Slay it right now and be free!
– Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

No one knows the day or hour.
Mat 24:36

The long prophecied
Apocalypse, a fiery
flood of silence
inundating the mind,
sweeping away the city
of thoughts, drowning
the past and future:
only then may there be
a new earth,
a new creation.
This could happen
so gently, right now,
in this breath.
– Fred LaMotte

She had known happiness, exquisite happiness,
and it silvered the rough waves a little more brightly,
as daylight faded, and the blue went out of the sea
and it rolled in waves of pure lemon which curved and swelled and broke upon the beach
and the ecstasy burst in her eyes
and waves of pure delight raced over the floor
of her mind and she felt, It is enough! It is enough!
– Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

I swapped a story for a canoe at one point.
– Annie Proulx

I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.
– Georgia O’Keeffe

There isn’t always an explanation for everything.
– Ernest Hemingway

If America could be, once again, a nation of self-reliant farmers, craftsmen, hunters, ranchers, and artists, then the rich would have little power to dominate others. Neither to serve nor to rule: that was the American dream.
– Edward Abbey

You forget that your life is a short window, that you are stuck in the present, forget how your life is still here, waiting for you, wondering where you are, going on without you. You forget that people know who you are, think about you, might even be happy to see you.
– Charles Yu, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

At three AM you have the gift of incomprehension
wherein the galaxies make more sense
than your job or the government. Jesus at the well
with Mary Magdalene is much more vivid
than your car. You can clearly see the bear
climb to heaven on a golden rope in the children’s
story no one ever wrote. Your childhood horse
named June still stomps the ground for an apple.
What is morning and what if it doesn’t arrive?
– Jim Harrison

There is always a sacrifice to be made on the way to belonging. Whether it is breaking with friends, family, security, or convention, something of real value that you’ve depended on must be relinquished. This is a ruthless phase of elimination—it strips you of everything that is not alive and growing so that you can find your true way of going in the world.

The word ‘sacrifice’ is not really about self-denial, as we’ve been taught, but comes from the root ‘to make sacred.’ In order to make an honest encounter with the unknown, something of great value must be given up, lest we cling to an old version of ourselves. And in making that sacrifice, there is a transfer of a power. In naming and releasing it, we own that which used to own us. The energy locked up in our conformity is liberated for our benefit and conscious use.
– Toko-pa Turner

9 Sufi Aphorisms:
People praise you for what they suppose is in you; but you must blame your soul for what you know is in it.
Hope goes hand in hand with deeds;
otherwise, it is just wishful thinking.
Sometimes you will find more benefit in states of need than you find in fasting or ritual prayer.
How can the laws of nature be ruptured for you
so that miracles result,
while you, for your part,
have yet to rupture your bad habits?
Bury your existence in the earth of obscurity,
for whatever sprouts forth,
without having first been buried,
flowers imperfectly.
Your postponement of deeds till the time when you are free
is one of the frivolities of the ego.
The source
of every disobedience, indifference, and passion
is self-satisfaction.
The source
of every obedience, vigilance, and virtue
is dissatisfaction with one’s self.
No deed arising from a renouncing heart is small,
and no deed arising from an avaricious heart is fruitful.
How can the heart be illumined
while the forms of creatures are reflected in its mirror?
Or how can it journey to God
while shackled by its passions?
Or how can it desire to enter the Presence of God
while it has not yet purified itself
of the stain of forgetfulness?
Or how can it understand the subtle points of mysteries
while it has not yet repented of its offences?
– Ibn Ata Allah (1250-1309)

Hardly anyone about whom I deeply care at all resembles anyone else I have ever met, or heard of, or read about in literature.
– Renata Adler

… what matters is the work: the string of words propelled by God becoming a poem, the weave of colour and graphite scrawled upon a sheet that magnifies His motion. To achieve within the work a perfect balance of faith and execution. From this state of mind becomes a light, life-charged.

I still believe doing what’s right matters.
– Alexander Vindman

Treat yourself like I-95. Never stop working on yourself no matter how inconvenient.
– Mel Robbins

We knew our mountains—were holy—and high

and happening. Regal rocks that stood
against a slant—of a mountain wall

– Marian Haddad, Wildflower. Stone.

What is a country?

the mystery of silences;

comfort of home—

– Marian Haddad, Wildflower. Stone.

Must one be born
under a good star
in order to fly like that

sometimes I wonder
about the difference between
this man’s attempts

and that man’s art
one seems to work out of a wanting
to be known; the other seems

eager—simply, to know.
That must be—the difference
between betweens; the desire

to create what stays,
what speaks—turn this yearning
to create self or fame

on its ear; the way to immortality
is the nearest way out
Write because you want

to know, “What makes this so?”
Stroke your brush against the wide
canvas of a lake—of unknowing,

the need to see
what comes—the secrets
are there—do what you have to,

to make a song, out of this learning
to distill truth, find ways to say
“This”—or to sing it; sometimes,

be the explorer who needs
to know, and then, so go—about
finding; this is how we speak

Sometimes, we are a pipeline
a route used—to deliver
the gentle truth, the hard;

whatever lies there, we are
our own quiet muse
at our own heightened listening;

form—a life out of this wanting
to know—”They” will find you
if you seek not to be

found; keep your eye
out of the mirror; erase
the self. Ego tells you

YOU, erase it. Be the seeker
of the youless—anyway
we are—in everything.
– Marian Haddad

The world is in serious condition
largely due to our conditioning
to be serious. Seriously.
– Steve Bhaerman

The library will endure; it is the universe. As for us, everything has not been written; we are not turning into phantoms. We walk the corridors, searching the shelves and rearranging them, looking for lines of meaning.
– Borges

All I know is that prayer constructs a velvet bridge.
– Czeslaw Milosz

By degrees, little by little, from moment to moment a wise man removes his own impurities (moral defilements), as a smith removes the dross of silver or gold.
– The Dhammapada

According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.
– Plato

In the Rosicrucian sense,
Christianity is at once the highest development of individual freedom and universal religion. There is a community of free souls.
The tyranny of dogma is replaced
by the radiance of divine Wisdom,
embracing intelligence, love and action.
The science which arises from this cannot be measured by its power of abstract reasoning but by its power to bring souls to flower
and fruition. That is the difference between ‘Logia’ and ‘Sophia,’ between science
and divine Wisdom, between Theology
and Theosophy. In this sense,
Christ is the center of esoteric evolution
of the West.
– Rudolph Steiner, An Esoteric Cosmology

He had, in odd ways, given it to every moment
of his life, and had perhaps given it most fully
when he was unaware of his giving.
It was a passion neither of the mind
nor of the flesh ; rather, it was a force
that comprehended them both,
as if they were but the matter of love,
its specific substance.
To a woman or to a poem, it said simply:
Look ! I am alive.
– John Williams, Stoner

The tragedy is not that things are broken.
The tragedy is that things are not mended again.
– Alan Paton, Cry, The Beloved Country

Do not pretend – be. Do not promise – act. Do not dream – realize.
– Mira alfassa

If you try to hide something from the Divine you are sure to fall on your nose, plouff! like that.
– Mira alfassa

Take Truth for you force; take Truth for your refuge.
– Mira alfassa

Sooner or later in life everyone discovers
that perfect happiness is unrealizable,
but there are few who pause to consider the antithesis: that perfect unhappiness is equally unattainable. The obstacles preventing the realization of both these extreme states are of the same nature: they derive from our human condition which is opposed to everything infinite.
– Primo Levi

Tirelessly the process of thinking makes new beginnings, returning in a roundabout way to its original object. This continual pausing for breath is the mode most proper to the process of contemplation.
– Walter Benjamin

How much of this truth can I bear to see
and still live unblinded?
How much of this pain can I use?
– Audre Lorde

Ahavah means “love” in Hebrew. The Jewish mystics remark on the affinity between the word ahavah, “love,” and “echad,” one. The numerical value of their letters is the same: 13. Oneness, unity, is the aspiration of love, and love emerges from a perception of unity.
– Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Yes, there is a conspiracy.


– To our Earth,
– To black and brown bodies,
– To Indigenous peoples,
– To women and girls,
– To the poor,
– To veterans of war,
– To the psyches of the oppressors,
– To our shamed bodies,
– To the children’s children of the raped, abused,
– To those dying of Covid in prison and on reservations,
– To the women, children and men in nuclear families,
– To those deceived and injured by medical systems,
– To the gay, the lesbian, the queer, the trans, the non-binary,
– To our democracy.

We need not hunt for conspiracies, we have been living in that sea our whole lives.
– David Bedrick

America is possibly the most primitive society on earth, not just on the planet, but throughout time. You see, just because I got an Apple watch on the wrist, does not mean I am advanced, when nearly all the rivers in my land are undrinkable, when my children are raised in homes made of carcinogenic materials, when the efficiency of my energy grid is less than 50%, when the vast majority of my society suffers from moderate to severe mental illness, and when the souls of my people are starving for any semblance of self-love.

Conversely, newer does not always mean better, and older does not always mean undesirable, contrary to what the tech industry would have us believe. Many ancient societies were further ahead of America, both in terms of social functionality and, yes, in terms of science and technology.

For instance, this culture depends on monocrop agriculture, while clear cutting forests carefully crafted by indigenous cultures for thousands of years – indicating a severe lack of understanding of genetics and of biodiversity as the foundation of thriving life. Indigenous food scientists of the Andes have successfully and famously generated over 200 potato varieties that thrive in all types of climate patterns and weather systems. Their observation of the stars, the vegetation, the weather patterns, make them some of the most advanced and effective agriculturalists in the planet. Oh, but that’s not possible, right? Because they are just stupid Indians right? So stupid that it doesn’t really matter if we obliterate them and erase their libraries of knowledge that prove us to be primitive in comparison?

Meanwhile America chugs along on its tractor as if it knows a damn thing. The dust bowl was a direct result of over-confident settlers destroying a soil system that was cultivated by Indigenous peoples for thousands of years through meticulous low-intensity patch burning, habitat creation for buffalo and a host of ecological practices. These would be hard to fully understand since most of these practices have been abolished and/or destroyed by this same over-confident settler society.

Euro-centricism, my dear brother, you have a severe case of narcissistic personality disorder, where your greatest fear is that anything could be greater than you, and anything that clearly is, is a threat to be destroyed. Meanwhile, tragically, you tear down everything around you just for a chance to cling onto your self-serving illusion that you know a damn thing, which shields you from the sad truth that you are really quite lost and in need of an intervention. Please turn in your weapons, admit defeat, or suffer the same fate as all clinically narcissistic peoples: they do not stop until everything around them is destroyed. Either admit your insecurities now, in a circle of forgiveness, compassion and rehabilitation, or admit them later after you’ve taken everything down with you.

I am overjoyed and excited to stand with my brothers and sisters world-wide as we reject your insistence that euro-centric, English speaking paradigms are the most beautiful, the most smart, the most cool, the most happy and the most privileged. I am overjoyed and excited to stand with my brothers and sisters world-wide as we generates spaces and platforms for other ways of knowing. Where we take over the universities from your crumbling hands and re-teach the children the beauty of equality, the beauty of diversity, the beauty of Creator, the beauty and sanctity of creation. She is not an object. She is a relative to be held and loved with the utmost compassion, for she is precious. You have forgotten this, and we are here to remind you with fierce and unwavering love for the sake of all life.
– Lyla June

Let tenderness pour from your eyes, the way sun gazes warmly on earth.
– Hafiz

I am a museum full of art
but you had your eyes shut
– Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey

Sometimes true learning surprises you when it emerges.
– Chungliang Al Huang

The unseen presence that supports you, the love that unfolds you in prayer, is God.
– David Frenette

No dimensions are closed to the ones in service of the Universal Law.
– AainaA-Ridtz

Rabbi Lawrence Kushner:
The letters of the name of G-d in Hebrew
are yod, hay, vav and hay.
They are frequently mispronounced as
?Yahveh? But in truth they are unutterable.
Not because of the holiness they evoke,
but because they are all vowels
and you cannot pronounce all the vowels
at once without risking respiratory injury.
This word is the sound of breathing.
The holiest Name in the world,
the Name of the Creator,
is the sound of your own breathing.

Few things are more romanticized than public, national wars, except by those who suffer from them. At the same time, we rail against violence in the streets, the violence of our young people, and the violence on the news every night. We are slowly learning that we cannot have it both ways.
– Richard Rohr

The secret of the enjoyment of pleasure is to know when to stop.
– Alan Watts

I do not think I have said enough about the splintered disorder of June, July & August.
– Virginia Woolf

When in doubt, simply be still. Breathe, inwardly listen. Being still and quiet is the ultimate spiritual practice. Keep it this simple and you will see the results for yourself. But you must actually do it, not just think about it. Stop, breath, and inwardly listen to the listening. Repeat this many times every day.
– Adyashanti

Very rarely do you hear anyone say they write things down and feel worse. It’s an act that helps you, preserves you, energizes you, in the very doing of it.
– Naomi Shihab Nye

Learn to tame your mind,
And never spoil the mind of others.
– Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche

Hope is invented every day.
– James Baldwin

I pass pines and oaks ten men
Could not reach around. I cross
Flooded streams. My bare feet stumble
On the cobbles. The water roars.

My clothes whip in the wind. This
Is the only life where a person
Can find happiness. Why do I
Spend my days bridled like a horse
With a cruel bit in my mouth?
If I only had a few friends
Who agreed with me we’d retire
To the mountains and stay till our lives end.
– Han Yu

I don’t know what else to do, so I write. It’s my way of seeing the world.
– Jim Harrison

I live not in dreams but in contemplation of a reality that is perhaps the future.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

It’s not a business with me.
I’m not a professional of poetry,
I’m a farmer of poetry.
– Jack Gilbert

Wanting to be that place where inner
and outer meet, this morning
I’m listening to the river inside,
also to the river out the window,
river of sun and branch shadow, muskrat and mallard, heron,
and the rattled cry
of the kingfisher. Out there is a tree whose roots the river
has washed so often the tree stretches beyond itself, its
spirit like mine, leaning out over the water, held only
by the poised astonishment
of being here. This morning, listening
to the river inside, I’m sinking into a stillness
where what can’t be said stirs beneath
currents of image and memory, below strata
of muons and quarks, now rushes, now hushes
and pools, now casts a net of bright light
so loosely woven there’s a constellation 
float on the surface of the river, so still
I can almost hear it weave in and out –
interstellar, intercellular – and isn’t it
truly all one, one world, no in or out, no here
or there, seamless, as a lily about to open
from just here into everywhere, is. Just is.
Restful lily. Lucky lily. To bloom must feel
like a river’s brightening at daybreak,
or a slow kiss, a throb in the elapse of time,
a shudder of heron shadow flying over
shallows that are merely the apparent
skim of a depth whose bottomless surface
seeps everywhere, bloom and retraction,
 an anchored flow
that upholds city
and cathedral, bridge and gate,
Orion, odd toad in the Amazon, blue dragonfly,
what it is to love . . . Spoil a river, you spoil all this.
– Margaret Gibson

The poets leave hell and again behold the stars.
– Dante Alighieri, Inferno

planetize the movement.
– martin luther king jr. (1967)

One has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to embrace the world like a lover, and yet demand no easy return on love. One has to accept pain as a condition of existence. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. One needs a will stubborn in conflict, yet open always to the total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying.
– Morris West, from his novel, Shoes of the Fisherman

Do not gaze at your opponents weapon, it will terrify you. Do not gaze into his eyes – they will mesmerize you. Instead, create your own magic circle and you can sit anywhere.
– Morihei Ueshiba

I don’t believe in God, but I miss Him.
– Julian Barnes

See the whole thing
is a world full of rucksack wanderers,
Dharma Bums refusing to subscribe
to the general demand that they consume production and therefore have to work
for the privilege of consuming,
all that crap they didn’t really want anyway such as refrigerators, TV sets, cars,
and general junk you finally always see
a week later in the garbage anyway,
all of them imprisoned in a system of work, produce, consume, work, produce, consume,
I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of ’em Zen Lunatics who go about writing poems
that happen to appear in their heads
for no reason and also by being kind
and also by strange unexpected acts
keep giving visions of eternal freedom
to everybody and to all living creatures.
– Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

One can be the master of what one does,
but never of what one feels.
– Gustave Flaubert

Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it and by the same token save it…
– Hannah Arendt

The impulse towards enlightenment
is a kind of upheaval, not just a quaint realization. It’s pushed forward by something that you don’t understand and you don’t know why…

The enlightenment impulse can sometimes
be like a stranger that knocks on the door
and seems pleasant, so you let them in
the living room.

Then it accuses you of being completely asleep at the wheel and the most destructive force
in the universe. It then starts turning over furniture…

Wisdom is what comes in and reminds you that you don’t actually know anything.
– Adyashanti, The Enlightenment Impulse

To know how to free oneself is nothing; the arduous thing is to know what to do with one’s freedom.
– André Gide

Wake up, Spaniards!
Before the Romans,
before the Greeks,
before the Phoenicians:
The Goddess in the Mountain…
– Julian Cope, Ecstatic spoken word (5 march, 2006, Teatro Lope de Vega, Sevilla)

An artist is a sort of emotional or spiritual historian. His role is to make you realize the doom and glory of knowing who you are and what you are.
– James Baldwin

Weep out the life you had imagined.
Turn towards the life that is here.
Make the present moment your home and sanctuary.
This is the secret of all healing.
– Jeff Foster

Everything in nature is lyrical in its ideal essence, tragic in its fate, and comic in its existence.
– George Santayana

Indeed, the world is not unlike a vast, shapeless Rorschach blot which we read according to our inner disposition, in such a way that our interpretations say far more about ourselves than about the blot.
– Alan Watts

We have a choice. We can spend our whole life suffering because we can’t relax with how things really are, or we can relax and embrace the open-endedness of the human situation, which is fresh, unfixated, and unbiased.
– Pema Chödron

If a thing loves, it is infinite.
– William Blake

Forgive me if what has seemed little to you, to me is all.
– Jose Saramago

A good poem is a contribution to reality.
The world is never the same once a good poem
has been added to it. A good poem helps
to change the shape of the universe,
helps to extend everyone’s knowledge of himself
and the world around him.
– Dylan Thomas

Having a conscience now is a grief-soaked proposition
– Stephen Jenkinson

A Woman Is Not a Potted Plant
by Alice Walker

A woman is not a potted plant
her roots bound
to the confines
of her house

a woman is not
a potted plant
her leaves trimmed
to the contours
of her sex

a woman is not
a potted plant
her branches
against the fences
of her race
her country
her mother
her man
her trained blossom
turning this way
to follow
the sun
of whoever feeds
and waters

a woman
is wilderness
holding the future
between each breath
walking the earth
only because
she is free
and not creeper vine
or tree

Nor even honeysuckle
or bee.

As Whitehead says, “The creativity of the world is the throbbing emotion of the past hurling itself into a new transcendent fact.” One’s personal sense of both time and energy emerge from the core flows of feeling in each self-moving process of experience. Flowers bloom in their own felt time, as birds fly in theirs. Thus Laurence Gonzales notes that, “Emotion is the source of both success and failure at selecting correct action at the crucial moment,” since we use our feelings to shape different “times” as self-made compositions.

Thus time is not only a container but a presenter. Every life is presenting its own “movies” of being (along with observing how others are presenting themselves), so that even the most boring moments are proceeding along through morphing processes of perception, action, and cognition, as well as the feeling-tones that weave them. And since these self-presentations of biosentient experience are organized in terms of psychological processes of intention, expectation, interpretation, evaluation, memory, and one’s ever-changing sense of relevance, any well-felt process is not reducible to either the sum of its parts or to one’s current understanding of it as a whole. The meaningful continuities of experience involve more than what’s consciously pointed to. But whether you’re liking something, wanting something, indifferent, hating it, or understanding it in a new way, each experience is shaped by one’s own time-bindings and time-dancings.

When Alfred Korzybski first talked about “time-binding,” he restricted the idea in ways that didn’t emphasize how essential this is to numerous different processes of experiential fulfillment. So much more than education and human record-keeping depend on what I call time-binding. When you realize how important a new understanding is or how deeply you love someone, time-binding also occurs. Every organism is time-binding when it sentiently holds onto something of value – whether in terms of knowledge, identity or physical possessions – even when only for itself. When someone plans some purposeful processes, those time-bindings are how one shapes that developmental operation. And what I’ve been calling “time-dancing” is when the living cooperatively shape their time-bindings together.

As the coordination of numerous thoughts, feelings, actions and perceptions into functional sequences of skilled experience – as when a chef cooks a great meal or a pair of lovers merge – time-binding interweaves felt cognitions and sense-actions as temporal flows coordinating minds with bodies and environments. We string feelings together through time-bindings and -dancings that organize identities, communities and continuities, as we also divide feelings along the resistant surfaces of formalized bodies and minds so that diversity, challenge and birth/death disjunctions can punctuate experience. So time-as-experience is not just a simple process of causative change. Not to say that time doesn’t exist outside of biological experience, just that everyone shapes their own experience of time.
– George Gorman

I love those who yearn for the impossible.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


When nothing is expected personally exalting anymore,
but there is a throbbing and it is closer to me than myself,
fiercely existing, blindly asserting,
like a pulse that strikes darkness,

when you look at the dizzying
clear eyes of death,
the truths are told:
the brutal, terrible, loving cruelties.

The poems are said
that widen the lungs of all those, suffocated,
they ask to be, they ask for rhythm,
they ask for law for what they feel excessive.

With the speed of instinct,
with the ray of wonder,
as magical evidence, the real becomes us
identical to itself.

Poetry for the poor, necessary poetry
like daily bread,
like the air we demand thirteen times a minute
to be and, while we are, to give a yes that glorifies.

Because we live hit by blows, because hardly if they leave us
say that we are who we are,
Our songs miss the mark when they are just an ornament.
We are hitting the bottom.

I curse poetry conceived as a cultural
luxury by the lukewarm
that, in washing their hands, they give up and evade.
I curse the poetry of those who do not take sides
until they get dirty by the split.
I make mistakes my own. I feel in me how many suffer
and sing breathing
I sing, and I sing, and singing beyond my personal sorrows,
I broaden.

I would like to give you life, to provoke new acts,
and therefore I calculate with craft, as best I can.

Such is my poetry: poetry-tool
as well as the heartbeat of the unanimous and blind.
Such is it, loaded weapon of expansive future
with which I aim at your chest.

It is not a thought drop by drop poetry.
It’s not a beautiful product. It is not a perfect fruit.
It’s kind of like the air we all breathe
and it is the song that makes room for how much we carry inside.

These are words that we all repeat feeling
like ours, and they fly. They are more than words.
They are the most necessary thing: ​​The nameless.
They are screams in the sky, and on earth, they are deeds.
– Gabriel Celaya, Translation JL Soler

I am not able, and do not want, completely to abandon the world view that I acquired in childhood. So long as I remain alive and well I shall continue to feel strongly about prose style, to love the surface of the earth, and to take a pleasure in solid objects and scraps of useless information.
– George Orwell, Why I Write

As soon as we submit / to a system based on causality, linear time / we submit, again, to the old values, plunge again / into slavery. Be strong. We have the right to make / the universe we dream.
– Diane di Prima

What a loss to the world when she left us.
Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge. Whether it is obscuring state language or the faux-language of mindless media; whether it is the proud but calcified language of the academy or the commodity driven language of science; whether it is the malign language of law-without-ethics, or language designed for the estrangement of minorities, hiding its racist plunder in its literary cheek — it must be rejected, altered and exposed. It is the language that drinks blood, laps vulnerabilities, tucks its fascist boots under crinolines of respectability and patriotism as it moves relentlessly toward the bottom line and the bottomed-out mind. Sexist language, racist language, theistic language — all are typical of the policing languages of mastery, and cannot, do not permit new knowledge or encourage the mutual exchange of ideas.
– Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize Lecture (1993)

Think back over your own lives for the last year or two and realize that there have been times when you, yourselves, have been in an incredible chaos of consciousness. You have been in the chaos of decisions about who you are, where you want to live, who you want to mate with, whether you want to stay mated or not, whether you want to have a child or not, whether you want to continue to be a parent, and many other things.

Reach your minds out into your communities and feel how the foundation that people have based their lives on is slowly slipping away to rubble. The global grasp of reality is going, going, gone. The foundation is sliding away, and there are those who cannot see the slide at this time. The most significant reason for this slide is that there is new information accessible that makes the old information archaic and decrepit, and you are responsible for this. [Let’s say that again: The most significant reason for this slide is that there is new information accessible that makes the old information archaic and decrepit, and you are responsible for this.] So you are responsible to a certain extent for evolving yourselves through this and for being your own forms of inspiration – for being living examples for others.

You take a very active role. There are many who say, ‘oh, no, here comes the light!’ because light is known to alter every vibrational frequency that it encounters. Light carries information, and information expands systems so that old systems can no longer exist. So, as light moves to destroy, it also births new systems by what it leaves behind. A new order is formed.

Some of you find it difficult to think of yourselves as destroyers because you have a belief system about destruction. It is a paradigm, and if you get stuck in that vibration and do not smash those ideas, you’ll become very confined and restricted in experiencing reality. Yes, you are definitely destroyers. You destroy systems where the dark team and ignorance prevail. Light goes in to destroy all systems, and the experience of destruction is relative to how strong and with what fervor consciousness clings to what is being destroyed.

Who’s going to bail you out when the going gets rough? Where is the rescue team? You are it. In order to have this transformation take place, you must use what you have to bring it about. There is incredible assistance from all kinds of realms; however, it all depends on you, not us. You’re going to change the frequency simply by commitment, determination, and willpower.”

– Pat McCabe, Marciniak, 1992

Ever since
the dawn of time
mushrooms have lived
in the shadows of the world

But since the dawn
of the modern age
the world has lived
in the shadow of a mushroom
– Fa Hsing Jeff Miles

It is a mistake, I believe, to confuse the words “political” and “partisan.” Everything we do collectively is “political” in that there is a power dynamic at play, but our actions are only “partisan” if we put the good of one group before the good of the whole.

The word “republic” literally means “an entity” (res) of the people (publicus).” A democratic republic must struggle to strike a balance between individual rights and the common good. We are not like ants in a hill, but neither are we solitary pebbles washed upon a beach. Some ancient Stoics thought of human beings as the organs in a common body. For our common body to be healthy, we must strike a balance between the freedom and equality of its members.

While it is clever for those with vested interests to act like voting rights are a partisan issue, anyone with a sense of the common good will consider attacks on the voting rights of ANY citizen to be an attack on democracy itself. Voter suppression should be considered an act of sedition against the republic itself.

And, while it may sound patriotic to proclaim, “America First,” the notion of the common good means that nations, too, are organs in a larger body. So, those who love America as an ideal must place international treaties above the whims of any one administration. For America to be the “Shining City on a Hill” we first find the courage to act as examples, not exceptions of the values we proclaim.

Liberty in a republic is never the right to exploit or harm someone else. While every individual should be allowed to practise their faith, living in a republic means agreeing not to impose our religion on anyone else. There is no right in a republic for men to interfere in the personal decisions of women. There is no individual right to pollute our common air, land or water.

Life is not worth living if we do not have some measure of freedom, but for ALL of us to be free, we must set some standard for equality. In a republic there must be no slave or master. To be loyal to a republic we must understand twin truths: first, that life is not worth living without some degree of freedom; and that, second, in the words of the Stoics, “Nothing is good for the bee that is not good for the hive.”
– Jim Rigby

The truth is, a writer’s voice is made from other writers’ voices. Pieced together, picked and chosen, stumbled into, uninformed: influence seems like an involuntary series of contagions that eventually turns into a sort of vessel, or transportation system. As we acquire a sense of taste, and perhaps a sense of vocation, our reading becomes more directed and targeted, but we are bent and shaped and destined to be changed by the genius of others. Compare it to the theory behind cannibalism, if you like. One eats the heart of the admired one and becomes them. The remarkable news is that this pastiche of voices results in the incarnation of a new poet, a new hybrid distillation of voice, capable of telling the story of experience in new, valuable ways. […] Each strong new writer is a deep student of what he or she has read and an amalgam of preexisting sentences and styles that have never been combined like that before. The idea that writerly originality appears from nowhere, or exists as something in isolation, a thing to be guarded and protected from influence, is lunacy. Anyone who doesn’t school themselves by deep, wide, and idiosyncratic reading is choosing aesthetic poverty.”
– Tony Hoagland, from The Art of Voice: Poetic Principles and Practice

One of the things that we’re dealing with right now is a real need to bring back the energies of love and kindness and honor and respect. When we don’t feed life with those energies, life begins to dissolve.
– Sandra Ingerman

Sometimes, acting is a really private thing
that you do for the world.
– Philip Seymour Hoffman

Distance does something to memories; it breathes life into them, it gives them an uncluttered stage where they can reveal themselves freely, and without the yoke of family taboos and cultural constructs.
– Adriana Paramo

August arrives in the dark

we are not even asleep and it is here
with a gust of rain rustling before it
how can it be so late all at once
somewhere the Perseids are falling
toward us already at a speed that would
burn us alive if we could believe it
but in the stillness after the rain ends
nothing is to be heard but the drops falling
one at a time from the tips of the leaves
into the night and I lie in the dark
listening to what I remember
while the night flies on with us into itself
– W. S. Merwin

there ought to be a place to go
when you can’t sleep
or you’re tired of getting drunk
and the grass doesn’t work anymore,
and I don’t mean to go
to hash or cocaine,
I mean a place to go to besides
the death that’s waiting
or to a love that doesn’t work

there ought to be a place to go
when you can’t sleep
besides to a tv set or to a movie
or to buy a newspaper
or to read a novel.

it’s not having that place to go to
that creates the people now in madhouses
and the suicides.

I suppose what most people do
when there isn’t any place to go
is to go to some place or to something
that hardly satisfies them,
and this ritual tends to sandpaper them
down to where they can somehow continue even
without hope.

those faces you see every day on the streets
were not created
entirely without
hope: be kind to them:
like you
they have not
– Charles Bukowski

Artists don’t make objects. Artists make mythologies.
– Anish Kapoor

When we are a thousand miles away
from poetry,
we still participate in it
by that sudden need to scream—
the last stage of lyricism.
– E.M. Cioran


We watched a man nearly die;
who or what brought him back

to life? Perhaps it was the way we stood
quietly, as though gathered into the sanctified
arms of all the world’s endings––

those neglected Gods of nutriment,
who praise the ebbing rhythm
in every living thing.

The way we watched as he drooped onto the woman beside him;
eyes closed and mouth slacked open, intercepting a scream
at the doorstep of his throat. We held our collective breath too,
while sweat dribbled down his chin and swelled into a dark,
heart-shaped ring at the center of his well-ironed shirt.

When the doctor came to take his pulse, the man’s eyes
flapped open. The doctor commanded him to talk, and to not stop.
So the man mouthed, “I love you so much,” over and over again
into the prayerful air. Soundless, his words whirled around the startled room,
coiling between our troubled bodies and landing back into the delicate hands
of his wife, who was standing behind him, rubbing the sweat from his wrinkled brow
and bending every so often to place trembling kisses atop his gray and bobbing head.

“Practice resurrection,” Wendell Berry said. And so he did.

It is only half an hour’–’It is only an afternoon’–’It is only an evening,’ people say to me over and over again; but they don’t know that it is impossible to command one’s self sometimes to any stipulated and set disposal of five minutes–or that the mere consciousness of an engagement will sometime worry a whole day… Who ever is devoted to an art must be content to deliver himself wholly up to it, and to find his recompense in it. I am grieved if you suspect me of not wanting to see you, but I can’t help it; I must go in my way whether or no.
– CHARLES DICKENS, rejecting an invitation from a friend.

At least the Borgias supported the Arts.
– Mary Trump


What do you suppose it is doing to our sanity to get so much of our information and experience from the internet? We are biological beings. We did not evolve to live in a virtual environment. We evolved to live in nature and in intimate contact with other human beings.

I ran across a statement that raises interesting questions about what trying to adapt to virtutal reality and cyber relationships might be doing to us:

“I’ve been thinking about five intersecting problems: first, how the internet is built to distend our sense of identity; second, how it encourages us to overvalue our opinions; third, how it maximizes our sense of opposition; fourth, how it cheapens our understanding of solidarity; and, finally, how it destroys our sense of scale.” (Jia Tolentino, author of “Trick Mirror”)

Those questions would certainly make for an interesting conversation but, for today, I thought it might be helpful to consider what “spiritual” practices might aid us in keeping our sanity in this twilight zone episode we find ourselves in.

1. The belief that human beings can untether from their sentient bodies and inhabit the world of pure information has always resulted in eventual crash landings. When you are online and find yourself feeling uprooted, come back to your own skin. Wiggle your fingers and toes. Remember you are a sentient being not a digital abstraction. Our physical limitations are not a weakness. They are the filter we need to sift out the information that matters in our real lives and in the real lives of others.

2. We can resolve not to believe or repeat information found on the web unless we can verify it within reason. We don’t need to have an opinion on EVERYTHING. As sentient beings most of the world is a mystery to us. It is very grounding to live in our awareness, not in our opinions. Whenever we find ourselves having strong opinions on matters we know almost nothing about, it is a good time to return to being curious agnostics until we know more.

3. When we find ourselves reduced to living in silos of like minded people it is time to enrich our palates. Of course, universal human rights and environmental sustainability are not up for debate, but activism means attempting to change the world and persuade new people to the cause, not just to express our opinions to like minded friends. This is a critical time to struggle for universal human rights to be sure, but our goal should be the beloved community, not a winner-take-all civil war between good and evil fought on the imaginary turf of social media.

4. To the extent possible, we must reach out to real people. Until the pandemic passes that may mean phone calls or FaceTime sessions, but the more we can interact as embodied beings the more grounded and interconnected we will feel in the digital age. When lost in the digital maze, ten minutes walking in nature can do wonders.

5. If the news of the world is making you feel out of control, let it go. You can come back after you find your balance. Every time we boot up our computers will reveal yet another dumpster fire in our world. You are only one person. You can do miraculous things in community, but going beyond our mortal limitations is not an option. Think of yourselves as a battlefield medic. You help the people you can, to the extent you can. If you take responsibility for what you cannot control you will burn out in no time.

6. And, finally, remember that being unhappy does not mean you care more about the world. Our goal is to live our lives in a way that makes this a better world. It will be very difficult to bring peace, love and happiness into the world if they do not first reside in our own hearts.

– Jim Rigby

The way is long only
because you delay to start on it;
one single step
would bring you to Him:
become a slave,
and you will become a king

Whatever befalls you, misfortune or fortune,
is unalloyed blessing;
the attendant evil
a fleeing shadow.

No more nonsense! Lose yourself,
and the hell of your heart becomes a heaven.
Lose yourself, and anything can be accomplished.
Your selfishness is an untrained colt

Apply yourself, hand and foot,
to the search;
but when you reach the sea,
stop talking of the stream.

And if, my friend, you ask me the way
I’ll tell you plainly, it is this:
to turn your face towards the world of life,
and turn your back on rank and reputation;
and, spurning outward prosperity, to bend
your back double in his service;
to part company with those who deal in words,
and take your place in the presence of the wordless

When the eye is pure
it sees purity.

Unself yourself…

– Hakim Sanai, (1044-1150) Sufi poet

The world is a
complex fatigue.
– Hayden Carruth

Eric Smith:

Researching things outside my realm of expertise is always so wild.

Looking at an exercise bike like “this isn’t published by Random House, I dunno…”

If civilization has risen from the Stone Age, it can rise again from the Wastepaper Age.
– Jacques Barzun

When the time comes for you to live, there aren’t enough years.
– Yiddish proverb

These who criticize you directly for your faults are your friends, not those who appear nice even when you’re wrong.
– Dezhung Rinponche

In my generation, women went from being the objects of the Irish poem to being the authors of the Irish poem, and that was very disruptive in a literature that probably wasn’t prepared for that.
– Eavan Boland

The Waltz Garden:
Despite rain, there’s some lovely colours in the field this morning.

Airea D. Matthews:
Poetry has taught me how to tell people what I feel from a very respectable distance and to tell people what I think directly to their face.

Love is the organizing and unifying principle which makes the world a universe and the disintegrated mass a community.
– Alan Watts

Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.
– Zora Neale Hurston

Bruce Cockburn:
Anything can happen
To put out the light
Is it any wonder
I don’t want to say goodnight?

Zen is liberation from time. For if we open our eyes and see clearly, it becomes obvious that there is no other time than this instant, and that the past and the future are abstractions without any concrete reality.
– Alan Watts

cassidy hall:
You can be wild
and still be very wise


galя mukomolova:
Wild how this country thinks education is important enough to kill and die for but not important enough to be free and well funded.

Edgar McGregor:
The climate community isn’t here to see who can tweet the best tweets.

We’re here to ensure that our children can live on an as healthy planet as possible.

If anyone says anything that isn’t correct, is misguided, or is fueling hate/division within the community, say something.

Wholeheartedly train in keeping your heart and mind open to everyone.
– Pema Chödrön

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin:
God, if the world had only listened to Donella Meadows, Dennis Meadows, Jorgen Randers and Bill Behrens.

Ethan Nichtern:
It would be really cool if the next “Roaring 20s” was the decade when we took on racism and climate change directly.

There can be cool outfits and dance moves, too.

I cannot see any basic difference between a handshake and a poem.
– Paul Celan

Ethan Nichtern:

Buddha was definitely anti-fascist.

The kind of anti-fascist who wasn’t into destroying property.

He was more into dismantling samsara.

Bruce Cockburn:
The gift moves on regardless
Tying this world to the next
May you never tire of waiting
Never feel that life is cheap
May your life be filled with light
Except for when you’re trying to sleep
d about the possibility of a global Marshall Plan: “I would love it if that were possible but I don’t think we live in a world like that at the moment.
– Mary Robinson

Again and again, I am aware that the Light not only illumines but it also burns.
– Howard Thurman, Meditations of the Heart

claire schwartz:
I feel so acutely these days the ways that grief is about the future as much as the past—the loss of what will never come—how I don’t even have a name to mourn those foreclosed presences—the anticipation of more grief that surely will.

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin:
I admire the people who, when things get scary, become softer. Who listen. Who get more patient. Who hold space for creativity. Who show a multiplicity of care. Who stand fast against the bullies. Where did they learn that I wonder, or did they always know?

Peace comes when you talk to the guy you most hate.
– Desmond Tutu

I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful – an endless prospect of magic and wonder.
– Ansel Adams

Mystery and clarity arrive together.
– Rachel Eliza Griffith

sea orphan:
i don’t chase people anymore. only sunsets and light.

Ethan Nichtern:
There is never a good reason to intentionally abstain from voting in any election. Never.

Bruce Cockburn:
Hear the sleepers toss and turn
Dreaming whatever they’re dreaming of
The wind that’s clearing the heat from the air
Can’t clear my heart of these pangs of love

– Bill Watterson

…I realized either I was crazy or the world was crazy; and I picked on the world. And of course I was right.

Our modern education systems don’t reveal much understanding of how to transform our emotions. To do so, we have to use our intelligence.
– Dalai Lama XIV

Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it and by the same token save it…
– Hannah Arendt

Bruce Cockburn:
I’ve got friends trying to batter the system down
Fighting the past till the future comes round
It’ll never be a perfect world till God declares it that way
But that don’t mean there’s nothing we can do or say

Let tenderness pour from your eyes, the way sun gazes warmly on earth.
– Hafiz

All I know is that prayer constructs a velvet bridge
– Czeslaw Milosz

The library will endure; it is the universe. As for us, everything has not been written; we are not turning into phantoms. We walk the corridors, searching the shelves and rearranging them, looking for lines of meaning.
– Borges

If you know where you are going, if you are clear on the destination and how to get there, it may be that your clarity has fooled you into thinking you have traversed worlds when you have merely substituted familiarity and intelligibility for the uncomfortable yet transformative potential of bewilderment.
– Bayo Akomolafe

Don’t settle. Don’t finish crappy books.
If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant.
If you’re not on the right path, get off it.
– Chris Brogan

Poetry is the voice of spirit and imagination and all that is potential, as well as of the healing benevolence that used to be the privilege of the gods.
– Ted Hughes

This poem is for my fellow craftspeople (and their admirers). Last year, during all of the artisan markets that I was participating in, I noticed the main thing folks wanted to know was how long each piece took––I hadn’t a clue (and still don’t) being as there is so much labor and non-linearity in any true craft. But after persistent questioning, one day I finally gave in by setting a timer beside me at the table loom. The rhythm of warp and weft slowly rocked me into that dreamlike state, until I began to overhear the lines of this poem filling the air. So rather than straight-up weaving, I spent half that afternoon scribbling in my notebook (which, as you can imagine, made the timer quite ineffective)…


People always want to know
precisely how long it takes me
to weave a basket or belt.
They inquire with inquisitive
eyes, as if disbelieving a thing
could still be done

by the human hand.
They want to know
if I’ve kept time

with the many hours
my aching back
has hunched forward,

working cramped fingers
into the braided yarn of a blanket
or the tangled mess of thread
that I plead with––bead by bead,
into an article of adornment
for our mortal, yet still
meritable ears.

How many hours do I spend
bowed in the pursuit of beauty?
They probe as if the answer
might be extracted
in some effortless fashion,
bearing no resemblance,
mind you, to the craft itself.

But, no one ever inquires after
how long it takes to write a poem

(a day, a week, an entire life?).
Perhaps they’re too afraid
my answer will be too long––

a winding trail
through the thick
and foggy forest,

always fumbling
around in the dark
for the next movement
or mystifying line.

“How long does it take you
to craft a beautiful life?”

I want to ask,
but seldom
know how
or why.
– April Tierney

If you really want to be successful and you really want to be happy, don’t have a job, have a purpose. When you’ve got a purpose, the whole world is your office.
– Paulo Coelho

People try spiritually to achieve realization. The true realization is to achieve a kind heart. Other than that, there is nothing really
that is useful. Nothing else.
Realistically, there is good and bad.
The things that we can completely trust,
that will never betray us or fail us,
are kindheartedness and bodhicitta.

Each individual person literally possesses far more abilities than can be adequately expressed IN ANY GIVEN LIFETIME. This insures a large profusion of possible actions from which the individual can draw according to changing circumstances.

Each person can also intrinsically sense the direction in which he or she is most inclined. Inspiration will send nudges towards certain activities. It will be easier and more delightful for each person to move and grow in certain directions, rather than others.

In this discussion, I am not merely speaking in terms of exterior accomplishments, or goals, though these are important. Many people, however, will find they have a natural knack for relationships with others, in which the known value cannot be easily judged, as it can, say, in the works of an artist or writer.

Instead, such people will indeed perform a kind of artistry of relationships, composing, say, symphonic, emotional compositions THAT INDEED play as masterfully upon the emotions as the pianist upon the keys.

By looking at your own life, you can quite easily discover in what areas your own abilities lie by following the shape of your own impulses and inclinations.
– Jane Roberts, The Way Toward Health

Choose: marry someone who does not love me
(or whom I do not love),
or study & nourish a vocation that doesn’t exist.
– Alejandra Pizarnik

Be humble ….
Only fools take pride
in their station here, trapped in
a cage of dust, moisture heat and air.
No need to complain of calamities,
this illusion of life lasts
but a moment.
– Shaikh Abu Saeed Abil Kheir

We live in a perpetually burning building,
and what we must save from it,
all the time, is love.
– Tennessee Williams

What we philosophers can do
is just correct the questions.
– Slavoj Žižek

There is no “we”

This isn’t a ‘we’ and never was. America is mostly a corporate-legal fiction.

Having never established meaningful collectivity together, ‘we’ don’t actually have any. ‘We’ now refers not to collectivity, but its complexly evolving absence.

And right now, that’s a multi-level dumpster fire that cannot be extinguished.
– Darin Stevenson

It has to end, you know. The self-hatred. The collective shaming. The disdain for other. The emotional armor. The buried pain. The displaced humans. The misplaced kindness. The repressed trauma. The fake positivity. The meaningless materialism. The forgotten heart.
We’re all tired of these patterns. We aren’t built to carry them. Never were. They are perverting and distorting us. They’re too heavy for our tender hearts.
It has to begin, you know. The self-love. The collective healing. The love for other. The emotional release. The liberated pain. The welcomed humans. The perpetual kindness. The honored story. The authentic feeling. The meaningful purpose. The open heart.
We are ready to surrender these patterns to a deeper love. Of self. Of other. Of Earth. It’s why we are here. To rejoice in our time together, on our beautiful planet home. It’s time to lay down our weapons and welcome every precious human life into our arms like a new born. Every human cradled in compassion and kindness. Every human honored as a true reflection of the Divine. Every human loved like our life depends on it. Because it does. We are lost without each other.
It’s time.
– Jeff Brown

There is suddenly no such thing as a back road that doesn’t lead headlong into your obsession.
– Philip Roth, The Human Stain. Good night. Peace.

Each time we look upon the poor,
on the farmworkers who harvest the coffee,
the sugarcane, or the cotton…
remember, there is the face of Christ.
– Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez

Go seek the lady
Who will give, not take away
Naked with stillness
On the edge of dawn she stays
Night starts to empty
That’s when her song begins
– Scott Walker

These crises that most people think of
as terrible, as absurd,
I personally think they serve to show us the real absurdity,
the absurdity of an ordered and calm world.
– Julio Cortázar, Hopscotch

Some day music will be the means of expressing universal religion. Time is wanted for this, but there will come a day when music and its philosophy will become the religion of humanity.
– Hazrat Inayat Khan, The Mysticism of Sound and Music

God breaks the heart again and again and again until it stays open.
– Hazrat Inayat Khan

The true use of music is to become musical in one’s thoughts, words and actions. One should be able to give the harmony for which the soul yearns and longs every moment. All the tragedy in the world, in the individual and in the multitude, comes from lack of harmony, and harmony is best given by producing it in one’s own life.
– Hazrat Inayat Khan, The Mysticism of Music, Sound and Word

What means of comparison
do you have to think that we’ve done well?
Why have we had to invent Eden,
to live submerged in the nostalgia
of a lost paradise?
– Julio Cortázar, Hopscotch

Sometimes there are two persons who disagree, and there comes a third person and all unite together. Is this not the nature of music?
– Hazrat Inayat Khan, The Mysticism of Sound and Music

There are moments when a kind of clarity comes over you, and suddenly you can see through walls to another dimension that you’d forgotten or chosen to ignore in order to continue living with the various illusions that make life, particularly life with other people, possible.
– Nicole Krauss

Hermann Karl Hesse:
If nature has made you a bat,
you shouldn’t try and be an ostrich.
You consider yourself odd at times,
you accuse yourself of taking a road different from most people. You have to unlearn that! Gaze into the fire, the clouds and as soon as the inner voices begin to speak –
surrender to them. Don’t ask first
whether it is permitted or would please your teachers or your father or some God.
You will ruin yourself if you do that.
That way you will become earth bound,
a vegetable.

Gary Snyder:
At our house we say a Buddhist grace—

We venerate the Three Treasures {teachers, the wild, and friends}
And are thankful for this meal
The work of many people
And the sharing of other forms of life.

Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.
– Jamie Anderson

Life is a good teacher and a good friend. Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it. Nothing ever sums itself up in the way that we like to dream about. The off-center, in-between state is an ideal situation, a situation in which we don’t get caught and we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit. It’s a very tender, nonaggressive, open-ended state of affairs.

To stay with that shakiness — to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge — that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic — this is the spiritual path. Getting the knack of catching ourselves, of gently and compassionately catching ourselves, is the path of the warrior. We catch ourselves one zillion times as once again, whether we like it or not, we harden into resentment, bitterness, righteous indignation — harden in any way, even into a sense of relief, a sense of inspiration.
– Pema Chodron

Bruce Cockburn:
Everything that exists in time runs out of time some day
Got to let go of the things that keep you tethered
Take your place with grace and then be on your way

David Bedrick:
It was in the early 90’s when I contemplated making a profound change in my life.
I would leave my home in Minnesota, the relationships I had built there, and the consulting firm I had started some 10 year earlier.
One night, in deep reflection, I fell asleep only to have a prophetic dream.
In the dream, I went to a car dealership to buy a new car. That’s where I saw the car I desired. Wow; that one!
But, when I asked what the price was, I found it to be way too costly.
I can’t remember the amount now, but it was over 100,000 dollars. The number was very specific, like $112,347, or something like that.
I woke up and, as a dream analyst, wondered where the dream had gotten such specific number from.
Then it hit me – If I added all of my savings over the last decade, how much would it be? I had never made that specific calculation before.
It was EXACTLY that amount.
I got the message: Sometimes a deep and true change costs everything. Every Damn Thing.
My decision was clear; my entire life, everything, was ready for renewal.

The concept of portraying evil and then destroying it – I know this is considered mainstream, but I think it is rotten. This idea that whenever something evil happens someone particular can be blamed and punished for it, in life and in politics is hopeless.
― Hayao Miyazaki

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
– John Ruskin

Write what should not be forgotten.
– Isabel Allende

Bruce Cockburn:
When you know even for a moment
That it’s your time
Then you can walk with the power
Of a thousand generations

Bruce Cockburn:
Today I dream of how it used to be
Things were different before
The picture shifts to how it’s going to be
Balance restored

The secret of contentment is knowing how to enjoy what you have, and to lose desire for things beyond your reach.
– Lin Yutang

sven birkerts:
Sitting in front of my keyboard I’m like a cider-press bearing down on the mash of everything I’ve lived and thought…

When a great moment knocks
on the door of your life,
it is often no louder
than the beating of your heart,
and it is very easy to miss it.
– Boris Pasternak

Ethan Nichtern:
If you think of the US as a country about to fail and fall into an abyss, you get very gloomy.

But if you think of the US as a nation that already failed in 2016 and is ready for rebirth, possibilities open up.

The latter is not only more optimistic, it’s more accurate.

What we needed were not words and promises,
but the steady accumulation of small realities.
– Haruki Murakami

When the Angel Comes
When the angel comes,
do not send her away.
Do not dismiss her,
hiding your head
and proclaiming,
I know you are unreal,
something conjured up
from my own imagination,
a mythic fragment,
long lost image
of desire,
made to deceive.
Then you will hear music
such as you have never imagined,
it will come from some invisible somewhere,
but you cannot tell whether
a rock or a star.
You will feel something beautiful
unfolding within
as Love invades
your body
and at last you will notice
that the angel wears your face,
is molded of the same substance
as you now are,
a being made of light.
– Dorothy Walters

For the Sleepwalkers
Tonight I want to say something wonderful
for the sleepwalkers who have so much faith
in their legs, so much faith in the invisible
arrow carved into the carpet, the worn path
that leads to the stairs instead of the window,
the gaping doorway instead of the seamless mirror.
I love the way that sleepwalkers are willing
to step out of their bodies into the night,
to raise their arms and welcome the darkness,
palming the blank spaces, touching everything.
Always they return home safely, like blind men
who know it is morning by feeling shadows.
And always they wake up as themselves again.
That’s why I want to say something astonishing
like: Our hearts are leaving our bodies.
Our hearts are thirsty black handkerchiefs
flying through the trees at night, soaking up
the darkest beams of moonlight, the music
of owls, the motion of wind-torn branches.
And now our hearts are thick black fists
flying back to the glove of our chests.
We have to learn to trust our hearts like that.
We have to learn the desperate faith of sleep-
walkers who rise out of their calm beds
and walk through the skin of another life.
We have to drink the stupefying cup of darkness
and wake up to ourselves, nourished and surprised.
– Edward Hirsch

A Gift
Just when you seem to yourself
nothing but a flimsy web
of questions, you are given
the questions of others to hold
in the emptiness of your hands,
songbird eggs that can still hatch
if you keep them warm,
butterflies opening and closing themselves
in your cupped palms, trusting you not to injure
their scintillant fur, their dust.
You are given the questions of others
as if they were answers
to all you ask. Yes, perhaps
this gift is your answer.
– Denise Levertov

I want to be a poet, from head to toe,
living and dying by poetry.
– Federico Gracia Lorca

Do not allow yourself to become impervious and blasé regarding the Dharma;
do not lead yourself astray.
Let the profound Dharma sink into your mind. Now that you have obtained this excellent life, so hard to find, now that you have the freedom to practice the teachings,
don’t waste your time.

Be constant amid the ebb and flow
of happiness and suffering.
Be friendly and even with others.
Unguarded, intemperate chatter
will put you in their power;
excessive silence may leave them unclear
as to what you mean.
So keep a middle course:
don’t swagger with self-confidence,
but don’t be a doormat either.
Don’t run after gossip
without examining the truth of it.
People who know how to keep
their mouths shut are rare.
So don’t chatter about your wishes
and intentions; keep them to yourself.
And whether you are speaking to an enemy,
an acquaintance or a friend,
never break a confidence.

Take your stand on the ultimate practice
of the heart essence —
samsara and nirvana
are the display of awareness.
Without distraction, without meditation,
in a state of natural relaxation,
constantly remain in the pure,
all-penetrating nakedness of ultimate reality.
– Dudjom Rinpoche, Counsels from My Heart

Freedom, equality, brotherhood are three godheads of the soul; they cannot be really achieved through the external machinery of society or by man so long as he lives only in the individual and the communal ego. When the ego claims liberty, it arrives at competitive individualism. When it asserts equality, it arrives first at strife, then at an attempt to ignore the variations of Nature, and, as the sole way of doing that successfully, it constructs an artificial and machine-made society. A society that pursues liberty as its ideal is unable to achieve equality; a society that aims at equality will be obliged to sacrifice liberty. For the ego to speak of fraternity is for it to speak of something contrary to its nature. All that it knows is association for the pursuit of common egoistic ends and the utmost that it can arrive at is a closer organisation for the equal distribution of labour, production, consumption and enjoyment.
Yet is brotherhood the real key to the triple gospel of the idea of humanity. The union of liberty and equality can only be achieved by the power of human brotherhood and it cannot be founded on anything else. But brotherhood exists only in the soul and by the soul; it can exist by nothing else. For this brotherhood is not a matter either of physical kinship or of vital association or of intellectual agreement. When the soul claims freedom, it is the freedom of its self-development, the self-development of the divine in man in all his being. When it claims equality, what it is claiming is that freedom equally for all and the recognition of the same soul, the same godhead in all human beings. When it strives for brotherhood, it is founding that equal freedom of self- development on a common aim, a common life, a unity of mind and feeling founded upon the recognition of this inner spiritual unity. These three things are in fact the nature of the soul; for freedom, equality, unity are the eternal attributes of the Spirit.
It is the practical recognition of this truth, it is the awakening of the soul in [hu]man and the attempt to get him to live from his soul and not from his ego which is the inner meaning of religion, and it is that to which the religion of humanity also must arrive before it can fulfill itself in the life of the race.
– Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle

Sri Ramakrishna:
The ego is like a stick
that seems to divide the water in two.
It makes you feel
that you are one and I am another.
When the ego disappears (in samadhi)
one realizes Brahman
as one’s own inner consciousness.

If ever my life can be of any use to you, come and claim it.
– Anton Chekhov

We should make all spiritual talk simple today:
God is trying to sell you something,
But you don’t want to buy.
That is what your suffering is:
Your fantastic haggling,
Your manic screaming over the price!

If we spoke a different language,
we would perceive a somewhat different world.
– Ludwig Wittgenstein

…The Amazon is a sacred place. Human Beings do not make sacred places, they acknowledge them, recognize them, and sustain them without developing them. We honor them with languages taught to us by the Earth herself. The Original Nations of the Western Hemisphere understand sacred places where Earth has directed their sensitivities to pure energy being in place. These multi-dimensional quantum physics of Earth languages of the Original Peoples are also a part of the sacred places. They are part of the Cura Da Terra, “Cure of the Earth”, to borrow a phrase from the First Peoples of the Amazon.
– Tiokasin Ghosthorse

Rigid ideologies generate false friendships, in which purity tests replace trust and sensitivity to nuance. Red flag for cultism.
– Matthew Resmski

I think it’s so foolish for people to want
to be happy. Happy is so momentary—
you’re happy for an instant
and then you start thinking again.
Interest is the most important thing in life;
happiness is temporary, but interest is continuous.
– Georgia O’Keefe

One day somebody asked Herr K.
if there was a God.
Herr K. replied: ‘I suggest that you ask yourself
whether the answer would effect your behavior.
If your behavior would remain unchanged,
then we can drop the question.
If it would change, then I can at least be of assistance
to you by telling you that you have already decided:
you need a God.
– Bertolt Brecht, Stories of Mr. Keuner

In ‘life,’ I don’t want to be reduced to my work.
In ‘work,’ I don’t want to be reduced to my life.
– Susan Sontag

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.
– Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge

We all who almost always make everything except love, and we are entirely invaded by exile and bordered by solitude.
– Cixous, What is it o’clock

Chögyam Trungpa:
You will be a monarch with a broken heart,
a decent human being…
a glorious human being who can help others.

For the artist there can be no arrival. An artist must always be in crisis, always in transit, always vulnerable to devastating and exhilarating contact with art.
– Joyelle McSweeney

One kind of literary education begins when you admit how many things you are just not interested in. Via negativa.
– Sven Birkerts

Everyone I’ve met has an addiction or an addictive tendency.

Everyone I’ve met has been abused or wounded.

Everyone I’ve met has been grafted onto a tree of historical trauma that finds expression in their lives.

Everyone I’ve met has a social identity that is in conflict with other parts of the external world and other parts of their internal world.

Everyone I’ve met has a shadow – things living inside of them that they are unaware of. Those parts can wreak havoc on their health – psychologically, mentally, socially, and financially.

What am I saying? Depression, headaches, tumors, addictions, over-eating, rage, relationship patterns, and all the marvelous errors we believe we make….


The illusion of normalcy, that’s the illness.

(Caveat- and there are illnesses and some worthy medicine.)

– David Bedrick

We are the inheritors of a million years
of striving for the unspeakable.
– Terence McKenna

All you can do is face the world with quiet grace and hope you make a sliver of difference. Humility does not mean self-abnegation, lassitude, detachment; it’s more a calm recognition that you must trust in that which does not make sense, that which is unreasonable, illogical, silly, ridiculous, crazy by the measure of most of our culture. You must trust that you being the best possible you matters somehow. That trying to be an honest and tender parent will echo for centuries through your tribe. That doing your chosen work with creativity and diligence will shiver people far beyond your ken. That being an attentive and generous friend and citizen will prevent a thread or two of the social fabric from unraveling. And you must do all of this with the certain knowledge that you will never get proper credit for it, and in fact the vast majority of things you do right will go utterly unremarked.

Humility, the final frontier, as my brother Kevin used to say. When we are young we build a self, a persona, a story in which to reside, or several selves in succession, or several at once, sometimes; when we are older we take on other roles and personas, other masks and duties; and you and I both know men and women who become trapped in the selves they worked so hard to build, so desperately imprisoned that sometimes they smash their lives simply to escape who they no longer wish to be; but finally, I think, if we are lucky, if we read the book of pain and loss with humility, we realize that we are all broken and small and brief, that none among us is ultimately more valuable or rich or famous or beautiful than another; and then, perhaps, we begin to understand something deep and true about humility.

This is what I know: that the small is huge, that the tiny is vast, that pain is part and parcel of the gift of joy, and that this is love, and then there is everything else. You either walk toward love or away from it with every breath you draw. Humility is the road to love. Humility, maybe, is love. That could be. I wouldn’t know; I’m a muddle and a conundrum shuffling slowly along the road, paging in wonder, trying to just see and say what is, trying to leave shreds and shards of ego along the road like wisps of litter and chaff.

– Brian Doyle

Animists tend to value diversity of form and to recognize that human culture arises also from the land. Taking this to heart means not insisting that everyone on Earth experience and speak about the world exactly as we prefer it. Just say no to human monoculture.
– Dr. Daniel Floor

When nothing whatsoever is conceptualized,
How could you possibly go astray?
Dissolve your conceptions,
And rest.
– Machig Labdron

What mystery sustains us through the poison vapors
Of these times? Selfishly, I keep recalling the
Dreaming of what is possible. Tell me yours?
– J. K. McDowell

…And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive.
– Audre Lorde, A Litany for Survival

You work with what you are given,
the red clay of grief,
the black clay of stubbornness going on after.
Clay that tastes of care or carelessness,
clay that smells of the bottoms of rivers or dust.
Each thought is a life you have lived or failed to live,
each word is a dish you have eaten or left on the table.
There are honeys so bitter
no one would willingly choose to take them.
The clay takes them: honey of weariness, honey of vanity,
honey of cruelty, fear.
This rebus – slip and stubbornness,
bottom of river, my own consumed life –
when will I learn to read it
plainly, slowly, uncolored by hope or desire?
Not to understand it, only to see.
As water given sugar sweetens, given salt grows salty,
we become our choices.
Each yes, each no continues,
this one a ladder, that one an anvil or cup.
The ladder leans into its darkness.
The anvil leans into its silence.
The cup sits empty.
How can I enter this question the clay has asked?
– Jane Hirshfield

The mind is malleable: it is capable of change. So we need to learn to see
how we can transform it.
We need to identify the ways
to achieve that transformation
and put them into action.
Samsara, the circle of existences,
and nirvana, the state beyond it,
are not like geographical locations
far from one another.
They are two states of mind.
Samsara is a deviation from knowledge,
a distorted vision of reality
that makes the mind the slave
of negative emotions,
while nirvana is a state of inner freedom,
free of any conceptual
and emotional obstacles.
– Tenzin Gyatso

Living, as I do, in the dark age,
I am calling upon you,
because I am trapped In this prison,
without refuge or protector.
The age of the three poisons has dawned
And the three lords of materialism
have seized power.
The dharma is used for personal gain
And the river of materialism
has burst its banks.
The materialistic outlook
dominates everywhere
And the mind is intoxicated
with worldly concerns.
– Chogyam Trungpa

To react to anything is not free. But to cultivate an ever larger repertoire of responses is to ally ourselves with nature’s evolutionary ingenuity.
– Caroline Casey

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

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin:
America needs a healthy biosphere.
America needs a stable climate.
America needs safe streets for everyone.
America needs free and fair elections.
America needs childcare.
America needs vibrant schools.
America needs a social safety net.
America needs to feed everyone.

Simple is good.
– Jim Henson

I will not have my life narrowed down.
I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim
or to someone else’s ignorance.
– Bell Hooks

The reach of vibrations is according to the fineness of the plane of their starting-point. To speak more plainly, the word uttered by the lips can only reach the ears of the hearer; but the thought proceeding from the mind reaches far, shooting from mind to mind. The vibrations of mind are much stronger than those of words. The earnest feelings of one heart can pierce the heart of another; they speak in the silence, spreading out into the sphere, so that the very atmosphere of a person’s presence proclaims his thoughts and emotions. The vibrations of the soul are the most powerful and far-reaching, they run like an electric current from soul to soul.
– Hazrat Inayat Khan, The Mysticism of Music, Sound and Word

Love allows us to walk
in the sweet music of our particular heart.
– Jack Gilbert, The Great Fires

The less we cling to one side of reality – betting on either or or, arguing for for or against – the more we can be aware of the exquisite counterpoint of things. Everything matters: how we vote, how we tie our shoelaces, how we respond to the faintest whisper of a thought. And nothing matters, because (look!) it’s already gone. When we understand this, we’re home free.
– Stephen Mitchell

What’s a nation to the sky?
– Fatimah Asghar

If you hide your limp,
cover over your wounds,
mask your humanity,
how will we recognize the medicine you are carrying?
– David Bedrick

by Johnson Cheu
The café workers talk, the nice thing
About this pandemic is the silence, not
Having to make small talk with strangers.
Ironically, they’re making small talk.
I think of my mother, in the time before
Computer-aided language instruction,
When small talk was how to learn English.
Invented Chinglish: hot chocolate to hot chalk; jacket, jack.
My father who, in the forty years China was closed
To the West, always joked that one day he and his siblings
Would stand on opposing shores of China and Taiwan
Shouting small talk to each other across the Taiwan Strait.
My students who worry how they’ll keep
In touch with family in China if WeChat is banned.
How much our hearts warm with small talk.
How much grows cold in the silence.

The way is perfect like vast space
where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.
Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject
that we do not see the true nature of things.
Live neither in the entanglements of outer things
Nor in inner feelings of emptiness.
Be serene in the oneness of things
and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves.
When you try to stop activity to achieve passivity,
your very effort fills you with activity.
As long as you remain in one extreme or the other
you will never know oneness.
– Sengcan

It is our imagination that is responsible for love,
not the other person.
– Marcel Proust

sven birkerts:
You can tell how rare certain qualities are by how many people don’t possess them.

Seek the wisdom that will untie your knot. Seek the path that demands your whole being.

can’t tell if i’m getting worse at poetry or if poetry is getting worse at me.
– Matthew Burnside

Healing starts with who you are, not who you used to be.
– Persistent Observer

Inner Practitioner:
There is an awakening that will make you hate your inner angels and demons. It’s the breakthrough point of your inner dualism. You will embody and learn to wield your darkness and light. You will be willing to endure your inner storm because you will realize that you are the sky.

Every day I do my best to show,
I can make it in this world I know,
But all the bad thoughts that people bring,
My faith in human nature’s getting pretty thin.
Help me get through these cynical days.
– XTC, Cynical Days

The Just
A man who cultivates his garden, as Voltaire wished.
He who is grateful for the existence of music.
He who takes pleasure in tracing an etymology.
Two workmen playing, in a café in the South, a silent game of chess.
The potter, contemplating a color and a form.
The typographer who sets this page well, though it may not please him.
A woman and a man, who read the last tercets of a certain canto.
He who strokes a sleeping animal.
He who justifies, or wishes to, a wrong done him.
He who is grateful for the existence of Stevenson.
He who prefers others to be right.
These people, unaware, are saving the world.
– Jorge Luis Borge

If you have time to chatter,
Read books.

If you have time to read,
Walk into mountain, desert and ocean.

If you have time to walk,
Sing songs and dance.

If you have time to dance,
Sit quietly, you happy, lucky idiot.
– Nanao Sakaki

There is not much preamble to this poem, other than I’ve been wondering how we might best care for one another right now. Perhaps this is one such way…


One winter day I went out for a walk
as the temperature composed poetry

to that cold heart which is
the single digits of February.
The air made swift and sharp
scalpel cuts through my jeans,
carving both legs into icicles
while my lungs receded into
useless sacks of stone. Even still
I headed for Wonderland Lake,

purely for the purpose of claiming
some modest fragment of sanity
amidst the insanity swelling
around the margins of our days.

I only made it to the lip of that basin
and not a step further, before fully freezing
in place. There was a clump of downy ducks
huddled together, atop a thick coat of ice;
I stood and watched as the cold smashed
shards of frost all over my stupefied face.

I will tell you now,
this is what happened
(and I promise it is true):

All the ducks abruptly stood, then
gingerly rearranged themselves––
there was one that was being warmed
in the middle of their fine circle
who graciously moved to the rim,
while some outlying fellow
found his way into the center––
then they all sat again
as cleanly as they had stood.

Several minutes passed and
the ritual repeated itself. They
all got up, the one in the middle
kindly waddled to the outer ring
while another brown and bopping
bird stepped into the center. And
once again, they hunkered down.

There was no arguing
about who would go next
and no one appeared to be
keeping close track of time.

Their fat wrapped bodies knew
when to move, who needed warming,
and how long it would take to patiently,
rhythmically keep that little raft alive.

It was a wondrous thing to behold.
So innate, considerate, resourceful.
They warmed one another as I stood
on the shore, watching and shivering

alone. I stayed for one more round
of this unchoreographed propriety,
then turned back around and headed
for the house––eyeballs numb, heart
throbbing with fortified and feathery

love. So this is how it happens, I thought.
This is how we usher one another
through the most impossible
width of our days.
– April Tierney

I’m standing at the stove cooking pancakes
when in walks a goat.
The goat is black and white and gives me
a look over the bridge of his nose that I recognize
as a look of sadness.
And so I have a sad goat in my kitchen.
The tornado sirens have stopped.
He’s countertop height.
The cast on my arm under the sleeve
of my sweater isn’t visible to the goat, and I’m
glad for that. I flip the pancakes.
The goat shakes gently his beard, kicks
his left hoof, and stomps. I try to imagine
anything as smooth as a flipped pancake
as I wait for the other side to brown.
– Julia Johnson

Ancient rishis called it Gyan-ganu, solidified Knowledge. Every particle contains all the information in the cosmos… Empty space is really not empty, but filled with bliss and knowledge. Knowing this, we simply relax and get connected.
– Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

The Gods we worship write their names on our faces; be sure of that. A person will worship something, have no doubt about that. We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Keep the company of those who seek the truth, and run from those who have found it.
– Vaclav Havel

Tara You I bow to,
Woman who smashes the evil machine,
The traps that others set,
With the roar of tret and phet.
Woman who pins them to the ground
With right leg bent and left outstretched,
Fire from Your body blazing,
A hurricane, a hellfire.

Kalu Rinpoche
My advice,
don’t be a Buddhist.
In the end it’s all about personal gain,
fame and business.
Just be a person with a good heart,
that’s the meaning
of a truthful Dharma practitioner.
We live in illusion
and the appearance of things.
There is a reality. We are that reality.
When you understand this,
you see that you are nothing,
and being nothing, you are everything.
That is all.

O Hafez, be content,
and bear this pain
in silence, that will
have to be enough.
Those who judge
…. the mystery of LoVe.
– Hafez

The Buddha-nature is absolutely pure.
It is the essential nature of all beings.
It is the root cause of liberation.
It is the indestructible, eternally present, and unchanging.
It is the source and essence of all sentiency.
It is the cause of the miraculous display of forms
perceived by the six sense organs.
It is all-pervasive like space, without parts, conceptual divisions, or hindrances.
It cannot be seen or grasped.
It is the unconditioned supreme bliss nature of a Buddha.
– Maitreya

Those of us on the front lines of the climate wars know how it feels. For decades, we’ve been under assault by politicians and fossil fuel attack dogs because of the inconvenient nature of our science—science that demonstrates the reality of climate change.

I have received death threats, and endured a multitude of attacks from conservative media outlets, Republican congressmen and attorneys general, all because of the “Hockey Stick” graph my co-authors and I published more than two decades ago. The Hockey Stick demonstrated the devastating effect burning fossil fuels has on our planet—and therefore threatened those profiting off them. So they sought to discredit my science and me personally, while orchestrating a campaign of vilification against climate scientists like me.
– Michael E. Mann, climate scientist

Painting on Plato’s Wall
by Jack Gilbert
The shadows behind people walking
in the bright piazza are not merely
gaps in the sunlight. Just as goodness
is not the absence of badness.
Goodness is a triumph. And so it is
with love. Love is not the part
we are born with that flowers
a little and then wanes as we
grow up. We cobble love together
from this and those of our machinery
until there is suddenly an apparition
that never existed before. There it is,
unaccountable. The woman and our
desire are somehow turned into
brandy by Athena’s tiny owl filling
the darkness around an old villa
on the mountain with its plaintive
mewing. As a man might be
turned into someone else while
living kind of happy up there
with the lady’s gentle dying.

Ovid in Tears
by Jack Gilbert
Love is like a garden in the heart, he said.
They asked him what he meant by garden.
He explained about gardens. “In the cities,”
he said, “there are places walled off where color
and decorum are magnified into a civilization.
Like a beautiful woman,” he said. How like
a woman, they asked. He remembered their wives
and said garden was just a figure of speech,
then called for drinks all around. Two rounds
later he was crying. Talking about how Charlemagne
couldn’t read but still made a world. About Hagia
Sophia and putting a round dome on a square
base after nine hundred years of failure.
The hand holding him slipped and he fell.
“White stone in the white sunlight,” he said
as they picked him up. “Not the great fires
built on the edge of the world.” His voice grew
fainter as they carried him away. “Both the melody
and the symphony. The imperfect dancing
in the beautiful dance. The dance most of all.

Eternal Friend,
grant us an ease
to breathe deeply of this moment,
this light,
this miracle of now.
Beneath the din and fury
of great movements
and harsh news
and urgent crises,
make us attentive still
to good news,
to small occasions,
and the grace of what is possible
for us to be,
to do,
to give,
to receive,
that we may miss neither our neighbor’s gift
nor our enemy’s need.
– Ted Loder

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

Don’t you ever mind not being rich enough
to buy all the books you want?”
– Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth

…let us examine the curious case of rabbi yehuda halevi ashlag (1884-1954). ashlag was one of the most fascinating proponents of torah-based religious anarchism. ashlag argued that the goal of religion, which is the messianic age, will be characterized by the establishment of an anarchist-communist society. ashlag’s arguments in favor of religious anarchism relate not to economic considerations per-se, but rather to existential choices founded on ethical and dialogical values. ashlag argued that in the messianic age a radical change in man’s heart will lead us from the desire to “receive and own” to the desire to “give and share”. that is to say: from having to being. it is in giving that spiritual attainment is fulfilled. for ashlag, the study of torah will bring mankind to the diminishing of the “ego” and of its principal activity manifested as “me” and “mine.” in other words, the messianic age will be the replacement of i-it-ego with a new i-thou spiritual awakening of overwhelming love for one’s neighbors. rabbi ashlag called this messianic age a “faith-based altruistic-anarcho-communist society.” “ego” here is understood not only as a state-of-consciousness, but essentially, as a way of relationship with each other and with the world…
– hune margulies

Those of us who make up poems
have agreed not to say what the pain is.

The word ashes contains in it a dark feeling for death; ashes when put on the face whiten it as death does. Job covered himself with ashes to say that the earlier comfortable Job was dead; and that the living Job mourned the dead Job. But, for us, how can we get a look at the cinders side of things when the society is determined to create a world of shopping malls and entertainment complexes in which we are made to believe that there is no death, disfigurement, illness, insanity, poverty, lethargy, or misery? Disneyland means “no ashes.”

Despite our Disneyland culture, some men around thirty-five or forty will begin to experience ashes privately, without ritual, even without old men. They begin to notice how many of their dreams have turned to ashes. A young man in high school dreams that he will be a race driver, a mountain climber, he will marry Miss America, he will be a millionaire by thirty, he will get a Nobel Prize in physics by thirty-five, he will be an architect and build the tallest building ever. He will get out of his hick town and live in Paris. He will have fabulous friends . . . and by thirty-five, all these dreams are ashes.

At thirty-five his inner stove begins to produce ashes as well. All through his twenties, his stove burned with such a good draft that he threw in whole nights until dawn, drinking parties, sexual extravagance, enthusiasm, madness, excitement. Then one day he notices that his stove doesn’t take such big chunks anymore. He opens the stove door and ashes fall out on the floor. It’s time for him to buy a small black shovel at the hardware store and get down on his knees. The ashes fall off the shovel and onto the floor, and he can see the print of our bootsoles in the ashes.
– Robert Bly, Iron John: A Book About Men, p. 81

Don’t ever tell anybody anything.
If you do, you start missing everybody.
– J.D. Salinger

What I want is a revelation.
That something or someone opens, magically,
and I can, at last, understand
the meaning of my waiting.
– Alejandra Pizarnik

Don’t mistake mere words to be the meaning of the teachings. Mingle the practice with your own being and attain liberation from samsara right now.
– Guru Rinpoche

The past is never where you think you left it.
– Katherine Ann Porter

Dearly beloved!
Let us go toward Union.
And if we find the road
That leads to separation,
We will destroy separation…
– Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi

Dismantling the Illusion
by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
We don’t need a supernatural gift
to understand emptiness.
It’s a matter of education and a willingness
to see things in terms of all their parts
and hidden causes and conditions.
With such insight, one becomes like a set designer or a camera assistant
who goes to the cinema.
Professionals see beyond what we see.
They see how the camera was positioned, which lenses and lighting equipment
were used,
how the crowds were computer generated
and all the other cinematic techniques
that the audience isn’t aware of,
and thus for them the illusion is dismantled. Yet the professionals can still enjoy themselves immensely
when they go to the cinema.
This is an example
of Siddhartha’s transcendent humour.

Like a vase, the heart breaks once.
After that, it just yields to its flaws.
– Sarah Manguso

Suzuki Roshi:
The problem with the word patience,
is that it implies we are waiting for something to get better, we are waiting for something good that will come.
A more accurate word
for this quality is constancy,
a capacity to be with what is true
moment after moment, to discover enlightenment one moment after another. Patience means understanding
that what we seek is always here.

Plunge into matter. Plunge into God.
By means of all created things, without exception, the divine assails us, penetrates us and molds us.
We imagine it as distant and inaccessible, whereas in fact, we live steeped in its burning layers.
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

The mystery of your presence can never be reduced to your role, actions, ego, or image. You are an eternal essence; this is the ancient reason why you are here.
– John O’Donohue

Everything you do to help enhance your energy flow and balance your energy are good for you. The more you can do it the better you will be at it and the more benefit you will receive. The very best, in my opinion, is connecting with the limitless, unconditional love of the universe and the infinite source. Opening your heart, connecting with this unconditional love is always the best. There is simply no more powerful healing energy than unconditional love. When you open your heart like this…then the Qi will do what is best for you naturally and spontaneously.
– Chunyi Lin

To the question, ‘What is God?’ and ‘What is man?’ the answer is that the soul, conscious of its limited existence, is ‘man’, and the soul reflected by the vision of the unlimited, is ‘God’. In plain words man’s self-consciousness is man, and man’s consciousness of his highest ideal is God.
– Hazrat Inayat Khan, The Way of Illumination

The spiritual seeker must break free
of the gravity-pull of mass culture.
– Pir Moineddin Jablonski

Aspire not only to understand the Dharma intellectually, but to understand it experientially. Aspire to embody ultimate and relative bodhichtta, so that it’s not just your good looks, knowledge and political clout that attract and magnetize sentient beings. Aspire to create connections with people – even those who catch no more than a glimpse of your brightly coloured T-shirt in a crowd – that result in the seed of Dharma being sown in their minds. Aspire that your body, your bearing, your ideas and thoughts all, in one way or another, become beneficial to sentient beings. For example, if I suddenly had an urge to check the state of the stock market, may that mundane thought mature into a beneficial manifestation. Aspire never to be reborn into the family of a billionaire, as such circumstances would mean you only see a rosy picture of the world and deprive you of the wealth of understanding the Dharma. At the same time, aspire to become President of the United States, or of China or Russia, so you can skilfully benefit sentient beings with the powers that job brings you. Aspire to become a prostitute in a seedy red-light district of a major city, and for bodhichitta to be born in the minds of anyone with whom you become acquainted. Aspire to practice the Dharma thoroughly and completely and pray that you will not always be waiting for the right time to start practising. When you have time, go somewhere quiet and practise. Aspire never to put off practising what you already know because you want to gain more intellectual Dharma knowledge. Aspire to experience sadness. Aspire always to take the right direction, however ignorant you may be. Pray that when you chase after meaningless desires, the object of your desire will lead you to benefit sentient beings. When you lose your temper, may you feel embarrassed at your behaviour and gain some realisation. When you feel depressed, may that very depression be the cause for you to realise the truth. And most important of all, always aspire to aspire.
– Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Best Foot Forward

The only way to dissolve emotions’ power
is with our wholehearted, intelligent attention.

All I know about method
is that when I am not working
I sometimes think I know something,
but when I am working, it is quite clear
that I know nothing.
– John Cage, Lecture on Nothing

You must realize I’ve never had ‘ideas’
about poetry.
To me it’s always been a personal,
almost physical release
or solution to a complex pressure of needs—
wanting to create, to justify, to praise, to explain,
to externalize, depending on the circumstances.
– Philip Larkin

It can be argued that the lack of wholeness we see in the world is a reflection and consequence of a lack of wholeness within ourselves. Climate change, for instance, is happening and accelerating due to human attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, not because of some mechanism built into nature itself. The same can be said of racism, sexism, and economic and social inequality. These problems arise from the way we see things; we are their source. Without inner change, all the revolutions and legislations and fiats in the world are not going to make a lasting difference. If our body is sick, it doesn’t matter how often we change clothes in an attempt to feel better. We need to address the sickness where it originates.
As many have said, for outer change to be deep, significant, and lasting, it needs to be coupled with inner change, with spiritual and psychological healing. It isn’t an either/or binary. In addressing the complex system of our world, both inner and outer approaches, working collaboratively, are needed. Yes, people can use spiritual and personal development as a “bypass,” using transcendence, as [John] Welwood says, to avoid the mess we are creating, but this is a people-problem, not a problem with spiritual and personal development per se.
The second issue is related. To say we need to focus only on physical needs and challenges denies the wholeness of the world, which itself is an interdependent ecology of physical, subtle, and spiritual elements and forces. Instead of seeing “spiritual bypass” as a problem, we need to consider the danger that lies in “wholeness bypass,” the continued habit—and perhaps even preference—of seeing the world in fragments, privileging certain of these fragments over others.
We are so accustomed, especially in Western culture, to thinking of reality in terms of separate categories, divisions, and hierarchies that it is a stretch to think holistically, becoming aware of how interconnected and interdependent life is. It is, I feel, the same stretch we are being asked to make in this historical time by the Black Lives Matter movement and other similar movements and efforts on the part of various minorities. To privilege one race or ethnicity, religion or culture above others is also to engage in a “wholeness bypass.” For that matter, think of all the challenges humanity is facing right now, and they all entail or arise from wholeness bypass, the unwillingness or inability to see the interconnectedness and wholeness of all things in this world and the privileging of some part of that whole over the others, usually to the detriment of the latter. Whether we say that only the material, physical realm is real, or we say that only the spiritual, subtle realm matters, either way we are engaging in wholeness bypass.
– David Spangler, Wholeness Bypass

Dystopias express our fears and utopias express our hopes. Fear is a very intense and dramatic emotion. Hope is more fragile, but it’s very stubborn and persistent.
– Kim Stanley Robinson

Anyone with gumption and a sharp mind will take the measure of two things: what’s said and what’s done.
– Seamus Heaney, Beowulf

So Much Happiness
It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.

But happiness floats.
It doesn’t need you to hold it down.
It doesn’t need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records…

Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.
– Naomi Shihab Nye

by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

It’s not because anything special happened.
Though I’ve sat in silence in desert canyons
and climbed iron rungs on overhanging cliffs
and sung in cathedrals and sung in snow caves
and hiked naked through juniper and
washed dishes in inner city shelters
and wandered the cobblestones of ancient villages,
today, sitting on the couch in my own house,
I finally understood with my whole body
how life puts us in the places we need to grow.

And so I made tea. And sat a while longer
with the windows open, listening to my longing
as it wove with the sound of the sprinklers and the oven fan
and I said to the moment, what do you ask of me?

What we do to the world we do to ourselves and each other. There is no “the environment.”
– Sarah Myhre PhD

The greatest enemy of clear language is insincerity.
– George Orwell

If we start worrying whether our nose is too big or too small, we should think, “What if I had no head? – now that would be a problem!” As long as we have life, we should rejoice. If everything doesn’t go exactly as we’d like, we can accept it. If we contemplate impermanence deeply, patience and compassion will arise. We will hold less to the apparent truth of our experience, and the mind will become more flexible. Realising that one day this body will be buried or burned, we will rejoice in every moment we have rather than make ourselves or others unhappy.
– Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche

One gram of moss from the forest floor can be home to hundreds of creatures. Yet mosses use so few resources. They are a lesson in generosity.
– Robin Wall Kimmerer

The mind of Great Love,
when directed to the Buddhas
is called devotion,
when directed to all sentient beings
without exception is called compassion.
Drubwang Rinpoche
always raised his hand and said,
‘May all sentient beings benefit’,
and truly there is no aspiration
greater than this.

It doesn’t matter whether one calls oneself
a Buddhist or not a Buddhist.
The Dharma is love.
When you see how your love touches others,
it will become your happiness
to give your happiness away.

What is called ‘blessings’
is nothing more but love.

If you are self-centered, your mind becomes narrow, like a block of ice. But when you let go and send out love to others, you will notice how your mind expands. The mind becomes open and spacious, like a vast ocean or the sky.

When you give rise to love for sentient beings, then we are exactly the same.
Ultimately, self and other are just thoughts. When we see that, we are not separate from others, we begin to fathom the preciousness
of compassion, of bodhicitta.

Love is the only cause of happiness.
Its nature is all-pervasive like space.
Love is the sunlight of the mind.
– Garchen Rinpoche

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.
– William Blake

How will you ever be satisfied?

Everything in saṃsāra undergoes constant upheaval. Millionaires become beggars, and beggars become millionaires.

Whatever happens, people are never content—
if they make a million they want to make two, and if they make two million they want to make three.

How will you ever be satisfied like that?
There is only one thing of which you should never feel you have had enough—
your Dharma practice.
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

But such cohesion is a double-edged sword. Insofar as participants are motivated by the hope of psychic completion, as opposed to concretely changing X in the world, they are likely to fixate on the group’s internal lifeworld more than the group’s external political accomplishments. This helps explain how a group’s internal processes can come to stand in for a strategy; how “tactics” can become valued more for their self-expressive and group-affirming capacities than for their instrumentality; how a would-be political group can gravitate toward self-referential rituals and rhetoric; and how the core of an initially popular “movement” like ____can quickly degenerate into insularity, impotency, and narcissism.
– Anthony Rogers-Wright

Religion made half of us afraid to die,
and the other half afraid to live.
– Jim Palmer

You don’t have to always name the explicitness
or literalness of a thing to represent the essence
of it to a reader or listener. That’s the reason
poetry works and it’s the reason painting works.
It’s not explicit. It’s figurative,
and it gives you the whole soul-body experience
without naming it in a literal sentence.
I think the work of art is to push for that
so that the reader feels it in their body to be true whether or not the explicit sentence is there. That’s how I work with material,
but I am filled with respect and enthusiasm
for people who also represent it explicitly.
– Lidia Yuknavitch

When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?
– Eleanor Roosevelt

I belong to quick, futile moments of intense feeling. Yes, I belong to moments. Not to people.
– Virginia Woolf

A poem is a gesture toward home.
– Jericho Brown

The only thing that’s been a worse flop than the organization of nonviolence has been the organization of violence.
– Joan Baez

The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence.
– Marianne Moore

To find a buddha, all you have to do is see your nature. Your nature is the buddha. And the buddha is the person who’s free, free of plans, free of cares. If you don’t see your nature and run around all day looking somewhere else, you’ll never find a buddha.
– Bodhidharma

If enough people had confidence in their own basic goodness, it would cause a shift in the entire culture.
– Pema Chödrön

(dear Father
you always were a bore
but I loved you more
than interesting things
and in your honor
I’ve felt the same about myself
and everyone I’ve ever met)
– Mary Ruefle, White Buttons

You drifted your Dominions –
A Different Peru –
And I esteemed all Poverty
For Life’s Estate with you –
– Emily Dickinson, 418, 1862

As a poet, it is not my job to win you over with a persuasive argument, but to impart to you a vibrational experience that is capable of awakening your desire for another world.
– Loneberry Wang

When you’re wide open, the world is a good place.
– Sharon Salzberg

The ability to share sacrifice collectively is the ultimate yardstick by which any society is measured. It would also bring a much-needed spiritual balm. For decades our society has been confused and rudderless, lost in a spiritual wasteland of capitalism and consumption.
– Peter Kalmus

If you’re an Earth scientist and you’re scared by what you see and where the Earth system is heading, please say so, in very plain, even vulgar language, and as publicly as you can. What’s happening isn’t remotely OK and I think we have a duty to let everyone feel it.
– Peter Kalmus

john zbigniew guzlowski:

It’s easy to believe.
Hard to question.

God loves a questioner.

Samsara is to see fault in others.

The artists and writers who brought something back from the other side feel less dead somehow…
– sven birkerts

A paradox: in high society, one underhears; fallen into solitude, one overhears.
– Heather McHugh

by Jane Zwart
Both a borrower and a lender be–

both, even though, in the lease,
as in grace, it’s easier
if you assume the lordly part.

To part with a grudge or to trust
your son with the van cannot hold
a candle, for effort, to being forgiven

or even to taking an umbrella
held out by a young man in the rain.

But so much grows stronger or more sweet
only by passing between us.

Wearing my mother’s sweater, I crib
from the unworried cuffs a half-familiar joy

and later my mother, the sweater returned,
tugs it on before my warmth
can leave the sleeves.

Modern society will find no solution to the ecological problem unless it takes a serious look at its lifestyle.
– Pope John Paul II

In the evening we shall be examined on love.
– St. John of the Cross

And it won’t be multiple choice,
though some of us would prefer it that way.
Neither will it be essay, which tempts us to run on
when we should be sticking to the point, if not together.
In the evening there shall be implications
our fear will change to complications. No cheating,
we’ll be told, and we’ll try to figure the cost of being true
to ourselves. In the evening when the sky has turned
that certain blue, blue of exam books, blue of no more
daily evasions, we shall climb the hill as the light empties
and park our tired bodies on a bench above the city
and try to fill in the blanks. And we won’t be tested
like defendants on trial, cross-examined
till one of us breaks down, guilty as charged. No,
in the evening, after the day has refused to testify,
we shall be examined on love like students
who don’t even recall signing up for the course
and now must take their orals, forced to speak for once
from the heart and not off the top of their heads.
And when the evening is over and it’s late,
the student body asleep, even the great teachers
retired for the night, we shall stay up
and run back over the questions, each in our own way:
what’s true, what’s false, what unknown quantity
will balance the equation, what it would mean years from now
to look back and know
we did not fail.
– Thomas Centolella

We have been sent gurus, guides, angels, healers, provocateurs, allies and antagonists in all shapes and sizes. Our partners, our kids, friends and family members, lovers. Our therapists, our work colleagues, strangers on the subway.
Our true teachers are all around us. Because the true teachings of life are ancient and lie deep within us.
All the people in our lives right now have gifts to offer. Some gifts are obvious. Some gifts are only realised in hindsight.
Through some relationships we are taught how to listen. To receive someone else’s truth without rushing in to fix them, advise them or stop them feeling what they’re feeling. To take their world seriously. To get out of our own heads. To lose our self-absorption and narcissism and step into different shoes.
Some relationships teach us how to hear ourselves, connect with our own wants and needs. To share our authentic feelings honestly, speak what’s really going on in our inner world, even as our hearts pound and we worry how we’ll be received.
Some relationships teach us how to be loved, how to let love in. How to allow ourselves to be supported. To ask for help and not see that as a weakness. To be looked after. To be cared for. To receive loving attention. To be held in another’s compassionate gaze. To let that compassion in. To know that we are so deserving of that.
Some connections teach us how to give support, to pay attention to another person’s feelings and needs, to look after another. To take the lead and step in and step out of our own stuff. To give our time and attention, our emotional and physical strength. To offer the gift of our willing sacrifice. To discover our limits in the giving too. To give from a place of self-nourishment, not guilt.
Some relationships teach us the necessity of speaking up for ourselves. They force us to get honest about what’s not okay for us, what hurts, what feels wrong, what feels like ‘too much’ or ‘too little’. To become aware of when our boundaries have been crossed. To express our righteous anger, the part of us that feels unseen, unheard, not respected, abused. To respect ourselves enough to say “No”, despite the consequences.
Sometimes we learn through break ups, heartbreaks, the death and transformation of relationships. We find the courage to take a step out of something that’s unhealthy for us, step out of the old and into the unknown, step into aliveness, step into heartbreak and feelings of loneliness maybe, step into our power and honour our precious hearts as they close and open and close and open and…
Sometimes we grow by staying in relationship when we feel like leaving and stepping away. Staying present during conflict and misunderstanding, feeling our feelings of anger, fear, grief and exasperation, shame and guilt, expressing our painful or blissful truth. Finding power in the staying. Slowing down and looking together at the mess. Finding a place of reconnection, maybe. Making amends, maybe. Saying sorry, maybe. Owning our wounds and actions.
Sometimes relationship teaches us how to be with another and sometimes it teaches us how to be with ourselves. How to stop running from our precious aloneness. To find the joy in silence, stillness, solitude.
To be One. To be two.
To unify. To separate.
To sense when we are out of balance.
To sense when we feel neglected.
Empty. Full.
To take seriously our need to be alone.
To take seriously our need for companionship.
To know when we are hiding, afraid of being seen, avoiding connection.
To know when we are addictively abandoning ourselves for another, running from ourselves to meet another in codependency, expecting to be saved, fixed, mended, made whole.
Sometimes relationship is bliss.
Sometimes it is confusing, agonising.
We are called to touch the heights of intimacy.
We are called to touch the depths of our existential loneliness and deepest longings.
We are called to know ourselves.
All experiences on the path of relationship can teach us, change us, heal us.
Even in the struggle, we can find blessings and insights.
If we are willing to slow down and look.
If we are willing to stay curious and do the courageous work of softening into our embodied experience.
If we are willing to feel into the pains and pleasures of relating.
Deep in the tantric mud, we may strike gold.
– Jeff Foster

From Blame to Love
Evolution has rigged all of us with a negativity bias—a survival-driven habit to scan for what’s wrong and fixate on it. In contemporary society, a pervasive target is our own sense of unworthiness. We habitually fixate on how we’re falling short—in our relationships, work, appearance, mood, and behaviors. And while self-aversion is our primary reflex, we also fixate on the faults of others—how they’re letting us down and how they should be different. Whether we’re focusing inwardly or outwardly, we’re creating an enemy and imprisoning ourselves in the sense of a separate, threatened self.
While negativity bias is a key part of our survival apparatus, when it dominates our daily life we lose access to the more recently evolved parts of our brain, which contribute to feelings of connection, empathy, and well-being. What can decondition the negativity bias? How do we shift from limbic reactivity to “attend and befriend”? Here are three ways that help us awaken our full potential for natural presence and caring.
Look for the Vulnerability
First, look toward the vulnerability, starting with ourselves. When we’re blaming ourselves, we can ask, “What’s really going on here? What has driven me to behave this way?” Perhaps you’ll see you were afraid to fall short, and that fear made you act exactly how you didn’t want to act. Or maybe you’ll see you wanted approval because you were feeling insecure, so you ended up betraying yourself and not acting with integrity. When you begin to understand that you’re hurting, you’ll naturally shift out of blame and into self-compassion.
When triggered by others, first bring a kind presence to your own feelings of vulnerability. Once you’re more present and balanced, try to look through the eyes of wisdom at what might be behind their behavior. How might this person be caught in their own sense of inadequacy or confusion? If you can see how this person might be suffering, you’ll reconnect with a natural sense of tenderness.
Actively Express Compassion
When compassion arises, the next step is actively expressing it. This is what brings compassion fully to life. If you’re working on self-compassion, look to the vulnerable part of yourself to sense what it most needs from you. Is it forgiveness? Acceptance? Companionship? Safety? Love? Then from the wisest, kindest place in your being, try to offer what’s most needed. Either mentally or with a whisper, you might say your name and send a message of kindness to yourself. Perhaps place a hand gently on your heart or cheek, or even give yourself a hug as a way of conveying, from your more awake heart, “I’m here with you. I care.”
If you’re working with compassion for others, it’s powerful and healing to communicate your recognition of their suffering and your care. We all know that when we’re with somebody we love, if we actually say the words “I love you” out loud, it brings the love to a new level. If you want to reverse your negativity bias with someone—to reverse your habits of blaming or distancing—look for their vulnerability and then, either through prayer or in person, offer them understanding and kindness.
Include Those Who Seem Different
Part of our negativity bias and the cause of much racial, religious, and other domains of violence, is we assume potential danger—something wrong—associated with those who are different. A practice that evolves us (and our larger society) toward inclusive loving is intentionally deepening our relationships with others of difference. When we communicate on purpose, trying to understand, it opens us to the larger truth of our interconnectedness.
While our brain has a flight/fight/freeze mechanism, it also has a compassion network, which includes mirror neurons that allow us to register what it’s like for another. We can sense that others want to feel loved and loving, safe and happy. When we feel that connection, it enables us to act on behalf of each other, the relationship, or larger community. But unless we purposefully take time to pause and listen to others of difference, we won’t automatically engage that part of our brain. To have these heart-awakening dialogues, we need to intentionally create safe containers.
In the same way we train on the cushion, we can train in conscious communication with each other and gradually widen the circles to connect with those who may be more notably of difference. There are many effective practices, such as insight dialogue, nonviolent communication, and circles of reconciliation, which offer formal structures for communicating. Importantly, we need to practice in our close relationships. A couple of times a week, my husband and I meditate together and have a period of silence where we reflect on inquires such as “What are you grateful for right now?” and “What is difficult for you right now?” We also ask “Is there anything between us that’s getting in the way of an open, loving flow?” The other person listens with a kind, accepting presence, and we each get to name what we’re experiencing.
What about those who aren’t willing to engage in conversation with us? Fortunately, our capacity to feel connection isn’t hitched to their capacity to connect to us. Of course, it’s easier to feel it when there’s mutuality, but we can offer kindness from our hearts regardless. It’s possible to do this in every situation, with every person we meet.
I have a morning prayer that’s really simple: “Teach me about kindness.” When I move through the day with that informing me, the moments become filled with presence, tenderness, and aliveness, even when I encounter challenging people, myself included!
It’s natural that in the face of hurt, injustice, and deception we feel fear, hatred, and anger. But the negativity bias can lock us into being at war with ourselves and others. It’s important that we pause, be with ourselves and each other, and open fully to the feelings that arise. When we honor those feelings, we can get beneath them, down to our human vulnerability and the care that’s really our essence. It then becomes possible to respond to our world aligned with our hearts.
– Tara Brach

A woman in a coma was dying. She suddenly had a feeling that she was taken up to heaven and stood before the Judgement Seat.
“Who are you?” a Voice said to her.
“I’m the wife of the mayor,” she replied.
“I did not ask you whose wife you are
but who you are.”
“I’m the mother of four children.”
“I did not ask whose mother you are,
but who you are.”
“I’m a schoolteacher.”
“I did not ask you what your profession is
but who you are.”
And so it went. No matter what she replied, she did not seem to give a satisfactory answer to do question. “Who are you?”
“I’m a Christian.”
“I did not ask what your religion is
but who are you.”
“I’m the one who went to church every day and always helped the poor and needy.”
“I did not ask you what you did not
but who you are.”
She evidently failed the examination for she was sent back to earth. When she recovered from her illness she determined to find out who she was. And that made all the difference.
Your duty is to be. Not to be somebody, not to be nobody—for therein lies greed and ambition—not to be this or that—and thus become conditioned—but just to be.
– Anthony deMello

The real world doesn’t care
about our spiritual conditions,

just asks that we be well
enough to smile at its clamor.

– Kaveh Akbar

The larger goal of Deep Democracy is not me changing you and you changing me. But we learning how to relate.
– Arnold Mindell

In the fast-fading century,
As we spin through the years,
I pray that our daily vision clears
– Dan Fogelberg

Mend your soul
with Wine, ….
for this ruinous world
intends to make
…. bricks from our dust.
– Hafez

Something must be
growing here, right?
Because otherwise
how do you forgive
yourself for your rotting?
– Brenna Twohy

The true purpose [of Zen] is to see things as they are, to observe things as they are, and to let everything go as it goes… Zen practice is to open up our small mind.

Zen is not some fancy, special art of living. Our teaching is just to live, always in reality, in its exact sense. To make our effort, moment after moment, is our way. In an exact sense, the only thing we actually can study in our life is that on which we are working in each moment. We cannot even study Buddha’s words.”

So we should be concentrated with our full mind and body on what we do; and we should be faithful, subjectively and objectively, to ourselves, and especially to our feelings. Even when you do not feel so well, it is better to express how you feel without any particular attachment or intention. So you may say, “Oh, I am sorry, I do not feel well.
– Shunryu Suzuki

Ignorance is simply not knowing the facts, having the facts wrong, or having incomplete knowledge.
All of these forms of ignorance lead to misunderstanding and misinterpretation, overestimation and underestimation.
Suppose that you are searching for your friend and you see him in a distant field. When you approach, you discover that you have mistaken a scarecrow for your friend. You are bound to be disappointed.
It is not as if either the mischievous scarecrow or your friend tried sneakily to mislead you, it is your own ignorance that betrayed you.

Profound truths aside, these days even the most practical and obvious truths are ignored. We are like monkeys who dwell in the forest and shit on the very branches from which we hang. Every day we hear people talking about the state of the economy, not recognizing the connection between recession and greed.
Because of greed, jealousy, and pride, the economy will never become strong enough to ensure that every person has access to the basic necessities of life. Our dwelling place, the Earth, becomes more and more polluted. I have met people who condemn ancient rulers and emperors and ancient religions as the source of all conflict. But the secular and modern world has not done any better; if anything, it has done worse. What is it that the modern world has made better? One of the main effects of science and technology has been to destroy the world more quickly. Many scientists believe that all living systems and all life-support systems on Earth are in decline.
It’s time for modern people like ourselves to give some thought to spiritual matters, even if we have no time to sit on a cushion, even if we are put off by those who wear rosaries around their necks, and even if we are embarrassed to exhibit our religious leanings to our secular friends. Contemplating the impermanent nature of everything that we experience and the painful effect of clinging to the self brings peace and harmony—if not to the entire world, at least within our own sphere.

– Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, What Makes You Not a Buddhist

If you are able, through your development of wisdom and skillful means, to unite the teachings with your life, then true results will be achieved.
– Gyatrul Rinpoche

Perhaps it will take a lifetime

(or five) to discover every
sister, brother. Heartbeat
elephantine, serpentine,

opposite of saturnine.
I drive in the downpour,
the road conjugated

into uproar, by hearts
I do not know.
– Chen Chen

I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.
– Frida Kahlo

When we talk about rights of nature, in my brain it’s about shifting our perspective more toward commensalism. That way, we can learn how to create a relationship where we are able to survive, but aren’t affecting nature in a negative way, because if we do, the consequences are we perish.
– Kealoha, Hawaii’s Poet Laureate

Observe things as they are and don’t pay attention to other people. There are some people just like mad dogs barking at everything that moves, even barking when the wind stirs among the grass and leaves.

Observa las cosas tal como son y no prestes atención a otras personas. Hay personas como perros rabiosos que ladran a todo lo que se mueve, incluso ladran cuando el viento se agita entre la hierba y las hojas.
– Huang Po

There are people in the future who need us.
– Dimple Kapadia

Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them.
– John Ruskin

I declare after all there is no enjoyment
like reading!
How much sooner one tires of any thing
than of a book!—
When I have a house of my own,
I shall be miserable
if I have not an excellent library.
– Jane Austen

Poems are special because they make a space, a real space, where we can all go. This place is a city called The Imagination. It is whatever you want it to be, half-dreamworld, half-Paradise, half-light and ashes, but poems are the special things that make it real forever.
– Dorothea Lasky

She writes so as not to forget things, or else she writes in order to forget things and invent other things more worthy of remembrance.
– Josefine Klougart, One of Us Is Sleeping

If you simply walk on the beach as we are doing, you have no special color. But if you travel with a purpose, it is different. When you go somewhere important or you return home from a long journey, you build a shape around you and it reaches out ahead to touch your destination.
– Lyall Watson

Like night, when the sunset is fading
And starbeams troop up in the skies,
Through a cold, dark and lonely forever
Gleams the light of the poet eyes.
– Voltairine de Cleyre

If we only think about the coming election, and neglect to train ourselves in our civic duties, we will not escape the revolving door of our current crises. Before we can have the kind of government we aspire to, we must first learn and teach the kind of character that makes the social contract possible in the first place. Elections cannot possibly produce good leaders if we are not first good citizens. In the ancient world there were sometimes thought to be four cardinal virtues: courage, wisdom, temperance and justice.
A democratic republic requires tremendous courage. We must love freedom enough to risk our lives for it. If we lack the virtue courage it is a matter of time before demagogic leaders will use our fear of strangers to trick us into surrendering our every liberty in a spineless attempt to protect ourselves from the monstrous figures concocted by their own shadow play.
In a time when we are so overwhelmed by information we need wisdom to sort out, first what is true, and then what is important. When presented with a “fact” we must learn to ask ourselves, and each other, “how do you know that?” And we must stop uncritically passing on information we have not personally validated. Democracy demands that we think critically and question authority. The virtue wisdom reminds us that our arguments can be completely logical and yet have nothing to do with our shared biological and ecological necessities.
Democracy must be understood as a bridge, not only to enlightened self-interest, but also to the common good. In order to want the common good, we must learn to balance our appetites so they do not drive us to exploit others in order to fulfill our own appetites. In an age of advertising we can be driven to hunger and thirst for things that unravel our character and distract us from our noblest values.
The fourth virtue is justice. Justice is where we learn to value another’s happiness as much as our own. “Success” is not a virtue if the cause is not noble. “Winning” is no victory if the cause is unjust. The virtue justice is seeking a happiness that might be shared by all, and giving others every right we would claim for ourselves.
The coming election is VERY important but we must never forget the fact that, in a democratic republic, the most important office is that of citizen.
– Jim Rigby

The original version in English…

Awaken bodhichitta

This is His word to all

Awaken bodhichitta

Selfishness forestall

Awaken bodhichitta
The Buddha’s ceaseless call.

More than a mine of diamond
More than a jewel of gold

More than a hall of treasure

The Dharma He has told
Will precious be forever
And never will grow old

When bodhisattvas hear or
Conceive the perfect way
They feel great calmness in them
As at he break of day

As when the sun arises

And darkness flies away.

They’re not afraid nor startled
They are not overawed
For harmonies they hear then
Revive a deeper chord
A music that allows them
To wield Manjushri’s sword

Steadfast determination
Arises in them now
They understand the meaning
Of the eternal vow
How minds of great compassion
Omniscience allow.

Wholeheartedly they go forth
Enlightenment to seek
The treasures in their pure hearts
They give to help the weak
And surely as Gotama
They’ll reach the Dharma peak.

Awaken bodhichitta
No better path than this
Awaken bodhichitta

Where nothing is amiss
Awaken bodhichitta
The path of perfect bliss

– Namo Buddha

I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it’s just too much. The current’s too strong. They’ve got to let go, drift apart. That’s how it is with us. It’s a shame, Kath, because we’ve loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can’t stay together forever.
– Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

Sometimes we pray to a God
outside of ourselves.
It is the God in the midst of us
that frees and heals.
– Mary Caroline “Myrtle” Page Fillmore

Aim to be you. Aim to look & act & think like you. Aim to be the truest version of you. Embrace that you-ness. Endorse it. Love it. Work hard at it & don’t give a second thought when people mock it or ridicule it. Most gossip is envy in disguise.
– Matt Haig, The Midnight Library

Falling might very well be flying…without the tyranny of coordinates.
– Bayo Akomolafe

Thich Nhat Hanh once said that “the moment of awakening is marked by an outburst of laughter. But this is not the laughter of someone who suddenly acquires a great fortune. Neither is it the laughter of one who has won a great victory. It is, rather, the laughter of one who after having painfully searched for something a very long time finds it one morning in the pocket of his coat.” This freedom is here within us at this very moment. Freedom then reveals the love that is also present and possible within our lives and between us.

We have been in this crisis for a long time. This is the same thing coming back over and over and over again. It’s a bad nightmare that won’t go away because our will has to be lifted out of this pattern of unconscious agreements. We are really invited to an act of will that is more liberating and starting here, maybe we can choose that.
– Orland Bishop

I’m in a constant process of thinking about things.
– Richard Brautigan

In the end, the only things worth doing are the things that might possibly break your heart.
– Colum McCann

Love always and fervently.
A person; a thing; an experience. Life itself.
Do not let your life become a loveless husk.
– Tennessee Williams

Your goodness must have some edge to it.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is too much here, the sapphire, the thistle,
the oregano blooms in June, everything extravagant –
the rich peat of what decays, the ruins that don’t decay,
these especially are too much, the temples and statues
in their stark marble glow, that simplicity which is not simple at all.
This sheen of time, the wear of wars, the famine years
of Occupation, lucent as the columns standing stoic, Doric –
their weight has whittled the people: the weight of that antiquity,
of those stones, the grandeur and pride – too much
in this moment, this present crushed by the evidence,
the result of living with beheaded gods, and maimed still
beautiful torsos, the muscled limbs in chipped robes.
They plague our dreams, what was once achieved is now
incomplete, these pieces of the golden age aging
in the midst of traffic, too much, the yelling and honking,
the protests in the middle of everything – people are impatient;
how can anyone be patient, overwhelmed as they are.
Even the oregano’s thick perfume, the sapphire sea, remind people
of extravagant loves and sacrifice, while here, now,
ghosts live on as gods and their impossibility.
 – Adrianne Kalfopoulou

No one has ever written, painted, sculpted,
modeled, built, or invented
except literally to get out of hell.
– Antonin Artaud

The need for an empty space, a pause, is something we have all felt in our bones; it’s the rest in a piece of music that gives it resonance and shape.
– Pico Iyer

Loving life is easy when you are abroad.
Where no one knows you
and you hold your life in your hands all alone,
you are more master of yourself than at any other time.
– Hannah Arendt

What art offers is space—
a certain breathing room for the spirit.
– John Updike

If your heart is a volcano,
how shall you expect flowers to bloom?
– Kahlil Gibran

To achieve anything today
an artist has to develop a conscious strictness
in respect of time which in former ages
might have seemed neurotic and selfish,
for he must never forget
that he is living in a state of siege.
– W.H. Auden

We may interpret “The Middle Way”
as meaning moderation or balance,
or, as a way to avoid taking a stand.
But, in his timeless teaching,
the Buddha introduces us to another less obvious but stunning way to see the world —
a way beyond dualism.
He suggests that beyond dualism,
lies a world of compassionate
and creative possibilities.
These avail themselves to us
when we recognize that things
are not limited to the labels we assign them.
– Elizabeth Mattis Namgye

As long as you read this poem
I will be writing it.
I am writing it here and now,
before your eyes,
although you can’t see me.
Perhaps you’ll dismiss this
as a verbal trick,
the joke is you’re wrong;
the real trick
is your pretending
this is something
fixed and solid,
external to us both.
I tell you better:
I will keep on
writing this poem for you
even after I’m dead.
– Alden Nowlan, An Exchange of Gifts

Self-interest and self-concern are the focal points of the false. Your daily life vibrates between desire and fear. Watch it intently and you will see how the mind assumes innumerable names and shapes, like a river foaming between the boulders. Trace every action to its selfish motive and look at the motive intently till it dissolves. Discard every self-seeking motive as soon as it is seen and you need not look for truth; truth will find you.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

I am afraid
because of the foolishness
I have spoken.
I must diet
on silence;
strengthen myself
with quiet.

Where is the wisdom
with which I may be medicined?
I will walk by myself
and cure myself
in the sunshine and the wind.
– Charles Reznikoff, Autobiography: New York

We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the Earth. Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

A way of life that keeps saying ‘Around the next corner, above the next step,’ works against the natural order of things and makes it so difficult to be happy and good.
– Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

Rebecca Tamás:
Good’ and ‘bad’ universities don’t really exist – there is only well funded and underfunded. Especially in an academic job market this competitive, you are bound to be taught by experienced & expert academics WHEREVER you go. Don’t be tricked by the narrative of hierarchy.

Although we say mountains belong to the country, actually, they belong to those that love them.
– Dōgen Zenji

There is no time left for anything but to make peacework a dimension of our every waking activity.
– Elise Boulding

There are others who know about this miracle birth
The humblest of people catch a glimpse of their worth
For it isn’t to the palace that the Christ child comes
But to shepherds and street people, hookers and bums
– Bruce Cockburn

Normalize seeing being triggered as a divine reminder of what you need to heal.
– Inner Practicioner

When learning becomes you,
then it appears as you need it,
when you are being you.
– Chungliang Al Huang

I believe that people were not so allergic to their #environment until they began polluting themselves and their world with so many drugs and toxins.
– Garth Stein

The shadow side of nostalgia, when you can’t open a letter or listen to a certain record because it holds too much of who you once were, and the measure of what you thought was in store …
– sven birkets

Don’t let your heart be colonized by fear.
– Jack Kornfield

The moment we want to be something, we are no longer free.
– J. Krishnamurti

I will tell you a terrible secret: language is punishment. Language must encompass all things and in it all things must again transpire according to guilt and the degree of guilt.
– Ingeborg Bachmann – Malina

To fall off a good horse is at least worthwhile.
– Yiddish proverb

One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible.
– Daniel Berrigan

Positive transformation is usually incremental. Small efforts, if concrete, will pile up and bring about big personal, and even social, change.
– Shinso Ito

Without always knowing what we were doing we were constantly adjusting to the arbitrariness by which we were surrounded.
– V.S. Naipaul

Your silence exists as does my self gathering. But so does the almost absolute silence of the world’s dawning. In such suspension, before every utterance on earth, there is a cloud, an almost immobile air.

Believe one who knows: you will find something greater in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.
– Saint Bernard de Clairvaux

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.
– Carl Sagan

…But beware:
God is change.
Past is past.
What was
Come again..

To survive,
know the past.
Let it touch you.
Then let
The past
– Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Talents

We have to cultivate a vision of a happier, more peaceful future and make the effort now to bring it about.
– Dalai Lama XIV

The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence.
– Marianne Moore

We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles.
– Jimmy Carter

A crowd whose discontent has risen no higher than the level of slogans is only a crowd.
– Wendell Berry

Usually, I am happy to write in my head. It’s easier. In your head there are no difficulties to get in the way. But, as soon as you write anything down, the thoughts change, become distorted, and everything turns out false. Because of words.
– Agota Kristof

Ethan Nichtern:
I’ve joked before that the Buddhist way to say “f-ck you” to someone is: “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to practice.

Just thought it might come in handy over the next 82 days. (before the election)

All of us …carry about in our heads places and landscapes we shall never forget because we have experienced such intensity of life there…we accord these places…a special place in our memories and imaginations. They live on in us….
– Roger Deakin

Adrienne Tamar Archne:

It’s just that you’re not that feminine.

I beg to differ.

I’m feminine like a thunderstorm.

Feminine like the glint of a falcon talon.

Feminine like an ancient redwood.

Feminine like the orange glow of a grizzly bear in the sunset.

Feminine like a wolf on the hunt.

Feminine like decaying bones.

Feminine like the eye of an old whale.

Feminine like a roaring river.

Feminine like a sheer cliff overlooking a forest.

Feminine like a wildfire.

Feminine like a desert wind.

Feminine like a battle cry.

And yes.

Within my stones and bark and fur and fierce slit irises .. I am as soft and enveloping as any woman who’s blood ever beat red.

This is the Sovereigness.

I am her.
We are her.

We are an age of woman who has come in, representing the medicine of the Wilds.

We are not built to actualize your sense of masculinity through your traditional idea of femininity.

We are built to bring in the voice of our Mother.

Which is why Earth herself screams in our veins.

So, if what you really mean is,
“Your femininity is overwhelming”,

Then I understand.

It is to me, too.

Dualism is the real root of our suffering and of all our conflicts. All our concepts and beliefs, no matter how profound they may seem, are like nets which trap us in dualism. When we discover our limits we have to try to overcome them, untying ourselves from whatever type of religious, political or social conviction may condition us. We have to abandon such concepts as ‘enlightenment’, ‘the nature of the mind’, and so on, until we are no longer satisfied by a merely intellectual knowledge, and until we no longer neglect to integrate our knowledge with our actual existence.
– Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

You know the mind is an astonishing,
long-living, erotic thing.
– Grace Paley

It’s not about politics anymore. It’s not about Dems and Republicans. Not about right vs. left. It’s now about truth and hope and fairness and preserving the planet for our children …versus almost incomprehensible greed, stupidity, disloyalty, narrowness of vision, and downright evil.
– Michael Jones

Ajahn Chah:
Any speech which ignores uncertainty
is not the speech of a sage.

I think literature is the best technology we have
for communicating the experience
of consciousness,
for capturing what thinking feels like.
To do that, consciousness has to be embedded in
a particular place, a particular time,
a particular body;
one sign of the success of a piece of writing,
for me, is the extent to which I feel immersed
in a physical environment.
– Garth Greenwell

Let the day grow on you upward
through your feet,
the vegetal knuckles,
to your knees of stone,
until by evening you are a black tree;
feel, with evening,
the swifts thicken your hair,
the new moon rising out of your forehead,
and the moonlit veins of silver
running from your armpits
like rivulets under white leaves.
Sleep, as ants
cross over your eyelids.
You have never possessed anything
as deeply as this.
This is all you have owned
from the first outcry
through forever;
you can never be dispossessed.
– Derek Walcott, Earth

To My Twenty-Five-Year-Old Self
by Brenda Shaugnessy

Billy Collins, have you any
Idea how important

You were to my twenty-five-year-
Old self? You weren’t

Poet laureate yet, you
Were just a teacher I had

In Ireland. You were
Expansive and you

Believed in me.
I felt like a real poet

With you for the first
Time even though we

Argued about feminism
And things that mattered.

I was just at that cusp
Of being someone who wanted

So desperately to write,
Tipping over into becoming a writer.

I was fighting it. I didn’t know
How to be except angry.

I was frightened. What if I
Could be good? What if

I would never be good?
Would your attention

Be all I’d ever really have
Of poetry? How could I know?

And so I was angry at you.
And between the lesbian

Love I’d left in New York
Who, I’m grateful, convinced

Me to buy contact lenses
So I could see the green

Hills, and the British physicist
I’d end up in bed with

Before I’d left Ireland,
There was something pure

And aboveboard, not teacherly
But generous, and lovely

And incomplete and no
One thing. I won’t forget it:

The way you laughed
At some mean joke, at some

Ugly truth, into the wind
So it blew back into our happy,

Stupid faces on a ferry made me understand,
This is love the way poets know it.

And my problem was that I always tried to go in everyone’s way but my own.
– Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Whispering, then listening close
from the vision of one
casting away his all, instantly,
out of an omnipotent hand.

Thus I read the knowledge
of the scholar
in a single word,
and I reveal all the worlds to me
with a simple glance.

I hear the many voices
of those who pray in every tongue
in a space of the time
shorter than a flash.

And I bring, before me
what before had been
too far away to bear,
in a blink of my eye.

I inhale the bouquet of gardens
and the sweet scent clinging to
the skirts of the four winds,
in a simple breath.

I survey the far horizons round me
in a momentary thought,
and cross the seven heavens
with a single step.
– Umar Ibn al- Farid

No matter which vehicle that you choose to travel in, whether it is a train, aeroplane, or car, you will not reach your destination without fuel. Likewise, no matter which practice that you engage in, whether it is sutra, tantra, or dzogchen, you will not reach buddhahood without bodhicitta.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

You deserve a world without smoke in the sky, whether from militarized police, coal fired power plants, or climate change induced wildfires.
– Dr. Elizabeth Sawin

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
by Kevin Young
I have driven for miles with bottles
left on my roof—
for miles folks pointing
out warnings
I thought welcomes.
I have waved back.
The sound
of broken glass
follows me around
like a stray.
Good boy.
And the whales
washing themselves
nothing can save—
all day blankets wet
their skin like we’re taught
to put fires out.
And the volunteers pushing them
back out at high tide
sleep well, exhausted, even
proud—before forty more,
the same, days later pilot
themselves ashore again,
blowholes opening
and closing like fists.
And the sound.
And the fires out West
started by someone
lighting love letters
she didn’t want—
turns out to be a lie.
Blue blue windows
behind the stars.
And what if they had
been people instead
of whales, my mother wonders,
Would that many
gather to save us?
Just enough
light to read.

You’re wearing your armor to protect your heart. / Who could blame you? / It only makes sense in a world like this one.
– Frank LaRue Owen

How is it / that we can all come-and-go / and never really / ever know / the other?
– Frank LaRue Owen

I remember now. This heart-mind river has picked up the cobalt-blue thread again.

A trace-line of what-once-was twirling around the fingers of an open hand.

I tie the invisible cord around my neck and step out under the hazy moon. I’m a newborn, smiling, as if I’ve never seen one.
– Frank LaRue Owen

To try to write love
is to confront the muck of language;
that region of hysteria
where language is both too much and too little,
excessive (by the limitless expansion of the ego,
by emotive submersion) and impoverished
(by the codes on which love diminishes
and levels it).
– Roland Barthe

And so I have had to deal with wild
intractable people all my days
and have been led astray in a world
of shattered moonlight and beasts and trees
where no one ever curtsies anymore
or has an understudy.
– Mary Ruefle, Provenance

You spend all of your time reacting to it, resisting it or resenting it, but you are not able to obtain any distance from it…You must react everyday to what is happening. But that is no way to write a book or a sentence.
– James Baldwin

Outside is form.
Inside is thought.
Deepest is the soul.
– Deng Ming-Dao

Go around the thing everyone else is writing. Don’t put on the blinker. Swerve. Brake fast. Or just get out of the car. Hitch a ride elsewhere.
– Jill Talbot

The word is hidden, it becomes hermetic. I want to tear off the mask, so many masks! leave it all naked. Know of its foams when it appears in great breath. The word escapes. Chasing her relentlessly, my life escapes me.
– Antonia Palacio

It is true that there is not enough beauty in the world.
It is also true that I am not competent to restore it.
Neither is there candor, and here I may be of some use.
– Louise Glück, Averno

The curve of her
courage is always
in season.
– @1Camisha

Dependence, humility, simplicity, cooperation, and a sense of abandon are qualities greatly prized in the spiritual life, but extremely elusive for people who live in comfort.
– Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew

Sourness and bitterness come from the interfering and unappreciative mind. Life itself, when understood and utilized for what it is, is sweet.
– Benjamin Hoff

Spiritual, not-spiritual, same. If we are on a spiritual path, and we are all one, then we are all on a spiritual path. This includes the least spiritual people you know or can imagine.
– B. D. Schiers

It’s always with another key that you unlock the house—inside: the snowdrifts of what’s never spoken.
– Paul Celan

Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise.
– George Washington Carver

Health comes before making a livelihood.
– Yiddish proverb

Focus, not on the rudeness of others, not on what they’ve done or left undone, but on what you have and haven’t done yourself.
– The Dhammapada

Those days are gone,
the days of rapture & awe,
of daydreams and dreams,
days when each shadow bore a secret….
– Forough Farrokhzad

Someone is coming
Someone is coming
Someone else
Someone better
Someone like no one else…
– Forough Farrokhzad

I dreamed someone’s coming.
I dreamed of a red star.
My eyelids keep jumping
and my shoes keep pairing.
Blind me if I lie.
– Forough Farrokhzad

Peace is not a relationship of nations. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul.
– Jawaharlal Nehru

Always remember, your focus determines your reality.
– George Lucas

A real friend in one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.
– Walter Winchell

Discernment is a vital part of our consciousness. If your higher consciousness can guide you to the ethical thing, that is not dualism, it is discernment.
– Vandana Shiva

Reconciliation is not to quickly forgive and forget, as if it never happened or we somehow are gifted with a form of amnesia. Reconciliation requires that we remember and change, but with honesty about our experience and curiosity about the humanness of the other whom we fear.
– John Paul Lederach

Robert N Stonehill:
I got interested in spirituality after many years studying psychology—biases, ingroups, ego, shadow, projection.

There seems a huge gap—even now—on teaching Basic Practical Psychology. If we’re lucky, we start learning how biased we are by age 30. But we know some trigonometry.

I have never felt a kinship with Gaeldom, only love, real love.
– Margaret Faye Shaw

You are a poet and sometimes it helps you and sometimes it distances you from others.
– Shira Erlichman

What I expect from writers—and from myself as a writer—is to articulate a complex view of things. To incite us to be more compassionate. To orchestrate our mourning. And to celebrate ecstasy.
– Susan Sontag

Gary Snyder:
Coyote’s back!
good coat, fluffy tail,
sees me: quickly gone.

When the mind is nowhere it is everywhere. When it occupies one tenth, it is absent in the other nine tenths.
– Takuan

Do me a favor this morning. Draw the curtain and come back to bed.
Forget the coffee.
We’ll pretend
we’re in a foreign country,

and in love.

– Raymond Carver

What the really great artists do is they’re entirely themselves. They’re entirely themselves, they’ve got their own vision, they have their own way of fracturing reality, and if it’s authentic and true, you will feel it in your nerve endings.
– David Foster Wallace

Songs for the People
by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Let me make the songs for the people,
Songs for the old and young;
Songs to stir like a battle-cry
Wherever they are sung.

Not for the clashing of sabres,
For carnage nor for strife;
But songs to thrill the hearts of men
With more abundant life.

Let me make the songs for the weary,
Amid life’s fever and fret,
Till hearts shall relax their tension,
And careworn brows forget.

Let me sing for little children,
Before their footsteps stray,
Sweet anthems of love and duty,
To float o’er life’s highway.

I would sing for the poor and aged,
When shadows dim their sight;
Of the bright and restful mansions,
Where there shall be no night.

Our world, so worn and weary,
Needs music, pure and strong,
To hush the jangle and discords
Of sorrow, pain, and wrong.

Music to soothe all its sorrow,
Till war and crime shall cease;
And the hearts of men grown tender
Girdle the world with peace.

How does a man decide
in what order
to abandon his life?

– Cormac McCarthy

Writers know that between the platonic ideal
of the novel and the actual novel there is always
the pesky self—vain, deluded, myopic, cowardly,
compromised. That’s why writing is the craft
that defies craftsmanship:
craftsmanship alone will not make a novel great.
– Zadie Smith

People are different from each other,
it is astonishing
how few respectable conceptual tools we have
for dealing with this self-evident fact.
– Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

Let the day grow on you upward
through your feet,
the vegetal knuckles,

to your knees of stone,
until by evening you are a black tree;
feel, with evening,

the swifts thicken your hair,
the new moon rising out of your forehead,
and the moonlit veins of silver

running from your armpits
like rivulets under white leaves.
Sleep, as ants

cross over your eyelids.
You have never possessed anything
as deeply as this.

This is all you have owned
from the first outcry
through forever;

you can never be dispossessed.
– Derek Walcott, Earth

It is true that capitalism has retained
as a constant the extreme poverty
of three-quarters of humanity,
too poor for debt,
too numerous for confinement.
– Gilles Deleuze, Postscript on the Societies of Control

I didn’t write my poems
because I wanted to,
they were wrung from me.
I had to write them.
– Maxine Kumin

Whatever you speak to in another is what we are drawing forth in them.
– Caroline Casey

When you travel in an airplane, you can see all sorts of landscapes below — lakes, mountains, lush forests, deserts, cold and warm places. Likewise, during meditation, experiences of all kinds pass before your mind’s eye. At that time, the most important thing is to avoid any kind of clinging.

Don’t proudly think that these are “good” experiences and “Now I have realized the Great Perfection!” Neither should you be discouraged by “bad” periods of practice and feel like giving up meditation altogether, telling yourself, “I’ll never succeed.”

Let the mind remain in its completely natural, uncontrived state. Be like a newborn baby in its cradle. Even if surrounded by threatening armies wielding swords, the baby has no fear. In brief, there should be no modification of the natural state.
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

The source of all art
is the human psyche’s primal,
prelinguistic need
for the resolution of stress and discord
through beauty and harmony.
– Robert McKee

Nisargadatta Maharaj:
If you expect any benefits from your search, material, mental or spiritual,
you have missed the point.
Truth gives no advantage.
It gives you no higher status,
no power over others;
all you get is truth
and the freedom from the false.

Fred LaMotte:
Do you want to hear the morning news?
The evening news?
Then why listen to the Cable Noise Network? Real news comes from within,
and it is good news.

Just listen to what is listening,
before a single thought arises.
Then you will hear the music of Divine Silence, which is always new.

Love is a striking example
of how little reality means to us.
– Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time

You are a guest of nature – behave.
– Friedensreich Hundertwasser

Howard Zinn said, “To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places – and there are so many – where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And 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.

If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.
– Mary Oliver

What I think is that a good life is one hero journey after another. Over and over again, you are called to the realm of adventure, you are called to new horizons. Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then, if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There’s always the possibility of a fiasco. But there’s also the possibility of bliss.
– Joseph Campbell

The world is not imperfect or slowly evolving along a path to perfection. No, it is perfect at every moment, every sin already carries grace in it.
– Hermann Hesse

My Best Friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.
– Abraham Lincoln

There’s only one subject for fiction or poetry
or even a joke: how it is. In all the arts,
the payoff is always the same: recognition.
If it works, you say that’s real, that’s truth,
that’s life, that’s the way things are. There it is.
– Robert Stone

Of all the things trauma takes away from us,
the worst is our willingness,
or even our ability, to be vulnerable.
There’s a reclaiming that has to happen.
– Brené Brown, Rising Strong

Remember: despite how open, peaceful,
and loving you attempt to be,
people can only meet you
as deeply as they have met themselves.
– Matt Kahn

Can you remain unmoving until the right action arises by itself.
– Tao te Ching

What the really great artists do
is they’re entirely themselves.
They’re entirely themselves,
they’ve got their own vision,
they have their own way of fracturing reality,
and if it’s authentic and true,
you will feel it in your nerve endings.
– David Foster Wallace

Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.
– Rabindranath Tagore

As a child, the boundaries of my life spilled over into the mystery of the ocean and the wonder of the dark nights and the wooing of the wind until the breath of nature and my own breath seemed to be one–it was resonant to the tonality of God. This was a part of my cosmic religious experience as I grew up.
– Howard Thurman

You don’t have to drive used karma
– one of the 12 secrets of imagination in GROWING BIG DREAMS

We live in a world of theophanies. Holiness comes wrapped in the ordinary. There are burning bushes all around you. Every tree is full of angels. Hidden beauty is waiting in every crumb. Life wants to lead you from crumbs to angels, but this can happen only if you are willing to unwrap the ordinary by staying with it long enough to harvest its treasure.
– Wiederkehr

You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.
– Cormac Mccarthy, No Country for Old Men

Blank pages inspire me with terror. What will I put on them? Will it be good enough? Will I have to throw it out?
– Margaret Atwood

There is no real way to deal
with everything we lose.
– Joan Didion

The stars we are given. The constellations we make. That is to say, stars exist in the cosmos, but constellations are the imaginary lines we draw between them, the readings we give the sky, the stories we tell.
– Rebecca Solnit

Make the attempt for one day only to be just, magnanimous, self-denying in confrontation with the everyday, and you will see that you stand face to face with—the heroic.

Unless you gain your victory there, those rare and spectacular events won’t bring you one step closer to truth and life.
– Ekelund

The struggle for external liberation is a struggle for inner liberation from greed, hatred, and ignorance at the same time.
– Ariyaratne

The only freedom we’ve got is not to react to anything, but to turn within and know the truth.
– Robert Adams

One might say I had decided to marry the silence of the forest…. Perhaps I have an obligation to preserve the stillness, the silence, the poverty, the virginal point of pure nothingness which is at the center of all other loves.
– Thomas Merton

Looking outwards
will bring continual delusion for your mind.
But looking within,
you will experience its nature.

We should know
that the mundane samsaric activities
are of no essence,
they are of the nature of suffering,
and they are the causes of rebirth in hells. Those things are not going to help us.
This is what we should know.
– Domang Yangthang Rinpoche

Isn’t it time to acknowledge the ugly side?
I’ve grown quite weary of the spunky heroines,
brave rape victims, soul-searching fashionistas
that stock so many books. I particularly mourn
the lack of female villains—
good, potent female villains.
Not ill-tempered women who scheme
about landing good men and better shoes
(as if we had nothing more interesting
to war over), not chilly WASP mothers
(emotionally distant isn’t necessarily evil),
not soapy vixens
(merely bitchy doesn’t qualify either).
I’m talking violent, wicked women. Scary women.
Don’t tell me you don’t know some.
The point is, women have spent so many years
girl-powering ourselves—
to the point of almost parodic encouragement
we’ve left no room to acknowledge our dark side.
Dark sides are important.
They should be nurtured like nasty black orchids.
– Gillian Flynn

by Lynn Kincanon
If you learn the of name something
You would begin to see it everywhere
My mother-in-law would scold,
When I could not conjure the name
After the tenth time she told it.
After all the times I’ve tried to
Walking in fields of flowers,
Some I do remember, easy they are to conjure
Like Lamb’s Ear, Mullein, Columbine
Indian Paintbrush, Honeysuckle,
Who could forget, but the others?
Obscure, fleeting, distant,
Their names flail on the tip.
The wildflower book bought
For such a moment,
At home in another backpack.
Without my patient friend Abby at my side
They are just named pretty,
Exquisite, rare, and I relax,
name myself fortunate to be here,
or more precisely shameless
To be anywhere
With such nameless beauty.

When I cannot see words
curling like rings of smoke round me
I am in darkness.I am nothing.
– Virginia Woolf, The Waves

Artists, I suppose, understand alchemy best—the long struggle with intransigent materials, the fusing of subject and object in the fire of imagination, the synchronous mirroring of inner and outer worlds.
– Patrick Harpur

I have always liked people who can’t adapt themselves to life pragmatically.
– Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time

Simply, because I like Pablo Neruda

If you forget me

“I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.
– Ernest Hemingway

An alchemical contemplation in 3 stages …

The spiritual propositions, considerations, of the path are not mere intellectualisms, hip philosophy, good ideas but rather they are alchemical transformative power packaged in language. Each consideration can be unpacked through alchemical contemplation in 3 stages.

First clothe it in intellect, consider it, hold it in mind, chew on it and allow its impact to pervade conceptual processes.

Next clothe it in emotive consideration. Hold it in feeling, allow the implications of its meaning to unfold across the felt quality of your life.

Thirdly hold it within the core of beingness as contemplative silence allowing what one is and the proposition to combine.

Do this repeatedly until the proposition becomes a living force within you and then apply it to living’s actions. Allow mechanical habit to be re-examined in light of the new force of contemplation. Bathe intellect, emotions and being in the force and implications of each consideration. Submerge mind again and again within the purificatory power of wisdom.

If you do this then a simple set of consideration such as the 4 thoughts that turn the mind to dharma will change the very foundation of your life . Precious human birth will erode latent nihilism, hopelessness, depression. Impermanence will cut through procrastination and laziness. Considering karma will wear away self defeating self pity and resentment. The possible ceaselessness of suffering will jump start action.

Almost every obstacle to realization arises from not having internalized the alchemical force of the path’s beginning propositions allowing them to become living axioms of transformation’s geometry.
– tk

Develop an invisible shield to protect you from people who keep you in your place, who discourage or drag you down in any way. Letting this energy in is like deliberately banging your head against a wall.
– Begin with Yes

Posted by Alfred K. LaMotte

“Someone asked me, “Are you a Christian, a Hindu, or a Buddhist? I can’t tell which.”

I answered, “Neither can I!”

“You must be confused,” he said.

“Blessed are you when you are confused, for then the mind must descend into the heart.”

“But what is your religion?”he asked.

“Listen, friend. I was a born-again Christian, a twice-born Hindu, and an un-born Buddhist. Then the Goddess hugged me to her bosom of unfathomable silence, and suckled me on the mere sweet milk of breathing.

“Un-created fire gushed up my spine, poured through the wound in my heart, and fountained out my empty crown. These eyes became black holes at the center of twin galaxies whose blinding light has not yet reached this world.

“Now I am just a finger writing on trembling waters: Impermanence is the soul of Beauty.”

The enemy is the gramophone mind, whether or not one agrees with the record that is being played at the moment.
– George Orwell

I’m reminded that the pursuit of our dreams is not linear. There’s a push and pull, a give and take. I think, more often than not, the pursuit of our dreams is an evolution—a journey woven with ups and downs, twists and turns and so many unforeseen challenging and also gratifying moments.
– Emily Hopcian

Changing our orientation so that we seek answers through asking questions of and listening to non-human voices.Being humble in our not-knowing, and our place within/reliance upon wider multi-species systems.Using situated, artful & embodied approaches to learning.
– James Aldridge

There is no need to run outside for better seeing, nor to peer from a window. Rather abide at the center of your being.
– Lao Tzu

At least once a day, every day, forever, the cursed man thinks, “What if everything that could go wrong did, and all at the same time?”
– Matt Bell

When you are criticized, accept it as an opportunity to acknowledge your hidden faults and increase your humility. Criticisms are your teacher, destroying attachment and craving.
If brought to the path, harsh words
and blame will inspire your practice
and strengthen your discipline.
How can you ever repay such kindness?
The happiness and suffering created
by praise and criticism are ephemeral.
When you are complimented, instead of feeling proud just regard the praise
as if it were something you were hearing
in a dream or a fantasy.
Tell yourself that it is not you that is being praised but the good qualities you may have developed through spiritual practice.
In fact, the truth is that the only people
really worthy of praise are those who have attained liberation.
If you point out someone’s faults,
they will become quite upset-
even if it is your own child or student.
If you flatter people, however,
attributing to them qualities
they do not possess, they will be delighted.
If people always agree with us and flatter us,
it may make us feel good,
but it will not help us to develop
the qualities of a Dharma practitioner.
What will truly help us most
is if someone points out our faults
and shows us the right way to deal with them. Gold, through repeated beating and melting, becomes more and more refined.
In the same way, by continually recognizing
our own faults and applying the teacher’s instructions, we will be able
to transform our negative qualities
into the path of liberation.
When a troublemaker is identified
and apprehended, peace returns to the village. Similarly, when our faults are unearthed
by a truly kind teacher, enabling us
to recognize and eradicate them,
peace returns to our being.
The true spiritual teacher speaks frankly, striking at the core of our defects
in order to lead us to the right path.
– Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, On The Path to Enlightenment by Matthieu Ricard

Well, my friends are gone and my hair is grey
I ache in the places where I used to play
– Leonard Cohen

I think about the
world on fire and
the music we choose
to play anyway.
– @HieuMinh

you’re rowing by wordlight.
– Paul Celan

A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.
– Benjamin Franklin

As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.
– Henry David Thoreau

Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.
– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I need so much time for doing nothing
that I have no time for work.
– Pierre Reverdy

We collect books in the belief that we are preserving them when in fact it is the books that preserve their collector.
– Walter Benjamin

We may very well stand
at one of those decisive turning points
of history
which separate whole eras from each other.
– Hannah Arendt

Everything we call real
is made of things
that cannot be regarded as real.
– Niels Bohr

All love stories are frustration stories.
To fall in love is to be reminded
of a frustration that you didn’t know you had.
– Adam Phillips

How dearly love – to those who, changing
in such times as souls can change –
is cocreating, rearranging
situations, near and estranged.

And certain ties remain undated,
encompassing limitless backgrounds.
Though, even as fauns no rule controls,
we flit this stormy world around.

So life escapes itself to see,
though hedged by brambles love breaks free.
– George Gorman

There is no such thing as a bad mind. There is only a mind that is untrained, or trained. Every being has the same potential, including you.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

We don’t need more idols. We need humility and honesty.
– Gabor Maté

Chogyam Trungpa:

Conquering Comfort


Supossing you were dumped here in the middle of Nova Scotia, without any introductions from anybody—not even your father, mother, relatives, business associates. What if you suddenly landed here in the middle of nowhere without even clothes in the middle of this weather? How are you going to handle yourselves, ladies and gentlemen? You don’t have calling cards in your pocket, you don’t have business references; you are on your own—literally, ideally, absolutely. That is the Buddhist notion of discovering enlightenment.

That should happen to you. You should land here, be delivered here, in the middle of Cape Breton. With nobody to introduce you to each other, or to anybody, how could you make yourself available and kind to somebody? That is a very interesting reference point, don’t you think? That is why we are here, actually.

At that point we will be so frightened of our own discipline, let alone our reference point to others. We begin to develop tremendous fear of our own discipline: our own sitting practice, our own following our breath. Even having good posture is in question. Basic goodness does not mean that we can con others because we have basic goodness. We are talking about personal basic goodness which we don’t have to proclaim or advertise. It does not depend on advertisement or on introductions by somebody else. Instead, basic goodness could mean being on the spot—right here.

With that might come lots of fear, lots of confusion, and a lot of loneliness, nonetheless. We may be inconvenienced by the environment and all the rest of it. So discipline here means freedom from fear, freedom from fear of ourselves. When we are here by ourselves, we are constantly freaked out, haunted by ourselves. If you yourself breathe heavier, you might think somebody else is behind you breathing down your neck. “Who’s that?” “Who said?” “What’s that?” And we are also afraid of others. “If I’m here, if I make connections with anybody, it’s just the sea waves hitting the rocks of Cape Breton.” There’s not even a glimpse of brilliant sunshine to dry our hair, dry our pores.

Nonetheless, difficult situations like that can actually bring out tremendous goodness, a sense of basic goodness. And in fact, we might be able to bring out the notion of fearlessness as well. It’s possible. It’s feasible. In fact it’s more than feasible, ladies and gentlemen.

I’m glad all of you are here in this particular severe place. A lot of you thought that you were going to have a great time coming up here, but you didn’t. I am glad you didn’t. But I’m glad you did, in some sense. We are proud of what is happening here—including the weather, of course.

I went out today and appreciated the frozen rain dropping onto my face and the fantastic waves hitting the shore. That is the only appreciation you have. There are no pretty girls with good bodies surfing. There’s no anything. It is just basic reality —which might be an interesting way to cut through the particular mara of devaputra.

This particular area, place, turns out to be the central place to present the notion of the four maras. The first mara, devaputra mara, could be overcome simply by being here. This is more than metaphorical—we can actually do so.


Devaputra mara is that when there is such a severe challenge, such a severe way of relating with reality as this, we could forget what is there right now. We could dream, fantasize all sorts of possibilities. And one of the first things which might come to your mind, when you are put in this potentially fearless possibility, is that you might find yourself dreaming about the past. “I wish I was back at home. I don’t have to be in Cape Breton any longer and face these rough shores and cold wind and bad weather. I wish I could be back home in—[to Vajra Regent] What do you say? What is the first thing which comes to mind?

Vajra Regent Ösel Tendzin: New Jersey. [Laughter]

Vidyadhara: We have to go further west.

Vajra Regent: Los Angeles? Monterey? Big Sur?

Vidyadhara: Big Sur, where everybody’s enjoying the best of the ocean, warmth, brilliant sunshine, good setting sun. It could be wonderful. We don’t have ego there, in the good western provinces of the United States. Things are free, relatively speaking, although expensive. You could relax enormously and watch the setting sun go down. We could say Hawaii as well.

Vajra Regent: Hawaii would be better.

Vidyadhara: In Hawaii we could forget about our ego problems altogether. We could hunch over, without being disciplined. We could let loose without being Canadians. You don’t have to be a Nova Scotian there. Even Nova Scotians might let loose there: They could forget about their home ground, the good place where they belong. That is pretty much the basic assumption of what is known as devaputra mara.

Devaputra mara is based on comfort. Your existence could be comfortable, upper middle class. Everything’s fine. Everything is shielded off. Nobody sees a real butcher shop; they just go to the supermarket and see little nice steaks prepared for them, sirloin or whatever. They have never seen an actual butcher shop. They have never seen actual reality of any kind. They have never seen real climate, real raindrops, and real wind blowing. You have been shielded off from any possibilities of seeing reality altogether. And you have been perpetuating that, which is very basic and very ordinary in some sense.

We are not geared to how to relate with the weather, how to relate with the earth, how to live with the ocean, how to relate with food, and what is happening with the ego-oriented situation. We are forgetting that altogether. We couldn’t care less whether heaven and earth could join together to provide a good society of human beings at all. We are concerned with our own little things. It is pettiness, and embarrassment of human society. That is devaputra mara.


The Buddha was known as the victorious one, or the king, because he had conquered the four maras. Buddha had also conquered beyond enlightenment—he conquered the six realms. Anybody who came close to the Buddha, even somebody who met him casually, was conquered and became humble in his presence. Because his ayatanas were controlled, properly synchronized, therefore he was the victorious one. He also had control over the notions of time and space. Those are the marks of good kings—if they are enlightened ones.

When you are in the presence of a king, you should find that the minute you walk inside the door of the king’s quarters, you find that your ordinary perceptions have changed. This takes the form of awe at first, being nervous maybe. When you step into the king’s quarters, your perceptions change, you hear things differently, you smell things differently, and you see things differently. That is the beginning of your ayatanas being somewhat entered into an enlightened society. Perceptions are changed; consciousness is changed.

But at the same time, entering into a king’s domain, you also sense that there are no thoughts. There is no subconscious gossip or mental contents functioning. Usually what happens in the presence of an enlightened king is that you forget what you are going to say. Your mind is completely cut, shortcircuited. This is not because you are nervous. Usually when you are very nervous you have lots to say. But in this case you have nothing to say, which is the mark that the ayatanas are controlled in the presence of a king, an enlightened ruler. Sometimes the question is answered by itself. The question is the answer automatically. We are talking about that kind of sacred word.

When the four maras are conquered, either by practice or by being in the presence of sacred world, then you develop sacred outlook automatically and you discover what is known as nirvana, freedom, liberation.

Everything is back to square one, which is basic goodness…

It is only the girdling encircling air, that flows above and around all, that makes the whole world kin.
– Matthew Fontaine Maury

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

From What I’ve Tasted of Desire
If without warning the world were to end
at 6:05 tonight, I would like to be holding your hand
at 6:02 and sitting on the back porch
in the low angled gold August light.
Maybe we would be talking about the birds—
what kind of swallows do you think those are?
And you would say, violet green swallows,
and even if we were not sure it was correct,
it would give us pleasure to know the answer.

We would lean back and watch as they keel
through the air just above our heads.
And at 6:04, we would not know to be concerned
about what would happen next. It is sometimes
better that way, not knowing, I mean,
especially when the cosmos in the garden
are just now in an uprising of bright pink bloom
and the grass in the field is taller
than our heads and if we breathe in
deeply, it smells as if the rain is about to come.
– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

The Brook
Murmuring of the brook in late
summer darkness, after moonset,
as I lay sleepless on the porch cot.
A music extraordinarily variable.
Each passage of water against its stone
sounding a different pitch and rhythm.
It was an uncivilized music in the
foothills of the mountains, continuing
long beyond the endurance of a human
singer, almost beyond the endurance
of a human listener, syllables
of unknown meaning, notes on an
unknown scale. A few fat yellow
stars above the northern horizon.
Without art, the song was perfectly
artistic. The unmeaning music
and the unknowing listener were one
in the loneliness of those distant
late summer nights in Vermont.
Truly the music meant nothing,
no intimation, which was why
I liked it so much, my brook
murmuring all night in the darkness,
and I meant nothing, and I liked that too.
– Hayden Carruth

Initiation II
– Nina Bogin
At the crossroads, hens scratched circles
into the white dust. There was a shop
where I bought coffee and eggs, coarse-grained
chocolate almost too sweet to eat.
When I walked up the road, the string sack
heavy on my arm, I thought
that my legs could take me anywhere,
into any country, any life.
The air, dazzling as sand, grew dense
with light: bougainvillea spilled
over the salmon walls, the road
veered into the ravine. The world
could be those colors, the mangoes,
the melons, the avocado evenings
releasing their circles of moon.
I climbed the pink stairs, entered
the house as calm and ephemeral
as my own certainty:
this is my house, my key,
my hand with its new lines.
I am as old as I will ever be.

If you want to be a successful writer, you have to figure out how to carve space for this craft from the fabric of your actual life.
– Camille Dungy

Bad poetry is caused by people
who sit down and think
Now I am going to write a Poem.
– Charles Bukowski

If you follow any thought or emotion, major or minor, and let your mind wander outward, you are no different from an ordinary person.
– Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye

Let those fireworks be your
paintbrush: thin line between
arsonist and artist. That fire
inside can burn everything
down, but it can also light your
way through the darkness.
– Guante

There’s nothing more important to me than a conversation that matters. A conversation with fellow humans that makes us think, inspires us about life, helps us grow, and takes us to some edgy places. There are so many empty words in this world. So much noise. So much talking that harms the soul. I love taking a different road in this regard. I love a conversation that leaves us a better person than when we began that conversation. One of my favorite quotes: “Before you speak, make sure it’s an improvement upon silence…”
– Marc David

No one can do enough. We are all in debt to the planet and each other. How do we stay focused in the present, adressing its problems but without sacrificing our joy at being alive.
It leaves you feeling immobilized in the present by something that has already occurred.
– Maud Purell

Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche:

One simple good thought
can sustain us throughout the entire day

We should realize the power of
one simple good thought.
One moment of the mind truly engaged
in wishing all beings to be free
from suffering is life sustaining because
it is completely free of self-absorption.
Instead of being bored with our spare time –
or our practice time, for that matter –
we should use it to cultivate simple thoughts
of love and kindness towards anyone
and everyone. One simple good thought
can sustain us throughout the entire day.
When the economy is down any tiny profit
on an investment you have made in the past
is greatly appreciated.
Likewise, if we can get the hang
of having one positive thought pattern
and invest ourselves in it,
we will most definitely reap
a positive return in the future.

Anxiety is always a gap between the way things are and the way we think they ought to be. Anxiety is something that stretches between the real and unreal. Our human desire is to avoid what’s real and instead to be with our ideas about the world:

“I’m terrible.” “You’re terrible.” “You’re wonderful.” The idea is separated from reality and anxiety is the gap between the idea and the reality that things are just as they are.

When we cease to believe in the object that we’ve created — which is off to one side of reality, so to speak — things snap back to the center. That’s what being centered means. The anxiety then fades out.
– Charlotte Joko Beck

A valley and above it forests in autumn colors.
A voyager arrives, a map leads him there.
Or perhaps memory. Once long ago in the sun,
When snow first fell, riding this way
He felt joy, strong without reason,
Joy of the eyes. Everything was the rhythm
Of shifting trees, of a bird in flight,
Of a train on the viaduct, a feast in motion.
He returns years later, has no demands.
He wants only one, most precious thing:
To see, purely and simply, without name,
Without expectations, fears, and hopes,
At the edge where this is no I or not -I.
– Czeslaw Milosz

Try to learn instead of burn. Hear what I say.
– Jimi Hendrix

If we look at this conflict as a straight eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation between Empire and those of us who are resisting it, it might seem that we are losing. But there is another way of looking at it. We, all of us gathered here, have, each in our own way, laid siege to Empire. We may not have stopped it in its tracks – yet – but we have stripped it down. We have made it drop its mask. We have forced it into the open. It now stands before us on the world’s stage in all its brutish, iniquitous nakedness.”

Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe. The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability. Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.
– Arundhati Roy

The time will come
When, with elation,
You will greet yourself arriving
At your own door, in your own mirror,
And each will smile at the other’s welcome.
And say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
To itself, to the stranger who has loved you
All your life, whom you ignored
For another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
The photographs, the desperate notes,
Peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
– Derek Walcott

The Just
A man who cultivates his garden, as Voltaire wished.
He who is grateful for the existence of music.
He who takes pleasure in tracing an etymology.
Two workmen playing, in a café in the South, a silent game of chess.
The potter, contemplating a color and a form.
The typographer who sets this page well, though it may not please
A woman and a man, who read the last tercets of a certain canto.
He who strokes a sleeping animal.
He who justifies, or wishes to, a wrong done him.
He who is grateful for the existence of Stevenson.
He who prefers others to be right.
These people, unaware, are saving the world.
– Jorge Luis Borges

The Escape
I believe in the increasing of life whatever
Leads to the seeing of small trifles . . . . . .
Real, beautiful, is good, and an act never
Is worthier than in freeing spirit that stifles
Under ingratitude’s weight; nor is anything done
Wiselier than the moving or breaking to sight
Of a thing hidden under by custom; revealed
Fulfilled, used, (sound-fashioned) any way out to delight.
. . . . . . . . . .
Trefoil . . . . hedge sparrow . . . . the stars on the edge of night.
– Ivor Gurney

Flying at Night
by Ted Kooser
Above us, stars. Beneath us, constellations.
Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies
like a snowflake falling on water. Below us,
some farmer, feeling the chill of that distant death,
snaps on his yard light, drawing his sheds and barn
back into the little system of his care.
All night, the cities, like shimmering novas,
tug with bright streets at lonely lights like

One thing these last three years have taught me is that the more confident you are as a father, husband, friend and man, the less and less need you have for patriarchy.
– Ethan Nichtern

A university degree, four books, and hundreds of articles and I still make mistakes when reading,
You write to me “good morning” and I read it as, “I love you”.
– Mahmoud Darwish

I am an eternally deluded person. No one is as deluded as I am. How clear this is to me when I do zazen!
– Sawaki Roshi Roshi

Everybody wants a happy ending, but the real happy ending is when somebody really figures something out. I thought the end of Paradise was transcendent! Beautiful! Everyone got to see who they were mad at. What could be better than that?
– Toni Morrison

If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily.
– Gerald Good

Poetry can expose the heterogenous qualities of a life, or a life, in an age in which all efforts both corporate and State, seem to homogenize. I think that poetry has the capacity to blow oxygen on a stiff existence, right?
– Dionne Brand, The Blue Clerk

We will never break
Built on a foundation
Strong enough to stay
We will never break
As the water rises
And the mountains shake
Our love will remain
We will never break.
– john legend

A dream which has not been interpreted is like a letter unread.
– Hebrew proverb

What a time to be somewhat alive.
– Natalie Lima

Every attitude we assume, ever word we utter, and every act we undertake establishes us in relation to others.
― Stephen Batchelor

Dr. Matt Henry:
Sorry, but soaring rhetoric doesn’t put food on tables or suck carbon out of the air or give land back or bring Black lives back.

Memory is never complete. There are always parts of it that time has amputated. Writing is a way of retrieving them, of bringing the missing parts back to it, of making it more holistic.
– Nawal El Saadawi

Still there is this: /
among the cosmos a butterfly taps her wings-/ a Morse code or frequency / intended to unburden the world.
– Tiffany Midge

An algorithm is not a person. A passport is not a person. Data is not a person…
Humanity is full of *dimension*’
– Ali Smith

Haymarket Books:
Don’t let them kill your imagination. Another world is possible.

A creator is someone who creates their own impossibilities, and thereby creates possibilities.
– Gilles Deleuze

Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.
– Robin Sharma

If a little dreaming is dangerous,
the cure for it is not to dream less
but to dream more, to dream all the time.
– Marcel Proust

Anyone can bring you flowers,
find the one who plants them
in your mind.
– Awakened Minds

This free time is vacant time, and vacant time is really the worst thing almost anybody can be confronted with.
– Hannah Arendt

Dream always of a peaceful, warless, disarmed world.
– Robert Muller

So far, there is no law against dreaming.
– Winnie Mandela

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin:
The social safety net we need right to keep everyone safe through the pandemic could be the basis of the one we use for a just transition to a clean and equitable economy.

The art we need is the art of bearing the unbearable.
Very often we write down a sentence too early,
then another too late; what we have to do
is write it down at the proper time,
otherwise it’s lost.
Time destroys everything we do, whatever it is.
I really only write about inner landscapes
and most people don’t see them,
because they see practically nothing within,
because they think that because it’s inside,
it’s dark, and so they don’t see anything.
I don’t think I’ve ever yet, in any of my books,
described a landscape.
There’s really nothing of the kind in any of them.
I only ever write concepts.
– Thomas Bernard

Helping others through difficulty is where civilization starts.
– Margaret Mead

In turbulent times such as these, I turn again and again to these words from Carl Jung, “In classical Chinese philosophy there are two contrary principles, the bright yang and the dark yin. Of these it is said that always when one principle reaches the height of its power, the counter-principle is stirring within it like a germ. This is another, particularly graphic formulation of the psychological law of compensation by an inner opposite. Whenever a civilization reaches its highest point, sooner or later a period of decay sets in. But the apparently meaningless and hopeless collapse into a disorder without aim or purpose, which fills the onlookers with disgust and despair, nevertheless contains within its darkness the germ of a new light.
– Toko-pa Turner

Old Woman’s Night Blessing, Connemara

Warm as an Irish shawl the years
around me, and so tonight before I sleep
I pray the preservation of this house
till morning. May I wake to find
my chair, the books and food I need,
all patient work that brings me joy.

May I receive some signal gift
before once more the darkness falls,
some poet’s words a tune
to hum against the night.

Let stillness and the gathering dark
keep safe the roof and beams
of this loved house, these sheltering walls,
the doors and shuttered windows,
rooms that hold my memories, and me.
– Jeanne Lohmann

Krishna Das:
I hate to tell you,
but opening the heart
has nothing to do with feeling groovy.
When the heart is open,
it means you are present.
When your heart is as wide as the world
there is room for everything to come through,
and you are right there with everything,
not just the pleasant stuff.

For days, I learned London through the soles of my shoes.

From London I journeyed to Scotland where I had been invited to live as a paying guest on a large estate about five miles beyond the town limit of Pitlochry, just north of Edinburgh…. Each morning after breakfast I packed a lunch and tramped the moors, hour after hour. At midday I ate my lunch and then took a nap in the fields. I retuned in time for dinner, after which I visited with his family. For the first time, I was part of a texture of life foreign to me.

Without knowing when or how, I moved into profound focus; the direction of the future opened wide its doors. My life seemed whole again and the strains of an unknown melody healed my inmost center. It was glorious.
– Howard Thurman

We must relinquish our convenient narratives of human exceptionalism and triumphalism – those stories that centralize human agency
and enthrone human interests
as supremely paramount in the multiverse.
And we must do this not simply
because we are now regaining some awareness about the nobility of other species and life forms – and not entirely
because we are ourselves now humbled
by our less than spectacular origins,
but mainly because these times of upheaval call on us to revisit what is implied
in being human. Do we continue to insist
that we are lords over all,
masters of the universe – uniquely distanced from the fleshy, dirty discourses of ‘nature’ – ravaging plagues burning soil and earth into asphalted forms of our own making?
Or do we recognize our relatedness
to all things, our real dependence
on the land we supposedly transcend,
and that to be human is not a magisterial decree of isolation, but a chorus…
a syncretic process
of shared ecological participation?
– Dr. Bayo Akomolafe

The tongue has
a jagged beauty
and I know how
easily the mouth
can become a
rose bush.
– Rudy Francisco

Wrote code, then wrote songs, then wrote papers.
Now working on clean energy and climate change.
Still making sounds from a stage on occasion.
– Vienna Teng

It’s not how much Scripture you know or what you’ve experienced, it’s Who you dwell with.
Abiding makes us fruitful.
– Bob Holmes

Today may your life be a poem. A genuine poem. A work of art which takes you outside yourself and makes you think and feel in unexpected and magical ways.
– Asclepious’ Daughter

…after you’re done—or ruefully think you’re done—with the nagging anxieties and complications of your youth, what is there left for you to confront but the great simplicities?

I never tire of birdsong and sky and weather. I want to write poems that are natural, luminous, deep, spare. I dream of an art so transparent that you can look through and see the world.
– Stanley Kunitz

There are three ways of dealing with difference: domination, compromise, and integration. By domination only one side gets what it wants; by compromise neither side gets what it wants; by integration we find a way by which both sides may get what they wish.
– Mary Parker Follet

by David Whyte

Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief,
turning down through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe,
will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,
nor find in the darkness glimmering,
the small round coins,
thrown by those who wished for something else.

Farmers in the past didn’t throw away the stones they dug up. They found a new use for them in walls that made good boundaries. So, too, when we clear our inner field, we don’t discard what was once there. We treat it with respect. We let it be seen as part of our wholeness, rethought and reconstructed to serve in a more useful way.” From Great Love in Little Ways.
– Gunilla Norris

In times of emotional activation, it can feel as if we’re being pulled down a rabbit hole. That realm is interlaced together by strands of perception – crafted of core beliefs, organizing narratives, and lost emotional companions.

Co-arising with these ones is a child, an orphan, one who is exhausted from a long journey – tired and longing for rest.
As this one continues to appear in many disguises – in dream, vision, image, and sensation – you must decide if you will let this one in or turn her away. Even though for thousands of moments the knock has fallen upon deaf ears, she has not given up. He cannot give up.

If we do not serve as shepherd and midwife for the lost ones, who will? We have asked our partners, children, family members, therapists, teachers, and friends. As much as they love us, they cannot open the door on our behalf. We are the only one with the key.

No matter what is going on in your life, or how convinced you have become that you have failed, something is wrong with you, or that you are not enough, you can turn toward the door, now. It is only in this moment that you can end the trance of abandonment and break the spell of postponement.

The discarded ones are in constant movement, spinning and shifting shapes in their longing to be seen and allowed back home. Taking form as emotion, fantasy, intuition, and symptom. Even as a stone, a river, a tree, a star. As a piece of music that shatters and reorganizes. But our perception must be cleansed to know them again and to participate in that sort of holy reunion.

They come not to harm, but to reveal, as forerunners of wholeness and harbingers of integration. Not to be shifted, transformed, or healed. Only held.

Go slowly. One micro-moment at a time, then rest together. They are not in a hurry. They have been looking for you since beginningless time and will never give up.

There is no urgency on the path of love. You are not an unending project to be improved, but a mystery coming into form.
– Matt Licata

If you could take the bliss and happiness that comes from meditation, and put it into a bottle, it would be the most popular drink in the world.

Of course, this is not possible. But the good news is that meditation is always free of charge, it is always good for your mental and physical health, and it is always available. And the more meditation you do, the more bliss and happiness you will experience.

– Chamtrul Rinpoche

To bless someone, see their goodness,
efforts, hopes, suffering,
and what’s neat about them.
Let yourself be touched,
moving past the idea and the should
of blessing to the experience itself.
Feel a warmth, a kindness.
You can express good wishes with actions –
a touch, a door opened, a charitable gift –
or words (e.g., “may you be at peace,
may you be loved”), or inside your heart alone.

Blessing means not harming, hurting,
criticizing, or dismissing;
if any of these is present, blessing isn’t.
Don’t let blessing feed a subtle superiority,
the bless-er who is better than the bless-ee.

Let others be who they are, and don’t presume you know what they need. In the moment
of true blessing, there’s little if any sense of self, of I-me-mine. You bless for them,
not for yourself.

Bless people you know, and also bless strangers. It’s powerful to look at someone passing on the street, get a sense of the person, and then wish him or her well.
See what happens when you bless people
who have really helped you, friends and family, even people who are difficult for you.
See what it’s like to deliberately offer compassion, kindness, prizing, or love.
You can also bless parts of yourself –
your pain, your darkness, your light –
as well as yourself as a whole.

Do blessing deliberately. And over time,
be blessing. It becomes where you come from, your ground and natural inclination.

You can be pressed and stressed
and still bless. Find your warmth and good wishes amidst the mental clutter, like hearing wind chimes outside amidst storm and rain. But also take care of yourself.
It’s hard to bless if you feel bad.
Blessing does not mean approving;
you can wish people well while also disengaging from them.

Fundamentally, blessing means treating another person as a “thou” not an “it,”
not a means to your ends. Think of “thou”
as a verb. To bless people is to thou them.
– Rick Hanson

Ramana Maharishi:

Whatever is destined not to happen
will not happen, try as you may.

Whatever is destined to happen will happen,
do what you may to prevent it. This is certain.

The best course, therefore, is to remain silent.

Richard Rohr:
How you do life is your real and final truth,
not what ideas you believe.

Bernie Glassman:

When we see the world as one body,
we heal everyone at the same time
as ourselves, for there are no ‘others.’

My mistress is this unbearable tenderness
And my goal
Is never to be parted from her
Night and day, and every second of my life,
In a close and unique embrace.
In the unbearable aspect
There is the certainty of death,
The immeasurable space of parting;
In the tenderness
There is you and all beings
Whom I love better than myself.

My right hand holds the flaming sword
Of unbearablessness
Wrapped around by the flames
Of deep warmth and tenderness;
And in my left hand
The lotus of pure love carries
Infinite ways to express this
Concealed into exalted words of great meaning.

The way I fight my enemies is by liberating them from the suffering
Of the compulsive urge to harm and destroy
Pacifying, seducing or overpowering them.
Since beginningless time you completely surrender to me
And such a wholehearted openness
Is a wondrous gift
That I accepted with deep joy and respect
Taking it most seriously at heart.

Deserving such confidence is what gives me
Uncommon sense of duty, readiness to die, and outrageous courage,
Indispensable virtues of a warrior.

Now, if you are trustful enough to step outside
This world of misery and sorrow
And join me in the resplendent circle
Of unbearablessness and warmth,
By merging vivid awareness that everything is possible
– Including death and change –
With the irresistible bliss of absolute love,
Together, we will conquer the borderland of meeting and parting
And travel safely to the city of immortality
Beyond concept.

Please believe me.

– The Unbearable Love Poem
(Manjushri’s song)

Mañjushri or Mañjughosha (‘the Gentle Voiced’) is one of the eight great bodhisattvas who were the closest disciples of the Buddha. In this form, he sometimes appears whitish-green in colour and holding a lily to symbolize renunciation of the destructive emotions. He is the embodiment of the knowledge and wisdom of all the buddhas, traditionally depicted with a sword in his right and a text in his left hand.
– Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo

If we don’t look into our blind spots, we can become that which we suffered from. If we do not heal, we re-create.
– Rabbi Dr. Tirzah Firestone

what does it say about our collective values if we allow ‘the sacred place where life begins’ to be raped, poisoned and ultimately destroyed by industry? this question is complex and cannot be comforted or put to rest by a simple, sacrifice-less click of a keyboard.
i’m moving through the sludge of my own grief and confusion of indirectly (and directly) supporting the systems that i so fiercely will to die on the daily.
the systems that are murdering all that I love and hold sacred.
so here we are, pushing up against the edge of insanity and survival, how will you chose to respond?
– Faith Gemmill & Princess Lucaj

Soul is the glue of the world and the connecting agent of existence. When we lose our way in this world it is the soul’s way of being in touch with the pulse of life that has been lost. For we are most lost and truly abandoned when we have lost touch with our own soul, with our own inward style and way of being in the world.
– Michael Meade

With a great poet the sense of Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all consideration.
– John Keats

by Nina Bogin
Thousandfold the light
encompasses us
against our mortal
We are human,
thus destitute.
Awkward we fumble
with our small
to the everyday,
crumbs, petals, dust.
What do we sift over,
what should we keep,
what turn to gold,
give thanks for,
render thousandfold
to light?

We go crying, we come laughing
Never understand the time we’re passing
Kill for money, die for love
Whatever was God thinking of?
– Bruce Cockburn

Permanent good can never be the outcome of untruth and violence.
– Mahatma Gandhi

Tea is an act complete in its simplicity.
When I drink tea, there is only me and the tea.
The rest of the world dissolves.
There are no worries about the future.
No dwelling on past mistakes.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot.
– Werner Herzog

Life is constant movement happening in the restful space of now.
– Scott Kiloby

You can’t make a map and expect a river to bend to it.
– Robin Gregory

It’s not about the situation itself; it’s how you relate to the situation that causes the problem.
– Zen Master Bon Soeng

Like the mountains, meditate, unmoving and unshakeable.
– Milarepa

How like children adults are,
they squabble and fight
because they are hungry or tired or cold, but they lose the faculty for forgetting, forgiving.
– Margaret Drabble, The Needle’s Eye

I will always be on the side
of those who have nothing
and who are not even allowed
to enjoy the nothing
they have in peace.
– Federico Garcia Lorca

How do you let go of attachment to things? Don’t even try. It’s impossible. Attachment to things drops away by itself when you no longer seek to find yourself in them.
– Eckhart Tolle

What good’s a watchman
faced the wrong way?
– Rhonda Ganz

By the earth we fall down,
By the earth we stand up.
– Shunryu Suzuki

A man feels the world with his work like a glove.
He rests for a while at midday having laid aside the gloves on a shelf.
There they suddenly grow, spread
and black out the whole house from inside.

The blacked-out house is away out among the winds of spring.
“Amnesty,” runs the whisper in the grass: “amnesty.”
A boy sprints with an invisible line slanting up in the sky
where his wild dream of the future lies like a kite bigger than the suburb.

Further north you can see from a summit the blue endless carpet of pine forest
where the cloud shadows
are standing still.
No, are flying.
– Tomas Tranströmer
translated by Robin Fulton

My view of human nature
is that all of us are just holding it together
in various ways—
and that’s okay,
and we just need to go easy
with one another,
that we’re all these incredibly fragile beings.
– Alain de Botton

Every word has consequences.
Every silence, too.
– Jean-Paul Sartre

If you don’t program your mind,
it will be programmed for you.
– Dick Gregory

Carl Jung:
We have no symbolic life,
and we are all badly in need
of the symbolic life.
Only the symbolic life can express
the need of the soul –
the daily need of the soul, mind you!
And because people have no such thing,
they can never step out of this mill –
this awful, banal, grinding life
in which they are “nothing but.” . . .

Everything is banal; everything is “nothing but,” and that is the reason why people are neurotic. They are simply sick of the whole thing,
sick of that banal life,
and therefore they want sensation.
They even want a war; they all want a war;
they are all glad when there is a war;
they say, “Thank heaven,
now something is going to happen – something bigger than ourselves!”

Love, friendship and respect
do not unite people
as much as common hatred for something.
– Anton Chekhov

Maggie Smith:
I’m looking so hard for a place to land, I almost forgot how to fly
– Judee Sill, absolutely reading me

These moments of escape
are not to be despised
They come too seldom.
– Virginia Woolf, The Waves

What if we just went home
and read books to each other?
– Gary Shteyngart, Super Sad True Love Story

I like the way the City makes people think
they can do what they want
and get away with it.
– Toni Morrison

My diaries have always been my friends.
The written word is so much more constant
than human beings. Honest, too.
Holding up a constant mirror
to one’s own inadequacies,
but without malice.
There’s friendship if you like.
– Salman Rushdie, Grimus

Happiness is a state of inner fulfillment,
not the gratification of inexhaustible desires
for outward things.
– Matthieu Ricard

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
– Benjamin Franklin

Rainer Maria Rilke:
The work of the eyes is done.
Go now and do the heart-work
on the images imprisoned within you.

The writer is the one
who, embarking upon a task,
does not know what to do.
– Donald Barthelme

Whatever joy there is in this world
All comes from desiring others to be happy,
And whatever suffering there is in this world,
All comes from desiring myself to be happy.

But what need is there to say much more?
The childish work for their own benefit,
The Buddhas work for the benefit of others.
– Shantideva

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche:
Discipline is about giving up
the search for entertainment.

You can’t teach an old dogma new tricks.
– Dorthy Parker

I am a disloyal Jew.
I am not loyal to a political party.
Nor will I be loyal to dictators and mad kings.
I am not loyal to walls or cages.
I am not loyal to taunts or tweets.
I am not loyal to hatred, to Jew-baiting,
to the gloating connivings of white supremacy.
I am a disloyal Jew.
I am not loyal to any foreign power.
Nor to abuse of power at home.
I am not loyal to a legacy of conquest,
erasure and exploitation
I am not loyal to stories
that tell me whom I should hate.
I am a loyal Jew.
I am loyal to the inconveniences of kindness.
I am loyal to the dream of justice.
I am loyal to this suffering Earth
And to all life.
I am not loyal to any founding fathers.
But I am loyal to the children who will come
And to the quality of world we leave them.
I am not loyal to what America has become.
But to what America could be.
I am loyal to Emma Lazarus.
To huddled masses.
To freedom and welcome,
Holiness, hope and love.
– Reb Irwin Keller

True imagination is not fanciful daydreaming,
it is fire from heaven.

A Story
by Nina Bogin
August night. The sky unwinds
its skeins of light.
The tiniest stars
slip through our fingers,
galaxies rest on our palms.
Layer on layer of blackness,
drifts of white
to plunge our hands in,
shake out like feathers,
flurries of stars
familiar and untamed.
It’s a story being told,
at this very moment.
No matter that I can’t understand.
Wordless, I begin
all over again,
in a newfound language
where everything
is waiting to be named.

The balancing on one foot
in the flash of summer
– W. S. Merwin

The ancient Irish had a saying: ‘You don’t give a man a weapon until you’ve taught him how to dance.’ In other words, a different kind of learning is required before someone can be truly trusted with social power and potent things like weapons. If a man does not know the wounds of his own soul, he can deny not just his own pain, but also be unmoved by the suffering of other people. More than that, he will tend to put his wound onto others. He may only be able to see the wound that secretly troubles him when he forcefully projects it into someone else, in forms of abuse or violence.
So in the old culture-making idea, in order to properly bear arms a person must first become disarmed, as in becoming vulnerable and connected to something meaningful and supportive of life. The idea of forging the temperament of young men took precedence over the idea of simply giving them weapons at a certain age. The tempering of the souls involved discovering what kind of anger each might carry and learning about the inner line where anger turned into blind rage. Becoming tempered also meant immersing in the sorrow of one’s life and thereby being in touch with the grief of the world.
– Michael Meade

Perhaps it takes a degree of illogic, even insanity, to take the most important steps in life.
– David Bedrick

You learn to speak by speaking,
to study by studying, to run by running,
to work by working;
in just the same way, you learn to love by loving.
– Anatole France

Wake Up Sermon
The esence of the Way is detachment. And the goal of those who practice is freedom from appearances. The sutras say, “Detachment is enlightenment because it negates appearances.” Buddhahood means awareness. Mortals whose minds are aware reach the Way of Enlightenment and are therefore called buddhas. The sutras say, “Those who free themselves from all appearances are called buddhas.” The appearance of appearance as no appearance can’t be seen visually but can only be known by means of wisdom. Whoever hears and believes this teaching embarks on the Great Vehicle and leaves the three realms.

The three realms are greed, anger, and delusion. To leave the three realms means to go from greed, anger, and delusion back to morality, meditation, and wisdom. Greed, anger, and delusion have no nature of their own. They depend on mortals. And anyone capable of reflection is bound to see that the nature of greed, anger, and delusion is the buddha-nature. Beyond greed, anger, and delusion there is no other buddha-nature. The sutras say, “Buddhas have only become buddhas while living with the three poisons and nourishing themselves on the pure Dharma.” The three poisons are greed, anger, and delusion.

The Great Vehicle is the greatest of all vehicles. It’s the conveyance of bodhisattvas, who use everything without using anything and who travel all day without traveling. Such is the vehicle of buddhas. The sutras say, “No vehicle is the vehicle of buddhas.”

Whoever realizes that the six senses aren’t real, that the five aggregates are fictions, that no such things can be located anywhere in the body, understands the language of buddhas. The sutras say, “The cave of five aggregates is the hall of zen. The opening of the inner eye is the door of the Great Vehicle.” What could be clearer?

Not thinking about anything is zen. Once you know this, walking, standing, sitting, or lying down, everything you do is zen. To know that the mind is empty is to see the buddha. The buddhas of the ten directions have no mind. To see no mind is to see the buddha.

To give up yourself without regret is the greatest charity. To transcend motion and stillness is the highest meditation. Mortals keep moving, and arhats stay still. But the highest meditation surpasses both that of mortals and that of arhats. People who reach such understanding free themselves from all appearances without effort and cure all illnesses without treatment. Such is the power of great zen.

Using the mind to look for reality is delusion. Not using the mind to look for reality is awareness. Freeing oneself from words is liberation. Remaining unblemished by the dust of sensation is guarding the Dharma. Transcending life and death is leaving home. Not suffering another existence is reaching the Way. Not creating delusions is enlightenment. Not engaging in ignorance is wisdom. No affliction is nirvana. And no appearance of the mind is the other shore.

When you’re deluded, this shore exists. When you wake up, it doesn’t exist. Mortals stay on this shore. But those who discover the greatest of all vehicles stay on neither this shore nor the other shore. They’re able to leave both shores. Those who see the other shore as different from this shore don’t understand zen.

Delusion means mortality. And awareness means buddhahood. They’re not the same. And they’re not different. It’s just that people distinguish delusion from awareness. When we’re deluded there’s a world to escape. When we’re aware, there’s nothing to escape.

In the light of the impartial Dharma, mortals look no different from sages. The sutras say that the impartial Dharma is something that mortals can’t penetrate and sages can’t practice. The impartial Dharma is only practiced by great bodhisattvas and buddhas. To look on life as different from death or on motion as different from stillness is to be partial. To be impartial means to look on suffering as no different from nirvana, because the nature of both is emptiness. By imagining they’re putting an end to suffering and entering nirvana arhats end up trapped by nirvana. But bodhisattvas know that suffering is essentially empty. And by remaining in emptiness they remain in nirvana. Nirvana means no birth and no death. It’s beyond birth and death and beyond nirvana. When the mind stops moving, it enters nirvana. Nirvana is an empty mind. Where delusions don’t exist, buddhas reach nirvana. Where afflictions don’t exist, bodhisattvas enter the place of enlightenment.

An uninhabited place is one without greed, anger, or delusion. Greed is the realm of desire, anger the realm of form, and delusion the formless realm. When a thought begins, you enter the three realms. When a thought ends, you leave the three realms. The beginning or end of the three realms, the existence or nonexistence of anything, depends on the mind. This applies to everything, even to such inanimate objects as rocks and sticks.

Whoever knows that the mind is a fiction and devoid of anything real knows that his own mind neither exists nor doesn’t exist. Mortals keep creating the mind, claiming it exists. And arhats keep negating the mind, claiming it doesn’t exist. But bodhisattvas and buddhas neither create nor negate the mind. This is what’s meant by the mind that neither exists nor doesn’t exist. The mind that neither exists nor doesn’t exist is called the Middle Way.

If you use your mind to study reality, you won’t understand either your mind or reality. If you study reality without using your mind, you’ll understand both. Those who don’t understand, don’t understand understanding. And those who understand, understand not understanding. People capable of true vision62 know that the mind is empty. They transcend both understanding and not understanding. The absence of both understanding and not understanding is true understanding.
Seen with true vision, form isn’t simply form, because form depends on mind. And mind isn’t simply mind, because mind depends on form. Mind and form create and negate each other. That which exists exists in relation to that which doesn’t exist. And that which doesn’t exist doesn’t exist in relation to that which exists. This is true vision. By means of such vision nothing is seen and nothing is not seen. Such vision reaches throughout the ten directions without seeing: because nothing is seen; because not seeing is seen; because seeing isn’t seeing. What mortals see are delusions. True vision is detached from seeing.

The mind and the world are opposites, and vision arises where they meet. When your mind doesn’t stir inside, the world doesn’t arise outside. When the world and the mind are both transparent, this is true vision. And such understanding is true understanding.

To see nothing is to perceive the Way, and to understand nothing is to know the Dharma, because seeing is neither seeing nor not seeing and because understanding is neither understanding nor not understanding. Seeing without seeing is true vision. Understanding without understanding is true understanding.

True vision isn’t just seeing seeing. It’s also seeing not seeing. And true understanding isn’t just understanding understanding. It’s also understanding not understanding. If you understand anything, you don’t understand. Only when you understand nothing is it true understanding. Understanding is neither understanding nor not understanding.

The sutras say, “Not to let go of wisdom is stupidity.” When the mind doesn’t exist, understanding and not understanding are both true. When the mind exists, understanding and not understanding are both false. When you understand, reality depends on you.

When you don’t understand, you depend on reality. When reality depends on you, that which isn’t real becomes real. When you depend on reality, that which is real becomes false. When you depend on reality, everything is false. When reality depends on you, everything is true. Thus, the sage doesn’t use his mind to look for reality, or reality to look for his mind, or his mind to look for his mind, or reality to look for reality. His mind doesn’t give rise to reality. And reality doesn’t give rise to his mind. And because both his mind and reality are still, he’s always in samadhi.

When the mortal mind appears, buddhahood disappears. When the mortal mind disappears, buddhahood appears. When the mind appears, reality disappears. When the mind disappears, reality appears. Whoever knows that nothing depends on anything has found the Way. And whoever knows that the mind depends on nothing is always at the place of enlightenment.

When you don’t understand, you’re wrong. When you understand, you’re not wrong. This is because the nature of wrong is empty. When you don’t understand, right seems wrong. When you understand, wrong isn’t wrong, because wrong doesn’t exist. The sutras say, “Nothing has a nature of its own.” Act. Don’t question. When you question, you’re wrong. Wrong is the result of questioning. When you reach such an understanding, the wrong deeds of your past lives are wiped away. When you’re deluded, the six senses and five shades64 are constructs of suffering and mortality. When you wake up, the six senses and five shades are constructs of nirvana and immortality.

Someone who seeks the Way doesn’t look beyond himself. He knows that the mind is the Way. But when he finds the mind, he finds nothing. And when he finds the Way, he finds nothing. If you think you can use the mind to find the Way, you’re deluded. When you’re deluded, buddhahood exists. When you’re aware, it doesn’t exist. This is because awareness is buddhahood.

If you’re looking for the Way, the Way won’t appear until your body disappears. It’s like stripping bark from a tree. This karmic body undergoes constant change. It has no fixed reality. Practice according to your thoughts. Don’t hate life and death or love life and death. Keep your every thought free of delusion, and in life you’ll witness the beginning of nirvana, and in death you’ll experience the assurance of no rebirth.

To see form but not be corrupted by form or to hear sound but not be corrupted by sound is liberation. Eyes that aren’t attached to form are the Gates of Zen. Ears that aren’t attached to sound are also the Gates of Zen. In short, those who perceive the existence and nature of phenomena and remain unattached are liberated. Those who perceive the external appearance of phenomena are at their mercy. Not to be subject to affliction is what’s meant by liberation. There’s no other liberation. When you know how to look at form, form doesn’t give rise to mind and mind doesn’t give rise to form. Form and mind are both pure.

When delusions are absent, the mind is the land of buddhas. When delusions are present, the mind is hell. Mortals create delusions. And by using the mind to give birth to mind they always find themselves in hell. Bodhisattvas see through delusions. And by not using the mind to give birth to mind they always find themselves in the land of buddhas. If you don’t use your mind to create mind, every state of mind is empty and every thought is still. You go from one buddha-land to another. If you use your mind to create mind, every state of mind is disturbed and every thought is in motion. You go from one hell to the next. When a thought arises, there’s good karma and bad karma, heaven and hell. When no thought arises, there’s no good karma or bad karma, no heaven or hell.

The body neither exists nor doesn’t exist. Hence existence as a mortal and nonexistence as a sage are conceptions with which a sage has nothing to do. His heart is empty and spacious as the sky.

That which follows is witnessed on the Way. It’s beyond the ken of arhats and mortals.

When the mind reaches nirvana, you don’t see nirvana, because the mind is nirvana. If you see nirvana somewhere outside the mind, you’re deluding yourself.

Every suffering is a buddha-seed, because suffering impels mortals to seek wisdom. But you can only say that suffering gives rise to buddhahood. You can’t say that suffering is buddhahood. Your body and mind are the field. Suffering is the seed, wisdom the sprout, and buddhahood the grain.

The buddha in the mind is like a fragrance in a tree. The buddha comes from a mind free of suffering, just as a fragrance comes from a tree free of decay. There’s no fragrance without the tree and no buddha without the mind. If there’s a fragrance without a tree, it’s a different fragrance. If there’s a buddha without your mind, it’s a different buddha.

When the three poisons are present in your mind, you live in a land of filth. When the three poisons are absent from your mind, you live in a land of purity. The sutras say, “If you fill a land with impurity and filth, no buddha will ever appear.” Impurity and filth refer to delusion and the other poisons. A buddha refers to a pure and awakened mind.

There’s no language that isn’t the Dharma. To talk all day without saying anything is the Way. To be silent all day and still say something isn’t the Way. Hence neither does a tathagata’s speech depend on silence, nor does his silence depend on speech, nor does his speech exist apart from his silence. Those who understand both speech and silence are in samadhi. If you speak when you know, your speech is free. If you’re silent when you don’t know, your silence is tied. If speech isn’t attached to appearances, it’s free. If silence is attached to appearances, it’s tied. Language is essentially free. It has nothing to do with attachment. And attachment has nothing to do with language.
Reality has no high or low. If you see high or low, it isn’t real. A raft isn’t real. But a passenger raft is. A person who rides such a raft can cross that which isn’t real. That’s why it’s real.

According to the world there’s male and female, rich and poor. According to the Way there’s no male or female, no rich or poor. When the goddess realized the Way, she didn’t change her sex. When the stable boy awakened to the Truth, he didn’t change his status. Free of sex and status, they shared the same basic appearance. The goddess searched twelve years for her womanhood without success. To search twelve years for one’s manhood would likewise be fruitless. The twelve years refer to the twelve entrances.

Without the mind there’s no buddha. Without the buddha there’s no mind. Likewise, without water there’s no ice, and without ice there’s no water. Whoever talks about leaving the mind doesn’t get very far. Don’t become attached to appearances of the mind. The sutras say, “When you see no appearance, you see the buddha.” This is what’s meant by being free from appearances of the mind.

Without the mind there’s no buddha means that the buddha comes from the mind. The mind gives birth to the buddha. But although the buddha comes from the mind, the mind doesn’t come from the buddha, just as fish come from water, but water doesn’t come from fish. Whoever wants to see a fish sees the water before he sees the fish. And whoever wants to see a buddha sees the mind before he sees the buddha. Once you’ve seen the fish, you forget about the water. And once you’ve seen the buddha, you forget about the mind. If you don’t forget about the mind, the mind will confuse you, just as the water will confuse you if you don’t forget about it.

Mortality and buddhahood are like water and ice. To be afflicted by the three poisons is mortality. To be purified by the three releases is buddhahood. That which freezes into ice in winter melts into water in summer. Eliminate ice and there’s no more water. Get rid of mortality and there’s no more buddhahood. Clearly, the nature of ice is the nature of water. And the nature of water is the nature of ice. And the nature of mortality is the nature of buddhahood. Mortality and buddhahood share the same nature, just as wutou and futzu share the same root but not the same season. It’s only because of the delusion of differences that we have the words mortality and buddhahood. When a snake becomes a dragon, it doesn’t change its scales. And when a mortal becomes a sage, he doesn’t change his face. He knows his mind through internal wisdom and takes care of his body through external discipline.

Mortals liberate buddhas and buddhas liberate mortals. This is what’s meant by impartiality. Mortals liberate buddhas because affliction creates awareness. And buddhas liberate mortals because awareness negates affliction. There can’t help but be affliction. And there can’t help but be awareness. If it weren’t for affliction, there would be nothing to create awareness. And if it weren’t for awareness, there would be nothing to negate affliction. When you’re deluded, buddhas liberate mortals. When you’re aware, mortals liberate buddhas. Buddhas don’t become buddhas on their own. They’re liberated by mortals. Buddhas regard delusion as their father and greed as their mother. Delusion and greed are different names for mortality. Delusion and mortality are like the left hand and the right hand. There’s no other difference.

When you’re deluded, you’re on this shore. When you’re aware, you’re on the other shore. But once you know your mind is empty and you see no appearances, you’re beyond delusion and awareness. And once you’re beyond delusion and awareness, the other shore doesn’t exist. The tathagata isn’t on this shore or the other shore. And he isn’t in midstream. Arhats are in midstream and mortals are on this shore. On the other shore is buddhahood.

Buddhas have three bodies: a transformation body, a reward body, and a real body. The transformation body is also called the incarnation body. The transformation body appears when mortals do good deeds, the reward body when they cultivate wisdom, and the real body when they become aware of the sublime. The transformation body is the one you see flying in all directions rescuing others wherever it can. The reward body puts an end to doubts. The Great Enlightenment occurred in the Himalayas suddenly becomes true. The real body doesn’t do or say anything. It remains perfectly still. But actually, there’s not even one buddha-body, much less three. This talk of three bodies is simply based on human understanding, which can be shallow, moderate, or deep.

People of shallow understanding imagine they’re piling up blessings and mistake the transformation body for the buddha. People of moderate understanding imagine they’re putting an end to suffering and mistake the reward body for the buddha. And people of deep understanding imagine they’re experiencing buddhahood and mistake the real body for the buddha. But people of the deepest understanding look within, distracted by nothing. Since a clear mind is the buddha, they attain the understanding of a buddha without using the mind. The three bodies, like all other things, are unattainable and indescribable. The unimpeded mind reaches the Way. The sutras say, “Buddhas don’t preach the Dharma. They don’t liberate mortals. And they don’t experience buddhahood.” This is what I mean.
Individuals create karma; karma doesn’t create individuals. They create karma in this life and receive their reward in the next. They never escape. Only someone who’s perfect creates no karma in this life and receives no reward. The sutras say, “Who creates no karma obtains the Dharma.” This isn’t an empty saying. You can create karma, but you can’t create a person. When you create karma, you’re reborn along with your karma. When you don’t create karma, you vanish along with your karma.

Hence, with karma dependent on the individual and the individual dependent on karma, if an individual doesn’t create karma, karma has no hold on him. In the same manner, “A person can enlarge the Way. The Way can’t enlarge a persons.”

Mortals keep creating karma and mistakenly insist that there’s no retribution. But can they deny suffering? Can they deny that what the present state of mind sows the next state of mind reaps? How can they escape? But if the present state of mind sows nothing, the next state of mind reaps nothing. Don’t misconceive karma. The sutras say, “Despite believing in buddhas, people who imagine that buddhas practice austerities aren’t Buddhists. The same holds for those who imagine that buddhas are subject to rewards of wealth or poverty. They’re icchantikas. They’re incapable of belief.”

Someone who understands the teaching of sages is a sage. Someone who understands the teaching of mortals is a mortal. A mortal who can give up the teaching of mortals and follow the teaching of sages becomes a sage. But the fools of this world prefer to look for sages far away. They don’t believe that the wisdom of their own mind is the sage. The sutras say, “Among men of no understanding, don’t preach this sutra.” And the sutras say, “Mind is the teaching.” But people of no understanding don’t believe in their own mind or that by understanding this teaching they can become a sage. They prefer to look for distant knowledge and long for things in space, buddha-images, light, incense, and colors. They fall prey to falsehood and lose their minds to insanity.

The sutras say, “When you see that all appearances are not appearances, you see the tathagata.” The myriad doors to the truth all come from the mind. When appearances of the mind are as transparent as space, they’re gone.
Our endless sufferings are the roots of illness. When mortals are alive, they worry about death. When they’re full, they worry about hunger. Theirs is the Great Uncertainty. But sages don’t consider the past. And they don’t worry about the future. Nor do they cling to the present. And from moment to moment they follow the Way. If you haven’t awakened to this great truth, you’d better look for a teacher on earth or in the heavens. Don’t compound your own deficiency.
– The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma Translated and with an Introduction by Red Pine

Can you comprehend everything in the four directions and still do nothing?
– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Songs for the People
by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Let me make the songs for the people,
Songs for the old and young;
Songs to stir like a battle-cry
Wherever they are sung.

Not for the clashing of sabres,
For carnage nor for strife;
But songs to thrill the hearts of men
With more abundant life.

Let me make the songs for the weary,
Amid life’s fever and fret,
Till hearts shall relax their tension,
And careworn brows forget.

Let me sing for little children,
Before their footsteps stray,
Sweet anthems of love and duty,
To float o’er life’s highway.

I would sing for the poor and aged,
When shadows dim their sight;
Of the bright and restful mansions,
Where there shall be no night.

Our world, so worn and weary,
Needs music, pure and strong,
To hush the jangle and discords
Of sorrow, pain, and wrong.

Music to soothe all its sorrow,
Till war and crime shall cease;
And the hearts of men grown tender
Girdle the world with peace.

Dan Go:
Eating shitty foods is borrowing.

Eating healthy foods is investing.

Shreela Ray:
I have no guile or occult power
to seize the sun from its centre
and place it on your head or mine.

What do you care anyway for the crown of the sky
when my earth shudders in the light of your stride?

Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts.
– Rita Mae Brown

In order for the world to become peaceful, people must become more peaceful.
Among mature people
war would not be a problem —
it would be impossible.
In their immaturity people want,
at the same time, peace
and the things which make war.
However, people can mature
just as children grow up.
Yes, our institutions and our leaders
reflect our immaturity,
but as we mature we will elect better leaders and set up better institutions.
It always comes back to the thing
so many of us wish to avoid:
working to improve ourselves.
– Peace Pilgrim

A thought transfixed me:
for the first time in my life
I saw the truth as it is set into song
by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers.
The truth — that love is the ultimate
and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart:
The salvation of man is through love
and in love.…
For the first time in my life
I was able to understand the meaning
of the words,
“The angels are lost
in perpetual contemplation
of an infinite glory.
– Viktor Emil Frankl

The ordinary man has always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic. He has permitted the twilight. He has always had one foot in earth and the other in fairyland. He has always left himself free to doubt his gods; but (unlike the agnostic of today) free also to believe in them. He has always cared more for truth than for consistency. If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the two truths and the contradiction along with them. His spiritual sight is stereoscopic, like his physical sight: he sees two different pictures at once and yet sees all the better for that. Thus he has always believed that there was such a thing as fate, but such a thing as free will also.
– G. K. Chesterton

A state you must dare not enter
with hopes of staying,
quicksand in the marshes, and all

the roads leading to a castle
that doesn’t exist.
But there it is, as promised,

with its perfect bridge above
the crocodiles,
and its doors forever open.
– Stephen Dunn

When I feed the poor, they call me a saint, but when I ask why the poor are hungry, they call me a communist.
– Dom Helder Camara

Everything has changed,
except our way of thinking.
– Albert Einstein

Amidst all of the attention given to the sciences as to how they can lead to the cure of all diseases and daily problems of mankind, I believe that the biggest breakthrough will be the realization that the arts, which are conventionally considered useless, will be recognized as the whole reason why we ever try to live longer or live more prosperously. The arts are the science of enjoying life.
– Muriel Cooper

Anyone who doesn’t read Cortázar is doomed.
Not to read him is a serious invisible disease
which in time can have terrible consequences.
Something similar to a man who has never tasted peaches. He would quietly become sadder…
and probably, little by little, he would lose his hair.
I don’t want these things to happen to me,
so I greedily devour all the fabrications, myths, contradictions, and mortal games
of the great Julio Cortázar.
– Pablo Neruda

It’s potential limitlessness that I’m feeling at that moment. If you think about it, it’s often in a space between phrases, [when I’m thinking,] “How did I get to this point where I feel so full?” And if you felt full of some sort of emotion you would have to make a sound. So that’s actually what it is — with the trio, without the trio, solo. Luckily for me, I don’t do it with classical music.
– Keith Jarrett

I use the words you taught me. If they don’t mean anything any more, teach me others. Or let me be silent.
– Samuel Beckett

If you wait until 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

The poem carries love and terror, or it carries nothing.
– Jane Hirshfield

There is a grace approaching
that we shun as much as death,
it is the completion of our birth.
It does not come in time,
but in timelessness
when the mind sinks into the heart
and we remember.
It is an insistent grace that draws us
to the edge and beckons us surrender
safe territory and enter our enormity.
We know we must pass
beyond knowing
and fear the shedding.
But we are pulled upward
through forgotten ghosts
and unexpected angels,
And there is nothing left to say
but we are That.
And that is what we sing about.
– Stephen Levine

What I write is smarter than I am,
because I can re-write it.
– Susan Sontag

He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.
– Elbert Hubbard

Chandali Ishta:
The caravan is leaving!
You can recognise it
by the songs of infinite possibility
like ripe fruit
from hungry mouths,
filling the fragrant air.
at the deep well
holding the reins,
yet not,
why let destiny
gamble with your life!
Travelers sit with empty hands
yet filled
with fresh bowls of honey milk.
With body breathing
yet only energy,
under endless skies
yet ever new.
Together in the dance
of appearances
and passing sorrows,
yet only
the Cosmic Interplay.
With singular strength
yet none
alone. Exiled
to harsh tests of time,
yet sustained within
the Changeless Robe,
heart traveling
on a floating world
true to ourself,
yet embraced
Freedoms Depth.

I bump into
all the places
where I said no
to my life
all the untended wounds
the red and purple scars
those hieroglyphs of pain
carved into my skin, my bones,
those coded messages
that send me down
the wrong street
again and again
where I find them
the old wounds
the old misdirections
and I lift them
one by one
close to my heart
and I say holy
– Pesha Joyce Gertler

If you plan on being
anything less than you are
capable of being,
you will probably be unhappy
all the days of your life.
– Abraham Maslow

Never confuse the person, formed in the image of God, with the evil that is in him: because evil is but a chance misfortune, an illness, a devilish reverie. But the very essence of the person is the image of God, and this remains in him despite every disfigurement.
– St. John of Kronstadt

David Bedrick:
Until we stop trying to fix ourselves, and proceed with becoming ourselves- our whole messy perfect beautiful ugly loving nasty powerful impossible vulnerable selves- the paradigm of shame, making us all feel that something is wrong with us, will rule.
And love… she will wander off silently, weeping, waiting, grieving the true life lost.

Nature and books belong to the eyes that see them.
– Emily Brontë

The Vagabond ~
Give to me the life I love,
Let the lave go by me,
Give the jolly heaven above
And the byway night me.
Bed in the bush with stars to see,
Bread I dip in the river —
There’s the life for a man like me,
There’s the life for ever.
Let the blow fall soon or late,
Let what will be o’er me;
Give the face of earth around
And the road before me.
Wealth I seek not, hope nor love,
Nor a friend to know me;
All I seek, the heaven above
And the road below me.
Or let autumn fall on me
Where afield I linger,
Silencing the bird on tree,
Biting the blue finger;
White as meal the frosty field —
Warm the fireside haven —
Not to autumn will I yield,
Not to winter even!
Let the blow fall soon or late,
Let what will be o’er me;
Give the face of earth around,
And the road before me.
Wealth I ask not, hope, nor love,
Nor a friend to know me.
All I ask, the heaven above
And the road below me.
– Robert Louise Stevenson

Everyone knows this.
The voyage into the interior
is all that matters,
whatever your ride.
– Charles Wright

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

How long
will you continue
to deliver ‘words’
…. at the door?
Come in the house
and close your mouth!
Don’t wag your jaw!
Be silent!

I don’t have any idea of who or what God is.
But I do believe in some great spiritual power.
I feel it particularly when I’m out in nature.
It’s just something that’s bigger and stronger
than what I am or what anybody is. I feel it.
And it’s enough for me.
– Jane Goodall

Art is not what you see,
but what you make others see.
– Edgar Degas

Before I ever wrote a single line,
I knew, in some mysterious
and therefore unequivocal way,
that I was destined for literature.
What I didn’t realize at first
is that besides being destined to be a reader,
I was also destined to be a writer,
and I don’t think one is less important
than the other.
– Jorge Luis Borges

all those years
looking after others,
this old heart
has finally
to look

Each act of kindness
a stitch in this warm blanket
that now covers me
while I sleep.
– Grandma Sumana

Body and Soul II
by Charles Wright – 1935

(for Coleman Hawkins)

The structure of landscape is infinitesimal,
Like the structure of music,
seamless, invisible.
Even the rain has larger sutures.
What holds the landscape together, and what holds music together,
Is faith, it appears—faith of the eye, faith of the ear.
Nothing like that in language,
However, clouds chugging from west to east like blossoms
Blown by the wind.
April, and anything’s possible.

Here is the story of Hsuan Tsang.
A Buddhist monk, he went from Xian to southern India
And back—on horseback, on camel-back, on elephant-back, and on
Ten thousand miles it took him, from 629 to 645,
Mountains and deserts,
In search of the Truth,
the heart of the heart of Reality,
The Law that would help him escape it,
And all its attendant and inescapable suffering.
And he found it.

These days, I look at things, not through them,
And sit down low, as far away from the sky as I can get.
The reef of the weeping cherry flourishes coral,
The neighbor’s back porch light bulbs glow like anemones.
Squid-eyed Venus floats forth overhead.
This is the half hour, half-light, half-dark,
when everything starts to shine out,
And aphorisms skulk in the trees,
Their wings folded, their heads bowed.

Every true poem is a spark,
and aspires to the condition of the original fire
Arising out of the emptiness.
It is that same emptiness it wants to reignite.
It is that same engendering it wants to be re-engendered by.
Shooting stars.
April’s identical,
celestial, wordless, burning down.
Its light is the light we commune by.
Its destination’s our own, its hope is the hope we live with.

Wang Wei, on the other hand,
Before he was 30 years old bought his famous estate on the Wang River
Just east of the east end of the Southern Mountains,
and lived there,
Off and on, for the rest of his life.
He never travelled the landscape, but stayed inside it,
A part of nature himself, he thought.
And who would say no
To someone so bound up in solitude,
in failure, he thought, and suffering.

Afternoon sky the color of Cream of Wheat, a small
Dollop of butter hazily at the western edge.
Getting too old and lazy to write poems,
I watch the snowfall
From the apple trees.
Landscape, as Wang Wei says, softens the sharp edges of isolation.

by Emilee

She cannot withhold the sweet scent of pomegranate that escapes from her pores.
With an aura that towers so healthily in stature, she rises as tall as fertile soil would allow sunflower stalks to flourish by the shadows.
To empower a distant admirer by the grace of an innate calling,
Is the same as blind faith.
The onlooker is thrown off game and through the maze of becoming is reborn in her company:
Its wise to wish even rivalry well.

Human nature is fundamentally creative,
Starting with the womb,
as The Artist is compelled in bodily contraction to surrender human life:
From the vessel of spirit to flesh formed.
The greatest gift beside love.

Giving thanks is the ritual of rebirth,
When accustomed’s turn into for-granteds,
like risks to breathe beyond isolation:
It’s wise to flip convention on its head,
to find passion in the breaking of bread.

Having Confessed
Having confessed he feels
That he should go down on his knees and pray
For forgiveness for his pride, for having
Dared to view his soul from the outside.
Lie at the heart of the emotion, time
Has its own work to do. We must not anticipate
Or awaken for a moment. God cannot catch us
Unless we stay in the unconscious room
Of our hearts. We must be nothing,
Nothing that God may make us something.
We must not touch the immortal material
We must not daydream to-morrow’s judgement—
God must be allowed to surprise us.
We have sinned, sinned like Lucifer
By this anticipation. Let us lie down again
Deep in anonymous humility and God
May find us worthy material for His hand.
– Patrick Kavanagh

Everyone needs solitude,
especially a person who is used to thinking
about what she experiences.
Solitude is very important in my work
as a mode of inspiration,
but isolation is not good in this respect.
I am not writing poetry about isolation.
– Wislawa Szymborska

Love transcends international boundaries. It heals the wounds of racial hatred, prejudice, bigotry and ignorance.
– Michael Jackson

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

If you wanted a poem, you only had to look out of a window.
– Gwendolyn Brooks

Why didn’t I learn to treat everything
like it was the last time.
My greatest regret
was how much I believed in the future.
– Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Wisdom, like compassion, often seems to require of us that we hold multiple realities in our consciousness at once.
– Richard Tarnas

The thing about pendulums we too easily forget in the darkest hours; they swing back. Right now, one is quietly supercharging its return.
– Alain de Botton

Only in dreams, in poetry, in play do we sometimes arrive at what we were before we were this thing that, who knows, we are.
– Julio Cortazar

The appearance of things changes according to the emotions; and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves.
– Gibran Kahlil Gibran

I hate the first inexact, inadequate expression of things. The whole joy of writing comes from the opportunity to go over it and make it good, one way or another.
– James Salter

Immortal Love
Like a door
the body opened and
the soul looked out.
Timidly at first, then
less timidly
until it was safe.
Then in hunger it ventured.
Then in brazen hunger,
then at the invitation
of any desire.

Promiscuous one, how will you find
god now? How will you
ascertain the divine?
Even the garden you were told to live in the body, not
outside it, and suffer in it
if that comes to be necessary.
How will god find you
if you are never in one place
long enough, never
in the home he gave you?

Or do you believe
you have no home, since god
never meant to contain you?
– Louise Glück

We’re always so close to living.
– Max Ritvo

I have no idea what’s awaiting me,
or what will happen when this all ends.
For the moment I know this:
there are sick people and they need curing.
– Albert Camus, The Plague

I am clockwork catastrophe
catalyst, a girl of ash and
broken glass, the remnants
of a Molotov cocktail marriage.
– Bianca Phipps

Try making a poem as if it were a table,
clear and solid, standing there outside you.
– May Sarton

And the deeper secret of the secret. The land that is nowhere, that is your true home.
– Kari Hohne

What is important is to write freely
and passionately
and with all the resources
that the language provides.
– Martin Amis

I have given you the opportunity to choose
So choose whether to die
On my chest or on the pages of my poetry.
– Nizar Qabbani

I believe—
I know (there are not many things I should care
to dogmatize about, on the subject of writing)
that writers need solitude,
and seek alienation of a kind
every day of their working lives.
(And remember, they are not even aware
when and when not they are working ).
The tension between standing apart
and being fully involved;
that is what makes a writer.
– Nadine Gordimer

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for
If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing to you as no one ever has,

streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.

– Rainer Maria Rilke (Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)

Be content with
what you have;

rejoice in the
way things are.

When you realize
there is
nothing lacking,

the whole world
belongs to you.

– Lao Tsu

Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.
– Mark Twain

A poet is a blind optimist. The world is against him for many reasons. But the poet persists. He believes that he is on the right track, no matter what any of his fellow men say. In his eternal search for truth, the poet is alone. He tries to be timeless in a society built on time.
– Jack Kerouac

The true delight is in the finding out rather than in the knowing.
– Isaac Asimov

Even as we fret about the changes our progress wreaks in the air and on the airwaves, in forests and on streets, we hardly worry about the changes it is working in ourselves, the new kind of soul that is being born out of a new kind of life. Yet this could be the most dangerous development of all, and the least examined.
– Pico Iyer

Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people, and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary.
– Boris Pasternak

Known to Be Left
by Sharon Olds
If I pass a mirror, I turn away,
I do not want to look at her,
and she does not want to be seen. Sometimes
I don’t see exactly how to go on doing this.
Often, when I feel that way,
within a few minutes I am crying, remembering
his body, or an area of it,
his backside often, a part of him
just right now to think of, luscious, not too
detailed, and his back turned to me.
After tears, the chest is less sore,
as if some goddess of humanness
within us has caressed us with a gush of tenderness.
I guess that’s how people go on, without
knowing how. I am so ashamed
before my friends—to be known to be left
by the one who supposedly knew me best,
each hour is a room of shame, and I am
swimming, swimming, holding my head up
smiling, joking, ashamed, ashamed,
like being naked with the clothed, or being
a child, having to try to behave
while hating the terms of your life. In me now
there’s a being of sheer hate, like an angel
of hate. On the badminton lawn, she got
her one shot, pure as an arrow,
while through the eyelets of my blouse the no-see-ums
bit the flesh no one seems now
to care to touch. In the mirror, the torso
looks like a pinup hives martyr,
or a cream pitcher speckled with henbit and pussy-paws,
full of milk of human kindness
and unkindness, and no one is lining up to drink.
But look! I am starting to give him up!
I believe he is not coming back. Something
has died, inside me, believing that,
like the death of a crone in one twin bed
as a child is born in the other. Have faith,
old heart. What is living, anyway,
but dying.

A great man is always willing to be little.
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is in this darkness, when there is nothing left in us that can please or comfort our own minds, when we seem to be useless and worthy of all contempt, when we seem to have failed, when we seem to be destroyed and devoured, it is then that the deep and secret selfishness that is too close for us to identify is stripped away from our souls. It is in this darkness that we find true liberty. It is in this abandonment that we are made strong. This is the night which empties us and makes us pure. Do not look for rest in any pleasure, because you were not created for pleasure: you were created for spiritual JOY. And if you do not know the difference between pleasure and spiritual joy you have not yet begun to live.
– Thomas Merton

Art can move and alter people in subtle ways because, like love, it speaks through and to the heart.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

did-you-just-say-thang theory
by Tiana Reid

I grew up on monopoly money and lucky charms
leftover hanukkah gelt from
the friend who always
had things
in her family fridge
but what about those things
I bought with my own money
the sour one-cent gummies,
shaped like warped, warring men
they tasted hard and right
on the way
home from school.

(whispers, loudly: this is an ode to Rihanna)

what about those things?

(title for the thing: maybe “Repairing Rihanna”)
(or maybe: “Rihanna and Redress”)

hard-earned money in the
so-called smart city began to
get us
began to get us less things
the thing itself
went public,
kicked back and relaxed
meanwhile i am already so bored
i want to die

whenever I check my balance I hear voices
someone is owed! sing it, honey!
laaaadiiiidii, ladiidaa! louder, honey!!!!
those automated sing-ah-longs…
make it count
make tech boom

a digital glitch is not the mistake
but rather that exact moment
the institution reproduces itself

and ugh.

Blessings of a kind heart upon you;
Blessings of the eyes of compassion upon you;
Blessings of giving to the earth upon you;
Blessings of the wisdom of the seasons upon you;
Blessings of breathing freely upon you;
Blessings of this moment upon you.
– Jack Kornfield

How to Breathe When You Want to Give Up
by Cleo Wade
today I am breathing through fatigue, fear, and feeling overwhelmed.
I breathe because when I breathe, I am reminded that I am alive.
I am reminded that to be able to fill my body with air means that I have the ability to keep going.
I am reminded that my time on earth may be short but it can be powerful if I dedicate it to love and fairness.
when I breathe
I am reminded of Mary Oliver when she wrote,
“tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
so I breathe
and let my breath
turn into a smile that says back to her,
“as much as I can.”

by Paul Laurence Dunbar
I had not known before
Forever was so long a word.
The slow stroke of the clock of time
I had not heard.

‘Tis hard to learn so late;
It seems no sad heart really learns,
But hopes and trusts and doubts and fears,
And bleeds and burns.

The night is not all dark,
Nor is the day all it seems,
But each may bring me this relief—
My dreams and dreams.

I had not known before
That Never was so sad a word,
So wrap me in forgetfulness—
I have not heard.

I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.
– Ani DiFranco

You have to unlock a door with the correct key before you can enter. Likewise, the door to the path of enlightenment can only be unlocked with the key of bodhicitta. No other key will work.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

We thought we were being mature
when we were only being safe.
– Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending

We write to heighten our own awareness of life.
We write to lure and enchant and console others.
We write to serenade our lovers.
We write to taste life twice,
in the moment and in retrospection.
We write, like Proust, to render all of it eternal,
and to persuade ourselves that it is eternal.
We write to be able to transcend our life,
to reach beyond it.
We write to teach ourselves to speak with others,
to record the journey into the labyrinth.
We write to expand our world
when we feel strangled, or constricted,
or lonely…When I don’t write, I feel my world
shrinking. I feel I am in prison. I feel I lose
my fire and my color. It should be a necessity,
as the sea needs to heave, and I call it breathing.
– Anaïs Nin

This is a good sign, having a broken heart.
It means we have tried for something.
– Elizabeth Gilbert

Writing is a form of therapy;
sometimes I wonder how all those who do not
write, compose, or paint
can manage to escape the madness,
melancholia, the panic and fear
which is inherent in a human situation.
– Graham Greene, Ways of Escape

Writing is impossible without some kind of exile.
– Julia Kristeva

Love is a form of direct action.
– Lidia Yuknavitch

I like the word asylum.
Poetry is an asylum to me.
Do you know what insanity is?
Insanity is ‘doing the same thing over and over,
expecting different results.’
That’s writing poetry, but hey, it’s also
getting out of bed every morning.
– Mary Ruefle, Madness, Rack, and Honey

Just being is enough.
Not being this, not being that, just being.
Being at satsang.

And whether I talk about ice cream
or jellybeans it makes no difference.
The words themselves have value,
because the sound of the words are the grace that you feel. But the meaning of the words
are only interpreted in your mind.

That’s why, whatever I say is taken differently by each one of you. For it filters through your mind. And your Consciousness and your Beingness mix with the words, and the words come out according to your way of life.

But if you listen with no-mind, then you get the true meaning.

In other words, do not put too much value
on everything I say. But open your heart
so the Grace portion of it may enter,
and you may pick it up and lift yourself upward.
How do you do this?

Just by becoming still, by stopping the mental activity. And you may stop the mental activity by any method you know.

If you like to do pranayama, do that.
If you like to practice vipassana meditation,
do that.
You wish to observe your breath,
do that.
If you wish to practice Self-inquiry, do that.
In other words, do whatever you have to do
to stop your mind from thinking.

Vichara, Self-inquiry is only to keep your mind from thinking. That’s all it is. All the practices of yoga lead to the place
where you stop thinking. All of the higher religions are to make your thoughts one-pointed. And when your mind stops,
you become your Self. You’re free.

There are no rituals you have to go through really. You don’t have to chastise yourself and try to get rid of your guilt feelings, samskaras, or anything else.

Identifying with an empty mind will do the job for you. But the empty mind is not
realization. It is the step before realization.

Realization is not an empty mind. Realization cannot be explained. Suffice it to say that realization is beyond everything and anything you can ever imagine. But if you achieve empty mind, then you’re on the way to realization. At that stage the guru within yourself will pull you inwardly, and you will awaken to your Self.
– Robert Adams

I unlatched the shutters.
The light was as intense as a love affair.
I was blinded, delighted,
not just because it was warm and wonderful,
but because nature measures nothing.
Nobody needs this much sunlight.
Nobody needs droughts, volcanoes,
monsoons, tornadoes either,
but we get them,
because our world is as extravagant
as a world can be.
We are the ones obsessed by measurement.
the world just pours it out.
– Jeanette Winterson, Lighthousekeeping

Is it crazy to wish to rescue life…?
– Carl Theodor Dreyer, Ordet

People say that human beings are the most precious of all beings because they have the ability to think and speculate. Yet, they don’t even try to understand what thinking and speculation are.

Even though sentient beings don’t know their true selves at all, some pretend to be scholars or religious leaders, discussing life’s great questions. This is killing life while trying to save it.

If you take even one step beyond theory
and scholarly study then you can find
your true self. Life’s great questions
cannot be solved before you find your true self.
– Zen Master Mangong

We have ignorance of the Dark, of the Deep, of gentleness, and we make all kind of projections, and we advertise so much teaching about enlightenment, that now spirituality is imbalanced. Whenever I hear so much teaching about enlightenment, and emphasis in awakening, and all of those things, it’s missing the Wisdom, the Depth, the richness of that field, that I think it’s so important, and I think that by seeing it, I think the Feminine Principle will be merging more and more. The Female will have her right position in existence. That She is not less, she is of equal magnitude, the Universe is imbalanced without Her.
I felt such balance in me when I went to Mecca, visiting, I went to the Kaaba. The Kaaba is a cubit, a black cubit, and the name “Kaaba”, literally means “The Feminine”, the beautiful Female. That’s what it is, black with gold… And I remember…this cubit that the Muslims go to for pilgrimage, it’s built on a vortex, energy coming from the center of the Earth. And I remember going there, wanting to know, what is feel like, what is there, what is about? And I was going with the attitude of “this is religion”, and all of these things, and when I entered the mosque, and I looked at the Kaaba,the emanation that was coming from there brought me to my knees. For the first time, I felt pure emanation of the Feminine Essence. Feminine Presence: Pure. It brought me to my knees. I felt that I was incomplete until this emanation came. And it corrected the imbalance in my masculinity, I needed tat kind of mirroring in order for this one to know what is right and what is not. It was really an amazing experience.
I felt – when I realized this – the Deep and the Radiance, the combination of the two and the completion,I felt that at last the riddle of spirituality cracked up. It is a field of utmost creativity, made of electro-magnetic field, Radiance and Deep, and all creation comes from it and dissolves in it, and there are so many wisdoms and teachings in it that we don’t have. Spirituality don’t have it. it doesn’t belong to spirituality, it is beyond spirituality. Way beyond spirituality, spirituality is only one branch on the tree of that grand knowledge. So, I felt like really relieved, balanced, I don’t know that knowledge, I know a little about it, but I felt my struggle and evolution in the spiritual journey got resolved when this riddle got cracked, when the nondual became dual, it is dual, it is male and female, Yin and Yang. I felt that this is the crowning of my spiritual work. At last, I rested, something in me was not happy with enlightenment, it needed the endarkenment (warm smile), and the endarkenment corrected something. … The Deep and the Radiance are co-emergent….
– Faisal Muqaddam, Enlightenment vs. Endarkenment

In my youth I believed in somewhere else
I put my faith in travel
now I am becoming my own tree
– W.S. Merwin, The Moon Before Morning

A person hears only what they understand.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances,
profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.
– Mark Twain

The primary task of any good spiritual teaching is not to answer your questions, but to question your answers.
– Adyashanti

Our words are vibes for goodwill or ill will and everything in between. They are powerful tools of creation and destruction. When kindness is the underlying vibration, then good always comes into being. We have that human gift to voice goodness into the world. May we use that gift with great care.
– Gunilla Norris

Originally, the word power meant able to be. In time, it was contracted to mean to be able. We suffer the difference. Iwas waiting for a plane when I overheard two businessmen. One was sharing the good news that he had been promoted, and the other, in congratulation, said, “More power to you.” I’ve heard this expression before, but for some reason, I heard it differently this time and thought, what a curious sentiment. As a good wish, the assumption is that power is the goal. Of course, it makes a huge difference if we are wishing others worldly power or inner power. By worldly power, I mean power over things, people, and situations—controlling power. By inner power, I mean power that comes from being a part of something larger—connective power. I can’t be certain, but I’m fairly sure the wish here was for worldly power, for more control. This is commonplace and disturbing, as the wish for more always issues from a sense of lack. So the wish for more power really issues from a sense of powerlessness. It is painfully ironic that in the land of the free, we so often walk about with an unspoken and enervating lack of personal freedom. Yet the wish for more controlling power will not set us free, anymore than another drink will quench the emptiness of an alcoholic in the grip of his disease. It makes me think of a game we played when I was nine called King of the Hill, in which seven or eight of us found a mound of dirt, the higher the better, and the goal was to stand alone on top of the hill. Once there, everyone else tried to throw you off, installing themselves as King of the Hill. It strikes me now as a training ground for worldly power. Clearly, the worst position of all is being King of the Hill. You are completely alone and paranoid, never able to trust anyone, constantly forced to spin and guard every direction. The hills may change from a job to a woman to a prized piece of real estate, but those on top can be so enslaved by guarding their position that they rarely enjoy the view. I always hated King of the Hill—always felt tense in my gut when king, sad when not, and ostracized if I didn’t want to play. That pattern has followed me through life. But now, as a tired adult, when I feel alone and powerless atop whatever small hill I’ve managed to climb, I secretly long for anyone to join me. Now, I’m ready to believe there’s more power here together.
– Mark Nepo

It is my feeling that as we grow older we should become not less radical but more so. I do not, of course, mean this in any political-party sense, but rather in a willingness to struggle for those things in which we passionately believe. Social activism and the struggle for social justice are often thought of as the natural activities of the young but not of the middle-aged or the elderly. In fact, I don’t think this was ever true.
– Margaret Laurence

Andrea Gibson:
We never truly have any idea
what someone is privately surviving
along their journey to help others survive.

Waylon Lewis:
You can beat 40 scholars with one fact, but you cannot beat one idiot with 40 facts.

My tunes often deal with a moral crisis. I often feel myself a part of such a crisis and try to relate it in song. There’s a line in a poem I wrote that sums this up perfectly: ‘My betrayals are so fresh they still come with explanations.
– Leonard Cohen

Poetry is my life, my postmark,
my hands, my kitchen, my face.
– Anne Sexton

…In the darkness
I close my eyes. Nothing
– Joshua Robbins

What It Takes
All it takes is one blue rowboat tied to a buoy,
and its reflection, and this moment
for me to go remembering everything.

Then a murmur, the sound of water lapping,
the breeze snapping, and the way the leaves
resist the letting go, or don’t…

the wheels of a bicycle soaring downhill
with some gravity-glad rider—
all of it, all of it complicit.

What I’m talking about is the sheer, shimmering
faith of the rope that connects the boat to the buoy
and the hands that tied the knot, and the fathers

who teach their sons and daughters
these simple things I see all day
and sometimes, not at all.

Moments like this become miracle, oracle,
and my heart knows again that the whole world—
this one—is just my own face in the mirror,

and I know that I am the boat and the buoy
and the rope—and like faith, that holy smoke—
I am brilliant, and bobbing, and blue.
– Lisa Star

I am just a human being trying to make it in a world that is very rapidly losing its understanding of being human
– John Trudell

Like Thurman, King did not define the religion of Jesus dogmatically; he defined it ethically. King’s Christianity was not based on confessing the belief that Jesus was a deity; rather it was anchored in a commitment to the agape Jesus exemplified.
– Larry O. Rivers

Marcus Aurelius:
The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

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

One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known coming to an end.
– Krishnamurti

Efficient, perfunctory, streamlined directness was only reluctantly employed by traditionalists during earthquakes, floods, landslides, and wars. It was considered an unfortunate implementation of a state of linguistic martial law for emergencies only. But in times of every day life and ritual, abbreviatory, truncated, efficient speech was considered a life-stunting betrayal of what a fully formed human was meant to embody. For after having lived a bit, a person could become a brave wielder of life-feeding eloquence whose words fed the Holy even in the way they died. Blatant simple answers or empty seductive ornateness without a story were the domain of the exhausted, sick, cowardly, and lazy vernacular of civilizations dedication to getting what they wanted without sweating, in which speech was something designed to seduce, compete, win, to conquer or dominate territory. It took away the delicious ornateness of ecstatic humans in love with life. This is a worldwide innate human capacity, but it’s long-winded ecstatic incapacity to cause the exploitation of the earth, the people, and the future has made it extinct in most modern places, becoming endangered like the seeds in the rest. This is the root of all modern-day Depression: the loss of the ability to feed the Divine in Nature by our inborn human beauty of speech and culture. This ability is a seed and endangered. These are seeds we must keep alive.
– Martin Prechtel from The Unlikely Peace at Cuchumaquic

The courage to hear and embody opens us to a startling secret, that the best chance to be whole is to love whatever gets in the way, until it ceases to be an obstacle.
– Mark Nepo

What kept me sane
was knowing that things would change,
and it was a question of keeping myself together
until they did.
– Nina Simone

Any situation in which some individuals prevent others from engaging in the process of inquiry is one of violence. The means used are not important; to alienate human beings from their own decision-making is to change them into objects.
– Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Memory does not make films,
it makes photographs.
– Milan Kundera

Please, no matter how we advance
please don’t abandon the book.
There is nothing in our material world
more beautiful than the book.
– Patti Smith, Acceptance speech, National Book
Award 2010 (Nonfiction), November 17, 2010

It is amazing how complete is the delusion
that beauty is goodness.
– Leo Tolstoy, The Kreutzer Sonata

I don’t paint things. I only paint the difference between things.
– Henri Matisse

Cézanne conceived the idea
that in composition one thing
was as important as another thing.
Each part is as important as the whole.
– Gertrude Stein

What the world does to you,
if the world does it to you long enough
and effectively enough,
you begin to do to yourself.
You become a collaborator,
an accomplice of your own murderers,
because you believe the same things they do.
– James Baldwin

I think the salient point about the new world
we’ve been drifting into is that all the walls
are falling down, everything blurring into everyone
else. In this atmosphere of perpetual contact,
perpetual surveillance, intimacy falters.
– Olivia Laing, The Lonely City

For Orrin

It must be summer. Push the dock out,
Bring the canoe down, find your old
Books – bird books, Hawthorne. Drive
To Gooseberry. Even in the Swedish islands,

Summer comes. They pull the linen off chairs,
Bring out the blue dishes, write some poems.
Say again: “It must be summer.”
Even though people die, it must be summer.
– Robert Bly

The distance covered by a great ship, pulled on land by a hundred men for a hundred days, can be covered in a single day when it is put to sea.
In the same way, a single day of practicing tantra, done with the stability of a concentrated mind, brings more progress than a hundred days of practicing it without that stability.
– Shabkar

The ink of the scholar is more holy than the blood of the martyr.
– Anonymous

Courage is continuing to perform your daily tasks,
and being hopeful despite the odds,
not inflicting your fears on others,
and remaining sensitive to their needs
and expectations,
and also not supposing, because you’re dying,
nothing matters any more.
– Leonard Michaels, Time out of Mind:
The Diaries of Leonard Michaels

Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.
– Theodore Roethke

What kind of beast would turn its life into words?
– Adrienne Rich

I wouldn’t recognize myself without being able to read and reread poetry.
– Edward Hirsch

Edit ferociously and with joy, it is very fun to delete stuff.
– Anne Carson

I don’t write out of what I know; I write out of what I wonder. I think most artists create art in order to explore, not to give the answers. Poetry and art are not about answers to me; they are about questions.
– Lucille Clifton

Outside azaleas bloom loud
& red like ambulances
rushing to save someone
– Kevin Young

Escape from the black cloud that surrounds you. Then you will see your own light as radiant as the full moon.
– Rumi

Let lovers be
light thoughts, just touch
remembered in some not unkind way.
– Olena Kalytiak Davis

Or, rather, let us be more simple and less vain.
– Rousseau Jean-Jacques

Keep it logic and magic and lighting and muscle.
– Gwendolyn Brooks

Be very picky about who you explain yourself to.
– @MindTendencies2

Inner Practitioner:
Trauma repeats. Healing evolves.

True change is within; leave the outside as it is.
– Dalai Lama XIV

No hour is ever eternity, but it has its right to weep.
– Zora Neale Hurston

Gal Shapira:
If you can’t go out and introduce yourself to a random person you like, you got work to do.

Brenda Hillman:
If you find a single poem by a living poet & read it a lot, let the poet know. Even if it’s older work. They may not know their work is inspiring anyone now. Not everyone is on social media so send a card c/o the publisher or periodical. That helps the post office too.

What I ask of [the writer] is not to ignore the reality and the fundamental problems that exist. The world’s hunger, the atomic threat, the alienation of man, I am astonished that they do not color all our literature.
– Jean-Paul Sartre

Spirituality isn’t about obtaining special powers. It’s actually the opposite. It’s about leaving those stories behind and learning to be okay with being authentically human. When we sit that’s what we’re practicing—just being ourselves without the need for costumes or pretense.
– Jason Garner

Frankie Zelnick:
My radical thought is that everyone deserves food and healthcare. Your radical thought is that cops are allowed to murder people. We are not the same.

No one warns you about the amount of mourning in growth.
– Té V. Smith

The whales turn and glisten, plunge
and sound and rise again,
Hanging over subtly darkening deeps
Flowing like breathing planets
in the sparkling whorls of
living light
– Gary Snyder

We are taught that corporations have a soul, which is the most terrifying news in the world.
– Gilles Deleuze, Postscript on the Societies of Control

I wish I could tell you,
truly, of the little factory
in my head: the smokestacks
chuffing, the dandelions
and purslane and willows of sweet clover
prying through the blacktop.
– Ross Gay

To those who no longer have a homeland, writing becomes home.
– Theodor W. Adorno

Ayishat Akanbi:
People think to be radical is to be confrontational, hostile, and angry when what is truly counterculture is understanding, curiosity, self-discipline, a backbone, combined with spiritual and emotional depth.

Anna Jane Joyner:
Jesus was not killed by atheism and anarchy. He was brought down by law and order allied with religion – which is always a deadly mix. Beware those who claim to know the mind of God and are prepared to use force, if necessary, to make others conform…

For whatever it’s worth every single astrologer I follow agrees that this period of time leads us to a better place.
– Ethan Lichtern

…may we not be strangers in the lush province of joy.
– Charles Wright

There is no such thing as a logical method of having new ideas.
– Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery

Othering is a disease.
– Sará King

God is everywhere,
only you have to disappear now.
– Papaji

Good poems can interdict a suicide, rescue a love affair, and build a revolution in which speaking and listening to somebody becomes the first and last purpose of every social encounter.
– June Jordan

If you can think of the times in your life
that you’ve treated people with extraordinary
decency and love, and pure uninterested concern,
just because they were valuable as human beings.
The ability to do that with ourselves.
To treat ourselves the way that we would treat
a really good, precious friend.
And I think it’s probably possible to achieve that.
I think part of the job we’re here for
is to learn how to do it.
– David Foster Wallace

It’s All Right
William Stafford
Someone you trusted has treated you bad.
Someone has used you to vent their ill temper.
Did you expect anything different?
Your work – better than some others’ – has languished,
neglected. Or a job you tried was too hard,
and you failed. Maybe weather or bad luck
spoiled what you did. That grudge, held against you
for years after you patched up, has flared,
and you’ve lost a friend for a time. Things
at home aren’t so good; on the job your spirits
have sunk. But just when the worst bears down
you find a pretty bubble in your soup at noon,
and outside at work a bird says, “Hi!”
Slowly the sun creeps along the floor;
It is coming your way. It touches your shoe.

In the largest scheme of things, just as no one has the right to tell us our true value, no one has the right to tell us what we truly owe.
– David Graeber

I met a lot of people in Europe.
I even encountered myself.
– James Baldwin

I haven’t yet been able to write off
my daily behavior as a business expense.
– Justin Petropoulos

The purpose of education is not to validate
ignorance but to overcome it.
– Lawrence M. Krauss

When we are lost in the woods the sight of a signpost is a great matter. He who first sees it cries, ‘Look!’ The whole party gathers round and stares. But when we have found the road and are passing signposts every few miles, we shall not stop and stare. They will encourage us and we shall be grateful to the authority that set them up. But we shall not stop and stare, or not much; not on this road, though their pillars are of silver and their lettering of gold.
– C. S. Lewis

…This is the earnest work. Each of us is given
only so many mornings to do it –
to look around and love
the oily fur of our lives,
the hoof and the grass-stained muzzle.
Days I don’t do this
I feel the terror of idleness,
like a red thirst.
Death isn’t just an idea.
When we die the body breaks open
like a river;
the old body goes on, climbing the hill.
– Mary Oliver

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

Beware of any system
which discourages questioning.
Anyone who stifles questions is afraid
that it could uncover the falseness
of the beliefs.
– Rabbi Yisrael Noach Weinberg

I have never known the police of any country to show an interest in lyric poetry as such. But when poems stop talking about the moon and begin to mention poverty, trade unions, color lines, and colonies, somebody tells the police.
– Langston Hughes

Between going and staying the day wavers,
in love with its own transparency.

The circular afternoon is now a bay
where the world in stillness rocks.

All is visible and all elusive,
all is near and can’t be touched.

Paper, book, pencil, glass,
rest in the shade of their names.

Time throbbing in my temples repeats
the same unchanging syllable of blood.

The light turns the indifferent wall
into a ghostly theater of reflections.

I find myself in the middle of an eye,
watching myself in its blank stare.

The moment scatters. Motionless,
I stay and go: I am a pause.
– Octavio Paz

This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.
– Walt Whitman

The strategic adversary is fascism… the fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us.
– Michel Foucault

We don’t heal in isolation, but in community.
– S. Kelley Harrell

The ultimate, hidden truth of the world, is that it is something that we make, and could just as easily make differently.
– David Graeber

Every poem holds the unspeakable inside it. The unsayable… The thing that you can’t really say because it’s too complicated. It’s too complex for us. Every poem has that silence deep in the center of it.
– Marie Howe

Debt cancellation would not only relieve human suffering, it would also remind us that money is not ineffable, that these are human arrangements and that if democracy is going to mean anything, it is the ability to all agree to arrange things in a different way.
– David Graeber

Art is individualism, and individualism is a disturbing and disintegrating force. There lies its immense value. For what it seeks is to disturb monotony of type, slavery of custom, tyranny of habit, and the reduction of man to the level of a machine.
– Oscar Wilde

Bruce Cockburn:
Wave on wave of life
Like the great wide ocean’s roll
Haunting hands of memory
Pluck silver strands of soul
The damage and the dying done
The clarity of light
Gentle bows and glasses raised
To the charity of night

Ethan Nichtern:
By the way, even those of us completely anti-war, tree-hugging Buddhists never refer to soldiers as “losers.”

Ethan Nichtern:
I think the anti-war perspective actually is the one with the very highest respect for members of the armed forces and veterans, but I digress.

You cannot invest in samsara because it is unstable, impermanent, and meaningless.
– Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche

J. Jennifer Espinoza:
When Sufjan Stevens said “I want to be well” 5 million times in a row I really felt that

Chloe Holden:
People always assume I’m a vegetarian when they meet me, but I want more. Like I wish people would look at me and think “Wow, it looks like she’d be absolutely furious if I built a new combined cycle gas plant. Better order a salad”

Direct action is, ultimately, the defiant insistence on acting as if one is already free.
– David Graeber

Evil must constantly re-spawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal. Vice has always a new fresh young face. While virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is.
– John Steinbeck

It is always the enemy who started it, even if he was not the first to speak out, he was certainly planning it; and if he was not actually planning it, he was thinking of it; and, if he was not thinking of it, he would have thought of it.
– Elias Canetti, Crowds and Power

When surrender happens it promotes resilience. It’s a point of reference that you never forget.
– Gabor Maté

A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.
– Aldo Leopold

Nationalism is our form of incest,
is our idolatry, is our insanity.
‘Patriotism’ is its cult.
Just as love for one individual
which excludes
the love for others is not love,
love for one’s country which is not part
of one’s love for humanity is not love,
but idolatrous worship.
– Erich Fromm

Judith Butler: In my experience, the most powerful argument against violence has been grounded in the notion that, when I do violence to another human being, I also do violence to myself, because my life is bound up with this other life. Most people who are formed within the liberal individualist tradition really understand themselves as bounded creatures who are radically separate from other lives. There are relational perspectives that would challenge that point of departure, and ecological perspectives as well. Our interdependency serves as the basis of our ethical obligations to one another. When we strike at one another, we strike at that very bond.
– Rebecca Solnit

what the prophets said to us

saints are poets gone astray. prophets are saints gone poet.

the poet dogen spoke of the dharma of the ten thousand things. he said things like: if you can’t find dharma in ordinary life, where do you expect to find it? but at some point a religion of the ordinary was founded, and we cleared away the ten thousand things to make room for the ten thousand temples.

prophets in the shinning hills of the city of peace spoke of this one unseen god without a name. they said things like: he isn’t a thing and should not be likened to any of the ten thousand things. but at some point a religion of this nameless god was founded and we replaced the one which is not a thing with a god of ten thousand names and even more temples.

the poet in the mount told us that love will overcome all suffering and peace is the name of the soul. but after some time we stopped trusting him and needed to build temples to him rather than with him. we made a religion about the poet rather than practicing the religion of the poet. we prayed to him rather than with him.

it is the case however that some of us still seek the god before all names. some others look for the god before all things existed, as the jewish “adom olam” hymn declares. some say that no-name dwells in the ten thousand things. i think that no-name is the ten thousand things and we don’t need to give it a name.

“and the word became god” said the poet, and the word is us. poets and words! incorrigible. but this is true: the words must be us, for otherwise we have heard nothing. we must be the ones who pray and the ones who hear the words we pray and we must be the prayer we pray, for if we do not do this there is no difference between a prayer and a curse.

but this is our responsibility: the ten thousand things need us to save them, for alone among the ten thousand things we are the ones who can say thou to every-thing. it is an awe-filled responsibility, but as some poets in the talmud told us: alone among the ten thousand things we are the ones not exempted from the task.

and so some prophets insisted on this: their god demands that we turn our backs to “it” and turn back to see the eyes of “thou”. or sometimes they like to say it differently: it is not prayers their god is asking from us, but that we be the prayer we pray. or in their own words: we must be the ones who hear the prayer we pray, as the “shema israel” hear israel says! in other words: we must hear, we must be attentive and we must be mindful. for it is easy to pray the words but much harder to hear them. but how can we learn to hear the words? the prophets said: “na’ase v’nishma”, we shall do and we shall hear. that is to say: only through, and in the deeds of love we can hear the true word. any other hearing is not a shema.

remember this: every morning and every night, when they sat in their homes and when they walked on the road, when they lied down and when they arose, the prophets taught us this: the words of the gods sometimes can only be heard with our feet! words can dance in the air like the sweet breezes of a desert sunset, and also during the winter nights. we should strive to become what they sing, for we are the sayers and the hearers and the ones that fulfill the words.

i have climbed up from the depths of despair on the shoulders of letters and words, and then climbed back down again when i failed to hear them. the prophets say: just be peace, just be love, just be justice, just be the prayer you pray, just be like their god is! “imitatio dei”! that is what they are saying. and if we do the deeds, since being is doing, each of us will be the poets of our gods, sitting near the walls of the shining city in ruins.
– Hune Margulies

Popular psychology, and much of new age spirituality, support the same shallowness that mainstream culture is built on:

– One based on image instead of authenticity, indicating how we should look, behave, and respond to garner approval or influence people.

– One based on restoring our status quo and getting us back to “normal,” rather than nurturing true transformation and by treating our difficult feelings, patterns, and experiences as pathologies that must be suppressed or overcome.

– One based on capitalistic notions of success instead of an understanding of the radical and sometimes difficult path of heart and soul and a deeper sense of where our greatness lies.

– One that too often ignores the most pervasive ills of our time, including racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, and classism.

We need healing modalities that access our depths; that are unafraid of looking into the heart of violence and trauma; and that introduce us to our inner lives, to our less conscious selves -our shadow, and to our most radical natures and gifts.
– David Bedrick

A word and everything is saved.
A word and all is lost.
– André Breton

Be humble and realize that you are only capable of seeing one side of the whole truth.
– Rev. Shndo Aoyama Abbess of Aichi Senmon Nisodo

Please do not understand me too quickly.
– André Gide

Living with the idea of not knowing and not needing to control everything. Most liberating. Flowing with what is, and relieving myself from the need to understand everything that goes on. As the saying goes:

“aohe i pau ka ike i hookahi halau” — “all wisdom is not taught in one halau”

(among several other meanings, ‘halau’ here means ‘school’…)
– Tim McCallum

Culture is perishing in overproduction,
in an avalanche of words,
in the madness of quantity.
– Milan Kundera

Never underestimate the ability
of a small group of dedicated people
to change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
– Margaret Meade

Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it. What then kills love?
Only this: Neglect.
Not to see you when you stand before me.
Not to think of you in the little things.
Not to make the road wide for you,
the table spread for you.
To choose you out of habit not desire, to pass
the flower seller without a thought.
To leave the dishes unwashed, the bed unmade,
to ignore you in the mornings,
make use of you at night.
To crave another while pecking your cheek.
To say your name without hearing it,
to assume it is mine to call.
– Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body

When You Want to Read, You Can’t Read
by Dorothea Lasky
When you want to read, you can’t read
When you want to love, the people are never there
The bird on the wire is full of fire
And he is fire red, but he is never there
My father says there is a house he used to go to
Where his brother and six old men would give him a bit of change
I ask him who I am and he says I am his wife
Daddy, I am your wife in this world and the next
I went down the pit of fire and found you are my husband
I wanted to write a story about it, or a novel even
I wanted to light the whole thing up but it wasn’t there to burn
I cut the fire with my knife
It was a fire sword
That I swashed about the world, O how I swashed
The great fire sword that lit the sky
I lit the sky
I think I was the sun
That was in me all along, though I never knew it
But who can know what they will become?
They can only live as if they will never know it
Well, who could live a whole life
Always knowing they will never belong

No wonder that Alexander carried the Iliad
with him on his expeditions in a precious casket.
A written word is the choicest of relics.
It is something at once more intimate with us
and more universal than any other work of art.
It is the work of art nearest to life itself.
It may be translated into every language,
and not only be read but actually breathed
from all human lips;—
not be represented on canvas or in marble only,
but be carved out of the breath of life itself.
The symbol of an ancient man’s thought
becomes a modern man’s speech.
Two thousand summers have imparted
to the monuments of Grecian literature,
as to her marbles, only a maturer golden
and autumnal tint, for they have carried
their own serene and celestial atmosphere
into all lands to protect them against
the corrosion of time.
– Henry David Thoreau, Walden

The Buddha described compassion as the trembling or quivering of the heart in response to pain, our own or another’s. It’s a very tender state, a very open state. Compassion means that we can be present with what is happening. We can accept it and move to offer help without anger, ill will, or grief.

The subtle enemy of compassion is aversion. It defines the pain as unbearable and says, “I can’t stand feeling this or watching someone else feel it.”

Compassion as trembling of the heart is a state of strongly trusting in ourselves; knowing we can bear witness to the pain.
– Ed Wolf

Madness slunk in through a chink in History. It only took a moment.
– Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

Words are like that, they deceive, they pile up, it seems they do not know where to go, and, suddenly, because of two or three or four that suddenly come out, simple in themselves, a personal pronoun, an adverb, a verb, an adjective. We have the excitement of seeing them coming irresistibly to the surface through the skin and the eyes and upsetting the composure of our feelings, sometimes the nerves that cannot bear it any longer, they put up with a great deal, they put up with everything, it was as if they were wearing armor, we might say.
– José Saramago, Blindness

If you aren’t feeding the fire of anger or the fire of craving by talking to yourself, then the fire doesn’t have anything to feed on. It peaks and passes on. In order to be gentle and create an atmosphere of compassion for yourself, it’s necessary to stop talking to yourself about how wrong everything is – or how right everything is, for that matter.
– Pema Chödrön

Not success. Not growth. Not happiness. The cradle of your love of life… is death.
– Stephen Jenkinson

I thought how lovely and how strange a river is. A river is a river, always there, and yet the water flowing through it is never the same water and is never still. It’s always changing and is always on the move. And over time the river itself changes too. It widens and deepens as it rubs and scours, gnaws and kneads, eats and bores its way through the land. Even the greatest rivers – the Nile and the Ganges, the Yangtze and the Mississippi, the Amazon and the great grey-green greasy Limpopo all set about with fever trees – must have been no more than trickles and flickering streams before they grew into mighty rivers.

Are people like that? I wondered. Am I like that? Always me, like the river itself, always flowing but always different, like the water flowing in the river, sometimes walking steadily along andante, sometimes surging over rapids furioso, sometimes meandering with hardly any visible movement tranquilo, lento, ppp pianissimo, sometimes gurgling giacoso with pleasure, sometimes sparkling brillante in the sun, sometimes lacrimoso, sometimes appassionato, sometimes misterioso, sometimes pesante, sometimes legato, sometimes staccato, sometimes sospirando, sometimes vivace, and always, I hope, amoroso.

Do I change like a river, widening and deepening, eddying back on myself sometimes, bursting my banks sometimes when there’s too much water, too much life in me, and sometimes dried up from lack of rain? Will the I that is me grow and widen and deepen? Or will I stagnate and become an arid riverbed? Will I allow people to dam me up and confine me to a wall so that I flow only where they want? Will I allow them to turn me into a canal to use for their own purposes? Or will I make sure I flow freely, coursing my way through the land and ploughing a valley of my own?

– Aidan Chambers

XIII (Dedications)

(An Atlas of the Difficult World)

I know you are reading this poem
late, before leaving your office
of the one intense yellow lamp-spot and the darkening window
in the lassitude of a building faded to quiet
long after rush-hour. I know you are reading this poem
standing up in a bookstore far from the ocean
on a grey day of early spring, faint flakes driven
across the plains’ enormous spaces around you.
I know you are reading this poem
in a room where too much has happened for you to bear
where the bedclothes lie in stagnant coils on the bed
and the open valise speaks of flight
but you cannot leave yet. I know you are reading this poem
as the underground train loses momentum and before running
up the stairs
toward a new kind of love
your life has never allowed.
I know you are reading this poem by the light
of the television screen where soundless images jerk and slide
while you wait for the newscast from the intifada.
I know you are reading this poem in a waiting-room
of eyes met and unmeeting, of identity with strangers.
I know you are reading this poem by fluorescent light
in the boredom and fatigue of the young who are counted out,
count themselves out, at too early an age. I know
you are reading this poem through your failing sight, the thick
lens enlarging these letters beyond all meaning yet you read on
because even the alphabet is precious.
I know you are reading this poem as you pace beside the stove
warming milk, a crying child on your shoulder, a book in your
because life is short and you too are thirsty.
I know you are reading this poem which is not in your language
guessing at some words while others keep you reading
and I want to know which words they are.
I know you are reading this poem listening for something, torn
between bitterness and hope
turning back once again to the task you cannot refuse.
I know you are reading this poem because there is nothing else
left to read
there where you have landed, stripped as you are.
– Adrienne Rich

Tonight I saw myself in the dark window as
the image of my father, whose life
was spent like this,
thinking of death, to the exclusion
of other sensual matters,
so in the end that life
was easy to give up, since
it contained nothing: even
my mother’s voice couldn’t make him
change or turn back
as he believed
that once you can’t love another human being
you have no place in the world.
– Louise Glück

People know about the Klan
and the overt racism, but the killing
of one’s soul little by little, day after day,
is a lot worse than someone coming
in your house and lynching you.
– Samuel L. Jackson

Carve a friend out of stone. Realize that your inner sight is blind and try to see a treasure in everyone.
– Rumi

Undoubtedly I should have gone mad
if not for music.
Music is indeed the most beautiful
of all heaven’s gifts to humanity
wandering in the darkness.
Alone it calms, enlightens,
and stills our souls.
It is not the straw
to which the drowning man clings;
but a true friend, refuge, and comforter,
for whose sake life is worth living.
– Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky

Trust your divinity, trust your brain, trust your companions.

Whenever in doubt, turn off your mind, relax, float downstream.
– Alpert, Leary, Metzner

All music is the blues.
All of it.
– George Carlin

Intellectual is a person who generates new ideas (in literature, culture, etc)

Humanities (intelligentsia, academia, etc) distributes ideas to the society at large

The tragedy of modern moment is that we have very few intellectuals in a landscape full of inteligentsia
– Limonov

All makers must leave room for the acts of the spirit, but they have to work hard and carefully, and wait patiently, to deserve them.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

Somewhere, amid the darkness, a painter measures a blank canvas, a poet tests a line aloud, a songwriter brings a melody into tune. Art inspires, provokes thought, reflects beauty and pain. I seek it out even more in these times. And in so doing, I find hope in the human spirit.
– Dan Rather

I cannot understand why
the world is arranged as it is.
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Older now, you find holiness
in anything that continues.
– Naomi Shihab Nye

We do not escape into philosophy,
psychology, and art—
we go there to restore our shattered selves
into whole ones.
– Anaïs Nin, In Favor of the Sensitive Man and Other Essays

Hatred expressed as anger will lead to destructive action, compassion expressed as anger leads to positive change.
– Dalai Lama


To me, socialism means loving humanity more than power and property. I do not want to live without property, but I want distribution of the world’s goods to be determined cooperatively, not by a violence that has grown invisible because it is now institutionalized into the structures of our nation.

I know some people call socialism un-American, but what does it mean to say we love America if we do not love the PEOPLE of America enough to protect them from poverty and worker exploitation? What does it mean to say we love America if we do not honor the LAND enough to protect it from industrial pollution and climate change?

If you do not like the word “socialism,” how about the African word “ubuntu?” As you may remember from the South African struggle for liberation, “ubuntu” was the appeal to human solidarity. “Ubuntu” recognized that my humanity only emerges in relationship with other human beings.

Bishop Tutu defined the word thusly, “A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.”

Whatever label we find for it, the sense of human solidarity is not un-American. To wish life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people was once the revolutionary heart of America. It is not un-American to end the Founder’s racist and sexist hypocrisy by extending those human rights to ALL people.

To believe diversity makes us strong wasn’t originally dismissed as a liberal plot. Once upon a time, in America, “unity in diversity” or “e pluribus unum” was our nation’s motto. What has happened to us? Why have we let others put our ideals up for sale?

In my opinion, waving flags and hating foreigners doesn’t make Americans great in the least. What will make our nation great would be for its leaders and people to return to the principles of our nation’s founding, but, this time, apply those human rights to EVERYONE.
– Jim Rigby

One goes to psychoanalysis, as one might go to poetry, for better words.
– Adam Phillips

We enjoy lovely music, beautiful paintings, a thousand intellectual delicacies, but we have no idea of their cost, to those who invented them, in sleepless nights, tears, spasmodic laughter, rashes, asthmas, epilepsies, and the fear of death, which is worse than all the rest.
– Marcel Proust

It’s in our biology to trust
what we see with our eyes.
This makes living in a carefully edited,
overproduced and photoshopped world
very dangerous.
– Brené Brown

Poetry is many things.
Poetry is life, it is water, it is earth,
it is sound, it is music .…
But most of all, poetry is a language that says,
‘Stay alive, do not die on me,
do not move away from life.’
Because poetry is life, and it keeps people alive.
– Sonia Sanchez

When I write, I don’t know
what is going to emerge.
I begin in a condition of complete unknowing,
an utter nakedness of concept or goal.
A word appears, another word appears, an image.
It is a moving into mystery.
– Jane Hirshfield

Colonization isn’t so much the extraction of wealth from a subdued land to the conqueror’s as it is the shrinking of experience to fit the perspectival frames of the conqueror; it is the imposition of a single way of knowing, a single regime of noticing, a single apparatus for meaning-making – so that what is truly lost isn’t gold and corn and men as such, but ways of making sense of the vibrancy around us.

What is truly lost – in a world increasingly convinced that the only way of measuring true wealth is with digits, scarred landscapes, downed trees and rising skylines – is the freedom to think otherwise. It is also not merely the case that colonial practices took away our culture as it is the case that they imposed a static authenticity, forcing us to conform to an image of what a true indigenous person looks or sounds like – and, in effect, denying us the right to stray from our own algorithms.

Decolonizing ourselves must therefore proceed not by trying to return to a pure image of what it means to be indigenous (an image that may no longer be true), or by trying to erase the lasting marks on our bodies that have been made by colonial incursions and new affinities, but by straying freely and losing our way generously – making kin with the places that hold us, and abiding with the troubling flow of worlding practices that bind us to those who have violated us.
– Bayo Akomolafe

Each of us should strive to awaken.
Awaken. Take heed, do not squander your life.

In my case, the dung heap of my defects makes Mount Meru look small, and even though I was able to grow a tiny sprout
of the appearance of holy qualities,
it could not survive but has withered
into a yellowish green and is now on the verge of drying up…while polluting the winds
with the stench of my karma and emotions, aware of my flaws without hiding them
from myself…
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

I guess there are never enough books.
– John Steinbeck

Therapy by Nayyirah Waheed, from Salt

the hard season
split you through.
do not worry.
you will bleed water.
do not worry.
this is grief.
your face will fall out and
down your skin
there will be scorching.
but do not worry.
keep speaking the years from
their hiding places.
keep coughing up smoke
from all the deaths you have
keep the rage tender.
because the soft season will
it will come.
both hands in your chest.
up all night.
up all of the nights.
to drink all damage into love.


An intelligent person is never afraid
or ashamed
to find errors in his understanding of things.
– Bryant McGill

Fa Hsing Jeff Miles:

A slight shift in tone,
and a word that helps
can become a word that harms

A slight shift in wind,
and a fire that helps
can become a fire that harms

And a slight shift in attention
might just keep what helps
from becoming what harms.

Friend, if you want
to express
eternity’s essence
you’ll have to
forget all words.
– Angelus Silesius, C17 German mystic.

god and laughter. why doesn’t he?
– jorge luis borges

the god of the bible did not laugh. the only references to god laughing are found in the psalms, but that was not a laughter of joy and happiness, it was a laughter of scoff and sarcasm.

moses experienced a wide range of emotions, but never felt like laughing. jesus never laughed in any of the gospels. he cried and felt sorrows, but laughter is something he did not do, nor preached.

apparently, the historic buddha never laughed either. his was likely a “sita”, a hinted smile, maybe like the mona lisa’s, but not a real belly laughter. there are other buddhas that did laugh, or at least the statues do.

i must admit that if i were the god in charge of this world, i wouldn’t laugh much either. but here is the point: laughter heals as no other human practice can. a god of laughter would have had us saved straight from the beginning of genesis. a hell? he’d never heard of it. death?, not in her wildest dreams.

yes, i’d rather laugh than pray. i’d just as soon laugh than meditate. i’d even rather laugh than make love. (just kidding). but at least i am comforted by the knowledge that more than once i have caused a partner to laugh with me, and at me, and at the ten thousand things.

it is interesting to observe that bible followers believe and worship the one single god, but they have given it many different faces to suit every human taste. the many faces of god look very much like our own, especially during days of spiritual bad hair. to get along with each other and with our gods, we diligently apply makeup on our souls, and on our minds, and on our bodies and on god’s too. and i don’t think that’s funny.

but perhaps it is not the real god the one we have believed in all this time. i mean, the laughter-deprived god of our esteemed spiritual traditions cannot be the real god that happens to stand outside and beside all official canons. it seems we may have missed the target by an unholy number of miles, for a god that doesn’t laugh what claim can it have to the throne of heavens?

i want to tell god a joke and ask for salvation as a payoff. god wants to do the same exact thing, but in reverse.

silence should not be understood only as the absence of sounds or the elimination of the discursive contents of the mind. quite the contrary. silence is not a quantity of sounds or images. true silence is a particularly peaceable quality of sounds and images. silence is not the emptying of contents in the mind, but their transformation into poetic awareness. if we extend this definition of silence to all realms of our lives, we may find silence in any spiritual path we choose to practice, unrelated as to how noisy or how reposed it might be. or as to how many words, images or melodies one holds present in the mind at any given time. but laughter is laughter, and one must laugh if one wants laughter.

the truth is that there is no deeper silence of the heart and the mind as the loving embrace of a being. for silence should not be deemed a practice of inducing absences, but rather it should become a practice of relationship with the abundance of presence.

i say we should embark on a renewed path of discovery! the new age of exploration should be directed at the discovery of the real laughing god, the one we have so passionately sought since the genesis of life, but have so sadly and ineptly missed. i am talking about the funny god of exuberant laughter. as for me, i’m on it now, and have been since the dawn of my discernment. as i search, one infallible clue i follow is this funny truth: at the beginning it was the dialogue, and the dialogue was laughter.
– Hune Margulies, Ph.D.

For Thurman the ultimate message of Jesus has two main components: first, that everything that is alive is connected in its (and their) ‘aliveness’ and that every living thing requires respect; second, that artificial divisions between people were abhorrent in the eyes of God and that artificial and arbitrary distinctions, made to oppress one class of humans, must be fought against.
– Walter Fluker, The Papers of Howard Washington Thurman

I loved the quiet places in Kyoto, the places that held the world within a windless moment. Inside the temples, Nature held her breath. All longing was put to sleep in the stillness, and all was distilled into a clean simplicity.
The smell of woodsmoke, the drift of incense; a procession of monks in black-and-gold robes, one of them giggling in a voice yet unbroken; a touch of autumn in the air, a sense of gathering rain.
– Pico Iyer

Love is the intelligent, kindly, but stern expression of kinship of one individual for another, having as its purpose the maintenance and furtherance of life at its highest level…. All love grows basically out of a self regard and is in essence the exercise of that which is spiritual. If we accept the general proposition that all life is one arising out of a common center: God, all expressions of love are acts of God. Hate, then, becomes a form of annihilation of self and others–in short, suicide. Violence is animal and atheistic because it denies the unity of life and defeats its maintenance and furthermore on the highest levels. It is for this reason that hatred and bitterness, self-violating as they seem to be, in the last analysis are apt to destroy both the hated and the hater. In Jesus’ insistence that the normal ethical relationship between men is love, he reflects most accurately the very heart of God. To be true to this insight means ultimately the extension of one’s self until all life is included and the individual loses himself in that which is vast and inclusive of all.
– Howard Thurman

For Thurman the ultimate message of Jesus has two main components: first, that everything that is alive is connected in its (and their) ‘aliveness’ and that every living thing requires respect; second, that artificial divisions between people were abhorrent in the eyes of God and that artificial and arbitrary distinctions, made to oppress one class of humans, must be fought against.
– Walter Fluker, The Papers of Howard Washington Thurman

Art can move and alter people in subtle ways because, like love, it speaks through and to the heart.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

We were able to summon the courage necessary because segregation was so horrible, so demeaning, so insulting, so degrading that the choice was to carry out this nonviolent movement successfully, and eliminate segregation, or to tolerate it. I think by nineteen sixty, black people were so fed up with segregation.

I remember that we said, ‘Whatever it takes, we’re going to do it. If the path towards eliminating segregation goes through the jail house, we’ll do it. If it means getting beaten up, we’ll do it. If it means risking, and even losing our lives, we’ll do it.’ Nobody wanted to suffer, or be injured, or killed, but the commitment necessary to displace that social system that had been in place about a hundred years at the time, and it was tough. And we knew it. We knew that when we started. And so, the commitment was there’s only one outcome, and that is the end of segregation. And we will do what we have to do in order to achieve that. Another important element in being successful at eliminating segregation was changing ourselves. We changed ourselves into people who could not be segregated. And once you change yourself, the world has to fit up against the new you. That presented a different set of options to the Southern white racist. They had to actually kill many of us, or they had to desegregate, because they could no longer segregate us. We wouldn’t let them.

– Diane Nash, legendary civil rights activist, on the Nashville Sit-In movement of 1960, which she helped lead as a nineteen year old.(From interview with Trey Ellis for the “King In the Wilderness“)

Leaving any bookstore is hard,
especially on a day in August,
when the street outside burns and glares,
and the books inside are cool and crisp
to the touch; especially on a day in January,
when the wind is blowing, the ice is treacherous,
and the books inside seem to gather together
in colorful warmth. It’s hard to leave
a bookstore any day of the year,
though, because a bookstore is one of the few
places where all the cantankerous, conflicting,
alluring voices of the world co-exist in peace
and order and the avid reader is as free
as a person can possibly be,
because she is free to choose among them.
– Jane Smiley

If you are comfortable with my oppression,
then you are my oppressor.
– A. Philip Randolph

Autumn is my season, dear. It is, after all the season of the soul.
– Virginia Woolf

People escape into other things;
you don’t escape into poetry.
You confront yourself
when you are reading poems.
– Mark Strand

The biggest threat to the environment is not humans. The biggest threat is their greed.

One extremely greedy person can harm the environment more than a million people who practice contentment.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

There are only two industries that call their customers “users.” Illegal drugs and software.
– The Social Dilemma

The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven’t yet come to the end of themselves. We’re still trying to give orders, and interfering with God’s work within us.
– A. W. Tozer

Every one of us has sinned against all men… Everyone is really responsible to all [humans] for all [humans] and for everything.
As for each man being guilty before all and for all, besides his own sins… When people understand this thought, the kingdom of heaven will come to them, no longer dream but in reality.
– Dostoevsky, Brothers Karamazov

A firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say, to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all.
– Pope John Paul II

People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.
– Thomas Merton

by Jack Gilbert

After a summer with happy people,
I rush back, gulping
down pain wherever I can get it.

When one person suffers from a delusion,
it is called insanity.
When many people suffer from a delusion,
it is called a Religion.
– Robert M. Pirsig

By eating meat we share the responsibility of climate change, the destruction of our forests, and the poisoning of our air and water. The simple act of becoming a vegetarian will make a difference in the health of our planet.
– Thich Nhat Hahn

An image is the stop the mind makes between uncertainties.
– Djuna Barnes

Watching My Friend Pretend Her Heart Isn’t Breaking
Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

On Earth, just a teaspoon of neutron star
would weigh six billion tons. Six billion tons
equals the collective weight of every animal
on earth. Including the insects. Times three.
Six billion tons sounds impossible
until I consider how it is to swallow grief—
just a teaspoon and one might as well have consumed
a neutron star. How dense it is,
how it carries inside it the memory of collapse.
How difficult it is to move then.
How impossible to believe that anything
could lift that weight.
There are many reasons to treat each other
with great tenderness. One is
the sheer miracle that we are here together
on a planet surrounded by dying stars.
One is that we cannot see what
anyone else has swallowed.

When the world appears to be most insane,
we can’t go inside and hide
and let the jackals eat up the orchards.
We have to respond as humans,
which is to say with kindness and wit and caring.
– Tennessee Williams

The question here, really, is what have we done
to democracy?
What have we turned it into?
What happens once democracy
has been used up?
When it has been hollowed out and emptied
of meaning? What happens when each
of its institutions has metastasized
into something dangerous?
What happens now that democracy
and the free market have fused into a single
predatory organism with a thin, constricted
imagination that revolves almost entirely
around the idea of maximizing profit?”
– Arundhati Roy

Greta Thunberg:
Reporting is not enough.
Connecting the dots is not enough.
Mentioning the link to the climate crisis
is not enough
(even though it would kind of help…).

If we are to have a small chance,
this needs to be our main focus.
It needs to dominate the news.
All the time.

We do not live an equal life, but one of contrasts and patchwork; now a little joy, then a sorrow, now a sin, then a generous or brave action.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is unwise to be too sure
of one’s own wisdom.
It is healthy to be reminded
that the strongest might weaken
and the wisest might err.
– Mahatma K Gandhi

A secret whisper came to me
from the Tavern’s corner,
He forgives.”
God’s grace is bigger
than my sin.
– Hafiz

Do I make myself a blessing to everyone I meet?
– Brandi Carlile

In this trembling moment, is it still possible to face the gathering darkness & say to the physical Earth & to all its creatures, including ourselves, fiercely & without embarrassment, I love you & to embrace fearlessly the burning world?
– Barry Lopez

In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the #earth.
– Rachel Carson

I look for people who live by kindness, tolerance, compassion, a gentler way of looking at things.
– Martin Scorsese

Bruce Cockburn:
You’re as loved as you were
Before the strangeness swept through
Our bodies, our houses, our streets
When we could speak without codes
And light swirled around like
Wind-blown petals

Bruce Cockburn:
If this were the last night of the world
What would I do?
What would I do that was different
Unless it was champagne with you?

Bruce Cockburn:
I’ve got this thing in my heart
I must give you today
It only lives when you
Give it away

The ultimate, hidden truth of the world, is that it is something that we make, and could just as easily make differently.
– David Graeber

I hate language that makes us treat politics as a sporting event with two equal and opposite “teams.”

I’ve never watched a game where if one team wins, the other team gets better healthcare, and if the other team wins, millions die.

Our political storytelling has failed us.
– Ethan Nichtern

Gary Snyder:
How rare to be born a human being!
Wash him off with cedar-bark and milkweed
send the damn doctors home.
Baby, baby, noble baby
Noble-hearted baby

What has not yet emerged is easy to prevent.
– Lao Tzu

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg:
Do not say “religion is” when you mean, “my personal experience with Christianity is.

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg:
Your personal experience with Christianity is not generalizable to every possible understanding of every religious tradition, text and community.

Elinor Elliot:
Antiques Roadshow: The Battle of Britain and the Blitz.

I now believe the BBC’s (and UK media generally) obsession with WWII is part of a deliberate political agenda.

Elinor Elliot
To an outsider, the national focus on WWII is, frankly, pathological.

It goes beyond respect and commemoration and into something much darker.

Elinor Elliot:
Ask yourself: whom does this “plucky Britain against Germany” narrative (usually grossly oversimplified and omitting the contribution of the UK’s allies) serve, politically?

Why is it so pervasive?

Why now?

Help someone else even if no one is helping you.
– Eric Stanley

One torch can dissipate the accumulated darkness of a thousand aeons.
– Tilopa

Love is the organizing and unifying principle which makes the world a universe and the disintegrated mass a community.
– Alan Watts

You keep going. That is the bodhisattva’s way. As long as it benefits even one being you have to, without any sense of discouragement, go on.”
– 16th Karmapa

Peter Kalmus:
We can no longer hide from climate breakdown. Either physically or mentally. We have no choice but to face it, courageously.

Robert Reich:
West is on fire. Air can’t be breathed. Sky is pink. A half million fleeing Oregon. An environmental reckoning has come. Whatever we call it — Green New Deal, Climate Revolution, End of Fossil Fuels — we must radically alter the way we live, or our lands will be uninhabitable.

The truth knocks on the door and you say, ‘Go away, I’m looking for the truth,’ and so it goes away. Puzzling.
– Robert M. Pirsig

Each person’s life must be defined, nurtured and transformed, wherein the self is actualized, affirming the inward authority which arouses greater meaning and potential with each mystical experience.
– Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon, Black Womanist Ethics

Bruce Cockburn:
And the embers of Eden burn
You can even see it from space
And the great and winding wall between us
Seems to copy the lines of your face

Meg Elison:
Remember when the sky was blue and you could hug people and a US passport was a valuable object?

Since it is all too clear, it takes time to grasp it.
– Zen proverb

What this world needs is a new kind of army – the army of the kind.
– Cleveland Amory

Capitalism cannot be changed only at the level of economy, because it is a cultural system, not just an economic system.
– Sylvia Wynter

Ariel Poets:
Never give up on poetry. It always loves you back.

Eric Holthaus:
Days like today are when revolutions are born.

A better world is possible.

God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools.
– John Muir

If enough people had confidence in their own basic goodness, it would cause a shift in the entire culture.
– Pema Chödrön

If literature has engaged me as a project, first as a reader, then as a writer, it is as an extension of my sympathies to other selves, other domains, other dreams, other territories.
– Susan Sontag

This Is Not a Small Voice
by Sonia Sanchez

This is not a small voice
you hear this is a large
voice coming out of these cities.
This is the voice of LaTanya.
Kadesha. Shaniqua. This
is the voice of Antoine.
Darryl. Shaquille.
Running over waters
navigating the hallways
of our schools spilling out
on the corners of our cities and
no epitaphs spill out of their river mouths.

This is not a small love
you hear this is a large
love, a passion for kissing learning
on its face.
This is a love that crowns the feet with hands
that nourishes, conceives, feels the water sails
mends the children,
folds them inside our history where they
toast more than the flesh
where they suck the bones of the alphabet
and spit out closed vowels.
This is a love colored with iron and lace.
This is a love initialed Black Genius.

This is not a small voice
you hear.

Your first writing is as delicate as a seedling. Don’t show it to some yahoo who wouldn’t know an orchid from kudzu.
– Carolyn See

Your real soulmate will understand your energy and silence.
– @MindTendencies2

You don’t have to like or admire someone to feel compassion for that person. All you have to do is wish for that person to be happy.
– Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Bruce Cockburn:
If this were the last night of the world
What would I do?
What would I do that was different
Unless it was champagne with you?

…and so things went on, since man did not work on himself, either not yet being awake, or not yet in the fullness of the great dream.
– Rimbaud

One of the things we don’t do enough in America is listen.
– Audre Lorde

this is what carries us, the slow
consideration of what each other is, can be.
– Emily Jungmin Yoon

Gal Shapira:
You don’t ever want to experience losing control over your own mind.

When you let a negative thinking & mood become your state of being, it is difficult to change the pattern. It’s now habitual.

Stay away from this situation at all costs and train your mind often.

Watching My Friend Pretend Her Heart Isn’t Breaking
by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
On Earth, just a teaspoon of neutron star
would weigh six billion tons. Six billion tons
equals the collective weight of every animal
on earth. Including the insects. Times three.
Six billion tons sounds impossible
until I consider how it is to swallow grief—
just a teaspoon and one might as well have consumed
a neutron star. How dense it is,
how it carries inside it the memory of collapse.
How difficult it is to move then.
How impossible to believe that anything
could lift that weight.
There are many reasons to treat each other
with great tenderness. One is
the sheer miracle that we are here together
on a planet surrounded by dying stars.
One is that we cannot see what
anyone else has swallowed.

Kane Wishart:
A lot of folks acting as if 2020 has just been a string of bewildering bad luck, rather than what it truly is: a concentration of widely and reliably predicted and interconnected disasters that advanced nations of the world could have mitigated or prevented but chose not to.

I can’t afford to hate anyone.
I don’t have that kind of time.
– Akira Kurosawa

My tenderness
should be apparent to you
in the breeze of the summer evening
and in the words that become
your own response.
– Louise Glück

Even the gods envy those who are awakened and not forgetful, who are given to meditation, who are wise, and who delight in the repose of retirement (from the world).
– Daily Dhammapada, v. 181

In every conversation
there is a table made of listening.
Sometimes the tables are beautiful,
solid, clean—the kind
that can support anything
you put on them.
Sometimes, they’re like
the tv dinner trays
of my childhood—
a little rickety, but they’ll do
if what’s put on them is light.
Sometimes they’re so cluttered
that whatever’s placed on their surface
is almost immediately lost.
Let tonight’s table have a small vase of flowers
and a candle perhaps, nothing else.
May it be small enough we might
see each other’s eyes, might notice
every nuance of breath. Whomever
I am most nervous to invite,
may I invite them. And though
the tea is just a metaphor,
may I offer. May they accept.
– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Tonight Is a Torn Map
Tonight is a torn map
and the woman
is a would-be voyager.
Once, she believed
there was a path.
Now, she believes
there are many.
Sitting still
beside the river,
she notices
the urge to rise,
notices when
the urge has passed.
Notices it rise again.
Being still
is one of the hardest
paths of all.
All around her
the world is moving—
gurgling, waving,
weaving, crawling,
climbing, winging, falling,
eroding. And in her,
more movement
than she dares to admit—
not just mudslides,
tectonic shifts—
every day the landscapes
change. Every day
the inner map she drew
looks less like what’s
really there.
It was no mistake
when it ripped.
– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

In Times of Great Darkness
I want to do for you
what the sun does for me—
coax you to come
outside, to breathe in
the golden air.
I want to warm you
and enter you,
fill you with brilliance,
make your muscles melt,
make your mind shush.
I want to prepare for you
luminous paths
that span across deep space,
thaw any part of you
that feels frozen,
find any cracks
and slip shine into them.
I want to intensify
your shadow
so you might better know
your own shape.
I want to encourage you
to open, wider, wider,
want to teach you
to write your name
in light.
– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Your critics are your gurus.
They are the only ones who have the power
to wake you up from your dream
that you are right.
– Jeff Foster

It didn’t occur to me that my books
would be widely read at all,
and that enabled me to write anything I wanted to.
And even once I realized that they were being
read, I still wrote as if I were writing in secret.
That’s how one has to write anyway—in secret.
– Louise Erdrich

It didn’t occur to me that my books
would be widely read at all,
and that enabled me to write anything I wanted to.
And even once I realized that they were being
read, I still wrote as if I were writing in secret.
That’s how one has to write anyway—in secret.
– Louise Erdrich

We must look a long time
before we can see.
– Henry David Thoreau

Talking about art is almost useless.
– Paul Cezanne

Remaining in the practice where the world and beyond arise as ornaments,
I sustained the fundamental nature, free from fixating on hope and fear.
– Sera Khandro

One must be ruthless with one’s own writing
or someone else will be.
– John Berryman

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo:
Everybody in their heart of hearts
wants to feel well and doesn’t want to feel bad. So wish that for them, imagine them being happy, imagine all their problems solved,
free from suffering, all worries resolved
and just filled with happiness. Imagine it.
Feel pleased for them and just gradually extend that sense of goodwill around the world
to all beings, not just humans, but all mother sentient beings.
All these beings experience having all worries and anxieties melting away being replaced by so much happiness and joy and satisfaction. May it be!”
“This is an excerpt from a powerful meditation that comes down from the time of the Buddha…we practice loving kindness meditation with these positive intentions, imagine beautiful light radiating to all
and being absorbed into their cells
and heartmind, taking away all the suffering and replacing it with light and love
and happiness. There’s so much negative energy that it’s good to send out
positive energy.

If we think of our Dharma perception,
our understanding of the Dharma as like yeast, then we mix that yeast with the heavy dough
of our worldly life and it will rise up
and the whole of that dough will become light and nourishing. Instead of being like a big indigestible lump, the dough rises up
and we bake it and it is delicious!
This is so important. Everything that we do,
if we do with awareness and kindness,
if we really use our experiences
as an opportunity to bring into play
the various principles of the Dharma
which we have heard and read about,
if we really use our daily life as a practice,
then everything is transformed.

To give up speaking of a bodhisattva’s faults
If, impelled by negative emotions,
I relate the faults
Of other bodhisattvas,
I will myself degenerate.
Therefore, to not talk
about the faults of anyone
Who has entered the Mahayana
is the practice of a bodhisattva.
Not only can you consider all other Dharma practitioners as your close relatives, but in many ways all beings are, too. All of them have certainly been your parents in one life or another. What is more, all of them possess the same ultimate nature, the tathagatagarbha or buddha-nature.
As it is said,
Buddha-nature is present in all beings:
Not a single one of them lacks it.
As Gampopa explains at the beginning of The Precious Ornament of Liberation, the fact that beings have the buddha-nature is the basis which gives them the possibility, when fully actualized, of becoming buddhas.
Disparaging any one of them is therefore inappropriate; we should rather all respect one another. As the Buddha said, ”An ordinary person cannot assess another ordinary person, only a buddha can.”
It is even more important not to criticize all those who are like sons and daughters of the same parents, in that they have taken refuge in the Three Jewels and started out on the path of the Buddha’s teachings through confidence in the basic truth of what he taught-for example, that “All that is compounded is impermanent; all that is defiled is suffering; all phenomena are without inherent existence; that which is beyond suffering is peace.”
Even more closely related are those of us who have entered the Mahayana. Together, we should be like a thousand princes and princesses of one universal monarch who never feel animosity or contempt for one another, but instead always extol one another’s virtues and qualities. Treat one another with great kindness and openness, and above all do not look for each others’ mistakes. Once you start finding defects somewhere, you will see them everywhere and in everyone.
By proclaiming someone’s faults to all and sundry, you are burning yourself and hurting the other person-which can only be wrong. It is the sangha that upholds the teachings; its members must be in harmony, and their discipline perfect. Develop confidence and pure vision. To respect the sangha-all those who have taken monastic vows and all those who have entered the Dharma-is a commitment of the refuge vows.
Consider all your brothers and sisters in the Dharma as being free from any faults. Malicious criticism of other traditions of Dharma, in particular, is a major cause of the Dharma as a whole declining and being corrupted. View all traditions and views as non-contradictory, and as true expressions of the Buddha’s teachings.
As Panchen Lobsang Yeshe said:
The various different doctrinal views
Are all the very teachings of the Victorious One.
Instead of a blaze of enmity ignited by the demon of sectarianism, how much finer to see everything lit up by the radiant jewel of pure perception!
Your impure perception of the world can easily falsify the way you see the actions of bodhisattvas. Indeed, any faults you may perceive in them are due only to your own imperfections, just as a white conch may look yellow to someone with jaundice. Whenever you think you have seen some defect in a bodhisattva’s conduct or thinking, therefore, remind yourself that the problem is your own distorted perception, and that in reality that person is free of all defects.
You should be aware that every action of enlightened beings, spiritual masters and bodhisattvas has a deep meaning that reflects their intention to benefit beings. As they manifest in infinite ways to help others, it is easy to mistake bodhisattvas for ordinary beings. They might seem to be ordinary people engaged in mundane activities; they may even take the form of wild animals, birds, or dogs. There have also been many bodhisattvas who manifested as beggars or low status, rough-looking people with unsuitable occupations and no obvious good qualities.
Tilopa killed fish, Saraha was an arrow smith, and Shavaripa a hunter. Anyone you meet, therefore, could actually be a fully matured bodhisattva who has assumed an ordinary appearance, or even an offensive one; so you should respect all beings and regard them as teachers.
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, The Heart of Compassion

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 for the race of days.
– John O’Donohue

It is a terrible mistake to think America can be unified by hating those outside our boundaries, or by figuring out who isn’t really “a true American.” We can briefly call together a frenzied lynch mob with such tactics, but the sinews of a healthy nation are common civic values, not common enemies. However powerful they may feel in the short run, the politics of hate are like drinking poison with the hopes our enemies will all die. A nation where citizens seek partisan victory over the principles of the common good is a country in undeclared civil war. Such a country is terminally hemorrhaging whether it knows it or not. An army of scorpions may seem formidable at first, but it will turn on itself as soon as its enemy is out of sight.
– Jim Rigby

The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community so that when the battle is over, a new relationship comes into being between the oppressed and the oppressor.
– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

[Poetry should] recomplicate the oversimplified thing.
– Jorie Graham

We’d forgive most things if we knew the facts.
– Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter

As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.
– John Stuart Mill

Become a Buddha?
The mind can’t do it.
The body can’t do it.
Only what can’t become a Buddha becomes a Buddha.
– Ikkyu

…what you encounter, recognize, discover, depends to a large degree to the quality of your approach, when we approach with reverence, great things decide to approach us…
– Francis Weller quoting John O’Donohue on approaching our grief, and apprenticeship with sorrow.

The best revenge is to be unlike your enemy.
– Marcus Aurelius

We need a Green Seal Team, to remove obstacles to the healing of our Planet.
– Nicholas Pierotti

There’s the noise of everyday life, the politics, the dissatisfaction, the striving for things that are ultimately unrewarding. And then, in the midst of the groaning din, there arise those moments when all one’s efforts seem to have finally borne fruit. There’s a Yiddish word for that. And only an exilic people could have possibly come up with “nachas,” a word which describes a joy beyond all reckoning, a joy beyond the power of all other words to express, a joy that exists only in that sublime sense of at long last, returning home.
– Peter Himmelman

She never looked nice.
She looked like art,
and art wasn’t supposed to look nice.
It was supposed to make you feel something.
– Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

When you don’t feel divided, there’s a goodness that comes out of you, whether one is enlightened or not.
– Adyashanti

Why did Plato say that poets
should be chased out of the republic?
Precisely because every poet
and every artist is an antisocial being.
He’s not that way because he wants to be;
he can’t be any other way
and if he really is an artist it is in his nature
not to want to be admitted,
because if he is admitted
it can only mean he is doing something
which is understood, approved,
and therefore old hat—worthless.
Anything new, anything worth doing,
can’t be recognized.
– Pablo Picasso

We control the past by viewing it from the future.
– Ilyse Kusnetz

In a life properly lived, you’re a river.
– Jim Harrison

The philosopher Diogenes was eating bread and lentils for supper. He was seen by the philosopher Aristippus, who lived comfortably by flattering the king. Said Aristippus, If you would learn to be subservient to the king you would not have to live on lentils.

Said Diogenes, Learn to live on lentils and you will not have to be subservient to the king.
– Anthony de Mello

History has the cruel reality of a nightmare, and the grandeur of man consists in his making beautiful and lasting works out of the real substance of that nightmare. Or, to put it another way, it consists in transforming the nightmare into vision; in freeing ourselves from the shapeless horror of reality – if only for an instant – by means of creation.
– Octavio Paz

We give thanks for our friends.
Our dear friends.
We anger each other;
We fail each other.
We share this sad earth, this tender life,
this precious time.
Such richness. Such wildness.
Together we are blown about.
Together we are dragged along.
All this delight.
All this suffering.
All this forgiving life.
We hold it together.

– Michael Leunig

If you could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.
– Edward Hopper

What can men do against such reckless hate?
– Theoden, Lord of the Rings

Fascism is cured by reading, and racism is cured by traveling.
– Miguel de Unamuno

If there ever was a time for strategic unity across communities, it is now and we’re late at that. Networks need to be established beyond sectarian divides based on common survival issues and I’m talking about more than voting. COVID, Ecological crises and fascism are coalescing and what are we doing? As the smoke has put a hold on the protests in my city and there is a national call to arms for fascists white supremacists coming from the federal government and supported by local police and law enforcement agencies nationwide, I’m looking at the front door and thinking of the things I’ve procrastinated on. Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, anti fascist white folks, it’s clear who and what the forces aligned against us are. We cannot afford to act like the truth isn’t plain to see. I’m hoping people can not be paralyzed by fear and ignorance but motivated by a will to work for outcomes better than what’s apparent.
– Michael Crenshaw

We could all start acting
as if we were in the middle of the crisis
we are in fact in.
– Great Thunberg

Truth is so obscure in these times,
and falsehood so established,
that, unless we love the truth,
we cannot know it.
– Blaise Pascal

Green Tara Meditation:
I intend to refrain
from consciously hurting anyone.
I intend to refrain from overtly or covertly taking what is not mine.
I intend to be sure that my speech
is kind as well as true.
I intend to refrain from addictive behaviors that confuse my mind and lead to heedlessness.
Thanks to Lama Palden

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

The soul itself needs its own
mysterious nourishment.
This nourishment lacking, nothing is well.
– D.H. Lawrence, The Lost Girl

Every time I read a poem I am willing to die,
insofar as I am surrendering myself
to the mercy of someone else’s speech,
and I do not want to die
in the presence of someone else’s
vile corruption of feeling.
You are supposed to be preparing me
for my death.
– Mary Ruefle

Happiness is not something to be pursued,
it is something met, an encounter.
Most encounters, however, have a sequel;
this is their promise.
The encounter with happiness has no sequel.
All is there instantly.
Happiness is what pierces grief.
– John Berger

It matters which stories tell stories, which concepts think concepts…which systems systematize systems.
– Donna Haraway

Not to speak, is to speak. Not to act, is to act.
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Divest this cloak of institution
Have done this game of retribution!

I sing the big sky songs
And put on my long, tall sky hat
With thunder lights and beauty steeps
I slide the toll-free road.

I am away! A way of dance
Motions smooth and pliant
So slight the ring, the chance….

Be tight. Be tight
Slip through the seed loops
Exit right!

Emerald blue
Color’s the clue

I crouch to leap
Fold to spring

– Bobbie Gorman

Making art in America is about saving one’s soul.
– Charles Simic

If you’re really listening, if you’re awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold evermore wonders.
– Andrew Harvey

There are so many absurdities in our time that it is hard to assign first place.
– Hannah Arendt

The greatest medicine of all is teaching people how not to need it.
– Hippocrates

Resting on your laurels is as dangerous as resting when you are walking in the snow. You doze off and die in your sleep.
– Ludwig Wittgenstein

I remember a hundred lovely lakes, and recall the fragrant breath of pine and fir and cedar and poplar trees. The trail has strung upon it, as upon a thread of silk, opalescent dawns and saffron sunsets.
– Hamlin Garland

For no reason
I start skipping like a child.

For no reason
I turn into a leaf
That is carried so high
I kiss the sun’s mouth
And dissolve.

For no reason
A thousand birds
Choose my head for a conference table,
Start passing their
Cups of wine
And their wild songbooks all around.

For every reason in existence
I begin to eternally,
To eternally laugh and love!

When I turn into a leaf
And start dancing,
I run to kiss our beautiful Friend
And I dissolve in the Truth
That I Am.

– Hafiz

I cannot overstate the power of doing your work as an artist; of creating your own venues, opportunities, and spaces; of challenging the constructs that disallow your voice to be heard—thereby leaving a trail for others.
— Danielle Legros Georges

There is no literature or poetry in this
White House. No music.
No Kennedy Center award celebrations.
There are no pets in this White House.
No loyal man’s best friend. No Socks the family cat.
No kids’ science fairs.
No times when this president takes off his
blue suit-red tie uniform and becomes human, except when he puts on his white shirt-khaki pants
uniform and hides from Americans to
play golf.
There are no images of the first family
enjoying themselves together in a moment
of relaxation.
No Obamas on the beach in Hawaii
moments, or Bushes fishing in Kennebunkport, no Reagans on horseback, no Kennedys playing touch football on the Cape.
I was thinking the other day of the summer
when George H couldn’t catch a fish
and all the grandkids made signs and
counted the fish-less days.
And somehow, even if you didn’t even like GHB, you got caught up in the joy of a family that loved each other and had fun.
Where did that country go? Where did all
of the fun and joy and expressions of love and happiness go? We used to be a country that did the ice bucket challenge and raised millions for charity.
We used to have a president that calmed and
soothed the nation instead dividing it.
And a First Lady that planted a garden
instead of ripping one out.
We are rudderless and joyless.
We have lost the cultural aspects of
society that make America great.
We have lost our mojo. Our fun, our happiness.
The cheering on of others.
The shared experiences of humanity that makes it all worth it.
The challenges AND the triumphs that we shared and celebrated.
The unique can-do spirit Americans
have always been known for.
We have lost so much
In so short a time.
– Elayne Griffin Baker

I am a product of long corridors, empty sunlit rooms, upstairs indoor silences, attics explored in solitude, distant noises of gurgling cisterns and pipes, and the noise of wind under the tiles. Also, of endless books.
– C. S. Lewis

For a long time now, every meeting with another human being has been a collision. I feel too much, sense too much, am exhausted by the reverberations after even the simplest conversation. But the deep collision is and has been with my unregenerate, tormenting, and tormented self. I have written every poem, every novel, for the same purpose – to find out what I think, to know where I stand. I am unable to become what I see. I feel like an inadequate machine, a machine that breaks down at crucial moments, grinds to a dreadful halt, “won’t go,” or, even worse, explodes in some innocent person’s face.
– May Sarton

The crucifixion of the self is accomplished when there is nothing left
for which you wish to pray to.
– Joel Solomon Goldsmith

Call it stubbornness, stamina, a take-no-prisoners determination, but a writer at work reminds me of nothing so much as a terrier with a bone: gnawing, biting, chewing, until finally there is nothing left to do but fall away.
– Dani Shapiro

On Disappearing

I have not disappeared.
The boulevard is full of my steps. The sky is
full of my thinking. An archbishop
prays for my soul, even though
we met only once, and even then, he was
busy waving at a congregation.
The ticking clocks in Vermont sway

back and forth as though sweeping
up my eyes and my tattoos and my metaphors,
and what comes up are the great paragraphs
of dust, which also carry motes
of my existence. I have not disappeared.
My wife quivers inside a kiss.
My pulse was given to her many times,

in many countries. The chunks of bread we dip
in olive oil is communion with our ancestors,
who also have not disappeared. Their delicate songs
I wear on my eyelids. Their smiles have
given me freedom which is a crater
I keep falling in. When I bite into the two halves
of an orange whose cross-section resembles my lungs,

a delta of juices burst down my chin, and like magic,
makes me appear to those who think I’ve
disappeared. It’s too bad war makes people
disappear like chess pieces, and that prisons
turn prisoners into movie endings. When I fade
into the mountains on a forest trail,
I still have not disappeared, even though its green façade
turns my arms and legs into branches of oak.
It is then I belong to a southerly wind,
which by now you have mistaken as me nodding back
and forth like a Hasid in prayer or a mother who has just
lost her son to gunfire in Detroit. I have not disappeared.

In my children, I see my bulging face
pressing further into the mysteries.

In a library in Tucson, on a plane above
Buenos Aires, on a field where nearby burns
a controlled fire, I am held by a professor,
a general, and a photographer.
One burns a finely wrapped cigar, then sniffs
the scented pages of my books, scouring
for the bitter smell of control.
I hold him in my mind like a chalice.
I have not disappeared. I swish the amber
hue of lager on my tongue and ponder the drilling
rigs in the Gulf of Alaska and all the oil-painted plovers.

When we talk about limits, we disappear.
In Jasper, TX you can disappear on a strip of gravel.

I am a life in sacred language.
Termites toil over a grave,
and my mind is a ravine of yesterdays.
At a glance from across the room, I wear
September on my face,
which is eternal, and does not disappear
even if you close your eyes once and for all
simultaneously like two coffins.

Now I have really known suffering.
And Ihave survived.
I am something to love—
I have touched bottom. And I am surviving.
– Susan Sontag

The first step in liquidating a people is to erase
its memory.
Destroy its books, its culture, its history.
Then have somebody write new books,
manufacture a new culture, invent a new history.
Before long that nation will begin to forget
what it is and what it was…
The struggle of man against power
is the struggle of memory against forgetting.
– Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

What we rudely call “the world” is so wildly irregular and promiscuous and fugitive that I do not feel the desire to convert people I speak with to my very small perspectives. I am not in the evangelical business of proselytizing my theories. But once in a while I am stopped in my tracks by feedback like this one from a sister I haven’t yet met. I am humbled by the yes that springs from a soul, a fleshly nod in acknowledgement of meeting each other at a crossroads, a sharing of a fleeting place together in the murmuration of bodies we hastily call reality. I am tempted to say, “yes, she gets it!”, but I cannot risk that. The trickster must keep moving. The fugitive must keep stealing away. But I can say thank you to this moment of alchemizing modest “truths” together…if only for a moment.
– Bayo Akomolafe

For translation doesn’t mean just replacing,
i.e., finding a familiar word
in your own language
to substitute for a word
in a foreign language.
The word has to match,
which is much more difficult.
A translator has to recreate
the sound of the original.
The art of translation is looking at words
in order to see how those words
see the world.
Translation requires an inner urgency
that will make that which is different
as close to the original as possible.
Finding this eye-to-eye contact
is extremely difficult.
It is a great art.
– Herta Müller

Don’t let history record this moment as a time when good people did too little to confront wickedness & disaster.
– Charles M. Blow

I’m looking all over the world for people with great insight, people who can understand each other without consuming too much energy to communicate with each other through language. Does this kind of person really exist?
– Lena Hu

Interview ~ Why Society Needs More Love
December, 2017

Lion’s Roar: How would you assess the state of love in American society today?

Lama Tsomo: This moment in time is filled with all kinds of extremes, from environmental politics to the economy. It is bringing out both a lot of love and a lot of othering. Van and I have talked a lot about the temptation to fall into “us” versus “them”—how easy it is to feel part of a group by othering somebody else, how tempting it is to fall into that when we’re afraid. Yet this time is calling us to move past that urge into loving everyone and finding solutions for the sake of everyone.

Van Jones: It definitely feels like we are in a spiral of tribalism. What’s interesting about tribalism is that love is present—but it’s narrowly focused. Trump voters feel that they’ve been left out, laughed at, or pushed aside by an emerging American majority that doesn’t look like them and doesn’t speak the same way they do. There’s an upsurge of love for self, but with a Trump-style wall around it.

The challenge is to get people to extend the boundaries of the love they feel without giving up pride in who they are.
Similarly, other groups are also coming into a form of self-love or self-expression, whether we’re talking about transgender people, people with immigrant backgrounds, or young African Americans marching against police brutality. They’re expressing a love for themselves, and for people who are like them. But that love doesn’t always extend to people on the other side of the police line. That’s understandable, because of the long history of the system abusing its power. And yet if neither side reaches out, we get stalemate at best—or a new kind of civil war at worst.

The challenge is to get people to extend the boundaries of the love they feel without giving up pride in who they are, where they’re from, or what their faith is. It’s about creating as many opportunities as possible for people to rediscover those connections.

Can we find a love that bridges differences without sweeping very real differences of opinion and policies under the carpet?

Van Jones: In a democracy we get to disagree, which is called freedom. That’s the point. In a dictatorship you can’t disagree. But there’s a kind of totalitarianism on both sides today.

I think liberals in the United States have an almost colonial attitude toward the red states, like Southerners are just unwashed heathens. Liberals too often act like red state voters need to be conquered or converted to the NPR religion, and then all will be well with the republic. Similarly on the right wing, everything about liberals is seen as perverse, weak, or corrupting. So the first step is remind ourselves that we need each other. Liberals need conservatives, and conservatives need liberals, to make the country work. No bird can fly with only a left wing or only a right wing.

I would say we have a heart problem and also a head problem. The head problem is remembering that we’re not enemies, even when we disagree. We should disagree—and disagree passionately—but then expect some better answer, some higher synthesis, to emerge from the conflict.

The heart part is all the disciplines and practices that allow us to do that better than we might otherwise. We need to stay centered, grounded, open—able to resist when we need to, but also bend when we need to. That’s hard. These spiritual practices help us execute what both our minds and our hearts know is right—to stand for what we believe in—in a way that allows something beautiful to emerge from the conflict.

Lama Tsomo: That’s why all spiritual traditions exercise both the head muscle and the heart muscle. Inner work goes hand-in-hand with outer work to create something powerful that can manifest in the world. An obvious example is the Dalai Lama. He has accomplished extraordinary things by exercising both his head and his heart in incredibly trying circumstances.

What is his secret?

Lama Tsomo: I’m going to mention the four immeasurables: loving-kindness, sympathetic joy, compassion, and equanimity. When you practice the four immeasurables, as the Dalai Lama does, then love for yourself, your favorite people, and your tribe moves out in ever-greater concentric circles until it’s love, compassion, and sympathetic joy for everyone. If you do the inner work of that practice in the privacy of your home, then your outer work has a lot more power because you have exercised your love muscle.

We don’t want to eliminate anyone from our love.
Neem Karoli Baba said, “Never throw anyone out of your heart.” As soon as I eliminate one person from my heart I make my own heart smaller, and I don’t want that. That elimination of people can extend to whole groups. We think that if they weren’t there, it would be much easier to solve all our problems. So we eliminate them from our heart.

But our heart doesn’t want to have a boundary around it. We don’t want to eliminate anyone from our love. When we think of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Dalai Lama, and other revered and respected figures, we see that this is the secret of their power to help the world.

Van Jones: In terms of specific practices we can do, there are all kinds of things conspiring now to make fear and division greater.

Social media is one of them. Algorithm-enhanced tribalism is very, very dangerous, because when you don’t understand where the other person is coming from, you just see these nasty, snarky, one-sided tweets. So your view of them becomes more exaggeratedly negative, and you’re more scared and stupid with every click and swipe.

I decided I didn’t want to be victimized by that. So as a practice, I went and searched for every right wing, conservative, white nationalist I could find and followed them all. Now my Instagram feed doesn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy, but maybe you just have to get your warm and fuzzies someplace else. I have a better understanding of where my opponents are coming from, and that informs my approach.

I just think there’s a kind of practical fight here. It really is the case that Donald Trump wants to deport millions of people, that Muslims and Jewish people are being harassed in almost unheard of numbers. At the same time, if you are a white, Christian male in the red states millions of liberals need to hear nothing more to not like you. There are real threats out here. That’s the reason we need these great practices. They give us a North Star to get through these periods better, not bitter.

A lot of people these days are debating the usefulness of anger. It can fuel protest and resistance to injustice, but it can also cause more division and hate. Is anger useful now or not?

Lama Tsomo: There’s a principle in Tibetan Buddhism I’ve found really helpful—the difference between anger and wrath. Anger is somebody saying something insulting and you wanting to punch them. Wrath is something quite different.

In the New Testament there’s the story about Jesus driving the merchants from the temple. His actions were fierce and appeared angry, but they were actually coming from love and compassion. In Tibetan Buddhism, we contemplate some ferocious archetypal figures that are realized beings. You wouldn’t want to meet any of them in a dark alley. We contemplate them so that we can feel compassion in a ferocious form.

Power without love is destructive. Love without power is, well, powerless. What is the right relationship between love and power?

Lama Tsomo: Human beings are brilliant animals, and we can find all kinds of creative ways to manifest either wonderful or terrible things. Love combined with insightful wisdom is very powerful, but just having intelligence without the motivation of love and compassion creates things like the atom bomb.

As Starhawk pointed out, there is power over, power with, and power within. If we cultivate all three of these types of power with love and compassion, then something positive that affects the whole society gets to happen.

On the inner level, this can happen because, as many great religious figures and scientists say, we’re all absolutely connected. The late physicist David Bohm said that at the quantum physics level, there’s no difference between inside and outside your skin. That begins to blow apart our sense of boundaries. It shows us that the true nature of things is that we’re all connected.

Bohm was saying that if we act according to how things really are, it’s probably going to go better. We’re going to be happier and we’re going to produce happiness around us. Anytime you’re off in your understanding of how things are, you’re going to cause suffering for yourself and for others. That ripples out into society in all kinds of ways.

Van Jones: One of the great powers that Nelson Mandela had over his enemies was that he actually had a vision of South Africa in which the Xhosa, the Zulu, the Afrikaners, and others all had a place of honour, dignity, and respect.

If we don’t make it clear that our intention is for everyone to be free, then we just get on a seesaw.
If I have any quarrel with the present progressive movement it is that there sometimes seems to be too little space for our opposite numbers to be free too, and for them to feel dignity and respect. Speaking to a woman, a person of color, LGBT—or speaking to an immigrant or a Muslim—it seems unfair to say to them, “You have to get free, and you also have to free the people who are holding you down.” It is unfair, and it is unjust. But it is absolutely necessary.

If we don’t, from the start, make it clear that our intention is for everyone to be free, then we just get on a seesaw. We’re up for a while, and then we’re down for a while. We just saw that from Obama to Trump. What has yet to be rediscovered, in the U.S. context, is a third way out—one that allows your love for your own group to be so profound that it requires you to find a way to feel and demonstrate love for your so-called opponent.

What is the role of spirituality in political life? Can there be deep change, the kind the world needs, without spiritual practice at the root of it?

Lama Tsomo: We humans are herd animals. It seems that every great religion has figured that out. There are churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues, and in Buddhism there is sangha. Anytime we want to change our habits, we’ve had far better success doing it in groups than all alone. So there’s something to be said for that.

I would like to make a distinction between spirituality and religion, because they aren’t quite the same thing. Spirituality can be a very personal experience, while religion provides support from other people who are trying to move in the same direction. But sometimes religion gets tribal, and then it becomes “us” against “them.”

When the Israelites were freed from Egypt, God parted the seas, which then crashed in on the Egyptian army. When the Jews rejoiced, God said, “Why are you rejoicing? They’re my children too.” With our herd instinct tendencies, we sometimes forget that.

There are religious people who are falling into us vs. them, while other churches, synagogues, mosques, and so on are reaching beyond that. I think it’s quite possible to do both: to have your intimate spiritual community, your sangha, your congregation, as well as reaching out to people in other congregations. When we do reach out in a respectful way to somebody across the divide, that can allow the kind of change we need right now.

Van Jones: Well, all human institutions are shot through with all kinds of foibles and problems. Also, all human institutions tend to assume aspects of the society in which they exist. I think it’s a mistake to get madder at religion and religious folks than we get mad at anybody else. People who run corporations, who run sports teams, who create television programs, are also infected by human foibles and societal biases. I think we do ourselves a disservice when we make totalizing statements about religion, because it tends to bypass a deeper truth.

Is some form of spiritual practice or understanding necessary for us, as a society, to really change how we relate to each other?

Van Jones: What I would say is that I can’t do the work that I’ve chosen without a spiritual grounding. I am blessed to get to talk to some of the poorest people in the country and some of the richest people in the country, often in the same day. Because I’ve been exposed to different ways of thinking and being, I have a better chance to actually learn something and be a contributor than I would otherwise.

Lama Tsomo: I really had to sit with myself. I tried freestyle meditation, but that was not very successful. So I decided to pick a time-honored method that has been refined over a very long time. Luckily, the world is full of lots of lineages that are replete with wonderful tools that I would never have thought of myself.

I really appreciate the methods I’ve learned. I found a master who is very accomplished in them. Personally, I have found it really helpful to pick tried-and-true methods. I’ve also found it helpful to be with other people who have a similar goal.

For that reason, I picked an established religion, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel for myself. But I think if people just sit quietly for a few minutes a day, not having to respond to things on the outside, that’s a great place to start.

– Van Jones is a lawyer, CNN political commentator, and founder of The Dream Corps. His new book is Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together.

– Lama Tsomo is an American Buddhist teacher in the Namchak lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. She is the author of Why Is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling?

Matt Licata:

You don’t have to fix anyone’s problems. You don’t have to save them, heal them, or get them to take on your favorite metaphysical beliefs, theories, and techniques.

Just be there with them so that they feel felt and understood. Bear witness to their own organic wisdom as it recalibrates, reorganizes, and emerges.

Listen. Not only to their verbal narrative but to the somatic story as well. To the secret, sensitive language emerging from their heart.

Bracket your beliefs and systems for a few moments. Attune. With the poetic beauty and power of your mirror neuron system, enter into the miracle we-space with them, so that they feel felt.

I’m with you. I’m here. I feel you. I understand you. Be midwife as a new story is woven with new cloth, one that is majestic enough to contain the immensity that they are. One that is updated in real-time, integrated, spacious, flexible, translucent, and kind.

Extend to them a soothed nervous system, a sanctuary of presence, a field of permission where they can go through their experience without any pressure to heal or to meet some hidden agenda in order for you to stay close. Resist the temptation to “teach” them. But instead, “reach” them, finally, by way of the circuitry of empathic immersion.

It’s going to be difficult to do this if we are out of touch with our own unlived life – with the unmet grief, the unheld sadness, the unmetabolized rage. If we have disavowed these visitors – including through our endless metaphysical theories and beliefs: it will just be too unsafe to enter the vessel with eyes and heart open.

Of course the mind has such a hard time with this. It just can’t believe it. What about my theories and techniques and spiritual beliefs and all of it? I must convey it all and show them.

But the body knows. The heart knows. The holy nervous system knows.

The Other – whether outside us or taking internal form – is not in need of new information, theories, or spiritual beliefs, but needs and wants and longs for you… your nakedness, your tenderness, your raw unfiltered being, your love.

And I’m finally beginning to suspect
that perhaps we’re not meant to understand life.
All these furious attempts to explain
and understand, this ongoing quest for the truth,
may be a dead end.
We bless the sun
because we live the exact distance from it
that is beneficial. A few million miles closer
or farther away and we would burn
or freeze to death.

What if the truth is like the sun?

– Hjalmar Söderberg

What is a saint? A saint is someone who has achieved a remote human possibility. It is impossible to say what that possibility is. I think it has something to do with the energy of love.
– Leonard Cohen

I see my life in terms of music.
– Albert Einstein

(The Nature of Mind)
No words can describe it
No example can point to it
Samsara does not make it worse
Nirvana does not make it better
It has never been born
It has never ceased
It has never been liberated
It has never been deluded
It has never existed
It has never been nonexistent
It has no limits at all
It does not fall into any kind of category.
– Dudjom Rinpoche

What if I never wake
up in the skin of the
adult I prayed for
when I was a child?
– Blythe Baird

Happiness cannot be found
through great effort and willpower,
but is already present,
in open relaxation and letting go.

Don’t strain yourself,
there is nothing to do or undo.
Whatever momentarily arises in the body-mind
has no real importance at all,
has little reality whatsoever.
Why identify with, and become attached to it,
passing judgment upon it and ourselves?

Far better to simply
let the entire game happen on its own,
springing up and falling back like waves—
without changing or manipulating anything—
and notice how everything vanishes and
reappears, magically, again and again,
time without end.

Only our searching for happiness
prevents us from seeing it.
It’s like a vivid rainbow which you pursue without ever catching,
or a dog chasing its own tail.

Although peace and happiness do not exist
as an actual thing or place,
it is always available
and accompanies you every instant.

Don’t believe in the reality
of good and bad experiences;
they are like today’s ephemeral weather,
like rainbows in the sky.

Wanting to grasp the ungraspable,
you exhaust yourself in vain.
As soon as you open and relax
this tight fist of grasping,
infinite space is there—
open, inviting and comfortable.

Make use of the spaciousness,
this freedom and natural ease.
Don’t search any further.
Don’t go into the tangled jungle
looking for the great awakened elephant,
who is already resting quietly at home
in front of your own hearth.

Nothing to do or undo,
nothing to force,
nothing to want,
and nothing missing—-

Emaho! Marvelous!
Everything happens by itself.

– Ven. Lama Gendun Rinpoche, a spontaneous vajra song

No matter how clever, fast or secretive one is, it is impossible to cheat, run or hide from negative karma. If it is not purified, it will ripen into suffering.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

The longer one listened to him, the more obvious it became that his inability to speak was closely connected with an inability to think, namely, to think from the standpoint of somebody else. No communication was possible with him, not because he lied but because he was surrounded by the most reliable of all safeguards against the words and the presence of others, and hence against reality as such.
– Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem

Clouds drift through my heart, Woods dream my dream.
– Hermann Hesse


To be alive …
is to be in full play
with mystery and beauty and love.

You live on a very strange little
speck of rock in a very remote
corner of the universe.

Cherish it.

– Dick Allen

Literature is not high school and it’s not actually necessary to know what everyone around you is wearing, in terms of style, and being influenced by people who are being published in this very moment is going to make you look just like them, which is probably not a good long-term goal for being yourself or making a meaningful contribution. At any point in history there is a great tide of writers of similar tone, they wash in, they wash out, the strange starfish stay behind, and the conches. Check out the bestseller list for April 1935 or August 1978 if you don’t believe me. Originality is partly a matter of having your own influences: read evolutionary biology textbooks or the Old Testament, find your metaphors where no one’s looking, don’t belong. Or belong to the other world that is not quite this
one, the world from which you send back your messages.
– Rebecca Solnit

The bourgeoisie loves so-called ‘positive’ types
and novels with happy endings
since they lull one into thinking that it is fine
to simultaneously acquire capital
and maintain one’s innocence,
to be a beast and still be happy.
– Anton Chekhov

Chris Rock had some interesting observations on friendship, aging, and loneliness in a New York Times interview this week:

The other day I realized I’ve never met an elderly person that was cared for by their friends. Every elderly person I know that’s got any trouble is cared for by a spouse or a child. Sometimes they have like five kids but only one helps. Where are your friends? Your friends are probably not going to be there when it really counts. [Laughs.] When my dad was dying in the hospital, where were his friends? My grandmother, where were her friends? Don’t get me wrong, you get sick in your 20s, your friends will come to the hospital. It’s an adventure. [Laughs.] You get sick in your 60s, they farm it out. ‘You go Wednesday and I’ll go Sunday.’ Enjoy them while you have them. But if you think your friends are your long-term solution to loneliness, you’re an idiot.

In times of change and danger when there is a quicksand of fear under men’s reasoning, a sense of continuity with generations gone before can stretch like a lifeline across the scary present.
– John Dos Passos

How lucky we are
That you can’t sell
A poem, that it has
No value. Might
As well
Give it away.
That poem you love,
That saved your life,
Wasn’t it given to you?
– Gregory Orr

Dissents speak to a future age. It’s not simply to say, ‘My colleagues are wrong and I would do it this way.’ But the greatest dissents do become court opinions and gradually over time their views become the dominant view. So that’s the dissenter’s hope: that they are writing not for today but for tomorrow.
– Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I always tell people, for me, hope doesn’t preclude feeling sadness or frustration or anger or any other emotion that makes total sense. Hope isn’t an emotion, you know? Hope is not optimism.

Hope is a discipline.
– Mariame Kaba

Understanding is love’s other name.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

It is when the story ends that we start to feel it.
– Forugh Farrokhzad

If you think like me, you’re my brother. If you don’t think like me, you’re twice my brother, for you open another world to me.
– Amadou Hampate

Our ancestors grieved. They told the truth about the past. And they built a new future—a counter-testimony to the world that was.

This is our blueprint, an ancient wisdom born of suffering.

– Rabbi Sharon Brous

Some of the greatest poetry is revealing to the reader the beauty in something that was so simple you had taken it for granted.
– Neil deGrasse Tyson

Never trust people who smile constantly. They’re either selling something or not very bright.
– Laurell K. Hamilton

Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.
– Ruth Bader Ginsberg

So let me take one step right now,
one step toward respect.
And give me strength to take another
toward clarity. And though
my feet might feel like stones, let
me take another step toward justice.
And another toward equity. And another
toward truth. And though my legs
may feel leaden and slow, though someone
else may step on my toes, may I inch
toward forgiveness. May every step
be toward a bridge. Enough divisiveness.
And as I go, may I find joy in the stepping,
grace in the edging toward great change.
But if there’s little joy, let me step anyway.
Then take another step. And another. And another.
– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Reading is the key that opens doors to many good things in life. Reading shaped my dreams, and more reading helped me make my dreams come true.
– Ruth Bader Ginsberg

How can I begin anything new with all of yesterday in me?
– Leonard Cohen

We live only to discover beauty.
All else is a form of waiting.
– Khalil Gibran

This isn’t about one party winning and another party losing. It’s about good people stopping a very bad person; one who neither deserves or respects the lofty, influential, and sacred space he is occupying.
– Pastor John Pavlovitz

Sharing your beauty in an unsympathetic world is not a path for the weak-hearted. As you step into being seen, you will come face-to-face with your fears of being judged, criticized, dismissed, and derided.

But an invalidation or dismissal from the outside will not unsteady you if you are in a committed relationship with the beauty you are making.

So, when you are triggered, it is a good reminder to check that place of susceptibility and ask yourself, “Where am I at odds with myself on this issue?” This is not to say that the other is not being an empirical jerk, but that in their jerkness, they have brought to light a place within you that requires fortification.
– Toko-pa Turner

In fiction, as in life,
the hardest thing
is when two people get together.
– Richard Ryan

Here is an amazement – once I was twenty years old
and in every motion of my body
there was a delicious ease,
and in every motion of the green earth
there was
a hint of paradise,
and now I am sixty years old,
and it is the same.

Above the modest house and the palace
– the same darkness.
Above the evil man and the just,
the same stars.
Above the child who will recover
and the child who will
not recover,
the same energies roll forward
from one tragedy to the next and
from one foolishness to the next.

I bow down.
– Mary Oliver, Am I Not Among the Early Risers

Every civilization has a sacred purpose.
But we have forgotten ours.
– Peter Kingsley

To tell the truth
days are all the same size
and words aren’t much company.
– Anne Sexton

Humanity must shift from living ‘on’ the Earth to living with her.
– Tiokasin Ghosthorse

The artist is an outcast in exile (pariah),
he’s experienced all the tribulation
just by virtue of being an artist.
He’s been brought up the hard way,
he will survive where others will perish.
– Henry Miller

It must all be considered
as though spoken by a character in a novel.
– Roland Barthes

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
– e.e. cummings

Could social groupings, driven by female preferences, cause enough divergence to eventually create new species?…. I’ve long felt that geographic isolation can’t be the only route…. In some African lakes, cichlid fish have diverged into an astonishing array of species…. Is it possible that without geographic isolation, groups can form, and diverge, because of what amounts to purely cultural, even arbitrary, preferences that create both group identity and between-group avoidance? There’s a lot of that in humans, obviously. And in at least some other species, such as killer whales. White snow geese tend to prefer white mates…. But could diverging cultural trajectories, given enough time, diverge permanently?…. Might cultural mating preferences based on something as insubstantial as song or dialect – or even beautiful colors – be a widespread driver in the origin of thousands of species?…. Could ‘survival of the beautiful’ explain macaws? Could beauty itself evolve through socially learned preferences, through culture? The question itself seems almost nonsensical. But look at these birds: the impression is inescapable.
– Carl Safina, Becoming Wild

But in the great task which involves the transformation of the world, and the redemption of the individual human spirit from evil, only primary releases from God may apply. For the task is infinite, and only an infinite power can address itself to an infinite need. We get this in the life of meditation and prayer and discipline; in moments of quiet I hold, at the center of my spiritual focus, the cause to which I am dedicated. This gives an abundance of freedom and joy because it destroys fear–fear of failure, fear of death, fear of being misunderstood, fear that I am mistaken in the thing that I am undertaking, fear that all my life long I might live for a cause only to find at the end that the cause is wrong. *In moments of profound meditation I become sometimes for one transcendent moment only a central part of the purpose of life.*

Finally, this kind of discipline clarifies the conflicting issues that naturally arise out of any form of action, so that against the darkness of the age I can see the illumined finger of God guiding me in the way that I should go, so that high above the clash of arms and the conflict for position, for rights, for status, for privilege, for place, for priority, I can hear speaking distinctly and clearly to my own spirit the still, small voice of God without which nothing has meaning, quite: with which all the rest of the journey, with its joy, with its pain, with its devastating brutality, all the journey will be filled with a music of its own, and even the stars in their courses and all the wooded world of nature will participate in the triumphant music of my heart.
– Howard Thurman

The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.
– The Buddha

Our constitution is predicated on a sort of baseline decency of both parties: They won’t cheat just because they have a majority. They won’t ignore subpoenas. They won’t prop up a would-be authoritarian. When one party is fundamentally corrupt, turns out they can accomplish a lot.
– Max Weiss

An old alchemist gave the following consolation to one of his disciples: “No matter how isolated you are and how lonely you feel, if you do your work truly and conscientiously, unknown friends will come and seek you.
– Carl Jung

I do not know what Africa is really saying to me, but it speaks.
– Carl Jung

Our suffering comes from our unlived life–the unseen, unfelt parts of our psyche.
– C.G. Jung

In some way, I want my writing to take care of me. I want to live in my world. I want to carry my world with me like a shell. I want a home. It’s always been like a dream, in the way that everyone says, “Ooh, I wish I was a writer, I really have stories.” They just imagine you sitting in some place all the time having this incredible life. We have such messy lives, writers, and it’s so unstable, but I think we do it because we want to create a reality on some level. At some point, the more it grows you realize this has made me comfortable, this has given me a self, this has given me a place in the world, this has given me esteem and respect and money, if you’re lucky. It is my home, it is my place. It even makes me comfortable. The things that I might have wanted to do anyway, I now have a reason or an excuse or a way of doing that. You just evolve a style of being a writer that makes it possible to say the things you need to say in the way you need to say them. Suddenly you’ve managed to live in your time.
– Eileen Myles

Psychological or spiritual development always requires a greater capacity for anxiety and ambiguity.
– Carl Jung

The greatest and most important problems of life are all in a certain sense insoluble…. They can never be solved, but only outgrown…. This ‘outgrowing’, as I formerly called it, on further experience was seen to consist in a new level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest arose on the person’s horizon, and through this widening of view, the insoluble problem lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms, but faded out when confronted with a new and stronger life-tendency.
– Carl Jung

Stand up straight now stand real tall
And wipe that writing off the wall
This is the right time
Come on baby gimme some sugar
Now put one foot in front of the other
Take a breath now breathe, my lover
Let’s take up this lifeline

Is that the weight of the world on your back?
Surrender with that colorful flag
Come on baby gimme some sugar
Yeah they’ve been selling us this fiction as fact

All the shit they try to feed us
Don’t drink the poison or they’ll defeat us
This is the right time
Come on baby gimme some sugar
Don’t break my heart, don’t break my flow now
And all this rage has got to go now
Let’s take up this lifeline
Come on baby gimme some sugar…
– Sufjan Stevens

Draw clear and open attention to your heart. Be aware of the spaciousness at the center of your being. This space is like a clear, open sky.
You are that sky. Be aware of it, feel it, connect with it.
– Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give Up!

You just can’t beat the person who won’t give up.
– Babe Ruth

Explore daily the will of God.
– C.G. Jung

Poems have a different music
from ordinary language,
and every poem has a different kind of music
of necessity,
and that’s, in a way, the hardest thing
about writing poetry is waiting for that music,
and sometimes you never know
if it’s going to come.
– C. K. Williams

at some point in time humanity was impacted and our consciousness altered by malicious code & mistaken beliefs. you don’t see this kind of thing with the rest of nature.

we exclude ourselves from our own deepest nature, from our own true nature, and pretend we are not wholly of nature and cosmos.

that’s a kink in the code, and we don’t have to live by it forever.

we are wholly of nature and cosmos.
– Lauren Worsch

Good morning, sadness of the world. What would you like of me today–participation or counter-programming?
– Anne Herbert

A growing number of otherwise well people are developing a form of PTSD from an Administration and its cheerleaders, whose malevolence and contempt for life is beyond comprehension.
– Pastor John Pavlovitz

until the end
Work, at living ·
Work, at loving ·
Work, at giving ·
Work, at progress ·
Work, at healing ·
Work, at nurturing ·
Work, at saving ·
Work, at growing ·
Work, at being ·
Work, at virtue ·
Work, at sincerity ·
Work, at guilelessness ·
Work, at honesty ·
Work, at integrity ·
Work, at innocence ·
Work, at community ·
Work, at brotherhood ·
Work, at sisterhood ·
Work, at kindness ·
Work, at inclusion ·
Work, at race-blindness ·
Work, at caring ·
Work, at sacrifice ·
Work, at wisdom ·
Work, for ideals ·
Work, for justice ·
Work, for fairness ·
Work, at selflessness ·
Work, at intelligence ·
Work, at insight ·
Work, to dispel delusion ·
Work, at courage ·
Work, at perseverance ·
Work, on your music ·
Work, on your painting ·
Work, on your writing ·
Work, at your science ·
Work, on your work ·
Work, on your logic ·
Work, on your reasoning ·
Work, at making all things better …
all things better, every time,
and work – and work – and work
until the end —
– Elijah Morton

I am a book of snow,
a spacious hand, an open meadow,
a circle that waits,
I belong to the earth and its winter.
– Pablo Neruda

The idea is not to confront bad ideas but to come up with good ones. Otherwise, your enemies define the game and you are the loyal opposition.
– Terence McKenna

The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.
– Peter Drucker

“How does distance look?” is a simple direct question. It extends from a spaceless
within to the edge
of what can be loved. It depends on light.
– Anne Carson

There is a thinking in primordial images, in symbols which are older than the historical man, which are inborn in him from the earliest times, eternally living, outlasting all generations, still make up the groundwork of the human psyche. It is only possible to live the fullest life when we are in harmony with these symbols; wisdom is a return to them.
– Carl Gustav Jung

Man is least himself
when he talks in his own person.
Give him a mask,
and he will tell you the truth.
– Oscar Wilde

The central importance of entering into worlds other than our own (and hence of anthropology itself) lies in how the experience leads us to understand that our own world is a cultural construct.
– Walter Goldschmidt

The precious pot containing my riches becomes my teacher in the very moment it breaks.
– Milarepa

We live in disordered times, complicated, distracted and demanding. Yet to sustain a spiritual practice demands our steady attention. The first task, then, in almost any spiritual voyage, is to quiet ourselves enough to listen to the voices of our hearts. To listen to that which is beyond our daily affairs.
– Jack Kornfield

Surely our forefathers didn’t expend all their energy and wisdom for our freedom to consume without limits, to pamper ourselves at the expense of the common good, and to pursue security and safety as our national and personal passion.
– Carolyn Peterson

Joy is not made to be a crumb.
– Mary Oliver

When forced, as it seems,
by circumstances into utter confusion,
get a hold of yourself quickly.
Don’t be locked out of the rhythm
any longer than necessary.
You’ll be able to keep the beat
if you are constantly returning to it.
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 6.11

As I grew older, I understood that instructions
came with this voice.
What were these instructions?
The instructions were never to lament casually.
And if one is to express the great inevitable
defeat that awaits us all,
it must be done within the strict confines
of dignity and beauty.
– Leonard Cohen

But there is no energy unless there is a tension of opposites; hence it is necessary to discover the opposite to the attitude of the conscious mind.
– C.G. Jung

Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche:
When we do actually have some genuine purpose and meaningful vision to carry out in our day—not just anything, but something we really want to do—we can live passionately, fulfilling our potential enlightened nature, and serving mankind with great joy and zeal. Even over the course of one hundred lifetimes of walking this path and being reborn, there is no sense of suffering in taking rebirth and dying. Instead, there is a passion to walk this path from lifetime to lifetime.

The more you learn,
the more you know
that you’re not so hot.
– Bernie Glassman

Nothing could persuade me that “in the image of God” applied only to man. In fact it seemed to me that the high mountains, the rivers, lakes, trees, flowers and animals far better exemplified the essence of God than men with their ridiculous clothes, their meanness, vanity, mendacity, and abhorrent egotism.
– C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections

This poem believes another existence is possible.
– Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo

I wish people were all trees
and I think I could enjoy them then.
– Georgia O’Keeffe

The days will be arduous
so you need an arsenal of laughter
behind you for various heartbreaks
that are on the way.
You know, that does not mean
that we won’t win, whatever winning looks like,
but all victories come with heartbreaks
along the way.
– Jericho Brown

May this new decade be remembered as the decade of the strange path, of the third way, of the broken binary, of the traversal disruption, the kairotic moment, the posthuman movement for emancipation, the gift of disorientation that opened up new places of power, and of slow limbs.
– Bayo Akomolafe

This is not a season
but a pause
between one future & another,
a day after a day,
a breathing space before death,
a breathing, the rain

throwing itself down out of the
bluegrey sky, clear joy.
– Margaret Atwood, Rain

Ages of fire and of air
Youth of water
From green to yellow
From yellow to red
From dream to watching
From desire to act
It was only one step and you took it so lightly
Insects were living jewels
The heat rested by the side of the pond
Rain was a willow with unpinned hair
A tree grew in the palm of your hand
And that tree laughed sang prophesied
Its divinations filled the air with wings
There were simple miracles called birds
Everything was for everyone
Everyone was everything
There was only one huge word with no back to it
A word like a sun
One day it broke into tiny pieces
They were the words of the language we now speak
Pieces that will never come together
Broken mirrors where the world sees itself shattered.
– Octavio Paz

We fool ourselves
thinking we are improving ourselves with our art
…we are removing ourselves.
– Shinzen

The truth of Zen, just a little bit of it, is what turns one’s humdrum life into one of art, full of genuine inner creativity.
– D.T. Suzuki

Each of us, helplessly and forever, contains the other—male in female, female in male, white in black, and black in white. We are part of each other. Many of my countrymen appear to find this fact exceedingly inconvenient and even unfair, and so, very often, do I. But none of us can do anything about it.
– James Baldwin

Lead us to those we are waiting for,
Those who are waiting for us.
May your wings protect us,
may we not be strangers in the lush province of joy.
Remember us who are weak,
You who are strong in your country which lies beyond the thunder,
Raphael, angel of happy meeting,
resplendent, hawk of the light.
– Charles Wright, Flannery’s Angel

He approached everything with a mind unclouded by current opinions. There was nothing of the superior person about him. This makes him terrifying.
– T. S. Eliot, on William Blake

Philosophy is not suited for the masses,
what they need is holiness.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

This is the dream we carry through the world
that something fantastic will happen
that it has to happen
that time will open by itself
that doors shall open by themselves
that the heart will find itself open
that mountain springs will jump up
that the dream will open by itself
that we one early morning
will slip into a harbor.
– Olav H. Hauge

A lover doesn’t figure the odds.
He figures he came clean from God
as a gift without a reason,
he gives without cause
or calculation or limit.

A conventionally religious person
behaves a certain way
to achieve salvation.

A lover gambles everything, the self,
the circle around the zero! He or she
cuts and throws it all away.

This is beyond
any religion.

Lovers do not require from God any proof,
or any text, nor do they knock on a door
to make sure this is the right street.

They run,
and they run.
– Rumi

by Anna Belle Kaufman

When my mother died,
one of her honey cakes remained in the freezer.
I couldn’t bear to see it vanish,
so it waited, pardoned,
in its ice cave behind the metal trays
for two more years.

On my forty-first birthday
I chipped it out,
a rectangular resurrection,
hefted the dead weight in my palm.

Before it thawed,
I sawed, with serrated knife,
the thinnest of slices —
Jewish Eucharist.

The amber squares
with their translucent panes of walnuts
tasted — even toasted — of freezer,
of frost,
a raisined delicacy delivered up
from a deli in the underworld.

I yearned to recall life, not death —
the still body in her pink nightgown on the bed,
how I lay in the shallow cradle of the scattered sheets
after they took it away,
inhaling her scent one last time.

I close my eyes, savor a wafer of
sacred cake on my tongue and
try to taste my mother, to discern
the message she baked in these loaves
when she was too ill to eat them:

I love you.
It will end.
Leave something of sweetness
and substance
in the mouth of the world.

The whole time I was hoping my silence
would fit yours and exclamation marks
would gently float across time and space
so that boundaries would be crossed;
the whole time I was praying you would read
my eyes and understand what I was never
able to understand.
See, we were never about butterflies.
We’ve always been about burning stars.
All about us is unearthly and radiant.
– Anna Akhmatova

seeking a now that can breed
like bread in our children’s mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours
– Audre Lorde, Litany for Survival

Remember: the time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself: life’s cruelest irony.
– Douglas Coupland

It took me time to understand my water lilies.
I had planted them for the pleasure of it;
I grew them without ever thinking
of painting them.
– Claude Monet

Capitalism feeds Racism.

White supremacist cries for “Law and Order!” are about maintaining a thing-oriented, not a people-oriented, society.

Dismantling unjust systems includes confronting the gross capitalistic spirit and the role it plays in racism, war and poverty.
– Bernice King

Just like the lotus among flowers is bodhicitta supreme among all virtuous thoughts.
– Khunu Rinpoche

… overburst of American joy; it was Western, the west wind, an ode from the Plains, something new, long prophesied, long a-coming…
– Kerouac

Life is a succession of lessons, which must be lived to be understood.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

A path is made by walking on it.
– Zhuangzi

summer night
we turn out all the lights
to hear the rain
– Peggy Willis Lyles

When you say the same things every Sunday, it becomes silence… Far from being infinitely boring, it becomes infinitely alive.
– Jim Forest

Children have more need of models than critics.
– Joseph Joubert

There is no greater loan than a sympathetic ear.
– Frank Tyger

One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.
– George Herbert

There is a nobility in compassion, a beauty in empathy, a grace in forgiveness.
– John Connolly

When you look back at where you’ve been,
it often seems as if you have never been there,
or even as if there were no such place.
– Norman Maclean

Canoe Launching into the Gaslit Sea
by Ismael Hope

Now, as much as ever, and as always,
we need to band together, form
a lost tribe, scatter as one, burst
through rifle barrels guided
by the spider’s crosshairs. We need
to knit wool sweaters for our brother
sleeping under the freeway,
hand him our wallets and bathe
his feet in holy water. We need
to find our lost sister, last seen
hitchhiking Highway 16
or panhandling on the streets of Anchorage,
couch-surfing with relatives in Victoria,
or kicking out her boyfriend
after a week of partying
in a trailer park in Salem, Oregon.

Now, as much as ever, and as always,
we need to register together,
lock arms at the front lines, brand
ourselves with mutant DNA strands,
atomic whirls and serial numbers
adding ourselves to the blacklist.
We need to speak in code, languages
the enemy can’t break, slingshot
garlic cloves and tortilla crumbs,
wear armor of lily pads and sandstone
carved into the stately faces of bears
and the faraway look of whitetail deer.
We need to run uphill with rickshaws,
play frisbee with trash lids, hold up
portraits of soldiers who never
made it home, organize a peace-in
on the walls of the Grand Canyon.
We need to stage earnest satirical plays,
hold debate contests with farm animals
at midnight, fall asleep on hammocks
hanging from busy traffic lights.

Now, as much as ever, and as always,
we need to prank call our senators,
take selfies with the authorities
at fundraisers we weren’t invited to,
kneel in prayer at burial grounds
crumbling under dynamite.
We need to rub salve on the belly
of our hearts, meditate on fault lines
as the earth quakes, dance in robes
with fringe that spits medicine, make
love on the eve of the disaster.

It would be a mistake to think this culture clear-cuts only forests, it clear-cuts our psyches as well. It would be a mistake to think it dams only rivers. We ourselves are dammed (and damned) by it as well. It would be a mistake to think it creates dead zones only in the ocean. It creates dead zones in our hearts and minds. It would be a mistake to think it fragments only our habitat. We too are fragmented, split off, shredded, rent, torn.
– Derrick Jensen

Someone must risk returning injury with kindness,
or hostility will never turn to goodwill.
So the wise always give without expecting
– Lao Tzu

Take time to breathe, to be, to dwell,
Feeling the winds that wake you there,
Into this vast of heaven’s keep,
Out where eagles soar the deep.
O hear the crickets singing sweet
Into your heart, and soul, and feet,
Falling into the wonders there,
Freeing your heart of every care.
O Come into the stillness deep,
And let us dance and let us keep
The space we hold in present light
With songs of peace and deep delight.
– Bob Holmes

The spread of civilization may be likened to a fire; first, a feeble spark, next a flickering flame, then a mighty blaze, ever increasing in speed and power.
– Nikola Tesla

Jack Foley
I am a man who does not know himself
I am the grief that finds its way to tears
I am the poet who descends
I am the loss that cannot know the reason
I am the shadow in the deepening caves
I am the animal that roams its cage
I am the violence on the road to Wagadou
I am the star that fades into the dark
I am the annunciation that falls on deaf ears
I am the mannequin in the department store window
I am the leaf that bends into the earth
I am the storm that shakes the violent city
I am the god who has no worshippers
I am the singer who gives birth to silence
Love fails us if we seek to rescue it
I am the one who turned to see your face
I turned, you vanished quickly to the shades
I could not speak a verse to bring you back
Or follow you.
I climbed the weary road back to the earth
The people saw me, and they turned away
This, they said, is the prophet of emptiness
This the musician of silence (musicien du silence)
Shakespeare saw me and laughed out loud
Marlowe threw a drink at me, and then a knife
Rilke saw me and spat
Rats bit at my shoes as I walked
Worms clung to me as I marched to the house at the end of the earth

Don’t talk to me about the stars, about how cold and indifferent they are, about the unimaginable distances. There are millions of stars within us that are just as far, and people like me sometimes burn up a whole life trying to reach them.
– Ted Kooser

In order to swim, one takes off all one’s clothes—in order to aspire to the truth, one must undress in a far more inward sense, divest oneself of all one’s inward clothes, of thoughts, conceptions, selfishness, etc., before one is sufficiently naked.
– Søren Kierkegaard

Your burden is not to clear your conscience
But to learn how to bear the burdens on your conscience.
– T.S. Eliot

I hold to the presupposition that our loss of the sense of aesthetic unity was, quite simply, an epistemological mistake. I believe that that mistake may be more serious that all the minor insanities that characterize those older epistemologies which agreed upon the fundamental unity.
– Gregory Bateson, MIND AND NATURE. A Necessary Unity


J ‘ ai
All books in the world
And all the books
Say I love you
Of course.
Scandinavian books?
Yes even Scandinavian books
The books of Germany?
Yes, books of Germany
The books of the Sahara?
Yes, yes, even those books
All books in the world
Say it
′′ I love you ′′
– Jack Foley

Racism makes a liar of God. It says not everyone is made in his image. What a horrible lie from the pit of hell.
– Gloria Purvis

WHAT OUTRAGES ME TODAY? The illusion, the delusion, the absolute arrogance and unconscious privilege of those who speak of protestor disruption, even destruction and violence, as if it is somehow equivalent counter-argument to 400 years of racist systemic violence committed by law enforcement, judicial systems, banking systems, educational systems, employment systems, political systems, housing systems, and religious systems MAKES ME FURIOUS.
– David Bedrick

There is no literature or poetry in this
White House. No music.
No Kennedy Center award celebrations.
There are no pets in this White House.
No loyal man’s best friend. No Socks the family cat.
No kids’ science fairs.
No times when this president takes off his
blue suit-red tie uniform and becomes human, except when he puts on his white shirt-khaki pants
uniform and hides from Americans to
play golf.
There are no images of the first family
enjoying themselves together in a moment
of relaxation.
No Obamas on the beach in Hawaii
moments, or Bushes fishing in Kennebunkport, no Reagans on horseback, no Kennedys playing touch football on the Cape.
I was thinking the other day of the summer
when George H couldn’t catch a fish
and all the grandkids made signs and
counted the fish-less days.
And somehow, even if you didn’t even like GHB, you got caught up in the joy of a family that loved each other and had fun.
Where did that country go? Where did all
of the fun and joy and expressions of love and happiness go? We used to be a country that did the ice bucket challenge and raised millions for charity.
We used to have a president that calmed and
soothed the nation instead dividing it.
And a First Lady that planted a garden
instead of ripping one out.
We are rudderless and joyless.
We have lost the cultural aspects of
society that make America great.
We have lost our mojo. Our fun, our happiness.
The cheering on of others.
The shared experiences of humanity that makes it all worth it.
The challenges AND the triumphs that we shared and celebrated.
The unique can-do spirit Americans
have always been known for.
We have lost so much
In so short a time.
– Elayne Griffin Baker

Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.
– Malcolm S. Forbes

I want to be sung
by a silent Song
at the third bank
of the river
– José Luis G. Soler

Considering the ways in which so many of us waste our time, what would be wrong with a world in which everybody were writing poems? After all, there’s a significant service to humanity in spending time doing no harm. While you’re writing your poem, there’s one less scoundrel in the world. And I’d like a world, wouldn’t you, in which people actually took time to think about what they were saying? It would be, I’m certain, a more peaceful, more reasonable place. I don’t think there could ever be too many poets. By writing poetry, even those poems that fail and fail miserably, we honor and affirm life. We say ‘We loved the earth but could not stay.’
– Ted Kooser

There is no doctrine called extremism. When tyrants speak of extremists, they just mean people who are not in the mainstream—as the tyrants themselves are defining that mainstream at that particular moment. Dissidents of the twentieth century, whether they were resisting fascism or communism, were called extremists. Modern authoritarian regimes, such as Russia, use laws on extremism to punish those who criticize their policies. In this way the notion of extremism comes to mean virtually everything except what is, in fact, extreme: tyranny.
– Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

My theory on housework is,
if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire,
or block the refrigerator door, let it be.
No one else cares. Why should you?
– Erma Bombeck

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.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time ~
– John O’Donahue, For One Who Is Exhausted, A Blessing

People don’t do right
because of the fear of God or love of him.
You do right
because the world doesn’t make sense
if you don’t.
– Dorothy Allison

[Magyar] had an intense dislike for terms like ‘illiberal,’ which focused on traits the regimes did not possess–like free media or fair elections. This he likened to trying to describe an elephant by saying that the elephant cannot fly or cannot swim–it says nothing about what the elephant actually is. Nor did he like the term ‘hybrid regime,’ which to him seemed like an imitation of a definition, since it failed to define what the regime was ostensibly a hybrid of.

Magyar developed his own concept: the ‘post-communist mafia state.’ Both halves of the designation were significant: ‘post-communist’ because “the conditions preceding the democratic big bang have a decisive role in the formation of the system. Namely that it came about on the foundations of a communist dictatorship, as a product of the debris left by its decay.” (quoting Balint Magyar) The ruling elites of post-communist states most often hail from the old nomenklatura, be it Party or secret service. But to Magyar this was not the countries’ most important common feature: what mattered most was that some of these old groups evolved into structures centered around a single man who led them in wielding power. Consolidating power and resources was relatively simple because these countries had just recently had Party monopoly on power and a state monopoly on property.

A mafia state, in Magyar’s definition, was different from other states ruled by one person surrounded by a small elite. In a mafia state, the small powerful group was structured just like a family. The center of the family is the patriarch, who does not govern: “he disposes–of positions, wealth, statuses, persons.” The system works like a caricature of the Communist distribution economy. The patriarch and his family have only two goals: accumulating wealth and concentrating power. The family-like structure is strictly hierarchical, and membership in it can be obtained only through birth or adoption. In Putin’s case, his inner circle consisted of men with whom he grew up in the streets and judo clubs of Leningrad, the next circle included men with whom he had worked with in the KGB/FSB, and the next circle was made up of men who had worked in the St. Petersburg administration with him. Very rarely, he ‘adopted’ someone into the family as he did with Kholmanskikh, the head of the assembly shop, who was elevated from obscurity to a sort of third-cousin-hood. One cannot leave the family voluntarily: one can only be kicked out, disowned and disinherited. Violence and ideology, the pillars of the totalitarian state, became, in the hands of the mafia state, mere instruments.
– Masha Gessen, The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia

In a way, writing maps a path out of the self.
Instead of sobbing, you write sentences.
– Charles D’Ambrosio

The sage embraces all things. Ordinary men discriminate among them and parade their discrimination before others.

The sage harmonizes with both right and wrong and rests in Heaven the Equalizer.

When affirmation and negation came into being, Tao faded. After Tao faded, then came one-sided attachments.

So I say, those who discriminate fail to see.

Forget the years, forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home.
– Zhuangzi

Above all, it is a matter of loving art, not understanding it.
– Fernand Leger

All this business of a labour to accomplish, before I can end, of words to say, a truth to recover, in order to say it, before I can end, of an imposed task, once known, long neglected, finally forgotten, to perform, before I can be done with speaking, done with listening, I invented it all, in the hope it would console me, help me to go on, allow me to think of myself as somewhere on a road, moving, between a beginning and an end, gaining ground, losing ground, getting lost, but somehow in the long run making headway
– Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable

Some conversations are not about what they’re about.
– Anne Carson

…displace one note, and there would be diminishment, displace one phrase, and the structure would fall…

It is miraculous.
– Salieri on Mozart

No one understands now. Those who could
hear a song this deeply vanished long ago.
– Li Po

To all the doors that closed on me, I am coming back to buy the building.
– Promise Magagula

Having Confessed
Having confessed he feels
That he should go down on his knees and pray
For forgiveness for his pride, for having
Dared to view his soul from the outside.
Lie at the heart of the emotion, time
Has its own work to do. We must not anticipate
Or awaken for a moment. God cannot catch us
Unless we stay in the unconscious room
Of our hearts. We must be nothing,
Nothing that God may make us something.
We must not touch the immortal material
We must not daydream to-morrow’s judgement—
God must be allowed to surprise us.
We have sinned, sinned like Lucifer
By this anticipation. Let us lie down again
Deep in anonymous humility and God
May find us worthy material for His hand.
– Patrick Kavanagh

Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.
– Ella Fitzgerald

Invent your own mythology or be slave to another man’s.
– William Blake

These are very hard times and everybody is jittery and afraid… One thing you must keep clearly in mind, and that is, the dream of an orderly, decent society is not your dream, it is God’s and you must relax your tension about its ultimate outcome.
– Howard Thurman

Take me to a quiet place with earth under our backs, cradled in a forest glade. There we will see and acknowledge those things we do not. In solitude we take in the wisdom offered in each other and take in the hum of the forest.
– Phoebe Wahl

Awareness writes jazz compositions on the paper of dharmata with the ink of luminosity.
– tk

There are some things in our world
to which men (and women) of good will
must be maladjusted….

Human salvation lies in the hands
of the creatively maladjusted.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

Poetry is what happens
when nothing else can.
– Charles Bukowski

by Adam Zagajewski

Look, your life too is becoming
the oil in a lamp on whose surface
the weak blue flame of homeland wanders.
That country, like depression, will steal
your youth and turn it into a codeword,
will take your rapture and give grief;
that country, that clock that won’t run,
black band on a sleeve,
that country where souls are in storage
and bodies are no one’s because death
is paid in advance and it will come,
too early, at dawn, with its forehead of an ape,
too early, the clouds of morning, too early,
a prayer, kiss, the helpless children
fallen too early, and instead of orchids
the ashes of mountain September, cold fog,
the consoling lie, booze and not hell.
– translated from the Polish by C. K. Williams and Renata Gorczynski

There was a sense that part of the work of poetry was in that way regional, the work of looking at, sorting out, critiquing, and celebrating the culture you grew up in. So in that, I felt like California gave me a subject.
– Robert Hass

Man was gifted with reason and creative strength
to multiply what was given to him.
But so far he has done nothing but destroy!
There are fewer and fewer forests!
Rivers are drying up! Game is gone!
The climate is deteriorating!
Day by day the earth is getting poorer and uglier.
– Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vania

There is nothing I can teach you
…that a good cup of coffee can’t
– Shinzen

There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.
– Ansel Adams

Let’s stay away from negative people – they have a problem for every solution.
– Einstein

returns from oblivion
returns to find a voice.
– Louise Glück, The Wild Iris

Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.
– Jonathan Swift

Only by going alone in silence, without baggage,
can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness.
All other travel is mere dust and hotels
and baggage and chatter.
– John Muir

It is obvious that art cannot teach anyone anything,
since in four thousand years
humanity has learnt nothing at all.
We should long ago have become angels
had we been capable of paying attention
to the experience of art,
and allowing ourselves to be changed
in accordance with the ideals it expresses.
Art only has the capacity,
through shock and catharsis,
to make the human soul receptive to good.
It’s ridiculous to imagine
that people can be taught
to be good.

Art can only give food—a jolt—the occasion—
for psychical experience.
– Andrei Tarkovsky

The one thing that everybody wants
is to be free
not to be managed, threatened, directed,
restrained, obliged, administered,
they want none of these things
they all all want to be free
The only thing that any one wants now
is to be free, to be let alone.
– Gertrude Stein

Where it Ends

The gentleness of the slant October light cancels whatever else we might have thought.

It is a hard world, empty and cruel; but this light, oh Jesus Christ! This light!

The maple leaves passive in front of the house are laved in it, abandoned, green, gone.

That nothing else should matter but this light.

Gentleness, gentleness, the light.
– William Bronk

Only what slips through one’s fingers, only what is never expressed in words, has no thoughts, exists completely. That is the price of proximity: you don’t see it. Don’t know that it’s there. Then it is over, then you see it.

The yellow-red leaves lying wet and smooth on the flagstones between the houses. How the stone darkens when it rains, lightens as it dries.
– Karl Ove

The biggest problem in the world could have been solved when it was small.
– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Louis Peitzman:
Add Tracy Chapman to Mario Kart.

Think kindly; speak gently and clearly … Everything matters, Every breath, Every syllable, Every sentence.
– Lama Surya Das

Ethan Nichtern:
Start acting like you are a member of a compassionate majority up against a desperate, fearful and shrinking minority.

Because you are.

Aaron Force:
Our ascension above our current peril will not be one by revolution but, rather, evolution—an evolution of higher consciousness as we begin to collectively awaken and transcend the ego. “I” will be no more; it is “we,” the human race.

Evolve higher

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin:
What might happen if we let these emergencies pull forth softness, reflection, collaboration, mutuality, and reciprocity? Do we have the courage it takes to lower the walls in a time of danger?

Ethan Nichtern:
Reminded of something Noam Chomsky once said (paraphrasing) that in a healthy society, Tax Day would be a sort of celebration, because it would be the time we knew we were supporting things that mattered to the whole community.

Thinking about that today, for some reason.

If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it.
– Lucy Larcom

The visionary arts do not express the spirit of the times, but the spirit of the depths, a distinction made by Jung in The Red Book. The visionary arts put forward visions of experience that are ‘in spite’ of the times, or ahead of the times…
– David Tacey, The Postsecular Sacred

There is a profound peace found only in non-reactivity.
– Brian Thompson

Equilibrium is the great foundation of life, and harmony its universal path.
– Kari Hohne

Aviva Dove-Viebahn:
If you’re in a position of privilege, you’re already primed to think people who experience institutional oppression, abuse, or violence are overreacting. So, if you think someone is overreacting, look a little closer at yourself first.

while we step into yom kippur, i want to gently remind you that you likely have not treated anyone nearly as badly as you have treated yourself. remember to apologize to yourself. remember to forgive yourself. remember to be kinder to yourself in 5781.

For this is your home, my friend, do not be driven from it; great men have done great things here, and will again, and we can make America what America must become.
– James Baldwin

Lee Brontide:
Christians pretending to be a persecuted minority in the US is just such bald-faced absurdity I have a hard time qualifying it.

Christians run the government. The media. The base day to day norms of society.

All that is left to want is the erasure of everyone else.

Sara Luterman:
I am always baffled by conservatives with disabled kids, like Amy Coney Barrett, who devote their careers to gutting systems that help disabled people live.

Cynthia Dewi Oka:
Take care of your bitterness because the most likely people to have it force-fed to them are those around you who actually love you. Took me a long time to learn this, and since there is no shortage of reasons to become bitter rn, many of us are probably struggling with this.

Don’t move the way fear makes you move. Move the way love makes you move.
– Osho

Collective courage trumps individual fear every time.
– Stephen Drew

I didn’t know that the war was still inside you, that there was a war to begin with, that once it enters you it never leaves—but merely echoes.
– Ocean Vuong, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

Oh, how good it is to be with someone, sometimes.
– Marguerite Duras, Hiroshima Mon Amour

Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.
– Gertrude Stein

A poet needs to keep his wilderness alive inside him. To remain a poet after forty requires an awareness of your darkest Africa, that part of yourself that will never be tamed.
– Stanley Kunitz

I believe in being a poet in all moments of life. Being a poet means being human. I know some poets whose daily behavior has nothing to do with their poetry. In other words, they are only poets when they write poetry. Then it is finished and they turn into greedy, indulgent, oppressive, shortsighted, miserable, and envious people. Well, I cannot believe their poems.
– Forough Farrokhzad

You do not know how much they mean to me, my friends,
And how, how rare and strange it is, to find…
– T.S. Eliot

I can’t do anything
but talk to the wind,
to the moon
but cry out goddamn goddamn
to stones
and to other deathless voices
that I hope will carry
us all through.
– Joy Harjo

When the mind rests in its source,
grace rushes forth,
sprouting as from a spring within you.
– Sri Ramana Maharshi

An unprecedented transformation seems to be underway in human understanding, a collective spiritual birth labor that will have long-term consequences for humanity as well as for many other life forms, We now find ourselves in a race against time and as the ancient knew, holotropic states of consciousness provide the crucial missing element that way, I believe, help us to make this transition.
If the observed healing and renewal in values could occur on a large enough scale, they might increase humanity’s chances of overcoming its serious challenges and making the evolutionary leap to a more peaceful and sustainable future.
– Stan Grof

It’s better to see God in everything
than to try to
figure it out.
– Neem Karoli Baba

I am a nonviolent social revolutionary, and I think that anybody who follows religious disciplines ought to be one, too. And people who say they’re religious but aren’t social revolutionaries are fooling themselves, because if religion is to have any validity whatsoever, the gap between the real and the ideal cannot be so unbridgeable that it’s all pie in the sky. There’s got to be a chance for justice on earth.
– Stephen Gaskin

The gift you carry for others is not an attempt to save the world but to fully belong to it.
– Bill Plotkin

Kai Cheng Thom writes: I think the major difference between a social justice and a white/colonial lens on trauma is the assumption that trauma recovery is the reclamation of safety—that safety is a resource that is simply ‘out there’ for the taking and all we need to do is work hard enough at therapy

I was once at a training seminar in Toronto led by a famous & beloved somatic psychologist. She spoke brilliantly. I asked her how healing from trauma was possible for ppl for whom violence & danger are part of everyday life. She said it was not.

Colonial psychology & psychiatry reveal their allegiance to the status quo in their approach to trauma: That resourcing must come from within oneself rather than from the collective. That trauma recovery is feeling safe in society, when in fact society is the source of trauma

Colonial somatics & psychotherapies teach that the body must relearn to perceive safety. But the bodies of the oppressed are rightly interpreting danger. Our triggers & explosive rage, our dissociation & perfect submission are in fact skills that have kept us alive


The somatics of social justice cannot (i believe) be a somatics rooted in the colonial frameworks of psychology, psychiatry, or other models linked to the dominance of the nation-state (psychology was not always this way, but has become increasingly so over time)

The somatics of social justice cannot be aimed at restoring the body to a state of homeostasis/neutrality. We must be careful of popular languaging such as the ‘regulation’ of nervous system & emotion, which implies the control and domination of mind over emotion & sensation.

Because we are not, in the end, preparing the body to ‘return’ to the general safety of society (this would be gaslighting). we are preparing the body, essentially for struggle—training for better survival & the ability to experience joy in the midst of great danger.

In the cauldron of social justice healing praxis, we must aim for relationality that has the potential to generate social change, to generate insurrection. we must be prepared to challenge norms. acknowledge danger. embrace struggle. take risks.

& above all, we must not overemphasize the importance of individual work (which is important indeed) to the detriment of a somatics that also prepares us, essentially, for war. somatics that allow us to organize together. fight together. live together. love each other.
– Kai Cheng Thom

Self-centered merit brings the joy of heaven itself,
But it is like shooting an arrow at the sky;
When the force is exhausted, it falls to the earth,
And then everything goes wrong.
– Cheng Tao-Ko, The Song of Enlightenment

When I was a little girl and my teachers sent notes home complaining
that I was as loud as the boys, that it wasn’t lady like for a girl
to be this outspoken, this raucous, instead of forcing me to tone it down
to the timber of a stage whisper, just a few notes above a whimper
you took me by the hand to the hilltop by our house,
told me to use my voice by shouting to my heart’s content,
told me never to forget that I was a girl not a mouse
and if I believed I had to change myself to suit anyone else I shouldn’t,
that no matter what they said my voice was so important.
You then visited my school, called a meeting with my teachers
sat them all down and said that you were raising a rebel girl
to be a warrior woman, and if she could not speak,
the same way boys are allowed to, if she had to turn her voice into sighs
then how will she utter the battle cries that were needed when her warrior sisters
called upon her to help them defend the daughters of this world.
– Nikita Gill

When there was air, when you could
breathe any day if you liked, and if you
wanted to you could run. I used to
climb those hills back of town and
follow a gully so my eyes were at ground
level and could look out through grass as the
bent in their tensile way, and see snow
mountains follow along, the way distance goes.

Now I carry those days in a tiny box
wherever I go, I open the lid like this
and let the light glimpse and then glance away.
There is a sigh like my breath when I do this.
Some days I do this again and again.

– William Stafford

September in Great Yarmouth

The woodwind whistles down the shore
Piping the stragglers home; the gulls
Snaffle and bolt their final mouthfuls.
Only the youngsters call for more.

Chimneys breathe and beaches empty,
Everyone queues for the inland cold —
Middle-aged parents growing old
And teenage kids becoming twenty.

Now the first few spots of rain
Spatter the sports page in the gutter.
Council workmen stab the litter.
You have sown and reaped; now sow again.

The band packs in, the banners drop,
The ice-cream stiffens in its cone.
The boatman lifts his megaphone:
Come in, fifteen, your time is up.
– Derek Mahon, The Snow Party

September puts us in two minds and in two hearts, heart and mind alternating between summer and autumn. Last weekend, I walked past puddles from a night of rain. The puddles lay in a long row beneath a line of maples whose boughs are still mostly full. The dark surface of the water was a beautiful brocade of green leaves and brown leaves, floating in intricate, unrepeatable patterns, full of intimation.
– Alexander Sillars Burns, Afternoon, Wester Ross

A Day in Autumn

It will not always be like this,
The air windless, a few last
Leaves adding their decoration
To the trees’ shoulders, braiding the cuffs
Of the boughs with gold; a bird preening
In the lawn’s mirror. Having looked up
From the day’s chores, pause a minute,
Let the mind take its photograph
Of the bright scene, something to wear
Against the heart in the long cold.

– R. S. Thomas, Poetry for Supper

Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life. Whatever the vexations and concerns of their personal lives, their thoughts can find paths that lead to inner contentment and to renewed excitement in living. Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature […].
– Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder

Is it possible to see the future as dark and darkening further; to reject false hope and desperate pseudo-optimism without collapsing into despair? […] What, at this moment in history, would not be a waste of my time? I arrive at five tentative answers.

Withdrawing. If you do this, a lot of people will call you a ‘defeatist’ or a ‘doomer’, or claim you are ‘burned out’. They will tell you that you have an obligation to work for climate justice or world peace or the end of bad things everywhere, and that ‘fighting’ is always better than ‘quitting’. Ignore them, and take part in a very ancient practical and spiritual tradition: withdrawing from the fray. Withdraw not with cynicism, but with a questing mind. Withdraw so that you can allow yourself to sit back quietly and feel – intuit – work out what is right for you, and what nature might need from you. Withdraw because refusing to help the machine advance – refusing to tighten the ratchet further – is a deeply moral position. Withdraw because action is not always more effective than inaction. Withdraw to examine your worldview: the cosmology, the paradigm, the assumptions, the direction of travel. All real change starts with withdrawal.

Preserving non-human life. The revisionists will continue to tell us that wildness is dead, […] and they will continue to be wrong. There is still much remaining of the Earth’s wild diversity, but it may not remain for much longer. The human empire is the greatest threat to what remains of life on Earth, and you are part of it. What can you do – really do, at a practical level – about this? Maybe you can buy up some land and rewild it; maybe you can let your garden run free; maybe you can work for a conservation group or set one up yourself; maybe you can put your body in the way of a bulldozer; maybe you can use your skills to prevent the destruction of yet another wild place. How can you create or protect a space for non-human nature to breathe easier; how can you give something that isn’t us a chance to survive our appetites?

Getting your hands dirty. Root yourself in something: some practical work, some place, some way of doing. Pick up your scythe or your equivalent and get out there and do physical work in clean air surrounded by things you cannot control. Get away from your laptop and throw away your smartphone, if you have one. Ground yourself in things and places, learn or practise human-scale convivial skills. Only by doing that, rather than just talking about it, do you learn what is real and what’s not, and what makes sense and what is so much hot air.

Insisting that nature has a value beyond utility. And telling everyone. Remember that you are one lifeform among many and understand that everything has intrinsic value. […] Sit on the grass, and touch a tree trunk, walk into the hills, dig the garden, look at what you find in the soil, marvel […] . Value it for what it is, try to understand what it is, and have nothing but pity or contempt for people who tell you that its only value is in what they can extract from it.

Building refuges. The coming decades are likely to challenge much of what we think we know about what progress is, and about who we are in relation to the rest of nature. […] Ask yourself: what power do you have to preserve what is of value – creatures, skills, things, places? Can you work, with others or alone, to create places or networks that act as refuges from the unfolding storm?
These are the things that make sense to me right now, when I think about what is coming and what I can do, still, with some joy and determination. If you don’t feel despair, in times like these, you are not fully alive. But there has to be something beyond despair too; or rather, something that accompanies it, like a companion on the road. This is my approach, right now. It is, I suppose, the development of a personal philosophy for a dark time; a dark ecology.

For now, I’ve had enough of writing. […] I am going to breathe the still-clean air and listen to the still-singing birds and reflect on the fact that the Earth is older and harder than the machine that is eating it – that it is indeed more resilient than fragile – and that change comes quickly when it comes, and that knowledge is not the same as wisdom.
– Paul Kingsnorth, Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist

Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
– George Eliot, letter to Miss Lewis

To fight unhappiness one must first expose it, which means that one must dispel the mystifications behind which it is hidden so that people do not have to think about it. It is because I reject lies and running away that I am accused of pessimism; but this rejection implies hope — the hope that truth may be of use. And this is a more optimistic attitude than the choice of indifference, ignorance or sham.
– Simone de Beauvoir, All Said and Done

Readers who don’t like books that are not printed television, fast on thrills and feeling, soft on the brain, are not criticizing literature, they are missing it altogether. A work of fiction, a poem, that is literature, that is art, can only be itself, can never be anything else. Nor can anything else substitute for it. The serious writer cannot be in competition for sales and attention with the bewildering range of products from the ever expanding leisure industry. She can only offer what she has ever offered: an exceptional sensibility combined with an exceptional control over words.

How many people want that? Proportionally as few as ever but art is not for the few but for the many […]. I believe that art puts down its roots into the deepest hiding places of our nature and that its action is akin to the action of certain delving plants, comfrey for instance, whose roots can penetrate far into the subsoil and unlock nutrients that would otherwise lie out of reach of shallower bedding plants. […] We do not want a language as a list of basic commands and exchanges, we want to handle matter far more subtle.

When we say, ‘I haven’t got the words,’ the lack is not in the language nor in our emotional state, it is in the breakdown between the two. The poet heals that breakdown and not only for those who read poetry. If we want a living language, a language capable of expressing all that is called upon to express in a vastly changing world, then we need men and women whose whole self is bound up in that work with words.
– Jeanette Winterson, Writer, Reader, Words

The whole tradition of [oral] story telling is endangered by modern technology. Although telling stories is a very fundamental human attribute, to the extent that psychiatry now often treats ‘narrative loss’—the inability to construct a story of one’s own life—as a loss of identity or ‘personhood,’ it is not natural but an art form—you have to learn to tell stories. The well-meaning mother is constantly frustrated by the inability of her child to answer questions like ‘What did you do today?’ (to which the answer is usually a muttered ‘nothing’—but the ‘nothing’ is cover for ‘I don’t know how to tell a good story about it, how to impose a story shape on the events’).

To tell stories, you have to hear stories and you have to have an audience to hear the stories you tell. [But] oral story telling is […] an activity requiring leisure—the oral tradition stands squarely against a modern work ethic. […] Traditional fairy stories, like all oral traditions, need the sort of time that isn’t money. This is probably one reason at least why they were so readily handed over to children—socially, we can accept that chlidren have ‘free’ time.
– Sara Maitland, From the Forest

Let me say this before rain becomes a utility that they can plan and distribute for money. By ‘they’ I mean the people who cannot understand that rain is a festival, who do not appreciate its gratuity, who think that what has no price has no value, that what cannot be sold is not real, so that the only way to make something actual is to place it on the market. The time will come when they will sell you even your rain. At the moment it is still free, and I am in it. I celebrate its gratuity and its meaninglessness.

The rain I am in is not like the rain of cities. It fills the woods with an immense and confused sound. It covers the flat roof of the cabin and its porch with insistent and controlled rhythms. And I listen, because it reminds me again and again that the whole world runs by rhythms I have not yet learned to recognize, rhythms that are not those of the engineer.

I came up here from the monastery last night, sloshing through the cornfield […]. The rain surrounded the whole cabin with its enormous virginal myth, a whole world of meaning, of secrecy, of silence, of rumor. Think of it: all that speech pouring down, selling nothing, judging nobody, drenching the thick mulch of dead leaves, soaking the trees, filling the gullies and crannies of the wood with water, washing out the place where men have stripped the hillside! What a thing it is to sit absolutely alone, in the forest, at night, cherished by this wonderful, unintelligible, perfectly innocent speech, the most comforting speech in the world, the talk that rain makes by itself all over the ridges, and the talk of the watercourses everywhere in the hollows!
– Thomas Merton, Raids on the Unspeakable

The whole tradition of [oral] story telling is endangered by modern technology. Although telling stories is a very fundamental human attribute, to the extent that psychiatry now often treats ‘narrative loss’—the inability to construct a story of one’s own life—as a loss of identity or ‘personhood,’ it is not natural but an art form—you have to learn to tell stories. The well-meaning mother is constantly frustrated by the inability of her child to answer questions like ‘What did you do today?’ (to which the answer is usually a muttered ‘nothing’—but the ‘nothing’ is cover for ‘I don’t know how to tell a good story about it, how to impose a story shape on the events’).

To tell stories, you have to hear stories and you have to have an audience to hear the stories you tell. [But] oral story telling is […] an activity requiring leisure—the oral tradition stands squarely against a modern work ethic. […] Traditional fairy stories, like all oral traditions, need the sort of time that isn’t money. This is probably one reason at least why they were so readily handed over to children—socially, we can accept that chlidren have ‘free’ time.
– Sara Maitland, From the Forest

Let me say this before rain becomes a utility that they can plan and distribute for money. By ‘they’ I mean the people who cannot understand that rain is a festival, who do not appreciate its gratuity, who think that what has no price has no value, that what cannot be sold is not real, so that the only way to make something actual is to place it on the market. The time will come when they will sell you even your rain. At the moment it is still free, and I am in it. I celebrate its gratuity and its meaninglessness.

The rain I am in is not like the rain of cities. It fills the woods with an immense and confused sound. It covers the flat roof of the cabin and its porch with insistent and controlled rhythms. And I listen, because it reminds me again and again that the whole world runs by rhythms I have not yet learned to recognize, rhythms that are not those of the engineer.

I came up here from the monastery last night, sloshing through the cornfield […]. The rain surrounded the whole cabin with its enormous virginal myth, a whole world of meaning, of secrecy, of silence, of rumor. Think of it: all that speech pouring down, selling nothing, judging nobody, drenching the thick mulch of dead leaves, soaking the trees, filling the gullies and crannies of the wood with water, washing out the place where men have stripped the hillside! What a thing it is to sit absolutely alone, in the forest, at night, cherished by this wonderful, unintelligible, perfectly innocent speech, the most comforting speech in the world, the talk that rain makes by itself all over the ridges, and the talk of the watercourses everywhere in the hollows!

– Thomas Merton, Raids on the Unspeakable

We are apt to think of big cities as equaling big enterprises, little towns as equaling small businesses. Nothing could be less true. Big enterprises do locate in big cities, but they find small towns as congenial. Big enterprises have great self-sufficiency, are capable of maintaining most of the specialized skills and equipment they need, and they have no trouble reaching a broad market.

But for the small, specialized enterprise, everything is reversed; it must draw on supplies and skills outside itself; its market is so selective it needs exposure to hundreds of thousands of people. Without the centralized city it could not exist; the larger the city, the greater not only the number, but the proportion, of small enterprises. A metropolitan center comes across to people as a center largely by virtue of its enormous collection of small elements, where people can see them, at street level.
– Jane Jacobs, Vital Little Plans

A poem is the city of language just as prose is its countryside. Prose extends laterally filling the page’s horizon unimpeded, while poetry is marked by dense verticality, by layerings of meaning and sound. Cities and poetry also share compression, heterogeneity, juxtaposition […].

Juxtaposition is a crucial common structural element—in a city, we find a church right next to an apartment building right next to a newspaper office. The newspaper itself, the quintessential urban organ, replicates this juxtaposition in miniature: the story of a political coup in right next to an ad for diamond necklaces and a theater review. […] And poetry, too, of course, thrives on juxtaposition on many levels—incongruent images, images right next to abstractions or declarations, sense that doesn’t match its sound, and so forth. It’s the leaps in contrast to moments of flow that allow for the sonic dynamics of poetry […].
– Cole Swensen, Poetry City

For many years I have been asking myself why intelligent children act unintelligently at school. The simple answer is, “Because they’re scared.” What I now see is the mechanism by which fear destroys intelligence, the way it affects a child’s whole way of looking at, thinking about, and dealing with life. So we have two problems, not one: to stop children from being afraid, and then to break them of the bad thinking habits into which their fears have driven them.

[…] The idea of painless, nonthreatening coercion is an illusion. Fear is the inseparable companion of coercion, and its inescapable consequence. If you think it your duty to make children do what you want, whether they will or not, then it follows inexorably that you must make them afraid of what will happen to them if they don’t do what you want. You can do this in the old-fashioned way, openly and avowedly, with the threat of harsh words, infringement of liberty, or physical punishment. Or you can do it in the modern way, subtly, smoothly, quietly, by withholding the acceptance and approval which you and others have trained the children to depend on; or by making them feel that some retribution awaits them in the future, too vague to imagine but too implacable to escape.

[…] Fear, boredom, and resistance—they all go to make what we call stupid children.

[…] What is most surprising of all is how much fear there is in school. Why is so little said about it. Perhaps most people do not recognize fear in children when they see it. They can read the grossest signs of fear; they know what the trouble is when a child clings howling to his mother; but the subtler signs of fear escape them. It is these signs, in children’s faces, voices, and gestures, in their movements and ways of working, that tell me plainly that most children in school are scared most of the time, many of them very scared. Like good soldiers, they control their fears, live with them, and adjust themselves to them. But the trouble is, and here is a vital difference between school and war, that the adjustments children make to their fears are almost wholly bad, destructive of their intelligence and capacity. The scared fighter may be the best fighter, but the scared learner is always a poor learner.

– John Holt, How Children Fail

Silence is not just the absence of noise, or even unnecessary noise. It is the absence of noise made by human beings. It is rare, and shrinking. American acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton, the man known as the ‘Sound Tracker’, defines it as ‘the complete absence of all audible mechanical vibrations, leaving only the sounds of nature at her most natural’. […]

If I imagine Hell as a physical place, of torture and pain, it’s not the heat that troubles me most; it’s the noise. Hell surely means living in the unceasing din of a construction zone […]. In the Middle Ages, Christian scholars believed noise was used as a weapon by Satan, who was bent on preventing human beings from being alone with God, or fully with each other, alert and listening. The fictional devil in The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis detests both music and silence. Hell, he crows, is filled with furious noise, ‘the audible expression of all that is exultant, ruthless and virile… We will make the whole universe a noise.’ We have already made great strides in this direction as regards the Earth.
– Julia Baird, Phosphorescence

Sometimes we use our minds not to discover facts, but to hide them. We use part of the mind as a screen to prevent another part of it from sensing what goes on elsewhere. […] One of the things the screen hides most effectively is the body, our own body, by which I mean the ins and outs of it, its interiors. Like a veil thrown over the skin to secure its modesty, the screen partially removes from the mind the inner states of the body, those that constitute the flow of life as it wanders in the journey of each day.

The alleged vagueness, elusiveness, and intangibility of emotions and feelings are probably symptoms of this fact, an indication of how we cover the representation of our bodies, of how much mental imagery based on nonbody objects and events masks the reality of the body. Otherwise we would easily know that emotions and feelings are tangibly about the body. Sometimes we use our minds to hide a part of our being from another part of our being.
– António Damásio, The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness

We all are in need of a reworking of the stories we are telling ourselves. Walk away from the ridiculous voices that keep you stuck where you are presently stuck.
The way we listen to the world, the way we look at the world, shapes our identity. Where there is no real looking, where there is no real listening, there is very little identity. There is just a story that is being told again and again and again in order to confirm something that you are afraid of losing.
– David Whyte

We take the pilgrim identity, we take the pilgrim path, in order to get out from under ourselves, and in order to escape the confining story we have been telling ourselves. Every human being is telling themselves some form of story to make sense of the world. And the great question is whether the story you are telling yourself is open to any outside influence and any outside revelation, or whether its a bulwark against revelation.
– David Whyte

Stonehenge hasn’t moved
in five thousand years: good work
if you can get it.
– Clark Strand

I am waiting
for the lost music to sound again
in a new rebirth of wonder
– Lawrence Ferlinghetti

José Luis G. Soler:
my initiations
have been through
shock and terror
volcanic ecstasy
and abysmal despair
the smile of the Buddha
hides an infinite abyss

Instead of talking about Biden and Trump, I’d prefer to talk about how to stop industrial civilization from destroying what’s left of the planet.
– Will Falk

Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
– Philippians 2:2-4

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


If your beliefs about the rights of queer people
are not shaped by actively listening to queer people.

If your beliefs about the rights of women
are not shaped by actively listening to women.

If your beliefs about the rights of Black people
are not shaped by actively listening to Black people.

If your beliefs about the rights of undocumented people
are not shaped by actively listening to undocumented people.

If your beliefs about the rights of trans people
are not shaped by actively listening to trans people.

If your beliefs about the rights of Indigenous people
are not shaped by actively listening to Indigenous people.

If your beliefs about the rights of people with disabilities
are not shaped by actively listening to people with disabilities.

and so on….

If I go down the street and yell at people, “I am the same as the universe!” people will ask, “Is he crazy?”. But what we have to know is, what I actually believe is different from what I am saying. I know that this little body is different from the universe. I am different from the teacup and paper, but when I say, “I am the same as the teacup and paper,” I am saying something which is felt within me, not in the usual way. Another way to say this is, “If you move your hand and touch the floor, you are actually feeling yourself, and yet, you are also feeling everything.”
– Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi

After Paradise by Czeslaw Milosz

Don’t run any more. Quiet. How softly it rains
On the roofs of the city. How perfect
All things are. Now, for the two of you
Waking up in a royal bed by a garret window.
For a man and a woman. For one plant divided
Into masculine and feminine which longed for each other.
Yes, this is my gift to you. Above ashes
On a bitter, bitter earth. Above the subterranean
Echo of clamorings and vows. So that now at dawn
You must be attentive: the tilt of a head,
A hand with a comb, two faces in a mirror
Are only forever once, even if unremembered,
So that you watch what it is, though it fades away,
And are grateful every moment for your being.
Let that little park with greenish marble busts
In the pearl-gray light, under a summer drizzle,
Remain as it was when you opened the gate.
And the street of tall peeling porticos
Which this love of yours suddenly transformed.

Don’t be afraid of death. Hunters of death, we know where to look for it. In an instant. In the heart of the moment. In its center. Like the golden pearl that the ancients placed in the center of the world. Your real place is in you. You won’t find it anywhere else.
– Dugpa Rimpoche

Ponder these things. You have never been what you appear to be. The sky appears blue, but upon investigation you will find out that there’s no sky and there’s no blue. The rope appears as a snake. Upon investigation you will realize there’s no snake. It is only a rope. The water appears in the mirage. Upon investigation you will find there’s no water.

In the same way you appear as a body. You appear as a mortal. But upon investigation you will find that you are not a body, you are not mortal. You are beyond mortality. You are beyond anything that you can think about. You are beyond all concepts, all ideas.

Consequently the best course for you is silence. There’s absolutely nothing to debate. There’s really nothing to think about. There’s nothing to argue about. In the silence everything will be revealed to you. All you really have to do is to keep still. I know that’s hard for some of you, for you keep chatting away all your life. Yet if you would learn to keep still, you would make tremendous spiritual progress.

Feel the stillness within you.

– Robert Adams

When Moses’ sister, Miriam,
is struck by disease, Moses offers
the shortest prayer in the Hebrew Bible
(Num. 12:13).

El Na Refa Na La

which means,

Please, God, please heal her.

You too, can use this prayer to heal yourself and others.

Moses’ wisdom abides. The essence of what we seek is still found in his direct and eternal prayer.

El na rfa na la:

God! Please! Heal! Please! Her!

– Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea Weiss, The Torah: A Women’s Commentary

We eat to fill our stomachs and nurture our bodies. Eating is no mystery to us. In the same way bodhicitta should not be a mystery to us as practitioners. Integrating the heart of bodhicitta is what keeps us functioning as a practitioner. The heart is the organ of our inner most experiences.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

In poetry, budo, and zen —
abide by the rules
…then throw them out!
– Shinzen

The mind’s events flow in a stream, one at a time. When the mind is negative, it can’t simultaneously be positive.

– From Rinpoche’s new book Peaceful Heart: The Buddhist Practice of Patience

Mythology helps you to identify the mysteries of the energies pouring through you. Therein lies your eternity.
– Joseph Campbell

No child deserves to suffer
No child deserves to be hated
No child deserves to be punished
No child deserves to be injured
No child deserves to be sick
No child deserves to be unwell
No child deserves to be unsafe
No child deserves to be unhappy
No child deserves to be unloved
And without exception
We are all children

(Now read it from bottom to top)

– unknown

A poem should not mean
But be.
– Archibald Macleish

I don’t think in any language.
I think in images.
I don’t believe that people think in languages.
They don’t move their lips when they think.
It is only a certain type of illiterate person
who moves his lips as he reads or ruminates.
No, I think in images,
and now and then a Russian phrase
or an English phrase will form
with the foam of the brainwave,
but that’s about all.
– Vladimir Nabokov in a BBC Interview

If we continue using the old strategies that have caused the current global crisis and which are in their consequences destructive and self-destructive, it might lead to annihilation of modern civilization and possibly even the human species. However, if a sufficient number of people undergo a process of inner psychospiritual transformation and attain a higher level of awareness, we might in the future reach a situation when we will deserve the name, which we have so proudly given to our species: Homo sapiens.
– Stanislav Grof

Lying is done with words,
and also with silence.
– Adrienne Rich, Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying

We have a crisis of leadership, and a crisis of veracity, which has led to a crisis of trust.
– John Lundin

We are not to tell nature what she’s gotta be…
she’s always got better imagination
than we have.
– Richard Phillips Feynman

Proverbs contradict each other. That is the wisdom of a people.
– Stanislaw Lec

When we use data to prop up our favorite theory, we use it in the way a drunk man uses a lamppost; for support, not for illumination.
– Roy H. Williams

Life is designed to be an upward spiral, not a series of difficult circles.
– David Firth

There are three ways in which a statement, especially a disputable statement, can be placed before mankind. The first is to assert it by avowed authority; this is done by deities, the priests of deities, oracles, minor poets, parents and guardians, and men who have “a message to their age”. The second way is to prove it by reason; this was done by the mediaeval schoolmen, and by some of the early and comparatively forgotten men of science. It is now quite abandoned. The third method is this: when you have neither the courage to assert a thing nor the capacity to prove it, you allude to it in a light and airy style, as if somebody else had asserted and proved it already.

Thus the first method is to say, “Pigs do fly in heaven; I have had a vision of heaven, and you have not.” The second method is to say, “Come down to my little place in Essex, and I will show you pigs flying about like finches and building nests in the elms”. Both these positions require a certain valour to sustain them, and are now, therefore, generally dropped.

The third method, which is usually adopted, is to say, “Professor Gubbins belongs to the old school of scientific criticism, and cannot but strike us as limited in this age of wireless telegraphy and aerial swine”; or “Doubtless we should be as much surprised at the deeds of our descendants as would an Ancient Briton at a motor-car or a flying pig, or any such common sight in our streets”. In short, this third method consists in referring to the very thing that is in dispute as if it were now beyond dispute.

– G.K. Chesterton

Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.
– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Robin Beth Schaer:
I will never again complain that Greek tragedies are preposterous.

You speak badly of others thinking it will make you feel superior. This only sows seeds of meanness in your heart, causing others not to trust you and causing you to suffer.
– Pema Chödron

I am no more than a secretary of the invisible world.
– Czeslaw Milosz

Tell me a story

In this century, and moment, of mania,
Tell me a story.

Make it a story of great distances, and starlight.

The name of the story will be Time,
But you must not pronounce its name.

Tell me a story of deep delight.

– Robert Penn Warren

Joseph Massey:
Poetry is time chiseled into a shape that makes a sound.

Jennifer ‘Vote Early’ Rubin:
I really would like Fox News management to explain their grotesquely irresponsible and life-endangering conduct this year.

Should have listened to the scientists” is quickly becoming a motto for this century.
– Jamie Henn

Tell the universe what you took
While the heavens trembled and the mountains shook
All those lives not worth a second look
Tell the universe what you took
– Bruce Cockburn

sometimes poem writing is like a future self trying to remember something that a past self was once or knew once.
– Aracelis Girmay

Beauty comes from abandoning the refuge of the old forms for the uncertainty of the present.
– Mathias Enard

There is no language of the holy. The sacred lies in the ordinary.
– Deng Ming-Dao

So much has changed. And still, you are fortunate:
the ideal burns in you like a fever.
Or not like a fever, like a second heart.
– Louise Glück, October

Through literacy you can begin to see the universe. Through music you can reach anybody. Between the two there is you, unstoppable.
– Grace Slick

Gary Snyder:
And here I am, high on
Peering and peering, but I can’t
even see the sky.

It is a matter of changing the attitudes of this country. Martin Luther King is a great and heroic man but he cannot do for you what only you can do.
– James Baldwin, 1963

A poem is something that can’t otherwise be said addressed to someone who can’t otherwise hear it.
– Craig Morgan Teicher

Bernice King:
Denouncing white supremacy matters.

If you still say that we are wasting valuable lesson time, then let me remind you that our political leaders have wasted decades through denial and inaction.
– Greta Thunberg

Ah, it’s my longing for whom I might have been that distracts and torments me.
– Pessoa

Will you shut up man?
– America

Lama Ani Pelma:
Grant me then
Ever to be careful,
To stop the slightest
Wrongs of many wrongs we do,
And try to carry out instead
Each and every good
Of the many that we may

I have always loved, and will always love, wild nature. Plants and animals. Places that are still intact. Though others might avoid the word, I insist that we talk about “love” in conservation, because we only protect what we love.
– Michael Soule

In a fabricated life of ideals
and opinion,
the ordinary chase money and comfort,
then frivolously argue
over whose conviction
is right.
This simple cage of bones
is enough for me.
I’ve grown quiet here on the prairie —
…as a cloud adrift.
– Shinzen

The invitation to transcend the ego, to sidestep it, to come out of our heads, coincides with a particular story about the universe. It is presumed that the ego, the actant, is bottled up – immured on an island of its own making – and that the thing to do here is to bring it out, to realign it with a mycelial festival of sorts, to reach out and touch the betrothed other, the land, across a gaping chasm of word and ritual. But perhaps the ego is the land, the serenading regress of moon, the conniving whispers of breeze, the politics of succeeding ripples branching out in widening circles, the memories brooding in clouds that occasionally pour out as raindrops of remembering. Perhaps the ego is an eco-onto-epistemic unfurling – how the entangled whole astonishes itself when it touches itself.
In this sense, there are no ‘actors’, no contained egos to defeat. Ego is a quilt of a thousand rivers – the knot on the string that thinks itself separate from it. Maybe by noticing this, we can be more accountable, more alive to the world around us. Maybe we can dance to tunes only birds know.
– Bayo Akomolafe

The Anthropocene requires new ways of thinking about, and conducting, research – which do not replicate the cherished position of the human as the author, the mind behind the materials, the coherent ‘I’ that uses language to capture the world in traps of legibility.
– Bayo Akomolafe

The Last Chapter
I am living more alone now than I did;
This life tends inward, as the body ages;
And what is left of its strange book to read
Quickens in interest with the last few pages.

Problems abound. Its authorship? A sequel?
Its hero-villain, whose ways so little mend?
The plot? still dark. The style? a shade unequal.
And what of the dénouement? And, the end?

No, no, have done! Lay the thumbed thing aside;
Forget its horrors, folly, incitements, lies;
In silence and in solitude abide,
And con what yet may bless your inward eyes.

Pace, still, for pace with you, companion goes,
Though now, through dulled and inattentive ear,
No more — as when a child’s — your sick heart knows
His infinite energy and beauty near.

His, too, a World, though viewless save in glimpse;
He, too, a book of imagery bears;
And, as your halting foot beside him limps,
Mark you whose badge and livery he wears.

– Walter de la Mare, Memory and Other Poems

by Taylor Johnson

Were it possible, I would be naked. Of the nude philosophy:
consider the globalization of the expensive american sound.

Should we worry? We should work. I believe you’re right.
I distrust the word “white.” It’s sanctified propaganda.

Repetition is my language of origin, the highest technology. Anyway
the body is only mine provisionally. For reasons that I’m not sure of,
I am convinced that before becoming music, music was only a word.

I prefer to destroy the composer, renew the concept.
Extraordinary limitation playing freedom.

If you’re going to try, go all the way.
Otherwise, don’t even start.
This could mean losing girlfriends, wives,
relatives and maybe even your mind.
It could mean not eating for three or four days.
It could mean freezing on a park bench.
It could mean jail. It could mean derision.
It could mean mockery—isolation.
Isolation is the gift.
All the others are a test of your endurance,
of how much you really want to do it.
And, you’ll do it, despite rejection
and the worst odds. And it will be better
than anything else you can imagine.
If you’re going to try, go all the way.
There is no other feeling like that.
You will be alone with the gods,
and the nights will flame with fire.
You will ride life straight to perfect laughter.
It’s the only good fight there is.
– Charles Bukowski

I tell you the truth, any object you have in your mind, however good, will be a barrier between you and the inmost Truth.
– Meister Eckhart

We are all sculptors, working at various forms, moulding and chiseling thought.
– Eddy

Love Opened a Mortal Wound
by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

translated by Joan Larkin and Jaime Manrique
Love opened a mortal wound.
In agony, I worked the blade
to make it deeper. Please,
I begged, let death come quick.

Wild, distracted, sick,
I counted, counted
all the ways love hurt me.
One life, I thought—a thousand deaths.

Blow after blow, my heart
couldn’t survive this beating.
Then—how can I explain it?

I came to my senses. I said,
Why do I suffer? What lover
ever had so much pleasure?

Pain is important:
how we evade it,
how we succumb to it,
how we deal with it,
how we transcend it.
– Audre Lorde

Only that day dawns to which we are awake.
– Henry David Thoreau

It rained in the night and I thought I was the rain. When I woke I had many things to do but I lay there and listened. It was an eternal moment. And when I got up I saw the drops on the deck in the dawn and watched them. The child of the house where I am staying woke up and ran downstairs and jumped into my arms. We kept watching the rain. Nothing else was happening and it was enough.

Whatever we are doing, all of history is here now. Our minds think we are the rain, and then that we are the little boy, jumping; our minds think we are each other. It’s not so hard to give ourselves completely to the world in this way. And when difficulty visits us, perhaps we will see more clearly that we can look after each other, and that, if we have little, we can be more generous than we were when we thought we had a lot. Helping each other might be more fun than guarding our loot.

In Buddhism that is called the Bodhisattva path, in which we want everyone to share in the joy of understanding. This path comes from losing things more than from gaining things.

If you lose everything, you may also be lucky enough to lose who you thought you were, along with any fear and despair that goes with that identity. It might be that what we have to learn is to play in the world like someone who really did run away to join the circus when she thought about it as a child. We are part of something vast, and generosity is an effortless consequence of discovering that. We give away in our turn what we have discovered and what we have been given.
– John Tarrant

Our world is in danger by the absence of good ideas. Our world is in crisis because of the absence of consciousness. And so to whatever degree any one of us, can bring back a small piece of the picture and contribute it to the building of the new paradigm, then we participate in the redemption of the human spirit, and that after all is what it’s really all about.

It’s clearly a crisis of two things: of consciousness and conditioning. We have the technological power, the engineering skills to save our planet, to cure disease, to feed the hungry, to end war; But we lack the intellectual vision, the ability to change our minds. We must decondition ourselves from 10,000 years of bad behavior. And, it’s not easy.
– Terence McKenna

My heart was full; I made no vows, but vows
Were then made for me; bond unknown to me
Was given, that I should be, else sinning greatly,
A dedicated Spirit. On I walked
In thankful blessedness, which yet survives.
– Wordsworth (The Prelude)

They talked about it but they did not realize it but now everybody knows it everybody that the one thing that everybody wants is to be free, to talk to eat to drink to walk to think, to please, to wish, and to do it now if now is what they want, and everybody knows it they know it anybody knows it, they want to be free, they do not want to feel imprisoned they want to feel free, even if they are not free they want to feel free, and they want to feel free now, let the future take care of itself all they want 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 word discipline, and forbidden and investigated and imprisoned brings horror and fear into all hearts, they do not want to be afraid not more than is necessary in the ordinary business of living where one has to earn one’s living and has to fear want and disease and death. There are enough things to be afraid of, nobody wants to be afraid, just afraid, afraid of things people should not be afraid, they do not. This is true in October 1943, it is true. In 1914 – 1918, it was still the nineteenth century, and one might still think that something that would happen might lead one to higher and other things but now, 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

The country is in a dangerous place. Our trust in each other is ebbing. Hope seems elusive. Too many Americans seek not to overcome our divisions, but to deepen them. We must seek not to build walls, but bridges. We must seek not to have our fists clinched but our arms open. We have to seek not to tear each other apart. We have to seek to come together.
– Joe Biden

The creation of the world did not take place
once and for all time,
but takes place every day.
– Samuel Beckett

I don’t have to chase extraordinary
moments to find happiness—it’s right
in front of me if I’m paying attention
and practicing gratitude.
– Brené Brown

Writing is my vacation from living.
– Eugene O’Neill

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

May God bless you with discomfort…at easy answers, hard hearts, half-truths ,and superficial relationships.

May God bless you so that you may live from deep within your heart where God’s Spirit dwells.

May God bless you with anger…at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people.

May God bless you so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears…to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war.

May God bless you so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, in your neighborhood,
so that you will courageously try what you don’t think you can do, but, in Jesus Christ you’ll have all the strength necessary.

May God bless you to fearlessly speak out about injustice, unjust laws, corrupt politicians, unjust and cruel treatment of prisoners, and senseless wars, genocides, starvations, and poverty that is so pervasive.

May God bless you that you remember
we are all called to continue God’s redemptive work of love and healing in God’s place, in and through God’s name, in God’s Spirit, continually creating and breathing new life and grace into everything and everyone we touch.

– Troubadour: A Missionary Magazine, published by the Franciscan Missionary Society, Liverpool, UK: Spring 2005.

Wealthy the spirit that knows its own flight, stealthy the hunter who slays his own fright, blessed the traveler who journeys the length of the night.
– Dan Fogelberg

Either you remain forever hungry and thirsty, longing, searching, grabbing, holding, ever losing and and sorrowing, or go out wholeheartedly in search of the state of timeless perfection to which nothing can be added, from which nothing taken away. In it all desires and fears are absent, not because they were given up, but because they have lost their meaning.
– Sri NIsargadatta Maharaj

Anyone can make you realise
how wonderful the world is,
but only a few
will make you realise
how wonderful you are!
– Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

There are two kinds of ignorance:
coemergent and conceptual ignorance.
In the moment after seeing our essence,
it almost immediately slips away.
We get distracted and we start to think
of something. Coemergent ignorance
is simply to forget. Conceptual ignorance comes in the moment after forgetting,
forming thought after thought.
As one thought follows after another,
a long train of thoughts can develop.
Forgetting and thinking – that is the two-fold ignorance, coemergent ignorance and conceptual ignorance.

If these two were purified, we would be buddhas. But as long as the coemergent
and conceptual aspects of ignorance
are not purified, we are sentient beings.

Vajra Speech

A swan can separate water and milk
when drinking. The yogi should be like
the swan in sepa­rating the milk
of original wakefulness
from the water of igno­rance.

We need to break the attachment to shock and outrage. It’s a huge energy suck. That’s on us.
– Sebeen Salassie

We are not to tell nature what she’s gotta be…
she’s always got better imagination
than we have.
– Richard Phillips Feynman

The worst had happened.
What else could hurt me then?
– Marie Howe

I think art is the only political power,
the only revolutionary power,
the only evolutionary power,
the only power to free humankind
from all repression.
I say not that art has already realized this,
on the contrary, and because it has not,
it has to be developed as a weapon,
at first there are radical levels,
then you can speak about special details.
– Joseph Beuys

I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.
– Brené Brown

Love grows inside
a mystical seed,
believing the truth
that outlives everything.
– George Gorman

I think it will take people, true patriots, on both sides of the aisle to say “enough of this nonsense, we should work together for the good of the people of the United States.
– Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Imbalanced systems, whether internal or external, will tend to polarize.
– Richard Schwartz

There is a very strange thing that can occur at exactly the point where you realize that there is no escaping the imaginary world of your illusions. You bare your heart open to illusion, surrender your eternal struggle against it, and admit to being bound by its cunning imagination. I don’t mean that you become despondent or resigned to your fate. I mean that you truly let go in the face of your utter defeat and stop struggling. And when all the struggle ceases, we realize that the prison of our mind cannot hold us in anymore, because the prison was all along something we imagined into existence. And imagined things aren’t real, they don’t exist. But we could never really see this as long as we were fighting the phantoms of our minds. We needed the one thing that our imaginary minds could not bring about, could not fake or create: the genuine surrender of all struggle. In the blink of an eye, we are no longer confined within illusion nor our attempt to avoid illusion. When all struggle ceases, there is nothing to bind us to a distorted perception of existence and we can finally see. What we see is that we do not simply exist within existence, but all of existence exists within us as well. And although everywhere we look we see the endless diversity of life, we also now see our own true face in everything under the sun.
– Adyashanti

A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.
– Harry S Truman

When even one American – who has done nothing wrong – is forced by fear to shut his mind and close his mouth – then all Americans are in peril.
– Harry S Truman

There is a very strange thing that can occur at exactly the point where you realize that there is no escaping the imaginary world of your illusions. You bare your heart open to illusion, surrender your eternal struggle against it, and admit to being bound by its cunning imagination. I don’t mean that you become despondent or resigned to your fate. I mean that you truly let go in the face of your utter defeat and stop struggling. And when all the struggle ceases, we realize that the prison of our mind cannot hold us in anymore, because the prison was all along something we imagined into existence. And imagined things aren’t real, they don’t exist. But we could never really see this as long as we were fighting the phantoms of our minds. We needed the one thing that our imaginary minds could not bring about, could not fake or create: the genuine surrender of all struggle. In the blink of an eye, we are no longer confined within illusion nor our attempt to avoid illusion. When all struggle ceases, there is nothing to bind us to a distorted perception of existence and we can finally see. What we see is that we do not simply exist within existence, but all of existence exists within us as well. And although everywhere we look we see the endless diversity of life, we also now see our own true face in everything under the sun.
– Adyashanti

Think about what it takes for a Black person to love America. That is a deep love for this country that for far too long we have never fully recognized.
– Joe Biden

You have to live your life if you’re going to do original work. Your work will come out of an authentic life, and if you suppress all of your most passionate impulses in the service of an art that has not yet declared itself, you’re making a terrible mistake.
When I was young I led the life I thought writers were supposed to lead, in which you repudiate the world, ostentatiously consecrating all of your energies to the task of making art. I just sat in Provincetown at a desk and it was ghastly – the more I sat there not writing the more I thought that I just hadn’t given up the world enough. After two years of that, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to be a writer. So I took a teaching job in Vermont, though I had spent my life till that point thinking that real poets don’t teach. But I took this job, and the minute I started teaching – the minute I had obligations in the world – I started to write again.
– Louise Glück

The extremes are easy.
Only the middle is a puzzle.
– Louise Gluck

Please Call Me by My True Names
by Thich Nhat Hanh
Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow —
even today I am still arriving.
Look deeply: every second I am arriving
to be a bud on a Spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.
I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death
of all that is alive.
I am the mayfly metamorphosing
on the surface of the river.
And I am the bird
that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.
I am the frog swimming happily
in the clear water of a pond.
And I am the grass-snake
that silently feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.
And I am the arms merchant,
selling deadly weapons to Uganda.
I am the twelve-year-old girl,
refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean
after being raped by a sea pirate.
And I am the pirate,
my heart not yet capable
of seeing and loving.
I am a member of the politburo,
with plenty of power in my hands.
And I am the man who has to pay
his “debt of blood” to my people
dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.
My joy is like Spring, so warm
it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.
My pain is like a river of tears,
so vast it fills the four oceans.
Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and my laughter at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart
can be left open,
the door of compassion.

The subtext of Indigenous education is love. Language, kinship roles, hunting skills, song sequences, etc. are often merely a medium through which we convey the deeper lesson of love.
– Lyla June

I’m just so tired, so terribly tired, so utterly, totally 100% exhausted of thinking about him. I want to start thinking about other things, like all the major problems on the planet we’ve been ignoring by servicing the black hole where his soul is supposed to be for four years.
– Steve Silberman

We do not feel emotions as much as we are bent into shapes by open-ended territories of feeling. Affective states are not individual events, quarantined within human bodies, lining up with predetermined neural networks that track unto recognizable physiological manifestations. Instead the “things” we call “emotions” are principalities and powers at large that enlist bodies of all kind in their mattering. Affective assemblages. Large territorial beasts with human bodies as organelles.

To feel is to glow; it is to be activated at the crossroads where politics, expectations, stories, bodies, furniture, media, food, spirits, computational frameworks of neoliberalism, history and microbial worlds intrasect. Decentering humans from the story of feeling relieves us from the burden of emotional authenticity, and might open up post-qualitative research adventures to the edges of sentimentality. More importantly, it can tell us a lot about the territories we are entangled with, and how habitual modes of feeling can often get in the way of our flourishing. In other words, in our search for the unusual, for the unspoken, for sanctuary, we must keep in mind: the new may not feel right.
– Bayo Akomolafe

The future is not out there in front of us, but inside us.
– Joanna Macy

We are not born all at once, but by bits. The body first, and the spirit later; and the birth and growth of the spirit, in those who are attentive to their own inner life, are slow and exceedingly painful. Our mothers are racked with the pains of our physical birth; we ourselves suffer the longer pains of our spiritual growth.
– Mary Antin

Your life is your question. It is yours. No one else can answer it. No one else can relieve you from the need to answer it. No one else can prevent you from answering it. Spiritual life is the ultimate meritocracy ……. no human or other agency can give or take, sell or buy, its offering.
– tk

Once you have read a book you care about,
some part of it is always with you.
– Louis L’Amour

Fields. Smell of the tall grass, new cut.
As one expects of a lyric poet.
We look at the world once, in childhood.
The rest is memory.”
– Louise Gluck (Meadowlands)

Some sit on the cushion of difficult feelings – dealing with depression, anger, anxiety, or grief.

Some sit on the cushion of money – worrying about it, counting it, plotting to make more, suffering not having enough.

Some sit on the cushion of relationships – conflicting, loving, feeling abandoned, looking for the right person.

Some sit on the cushion of body size – weighing, measuring, eating, not eating, counting calories, looking in the mirror.

Some sit on the cushion of inner criticism – disliking this and that about themselves, trying to change, coming up short and sometimes long, seeking answers and sometimes fixes.

Some sit on the cushion of physical symptoms – headaches, tumors, digestive problems, back aches, chronic illnesses, immune disorders and more.

Some sit on the cushion of addictive tendencies – drugging, abstaining, controlling or being controlled by substances or behavioral patterns.

Whatever cushion your life has given you, bring as much loving awareness to it as you can.

This may very well be the place you enlighten.
– David Bedrick

…death cannot harm me
more than you have harmed me,
my beloved life.
– Louise Glück, October (from her collection Averno)

The storehouse of memory is kept and watched over by the poets, whose business it is to find and make the words we live by…
– Hannah Arendt

The world will ask you who you are,
and if you don’t know,
the world will tell you.
– Carl Jung

Man is nothing by himself. He is just an infinite chance. But he is infinitely responsible for this chance.
– Albert Camus

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

A peaceful mind, that is key.
If you want to be a scholar
with a smart and busy brain,
or if you want to be a practitioner,
those are good; but scholars and practitioners both need a mind to start with.
If that mind is cranky, stinky, and complicated, then whatever you try to do with it
becomes poisoned.

If that mind is clean and peaceful,
then you can be positive
and you can see others’ peace as well.
In a peaceful mind, compassion
and other noble qualities can be found easily. Therefore, whether or not you are a scholar
or a practitioner is not nearly as important
as whether or not your mind is peaceful,
happy, and contented.

If your mind is positive,
then it’s not as if there’s fireworks
or something obvious happening;
it’s subtle, but there is space for compassion, kindness, and calmness to arise.
Through that, you can develop a stable mind and pure discipline.
Then you can respect each other
and love each other.
– Ven. Gyatrul Rinpoche

I am suspicious of my existing ideas,
my conscious thoughts and convictions.
They are what I need to get beyond, into
ignorance and after that, with luck, discovery.
– Louise Glück

Poetry is about the grief.
Politics is about the grievance.
– Robert Frost

We have to create culture, don’t watch TV, don’t read magazines, don’t even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you’re worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are dis-empowered, you’re giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told ‘no’, we’re unimportant, we’re peripheral. ‘Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that.’ And then you’re a player, you don’t want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that’s being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.
– Terence McKenna

There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.
– Mahatma Gandhi

Art never responds to the wish to make it democratic; it is not for everybody; it is only for those who are willing to undergo the effort needed to understand it.
– Flannery O’Connor

Raquel Gutiérrez:

Chicanos Practice Makes Prerogative

Chronos is the one.
eats half-white children, whole

green feather, blood fang
survive, alright?

ombligo stitched together,
my leather belt

Chronos is the same
mates with brown women

in a desert that seeks capital,
where suns rotate closer

and codex eviction, daughter
of a television snowstorm

side-saddle and bareback
leathered once again.

father unhinges braces
from her chubby legs

buys time to defy, and swallow
sibling clay come to life

it’s me. I embrace white divine
full body flavor living in an urn

la india mi negra on the back of
a burden, a beast we pick up
and leave again
To Be An Unfathomable Species
is to be in the absence of armor,
where bone,
muscle and stone meet.

And to follow the law of softness,
inhabit liability in the wake of whatever it takes

to make yourself a lightshow, orchids and comettails
phenomena to melt the metal our bodies grew.

How distant this everyday passing for real this life
and all of its casings aside.
where epistolary novels
and cocktail glasses imprinted
with red red healing, do you feel it?

True compassion is undirected and holds no conceptual focus. That kind of genuine, true compassion is only possible after realizing emptiness.
– Tsoknyi Rinpoche

To say: no person, trying to take responsibility for her or his identity, should have to be so alone. There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep, and still be counted as warriors.
– Adrienne Rich

Gal Shapira:
Conscious effort ruins a state of flow.

When it comes to getting ideas or executing a great performance, it’s best to not try to force it.

When you force something, you involve conscious effort which interrupts the subconscious from letting it work for you.

People are underestimating the force of angry kids.
– Greta Thunburg

An election is democracy’s pivot point. It’s a moment that should prompt us, all of us, to refocus on what really matters. That list of issues is longer and more daunting than it has been for generations.
– Robert Redford

The best thing about time passing is the privilege of running out of it, of watching the wave of mortality break over me and everyone I know. No more time, no more potential. The privilege of ruling things out. Finishing. Knowing I’m finished. And knowing time will go on without me.

Look at me, dancing my little dance for a few moments against the background of eternity.
– Sarah Manguso

Written by Wendell Berry:

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.

by Chögyam Trungpa

In the jungles of flaming ego,
May there be cool iceberg of bodhicitta.
On the racetrack of bureaucracy,
May there be the walk of the elephant.
May the sumptuous castle of arrogance
Be destroyed by vajra confidence.
In the garden of gentle sanity,
May you be bombarded by coconuts of wakefulness.

Those who want the Government to regulate matters of the mind and spirit are like men who are so afraid of being murdered that they commit suicide to avoid assassination.
– Harry S. Truman

We are talking only to ourselves. We are not talking to the rivers, we are not listening to the wind and stars. We have broken the great conversation. By breaking that conversation we have shattered the universe. All the disasters that are happening now are a consequence of that spiritual “autism.”
– Thomas Berry

It’s also important to note that we believe that it is outdated to use the term “autism” to describe a negative state of being. I’m sure that many of our self-identified autistic friends would agree that autism doesn’t equate to a disconnect from the natural world. We are dedicated to continue refining our language in service of connection by honoring the beautifully diverse ways of being human and more-than-human. May we all continue to deconstruct the duality inherent in the modernist view of normalcy in service of a more inclusive understanding of all of the wild and wonderful possibilities in which life takes shape within and around us!
– orderofthesacredearth

It’s no secret that the stars are falling from the sky
The universe exploded ’cause of one man’s lie
Look, I gotta go, yeah I’m running outta change
There’s a lot of things, if I could I’d rearrange…
– U2, The Fly

Unexpected intrusions of beauty.
This is what life is.
– Saul Bellow

One of the differences between life and things, between life and matter, is this: that life seems always to be going up. Life seems seems always to be integrating, moving from the simple to the complex, and more involved and more responsible; while matter seems always to be running down–so that is why a poet refers to a thing like a field as the gray hairs of the earth–a running down of the process. A curious thing the relationship is between this running down and the running up. It is the breaking down of matter that causes life to work toward integration.
– Howard Thurman (Nov. 28, 1948)

A good book is an event in my life.
– Stendhal

Poetry is an affair of sanity,
of seeing things as they are.
– Philip Larkin

After Mark Strand

Most every night, about this time, when the sun turns down, or begins to turn, though my back is turned towards the glass, I can tell, by the way the light casts itself through the slats, across the floor, that the sun has suddenly dropped enough to color the room in amber light… this turn of light announces the hour has come where day is gone and the transitional hours towards night have come… these must be my favorite hours because something happens inside that makes me want to stop, that makes me want to take in—this changing of light… these hours where light streaks the skies and before the sweeps of color flash or form…. whether their formations are quiet and swept …or announcements, flung colors of flight…. every late afternoon, almost, this refrain begins to recite itself to me, its own announcement, but almost expectedly, every time the sun begins its sinking, and the lawns on fire
– Mariam Haddad

The Guardian by Mark Strand

The sun setting. The lawns on fire.
The lost day, the lost light.
Why do I love what fades?

You who left, who were leaving,
what dark rooms do you inhabit?
Guardian of my death,

preserve my absence. I am alive.

There are decades when nothing happens and weeks when decades happen.
– Lenin

Love happens in spite of violence, stupidity, style, envy, and our dreams. It is also constantly ill-timed.
– Anne Dufourmantelle, In Praise of Risk (tr. S. Miller)

The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves — in their separate, and individual capacities.
– July 1, 1854, Fragment on Government

no doubts can exist in the herd; the bigger the crowd the better the truth – and the greater the catastrophe.
– Carl Jung

It is not in the least superstitious , it is even a counsel of realism, to look for the unforeseeable and unpredictable, to be prepared for and to expect “miracles” in the political realm.
– Hannah Arendt, Between Past and Future

He used no high-flown words;
Before the mouth is opened, “it” is revealed.
If you keep on chattering glibly,
Know you will never get “it”.
– Mumon’s Poem from Mumonkan #24 Abandon Words and Speaking

Pachamama’s Homecoming

Sun, Sol, rise.
Caress the breasts of the Andes,
warm our hearts, corizons,
our perch
among the worlds, mundos.

Hanaq pacha.
All that is Above.
Kay pacha.
Weighted Beings.
Ukhu pacha.
All that is Below.

Take Love as the llave, key,
open the puerta, door,
to everything and nothing.

Hummingbirds come.

Hummingbirds come
build your bridges,
Colibri Puentes,
across planes of reality,
heart to heart,
make way for our prayers
to travel far.

The power to
heal Her
is in the intent,
to heal your
to Her.

By candlelight enflamed
and breath kissed,
muchos besos,
coca leaves:

Santa Tierra Pachamama.
Holy Earth, Mother of All Things.

Taita Inti.
Father Sun.

Receive me.

Help me.

Ñanta kichawayku.
Open me.

Cleanse me.

Heal me.

Little spirit, espiritu,
bones of skeleton
and fear
like stones
rumis into quays.

Radiant feathers, plumas,
into bright brown eyes,
smiles, sonrisas,
plumes of children
in costume
and laughter.

Souls dance their
way home,
nuestra casa,
taking their place
within community.

By candlelight enflamed
until Sun, Sol,
caresses the Andes
twice more
amidst the infinite,

– Jamie K. Reaser, Among the Q’ero

The Reckoning
by Hawk of the Pines
Once upon a time,
set everything into motion.
Red Earth
Black Rice
White Moon
Yellow Dawn
Columbus and Hernando
may have wandered around here
but they discovered nothing.
All of it
was lost
on those lost travelers;
and in their lost-souled way
they foreshadowed what was to come.
There’s really no other way
to harp about it.
There’s the Old Way…
– man-and-land-in-cahoots
and then there’s this
troublin’ way of hoofin’ through
a long, wide sickening arc
that gets spread ‘round and ‘round by
never-satisfied Deep-Pocketers
grubbin’ and gluttonied High-Risers
Brightlighters that don’t know any better.
It’s the way of man outta step,
when he goes and loses his link
with the spirit of wind, earth, and soft-wildness.
When this happens,
he scalds the World of Green Skywards
and Gentle Skitterabouts.
And then, at night he sleeps,
as if none of it matters;
as if nothing comes back around from it.
It’s a damn shame really.
The whole weave
of this glowing ebb and flow
is a gift, but some people
are like evil weevils
and they don’t see it that way
and choose to eat up the world instead.
They don’t see
how they can get by on less
and hoist others up
to stronger footing
by sharing a few smidgins of their own.
They don’t see
that we’re all born
from inside this world,
emerging from
the same Mother no less;
and how the Red Dust Way
is to go on and on
digging into her breast.
Ain’t narn of us
is fetched here
by a stork.
We’re all born
from inside this weave
and when man
falls out of cahoots with the land
there always comes a reckoning.

The pilgrim travels differently. Always in a pilgrimage there is a change of mind and a change of heart. The outer landscape becomes a metaphor for the unknown inner landscape.
– from the beautiful film A Celtic Pilgrimage by John O’Donohue

Matt Haig:
If this year has reminded us of anything it is that the most beautiful power we have is the power to help other people.

Ethan Nichtern:
It’s crucial to distinguish between “hating” someone and knowing it’s a really really awful idea that they hold any power within any system.

Once you separate the two, the desire to disempower harm is clarified, and hatred becomes irrelevant to your work.

To make art is to realize another’s sadness within, realize the hidden sadness in other people’s lives, to feel sad with and for a stranger.
– Marianne Wiggins

What matters isn’t what a person has or doesn’t have; it is what he or she is afraid of losing.
– Nicholas Nassim Taleb

Matt Haig:
If you work in a soul-crushing government-approved job you absolutely hate retrain in the arts.

Matt Haig:
The reason this government doesn’t like the arts is because they are a mirror and they don’t want to see their reflection.

McKensie Mack:
Hiring more people of color doesn’t dismantle structural racism within an organization. A white dominant organization could hire 100 people of color but if the policies and the practices stay the same, that’s 100 more people that can be harmed by them.

Bernie Sanders:
Let’s be clear. It would be much less expensive to enact the Green New Deal than it would be to continue to allow the fossil fuel industry to destroy the planet we live on.
Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.
– Toni Morrison, Beloved

Daniel Torday:
Every person who comes out of this period of chaos w their sanity intact deserves free health care, a free education, & their college debt forgiven. Everyone else, too.

What we are tempted to call a disaster is sometimes the first, painful stage of a blessing.
– Stephen Mitchell

Sim Kern:
Who else lives with a visceral, inescapable awareness of the fact that we’re living through mass extinction, and it colors your every waking moment with a background hum of existential horror and dread?

giabuchi lastrassi:
i am no longer working on myself my traumas have unionized

The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition.
– Carl Sagan

Bruce Cockburn:
Some would have us bow
In bondage to their dreams
Of little gods who lay down laws to live by
But all these inventions
Arise from fear of love, open-hearted tolerance and trust
Well screw the rule of law
We want the rule of love

Wendy S. Walters:
No, but seriously if we are going to have a country, we all must pay the musicians.

I saw you, and poems came back to me.
– Yannis Ritsos

People often associate complexity with deeper meaning, when often after precious time has been lost, it is realized that simplicity is the key to everything.
– Gary Hopkins

Grim Whiteside:
If you ever feel bad about a fallow period in your writing, keep in mind Louise Glück spent two years having written nothing but a single line — “At the end of my suffering / there was a door.” And then wrote The Wild Iris in five weeks. The patience of being a poet is immense.

Bruce Cockburn:
My so-called buddy never called me back, called me back, called me back
My so-called buddy never called me back
I don’t know what to think about that
The bugger never called me back
I better try him once more

Daniel Torday:
I’m having a very hard time trying to tell if anything matters anymore.

The world is quite ruthless in selecting between the dream and the reality, even where we will not.
– Cormac McCarthy

A country may go to ruin but its mountains and streams remain.
– Japanese proverb

It is possible to be free and loving no matter what your circumstances.
– Jack Kornfield

The future belongs to those who understand that doing more with less is compassionate, prosperous and enduring and thus more intelligent, even competitive.
– Paul Hawken

If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.
– Moshe Dayan

Bruce Cockburn:
In the crashing chaos where stars are born
The strong get fed and the weak get torn
Look at that cosmos eating its tail
Circled like the lip of the holy grail

When learning becomes you,
then it appears as you need it,
when you are being you.
– Chungliang Al Huang

Negative thoughts and emotions undermine the very causes of peace and happiness. In fact, when we think properly, it is totally illogical to seek happiness if we do nothing to restrain angry, spiteful, and malicious thoughts and emotions.
– Dalai Lama XIV

One who smiles rather than rages is always the stronger.
– Japanese proverb

Christopher DeWeese:
Struck by how many tributes to Louise Glück start with her brilliant poetry but expand to her service to other writers. Many poets at her level keep all their time for their own genius- it’s always wonderful to hear about those who find ways of giving and supporting others.

Nature is no spendthrift, but takes the shortest way to her ends.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

You know, he said, our work is difficult: we confront
much sorrow and disappointment.
He gazed at me with increasing frankness.
I was like you once, he added, in love with turbulence.
– Louise Glück, Faithful and Virtuous Night

If home is found on both sides of the globe, home is of course here—and always a missed land.
– Agha Shahid Ali, Land

What people call community is not always community.
– Tressie McMillan Cottom, Dissent Magazine

In our eyes, the ultimate end of mysticism is the establishment of a contact . . . with the creative effort which life itself manifests.
– Bergson, Two Sources of Morality and Religion

You get a very different history of the gig economy when you start thinking about social relations instead of technology.
– Tressie McMillan Cottom, Dissent Magazine

We are all mothers
and we have that fire within us,
of powerful women
whose spirits are so angry
we can laugh beauty into life
and still make you taste
the salt tears of our knowledge–
– Abena Busia

No man should think himself a zero, and think he can do nothing about the state of the world.
– Bernard Baruch

As a younger person I was so focused on “healing” — but wasn’t “healing” another word for “over”? Suffering is never “over” —it’s an ineradicable aspect of reality. I focus now on endurance.
– Dana Levin

Never has our future been more unpredictable, never have we depended so much on political forces that cannot be trusted to follow the rules of common sense and self-interest—forces that look like sheer insanity.
– Hannah Arendt

I try to treat whoever I meet as an old friend. This gives me a genuine feeling of happiness.
– Dalai Lama XIV

Man is a complex being: he makes deserts bloom – and lakes die.
– Gil Scott-Heron

The greatest enemy of authority, therefore, is contempt, and the surest way to undermine it is laughter.
– Hannah Arendt

I’m not the one who’s saying these things. I’m not the one who we should be listening to. And I say that all the time. I say we need to listen to the scientists.
– Greta Thunberg

Bruce Cockburn:
pacetime strings bend
World without end
God’s too big to fit in a book
Nothing’s too big to fit in my heart

Ethan Nichtern:
I wish there were more studies that linked volunteering on political campaigns to positive outcomes for mental health and happiness.

The correlation is pretty clear.

Do not run. Do
no run. Do not
run. Slowly
go where you are going
is yourself.
– Juan Ramón Jiménez
(tr. Kudinov)

Gary Snyder:
Man is but a part of the fabric of life – dependant on the whole fabric for his very existence.

Put on a sweater.
– Jimmy Carter

What I would say about certain trees

is that to master love one must be devastated by it.
Certain trees know.
– Jennifer Chang, About Trees

We need to understand how destructive emotions affect us and constructive emotions can help us, so that we can maintain our peace of mind.”
– Dalai Lama XIV

Give my dream back,
raven! The moon you woke me to
is misted over.
– Uejima Onitsura

Try to remember some details. For the world
is filled with people who were torn from their sleep.
– Amichai

Lauren Groff:
All of this could have been avoided if a small percentage of Republicans read up to two books a year.

I bring you my broken self
With zero hidden from your view
I don’t usually do that but it’s
Different when it comes to you
I didn’t know I could do that, but it’s
Different when it comes to you
– cassidy hall

A city is naught without owls
– Robert Kelly

The superior warrior is never angry.
– Taoist proverb

I live in a well. I live like smoke in the well. Like vapor in a stone throat. I don’t
move. I don’t do anything but wait. Overhead I see the cold stars of night and
morning, and I see the sun. And sometimes I sing old songs of this world when it was
young. How can I tell you what I am when I don’t know? I cannot. I am simply
waiting. I am mist and moonlight and memory. I am sad and I am old. Sometimes I
fall like rain into the well. Spider webs are startled into forming where my rain falls
fast, on the water surface. I wait in cool silence and there will be a day when I no
longer wait.
– Ray Bradbury, The One Who Waits

Gray whale
Now that we are sending you to The End
That great god
Tell him
That we who follow you invented forgiveness
And forgive nothing
I write as though you could understand
And I could say it
One must always pretend something
Among the dying
When you have left the seas nodding on their stalks
Empty of you
Tell him that we were made
On another day
The bewilderment will diminish like an echo
Winding along your inner mountains
Unheard by us
And find its way out
Leaving behind it the future
And ours
When you will not see again
The whale calves trying the light
Consider what you will find in the black garden
And its court
The sea cows the Great Auks the gorillas
The irreplaceable hosts ranged countless
And fore-ordaining as stars
Our sacrifices
Join your word to theirs
Tell him
That it is we who are important
– W. S. Merwin

I am a hole in a flute that the Christ’s breath moves through.
– Hafiz

Slow down where it hurts.
– Steve Almond

You are Perfect, just as you are.

Everything is Divinely Perfect in every moment.

There is nothing you need to do, change, attain, or become.

Of course you will continue to blossom and expand, as it is in our nature to do so.

But in every single moment of this process of expansion, know that you are Whole.

Your Essence is the very Power that births Infinite Universes.

Whether you perceive it or not, the Infinite Intelligence of All That Is permeates every leaf, every twig, every galaxy, atom, refrigerator, platypus, burrito, and fox cub.

All is Well.

Now and forevermore.

All is taken care of.

The Creator overlooks nothing.

Every single occurrence in all of Creation is Divinely Orchestrated for the Highest Good of All That Is.

As such, it’s truly okay to Trust the Universe, to Trust God, in every moment.

Let these words bypass your thinking mind; let them strike your Soul and Intuition; feel their resonance.

I Love You.

All is Divine.

Follow your Highest Excitement.

Do nothing else.

Peace, Joy, Love, Freedom, Wisdom, Power,

– Nicholas Pierotti

1. Rise with the sun to pray. Pray alone. Pray often. The Great Spirit will listen, if you only speak.

2. Be tolerant of those who are lost on their path. Ignorance, conceit, anger, jealousy – and greed stem from a lost soul. Pray that they will find guidance.

3. Search for yourself, by yourself. Do not allow others to make your path for you. It is your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.

4. Treat the guests in your home with much consideration. Serve them the best food, give them the best bed and treat them with respect and honor.

5. Do not take what is not yours whether from a person, a community, the wilderness or from a culture. It was not earned nor given. It is not yours.

6. Respect all things that are placed upon this earth – whether it be people or plant.

7. Honor other people’s thoughts, wishes and words. Never interrupt another or mock or rudely mimic them. Allow each person the right to personal expression.

8. Never speak of others in a bad way. The negative energy that you put out into the universe will multiply when it returns to you.

9. All persons make mistakes. And all mistakes can be forgiven.

10. Bad thoughts cause illness of the mind, body and spirit. Practice optimism.

11. Nature is not FOR us, it is a PART of us. They are part of your worldly family.

12. Children are the seeds of our future. Plant love in their hearts and water them with wisdom and life’s lessons. When they are grown, give them space to grow.

13. Avoid hurting the hearts of others. The poison of your pain will return to you.

14. Be truthful at all times. Honesty is the test of ones will within this universe.

15. Keep yourself balanced. Your Mental self, Spiritual self, Emotional self, and Physical self – all need to be strong, pure and healthy. Work out the body to strengthen the mind. Grow rich in spirit to cure emotional ails.

16. Make conscious decisions as to who you will be and how you will react. Be responsible for your own actions.

17. Respect the privacy and personal space of others. Do not touch the personal property of others – especially sacred and religious objects. This is forbidden.

18. Be true to yourself first. You cannot nurture and help others if you cannot nurture and help yourself first.

19. Respect others religious beliefs. Do not force your belief on others.

20. Share your good fortune with others.

If you know me,
you know that I reside
in the hearts of all beings.
Just summon me and I will return!

Now until the dualistic identity mind melts
and dissolves,
it may seem that we are parting.
Please be happy.
When you understand the dualistic mind,
there will be no separation from me.
May my good wishes fill the sky.

– Yeshe Tsogyal

The Poet is like the prince of the clouds
Who haunts the tempest and mocks the archer
Exiled on the earth in the midst of derision
His giant wings keep him from walking
– Baudelaire

When you touch the source, you realise that everything is sacred. You begin to look at this life with admiration and awe and you bow to every grass you pick, every carrot you cut, and every living thing that walks, jumps, crawls, or flies.
– Doka Sensei

I can’t translate myself into language any more.
– Alice Notley

Like Most Revelations
by Richard Howard

(after Morris Louis)

It is the movement that incites the form,
discovered as a downward rapture—yes,
it is the movement that delights the form,
sustained by its own velocity. And yet

it is the movement that delays the form
while darkness slows and encumbers; in fact
it is the movement that betrays the form,
baffled in such toils of ease, until

it is the movement that deceives the form,
beguiling our attention—we supposed
it is the movement that achieves the form.
Were we mistaken? What does it matter if

it is the movement that negates the form?
Even though we give (give up) ourselves
to this mortal process of continuing,
it is the movement that creates the form.

The deepest words
of the wise [ones] teach us
the same as the whistle of the wind when it blows
or the sound of the water when it is flowing.
– Antonio Machado

Someone reading a book
is a sign of order in the world.
– Mary Ruefle

Doom scenarios, even though they might be true, are not politically or psychologically effective. The first step . . . is to make us love the world rather than to make us fear for the end of the world.
– Gary Snyder

…Nekhlúdoff clearly saw that all these people were arrested, locked up, not really because they transgressed against justice but only because they were an obstacle hindering the rich from enjoying the property they had taken away from the people.
– Leo Tolstoy

We don’t need men to be “gentlemen” we need men to do peyote and face their deep cores of emptiness, then return to the village humbled.
– Alena Smith

This is the dream we carry through the world
that something fantastic will happen
that it has to happen
that time will open by itself
that doors shall open by themselves
that the heart will find itself open
that mountain springs will jump up
that the dream will open by itself
that we one early morning
will slip into a harbor.
– Olav H. Hauge

Manish Jain: If we beat them at their own game, we’ve lost.
Ursula le Guin: Yes, how we play is what we win.

Sometimes it’s not your nature. Sometimes its your trauma. It’s an important distinction. We don’t want to make the assumption that all of our personality traits are fundamental to who we are. Sometimes they are, but sometimes they were shaped by our traumatic life experiences. Sometimes they developed as adaptations, defenses and disguises to uncomfortable realities. And sometimes they have outlived their usefulness, and are ready to be shed so we can actually align with our true nature. So, next time you self-describe, take a close look at your list of attributes. And ask these simple questions: Is this trait intrinsic to my true nature, or is it a coping strategy birthed in trauma? Is this truly me, or is this just a habitual way of being that no longer serves me?
– Jeff Brown

There is a certain stone bridge in a certain lost town, under which you can play your guitar with impunity.
– Nicholas Pierotti

Love is not a relationship with someone, Love is a way of life with everything.
– Stephanie Kesey

every cell is intelligent
cultivate bioluminescence
the breath is the bridge
imagine nations with freed imaginations
we are standing on a planet
that is shooting through space,
and it’s time we started acting like it
globalize liberation,
planetize the movement—
you can’t stop
the Earth’s revolution.
– Drew Dellinger, Planetize the Movement

You have to take pains in a memoir not to hang on the reader’s arms, like a drunk, and say, ‘And then I did this and it was so interesting.
– Annie Dillard

When Einstein gave lectures at U.S. universities, the recurring question that students asked him most was:
– Do you believe in God?
And he always answered:
– I believe in the God of Spinoza.
Baruch de Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher considered one of the great rationalists of 17th century philosophy, along with Descartes.
(Spinoza) : God would say:
Stop praying.
What I want you to do is go out into the world and enjoy your life. I want you to sing, have fun and enjoy everything I’ve made for you.
Stop going into those dark, cold temples that you built yourself and saying they are my house. My house is in the mountains, in the woods, rivers, lakes, beaches. That’s where I live and there I express my love for you.
Stop blaming me for your miserable life; I never told you there was anything wrong with you or that you were a sinner, or that your sexuality was a bad thing. Sex is a gift I have given you and with which you can express your love, your ecstasy, your joy. So don’t blame me for everything they made you believe.
Stop reading alleged sacred scriptures that have nothing to do with me. If you can’t read me in a sunrise, in a landscape, in the look of your friends, in your son’s eyes… ➤ you will find me in no book!
Stop asking me “will you tell me how to do my job?” Stop being so scared of me. I do not judge you or criticize you, nor get angry, or bothered. I am pure love.
Stop asking for forgiveness, there’s nothing to forgive. If I made you… I filled you with passions, limitations, pleasures, feelings, needs, inconsistencies… free will. How can I blame you if you respond to something I put in you? How can I punish you for being the way you are, if I’m the one who made you? Do you think I could create a place to burn all my children who behave badly for the rest of eternity? What kind of god would do that?
Respect your peers and don’t do what you don’t want for yourself. All I ask is that you pay attention in your life, that alertness is your guide.
My beloved, this life is not a test, not a step on the way, not a rehearsal, nor a prelude to paradise. This life is the only thing here and now and it is all you need.
I have set you absolutely free, no prizes or punishments, no sins or virtues, no one carries a marker, no one keeps a record.
You are absolutely free to create in your life. Heaven or hell.
➤ I can’t tell you if there’s anything after this life but I can give you a tip. Live as if there is not. As if this is your only chance to enjoy, to love, to exist.
So, if there’s nothing after, then you will have enjoyed the opportunity I gave you. And if there is, rest assured that I won’t ask if you behaved right or wrong, I’ll ask. Did you like it? Did you have fun? What did you enjoy the most? What did you learn?…
Stop believing in me; believing is assuming, guessing, imagining. I don’t want you to believe in me, I want you to believe in you. I want you to feel me in you when you kiss your beloved, when you tuck in your little girl, when you caress your dog, when you bathe in the sea.
Stop praising me, what kind of egomaniac God do you think I am?
I’m bored being praised. I’m tired of being thanked. Feeling grateful? Prove it by taking care of yourself, your health, your relationships, the world. Express your joy! That’s the way to praise me.
Stop complicating things and repeating as a parakeet what you’ve been taught about me.
What do you need more miracles for? So many explanations?
The only thing for sure is that you are here, that you are alive, that this world is full of wonders.
– Spinoza

Jigme Lingpa:
Those who dispute intellectually,
who are eager to insult other doctrines,
who are clever only with words,
or who refrain from only a single false activity, such as keeping their celibacy
mainly out of false pride,
are only protecting their vows
up to the first layer of foreskin.
With their own words
and the ego of moral superiority,
they have misinterpreted the teachings
of the great guides who see the true meaning of the uncontrived essential nature.
They change the extraordinary,
absolute teaching of supreme Vajradhara
into their own ordinary, relative meaning.
These intellectual philosophers
cannot understand the essence
beyond the limits of their own minds.

Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche:
Imagine craving
absolutely nothing from the world.
Imagine cutting the invisible strings
that so painfully bind us:
what would that be like?
Imagine the freedoms
that come from the ability to enjoy things
without having to acquire them, own them, possess them.
Try to envision a relationship
based on acceptance and genuine care
rather than expectation.
Imagine feeling completely satisfied
and content with your life just as it is.
Who wouldn’t want this?
This is the enjoyment of non-attachment.

Maybe our job is that of the

Simply to collect the soft things
Of the world
And sing about it.
– Quinn Bailey

Because—how do you explain
that it is never inspiration that drives you
to tell a story,
but rather a combination of anger and clarity?
– Valeria Luiselli, Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions

Recently while I was waiting outside for my friend to pick me up, I had a truly ineffable experience: instead of merely admiring the beauty of the flowers and plants nearby, I felt their presence inside. Each tiny movement of each bloom and tendril resonated as sweet bliss within. Even as I gazed at the amazing symmetry of the open blossom in front of me (the flower stood on a very long stem, about waist high) I felt soft yet sensuous bliss within my own system. When I switched to another plant (with many blades of green thrusting upward), I felt a different energy, another vibration rising sharply upward within, as though this lovely botanical display were happening inside, rather than in the outside world.

How can I explain this? I have experienced this same phenomenon once or twice before in my life. It is truly amazing and makes me wonder if this is how our ancestors felt when they were so fully connected with the world of nature, when it and they were truly one.

Then my transcendent revelation ended when my friend arrived. He was in a different state of consciousness and I did not try to
share with him my own moving “expansion of consciousness.” It was indeed ineffable.
– Dorthy Walters

There’s certain insights, and there’s certain kinds of growth and learning that you just have to get quiet inside to make room for. And poetry does that.
– Krista Tippett

They can even lock you away in a concentration camp to shut you up. And I hope by now that you damn well know that. But what our homegrown Hitlerites cannot take away is my love for America and yours. My love for democracy and yours. My love for freedom and yours. What they cannot take away – unless the gullible and the sheepish and the terrified are patsies enough to return them to Washington one more time – is the power of the ballot box.
– Philip Roth, The Plot Against America

Immerse yourself in life there where it happens – in the timeless moment that we call “Now”. Beyond that there is no life. Where else can you be?
– Doka Sensei

I think that my job is to observe people and the world, and not to judge them. I always hope to position myself away from so-called conclusions. I would like to leave everything wide open to all the possibilities in the world.

I prefer translating to criticism, because you are hardly required to judge anything when you translate. Line by line, I just let my favorite work pass through my body and my mind. We need critiques in this world, for sure, but it’s just not my job.

– Haruki Murakami

Why I Smile at Strangers

In difficult times, carry something beautiful in your heart.
– Blaise Pascal

And so today, I walk the streets
with vermillion maple leaves inside me,
and the deep purple of late-blooming larkspur
and the lilting praise of meadowlark.
I carry with me thin creeks with clear water
and the three-quarters moon
and the spice-warm scent of nasturtiums.
And honey in the sunlight.
And words from Neruda and
slow melodies by Erik Satie.
It is easy sometimes to believe
that everything is wrong.
That people are cruel and the world
destroyed and the end of it all
imminent. But there is yet goodness
beyond imagining—the creamy
white flesh of ripe pears
and the velvety purr of a cat in my lap
and the white smear of milky way—
I carry these things in my heart,
more certain than ever that one way
to counteract evil is to ceaselessly honor what’s good
and share it, share it until
we break the choke hold of fear
and at least for a few linked moments,
we believe completely in beauty,
growing beauty, yes, beauty.
– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer